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  1. The following is a review of Azuma, the tier IX Premium Japanese Super Cruiser kindly provided to me by Wargaming. Please be aware that though this represents the release version of the ship, her statistics may change in the future. To the best of my knowledge, these stats are accurate as of patch 0.8.2. If you have any questions regarding any changes to this ship after subsequent patches, please feel free to contact me. Okay, this is getting ridiculous. I really don't know what to call these things. I'm defaulting to "Super-Type A" cruiser for Azuma because that's what my sources said the Japanese called her, but I reiterate that we really could use a catch-all term to describe these kinds of ships in World of Warships. Between Stalingrad, Alaska, Kronshtadt, Graf Spee and now Azuma and now with Yoshino on the horizon, we've got enough of these ships that they could use a name. PROS Large health pool of 58,350hp. Excellent range of 19.1km on her main battery guns. Good alpha strike and penetration for a cruiser. Increased penetration on her secondaries. Good long-range anti-aircraft firepower. Decent top speed of 34 knots. Extra charge of her Repair Party consumable with a faster reset timer. CONS Octagonal citadel which sits high over the water. Relatively thin armoured belt for a large cruiser. Large target and vulnerable to HE shells and AP overmatch with few sections thicker than 25mm. Takes increased damage over time effect damage like a battleship. Most of her continuous AA DPS is located in 1.9km range small caliber guns. Enormous 920m turning radius and poor rudder shift time. Large surface detection range. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL/ Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme Azuma's pretty new-player friendly. This is largely owing to her range and speed which allows her to camp the back, dump HE shells at a distance and generally frustrate their own team by being a non-entity. But hey, at least this is easy to do. Skilled players can bring Azuma closer and do a bit of tanking, but not much. While her guns are perfectly capable of pressuring the enemy, she doesn't have an extensive toolkit to facilitate carries, nor the damage output to make them balk. Using and abusing her belt armour and anti-torpedo voids allows for some trollish moments, but these are exceptions rather than the rule. Skill will only take you so far. – One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness. – Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either. – Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer. – No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. The "fair" evaluation belies the power of Azuma's guns. They're just not as good as those found on Alaska or Kronshtadt. While she has a lot of hit points and great heals, her citadel vulnerability holds her back on Defense. Similarly, she has great speed but her turning radius is so large as to push her into "bad" territory in regards to her agility. Her AA power is alright but she's too large to earn anything other than a "bad" value in Vision Control. Options Oh goodie, a tier IX cruiser. There's going to be a lot to talk about when we get to her upgrades. Consumables Azuma's Damage Control Party is standard for a cruiser with a 5s active period and a 90s / 60s reset timer. This has unlimited charges. In your second slot, the default choice is Defensive AA Fire. As per usual, this doubles the firepower from her 100mm AA guns (both sustained DPS and damage from flak bursts) for 40s and starts with two charges base. This has a 120s / 80s reset timer. Alternatively, you can swap out Defensive AA Fire for Hydroacoustic Search in slot two. This has two charges base and a 100s active period. This extends her torpedo detection to 3.5km and ship acquisition to 5.0km. This has a 180s / 120s reset timer. In slot three, she has a Spotter Aircraft. This increases her range by 20% for 100s. For Azuma this gives her a reach of 22.9km / 26.6km depending on upgrades used. She has three charges base and this has a 360s / 240s reset timer. Finally, she has a Repair Party in slot four. This heals back up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds, queuing 50% of penetration damage, 33% of citadel damage and 100% from all other damage types. She starts with an extra charge base for three total. In addition this has a much faster reset timer with a 60s / 40s cool down. Upgrades There's a lot of choices to be made with Azuma's upgrades however they're not too complicated when you break them down: Your first choice is whether to emphasize main battery performance or anti-aircraft firepower. If you select main battery firepower, choose if you want to do this through firing at range or emphasizing her rate of fire. In terms of survivability, choose if you want to reduce damage over time effects or attempt to dodge fire by improving her rudder shift time. You can mix and match if you so choose, but it's generally optimal to pick a specialization and go full hog down that route. The best performance build will stress DPM and concealment over AA power and dodging. There's also one stupid choice: see if you can spot it. In your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is preferred for most builds. You can take Spotter Aircraft Modification 1 if you really want to stress her range advantages. Special Upgrades are best in your second slot. Take either Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 or Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 for whichever consumable you prefer. If you can't afford the special upgrades, default to Damage Control Modification 1. Unless you're specializing for AA firepower, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is your best choice. For the latter, take AA Guns Modification 1. If you're only intending to use Azuma in Co-Op, then man up and take Secondary Guns Modification 1. Totally worth it. Now we start to get into defensive choices. If you want to focus on agility, take Steering Gears Modification 2 & 3 in slots 4 and 5. Otherwise take Damage Control Modification 2 and Concealment Expert. Finally, slot 6 lets you punctuate your specialization. Main Battery Modification 3 emphasizes DPM. Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 boosts her range. AA Guns Modification 2 improves her AA firepower. Camouflage Azuma comes with Type 10 - Azuma camouflage. This provides the usual 3% bonus concealment from surface targets, 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion, 20% reduction to post-battle service costs and100% bonus to experience gains. Default camo is grey and more-darker grey. You can unlock the green and grey camouflage through completing the "Uniform Items" of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection. You can tell this is a pre-8.2 screenshot from the gun screens on her forward AA nests. Those are her old 40mm guns and did not make it to the live version. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 310mm guns in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Sixteen 100mm/65 guns in 8x2 turrets. For a large cruiser, Azuma's firepower is odd. Every other large cruiser I've played, AP shells are the default. They're the shell I wanted to use. When playing Alaska, Kronshtadt and Stalingrad, I hunted for targets that would let me capitalize on their AP performance. And here's where Azuma differed. I defaulted to using HE when sailing her -- rather, I felt like Azuma's guns encouraged me to default to her HE shells. I told myself that my reasons for doing so were elementary. Azuma does not have the god-tier ballistics and penetration values of the Soviet large cruisers which lets them easily citadel battleships at most engagement ranges. Similarly, she lacks the improved auto-bounce angles found on Alaska which helps reduce the number of AP shell ricochets. Finally, Azuma has improved HE damage (as do most Japanese ships). However, these feel like excuses rather than justified defense at my myopic ammunition preference. Putting Azuma's main battery firepower under the microscope shows that, true to her Large Cruiser pedigree, dynamic ammunition choice is not only encouraged but also necessary to enjoy success. She's reliant upon AP and HE, no matter how comfortable the latter will make her feel. Azuma has comparable DPM output with her HE to Dmitri Donskoi but with better HE penetration (and worse accuracy). I'm keeping this graph simple -- so no bonuses have been accounted for. The only weirdness you need know is that when Saint Louis activates her Main Battery Reload Booster, she has comparable DPM to Buffalo over 60s. This assumes the improbabilities of 100% hit rate and no fire resistance on enemy ships. Actual fire output of these ships is much lower, with fire resistance at tier X cutting the fire chance effectively in half. Tack on the accuracy issues with Azuma and she's not taxing anyone's Damage Control Party by herself without a lot of luck. Again, I am not confusing things further by including Saint Louis' Main Battery Reload Booster. Mega-Zao she is not Azuma's HE shells hit like trucks. However, for a cruiser she's not particularly good at starting fires nor is her damage per minute inspiring. The best that could be said about Azuma's HE shells is that when you're not firing AP, you're not hemorrhaging as much lost damage output as you might in other large cruisers. At least, she doesn't have the inherent weakness of her contemporaries where they struggle to deal significant damage per volley against destroyers. However, this is all assuming you can land hits regularly. While Azuma's HE shells are safe, her AP shells decidedly are not. She lacks the god-tier penetration values from Kronshtadt's high velocity railguns. She doesn't have Alaska's oh-so forgiving improved autobounce angles either. Unless Azuma can line up shots on perfect broadsides, it's all too common to see her AP shells ricochet or shatter against targets. This is 180 shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso without camouflage. Azuma and Alaska were both equipped with the Aiming System Mod 1 dispersion mod. Contrary to what's advertised, Azuma's guns performed more accurately for me than their datamined stats indicated they should. Alaska's and Azuma's horizontal dispersion should be close to comparable. Borrowed from my Alaska review to save time. These are the approximate penetration values of the large cruisers compared to the best-performing 203mm armed heavy cruiser at tier IX, USS Buffalo. Azuma's penetration is comparable to Alaska's, being slightly better over range but not by enough to get excited over. Go Fly a Kite Azuma's fragility keeps her from safely fighting on the front lines (see the Defense section below). She's largely relegated to firing from the second line, keeping her distance from her opponents in order to protect her vulnerable citadel. This works to the further detriment of her AP shells, eating away at their penetration value with increased distance. Thankfully, she's well setup for this role. Not only does she have excellent reach, she has a good top speed and her gun fire arcs are perfect for kiting opponents. Azuma has some excellent fire angles for kiting. Her turret traverse isn't so great. She starts with 5º per second, but once you add on Main Battery Modification 3, she starts being able to out turn her turrets. Taking Expert Marksman to combat this is recommended. Bolted-on Duckies I don't like wasting a lot of time talking about cruiser secondaries. It's so rare they do anything of value. However, Azuma's secondaries bug me a lot because they could have been amazing. She uses the same 100mm/65 caliber guns found on the Japanese gunship destroyers Akizuki, Kitakaze and Harugumo. These have the same ridiculous 20rpm rate of fire and more importantly, they also have their increased 25mm penetration. While I giggled for joy at the prospect of a fully secondary specialized cruiser (including taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to be able to blast stupid battleships) there are two flaws with this: Brawling with Azuma tends to end messily with your ship exploding in a horrendous, greasy kablooie. Azuma's secondaries only have a 5km base range. This just isn't enough reach in high tier matches to be effective. We'd really want to see a 6km to 7km base range, minimum. Without reach and with Azuma's exposed citadel, there just aren't many opportunities to make use of what could have been a very fun addition to this ship. Outside of co-op, it's just not a viable choice. Summary Azuma's guns aren't bad. They're more accurate than I thought they'd be. They have great range. Her HE shells do a nice chunk of damage. Her AP shells and her fire chance aren't terrible but they are disappointing, especially when compared to previous outings with Alaska and Kronshtadt. Kite, kite and kite some more. Look for opportunities to use AP, but you're probably going to be stuck with HE. You're not going to get to use her secondaries often, which is a shame. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : Azuma needs to be able to compete with Alaska and Kronshtadt on equal footing. Kronshtadt has DPM and penetration advantage. Alaska has her improved autobounce angles and similar accuracy to Azuma. Azuma's HE performance isn't quite good enough to keep pace with these two. Defense Hit Points: 58,350 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 25mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 25mm anti-torpedo bulge + 195mm transverse bulkhead. Torpedo Damage Reduction: 22% Azuma has less health than Alaska but with her extra charge of her fast-reloading Repair Party consumable, Azuma has more potential HP. This is nice and all, but I would take Alaska's citadel placement and belt armour over Azuma's extra potential health any day. Extra health only counts when you can avoid exploding suddenly (and often). It should be noted that Azuma, like other large cruisers, takes damage over time effects (fires, floods) like a battleship, resulting in more damage. Much ado has been made about Azuma's durability. For a cruiser, she's pretty tough. She has a thick belt. She has anti-torpedo bulges. She has a lot of hit points and even a mildly improved Repair Party. Unfortunately, Azuma isn't a regular cruiser -- she's one of those hybrid large / battle cruiser type deals like Alaska and Stalingrad. So let's put this into context: For a cruiser, Azuma's protection scheme is great. Any complaints about her not being good are just being nit-picky. Azuma is very durable when compared to Ibuki or Seattle or what have you. It's only with a narrow focus on other large-cruisers (and battlecruisers) that her level of durability falls apart. Let's start listing the fails... Her citadel is raised above water. It's easy to hit. She doesn't have much citadel protection. Azuma's citadel protection is limited to a 178mm belt covered by a 25mm anti-torpedo bulge. So not only is she easy to hit, there's not a lot of armour preventing shells from punching into her vitals. This is easily within the scope of AP penetration for some 203mm armed Heavy Cruisers. Her citadel is octagonal (sorta). This is arguably the worst geometric shape you could choose for a citadel (short of a stretched oval). It all but guarantees a relatively flat surface for shells to penetrate into no matter how she angles. So now angling isn't an effective countermeasure to mitigate citadel hits. Her external hull armour doesn't exceed 25mm. Small and medium caliber HE loves farming damage off Azuma. It's not like Azuma isn't without merit, though. She has an enormous chunk of hit points for a cruiser, which is nice. In addition, the 25mm armour over her belt counts as an anti-torpedo void and it eats HE shells for zero damage. In addition, AP shells which shatter or ricochet off her internal belt also count for zero damage even if they penetrate her outer 25mm bulge. This bulge isn't an especially large target, unfortunately. Furthermore, she has a turtleback that's 125mm thick which will cause a lot of internal ricochets. Her final durability bonus is her improved Repair Party. She begins with 3 charges instead of 2 like most cruisers, giving her a maximum of 5 with a premium version of the consumable coupled with Superintendent. To facilitate this further, her reset timer is cut in half, with a 60s / 40s cool down depending if you're using a premium version or not (use a premium version!). The extra charge generally gives Azuma more effective hit points than Alaska provided you use it perfectly. Azuma's waterline anti-torpedo bulge counts as spaced armour and will eat HE shells for no damage. Similarly, AP shells that punch through her there don't automatically cause penetration damage and must contend with her belt behind it. Unfortunately, you won't have more effective health than Alaska because Azuma eats citadel hits for breakfast. While she can recover from citadel hits like other cruisers (queuing up 33% of citadel damage done) that doesn't do you any good if you get deleted outright. Thus, as great as that extra potential HP is, it's more likely that because of these catastrophic hits, you either won't survive long enough to make use of all of the charges or you simply won't be able to recoup enough HP to make up the difference. So that's all pretty damning for a ship type people equate with a baby battleship. It's really much better to think of Azuma like a standard heavy cruiser. If you wouldn't try tanking it with Ibuki, you shouldn't try tanking it with Azuma. Given her size, large turning radius and lack of concealment (see below for that), this has the unfortunate effect of pushing Azuma back from the front lines to keep her safe. I'm reminded of Abruzzi. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : It's telling just how exposed Azuma's citadel is that she doesn't automatically take a : rating here. She's close, though. Better external armour, something that would let her autobounce 380mm guns, for example, would help a lot. Agility Top Speed: 34.0 knots Port Turning Radius: 920m Rudder Shift Time: 13.9s Estimated 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 4.6º/s Azuma's fast. Speed helps Azuma overcome some of her other manoeuvrability ills. To be clear, Azuma handles like a battleship, albeit a fast one. Her turning radius is appalling and she comes about about as quickly as a South Dakota-class battleship. Her rudder shift time is comparable too. For a ship with such a large, exposed citadel, even at her best, she exposes her broadside for far too long to ever be considered safe. In short, rely on Azuma's speed. It's arguably one of her best features. It allows her to dictate the engagement range against her opponents and flex where opportunities arise. If Azuma is far enough back, it also gives her better chances of dodging incoming fire. If you're beginning to notice a kiting theme, there's a reason... Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : It's that 920m turning radius which holds her back. Drop it down to even 820m and Azuma's easily one of the better cruisers at tier IX, agility wise. Anti-Aircraft Defense Long Range: 8 explosions at 1,470 damage each and 255dps from 5.8km to 1.9km Short Range: 519dps from 1.9km to 0.1km Right, it's theory-crafting time. I don't like doing this, but I don't have much choice in the matter. I only got to play Azuma's finalized AA armament on the 0.8.2 test server. I'm not terribly confident with my AA assessment here as the test server is the test server (with tier 10 carriers that couldn't drop torpedoes successfully on a stationary ship). The big difference was that Azuma shed her 40mm twins she had for much of the live-server testing, losing her medium caliber aura and replaced some of her triple 25mm guns with twins. So let me touch upon briefly what was and theory-craft what she has now. Azuma's current AA layout on top and the layout used during play testing on the bottom. Twin 100mm in red, twin 40mm in pink, enclosed 25mm triples in green, open-air 25mm triples in yellow, twin 25mm in blue. Maybe we'll see the old AA version on Yoshino. Azuma's AA DPS is ALMOST good. ALMOST. Her large caliber guns are great. They don't have the 6.9km reach to make them amazing, but they put out a huge chunk of sustained damage starting at 5.8km -- more damage than anything else at tier IX other than Neptune which is wonderful. Unfortunately, Azuma lacks any medium caliber AA guns, so her large caliber have to carry the weight as planes close. This gives her some of the worst mid-range AA DPS until her small caliber guns can pick up the slack. At close range, Azuma's damage output is again wonderful but it's a mistake to think that short-ranged DPS is going to do much in a given match unless your CV opponent is a complete tater-bot and likes to do flyovers without dropping ordnance for some reason. Maybe (MAYBE!) you might inconvenience them by shooting down aircraft that complete an attack run. Maybe. I wouldn't count on that ruining their day, though, unless you're facing a tier VIII CV that's already heavily taxed on aircraft recovery. Going back to Azuma's long range AA firepower, she throws out an average of 8 explosions with a meaty 1,470 damage per blast. These unfortunately have no impact on aircraft that are on their attack runs (with the exception of Hakuryu's torpedo bombers, because they're special -- maybe this got fixed in 0.8.2). This largely relegates them to being used to protect other ships rather than seeing to her own defense. The final take-away here should be that without Defensive AA Fire active, Azuma's only going to mildly inconvenience carriers. Lacking a catapult fighter, she will look like an inviting target, so expect regular attention. 404'd. Medium Caliber AA not found. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : A lot. It would have to start with a catapult fighter and then we can talk options. Refrigerator Base Surface Detection: 15.12km Aerial Detection: 10.73km Minimum Surface Detection: 11.88km When Firing in Smoke: 11.73km When Firing in Open Water: 19.09km to 26.57km Azuma really drops the ball when it comes to Vision Control. Not only is she fat (without the ph), she lacks Surveillance Radar found on Alaska, Stalingrad and Kronshtadt. She's just not that helpful at projecting vision. Her dependence on Defensive AA Fire to keep her safe also makes taking Hydoacoustic Search a risk. Combine the deficiencies of her agility and defense and it's all too easy to relegate Azuma to a back-of-the-pack support sniper. The further back you park Azuma, the more likely you're going to have to depend on her HE shells to do all of the heavy lifting and the more boring she becomes. Evaluation: What it would have needed to be : She's going to need a lot of help here. Go West Azuma meshes very well with Japanese battleship commander skills. In particular, fire mitigation combined with Superintendent are optimal. This isn't the only option, of course. You can opt for more specialized builds, including anti-aircraft or, (if you're a complete nutter) a secondary build if you prefer co-op. Take the skills in green first and then double back with those in yellow. This will help mitigate damage over time effects for Azuma. Final Evaluation It feels kind of redundant to write one of these when it feels like the community has already largely condemned the darned thing before I publish. The amount of commiserations I received when people learned I was play testing Azuma just goes to show the kind of uphill battle Wargaming faces with trying to get people to spend money on this ship. Azuma isn't obviously powerful, thus she's been relegated to the mehbote pile, already dismissed. On the one hand, it's nice that my job is done for me: the player base is cautious and they're not going to throw money recklessly at Wargaming over the newest shiny on offer. On the other hand, it concerns me how many times I've heard the same inaccuracies about the ship repeated over and over. Azuma isn't a bad ship. Unfortunately, because she's not optimal, people will call her garbage (or whatever expletive substitute they prefer) and that's just not accurate. Azuma's flaw isn't that she's weak. Her flaw is that she's inconsistent, dependent on her citadel not blowing up and relying on fire damage from her HE spam to pad out her numbers. Some times things will go amazing. There will be those players who swear by her. Contrarily, there will be those who will damn her outright because of real or imagined flaws. For all my grumbling, Azuma's on my "forget" pile too. Once I'm done with this review, I'm not going to be playing her. She's not a ship I enjoyed outside of derping around co-op. You could argue this is owing to her power level. She's middling. While she does present a fun challenge to do well in, she's more work than she's worth, in my opinion. It was hard to feel that she presented me with the tools needed to outplay my opponents. Giving it my all didn't yield much improved results over just hoping nobody shot at me. That's not a formula for a fun time, in my opinion, but your own mileage may certainly vary. The most damning thing I could say about Azuma is this: I know I have a contrarian streak. When a ship gets bad-mouthed while still in development, I'm usually inspired try and find some limited element about their performance to champion. I came up empty on Azuma. Believe me, I looked hard too, driven by this inner snootiness to laud some useless factoid that could redeem her in my eyes. That way I could dangle it over the masses. You all might have damned her but I was going enjoy her as only the upper-crust of top-hat wearing, be-monocled World of Warships connoisseurs could. Except, I couldn't. I didn't like playing this boat. Instead of supping with the elitists where we all play eclectic premiums, I'm going to have to choke on some base experiences with the commoners and play Giulio Cesare like a bloody peasant. Screw you, Azuma. Would I Recommend? Azuma comes with a 1M free experience price tag, the same as Alaska. If you were to pay for it using the 1 doubloon for 25 free experience cost, you're looking at a price tag of $164.24 USD. I'm not of the opinion this is worth it (especially when there are tricks to farm up free experience at a reasonable rate), but to each their own. For PVE Battles? How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots? Yes. Azuma does very well in Co-op. You can even get away with that aforementioned secondary build and pad out your damage in close quarters (cuz bots are dumb). For Random Battle Grinding? This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements. Yes. Azuma works well enough for training Japanese battleship and cruiser commanders, with comparable skill overlaps. For Competitive Gaming? Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding. No. Taking any ship with an enormous, vulnerable citadel into competitive is a loser move. It's on par with stapling your upper lip to your computer desk and standing up suddenly -- it's so bad, it's painful to watch and people will beg you not to do it (and some sickos will encourage you to do it anyway). For Collectors? If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you. No. Azuma, though an interesting "what if" ship, it doesn't have the collector's appeal for me. For her Fun-Factor? Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play? No. If I'm going to sit in the back and spam HE at things (with the occasional AP shell to prove I'm not a complete scrub), I'll play Conqueror. At least she has a fun hotto doggu theme song. What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Gud – Overpowered? GARBAGE– I hate it! Mehbote – An average ship. Probably forgettable. Gudbote – The best thing ever. Totally not overpowered because I like padding my stats in it. OVERPOWERED – I hate playing against it! In Closing For my next review, I will be reviewing... well, this is where I would be saying something witty in light of it being April Fool's. I dunno, Thunderer Two? Famous and Historical Monarch? I don't have two brain cells to rub together at this point. I'm going to try and finish talking about the premium carriers. The next part, rocket aircraft, is due out this week and dive bombers should be the week after. Then I just need to talk about the ship's hulls and that will finish off Saipan, Graf Zeppelin, Enterprise and Kaga. After that I think I'm well overdue for a long vacation.
  2. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship PREVIEW: USS Black

    USS Black is still a work in progress. Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed here are subject to change before release. Hell and fire was spawned to be released. Quick Summary: A reward-version of the Fletcher-class Destroyer with Radar. Cost: Black is not for sale and can only be earned by achieving Rank One in five seasons of Ranked Battles. Patch & Date Written: 0.6.1, February 11th, 2017. Closest in-Game Contemporary: Fletcher, Tier 9 American DestroyerDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique USS Black is a Fletcher-class destroyer but, like most premium ships, she has a few changes to make her stand apart from her sister ships. The changes summarize to the following: Black has access to the USN Radar consumable as an option in her third consumable slot. Her deck armour is 19mm instead of 13mm. The torpedoes she launches are slower, longer ranged and harder hitting than Fletcher's with a faster reload. Black swaps out the two twin-gun 40mm Bofors mounts behind her #2 turret for a pair of twin-gun 20mm Oerlikons instead. She's slower than Fletcher by 1.5 knots. She turns slightly better than Fletcher. PROs Armed with five, rapid fire 127mm rifles. She can fire up to ten 13.7km range torpedoes, doing 21,600 damage each and a with reasonable 96s reload per launcher. Decent anti-aircraft armament for a destroyer, including the option to take Defensive Fire. Excellent handling, including a small 560m turning circle, a 3.0s rudder shift time and 34º per second turret traverse. Good concealment values, dropping down to 5.8km with proper specialization and providing a huge stealth-firing window. USS Black can combine smoke and radar, making her the ultimate spotting & support ship. CONs Her 17,100 hit points are on the low side for a tier 9 destroyer. Horrible gun ballistics which makes gunnery of any target outside of 10km punitive. Her torpedoes are the slowest ship-launched fish in the game at 43 knots, taking a full two minutes to reach maximum range. On the slow side for a higher tier destroyer with a maximum speed of 35 knots. Her consumable "options" aren't really optional. If you take anything other than Radar in her 3rd slot, you're a fool. Doesn't appear to have Missouri's massive credit-earning potential. Here it is. This is the second reward ship for Ranked Battles, requiring primacy in five seasons to unlock her. Even in her preview state, Black has caused a lot of fuss. This seems to be a trend with these reward vessels. This is not likely to ever be a common ship. While it can be argued that over time, more players will have reached rank one in five seasons, the natural attrition of the player base will also see some of these veterans hang up their cap and stop playing. Flint isn't commonplace. Black promises to be even more rare. That doesn't undermine the dangers to the meta that an unbalanced ship can present. Still, the alarm that has met Black's preview statistics has been considerable. While not quite an Alabama Drama Llama in scale, the sky is once again (or is it still?) falling in certain community groups. I stress that what we're seeing presently is nothing more than a preview of the ship and not her final form. Things can change. Hopefully this thorough look into USS Black's current build will provide enough insight to see where changes may or may not be needed. Black shares the same camouflage scheme as USS Flint, the first premium reward ship for Ranked Battles. #GetBoat OptionsBlack has the same options as the Fletcher-class but with the added bonus of getting access to Radar in her third consumable slot. You have to swap out Engine Boost for this. Her Radar is identical to that found on Baltimore and Missouri, with a 9.45km acquisition range for 35 seconds. I firmly believe that Wargaming made a misstep with Black's consumables. Swapping her Engine Boost for Radar is a non-decision with radar being optimal in the majority of situations. A more balanced option would have been to make players of USS Black choose between a Smoke Generator and Radar. Thinking this would balance her is, of course, contingent on believing that a destroyer having radar is acceptable at all. We'll see if this consumable combination survives testing. Consumables: Damage Control Party Smoke Generator Engine Boost or Defensive Fire or Radar Module Upgrades: Six slots, standard USN Destroyer options.Premium Camouflage: Can I call this tier 9+ standard? It provides the same bonus as the Missouri: A 3% concealment bonus, a 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion and a 100% bonus to experience gains. Firepower Primary Battery: Five 127mm rifles in single turrets in a superfiring A-B-P-X-Y arrangement. P turret is forward facing behind the torpedo launchers. Torpedo Armament: Ten 533mm tubes in 2x5 launchers mounted before and behind the rear funnel. Black is armed with five 127mm/38 Mark 30 naval rifles. These are the same guns first seen on the Benson-class destroyers at tier 8 without any significant improvement in performance. This staple of the USN Destroyer line is known for its tremendous rate of fire and excellent gun handling but also its famously poor ballistic qualities that lead to a very high shell arc over range. So while Black can potentially dish out monstrous levels of damage, landing those hits is considerably more of a challenge than the 130mm of Soviet Destroyers, for example. These weapons are very much par for the course for American destroyers and offer nothing in the way of surprises for veterans of the American destroyer line. By tier 8, destroyer caliber guns begin to lose the arms race versus the armour values found on capital ships. Even upgraded with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, her rounds cannot penetrate tier 8+ Battleships anywhere except their superstructure. Her 127mm guns can only penetrate 21mm of armour without the skill while being able to best up to 27mm of armour with it. This value is important -- it's sufficient to damage the bows and sterns of all cruisers and select deck areas on most of these ships. But it's as a destroyer hunter where these guns excel, provided you can close the range. Their very fast turret traverse rate of nearly 34º per second allows the ship to be thrown into evasive maneuvers while maintaining her gun lock on target. This makes her a very real threat to any rival torpedo or gunship. Like USS Sims before it, Black has what the community has often referred to as "naval mine" torpedoes. Their speed is downright laughable at 43 knots (115.1 meters per second under the game's compressed distances). It takes these torpedoes almost a full two minutes to reach the end of their impressive 13.7km range. With a 96s reload, this allows you to put a second salvo in the water before the first is little more than 3/4s done their first run. The good news is that they have a very short surface detection range of 0.9km. However, given their slow speed, her targets have approximately 7.8s worth of reaction time which is fairly standard. Their real weakness is if they're picked up early. They're so slow that some ships can turn away and even outrun the darned things.Black's torpedoes are, at best, area denial weapons. While possible to ambush someone at point blank range and make their life miserable (and short), more often they're used as a fire and forget series of water-mines, helping push the Reds away from a given area. During testing, there was a bug present where Black's torpedoes weren't doing anywhere close to the right amount of damage. Though listed as capping out at 21,600, their damage was all over the map and never where it should have been. Several of the testers and I took USS Black out into training rooms and slammed fish into various bots, ensuring we got midship strikes with single torpedoes. Strikes against ships without anti-torpedo defenses never got higher than 12,804 damage. Hits to the Yamato's torpedo bulges did 8,368. Yet hits to a Mogami (A-Hull) did 13,093 while hits against the upgraded (C-Hull) did 12,397 damage. This is despite the torpedo bulges for these three respective ships reducing damage by 55%, 13% and 18% respectively. The math doesn't add up. Bug reports were filled out. Did I mention this ship was still very much a work in progress? Black's torpedoes will be a heck of a lot more fun to use when they work properly. Maneuverability Top Speed: 35.0 knots Turning Radius: 560m Rudder Shift Time: 3.0s The Fletcher-class, and by extension USS Black, has great agility. With a tiny turning circle and excellent rudder shift time, Black appears equally well set up to dodge fire as Fletcher. However, it should be noted that she's 1.5 knots slower than her sister ship. But there's more to this ship than that. Black bleeds speed faster than Fletcher does in a turn while maintaining a comparable maximum speed with her rudder hard over. It takes Fletcher approximately 20.4s to drop down to 30.6 knots in a turn while Black will drop to 30.3 knots in roughly 12.9s. This makes the Fletcher "skid" more through the first leg of the turn while Black's hull bites in. Thus, Black has a quarter of a second's advantage in progressing through a 90º turn at top speed and almost two-thirds of a second for full a 360º turn. Though Black has the same rudder shift time and turning radius of Fletcher, Black is slightly more agile in a turn despite their similar stat profile. Who'd have thought? Durability Hit Points: 17,100 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm One of the strange differences between Black and Fletcher is Black's deck armour. It's 19mm on Black versus the 13mm found on Fletcher. This isn't a significant change but it has two highly situational benefits. First, it provides some protection against high explosive shells smaller than 120mm in diameter. HE Shells of this size, without a buff from the tier 4 Captain Skill, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will simply shatter on impact for no damage. However, this caliber of gun isn't too commonplace within Black's matchmaking spread, being limited to the main battery of the Akizuki and the secondaries off of Russian and German Cruisers (yeah, like those are worth fussing over) and some of secondaries off of German Battleships (okay, THOSE are worth fussing about). Second, 19mm armour provides some defense against AP shells. Anything smaller than the 283mm off the Schanrhorst is unable to overmatch Black's armour. If (for whatever reason) a heavy cruiser decided to shoot AP shells, this creates a chance for the shells to ricochet off her deck if they come in at too shallow an angle. Yes, I know. Neither benefit is going to come into play very often. Overall, Black's hit points are on the low side for a Destroyer -- well behind the German Z-46 and the Soviet Destroyers (including the new ones which are also works in progress). It's only against the Yugumo that she has any advantage. Thus, engaging enemy destroyers isn't without risk -- Black simply doesn't have the big hit point totals to trade fire effectively, especially if she begins to struggle to land hits. This Akizuki didn't have the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill on her Captain. Short of hitting Black's superstructure, she couldn't hurt her with her HE. Had she been shooting a Fletcher, it's possible some of the splashes against her upper hull might have struck the deck and penetrated, but that's very unlikely given their flat trajectory at this close range. Concealment and Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 7.4kmAir Detection Range: 4.0kmMinimum Surface Detection Range: 5.8kmConcealment Penalty while Main Battery Fire: +3.81km (vs 12.9km gun range) Black has excellent concealment values for a tier 9 destroyer, bested only by the Yugumo. When fully kitted out for stealth, she weighs in with a 5.8km surface detection range and just over 9.6km when firing her guns in open water. Without boosting her range with Advanced Fire Training, this gives the ship a 3.3km stealth-firing window with her main battery. It's not unreasonable to see why there's very little need to extend the range of Black's guns, especially given the punitive ballistics at targets more than 10km away. More importantly is how this rather small surface detection range allows Black to shadow enemy ships and keep them spotted. There is no ship currently in the game that is as adept at spotting as Black. By keeping her guns silent, she can creep along, trailing enemy vessels from a safe distance. Should they try and blow smoke, she can make use of her Radar consumable which has a 9.45km range to continue to provide eyes on a beleaguered target. The only answer to such sneaky spotting tactics is to hope that a friendly ship can spot Black and put an end to her shenanigans, usually in the form of aircraft or an enemy vessel also equipped with radar, like a Soviet Cruiser. Black's worth is often measured by how well she can support her team. Black gives you some very powerful tools for controlling vision, with an American Smoke Generator, which provides 127s worth of cover to team mates while at the same time lighting up the enemy. In this way, under ideal circumstances your team can see the enemy and the enemy won't see yours. Black can continue to contribute by dropping her fish without losing her concealment values. Where her torpedoes are concerned, Black has an enormous stealth firing window when specialized for concealment. This is an obscene 7.9km. However, it should be noted that it will take Black's torpedoes 52 seconds to reach a target that's a mere 6km out. That's a long time for a ship not to make any course adjustments, so it's best not to use the lead indicator on the torpedoes and instead go for more of an area-denial approach to hedge your bets. Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Gun Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km AA DPS per Aura: 54 / 34 / 37 It's possible (though admittedly a bit of a waste with Black) to turn this ship into a passable AA escort. It's unlikely that this ship will ever be without some form of buff to its AA firepower, as Captain Skills aimed at improving her firepower will also affect her AA suite. This provides Black with an approximate DPS value per Aura of 64 / 41 / 45 which is rather respectable, especially for a destroyer. However, this isn't going to dissuade tier 9 and 10 air-groups from loitering in your vicinity. It's only with a heavy investment in skills and (for some reason) taking Defensive Fire that Black can make her anti-aircraft armament into a very real threat to enemy attack planes. As this would require you to drop Surveillance Radar, it's really not worth it. Black's AA firepower is enough to dent attack plane squadrons. But like most destroyers, you'll want to keep your AA turned off most of the time. Overall Impressions Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme Playing destroyers in general isn't easy. However, Black is a little more forgiving than most. The Fletcher-class is already one of the better destroyers at tier 9 (and arguably, in the game as a whole). Black provides a set of training wheels in the form of her radar consumable to make life just that little bit easier for an inexperienced player. In the hands of a veteran, the combination of Black's consumables, concealment rating, agility and torpedo armament make her an enormous threat to the enemy team. For players who enjoy the support role, I can think of few ships as exciting as the (arguably overpowered) potential that Black provides. With the monopoly on radar for a ship with such a small surface detection range, Black will inspire many rage-threads in the future, I have little doubt. This ship lives to use and abuse spotting mechanics and strip any pretense of vision control from the enemy in local engagements. Mouse's Summary: Black is a Fletcher-class destroyer with Radar. If you didn't know it already, the Fletcher-class is hella-good in World of Warships. And now it has radar. The most rewarding use of this ship is through the control of vision in an engagement. Spot the enemy and protect your own team with smoke. The torpedo bug annoyed me to no end. Black is still very much a work in progress. Be aware this is a preview, people, not a review. So, this is a rather late preview. It's not a lack of effort, but moreover from a change in preview policies from Wargaming itself. Community Contributors should be getting earlier access to ships. What's more, we should also be providing our content much earlier within development cycle. But this in turn presents a problem: Ships early in their development cycle aren't necessarily well balanced and are likely to undergo a change or two before release. This should explain why I'm saying, over and over, this is a preview. This is why you'll see "Work in Progress" (WiP) watermarks on videos produced by my fellow contributors. It's also why there was a bit of concern about articles like these going into extensive depth about the current statistics of a ship rather than simply a broad overview. My own release was delayed until I got the specific okay to go into the minutia of this upcoming release. Playing USS Black was a real treat for me. First, it's a Fletcher-class and I have a real soft spot for the Fletcher. When I was little, my father had an old DOS-box he liked to keep running long past obsolescence which had a game "Wolfpack" on it. This pit Type VII, IX and XXI U-Boats against American Fletcher-class destroyers. It had a hot-seat PVP mode. My father would always play the Germans and I would get to take my turn as the Fletchers trying to defend my poor freighters and tankers from his predation. This mostly involved me chasing after his pillenwerfer and blowing the snot out of them with copious amounts of depth charges and hedgehog mortars. My father loved lording his gaming superiority over his then eight-year old daughter... USS Black brings back the warm fuzzies of those memories. Instead of chasing down U-Boats, I instead get to chase down enemy ships trying to hide in smoke while screening my own forces. It's a very rewarding style of play and it's such a shame that it's limited currently only to the Black. With that said, it's not without its dangers to the meta of game play. If Wargaming were to make such a combination more commonplace (either through many USS Blacks becoming available within the community or through the addition of Radar to a destroyer-line), combat in and around capture points would certainly chance towards the more passive. The only thing worse about being the first ship spotted is being the only ship spotted and focused by the entire enemy team. I personally think that combining radar AND smoke one a low surface-detection ship is the wrong way to go. I hope to see USS Black have to choose between the two. But who knows? We'll see how her development continues. In Closing As a final reminder, take what you've read in this preview with a pinch of salt. There's plenty to discuss, maybe even a few elements to be concerned about but I would hold off on brandishing torches and pitchforks if you object too strongly about something you see in USS Black. Similarly, don't get too excited or married to the idea of a particular combination of stats if you think this ship is a must-have. Things will change.
  3. Carrier_Hosho

    An Alaska Review (Youtube Video)

    If you have any comments or critiques of my very first review of a ship, please let me know. Any criticism will help me get better at doing these things.
  4. Please be aware that all of the statistics and performance discussed in this post reflect the version of the ship as she appeared during the testing period. These are subject to change before release. The Mighty. Quick Summary: A modified Iowa-class Battleship with reinforced forward and rear citadel protection, a radar consumable and tremendous credit earning potential. Cost: 750,000 free experience. This works out to 30,000 doubloons for conversion, or approximately €100 ($110 USD). Patch & Date Written: 0.5.15, December 6th, 2016 Closest in-Game Contemporary Iowa, Tier 9 American BattleshipDegree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique I don't think anyone is surprised here. The differences between the Iowa and the Missouri are minor and well advertised. The Missouri loses the aircraft of the Iowa and gains radar instead. There's slight differences to their AA load out. Most telling, the Missouri has reinforced citadel armour along the transverse bulkheads, making her better at bow-tanking while avoiding citadel damage at this angle. PROs: Reinforced forward bulkheads, providing better forward protection than the Iowa. Versatile guns with tremendous AP hitting power for their tier. Guns can specialize for either the best medium range battleship accuracy in the game or for the best battleship DPM at her tier. Excellent range of 23.4km which can be increased to 27.1km with a module. Very good anti-aircraft firepower, especially at medium range. For a Battleship her size, she's very fast at 33.0 knots. Has the same Radar as the Tier 9 Baltimore-class Cruiser. Choice of two camouflage patterns. Earns 100% bonus experience. Earns 50% more credits than a tier 8 Premium, 100% more than a tech-tree ship. Available for "free" just by playing the game. CONs: Extremely vulnerable citadel that sits high over the water. Bow is easily overmatched by the 460mm rifles of the Yamato. Poor torpedo defense with only a 25% reduction from hits. Large base dispersion values coupled with a low muzzle velocity on her AP rounds. Without the accuracy module, the Missouri is one of the least accurate ships in the game. Wide 920m turning circle and 19.4s rudder shift time. The amount of free experience required to unlock her is prohibitively high and will nominally require clever use of premium time, consumables or simply spending money to acquire her. The Missouri doesn't correct a lot of the problems found on the Iowa-class. In fact, for those accustomed to the Iowa, she will seem familiar -- perhaps painfully so. The Missouri is the twelfth premium Battleship to be added to World of Warships (not including the Arpeggio Kongo-class sisters) and she certainly tops all of the others for the attention she's grabbing. The promotion of a certain action-hero aside, the Missouri is an important historical vessel. Wargaming has paid a nod to both their Hollywood endorsement and the Mighty Mo's 15 minutes of fame with fun details visible on her decks in port. But perhaps most importantly to players of World of Warships, the Missouri represents a departure from premium ships that have come before it. This is a premium tier 9 ship with accelerated economic boons. She earns 50% more experience and credits than tier 8 premiums. It's this latter ability that made me raise an eyebrow. A lack of credit earning has long been the bottleneck in progression in World of Warships and the Missouri steps all over this. If you have her, earning a couple million credits in the span of an hour's worth of casual game play is laughably simple. Players with this ship will be at a marked advantage over those who don't when it comes to acquiring new vessels or simply financing premium consumables or high tier content. In fact, the Missouri could be an utter potato boat and she'd be worth looking at if only for these economic gains. But let's take a closer look at what Wargaming has cooked up for us and see if she's worth the astronomical sum of 750,000 free experience. NoZouforYou puts together a nice summary of the ship. OptionsThere's two big points to mention in regards to the Missouri's options. The first, during testing we had two camouflage patterns to play with. These both did the same thing, providing a bonus 100% to experience gains as opposed to the 50% normally provided by premium ship camouflage between tiers 6 and 8. This is on par with premium camouflage purchased for tech tree ships at tiers 9+, though, so it's good to see the Missouri keeping pace. Note that the Missouri's credit earning potential isn't baked into her premium camouflage, but rather the ship itself. The camouflage also doesn't provide any reduction to repair costs. So your choice between the two is purely cosmetic. Or you could use some other camouflage in your reserves if you prefer. It won't hurt your credit earning. In addition, the Missouri has access to Radar. This has a 9.45km range with a 35 second active period. This is identical to the radar found on the tier 9 USN Cruiser, Baltimore. She does not have the option for any kind of aircraft. Consumables: Damage Control Party Repair Party Radar Module Upgrades: Six slots, standard USN Battleship options. Premium Camouflage: There are two versions of the Missouri's camouflage. Both provide a 3% concealment bonus, a 4% increase to enemy gunnery dispersion and a 100% bonus to experience gains. The two colour schemes for the Missouri. One nearly matches the colour scheme of the premium camouflage of the Iowa. Firepower Primary Battery: Nine 406mm rifles in 3x3 turrets in an A-B-X configuration. B is stationed in a super firing position over top of A. These have a stock range of 23.4km. Secondary Battery: Twenty 127mm dual purpose rifles in 10x2 turrets along the sides of the ship. The American 406mm 50-calibers Mk7 rifles are interesting. They combine some of the hardest hitting shells at their tier with some of the worst gun dispersion. Yet, thanks to the combination of modules the American ships can take, the Missouri can potentially be the most accurate Battleship in the game at ranges around 12km, and on par with the IJN Battleships at about 18km but at the cost of her rate of fire. It's that 6th module slot which unlocks at tier 9 which is the culprit for this. Every other nation in the game gets a 7% dispersion reduction module for their 2nd slot (found at tier 5+) with Aiming Systems Modification 1. The American Battleships instead have a range boosting module. It's only with the 6th slot where the USN can reduce their dispersion. Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2 provides an 11% reduction to dispersion. However this comes at a price. The other module competing for everyone's attention in the 6th slot is Main Battery Modification 3 which provides a rate of fire increase. This forces USN players to choose between DPM and Accuracy. Player preference will largely dictate which setup they prefer. If a player chooses to accelerate her reload then the Missouri, like the Iowa, will have the best DPM of any of the tier 9 Battleships with her AP shells. At 13,500hp per citadel hit, these can quickly doom anyone rash enough to make themselves a target. I personally believe that the accelerated reload is the way to go though there's a firm argument to be made in favour of accuracy. There are two primary downsides to these guns. The first has been touched upon already. Their dispersion, unless properly mitigated, can be downright trollish. This is combined by a rather slow muzzle velocity for her shells of 762m/s with her AP rounds. They thankfully retain energy well due to their heavy mass but this still leads to a longer lead time than with the IJN guns, for example. The only other 'bad' point worth mentioning is that due to the overmatch mechanics, anything with 32mm of bow armour can tank the Missouri's guns and remains largely immune to her AP shells so long as they keep their prow pointed towards her. This includes all tier 8+ Battleships which can make for long, drawn out stalemates. The secondary gun batteries of the Missouri are regrettably forgettable. While deadly enough to a low health destroyer that strays within range, the Missouri doesn't put out the same fearsome volume of fire of the German or Japanese Battleships. While it's possible to specialize into their performance, this usually happens as a happy coincidence rather than a deliberate act, with skills such as Basic and Advanced Fire Training being taken primarily to boost her AA power rather than with an aim to increase her secondary potency. Summary: Versatile guns that can be specialized for either high DPM or high accuracy. Excellent range. Very hard hitting AP shell with excellent alpha strike potential. Struggles somewhat against angled enemy Battleships due to overmatch mechanics. Secondaries are adequate but weaker than her contemporaries With a range that can exceed 27km, the Missouri often finds herself engaging enemies from one extreme of the map to another. Without an accuracy modification, doing any damage at these distances is chancy at best. Like all Battleships, she really starts coming into her own at medium to close range, however her fragility makes getting this near to the enemy extremely risky. Sometimes the rewards are worth it. Maneuverability Top Speed: 33.0 knotsTurning Radius: 920mRudder Shift: 19.4s The Missouri has some very long legs. It's a shame she so seldom gets to flex them in the current high-tier meta. At 33 knots, the Missouri and Iowa are the fastest Battleships in the game, bar none. This should, in theory, allow her to dictate the range of any engagement with other Battleships while also allowing her to redeploy as needed. However, this straight line speed comes at a cost. Her handling is downright horrific with a 920m turning circle and a sluggish rudder shift to boot. So while you can navigate from point A to B with alacrity, you're not going to want to do so under fire as it will expose your Missouri to enemy artillery and torpedoes. Dodging the latter, never mind the former will be an extreme challenge. DurabilityHit Points: 78,300Maximum Protection: Up to 368mm + 38mm external citadel protection, 432mm turret faces, 439mm conning tower. Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm (immunity to 420mm rifles)Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% The Missouri is much lauded for its improved forward protection with the reinforcements made to her transverse bulkheads. This beefs up her citadel protection to 368mm + 19mm at best or 297mm + 19mm at worst, depending on how high or low these forward penetration shells strike. The only ship that will severely be testing these forward bulkheads is the Yamato unless you over angle your Missouri. While this looks great on paper, it pays to look at the Missouri (and the Iowa-class overall) objectively where her durability is concerned. For people hoping that the Missouri would correct the errors in the Iowa citadel placement, don't hold your breath. It's still enormous. It's still extends well above the water line. She bow tanks decently, and that's about it. The buffs to her transverse bulkheads aside, the Missouri isn't the fixed Iowa-class some have been praying for. The German Battleships created a new standard for what "good" armour protection is back when they were introduced in the third quarter of this year. I hate to parrot my Iowa-review, but the Missouri doesn't have good protection. Her citadel is placed far too high in the water for that. If an enemy ship catches her broadside, you will take citadel damage -- it's almost a matter of course. Combined onto this, she has weak torpedo defenses with a paltry 1/4 reduction of torpedo strikes She also still has that enormous hole in her citadel protection directly to the rear, just beneath her #3 turret. In order to stay safe, the Missouri needs to bow tank -- keep all of her enemies directly in front of her. In this way, she can bounce an enormous level of punishment, forcing enemies to instead pick on her superstructure or switch over to high explosive fire in order to stack any reasonable form of damage. This isn't a trait unique to the Missouri or the Iowa-class as a whole. The Friedrich der Große is just as good at it, if not better with her improved deck armour around the turrets which can make even Battleship caliber HE explode for no damage. So what does this buff to the Missouri's transverse forward bulkhead mean, exactly? Well, it means it's a little harder for a Yamato to citadel you through the bow. It might occasionally come into play if you over angle and another battleship tries to bulls-eye your citadel from the front. I couldn't test this out in a training room to see for certain so pay close attention to this if you pick her up. Bow-tanking. It's not pretty. It's not historical. But it is effective. Concealment & Camouflage Surface Detection Range: 16.2km Air Detection Range: 14.2 km Minimum Surface Detection Range: 12.16km Concealment Penalty while Firing: +12.2km (vs 27.1km gun range) For a tier 9 Battleship, the Missouri has good concealment, particularly if she specializes into keeping herself undetectable by enemies. This allows her to finally make use of her speed and redeploy without nearly as much fear of having her citadel blown out the moment she's not presenting her bow towards her opponents. This all goes away the moment you fire her guns though, but that's to be expected with any Battleship. Anti-Aircraft DefenseAA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mmAA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0kmAA DPS per Aura: 151 / 318 / 104 One of the most significant differences between the Missouri and the Iowa is her AA power. The Iowa has nineteen quad 40mm Bofors mounts while the Mighty Mo has twenty. The Iowa bests her with small caliber guns with thirty two dual-20mm Oerlikon mounts (for a total of 60 guns) to the twenty-nine single mounts found on the Missouri. It's these Oerlikon mounts which makes the difference giving the Iowa a 75dps advantage over the Mighty Mo up close. In practical terms? No CV player is going to want to get close to the Missouri when there are softer targets available, especially lower tiered carriers. Still, she shouldn't venture alone when there's an enterprising CV present. Midway and Hakuryu are more than capable of overwhelming even the formidable guns of the Missouri and ruining her day, especially with her general lack of agility to facilitate dodging a point blank drop. Nope.jpg. Try again, Hiryu. Overall Impressions Skill Floor:Simple/ Casual / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling:Low/ Moderate / High / Extreme How patient are you? Patience and planning largely defines success in the Iowa-class and the Missouri is no different. Reckless aggression will get you sunk in a hurry. Being overly cautious may preserve your ship but it won't win you any battles as your guns keep idle for fear of reprisals. This is a challenging ship to do well in, largely because of her fragility and how the bow-tanking and passive meta found in high tier game play will make finding those juicy targets so much more difficult. When top tier, you carry the heavy burden of needing to punch at your weight class and do a lion's share of the damage, but the Missouri's fragility to being caught broadside makes finding those opportunities difficult. Much of what I said in my Iowa review holds true to the Missouri. She's not terribly forgiving. If you catch the enemy in a bad position, you will look like a total rockstar, farming enormous amounts of damage. But if you just opt to trade fire with wary opponents, your results will be very lackluster. The truly excellent Iowa players look for and create these opportunities to shine while the mediocre wait for those one off games which hand them great results. Mouse's Summary: Excellent guns. Her protection almost seems good enough until it isn't. Which is often. Turns like a pregnant Yak in a mud wallow. Very respectable AA power. Pees on the high-tier economy and laughs at everyone who struggles to afford their tier 10 boats like they were filthy peasants. I spent a lot of time in Co-Op with the Missouri trying to isolate her credit earning potential. I suppose I owe the few not-bot team mates a sincere apology for my lack of performance in said matches. The only way to reliably get a measure of just how much the Missouri earned compared to other premiums involved getting myself killed without doing anything of consequence. A half dozen matches in the Missouri and the same done in the Tirpitz, Atago and Mikhail Kutuzov helped pin down the value of the Missouri's credit income. I can say with confidence: She earns approximately 50% more credits than a tier 8 premium ship. This is before any expenses, of course. For repair costs, the Missouri will set you back 60,000 credits. Compare this to the Iowa with premium camouflage, which spends 96,000 credits to fix the ship and earns only half of what the Missouri does. In the days leading up to the Missouri's release, there's been a lot of talk about equivalents to the Missouri's earning potential. This naturally comes at a consequence of the very high cost of the Missouri. 750,000 free experience is nothing to sneeze at. If you weren't already sitting on a significant pile of free experience before the price was leaked, you weren't likely to see this as an affordable sum -- not without some herculean grinding tolerances. While ships like the Montana and Iowa can match the Missouri for experience gains, they cannot touch her where credit earning is concerned. Tier 8 premiums are comparable to her earnings but even they fall short. In terms of time spent to rewards earned, the Missouri will outpace the tier 8 premiums. You'll need to play 3 games in your Atago to equate 2 in the Missouri for income earned. For those players who feel perpetually strapped for credits, I cannot stress how liberating this ship will be for them once they own it. Bad games in Random Battles will net you 200,000 to 300,000 credits. Good games can score upwards of a million. Even Co-Op becomes economically feasible for grinding credits with the Missouri and a premium account. So long as you can earn a minimum of 250 to 300 base experience, you will make money (not much at that low experience, but a fair chunk at 500xp games or higher). Once you peel back all of this money talk, the Missouri is an Iowa-class at the end of the day. She can bow tank. She can spank enemies with her 406mm rifles just as well as the Wisconsin ever could. But the buff to her forward armour didn't solve the vulnerability problems inherent with the class. The Iowa-class has always been reasonably strong when bow tanking -- that's not where the problem was. It's that enormous, high-water citadel that causes so many issues for the ship and that's not corrected in the Missouri. If you were hoping for an improved Iowa, I'm sorry to disappoint, the Missouri is only an incremental improvement in that regard and not the big step forward some of us were hoping for. Link to the Q&A Regarding the Missouri from this Thread: http://forum.worldofwarships.com/index.php?/topic/106264-premium-ship-review-uss-missouri/page__st__80__pid__2604109#entry2604109 Cool stuff like this only happens when someone royally screws up. Would I Recommend? So let's talk about cost. The Missouri will set you back 750,000 free experience. This will make her largely inaccessible for non-veteran players in World of Warships and reflects a rather unique way of selling a premium ship. Theoretically, any player of World of Warships could earn her for free given enough time. Realistically and practically speaking, most players are going to end up spending some form of real-world money to facilitate acquiring this ship. There's some pretty ingenious suggestions out there, such as combining signal flags and premium camouflage onto an Anshan or tier 9+ tech tree ship with premium camouflage for maximum free-experience gains. For someone to pay for enough doubloons for the equivalent, the EU server has a bundle of 30,500 doubloons (500 more than needed) for €100 -- which is about $110 USD. Of course, said bundle isn't (currently) available on the NA server which means on this side of the pond, a player will be shelling out about $130 USD. For different players, this represents an obstacle of varying difficulty. Some will be able to throw that kind of quid at the ship without a second thought while others will see it as insurmountable. Few ships create such a change in the game experience as the Missouri, if only from trivializing credit earning. Let me be clear, it's not like the amount of credits she earns cannot be obtained by other means. She simply makes it easier and laughably so. Time is money, after all, and those with the Missouri will have time to spare. ForRandom Battle Grinding: I would absolutely recommend her for grinding. She is, hands down, the best USN training ship and credit earning ship in the game -- a fact that is unlikely to be challenged anytime soon. The only ship that comes close to her totals is the German Prinz Eugen for Captain Training, but the German ship doesn't come close to her credit earning potential. So if you want to earn bank and accelerate training up your Captains, the Missouri is a must have. For Competitive Gaming: Is the Iowa-class competitive? You'd be a fool to take her instead of the Friedrich der Große, IMO. But this whole question is sort of moot with there being a distinctive lack of tier 9 competitive game play. If it ever comes up? No, don't use your Missouri. Use the Friedrich instead. For Collectors: What's wrong with you? Yes, it's the Missouri. For Fun Factor: I don't like the current high-tier meta in Random Battles of World of Warships. So the Missouri wasn't fun for me. I prefer my action up close and personal and that's difficult to achieve in high tier games on the North American server. Most Battleships seem terrified of getting anywhere near the cap circles. Engagement ranges are usually up in the 18km vicinity. It's passive, dull and heart breaking. It involves waiting for one side to make a mistake and punishing those that try and make a move. Outfitting your Mighty Mo I'm totally cutting corners here and repeating what I said for the Iowa. When you're equipping your Missouri, there are two primary roles to consider. The first is whether or not you intend to fully specialize her as an AA-Ship or not. This is hardly an optimal build, but if you hate Carriers with a vengeance, it has its merits. If you decide against this, you can instead choose one of two gunship builds which focus on either accuracy or firepower. Recommended Modules If you are selecting an AA build, you want the following choices to best optimize your firepower. This will provide extra range and extra DPS off of your AA guns. In addition, this build also adds to your agility, reducing your rudder shift time. For your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Even if you're specializing for anti-aircraft firepower, you're still a Battleship and increasing your main battery survival should be near paramount. If you really hate detonations, you can alternatively take Magazine Modification 1. This will make the chances of it happening absolutely miniscule. For your second slot, take AA Guns Modifaction 2 to increase your AA range by 20% if you want to be a flak-boat. Otherwise, you should be taking Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1. This will boost your secondary range and accuracy by 5% and your main battery range by 16% which is huge. For your third slot, AA Guns Modification 3 is your next choice for an AA-ship. This will add an additional 25% to your AA power. If you're choosing to be a gunship, now you have the choice. If you want to go for rate of fire, take Main Battery Modification 3. If you want to go for accuracy, take Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2. All of the choices in the fourth slot are pretty terrible. At least Damage Control System Modification 1 will add 2% to your torpedo damage reduction, so take that one. You're again faced with a choice here for the fifth slot and each have their own merits. If you want to improve your rudder shift time, take Steering Gears Modification 2. If you would prefer to reduce the amount of damage you take from fires that are left to burn for their full duration, then Damage Control System Modification 2 is your best choice. And lastly, for your sixth slot, between the two options, Concealment Modification 1 is the better option for all builds. Recommended Consumables When it comes to premium consumables, it's easy just to splurge with the Missouri because of how many credits she tends to earn. The only players that need really concern themselves with their inherent costs would be those without a premium account looking to focus primarily on Co-Op. However, there are some that are just worth taking from a game play perspective. The premium version of both the Damage Control Party and Repair Party are both very important for mitigating damage in a Battleship. This reduces their reset timer considerably and it can (and will) save your ship on numerous occasions. Of less importance is taking a premium version of the Radar consumable. This will reduce the reset timer from three minutes down to two. I find the Radar on the Missouri to be highly situational. I went for a premium version, but to be honest, I seldom use it. Recommended Captain Skills Again, depending on whether or not you want to specialize as an anti-aircraft vessel or not will affect your Captain Skill choices. Optimally, you'll want to build towards specializing her for concealment and firepower, not for anti-aircraft duties. From tier 1, Basic Fire Training is your best choice. Basics of Survivability is a nice follow up after you've unlocked your 16th skill point. From tier 2, Expert Marksman is best. At tier 3 you've got a choice. Superintendent is nice for the extra charge of your Repair Party, but is only really worthwhile if you regularly find yourself going through all four charges that you have with the premium version of the consumable. Alternatively, Vigilance can assist with spotting torpedoes early which is of more importance on the Missouri without access to a float plane. Lastly, High Alert is handy for reducing the strain on your already taxed Damage Control Party. At tier 4 this is where you will differ between AA and gunship builds. For both builds, take Advanced Fire Training first. AA builds should follow up with Manual Targeting for AA Armament to make CV lives miserable. Lastly at tier 5, Concealment Expert is very handy for the Missouri. It gives her the opportunity to finally use her long legs and redeploy as needs be -- or simply fade from a gunfight she doesn't want to participate in anymore. For more articles in this series, please visit: LittleWhiteMouse's Mega Ship Review Guide
  5. So I was just playing in a Tier 9 match-up and I sent out a swathe of torps perfectly at a 90 to a Minitour and it only did about 50% damage with 6 torp hits. Is it me, or have they completely buffed the surface ships or nerfed torp damage on the Taiho's torp planes? I also directed a beautiful 9 torp strike on a battleship (tier 9), it took only 40% damage. Also, I spotted the entire time, and broke up 3 enemy CV offensive strikes and we still lost the match. Have the CV's been completely nerfed at this level? Or am I just not used to this. I feel my involvement in the game is almost pointless now, other than to do spotting duty.
  6. 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?
  7. Hi guys, I was looking through possibilities for a tier 9 premium ship, one in the 15-20k doubloon range. I found two carriers with very similar stories that were yet so different. I hope you will share your ideas in the comments (that’s what they are for, duh) and that you will like the interesting ships that I would like to see in game. The USS intrepid was an Essex class carrier, the fifth to be launched. Commissioned in ‘43, she served in most major surface action in the Pacific until the end of wwii, most famously Leyte gulf. Her reputation as “unsinkable” was bennifited by surviving multiple kamikaze attacks despite serious damage. Used as an auxiliary carrier throughout the late 40s she was overhauled into a slant deck carrier, serving a substantial second life in Korea and Vietnam The USS Saratoga was a converted battlecruiser, capable of carrying over 100 aircraft, and having a spectacular armament of 8 (4x2) eight inch 203mm guns and 12 5 inch guns as well as over 100 small caliber machine guns and 20 or so aa cannons. Serving in the pacific, she arrived in midway just in time for the Guadalcanal campaign. After serving in support of several island hopping landings, she was retired for use as a training ship and was eventually sunk at operation crossroads in 1946 I would like to see one of these craft in game, though both would need some buffing and nerfing to end up balanced-ish, but both show real promise. Let me know what you think in the comments down below
  8. So I have been grinding the new IJN Gunboat Destroyers and this is my second game in the Tier 9 Kitakaze. In this replay I showcase how to fight for the win and use my game knowledge to predict what the enemy is trying to do.
  9. When you initial plan no longer works what do you do? You reposition and find another location to win the game. Those of you struggling with the Seattle may find this useful. Or you can Free Exp past it, but at least watch this video first.
  10. It has been a little while due to production issues but I am back revamping my In-Depth Analysis videos into Replay Breakdowns. What better ship to rebrand the series than the one that started it all: the Kronshtadt. In this episode I go over asserting your dominance to control the game.