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Found 19 results

  1. Wargaming doesn't just make fictional ships, it makes whole CLASSES of fictional ships! The following is a review of Giuseppe Verdi, the tier IX premium Italian 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 0.11.2. 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. Posting this review is not an endorsement of current goings on nor is it a statement about them. Giuseppe Verdi was released at the tail end of 2021 without much fanfare. I had hoped to review her immediately following my look at Marlborough. I could piggyback a bunch of graphics I had done for the British-chonker and even sneak some of my earlier Marco Polo graphics to speed up production. But then I got it in my head that I should finally get around to properly evaluating anti-aircraft DPS for the sake of tidying up future reviews. The idea seemed sound -- produce an active database of relative efficiency of AA DPS in World of Warships. Little would I appreciate just how big of a job that would prove to be and as such, Giuseppe Verdi's review sat in a "not even halfway finished" limbo as the days rolled by. Following Dido and Canarias' review, I had a brief window to squeeze another review out before patch 0.11.2 dropped, so I've done what I can to get this out the door in a timely manner. As is becoming increasingly commonplace, I grossly underestimated just how big of a job this project would be and I've spent more time with Giuseppe Verdi than I thought. Given that she's a ship that was largely dismissed by the community when she first arrived, this attention is perhaps undeserving. However, I feel this time has been well spent. Giuseppe Verdi surprised me. I hope you find this review worthwhile. I'm not expecting this review to change your mind about the ship, but maybe you'll learn something new. Oh, and keep this copy by Wargaming in mind. This is how they advertised the damn thing. We'll come back to it later. Quick Summary: A short-ranged Italian battleship with nine 406mm guns with HE shells, SAP-firing secondaries and an improved Exhaust Smoke Generator. PROS Dispersed armour scheme High velocity shells and good AP penetration HE shells deal increased module damage. Good gun handling and decent fire arcs. SAP armed secondaries. Competitive agility for a high-tier battleship Improved Exhaust Smoke Generator CONS Exposed citadel with easily overmatched turtleback Small hit point pool for a tier IX battleship Wonky dispersion Anemic HE shells and poor AP DPM. Short ranged main and secondary gun batteries. Crappy AA defences Differences Between Sisters Giuseppe Verdi borrows heavily from Marco Polo. She has identical durability, agility, anti-aircraft and detection parameters. The primary difference between the two vessels comes in the form of their firepower. Giuseppe Verdi's guns reload faster but don't hit as hard and her secondaries are significantly improved. In addition, the two ships have different consumables. The specific differences between the two vessels are: Canarias is only the most recent victim of weird shell weight nerfs. Before her, Giuseppe Verdi was attacked! Marco Polo on the left and Giuseppe Verdi on the right. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme I struggled a bit on where to slot Giuseppe Verdi for inexperienced players. Her exposed citadel and advertised secondaries sounds like a recipe for disaster. I had to conclude that if you played her as advertised, you were in for a rough time. The moment you try and bring those secondaries to bear, you also expose Giuseppe Verdi's weaknesses. Her guns don't perform well. Her citadel protection falls apart. However, were you to keep Giuseppe Verdi at a comfortable distance, then her initial skill floor drops down to a Casual rating. There's nothing much to worry about there short of "don't flash your sides" and vary your ammunition as needs be. Giuseppe Verdi has a very high skill ceiling, almost enough to warrant an Extreme rating. The extra level of game play provided by her Exhaust Smoke Generator when paired with possible brawling builds is just that much more enticing for players with a broad knowledge of systems and mechanics in World of Warships, especially spotting and auto-ricochet angles. This is a battleship with just that extra bit of special sauce which allows you to outplay others with its expanded toolkit. Options There are a couple of things to keep an eye on with Giuseppe Verdi. The first is her improved Exhaust Smoke Generator, which is so far unique in World of Warships. The second comes down to how you choose to build her -- wether that follows your more traditional battleship build or if you go down the brawling-battleship rabbit hole. Consumables Her Exhaust Smoke Generator is weird. Damage Control Party is standard for an Italian battleship. It comes with unlimited charges, an 80s reset timer and a 15 second action time. Her Repair Party is also standard. 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. Her Exhaust Smoke Generator is something special. I'll do a quick side by side comparison with the one that comes on Lepanto, the tier IX Italian tech-tree battleship, which we'll use as our "normal" version of the consumable. Like the standard consumable, Giuseppe Verdi's version starts with 3 charges and it has a 180 second reset timer. But after that, things deviate. Giuseppe Verdi's version creates huge smoke clouds, 1.8km across! Lepanto's are 1.02km across. Furthermore, Giuseppe Verdi issues smoke for longer, pooping out clouds for 60 seconds instead of 45 seconds. And finally, the clouds take longer to dissipate. Normally, Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator clouds disappear within 10 seconds of being generated. You have a bit more leeway with Giuseppe Verdi as they last 15 seconds. In her final slot, you have the choice between 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 do this! It's decision time. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Damage Control System Modification 1 is the only one that makes sense in slot 2. It's a shame she can't take some kind of smoke-making-better upgrade. You've got to choose your Destiny in slot three. The most efficient choice is Aiming Systems Modification 1, especially with how wonky Italian ballistics are. BUT, if you're going to be a CHAD-BRAWLER, then take Secondary Battery Modification 1 instead for the extra range and rate of fire. Damage Control System Modification 2 is the best choice in slot three. You can take Steering Gears Modification 1 instead if you want, but be prepared to burn. Still, for someone intent on brawling and knife fighting, it's not a terrible choice. Concealment System Modification 1 is still the only choice worth considering in slot five. And finally, you can choose between Main Battery Modification 3 to help with her shoddy reload or Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 to make up for her lacklustre range. Commander Skills Now OBVIOUSLY, the optimal build here is the same tried, tested and true battleship survivability-focused commander. You specialize in fire-resistance with your choice of skills at the lower, mandatory tiers. It's worth noting that for Italian battleships especially, the second tier Brisk is particularly effective. The extra jump in speed kicks in everytime they activate their Exhaust Smoke Generator, on top of the extended periods of time between their salvos owing to their longer (and sometimes downright punitive) main battery reload times. As a nerd that has spent way too much time twirling ships, I like the extra kick it provides to a ship's rate of turn. With Giuseppe Verdi's smoke lasting longer than other Italian battleships, she stands to benefit from this longer and getting her up to X knot top speeds is thrilling. It's like combining Engine Boost to your Exhaust Smoke Generator. Very fun. But SURELY you didn't come here for optimization; you came for AWESOME. I know your type. You're a Giga-Chad who plays a secondary-spec'd Montana. You're the Boss-[edited] who took Survivability Expert on your battleships. Well, Giuseppe Verdi will not let you down. Her SAP-firing secondaries are SCREAMING for a dedicated commander build to fully optimize the ship, citadel exposure be damned. Well, worry not my valiant, hyper-morphed blokes and lasses, I've got your needs covered. Brisk comes up once again as an excellent skill for this build. Secondaries don't increase a ship's spotting radius in smoke, allowing Giuseppe Verdi to close to knife fighting range while still delivering the hurt. Between Secondary Armament Modification 1, the November Echo Setteseven signal and the following build, she can yeet her shells out to a respectable 10.51km, making her a threat to anything she wants to flex on. Only Manual Secondary Battery Aiming and Long Range Secondary Battery Shells are truly mandatory for this build, leaving you with lots of options to play around. I'm a fan of pairing this with Concealment Expert and Emergency Repair Expert but you're free to pick and choose your favourites. Obviously, I'm biased towards a secondary build. You'll understand why by the time you get to my Final Evaluation, if not before with my Firepower section. Of course if you elect to use secondary build, that precludes Giuseppe Verdi from being an effective commander trainer for your other Regia Marina battleships. That's a significant strike against her and worth keeping in mind. Camouflage Giuseppe Verdi only has access to a single Type 10 camouflage. It provides the usual bonuses for a tier IX premium battleship: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. Giuseppe Verdi's base camo looks fine. It's helped that Regia Marina battleships look bloody gorgeous. Firepower Main Battery: Nine 406mm/50 guns in in 3x3 turrets with an A-B-X superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Twelve 152mm/55 guns in 4x3 turrets and twenty-four 90mm/50 guns in 12x2 turrets superfiring over the 152mm guns. These armaments are spread evenly along each side of the ship. Main Battery Let's do things a little different this time and start with the main battery. There's a world of difference between Giuseppe Verdi's main battery firepower and Marco Polo's and it's worth reiterating them. Giuseppe Verdi has a faster reload by 5 seconds. Marco Polo is more precise with 1.9 sigma to Giuseppe Verdi's 1.7. Giuseppe Verdi's AP shells do 450 less damage and are lighter. Marco Polo has SAP shells, Giuseppe Verdi has HE shells. While it's nice that Giuseppe Verdi does not to have Marco Polo's 36 second reload, the rest of the changes suck monkey butts. I mean, I can accept having HE instead of SAP. It's a fair trade for the reload reduction. But, I have to ask just what the heck is going on with her AP shells? 450 less damage on a citadel (149 damage on a penetration) isn't a lot but that makes me wonder why it was even necessary. Now, I do like my consistency so incongruencies bother me more than they should. So I'm left scratching my head at this design decision. I think it points to Wargaming fussing with things that don't matter for the sake of making their "behind the scenes" performance-graphs look pretty. The same goes for a 31 second reload instead of the standard battleship 30 second reload. That smacks of Wargaming looking for optimization so someone can make their bonus rather than a design decision that's to the benefit of the players. That kind of change is a nuisance to players. Seriously, there's been a lot of this unnecessary fidgeting with stats away from established norms and I can't see the reason why. Giuseppe Verdi could have had a 30 second reload and 13,050 damage on her AP shells like her sister and it wouldn't have made an enormous difference -- her DPM would have still sat beneath Hizen's (freakin' Hizen for crying out loud). Wargaming could have bought back their numbers with something that players can't perceive anyway, like a 0.05 sigma reduction or whatever. When is Wargaming going to learn that messing with main battery performance is a sure-fire way to annoy their customers? Giuseppe Verdi isn't winning any prizes for sustained damage output. I'm aware I forgot Prinz Rupprecht. She's at the bottom of both. I'm not redoing these. Again, Prinz Rupprecht is missing, this time because I recycled this from my Marlborough review. She sits beneath Giuseppe Verdi and above Georgia. Speaking of annoying, let's talk about dispersion. Giuseppe Verdi's accuracy is ... well, it's not good. It combines the triple headache of French & Italian dispersion formulas AND Italian high-velocity vertical dispersion AND 1.7 sigma on top of that. Even if you do hit your targets, Giuseppe Verdi is likely to yeet her AP rounds clean through the broadside of a cruiser at anything less than 12km. Now, this is countered by the fact that her AP rounds retain a lot of energy over distance, so smackin' battleships for citadel hits at long range is totally in her wheelhouse... or at least it would be if she could reach out to 20km. You need to activate her Spotter Aircraft or install Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 in order to shoot that far. Her short range is a real pain in the butt sometimes, so ditch the Catapult Fighter and keep the other consumable on standby. You're going need it. If you don't, you'll have to install the range module instead and that's only going to push her DPM potential further down the list. Giuseppe Verdi's dispersion with 1.7 sigma on the left. Marco Polo's with 1.9 sigma (and minor ballistic changes) on the right. Giuseppe Verdi doesn't quite top the charts in terms of her AP penetration for a sixteen-inch gun but it's pretty darned close. She's a threat to battleship citadels up to 20km and beyond. A Curious Note Towards the tail end of this review, I noticed something weird in Giuseppe Verdi's datamined stats. This came from spotting a typo on one of my graphics. I got the HE damage value wrong, so I went back and double checked all of the info for her main battery HE shells just to make sure that I wasn't misquoting other stats. That's when this little value jumped out at me: "Alpha Damage 9,230" Now, Alpha Damage is weird. It's not the same as regular damage. That regular damage value for Giuseppe Verdi appears normal -- it's 5,700. It's the same amount of hurt that Iowa and Missouri spit out with their 406mm guns. Alpha Damage for HE shells is a bit of a holdover from the Closed Beta days where HE shells had a splash effect that could even damage ships on a near miss. To my knowledge, this may have had an effect still on modules (WG never gave me a clear answer on this as a Community Contributor). With the inclusion of submarines taking splash damage from near misses, it was something I had ear marked to explore when I could take submarines into the training rooms finally. So what does this value do? Well, frankly, I don't know. It could mean that Giuseppe Verdi will do more damage to submarines with her HE shells than she should. It could mean that she does more damage to modules (including exposed magazines of destroyers and some cruisers) than her contemporaries. Maybe it's more HE penetration against modules (they have a kind of armour -- module damage is hella weird). It could mean absolutely nothing and it's just a holdover from Closed Beta. Just be aware that she has more of this than Iowa and Missouri (4,620), Thunderer (7,730) or even Incomparable (7,800). I'll make some inquiries and keep you posted. [ Edit - This has been confirmed. Giuseppe Verdi does more module damage than other battleships. ] I'm borrowing this graphic from my Marco Polo review. The two sisters have the same firing angles. They're almost good. Almost. Main Battery Summary Giuseppe Verdi's main battery firepower sucks. She has bad range. Her AP shells have nerfed damage. She has only nine guns and yet she's stuck with an abnormally long reload. Her HE shells aren't SAP and they suck at starting fires. Her dispersion is also terrible. Her guns' redeeming qualities are decent fire arcs and gun handling, good AP penetration over range and you're playing with a larger calibre of gun than you normally can with Italian battleships. Seriously, that last bit is meant to be a selling feature of the ship and it makes me laugh. "Ooh, you get to play with 406mm guns!" Yeah, everyone else already does that and has been doing that since as early as tier VII. 406mm SAP with a bad reload was novel on Marco Polo. Nerfed 406mm AP with a bad reload is just a bad tier IX ship -- being Italian doesn't make that better somehow. Wargaming is obviously banking that her secondaries will make up the deficit. Her Secondaries Don't Make Up the Deficit There are four things I look for when evaluating if a ship's secondaries are worth upgrading into: Range: Look, you gotta have range. I don't care about the rest if a ship can't reach its target. Without range, secondaries are not going to come into play often enough to be worthwhile. The next three are all distant seconds to this first criteria. I cannot stress this enough: without good range, your secondaries suck. End of story. Dispersion: Dispersion helps put more hits on target for few shots. This can be counteracted somewhat by a high volume of fire (more bites of the apple) or meatier individual hits (good penetration / high damage or fire chance per shell). Penetration: Will my hits do damage when I get there? Like Dispersion, this can again be overlooked if the other two boxes are ticked . The idea being that if you don't have good penetration to hurt all targets, landing enough hits may pad the numbers through fires. Potential Damage: This category is kind of a catch-all. It combines volume of fire with fire arcs, shell damage and fire chance per hit. We're evaluating if the ship has the potential to deal a lot of damage -- pretty much, if all of the ducks were in a row, how much hurt can this ship dispense? A ship with poor potential damage may still be a decent contender for a secondary specialization if dispersion and penetration are present -- the idea being that you make up for the deficit by hitting more often and the quality of said hits being higher than average. We can look at a few examples: Prinz Rupprecht has arguably the best secondary battery at tier IX. She combines accurate "Massachusetts" level of accuracy with 1/4 HE penetration. Her 105mm guns fire quickly and her 150mm casemates hit like trucks. With nearly an 8km base range, the only marks against her are the poor firing arcs on her casemates and the fact that her 105mm can't quite penetrate 32mm battleship hull sections without dipping into IFHE. Still, she can do without and rely on fires to carry over the rest. Georgia is a step down from Prinz Rupprecht. Though she dittos the German battlecruiser's accuracy, she has slightly less range. Furthermore, her 127mm/38s don't have the penetration needed to contend with anything short of destroyers and very light cruisers. Dipping into Inertial Fuse for HE Shells allows her to engage cruisers, but this hurts her poor fire-setting ability when facing other battleships, forcing a choice. Her fire arcs, however, are excellent, ensuring she can bring her full secondary broadside on anything that creeps within range. Alsace has the range and massive volume of fire but she lacks everything else. Her penetration is infamously terrible with her 100mm guns unable to directly damage destroyers or the superstructures of ships at tiers VIII+ and her dispersion is just the baseline secondary accuracy which is awful. Still, she's one of the best potential fire starters. Marco Polo has absolutely nothing going for her. On paper, she can deal more potential damage than Georgia but her range is even worse. Furthermore, she inherits Alsace's penetration issues. The bulk of her fire comes from her 90mm guns and they can't hurt anything directly. She's only a modest fire starter and her accuracy is terrible. So where does Giuseppe Verdi fall on this spectrum? Giuseppe Verdi, Marco Polo and Friedrich der Große have the same brawling and kiting DPM. Pommern and Georgia have such good fire arcs that they can fire all of their guns whether kiting or brawling. Giuseppe Verdi's SAP ammunition provides tremendous potential, both through her theoretical DPM but also her high penetration. There's just one problem... SAP Armed Secondaries SAP secondaries are a game changer. On paper, Giuseppe Verdi's secondaries have more damage potential than Alsace's, which is pretty frightening. And this comes paired with high(ish) penetration. Her 152mm secondaries can smack 42mm hull sections and her 90mm can hurt up to 26mm. Pair this with (very) high damage per shell and she appears capable of front-loading some big alpha when her secondaries start singing. I was initially skeptical, expecting most of these shells to ricochet but her 152mm have VERY forgiving bounce angles. Her 90mm are less so, but still highly respectable. This was enough to make me curious. I could accept her not starting fires or damaging internal modules with these kind of stats (you're not detonating anyone with SAP). It stung a bit that her 90mm were stuck at 26mm of penetration -- 27mm would have been preferred to hurt ALL cruisers within her matchmaking, but I could deal with that, especially when her 152mm guns had been buffed with a slightly faster reload over those on her sister ship. Things were looking up. At least, they were until I looked at their range. Lemme dig up that meme I used on my Marco Polo review. There we go. With a 6.95km base range, Giuseppe Verdi's secondaries cap out at a modest 10.51km. That's a kilometre and a half shorter than Alsace and Prinz Rupprecht. That hurts. That sucks. What is it with these Italian battleship premiums post-Cesare being so close to good but fumbling at the last minute? Thus, Giuseppe Verdi ends up having excellent potential damage, good penetration, poor accuracy and, most damning of all, modest range at best, though I'm loathe to call it anything other than 'poor'. It's not that a 10.51km range isn't workable, it very much is, especially if you're a PVE-junky. Giuseppe Verdi's secondaries are boss-level badass in Co-Op and it's not uncommon to see her do in excess of 40,000 damage with her secondaries if you throw her headlong into jousting scenarios with a full secondary build. However, you can't expect this kind of regular performance in PVP where brawling scenarios are less common. Giuseppe Verdi doesn't pair these secondaries with a citadel profile that's healthy in a knife fight. That's not to say that there isn't some use for her secondaries in PVP, it's just not idiot proof the way it is on German battleships. Giuseppe Verdi's ace in the hole when it comes to making use of her secondaries is her Exhaust Smoke Generator. She can blink off people's radar, show up closer than people are expecting and saturate them with a hail of surprisingly damaging fire. This works best against destroyers and cruisers, obviously, and only select cruisers at that. But still, it opens the door for some fun, dynamic and aggressive plays that are so very dear to my blood thirsty heart. You just can't count on it being the trump card that people so often envision brawling to be. I really do like the combination of decent secondaries (I am loathe to say 'good') and an Exhaust Smoke Generator in brawling scenarios. So long as no one brings Hydroacoustic Search or a Surveillance Radar to the party, it's going to be amusing. I can't promise it will be game winning or even a good idea, but it will be amusing. After the disappointment of her main battery armament, having "amusing" secondaries is high praise. If you can fire all six of her 90mm guns at a target, you're showing waaaay too much broadside. Secondary Summary They're better than I initially thought. Their short(er) range is a pain in the butt and really hurts what could have been an impressive and novel armament. It would have been nice to see them reaching out to at least Georgia levels of range (7.5km) or getting at least German battleship levels of accuracy. Still, the way her secondaries synergize with her Exhaust Smoke Generator is a lot of fun, so top marks there. VERDICT: Giuseppe Verdi's offensive capabilities are only "okay". Her main battery firepower is pretty bad compared to her contemporaries and if you're not interested in a secondary-build, then you should probably stay clear of this ship. Durability Hit Points: 69,100 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 70mm to 80mm / 55mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 320mm belt + either 25mm turtleback or 50mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 27% Marco Polo and Giuseppe Verdi share the same hit point pool, which is really generous of them considering it's not very big. Giuseppe Verdi entirely clones Marco Polo's armour and hit point profiles. This means she has a tiny hit point pool for a tier IX battleship, a dispersed armour scheme and a highly vulnerable citadel. Giuseppe Verdi's armour is excellent for resisting cruiser calibre HE, SAP and AP rounds, even the latter two which may have improved auto-ricochet mechanics. Her amidships deck and upper belt are immune to HE rounds from even small battleship calibre weapons, being proof up to 330mm calibre guns. She can similarly shrug off the 1/4 HE penetration of 203mm calibre weapons found on the German cruisers. Similarly, all cruiser-calibre SAP rounds are patently incapable of damaging the ship in these places. This limits the effectiveness of these attacks to her extremities and superstructure. Given the difficulties of accuracy at range, the further away Giuseppe Verdi is from said cruisers, the more effective her armour becomes if only grace of dispersion. Even players who know what to target will find their shells occasionally straying and piffing off Giuseppe Verdi's thick plate ineffectively. Against battleship calibre rounds, she fares alright. She can bow-tank with the best of them, though she has to worry about the usual 460mm+ guns like everyone else. This all changes if she gives up a little too much side, however. Barring having an ice-breaker on her bow and stern, Giuseppe Verdi's external armour is excellent. The citadel protection of the Marco Polo-class isn't great. It's almost good enough. Almost. Against anything 356mm or smaller, it holds up well. Her turtleback is sloped steeply and it prompt ricochets (or at least ricochet checks) against most incoming rounds, deflecting them up and away from her magazines and machine spaces. However, at only 25mm thick, any larger AP shells simply ignores the armour entirely through overmatch mechanics. Similarly, ships with improved auto-ricochet angles like American heavy cruisers and battleships like Duke of York won't bounce off this plate. Granted these two ships in this specific example need to be extra close in order to get through her belt armour, but ships like Stalingrad and the Alaska-class do not. Exposing Giuseppe Verdi's sides is baaaad juju and it's just begging to get her sent back to port from the ensuing big citadel hits. That 25mm turtleback is just begging to be overmatched. It may as well be non-existant for any AP shells greater than 356mm. Flash her sides at your own peril. This raises the point on how it's generally a REALLY STUPID IDEA to bring this ship anywhere close to brawling distances against other battleships in PVP. Like, seriously. You'd have to be a flaming moron to want to engage in knife fights using Giuseppe Verdi and expect her to come out the better for it. Even her Exhaust Smoke Generator can't keep her safe at these ranges (and that won't save you from enterprising blind fires at a distance either, btw). Even if you don't get flashed by Surveillance Radar or sniffed out by a Hydroacoustic Search, the guaranteed detection range will ensure she gets lit. Barring "being the torpedo", you'll have to expose your sides to your quarry (if not their friends) and probably suffer for it. As good as her secondaries (potentially) are, Giuseppe Verdi's citadel protection should make you think twice about getting her anywhere close enough to use 'em. Or you can live fast, die young and leave a beautiful corpse. Up to you. Shut up. I look fabulous. VERDICT: Nice external armour. She doesn't have enough HP, though and her healing suffers because of it. Furthermore, citadel gets tapped too easily especially at brawling distances where WG wants her to be played. Agility Top Speed: 32 knots Turning Radius: 860m Rudder Shift Time: 16 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.3º/s at 24.1 knots Main Battery Traverse Rate: 5.0º/s Fourth from the top in bright, booger green. There's nothing really special about Giuseppe Verdi's handling. Her 860m turning radius looks decent. Her 32 knot top speed is good, but she's not the fastest at tier by a long shot. She lacks the Engine Boost consumable which makes Alsace, Wujing, Georgia and the Jean Barts so flexible. And finally, her rudder shift time is only kinda-sorta okay. Plug this all in and you get a ship that isn't exemplary in any one area, but she's not terrible in any of them either. And yet, she strangely feels kinda lame. This is largely owing to the empty niche at high tiers. We have fast battleships but we don't have any nimble ones. Put Giuseppe Verdi at any of the lower tiers and sure, her speed stands out, but her handling would be all kinds of meh by comparison. At tier VII, Gneisenau has a comparable top speed but scrapes off another 30m from her turning radius (and over a second from her rudder shift time), allowing her to manage a comfy 4.5º/s rate of rotation. The German tech tree ship feels fast and aggressive. Yet just a few different paraemeters undermines Giuseppe Verdi. The end result is that she only feels okay. There's room at this tier for Wargaming to play with agility as a perk if they wished. Something with short rudder shift time like Vanguard or Yukon would be welcome, especially if it came with something close to (or just below) an 800m turning cricle radius and around a 30 knot top speed. As it is, Giuseppe Verdi's agility misses the mark here. Because of this, I fell in love with the Swift commander skill in my play tests. Paired with the Sierra Mike signal and her Exhaust Smoke Generator, it gave her a top speed of 37.1 knots in a straight line and a maximum rate of turn of 4.5º/s over a 910m turning circle radius at a sustained turning speed of 26.6 knots (for those unaware, when you exceed your in-port top speed, your turning circle radius increases in size). Giuseppe Verdi can very comfortably come about 180º under the cover of her Exhaust Smoke Generator with time to spare. Furthermore, her Exhaust Smoke Generator ensures she can always have access to this extra speed on demand, allowing her to redeploy even from hotly contested fights. I know I'm making more of a big deal about her synergy with this skill than it perhaps deserves but I was delighted by this pairing and I'ma spread the word to mah peeps. Overall, Giuseppe Verdi's agility is "good enough", I suppose. It's not bad but there are better ships at her tier, like Georgia and Jean Bart. VERDICT: It's not terrible. It's not good either, but it's not terrible. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 6 + 2 explosions for 1,330 damage per blast at 3.5km to 4.6km. Long Ranged (up to 4.6km): 196dps at 75% accuracy (147dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 199.5dps at 75% accuracy (150dps) Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 206.5dps at 70% accuracy (145dps) Range of Gun Types and DPS Combined AA DPS by Range Look, the only thing "good" going on here is the wall of flak that Giuseppe Verdi puts out and even that's held back by the pathetic short-range of Italian large-calibre batteries. You can count on anything short of dive bombers being able to engage an attack run before they have to consider dodging and that really undermines their efficacy. On paper, she has enough sustained DPS to do some damage to loitering planes (if they loiter), but in practice she's one of the softer battleship targets at her tier. You're pretty much hoping that enemy aircraft will run into a combined flak-wall or be out-muscled by Giuseppe Verdi's DPS paired with something much more frightening, like an American or French battleship. Here's how Giuseppe Verdi's sustained AA DPS holds up against the best three and worst three battleships at her tier. This is the approximate damage done by sustained AA DPS against a fictional, 186.2 knot squadron travelling in a straight line from max range to 0km over a ship. The colours separate the damage done by mount type, with darkest being the large calibre mounts, the medium being the medium calibre and lightest being the small calibre mounts. Iowa (5833) Missouri (5019) Jean Bart & Jean Bart B (4884) Marco Polo & Giuseppe Verdi (2948) Hizen (2157) AL Sovetskaya Rossiya (1914) Musashi (1198) Overall, your best AA defence is going to be to activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator if you come under concerted attack. Make sure you put the rudder hard over to Just Dodge™ any blind drops of rockets, fish, bombs, or Soveit easy-mode ordnance. VERDICT: Not enough so it's entirely forgettable. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 16.8km / 13.2km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.98km / 10.51km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 16.26km Maximum Firing Range: Between 19.12km and 22.18km (max of 26.62km with Spotter Aircraft) 52nd (or 53rd) out of 93 vessels listed here. Giuseppe Verdi (and Marco Polo) have concealment on the poor side of average for a battleship within their matchmaking (the average being an upgraded concealment of 13.05km). That's not surprising given that short of Roma (and her unfortunate AL clone), most Italian battleships tend to have unremarkable surface detection ranges. However, with very few exceptions, it isn't the raw concealment value that's the interesting aspect of a given battleship's vision control -- it's what consumables they bring to the table to shake things up that makes individual ships stand out. With Italian battleships, it's access to their Exhaust Smoke Generator consumable that's their defining feature here. This provides concealment on demand, at least so long as they haven't fired their main battery guns recently. That Marco Polo lacked this consumable at all was a big hit against her comfort-level which was admittedly already suffering due to her punitive reload time on her guns. Well, it seems that Wargaming has taken the Exhaust Smoke Generator Marco Polo should have gotten and added it onto her sister-ship, because Giuseppe Verdi's smoke is strange and powerful. It provides all of the usual benefits for an Italian battleship, giving cover to allow it to disengage and manoeuvre as needs be. With her great secondaries, you can also use it offensively, spitting ribbons of SAP fire into the faces of enemies that get close without being spotted in return -- at least until someone activates Surveillance Radar or Hydroacoustic Search or slips within 2km of her. Still, this can be enough to cause some amusing shenanigans, such as foiling early torpedo attempts and getting a leg up on damage done, especially against the impatient. It might be enough to protect her citadel against some opponents. Exhaust Smoke Generators are a selfish consumable by their very nature. They don't really provide smoke that can be shared by other ships unless you VERY tightly coordinate with a peer. That's nominally beyond the scope of trying to help some Random Battle buddy you meet in a one-off match. The Exhaust Smoke Generator clouds don't last long enough for another ship to hide in them comfortably. Trail behind an Italian battleship by more than a boat length and you're not likely to keep hidden, especially if you're struggling at all to match their exact course and speed. This is where Giuseppe Verdi stands out. Her Exhaust Smoke Generator can be shared. While most Italian Exhaust Smoke Generators create smoke circles that are 1.02km in diameter, Giuseppe Verdi's is a massive 1.8km. The extra duration of each individual cloud also ensures that it lasts long enough for a friendly ship to be able to follow in her wake. Finally, the extra emission time gives a bit more room too coordinate. While this may still be beyond the average player in a pick-up battle, it is enough to provide at least temporary cover and easily too. That can make all of the difference in a Random or Ranked battle. Still, I wouldn't go so far as to say that Giuseppe Verdi's Exhaust Smoke Generator is game changing. It's just that much more comfortable to use and it opens the door for some team play options that didn't readily exist before. Lepanto on top with a standard Exhaust Smoke Generator. Giuseppe Verdi's smoke is large enough to hide a small fleet inside, provided they can keep up. VERDICT: Bad unless you account for her Exhaust Smoke Generator. Then it's at least interesting, if not downright competitive. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike from 1.5km to 10km (plus bomb drop column) Number of Salvos: Up to two Reload Time: 30 seconds Aircraft: Two Kawanishi H8K with 2,000hp per plane. Drop Pattern: 3 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 900m column Maximum Bomb Damage: 2,800 Fire Chance: 21% Not much to say here given that submarines were largely a non-entity during my playtesting. I'm recording these stats for posterity and they're likely to change in the future. VERDICT: I'm not looking forward to when this section becomes relevant, if only because these reviews will get even more complicated. #MouseTroubles Final Evaluation Marco Polo, was entirely forgettable and short of Christmas events, I never see any reason to take her out. This is largely owing to Marco Polo's atrocious main battery reload time. Seeing that corrected with Giuseppe Verdi caught my interest, especially when paired with the missing Exhaust Smoke Generator. But when I became aware of the other gunnery flaws, namely the 1.7 sigma, the terrible range, the 31 second reload (for some reason) and nerfed AP rounds, my enthusiasm was dashed. I resigned that she would never be anything more than another forgettable offering from Wargaming, not worth a deep dive. I began framing this review as a quick comparison between the two ships. That was until I took a look at how Wargaming was promoting her. I told you we'd come back to this. What stood out to me was the claims of a powerful secondary armament. Now, I was aware of her development and how she had been touted as having SAP secondaries. But just looking at their range gave me reservations, to say nothing when datamining pulled up that her dispersion wasn't improved. But the more I looked and the more I played Giuseppe Verdi, I felt it wrong to be so dismissive. There was something interesting there. Oh, my forays into trying to make her secondaries work in PVP were largely disastrous -- I'm not about to tell you that Giuseppe Verdi is a good ship, don't you worry. But what I did find was that they were fun, especially in PVE. I don't usually focus on individual game modes much in my reviews but I think it's worth examining here with Giuseppe Verdi. If you are a co-op main, Giuseppe Verdi is a fantastic ship. Secondary-heavy battleships and battleships with torpedoes do extremely well in PVE modes and Giuseppe Verdi is no exception. If you're looking to scratch of some event mission that requires secondary hits, this isn't a bad pony to bet on. In PVP modes, she's only alright though. You can pull off some fun shenanigans every now and then the same way you could with say, Tirpitz or Odin. I just don't feel that her long range fire is good enough to warrant purchasing. Yes, it's nice to have an Italian battleship with 406mm AP rounds AND smoke. But given how heavy handed Wargaming has been to balance her, I don't think she's worth while. Similarly, close combat just doesn't happen often enough in PVP battles to allow you to enjoy what makes her novel. Her shorter ranged secondaries make that even more challenging -- you're getting less secondary incidental fire than you would from any other specialist and that's a shame. I want to like Giuseppe Verdi, but I cannot in good conscious recommend her for anyone that enjoys Random and Ranked Battles. She's not terrible. She's certainly more novel than her sister ship, but I'ma stick to my guns. Give her a pass if you're a PVP junky. Thanks for reading. Mouse out. <Sinister pasta noises!>
  2. The following is a review of Paolo Emilio, the tier IX Italian destroyer. Wargaming was kind enough to provide me access to this ship at no cost to me -- be aware: I did not have to pay for this. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics and performance discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.9. Please be aware that said performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: A torpedo destroyer hiding behind a gunship facade but her painfully long main-battery reload hamstrings her gunnery. She is wicked fast and comes with an Italian Exhaust Smoke Generator. Both traits allow her to suicide-charge targets with her short-ranged fish. PROS Massive health pool of 24,400hp. Very heavily armoured for a destroyer including a 60mm belt. Huge SAP broadsides of up to 8,052 damage per salvo. Powerful torpedo armament with twelve tubes and 23,767 damage per fish. Base top speed of 43.5 knots. Engine Boost consumable provides a 25% speed increase giving her a maximum speed (with flag) of up to 56.7 knots in sprints (!) Has access to an Exhaust Smoke Generator. CONS Painfully long main battery reload of 10.7 seconds. Horrible fire-starter. No AP shells at all which makes generating citadel hits nigh-impossible. Torpedoes are very short ranged at 6km. Enormous turning radius of 810m. Horrible concealment values. Engine Boost only lasts for 50 seconds. Paolo Emilio is a very hungry ship when it comes to commander skills & upgrades. You will not have enough points and slots to go around. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH/ Extreme New players stay away. Paolo Emilio is not an easy ship to play. The challenge resides in her poor concealment, her weird gunnery and short-ranged fish. While suicide-torping in PVE-modes will certainly pay dividends, this all falls apart against human opponents. Paolo Emilio's modest gunnery damage out-put, her lack of stealth and her painfully short-duration consumables makes heads-up encounters against just about any opponent super-dangerous. If you cannot kill them quickly, you're not likely to escape. Options Consumables Paolo Emilio's consumables are weird. Whether or not this ends up being normal if and when the Italian destroyer line launches remains to be seen. At least her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer. This has unlimited charges, a 5 second active period and a 40 second reset timer. She uses an Exhaust Smoke Generator in her second slot. This generates smoke for 35 seconds (40.25s with X-ray Papa Unaone signal) and will conceal Paolo Emilio for this duration even while she moves at full speed. Each cloud dissipates in 10 seconds. She starts with five charges (which is admittedly a lot!) and they have a 140 second reset timer. Finally, she has a weird Engine Boost consumable. The candle that burns twice as bright burns for half as long. Paolo Emilio's boost provides a 25% increase to her speed instead of the usual 8% for most destroyers. However, it only lasts for 50 seconds instead of the typical 120 seconds. She starts with five charges here as well (which, again, is a lot) and it shares the 140 second reset timer of her Exhaust Smoke Generator. Pay special attention to the synergy between her Engine Boost and Exhaust Smoke Generator's reset timers. They very conveniently line up and almost match her torpedo reload time. Upgrades There are, ostensibly, two ways of specializing Paolo Emilio. The first is a more conventional destroyer gunship build, focusing upon stealth, damage output and making use of stationary bits of cover. The latter favours an open-water style of engagement, firing at range and focusing upon agility at the expense of stealth. Obviously there's a lot of overlap between these two so you can mix and match to suit your style. You'll note that I'm not fussing overmuch about upgrading her torpedoes. They honestly don't need any help. Main Armaments Modification 1 is optimal in your first slot. Though if you really hate detonations and are running low on Juliet Charlie signals, Magazine Modification 1 isn't a terrible choice. In slot two, Engine Boost Modification 1 is a must if you can afford it. This costs 17,000 from the Armory and is well worth the price. This increases the action time of her Engine Boost from 50 seconds to 70 65 seconds which is a lot more comfortable. If you can't afford this then default to Engine Room Protection as you would for most destroyers. In her third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal. However, Paolo Emilio's gun handling could use a little help when she's bobbing and weaving in open water. Main Battery Modification 2 can help keep her guns on target when you're zooming past a target at high speed (especially given the current bug with the Expert Marksman skill). There is an argument to be made for Torpedo Tubes Modification 1 in slot three, not so much for the gains in torpedo speed, but for keeping her torpedo launchers alive and speeding up their traverse rate. Knowing what I know about critical damage and destruction mechanics, I'm not sold on this upgrade. Aiming System Modification 1 is hands down better, in my opinion, even if its gains are similarly minimal. For your fourth slot, it's really up to you. Propulsion Modification 1 provides the biggest boost to how your ship performs but only from a dead stop. Your ship has to be stationary (and stationary often) for this to be worthwhile. If you prefer an island or allied-smoke camping style of play, this is the one to grab. Otherwise, default to Steering Gears Modification 1 to drop her rudder shift time down from 5.3s to 4.2s. So, Concealment Modification 1 is always going to be optimal for slot five. The combination of increased stealth and increased gunnery dispersion from enemy ships is too good to pass up. Still, if you would prefer a more active style of play, you can opt for Steering Gears Modification 2. On it's own it drops Paolo Emilio's rudder shift time from 5.3s to 3.2s. If you pair it with Steering Gears Modification 1 from the previous slot, you can get this all the way down to 2.5s. Finally, we have a game play choice. Main Battery Modification 3 is definitely the front-runner. This reduces her gunnery reload time from a painful 10.7s to 9.4s. Pair it with Basic Fire Training and you can get this down to 8.5s, which is still awful but not abhorrent. This comes at the expense of her gun rotation rate which drops from 10º/s to 8.7º/s. That's not enough to allow her to out-turn her turrets, but it's still uncomfortably close. The alternative is grabbing Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 to increase her range from 11.3km to 13.11km which definitely helps with the open-water gunship style of play. Paired with Advanced Fire Training, you can get her range up to 15.73km. So more pew-pews or more comfortable, long-range gunnery. It's up to you. So for a super-specialized, open-water build, you might go for: MAM1, EBM1, ASM1, SGM1, SGM2, GFCM1 with the option of swapping out SGM2 for CSM1 based on preferences. But a more generic build might look like: MAM1, EBM1, ASM1, PM1, CSM1, MBM3. Commander Skills There's a lot to unpack here. Lemme explain what all of the shapes and colour coding mean: Blue circles: Pick ONE. (1pt) Red circles: Always take these. (5pts combined) Red squares (double outline): Highly recommended. (8pts combined) Yellow squares: Great if you can afford them, but lower-priority than red-squares. (14pts combined) Blue squares: Nice to have but not optimal in most builds. (10pts combined) So just touching base on the necessities and the highly-recommended stuff, you're looking at 14pts spent so it gets pretty messy to fill out the last five points. I never found a build that I was 100% happy with while play-testing Paolo Emilio. I go into more detail about the conflicts and struggles here in the Firepower section below. Camouflage Paolo Emilio comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the usual tier IX premium-ship bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. Italian ships are just plain gorgeous. Firepower Main Battery: Eight 135mm guns in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Torpedoes: Twelve torpedo tubes in 3x4 launchers with one wing mount to either side between the funnels and one mounted centerline behind the second funnel giving her up to an eight-fish broadside. With few exceptions, firepower defines a ship's performance. Paolo Emilio presents a rather extreme example in this instance, dictating (or at least pressuring players towards) a particular play style. Despite her apparent heavy gun armament, she is not a gunship. She is a torpedo-destroyer. Relying upon her main battery weapons to carry the day makes about as much sense here as it would on ships like Kagero, Benham or Fujin. While occasional successes may come at the hands of a well placed main-battery broadside, it is capitalizing upon her torpedo armament which makes or breaks this ship. Let's go into the wherefores. Limited by a Long Reload There are two primary drawbacks to Paolo Emilio's main battery firepower: She has no access to AP shells. She has a painfully long reload. The former is, honestly, only a minor issue. Paolo Emilio's lack of AP shells is really only a factor when it comes to engaging cruisers and aircraft carriers at point-blank ranges where, theoretically, whatever AP shells she might have had would be capable of landing citadel hits. In all other engagement ranges and types, her SAP shells provide superior performance. So, like I said: Paolo Emilio's lack of AP is a drawback but it's so minor that it's no real loss. Her slow reload time, however, is another matter entirely. Paolo Emilio's guns are bloody brilliant aside from her rate of fire. Check out these strengths: 23mm of HE penetration (28mm with IFHE). With the right skill build, her 135mm shells are capable of directly damaging the extremities of any cruiser she comes across. 38mm of SAP penetration. This is enough to directly damage all battleship extremities and the upper hulls of those snooty American battleships. Massive 8,052 damage SAP broadside. The alpha strike from her SAP shells is capable of shredding between a third and half of a destroyer's hit point pool in a single salvo if all eight shells strike it amidships. Excellent forward fire angles. All eight guns can engage targets 27º off the ship's bow. All of this gets matched with decent gun handling, a good fire chance per shell, decent range, and reasonable HE shell damage. But no matter how good all of these traits are, being shackled to a 10.7 second reload makes her guns junky. Their only saving grace thus becomes that alpha strike off her SAP shells so let's talk more about them. Paolo Emilio's main battery damage output is pretty crappy. In theory, her SAP is pretty formidable, however you cannot count on your opponent giving you enough of a broadside for it to work. She cannot win protracted gunnery duels against most other destroyers. Crappy Sappy SAP performance is all over the map. While they all have high-alpha damage per shell, they do have drawbacks -- namely their propensity to ricochet when striking targets at acute angles. "Good" SAP shells have very forgiving ricochet angles while "bad" SAP shells have scarcely better ricochet angles than AP shells. Because I'm thorough (and stupid), I collected all of the SAP ricochet angles so we could better evaluate Paolo Emilio's SAP rounds: 80º to 85º - Nino Bixio, the tier II Italian tech-tree cruiser. 70º to 80º - The tier II through X tech-tree cruisers with SAP including the premiums Genova & Gorizia. 70º to 80º - Impero, the tier VIII Italian battleship premium that didn't make it out of testing. 60º to 75º - Paolo Emilio With the ricochet angles mapped out, it looks like this: Paolo Emilio's SAP shells are a LOT less reliable than other SAP shells with which you may be familiar. They are far more prone to ricochets. When it comes to ricochets, Paolo Emilio's SAP shells are like very forgiving AP rounds rather than SAP from Italian cruisers. Once an enemy ship (particularly a destroyer) appears to be turning towards or away from you, it's time to switch over to HE rounds. Given her slow rate of fire, this normally only allows for two salvos to be fired off before an enemy has angled enough to make her SAP rounds unable to sustain damage. This is, of course, barring obliviousness, but any weapon can appear amazing if the enemy doesn't fight back. Thus Paolo Emilio's SAP rounds perform best against distracted targets or in ambush situations and there's a lot of mileage for taking skills like Expert Loader to fully capitalize on on SAP opportunities. When to Use Guns Like Japanese destroyers, Paolo Emilio's guns should be used opportunistically but carefully. Every pull of the trigger should be calculated. While it does pay dividends to invest in improving Paolo Emilio's gun performance for those lean spells where you can't make use of her fish, it would be a mistake to think that her guns alone can consistently carry a match. Ideally, when you do elect to do some gunnery, you want to be using SAP as much as possible. You can largely forget about setting fires with Paolo Emilio's HE rounds. While she does have a respectable fire chance per shell, her slow rate of fire will make taxing a battleship's Damage Control Party exceedingly difficult. Getting more than a single blaze to stack, never mind two, will require some hefty bribery to RNGeebus. To this end, taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells isn't a terrible option to boost the direct damage performance of her HE rounds, but I'm generally of the opinion that this is way too expensive for what is very much a secondary ammunition choice on an already secondary weapon system. You can play Paolo Emilio as an open water or island-camping gunship. Hell, you can go for a full Khabarovsk or French Destroyer style build and play up the harassment meta all game. Increase her range through Advanced Fire Training or an upgrade and shoot and scoot to your heart's content. But that's not what she was designed for and it's again going to set you back a whole lot of skill points. Missile Command's MIRVs What Paolo Emilio is designed for, is drive-by deposits of torpedo broadsides at point-blank ranges. On paper, the setup is dirt simple: Use her ridiculous high-speed provided by her Engine Boost consumable to race directly towards a vulnerable target. Activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator just before you reach your own surface detection range in order to stay unspotted. Sprint the remaining distance and dump two launchers worth of torpedoes into the exposed broadside of your hapless enemy. With each fish dealing upwards of 23,766 damage per hit, any target you select is doomed. From the enemy's perspective, all they see is an aggressive moving smoke cloud that suddenly explodes into salvos of torpedoes. If Paolo Emilio is on the enemy team, you have to treat these incoming smoke clouds like one big torpedo that's about to MIRV into separate warheads. In PVE modes, this works as exactly as Wargaming designed. In PVP, it's a much less certain prospect. Paolo Emilio has some pretty gorgeous fire arcs and a couple of meh. It's only her dorsal torpedo launcher with it's forward fire arc that's crappy. The reason is pretty simple: Paolo Emilio's torpedoes, as formidable as they are, are very short ranged. To be clear, they hit like trucks and they're super fast (23,677 damage and 67 knots respectively). However, with only a 6km range, you're only getting hits with them if one of two conditions re met: Make a 200 IQ play at an aggressively moving enemy that doesn't know you're there, ambushing either through the slimmest margins of open-water stealth-torping or using island cover. Play as Wargaming designed her, and make a mad dash at an exposed enemy, using consumables to close the distance. I stress that the enemy must be exposed. An opponent that knows you're coming and takes steps to avoid your fish may not escape damage entirely but they're not going to get sunk. And then you've got nothing but your crappy, slow firing guns to see you out of trouble with a very angry enemy spotting you for not only their own weapons but those of all of their friends. Failing one of these Paolo Emili-yolos will cost you most, if not all of your health. So the counter is pretty basic. Activate Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar if you have it and point your butt and guns at the cloud, moving directly away from it at speed. You might take a torpedo hit or two in battleships but anything else should avoid the worst of it. This active counter-play means that Paolo Emilio is not a forgiving destroyer to play. There are more counters than this, of course. An ill-timed, broken module can similarly flub one of these attack runs, be it Paolo Emilio's engines or one of her torpedo launchers. The long reload of her fish in conjunction with the necessity of timing her consumables means that in PVP, you have to pick your targets and your moment of attack carefully or you'll just end up a greasy stain on the ocean's surface. If this ship becomes commonplace in the community (and I doubt it given the resources needed to unlock her), you can expect to see not only a lot of failed attacks but attacks that do nothing more than sink someone that was already over-exposed anyway and the Paolo Emilio that landed the killing blow dies in the attempt. So, despite the obvious memes, success with Paolo Emilio's torpedoes has a lot of skill-based elements to it -- at least outside of PVE. So some caveats apply here. These numbers are before you account for fire resistance of a given target which, at high tiers, is close to 50%. So, generally speaking, if you want to know how many fires per minute you can expect, take the numbers here, halve them and then compare them to your gunnery accuracy in the respective ship. So if you're hitting about 60% of the time in your Tashkent and you've fully spec'd her out to burninate, you can expect to set about three fires every sixty seconds against a Yamato. Also, Friesland still has zero chill. Summary There's surprising depth to Paolo Emilio's weapon systems. For example, her guns are terrible but if you build them properly, they become dangerous enough to pull out some wins in select encounters. You can brainlessly YOLO with her torpedoes but to get more than one success in three games, you have to plan your attacks carefully. I'm reminded a lot of Haida's weapon systems -- not in that their performance is comparable, but more that while it takes a lot of work to get results, said results feel earned. Paolo Emilio's weapons are very satisfying. VERDICT: A few crippling flaws but there's some fearsome potential here both with her torpedoes and her guns. Defense Hit Points: 24,400 Min Bow & Deck Armour: 19mm & 20mm respectively Paolo Emilio is what the kids like to call "a heckin' chonker." She has 24,400 base hit points and 27,550hp with Survivability Expert (and you will take Survivability Expert). While she does not have any healing capacity, the sheer bulk of hit points provides effectively more health than some of those tier IX destroyers that do have heals due to the inefficiency of getting the maximum potential from every single consumable charge. Now that's a lot of potential damage! With Survivability Expert, Paolo Emilio has comparable durability to Jutland, Udaloi and Östergötland given typical use of their Repair Parties. Getting the "Maximum Healing Potential" as listed on these graphs is a bit of a pipe dream. Part of the reason she's so hefty is that she's actually armoured! Khabarovsk and other high-tier Soviet destroyers show their Italian pedigree when you look at what Paolo Emilio is sporting here. She has belt armour. She has armoured turrets and barbettes. She actually has reinforced magazine protection and a turtleback to protect her machine spaces for crying out loud. You could be forgiven for mistaking her for a very light cruiser. The practical effect here is that not every shell fired at Paolo Emilio will do damage. HE shells aimed at her amidships hull have a very good chance of shattering against her 60mm plates which is proof against HE shells of up to 360mm (240mm if they have 1/4 HE penetration). In addition, British 113mm guns from destroyers like Jutland and Daring cannot penetrate her deck without IFHE, further increasing the effectiveness of her steel. AP shells of all calibers will ricochet off her belt at acute angles. Combined with her enormous hit point pool, Paolo Emilio feels tougher than her destroyer-status would otherwise suggest. If she had the DPM to compete, out-trading with Paolo Emilio would be downright overpowered with this build. As it is, her toughness can kinda-sorta bail her out of tough situations and protracted duels, but she doesn't fare well in trades. The best use of this durability is at range, using her speed smokes to perform short-term hit and runs and then disengage and reposition. Being so tough will reduce the impact of those incidental hits and short-term exchanges. But don't think for a second that this will allow you to survive failed YOLO-torpedo charges. Paolo Emilio has a multitude of hidden armour geometries that are more curious than practical. If anything, they may end up being more of a drawback, ensuring that small and medium caliber AP shells fuse properly inside her. I did not include the 20mm turtleback (angled approximately 50º to 60º from the vertical) which connects the 60mm belt to the main deck as it would get lost in the clutter of her 20mm deck. Graphic was pulled from assets from gamemodels3d.com, a great site for advanced users that are interested in a more detailed look at the mechanics of World of Warships. VERDICT: Tough enough to surprise opponents but not so tough that she survives over-extending. Agility Top Speed: 43.5 knots Port Turning Radius: 810m Rudder Shift Time: 5.3s 4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate: 7º/s Paolo Emilio is stupid fast and that solves a lot of potential problems with this ship. She has the speed to dictate engagement ranges. She can pick her fights. Her high speed helps make up for her horrid turning circle radius, providing a modest rate of turn instead of an abysmal one. If all she had was this 43.5 knot top speed, that would be remarkable enough unto itself, but she also has access to an improved Engine Boost consumable. Paolo Emilio's ridiculous high speed helps counteract her horrible turning radius, giving her a still reasonable (but still admittedly slow) rate of turn. Her Engine Boost consumable is simultaneously awesome and crappy. It provides a 25% boost to her speed instead of 8%, which is awesome. But it lasts 50s instead of 120s which is such a tease. Just as you're finally ticking over those last few tenths of a knot to reach her theoretical maximum of 56.7kts (with a Sierra Mike signal), the damn thing cuts out. Taking the special upgrade, Engine Boost Modification 1 extends this up to 70 65 seconds, but it's still painfully short of what other versions of this consumable provide. This makes it less useful as a "navigate from A to B" consumable and more of one dedicated to Paolo Emilio's singular purpose: suicide torping. Her Engine Boost consumable synergizes well with her Exhaust Smoke Generator, encouraging their paired use. Activate her Engine Boost first to build up speed and then activate her Exhaust Smoke Generator just before you're spotted and lunge towards your selected target. This does not guarantee success, however. Even at her maximum boosted speed, Paolo Emilio does not have enough longevity in her Exhaust Smoke Generator to allow her to cover the entire distance between herself and a stationary target before the smoke cover expires (to say nothing of a target that's moving away). For those wondering, the distance compression in World of Warships is 5.22x. The purpose of these numbers is to illustrate how much range you can close when lunging after a target with Paolo Emilio. I covered her basic stats against stationary targets where the closing speed will be Paolo Emilio's speed at the time. However I also wanted to simulate approximately the closing distance when a target was either closing or moving away. To this end, I included entries where Paolo Emilio was racing after an enemy where she was outrunning them by 20 and 30 knots respectively. I also included the opposite end of the spectrum, where there is a target unwittingly charging towards Paolo Emilio and the combined closing speed amounts to 70 and 80 knots. The values are admittedly modest rather than a best / worst case scenario but should provide enough data to illustrate my points of caution. The actual relevant distance Paolo Emilio needs to close is 2km less than the values listed. Once you're in auto-detect range, it doesn't matter if her smoke is active or not. Similarly, if your target is going to oblige you by presenting the perfect torpedo target when you're still 4km out (such as by swinging out and presenting their broadside), then you need not run the full distance as your torpedoes can cover the remainder. Still, it pays to keep in mind just how long you'll need to push in order to guarantee those torpedo hits. This is a harrowing experience and every bit of speed you can squeeze out of Paolo Emilio's engines counts. This all comes back to Paolo Emilio having a pretty steep learning curve. What appears on the surface to be a straight forward calculation is far more nuanced. With this speed and decent agility, she should be an excellent kiting gunship if it weren't for that horrid reload. Suicide-torping should be easy if it weren't for the fact her consumables had such short active-periods. Worse, Co-Op won't help you learn these traits. Bots are dumb and they will make this ship's speed seem just right for pulling off shenanigans that will only get you killed against human opponents so you're not going to get any reasonable practice there. VERDICT: Damn-fast but not damn-fast for damn-well long enough. Anti-Aircraft Defense Flak Bursts: 2 for 1,540 damage per blast. Long Ranged (up to 4.6km): 52.5dps Short Ranged (up to 2.0km): 96.4dps Paolo Emilio's anti-aircraft damage numbers aren't terrible. They're downright respectable even. The issue here is that she doesn't have the range to give her guns enough time on target to do anything. She's a ready victim to dedicated air attack without the concealment to avoid being detected in the first place and lacking a long-lasting smoke screen to discourage CVs from loitering. While not quite on the level of French destroyer vulnerability, Paolo Emilio is a juicy and easy target for carriers. VERDICT: Yer dead. I did not shoot those Messerschmitts down. That was done by the combined firepower of the Baltimore and North Carolina behind me. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 9.08km / 7.13km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 3.68km / 2.98km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 3.65km sea / 2.7km air Main Battery Firing Range: 11.3km to 15.73km with full upgrades. The last piece of the Paolo Emilio puzzle is her Vision Control (or "Refrigerator" as Lert coined it many years ago). Let's start with the obvious. Paolo Emilio's surface detection range is nothing short of appalling. To give you an idea, there are only five destroyers with worse surface detection ranges. They are: 10km - Khabarovsk, tier X Soviet 9.88km - Kléber, tier X French 9.54km - Mogador, tier IX French 9.40km - Tashkent, tier IX Soviet 9.20km - Udaloi, tier IX Soviet In most destroyer versus destroyer encounters, you are not sneaking up on your opponent. With the exception of those those five ships, you will always be spotted first. Taking Radio Location to help identify the vector of spotting destroyers is quite handy, albeit an expensive solution to this problem. Heads-up encounters with destroyers should largely be avoided given Paolo Emilio's poor gun damage output unless the target is exposed and/or crippled. Trust her speed to keep enemies at arm's length, but be aware that playing keep-away constantly will surrender map control and probably cost you the match. Similarly, using her speed to charge headlong into cap circles is a great way to get Paolo Emilio sunk so it's best to play more passively around objectives lest she have a ton of ready support. Next on the list is what she does not have: Namely any detection consumables. As the meta has progressed, Hydroacoustic Search has become more commonplace on high-tier destroyers. Surveillance Radar too has proliferated. This is doubly important to keep in mind when her Exhaust Smoke Generator is active as she is effectively flying blind during the 35 to 40 seconds that it's active. While battleships with active firing guns are easy to see through her smoke, smaller vessels are not. Speaking of her Exhaust Smoke Generator, it is painfully easy to forget how short-lived this consumable operates for. While the X-ray Papa Unaone signal helps immeasurably with its added fives seconds of emission, this still gives her a pittance when it comes to concealment time. Do not panic-blurt her smoke. Also: don't panic fire her guns while she's in smoke lest you light yourself for an enemy you didn't know was there. The reset timer on her smoke is still painfully long (two minutes and twenty seconds) and a premature blast of smoke inside of radar or hydro range will do her no favours. The same can be said if she's being hounded by aircraft or enemy lolibotes. Once the smoke clears, Paolo Emilio may still find herself in trouble. While her smoke is useful defensively, it's best to keep her out of such problem situations in the first place, preserving it for the suicide-rushes she was designed around. Paolo Emilio's vision control is pretty terrible all told. She's reliant on her speed to make up for it and as shown previously, she's not fast enough for long enough to correct all of these problems. Her Exhaust Smoke Generator is powerful, opening up the possibility of some nice offensive and defensive actions but it has its drawbacks too. It's too short lived and she flies blind while its operating. Her fortunes tend to reside on how well her smoke is utilized. VERDICT: Her success is dictated by how well you can use her smoke. Final Evaluation Wargaming designed Paolo Emilio to be a one trick pony. In their own words: Yet despite this, she ended up being delightfully more complex. She can run and gun. She can even play the role of a destroyer interceptor, trusting on her alpha strike and durability to outlast her opponent. She's not good at either of these roles, but she does demonstrate flexibility enough to pull these off in a pinch. They're just not something you should base her entire play around. It's easy to dismiss Paolo Emilio as nothing more than a YOLO-bote. But even in that role, pulling this off successfully isn't always simple. Well, outside of co-op, it isn't simple. Paolo Emilio is like one of the strongest co-op botes I've ever played. Wait in the wings for the enemy DDs to be taken out and then YOLO your way to 130,000+ damage easy as you slash through the enemy cruisers / battleships with her fish. As a crusty ol' veteran, I unduly appreciate complexity in ship performance. But therein lies the trap. Just because a ship is complex, that doesn't necessarily make it good. Paolo Emilio makes you jump through a few hoops to get her to perform even to a reasonable level (again in most PVP encounters -- PVE need not apply) but that's not necessarily a good thing for the average consumer. There are a lot of ways to counter a YOLO-rush from Paolo Emilio and running into these counters time and again can be discouraging. Do I think Paolo Emilio is worth it? Yeah, she's fun. I like her. I'm not sure she's so much fun that I'd go through the slog of regrinding through the Research Bureau over and over and over again. I'd do that for Siegfried but Paolo Emilio is a much harder sell that way. Now I say this without having enjoying much success in Paolo Emilio in PVP battles. My first forays into PVP with her were downright disastrous, if not comical. She really is not an easy ship to play but that, to me, is definitely part of her appeal. Like Haida, if you do well in Paolo Emilio, it's because you played well. Furthermore, it's not because you overcame an unfair set of difficulties either. I will say this: If Wargaming opens up a 1 vs 1 Ranked Battle season at tier IX, Paolo Emilio will be HILARIOUS. Paolo Emilio swatting simulator. Kill it quick before it MIRVs. Conclusion Can't talk. Wargaming released Florida without warning. Must review.
  3. The following review of Marlborough, the tier IX premium British battleship, was sponsored by my patrons on Patreon who helped me afford this ship. Yes, I whaled for this damn thing. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as patch 0.10.11. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Wargaming has gone out of their way to actively sabotage anything redeeming about Marlborough. I would like to say that this is the kind of design I would have cooked up if I was actively trying to troll the community, but I have to be honest with myself: I am not capable of coming up with something this frustrating to play. Marlborough's sins are many, though the base premise is one that is very appealing: Lots of guns big guns firing very quickly. It's a testament to how badly the ship is built that this core design gets mangled so thoroughly. Quick Summary: A tier IX battleship with an enormous battery of sixteen, quick-firing 356mm guns. She has poor fire arcs, poor gun handling, anemic AP and HE shell performance, horrid accuracy and bad armour. PROS Enormous battery of sixteen 356mm guns with ridiculous DPM potential and fire setting. HE shells have 89mm of penetration. Solid top speed of 31.5 knots. Good concealment with a surface detection as low as 12.07km. CONS Horrible citadel placement and protection. Highly vulnerable to HE spam with her homogenous 32mm structural plate. Poor anti-torpedo defence. Some of the worst battleship sigma in the game at 1.4. Only modest range. Awful fire arcs and poor gun handling. Terrible shells with anemic individual performance across AP penetration, HE damage and fire chance. Slow rudder shift time. Unlike other British battleships, her Repair Party only queues 50% of penetration damage. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme Marlborough punishes players. If you try and use her as designed, you'll end up back in port very quickly. Her horrible citadel placement combined with terrible fire arcs means that if you open fire and the enemy shoots back, you're going to lose the exchange. And better still, she's just fast enough to get you into position to get spanked without enough agility or protection to survive attempting to disengage. This is toxic to inexperienced players who will find themselves getting smoked for playing the ship exactly as envisioned. How is that fair? Marlborough's carry potential is as mild as may. The surest path to reasonable numbers from this thing is to spam HE. But those reasonable numbers won't come quickly and you better know when it's safe (and necessary) to push. Marlborough doesn't do you any favours when it comes to outlasting the enemy and you're certainly not going to win any damage trades. Most of your game play in this thing devolves to bow tanking and hugging islands. Options The only surprises with Marlborough's options is how few (and crappy) they are. Consumables For instance: Marlborough only has two consumables. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a British battleship with a 15 second active period, unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard, but not for a British battleship, which often have all sorts of weirdness going on. Instead, Marlborough's consumable is akin to one you might find on a French, German or Japanese battleship. Marlborough's version comes with four charges base and an 80 second reset timer. It heals up to 14% on her maximum health over 28 seconds. It queues up 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage coming from torpedoes, bombs, rockets and shells and 100% of all other damage types. Upgrades I'm not a fan of using upgrades to band-aid over flaws, but on Marlborough, it's almost necessary. Start with Main Armaments Modification 1. Next, start building up your anti-fire regimen with Damage Control System Modification 1, though we might not go full hog here. You have a choice in slot three. Aiming System Modification 1 is generally going to be optimal, HOWEVER, Marlborough's fire angles are crap and her gun handling isn't good, so Main Battery Modification 2 isn't a bad idea. it will also save you a couple of commander skill points from having to purchase Grease the Gears. Priority Target is much more important for Marlborough, so saving those two points here is pretty important. Similarly, in slot four, Damage Control System Modification 2 is optimal for reducing fire damage. HOWEVER, Marlborough's fire angles are crap and her gun handling isn't good. Therefore, having the improved rudder shift time from Steering Gears Modification 1 isn't a terrible idea. Concealment System Modification 1 is the only consumable worth considering in slot five. You've got another choice to consider in slot six. Understandably, having an even faster reload is most appealing in Marlborough. Main Battery Modification 3 enables that, dropping her reload from 25 seconds down to 22 seconds. However, given Marlborough's fragility woes, standing further back from the action isn't remiss. Taking Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 increases her range from a modest 20.86km to a respectable 24.2km. Commander Skills I don't think anyone is really surprised I get to re-use this same battleship commander skill graphic yet again. Without improved secondaries, there's nothing really noteworthy here, so fall back on the standard battleship survivability build. Camouflage Marlborough came with two camouflages when you unlock her via the dockyard. They provide the usual bonuses for a tier IX premium: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. Marlborough's War Paint camo is the typical over-the-top patriotic style we've seen repeatedly in World of Warships. As garish as the War Paint camo is, Marlborough's default Type 10 camo makes it look downright appealing. Blech. This camo pattern is hideous. The alternative palette (unlocked through the Naval Aviation collection), tones down the Type 10's garish colours at least. Firepower Main Battery: Sixteen 356mm/45 guns in 4x4 turrets with an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration Secondary Battery: Sixteen 133mm/50 guns in 8x2 turrets in superfiring pairs firing forward and aft down each side. Let's start with the obvious: On paper, Marlborough has fantastic damage output. Sixteen battleship calibre guns with a 25 second reload are a potential nightmare. With the right upgrade, Marlborough can reduce this to 22 seconds. Marlborough puts a lot of shells downrange very quickly and she has the potential to stack damage out faster than her contemporaries. This is the dream that Wargaming is selling, but it's not a dream that's easily realized. As we'll see, there are a stack of problems that get in the way, making this advertised gameplay challenging to achieve at best and downright frustrating to pursue. Marlborough is a case study on why DPM charts shouldn't be taken at face value. Problem the First Much ado has been made about Marlborough's poor dispersion but it's not as bad as players imagine. This lies solely at the feet of her 1.4 sigma which is among the worst sigma values in the game. Marlborough's dispersion values are otherwise normal for a British battleship, using the same horizontal dispersion values as most of the British, American and German vessels. Thus any accuracy woes the ship suffers must be laid at the feet of her shell grouping. So the question becomes just how bad is 1.4 sigma? Well here, judge for yourself: These are three of my "standard dispersion tests". This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a Fuso bot. All of these tests were conducted using the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade to reduce dispersion by 7%. The Fuso bot was stationary and lacking camouflage. Shots came in from right to left. Two of these dispersion tests were conducted with Marlborough's 1.4 sigma. One was conducted with King George V, who uses identical guns but has 1.8 sigma instead. The difference may be a little harder to discern than expected. Sigma is an often overvalued statistic among players and represeents only a trend, not a guarantee of better accuracy on a per volley (and per match) basis. Dispersion is highly volatile, even with excellent sigma parameters. Marlborough's poor sigma makes it less likely that shells cluster towards the centre of the target area, spreading them out to the same overall area as her contemporaries but more like a "shotgun blast" than ships with higher values. Still, thanks to RNGeebus, it's entirely possible to have good salvos with poor sigma and terrible salvos with excellent sigma. With how few salvos are often fired in a single match of World of Warships and how few key "match defining" shots are needed to make accuracy stand out for good or ill, Marlborough's poor sigma value generates vastly different experiences for players. Missing key citadel hits when the perfect broadside is available is infuriating and likely to stick in someone's head, especially with the knowledge that had the shells behaved, a Devastating Strike was guaranteed. I spent a few days combing over accuracy statistics of some of the better players who had unlocked Marlborough and compared them to how said players did in HMS Lion. The overall accuracy difference was about 1% to 4%. So Marlborough's accuracy is worse, but it's not worse on a level that would be readily apparent if you just went by number of hits. That's perhaps misleading as the quality of said hits will also suffer. There's an enormous disparity in player experience for having a salvo land three citadel hits versus one that lands three over penetrations through the super structure. So yes, Marlborough's sigma value is bad, but it's not game-defining terrible. It's a flaw that's worth keeping in mind, but I personally feel that the import of sigma is overvalued. Problem the Second Marlborough's TERRIBLE fire angles are why I hate playing her. It's no secret that I despise a ship with poor firing angles, particularly if it's paired with shoddy gun handling. Marlborough ticks both of these boxes and, as we'll later see in the durability and agility sections, compounds it with hilariously bad protection and sloppy turning. In order to fire all sixteen guns, Marlborough opens herself up to taking citadel hits in return from not only enemy battlehips but some high-tier cruisers as well. This danger is so pronounced that you can only cycle all your sixteen guns when the Red Team is too busy to shoot back. And so, her main selling feature is horribly compromised. In practical terms, Marlborough is not a sixteen-gun battleship. She's an eight-gun battleship, incapable of using her full broadside for fear of getting clobbered or beaching herself every time she does. For expert players, the big drawback here are her rearward firing angles. Marlborough cannot kite to save her life. In order to trade fire, her only option is to fight bow-in, preferably keeping an island to one flank to prevent crossfire. This severely limits not only her firepower but overall flexibility. Marlborough should be treated as an eight-gun battleship that can occasionally fire sixteen guns. Between her awful fire angles, poor protection and agility, she cannot take advantage of her full broadside unless the Reds are already losing or they're idiots. While bow-tanking at high tiers is nothing new, it is much more pronounced iwht Marlborough. Thus, I feel that it's this second issue, Marlborough's gun handling and fire arcs, that is the most damning for the ship. But we're not done trash-talking yet... Problem the Third Marlborough's AP shells are effectively non-functional. Alright, I'm exaggerating but Marlborough's AP shells are very bad. As 356mm rounds, they lack penetration necessary at this tier. Outside of 14km, they lose all ability to contest battleship belt armour and their ability to citadel enemy battleships falls away significantly closer. Given Marlborough's horrible fire angles, gun handling and protection woes, taking her into a brawl to be able to use her AP decisively is a loser-move. Firing at range means aiming for superstructures and the upper hull, but her dispersion makes that a bit of a crap shoot anyway. You would think that it would get better when facing cruisers but it's still a mixed bag. While she has the penetration necessary to land citadel hits against cruisers at just about any range, she lacks the ability to overmatch anything but very light cruisers like Minotaur, Edinburgh or Smolensk. I would have thought Wargaming would have at least gone so far as to give her AP rounds improved auto-ricochet angles to prop up their poor penetration values and lack of overmatch but it's not meant to be. This means that most cruisers can simply face-tank Marlborough's salvos, risking only taking over penetrating hits through their superstructure or turrets. And speaking of over penetrations, Marlborough doesn't even benefit from the short fuse timers of other Royal Navy battleships. Her 0.033s fuse timers makes over penetrations much more likely against cruisers, especially ships with a narrow beam like Ochakov and Smolensk. With her AP rounds being such poor performers, that just leaves her HE. Problem the Fourth So Marlborough is ostensibly relegated to being an HE spammer. With Marlborough's AP being so crap, I would have thought that Wargaming would have leaned more heavily on Marlborough's HE performance but that's not the case. Like Agincourt and Repulse before her, Wargaming has been nerfing the HE performance of newer Royal Navy battleship designs. But while Agincourt's HE was only gently nudged away from these higher damage and fire setting values, Marlborough's were thoroughly gutted. So while Marlborough is an HE spammer, she's a bad HE spammer, especially when you remember that between fire arcs and accuracy, you're not landing as many hits as her on-paper design would have you think. Those fearsome 10k+ salvos just don't materialize very often and Marlborough is usually only slapping targets for 3k at a time (if even that -- her individual shells usually strike for 480 to 1,584 damage). She's not even a particularly fearsome firebug. On paper she's the best at her tier. In practice, Alsace and the German battleships are more apt. Marlborough just doesn't get to fire all sixteen guns often enough (or hit often enough) to realize anywhere close to her potential. The best thing she has going for her is the increased HE penetration on her shells, but 89mm of HE penetration isn't that much more effective than the 59mm of HE penetration she would have otherwise had. There's a few decks and upper hulls that she can now directly damage that she might not have otherwise, but it's such a niche ability that it's not a merit worth considering. Marlborough's fire setting potential is the best at her tier though it's surprisingly only marginally better than that of Lion. This, of course, hinges on the ability to be able to fire all of her guns and hit stuff reliably ... which you won't. Problem the Fifth This last bit is just nit-picky but it plays into how inept Marlborough's base design is. The best way to counteract all of Marlborough's gunnery and durability issues is to keep her at range. From further away, she's a less appealing target. This, in turn, gives her more opportunity to take full advantage of her fast-reloading broadside. Her HE (crappy as it is) isn't affected by distance and her armour becomes more effective against AP rounds fired back at her. But, once again, Marlborough is held back. While her 20.86km range isn't terrible (it's average for her tier) there's two things to keep in mind. First, Marlborough does not have access to a Spotter Aircraft consumable to provide a temporary boost to her reach. Second, unlike most of the other battleships at her tier, Marlborough's performance improves considerably the more reach she has. When you're bad or your battleship is bad, humping the back of the map and farming fire damage is the way to go. If Marlborough had a few more kilometers of base range, then her design would work as advertised. As it is, taking Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2 helps band-aid a lot of her other problems. Secondaries They suck. Ignore them. Summary Marlborough is a ship that punishes you for trying to play her to her advertised strengths. Her guns are difficult to bring to bear. And when you do get guns on target, she's not going to land as many hits as you might imagine. And what few hits you do land aren't likely to be effective on a per-hit basis. Would that Marlborough's problems end here, but there's more problems coming that compounds her gunnery woes. Her dispersion is bad, but it's not as bad as you're imagining. She has a lot of guns and they do fire quickly, but it's rare you get to use all sixteen of them. Her individual shell performance sucks. Unless you can land a lot of hits, her salvos don't feel particularly strong. VERDICT: Wargaming believes that you should be punished for wanting to shoot Marlborough's guns. Shame on you. Durability Hit Points: 76,800 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 32mm / 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 381mm belt Torpedo Damage Reduction: 23% You could be forgiven for imagining that Marlborough's citadel layout mirrored that of Vanguard or the King George V-class battleships. But it's worse than that. It's much worse. While those battleships have citadels that sit at or just slightly above the waterline, Marlborough's citadel is hiked up to her nipples. The one (and only) advantage of this is that her citadel roof is made up of the 152mm reinforced deck found on most ships that's usually hidden by the armour viewer, making her immune to overmatching AP rounds that strike at a shallow angle. But, because her citadel sits so high (indeed, taking up the full height of her belt armour) the above advantage is irrelevant by making lateral hits against her citadel such an easy shot. I might have been okay with this if she had REALLY THICK armour, but 381mm of nearly vertical plate with no extra bells and whistles is pathetic at tier IX. Marlborough is dangerously vulnerable to citadel hits against her contemporaries at almost any distance. But it gets worse. Remember those awful fire angles we discussed earlier? If you try and fire sixteen guns at a target, their return fire can (and will) citadel you. Marlborough's fire angles are so terrible that incoming shells striking her belt will auto-pass their ricochet check a minimum of 81% of the time when she's firing forward and ALWAYS when she fires over her shoulder to the rear. It's never (EVER!) a good idea to trade fire with enemy battleships using all of Marlborough's guns. You'll give up huge chunks of your health if you don't simply die. Things don't get much better against cruisers or destroyers. Her homogeneous 32mm structural plate makes her an easy HE damage farm from heavy and light cruisers. Given her damage output woes, she's not likely to fare well in these trades. Incoming torpedoes from lolibotes and subs don't have to contend with very much anti-torpedo protection either. And if you're thinking "oh, well she's soft skinned because Royal Navy battleships get a good heal", stop right there. Marlborough has a worse heal than any of the other Royal Navy battleships in the game. So not only does she take more damage than other Royal Navy battleships, she doesn't recover health anywhere near as quickly. If you see Marlborough on the enemy team, know that she's an easy target. As an xp pinata, there's a lot to like with Marlborough. But playing her? She's a total drag. Marlborough's potential health is totally average. But when you combine this with her poor protection scheme, she's a lot more fragile than these numbers suggest. There are hidden armour plates in the bow and stern of Marlborough. Unfortunately, her citadel sits so high that any shells bouncing off these plates will just slam into her 305mm bulkheads and citadel her anyway. VERDICT: Bad, horrible and terrible. Agility Top Speed: 31.5 knots Turning Radius: 860 meters Rudder Shift Time: 16.8 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 4.2º/s at 23.5kts Main Battery Traverse Rate: 4.0º/s I wish Marlborough's agility was enough to bandaid her other problem. Sadly, one issue sours the experience. Let's start with the good: Marlborough's top speed is great. 31.5 knots is very comfortable at this tier. Similarly, her 860m turning radius isn't terrible; it's better than a lot of the other high-tier battleships, so I've got to give her a pass here as well. These two factors combine to a 4.2º/s rotation rate when she's at top speed which isn't stellar but it's okay. Unfortunately, this is enough to allow her to out-turn her turrets, but I've already complained enough about that. So you're probably wondering where the issue is. It's her rudder shift time. 16.8 seconds isn't appalling but it's pretty bad. And given her fire angle woes, her lack of torpedo protection and her citadel vulnerability, it's just that much worse. Marlborough feels like she handles poorly. Just Dodging™ isn't in her repertoire and you can forget being able to swing her butt out and back in order to flash her guns and avoid return fire. If she had Vanguard or Yukon's rudder shift time, I might be more forgiving here but given what Marlborough needs, her agility just doesn't deliver. Two things to note with this graphic. First, Giuseppe Verdi's agility is assumed -- I have not tested it yet. She appears to have the same agility as Marco Polo (I suspect her agility performance is cloned) but until I get my hands on her, I won't know for sure. The second item to note is the lack of data for Prinz Rupprecht. I have not unlocked her yet to test her. VERDICT: Close but no cigar. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 3+1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 6km Long Ranged (up to 6km): 80.5 dps at 75% accuracy (60 dps) Medium Ranged (up to 3.5km): 528.5 dps at 75% accuracy (396 dps) There's not much to say here. Marlborough doesn't put out a lot of damage overall. She's pretty crappy when it comes to how many flak explosions she generates (even if the individual hits are beefier than many at her tier). The best that could be said about her is that she has good reach with her long-ranged batteries so she can support her allies decently. But she just doesn't generate the numbers needed to make any CV player balk. VERDICT: A whole lot of meh. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 15.36km / 12.07km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 11.94km / 9.67km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 13.35km Maximum Firing Range: Between 20.86km and 24.2km when equipped with Artillery Plotting Room Modification 2. Marlborough's concealment is good. As it stands presently, Marlborough has the tenth lowest upgraded surface detection of all of the battleships within her matchmaking spread. She ends up with a surface detection around 12km which is very comfortable and about on par with a lot of cruisers she faces. With her guns silenced, she has little to fear from being spotted by larger ships, with only the usual culprits of submarines, aircraft carriers and destroyers being able to routinely outspot her. In late game settings, this gets quite powerful, particularly when she needs to disengage. It's unfortunate that she cannot pair this with good kiting fire angles, but such are the woes of her design. There are two other flies in the ointment. The first is her relative lack of range with no ability to boost it short of taking a 6th-slot upgrade. The second is a lack of any bonus detection consumables. Though the days are long gone where orbiting aircraft could help sniff out threats, consumables like Hydroacoustic Search aren't unheard of on a fair number of battleships and Marlborough goes without. Overall, her concealment is one of the few straight-up good things about the vessel. Marlborough has excellent concealment for a battleship. VERDICT: Good, but not good enough to save the ship. Anti-Submarine Warfare ASW Armament Type: Airstrike from 1.5km to 10km (plus bomb drop column) Number of Salvos: Up to three Reload Time: 75 seconds Aircraft: Two S.25 Sunderlands with 2,000hp per plane. Drop Pattern: 4 bombs each dropped evenly over roughly a 1.75km column Maximum Bomb Damage: 3,000 Fire Chance: 17% I'm again merely reporting this for posterity's sake rather than speaking towards its efficacy. The Royal Navy battleships have some of the better airstrikes in the game at this stage in testing. But with overhauls planned, who knows how things will change in the future? VERDICT: Don't know, don't care until things get closer to final. Final Evaluation Welcome to flavour country. Like the tobacco industry, Wargaming will tell you their product is well researched and fine for consumer consumption. This is despite their own evidence that players do not enjoy ships with compromised main gunnery performance. Playing Marlborough isn't likely to give you cancer as far as I'm aware. It just feels like it. This is a bad design on Wargaming's part. The amount of arrogance or ignorance needed to think that it's a good idea to [edited]-slap players for playing the ship the way they promoted her is just astounding. The worst thing is that Wargaming is patently aware that frustrating gunnery isn't received well by the player base, yet they go out of their way to cook up this mess. I'm glad most players I've encountered seem aware that this ship is poorly designed and are keeping away. I really wish Wargaming would stop jerking us around with bad products like this. But let's talk about what a "bad" product means in the context of this game, because invariably there's going to be someone that enjoys this ship -- whether by it's own merits or simply to because they're an unrepentent hipster that can't help but find enjoyment in things panned by the community. It's important to appreciate that unlike her sister game World of Tanks, bad premiums in World of Warships create the illusion of being redeemable. Any ship in the game is capable of damaging any other. It was a meme back in the day, but you could take a tier II Umikaze into tier X matches and with a bit of skill, still pull of some surprising numbers. This addage holds true for Marlborough. She's a bad ship, make no mistake, but she can still generate numbers. Fire and HE spam are the great equalizers after all. All it takes is someone stubborn enough to sit behind the helm and keep trying and Marlborough will eventually deliver. What makes Marlborough bad is the amount work needed to get the same results as other ships. Meanwhile, your team is forced to carry harder to make up for your ships deficits. This isn't an insurmountable ask by any means given how World of Warships is designed. But Marlborough is still a liability. This is obviously in the context of PVP modes. Bots are dumb and you can make nearly anything work in Co-Op. It wouldn't take much to make Marlborough less punitive to play. Wargaming can't do much about her fire angles without clipping into the ship's geometry, so that's a wash. But they could do one of or any of the following: Drop her citadel down another deck. Give her an improved Repair Party. Increase her range by 2.5km. Give her Duke of York's improved auto-ricochet angles (60º to 75º) on her AP shells. Give her King George V's HE rounds. Improve her rudder shift time dramatically. Improve her gun handling dramatically. Even the addition of only of these would vastly improve the experience of playing Marlborough. Some are admittedly powerful (KGV HE, I am looking at you) and might necessitate further balancing measures. Preserving her as-advertised 25 second reload might necessitate giving up range, speed and concealment. I would happily sacrifice those to make her a better gun platform. Main battery performance is the key aspect of game play for battleships in World of Warships and Wargaming screwed it up bad with Marlborough. You shouldn't feel like you're fighting with the ship in order to fire her guns -- especially not with a vessel that comes with a $200 price tag. Shame on you, Wargaming. Mouse out.
  4. The past 5 years I have been primarily playing BB's. It may be time to expand my horizons. I do have the Hindenburg and De Moines, but will appreciate your in put as to which cruiser lines to grind to tier 9 and 10. Which are the best ships and why? Any input on your De moines experience is welcome too! Thank you.
  5. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review: Pommern

    The following is a review of Pommern, the tier IX premium German battleship. Wargaming very kindly provided me access to her at no cost to myself. To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed here are current as of patch 0.9.10. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. 2020 has been one Hell of a year, and not in a good way. There was so much craziness going on, it's easy to miss that 2020 was the year that German premiums got good. Mainz, München, Lowenhardt, Agir and Siegfried -- they're all damn respectable premiums. Even Odin and Z-35 aren't terrible. To cap everything off, in late summer Wargaming released Pommern. On paper, she looks kinda blah. A slow-firing, 380mm armed version of Friedrich der Große? Screw off. This ship has no place being decent. Yet to hear the hype surrounding this ship, she's not only decent but well liked. So what the Hell happened? Well, gentle reader, let's take a look... Pommern = Chungus-Tirpitz. Damn it, that's a much better name. Quick Summary: A Friedrich der Große-class battleship with twelve, inaccurate 380mm guns. She also has two quad torpedo launchers and the Hydroacoustic Search consumable. PROS German citadel protection, effectively making her immune to AP shell citadel hits except under extreme circumstances. Excellent armour profile for shrugging off HE hits with an ice-breaker bow, thick upper hull and amidship deck armour plates. Heavy broadside of twelve guns. Heavy, long-ranged secondary gun battery with improved HE penetration values. She has torpedoes (!) She has access to Hydroacoustic Search. CONS Absolutely appalling gun fire angles. Long 33 second reload. 380mm AP shells cannot overmatch 27mm hull sections found so commonly within her matchmaking. 1.5 sigma dispersion on her main battery. 105mm secondaries have only 26mm of penetration, limiting their effectiveness against heavy cruisers and battleships. Horrible handling. Anti-aircraft defence is too short ranged. Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme German battleships are very new-player friendly. They are ostensibly immune to citadel hits. They have good armour protection for shrugging off HE shells. Their gunnery has been improved too, so it's not like you're dealing with the worst dispersion in the game anymore. Secondaries are fun and easy to use, automatically hoovering up damage. Aside from being packed in at a high tier, Pommern is a very easy ship to see success in. The only downsides for new players is that she forces them to sail broadside to unmask all of her guns which can lead to her getting chunked by return fire. While these aren't likely to ever be citadel hits, that doesn't really matter when every salvo lands multiple penetrations. For experts, Pommern provides all of the usual German battleship brawling benefits with the added plus of the combination of torpedoes and her Hydroacoustic Search. She can play more boldly than Tirpitz can, for example. She has more raw durability than Odin does too, so it pays to play aggressive when the timing is right. Brawl and jousting kills are the best kills and this is the ship to do it in. However, only a skilled player can pull these off with any reliability outside of PVE modes. Options Pommern is pretty bog-standard for a German battleship, showing up with Hydroacoustic Search and baiting players to spec secondaries instead of their main battery. Consumables Pommern's Damage Control Party is standard for a German battleship. It comes with unlimited charges. It's active for 15 seconds. It has an 80s reset timer. Her Repair Party is also standard, healing up to 14% of her health over 28 seconds per charge. It queues up 10% of citadel damage, 50% of penetration damage and 100% of everything else. It comes with four charges and an 80s reset timer. Finally, she has a Hydroacoustic Search consumable common to tier IX and X German battleships. Pommern starts with three charges which are active for 120s each and a 120s reset timer. It detects torpedoes up to 4km away and ships up to 6km away. Upgrades & Captain Skills Look, there are two ways you can build Pommern -- optimally or the correct way. Optimally involves building to buff your main battery firepower while simultaneously building for fire mitigation. This will give you the most consistent performance out of Pommern. Hey, look! It's this graphic again! Thankfully, you're not a snivelling, simp-wimplodite that caves to peer pressure. You know that the best experiences in World of Warships come from out-brawling your opponents. Build your ship towards going ham with secondaries, Hydroacoustic Search upgrades and improved rudder shift time. Chicks dig brawlers. I should know. Make the right choice. Note that I didn't flag IFHE here. Camouflage Pommern has access to two camouflage options. They provide identical bonuses standard for tier IX premiums: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains. It needs to be said: Pommern's default camouflage is bloody gorgeous. The alternate palette isn't bad either. Finally there's the "Iron Cross" camouflage pattern which was earned through completing missions tied to the release of the German Aircraft Carriers. Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 380mm guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y super-firing configuration Secondary Battery: Eight 150mm guns in 4x2 turrets and sixteen 105mm guns in 8x2 turrets divided evenly down the two sides. Torpedoes: Eight tubes in 2x4 launchers with one mounted on each side between the funnels. Pommern is no Thunderer. In terms of firepower, the two ships are diametrically opposed. Thunderer has massive, quick-firing and super-accurate guns with decent fire angles but horrible gun handling. Pommern has relatively small-calibre guns, she's slow-reloading, she has good traverse but is stuck with horrible fire angles. Pommern subscribes to the whole 'toss enough poop at the wall' philosophy where accuracy is concerned. Conversely, you can brawl with Pommern and brawl well. Thunderer just sort of whimpers and dies in those situations. That's enough of my soon-to-be-retired meme-boat. Let's talk more about Pommern. With many guns comes much DPM. Pommern doesn't quite keep pace with Alsace, the other twelve 380mm-gun armed battleship at this tier. Alsace has a better AP shell and slightly faster reload. Pommern's HE DPM is pretty German -- which is to say crappy. Her one advantage is her 1/4 HE penetration (95mm) which means that while her individual salvos don't do as much potential damage, she's more likely to hurt hard-targets like German and Soviet battleships. Approximate AP penetration values drawn from wowsft.com. Pommern's AP penetration isn't great, but that's largely owing to 380mm guns being rather small caliber for her tier. Belt armour and citadel protection gets ridiculously thick within her matchmaking too, so you can't count on long-range citadel hits against other battleships. An Egg Through a Garden Hose Pommern has four weaknesses with her main battery firepower: Her fire angles suck. Her reload time sucks. Her dispersion sucks. Her gun calibre sucks. I hate Pommern's fire arcs. Her 5º/s rotation rate is okay, though. A-turret: 38º off the stern. B-turret: 41º off the stern. X & Y-turret: 42º off the bow For those of you who can't abide any ship with obvious weaknesses, you can tap out right here. Those of you who couldn't look past Odin's hit point total: shoo. Begone. This isn't the ship for you. For the rest of you, let's go over these drawbacks and look at them in closer detail. There's always a price for having a lot of guns -- at least until you hit tier X. Usually this is just crappy dispersion but it's not uncommon for battleships to have compromised rates of fire too. While not as bad as the new American battleships, Pommern has a "reload tax" for her twelve gun armament, paying for it with an extra three seconds on each reload. Even with this deficit, her AP damage output still keeps ahead of all of the other eight and nine gun armed battleships at her tier with the exception of Musashi and Jean Bart (and then only when the French ship is on drugs) so that's nice. Pommern's HE damage is another story. German HE shells, while benefiting from massively improved penetration, tend to suffer from a very mild case of being the absolute worst. She's only just ahead of Friedrich der Große, the six-gun armed Georgia and the Sovetsky Soyuz-sisters when it comes to sustained HE damage output. You might think that this means you should stay away from her HE. Well, no. It has a purpose. While you should generally stick to AP shells wherever possible, her HE rounds do have their strengths. Though she lacks raw damage, her higher penetration is more likely to ensure her shells will do damage against bow-tanking battleships. Pommern's 95mm of penetration should ensure that short of striking turrets, belts and conning towers that her numbers tick over -- modest numbers to be sure, but still. Similarly, an unappreciated aspect of German HE shells is that their fire setting chances aren't terrible. While not British-good, they are reliable fire setters which can be a good avenue for some supplementary damage (at least so long as you didn't spring for IFHE for your secondaries). This is particularly true when trading fire with intransient bow-on battleships or just before a brawl to tax enemy Damage Control Parties before your secondaries open up. Despite her poor damage showing, Pommern's a pretty decent fire bug for a tier IX battleship. German HE damage is lackluster but their fire chance per shell is pretty good. This performance is, of course, assuming you can stack the hits which has its own set of problems. This all said, Pommern's AP shells are far and above better, damage wise. The only issue is that their overmatch potential at tier IX has a lot to be desired. With more and more ships having 27mm+ sections of armour along their hulls, Pommern cannot reliably penetrate angled targets. Angling against Pommern works very well in anything but a very light cruiser. While there are a glut of 25mm cruiser bows and sterns to bullseye (and the occasional 26mm bow on tier VII battleships when Matchmaker is being gentle), Pommern's AP rounds are far from reliable. If it were just a question of having enough raw AP penetration, it wouldn't be so much of an issue, but her inability to best 27mm+ hull sections is a real drawback given their prevalence. But all of these questions of rate of fire, overmatch and flagging HE damage are all moot if you can't reliably put shells on target. Pommern's dispersion is ... well, it's not good. With Pommern's 1.5 sigma rating, RNGeebus has been given free reign to troll or bless you as He sees fit. Her twelve guns deliver a shotgun blast of shells flying every which way. Your aim can be perfect only to be plagued by overshoots and undershoots. Similarly, you can be well off your mark only to have this same spread of shot veer a shell straight into your target's citadel, making you look like a genius. The better you are at aiming, the more frustrating Pommern's dispersion seems. Yes, stray shots will sometimes work out in your favour but it's not something to be relied upon. Couple this with her longer reload and this wonky sprays are all the more saddening. Overall, Pommern's main battery gunnery is a mixed bag. Now, I am of the opinion that having twelve guns solves a lot of problems. Her 1.5 sigma isn't that bad when there's so many shells being spat out. Her 33 second reload isn't so awful that her damage suffers thanks to firing so many barrels at once. Her AP shells might not be able to overmatch all targets, but when the shells do land, they have decent penetration and respectable damage values. Her HE shells might have low damage per shell, but they have great penetration and solid fire setting chances. Her fire angles make my eyes bleed but at least her turret traverse is okay. So there's give and take in nearly every aspect. I think it's easiest to say that Pommern's guns are simply "sufficient" and leave it at that. They're not terrible but they're not good. Once again, a standard dispersion test. This is 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso bot. Shots are coming in from left to right with the Fuso effectively bow-tanking. Pommern was equipped with the Aiming System Modification 1 upgrade, effectively making this sampling a "best case scenario" in terms of her overall dispersion area. Pommern's torpedo arcs are very comfortable and you can use them to ensure that you're not overangling against an enemy. Just switch over fast to your torpedoes. If you can line the fish up with the bow of your opponent, you're showing too much side and are in danger of taking penetrating AP hits. When it comes to her secondaries, their only major drawback is the 26mm penetration on her 105mm guns. You'll be tempted to take IFHE to make them more effective but that's an expensive choice and it will severely hurt the fire chance on not only them but her main battery guns as well. It's not worth it, in my opinion, but you do you. Secondaries & Fish to the Rescue! As a certified Bigpitz, Pommern's secondaries and torpedoes are both excellent. We'll start with her torpedoes. They have one fault and that's only have a 6km range. This is a common enough flaw among German battleships; they're all shackled to this range. In PVP battles, the opportunities to use her torpedoes are uncommon because of this short reach but they are oh-so satisfying. A broadside of four torpedoes is enough to cripple just about any battleship she comes across with only the chonkiest of thunderchunkers able to shrug off said hits and stay mean. Just about anything else will be reduced to a snivelling wimplodite crying hax. You totally get bonus points if you sink a destroyer with them too. With Pommern's Hydroacoustic Search, closing to such distances is a lot less risky than it is for Tirpitz but she has more advantages over the tier VIII premium than just that. Pommern's secondaries have excellent firing angles. She doesn't contend with any of the wonky weirdness of other German battleships' fire arcs. Odin, Bismarck and Tirpitz secondaries have some turrets which behave like they're occluded when they really shouldn't be. At a 30º angle, Pommern can bring all of her secondaries to bear onto a target, bathing them in a torrent of fire from fourteen barrels worth of hot-LUV! There are only two issues with Pommern's secondaries. The first is one of accuracy. Pommern's secondaries do not have the improved dispersion found on ships like Massachusetts and Georgia. It takes her more shots to land a similar number of hits. You'll just have to deal. The second issue is one of penetration. Pommern's secondaries have the same 1/4 HE penetration of her main battery guns which is amazing. However, her 105mm secondaries "only" have 26mm of HE penetration. Without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, these guns struggle to deal direct damage to anything other than destroyers. As Pommern's 105mm guns make up the bulk of her secondary battery, it's a bit of a bummer. They're so close to being all kinds of awesome. Oh well. You'll just have to burn the thicker targets to death instead. So how good are these secondaries anyway? They're #2 in my books for secondaries at tier IX. Here they all are, ranked: Georgia - Excellent fire arcs, high rate of fire, good range and improved accuracy. The only issue with these guns is that they lack penetration to hurt anything bigger than a destroyer. While their chance to set fires is also pretty low, their improved accuracy makes up for the difference. Pommern - Excellent fire arcs, high rate of fire (105mm), good range, very high penetration. If Pommern had accuracy and/or a uniform battery of German 128mm, she'd be god-tier. Friedrich der Große - High rate of fire (105mm), good range, very high penetration. Friedrich der Große doesn't quite ditto Pommern's fire arcs so she misses out. Alsace - French secondaries look better than they are. They're held back by a lack of penetration on their 100mm shells. They can't even directly damage tier VIII+ destroyer hulls. At least they can set fires with the high number of shells they spit out. Jean Bart - She largely dittos Alsace but with worse firing angles. Izumo & Bajie - Decent range. That's really all these guns have going for them. Their fire arcs are bad. Their rate of fire is nothing special. Musashi - She just has decent range. She doesn't have enough of a broadside to be worthwhile. Lion, Iowa, Missouri, the Sovetsky Soyuz-sisters - lul. No. Playing second fiddle to Georgia's secondary is pretty damn high praise, I've got to say. Go, Bigpitz! Much better. See? These are what good fire arcs look like! Pommern's 105mm secondaries not only make up the bulk of her defensive damage output, but they also have the best fire arcs. Summary: Meh gun performance but she gets twelve of 'em, so that fixes things. Torpedoes are bae. Secondaries are bae. VERDICT: Hilarious up close. Meh at a distance. Defence Hit Points: 81,900 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 145 to 235mm / 50 to 80mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 300mm belt + 150mm turtleback + 45mm citadel wall Torpedo Damage Reduction: 25% Pommern has a big ol' slug of hit points and standard heals. Nothing fancy, just effective. Yes, I made these colours deliberately as pretty as possible. Pommern is blessed with all of the usual defensive boons of German battleships. Namely: She has a large hit point pool. She has excellent protection against cruiser-calibre HE shells. It is very difficult to land citadel hits against her with AP shells. German battleships aren't built lean. They're enormous. While this does make them a bigger target, easier to hit with ... well, anything ... it does ensure their hit point pools are on the large side. This in turn means more raw hit points can be hoovered up through their standard Repair Party consumables. This does, unfortunately, make them attractive targets for anyone looking to farm up large amounts of fire damage. While Pommern can do nothing but properly manage her Damage Control Party consumable to mitigate the resulting blazes, she is at least well protected against HE shells. Her distributed armour scheme generally just leaves her superstructure and the very tips of her bow and stern vulnerable to direct damage from small and medium caliber HE rounds. Similarly, this distributed armour scheme ensures that Pommern has little to fear from overmatching AP shells from the largest Japanese battleships. Short of better defence against bombs and torpedoes, you couldn't ask for a better armour layout. So she's fat and tough. This is nice. There's a hidden plate along the underside of the 150mm extended waterline belt. It's divided into two parts and helps plunging fire overmatching the 32mm bow from entering the citadel. The forward part is only 20mm thick. But echoing the layout of the 50mm deck plate is another 50mm plate which cannot be overmatched. Thus even if Musashi, Yamato, ARP Yamato or Shikishima overmatches the 32mm bow, it's nigh impossible for them to score citadel hits on Pommern through her snoot. There's another hidden plate in the stern protecting the citadel in a similar fashion, but it's 110mm thick. The geometry there is a bit janky to accommodate the steering gears though. Bigpitz also inherits a turtleback protection scheme for her citadel. Turtlebacks have a reputation for providing immunity to citadel hits, but this is undeserved. A well designed turtleback can help mitigate citadel damage, but this needs to have very shallow angles relative to the horizontal in order to prompt ricochet checks. It also has to be set to the correct depth so that shells can't plunge underneath it, bypassing it entirely. If the turtleback is angled too steeply, aside from providing another (hopefully) thick piece of steel to slow down incoming shells, it can actually work to the ship's detriment, steering shells via normalization mechanics into the citadel rather than away from it. Thankfully for Pommern (and most German battleships), her turtleback is well designed and short of shells being thrown at it from very long distances, it is guaranteed to auto-ricochet any AP rounds that punch through her belt. Even at these distances where her turtleback can no longer guarantee to ricochet shells, the combination of belt, turtleback and citadel armour is usually in excess of the available penetration. Pommern might take penetrating hits but the shells soon run out of steam before reaching her citadel itself. It is safe to say that she's is largely immune to AP citadel hits. While Pommern has the angles of her turtleback correct, it suffers from a high-water placement that can be bypassed. Normally this isn't an issue. However, when Pommern turns, she unwittingly hikes her citadel's protection up over the waterline "flashing her panties" as Yuro coined it. Any perfectly placed sub-waterline hits WILL citadel Pommern when she's in a turn like this. Needless to say, it's a pretty rude shock for Bigpitz drivers when they get walloped for most of their health simply for playing with their rudder. Note that this raising of her citadel happens on the inside of her turn, not the outside which dips down somewhat. This dip reduces the effective angle of her turtleback by about 2.5º or so -- it's not enough to foil her turtleback's protection but it is a slight reduction which helps with those auto-ricochet checks. This is all to say that Pommern is vulnerable while turning, but it's not an enormous and easy-to-exploit weakness. It has been hyped as being more exaggerated than it is. Just because she can take citadel hits, this does not mean that she will. To land hits like this, Pommern needs to be giving up a near perfect broadside, so time those turns appropriately, watch out for flanking fire and it becomes largely a non-issue. It is worth mentioning that this dispersed armour scheme can work against her when it comes to shrugging off AP hits, especially if you're lazy about keeping her properly angled. The thick plates of her upper hull and along her waterline ensure that every penetrating AP shell fuses. Provided the shell is slowed down sufficiently to pop inside her, she takes full penetrating hits when other battleships might only suffer over-penetrations. This is where her shoddy fire angles on her turrets is a big liability. In order to unmask her twleve gun broadside, she has to give up protection against return fire from AP shells. In order to stay AP-safe, she's reduced to a six-gun battleship. This reduced battery makes RNG's influence on her awful dispersion all the more pronounced and can be frustrating. Pommern's more telling weakness comes from torpedoes, bombs and fire. She does have a Hydroacoustic Search to help mitigate the foremost of the three, though that's no help against air-dropped fish. Similarly, AP bombs make a ruin of her and it's not like her AA defense is up to the task of keeping her super safe (more on that later). She's her own worst enemy when it comes to fire mitigation. You're going to want to build her up for secondary bonuses. This precludes her from taking much-needed (and let's face it: optimal) fire reduction skills. This means it's open season to stack blazes against her and you KNOW every Royal Navy battleship is going to paint your decks with their phat HE shells. Similarly, you can expect almost everyone else to huck HE at her given the difficulties of hurting her with AP. As awesome as full secondary builds are, the prevalence of fire damage means that such build are never optimal. Overall, Pommern is a well protected battleship -- as well protected as you could want and then some. She has her weaknesses, so do what you can to mitigate them. Otherwise, enjoy your tuff-bote. e German battleship armour is stupid complicated and the in-port armour viewer does NOT help you see everything that's important -- most notably the angles and thickness of turtleback armour but all of that other stuff I mentioned too. Note how high Pommern's citadel sits and how little of her turtleback dips beneath the water's surface -- only the corners submerge and only just. VERDICT: Top marks. Agility Top Speed: 31 knots Turning Radius: 940m Rudder Shift Time: 17.3 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s at 23.3 knots With three exceptions (and only one of them notable), tier IX battleship agility sucks inflamed, red monkey-butts. I'd call Pommern's agility a disaster but Minnesota exists, so that would feel like a misplaced superlative. Instead I'll just describe Pommern's agility as "not good". She has so little going for her here. I mean, at least she has a decent top speed of 31 knots. She also doesn't out turn her turrets, so there's that too. After that, though, everything goes the way of Harambe. Her turning radius is a travesty. Her rudder shift time is upsetting. Her rate of turn is bad though admittedly better than some of her contemporaries. However if you think that's worth celebrating then I'm worried you might also have a strange oral fascination with inflamed baboon posteriors. The best thing that could be said about Pommern's agility is that you really don't need this ship to do more than travel in a straight line most of the time. You don't need pants for the victory dance... ♫ VERDICT: Awful. The only reasonable part about her is her speed. Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 7 explosions for 1,470 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.2km. Long Ranged (up to 5.2km): 158dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 3.0km): 466dps at 70% accuracy Bigpitz is an HP pinata for enemy carriers (as are most battleships, frankly). While she does spit out a welcome amount of flak, that's hoping that enemy carrier players will oblige you by flying their planes into one of those blasts. Her AA DPS is largely centred around personal defence, being short-ranged and intense only within her closest aura. The best she can hope to do is make attack runs against her expensive -- shooting down planes only after they've dropped. Given her large size and horrible handling, she's such a tempting target for CV drops -- be it with bombs, rockets or torpedoes. AP bombs hurt. HE bombs and rockets stack those fires she's so often poorly specialized to handle and her enormous broadside makes her an easy mark for full spreads of torpedoes. Keep close to your allies to make yourself an unappealing target. Accuracy values greatly reduce the impressive baseline sustained AA DPS values listed in port. The above values have been modified by accuracy and demonstrates the numbers you're more likely to see before aircraft armour is accounted for. VERDICT: It's open season on your hit points. Refrigerator Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 17.28km / 13.58km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.81km / 10.38km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 16km Maximum Firing Range: Between 21.34km and 24.75km Well this is all just an embarrassing bucket of fail. Her surface and aerial detection are just plain bad. You're not hiding this ship. While there is an argument to "not bother", particularly when it comes to the expensive investment of skills like Concealment Expert (which could be better spent on Fire Prevention or something to boost her secondaries), the Concealment System Modification 1 upgrade is still worthwhile if only to add further disruption to enemy gunnery. Furthermore, with the large maps and longer engagement ranges in higher tiered matches, it's not that hard to get outside of 14km of enemy ships -- at least in the early minutes of the game. This can be life saving if Pommern comes under focus-fire from HE spamming ships. Still, the best way to keep her safe is arguably to use an island to break contact or at least to frustrate incoming fire. Given her crappy agility and size this is much easier said than done. You an also pull off fun tricks like parking in friendly smoke and keeping her main battery guns silent and just letting your secondaries go hog-wild. Do mind the inevitable wall of torpedoes, though. Truly, the best thing about Pommern is that she gets access to Hydroacoustic Search. The only other German battleship that gets both torpedoes and hydro is Odin, so this is pretty noteworthy. Still, having Hydoracoustic Search isn't enough to keep Pommern safe if she's stationary -- Pommern already needs to be moving to dodge anything. She doesn't have enough acceleration or agility at low speeds to get out of the way of incoming threats unless she's already moving at a fair clip. You can use this consumable offensively, which is super fun to pull off on the rare occasions where it's relevant. Do mind the retalitory fish from whatever you dug out of their smoke clouds, though. VERDICT: Terrible, generally. Hydro is nice, though. Final Evaluation If I'm terribly honest, Pommern didn't wow me. It's not that I don't think she's a good or fun ship, it's just that she treads familiar ground. Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Odin all echo Pommern's general design principles. "Bigpitz" describes her well. She's an improved, up-tiered Tirpitz. This didn't guarantee Pommern would be good, mind you -- Wargaming has mishandled such projects before (California comes to mind). But Pommern didn't stray from the established formula too much. The craziest thing about her is the inaccuracy of her guns and even that's a pretty safe measure given that she has twelve of them. I enjoyed Tirpitz, Scharnhorst and Odin, so Pommern is comfortably familiar for me. She's about as safe of a tier IX premium as Wargaming could hope to design. For Wargaming, this is doubly important given the number of "failed state" premiums there are at tier IX. The list is hella long: Missouri, Musashi, Kronshtadt, Jean Bart, Benham have all been retired with Alaska and Georgia set to join them in the new year. Seven of the fifteen tier IX premiums released so far have been or are slated to be retired with two (Black & Neustrashimy) still MIA with fates undisclosed. Pommern and the upcoming Hizen have some pretty big boots to fill with all of those absentee premiums. Pommern has to be good but she's not allowed being too good lest she become too popular and get the axe as well. I'm not trying to instill a sense of panic-buying in anyone, but I do fear that given the competency of this ship's design, she may end up being a little well liked by the masses and end up retired herself. Time will tell, I suppose. Overall, I give Pommern good marks. She performs exactly as advertised and she's different enough to be fun and novel. Good work, Wargaming. It's too bad for them that this year will be remembered for civilization threatening to collapse and not for the year that Wargaming let German ships get good. They've knocked out quite a few good hits under the German flag. Maybe that's just a sign of the Apocalypse. Thank you for reading! 
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. The latest season of clan battles reminded of me the total lack of premium T9 non-super cruiser options. I mostly played in USS Alaska, which is not as good as it once was due to the loss of fire prevention. I find it curious that WG has not released any premium non-super cruisers at this tier. I consider T9 tech tree cruisers to be weak for their tier when compared to their T10 successors (e.g. USS Buffalo vs USS Des Moines), unlike several T9 tech tree DDs and even some BBs. In addition, many have some glaring vulnerability (e.g. HMS Drake's rear turret firing angles). Instead of a steady stream of more premium cruisers at T8, or more premium T9 CBs, why not cash in on the considerable pent up demand for balanced premium T9 CAs or CLs? Here are a few ideas based on ships that actually were built: USS Rochester - This ship belonged to the successor to the Baltimore class heavy cruiser, the Oregon City class. It was in service from 1946 to 1961. Here is how to bring the ship to the game: Start with a fully upgraded Baltimore Add a few thousand hit points Add a repair party and upgrade slot 6 (like all T9 cruisers get) Adjust the radar consumable to last 35 s (consistent with other T9 US cruisers) Increase turret rotation speed by 1 degree per second Decrease rudder shift by 0.5 - 1.0 s Slightly improve AA continuous damage to reflect historical AA battery and the better firing angles offered by the smaller super structure of this class Everything else stays virtually identical to the USS Baltimore The cool thing about Rochester is we know WG can balance what would essentially be a T9 Baltimore since that is where the ship was slated prior to the US cruiser CA/CL split. USS Fargo - This ship belonged to the successor to the Cleveland class light cruiser, and was the lead ship of the Fargo class. It was in service from 1945 to 1950. Here is how to bring the ship to the game: Start with a fully upgraded Cleveland Add a few thousand hit points Add a repair party and upgrade slot 6 (like all T9 cruisers get) Adjust the radar consumable to last 35 s (consistent with other T9 US cruisers) Decrease rudder shift by around 0.5 s Improve her concealment by -200 to -300 m Slightly improve AA continuous damage to reflect historical AA battery and the better firing angles offered by the smaller super structure of this class. Her AA should not be quite as strong as USS Seattle's because she did not have a dual purpose main battery. Everything else stays virtually identical to the USS Cleveland I'll do some further research on other historical T9 premium non-super cruisers that could be added to the game. One that comes to mind is the already in development: HMS Tiger. Maybe add HE shells, or a short range hydro and some more hit-points and up-tier her to T9? If anyone has any other cruisers that could fit in this category, historical or not, please share below. Thanks!
  9. LittleWhiteMouse

    Premium Ship Review - Hizen

    The following is a review of Hizen, the tier IX Japanese battleship and reward vessel for the Christmas 2020 Dockyard event. This ship was provided to me by Wargaming for review purposes at no cost to myself -- I didn't have to grind or spend doubloons on it (but I did anyway). To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.10.2. Please be aware that her performance may change in the future. Quick Summary: A Japanese battleship armed with twelve, slow-firing 410mm guns. PROS Thick lateral citadel protection. Armed with twelve 410mm guns, giving her the equivalent of a tier X alpha strike potential. Comfortable fire angles on her main battery guns. CONS Soft structural armour making her highly vulnerable to cruiser-calibre HE spam. Terrible (AWFUL) base reload time of 38 seconds per salvo. Slow for a high-tier battleship with a top speed of 28.2kts. Terrible anti-aircraft firepower. Visible from space. Her Repair Party has one fewer charges than a standard version of the consumable. Overview Skill Floor: Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult Skill Ceiling: Low / MODERATE / High / Extreme Hizen offers stereotypical Japanese battleship game-play; the kind of stuff you cut your teeth on back with Myogi and Kongo back at tiers IV and V. Namely: keep back, stick to AP as much as possible and protect your citadel. It's not quite as idiot proof as say British or German battleship game play (which definitely deserve a "Simple" rating for most of their ships), it is pretty bare bones in terms of complexity. The biggest hurdle to overcome is reliable long-range gunnery. Her slow rate of fire punishes novice players in this manner, with every missed salvo hurting that much more. Sadly, this same lack of complexity reduced the carry value of this ship. Hizen doesn't brawl well. She's not fast or flexible. Expert players can make good use of kiting skills, ammunition choices and knowing where on the map to properly set up, but there are faster, tougher and overall better ships which can do Hizen's job and more besides. Options Consumables Hizen's consumables are normal for a Japanese battleship barring her Repair Party which has one fewer charges than expected. Her Damage Control Party is standard for a Japanese battleship with its 10 second active period. It has unlimited charges and an 80 second reset timer. Hizen's Repair Party is a disappointment, starting with only 3 charges instead of the usual 4. 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. In her third slot, you have the choice between a Spotter Aircraft and a Catapult Fighter. The former comes with four charges, increases her main battery range by 20% (up to 24.4km standard or 28.3km with Gun Fire Control Modification 2) for 100 seconds and has a 240 second reset timer. The latter launches 4 fighters which stay on station, orbiting the ship at a range of 3km for 60 seconds. It comes with three charges and has a 90 second reset timer. Upgrades Hizen's upgrade choices are bog-standard for a not-brawling, un-American, high-tier battleship Start with Main Armaments Modification 1 Mitigate fires with Damage Control System Modification 1 in slot two. You're a sniper, so grab Aiming System Modification 1 in slot three. Reduce fire and flooding damage with Damage Control System Modification 2 in slot four. Concealment Expert is still the best choice in slot 5. Boring, I know. Main Battery Modification 3 is the best choice for slot 6. Hizen's 38 second reload is appalling and you can reduce this 38 second warcrime down to a 33.44s political oopsie-daisy. However, if you want to buff your range from 20.33km to 23.58km instead, then Gun Fire Control System Modification 2 isn't a terrible choice. Commander Skills The more things change, the more they stay the same. There are a couple of "must have" skills for Hizen, namely Dead Eye (tier 4), Fire Prevention Expert (also tier 4) and Basics of Survivability (tier 3). Collecting these three skills is a must. After that it's down to recommended skills for you to mix and match to make your ideal build. At tier 1: Gun Feeder or Emergency Repair Specialist are your best choices. I'd only take one at this tier. At tier 2: Grease the Gears and Priority Target are the ones to focus on. On one of my builds, I grabbed both but this compromised the high-tier skills I could take. I prefer the latter to the former. At tier 3: After you take Basics of Survivability you're going to want Adrenaline Rush to attack her awful reload time. At tier 4: Dead Eye, Emergency Repair Expert, Concealment Expert and Fire Prevention Expert are all good skills. For Hizen, Concealment Expert is probably the weakest of the four while Dead Eye and Fire Prevention Expert are the strongest. Mix and match as you please. If you intend to take three tier 4 skills, you will end up with a build like the following: Gun Feeder (1) Priority Target (2) Adrenaline Rush (3), Basics of Survivability (3) Dead Eye (4), Emergency Repair Expert (4), Fire Prevention Expert (4). Camouflage Hizen has access to two kinds of camouflage. Type 10 and War Paint - Hizen. They provide identical bonuses of: -3% surface detection +4% increased dispersion of enemy shells. -20% to post-battle service costs. +100% to experience gains.  Hizen's Type 10 camouflage offers an alternate palette if you have completed the appropriate section of the Isoroku Yamamoto collection. In port, Hizen's War Paint camouflage will have 60 sailors out on deck in parade formation (I think that's what it's called). Firepower Main Battery: Twelve 410mm guns in 4x3 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration. Secondary Battery: Nine 155mm guns in 3x3 turrets and sixteen 127mm mounts in 8x2 turrets. Secondary Specialist Musashi Hizen's secondaries are crap. Hizen shares a similar secondary armament to Musashi barring the addition of two, faster-firing 127mm/40 guns per side. While the range of Hizen's secondaries is perfectly functional, their rate of fire is is slow. Were it not for the improved HE shell performance on Japanese battleships, her DPM would be in the doldrums with their crap reload. As it is, individual hits are chunky enough that on a raw DPM chart, she holds pace with Pommern and Friedrich der Große but with (much) worse fire angles and accuracy. Thankfully, the 0.10.0 skill rework made secondary-builds even less optimal than they once were, so you should have zero inclination on specializing Hizen down this route. Cross-Eyed Sniper It's all too easy to myopically focus on Hizen's 38 second reload and dwell on nothing but. However, she is decidedly more flawed than this mere lapse in reload-speed. Ostensibly, Hizen has a tier X armament that has been shoe-horned in to tier IX by nerfing the crap out of it. Wargaming managed this by giving Hizen's artillery three cardinal sins: Her reload is butts. Her accuracy is butts. Her range is butts. Hizen has slightly better penetration than Amagi (and her tier VII sister Ashitaka as well as Nagato). This is owing to a higher muzzle velocity and slightly reduced shell drag which provides better energy preservation over distance. This doesn't quite hold a candle to the punch of Izumo (and Bajie's) improved weapons which have more velocity, Krupp and even less drag. However, Hizen's reduced range makes it difficult to fully capitalize on this advantage. Let's start with the last thing first and begin with her range. Barring the new Italian battleships, Hizen has the worst range among the tier IX battleships, sitting 50m behind the Sovetsky Soyuz-sisters. After that, most of them best her by at least 1km with the American ships (aside from Georgia) being particular stand-outs given that they'll balloon their range up with third-slot upgrades to increase the gap even further. This range deficit might not be so bad if: (a) Hizen had better concealment... which she doesn't and... (b) Hizen had better armour protection ... which she also doesn't. Her 19.33km range may not seem like that big of a flaw; after all, it's just one upgrade away from being corrected and her Spotter Aircraft can provide some temporary relief. However, her lack of reach makes taking an influential, central map position more difficult. Again, her Spotter Aircraft may be enough to make up the gap, but if it's on cooldown when you need it most, the opportunity is wasted. Furthermore, if you upgrade her range, you then suffer the full force of her horrible reload. This largely relegates Hizen to straight up, heads-on engagements or waiting forever and a day fire between salvos if she does buff her range to enable flanking shots. While going heads-up works fine against smaller vessels (her 410mm guns are perfectly capable of overmatching the bows of any light, heavy or super-cruiser she comes across) she is less capable when facing other battleships. I make a lot of lists when putting together reviews. Notepad is my friend. This is the range of the tier VIII, IX and X battleships in order. 180 AP shells fired at 15km at a stationary Fuso-bot that has no camouflage. Shots are coming in from right to left, with the Fuso-bot effectively bow-tanking. All three firing vessels used Aiming System Modification 1 but did not use Dead Eye. Hizen's gunnery is a lot less comfortable than either Amagi's or Izumo's. It's frustrating how badly she scatters her shots like a shotgun blast. Hizen's gunnery woes compound further with her dispersion antics. While Japanese battleships have reduced horizontal dispersion over distance, their vertical dispersion at high tiers is much less forgiving. The overall area that Hizen blows her loads over is enormous and reminds me very much of some of my gunnery tests with Italian battleships. Admittedly, it's not as bad as that but after a few frustrating matches, it was hard not to draw the comparisson. Couple this with Hizen's 1.7 sigma value and her reliability just isn't there. For a ship with such a painfully long reload, watching your shells disperse to the four corners of the globe is infuriating (doubly so if you aren't using Main Battery Modification 3). Hizen's broadside of twelve guns will usually ensure that something hits, but it's easy to be blinded to their reduced efficiency that way. Hizen is slower firing and less accurate besides and this really hurts her damage output. Dead Eye is a must. Don't leave port without it and keep as far back as you can so that it's always working. Hizen's appalling reload time means that even with twelve guns she simply keeps pace with the eight and nine-gun armed ships at her tier. So, she's comparable DPM to an Iowa-class but with bigger alpha strike potential ... and worse accuracy. Japanese battleship HE shells do almost as much damage as British battleship HE shells. They just don't have the increased penetration or high fire chance of the British rounds. Which brings us now to Hizen's defining trait: her 38 second reload. Her twelve 410mm gun armament should stand out more, but it's caged and butchered behind this awful reload. Main Battery Modification 3 corrects this somewhat, morphing it down to a "mere" 33.4 seconds. With so many battleships at her tier firing between seven and ten seconds faster, Hizen's trades are dirt-poor. Despite what the DPM charts will tell you, her awful dispersion further throttles her damage output. She may appear to be able to keep pace (or be slightly better than) some of the nine-gun armed ships but the reality is that barring some spectacular RNGeebus-blessed alpha strikes, Hizen just doesn't keep pace. This is born out by performance stats where her damage totals are rather middling for such a large broadside. She's not terrible, but it would be a mistake to imagine that her large armament conferred any kind of advatage with all of these other flaws stacked against her. Hizen's fire angles are soooo close to being ideal, if only her rearward angles were a little more tight. Keep this fact in mind when we discuss kiting. Taking Main Battery Modification 3 guts her turret rotation rate from 4º/s down to 3.5º/s, allowing her to out-turn her turrets which is annoying. Summary The premise of Hizen is delivering these massive, twelve-gun alpha strikes at the expense of sustained fire. But she works at cross-purposes to herself with a lack of range and accuracy to facilitate dropping those bombs across people's decks. For such a long reload, another kilometer or two's worth of reach would have made all of the difference, allowing her to cross-fire from a central position. Her bad dispersion could have been swallowed as a throttling measure to keep her reliability down, necessitating taking several bites at the apple. As it stands, Hizen can put out some respectable damage and she can be an impressive artillery platform, but that's largely owing to RNGeebus being your close, personal friend and the Reds playing like idiots -- neither of these things should be counted on. Hizen's firepower doesn't open up opportunities. She's forced to have them handed to her. This kind of passivity is frustrating and uninteresting. VERDICT: Oh boy, "worse than it appears, but not so bad that it's terrible" summarizes Hizen's gunnery best. Durability Hit Points: 75,900 Bow & stern/superstructure/upper-hull/deck: 32mm / 19mm / 32mm / 32mm Maximum Citadel Protection: 356mm belt + 108mm to 115mm turtleback Torpedo Damage Reduction: 37% Hizen's defence is ... well, meh. (This uninspired sentence has been brought to you by: Chemical Dependence™. "Bring me caffeine or I'll eat your skin.") Hizen's armour protection is almost reasonable -- meaning that it's surprising how bad it is because it fails to meet even the low-set bar of Musashi and Izumo. I am shocked (shocked!) that Hizen's amidship deck is only 32mm while Musashi and Izumo both manage 57mm. Combined with her massive superstructure, Hizen is an easy damage farm for any cruiser-calibre HE shells. So that's unfortunate. She also inherits Izumo's buttacular shell-trap when she tries to kite. That stepped freeboard is an easy opening for incoming AP rounds to strike and there's no way to angle it to prevent that from happening. This is a shame because there's some very handsome extended waterline belt stretching out towards her butt which should foil attempts to penetrate her when angled. But all one needs to get around that is simply aim a little higher. You can't count on high-tier players to constantly derp shells into the waterline anyway. Bots will, players won't. Unless you're planning on using Hizen exclusively in co-op, her armour scheme gives away a lot of penetration damage, even when angled. It's best not to present any kind of target in the first place because her hit points drain fast when she gets focused. Which brings up the other thing: Hizen's Repair Party isn't good. While she has a very chunky hit point pool, having one fewer charge of her heals with no improvements to the consumable in compensation just means that she has less staying power than comparable battleships. Building for fire and flooding mitigation is doubly important because she simply isn't capable of recovering from them as readily as everyone else. Her citadel protection is ... well, like everything else, it's not great. It's slightly improved over Izumo's own, but only slightly. Given the sheer amount of metal in place, Hizen is generally safe from Citadel hits if she camps out at her maximum range. However, there are a few battleships out there that can manage in excess of 500mm of penetration out to 20km and those ones can still punish Hizen for giving up her sides, so be careful of flanking fire. Hizen herself doesn't quite have the range to comfortably sit back any further without compromising her already terrible rate of fire. Finally, there's some funny geometry going on with here forward citadel protection with the barbette of A-turret plugging a "hole" in the transverse bulkhead of Hizen's forward magazine. While this may present a "cheek" weakness similar to Yamato, I never received a citadel hit through it (that I'm aware of), nor was I able to generate citadel hits on the few opportunities I had to test it out in my games. It might be a weakness, but it wasn't easily replicable in my experience, so be aware that it might be a weakness, just not as enormous as Yamato's blushing cheeks. Overall, I can't call Hizen a durable ship. She has a lot of hit points, sure, but she doesn't hold up under concerted punishment. With homogeneous 32mm worth of structural plate, Hizen is an easy HE damage farm. Her citadel protection is improved over Izumo's, at least. But it's not so much better that I got super excited. Well, someone's got to be at the bottom. Hizen's effective health is lower than expected due to her missing a charge of her Repair Party. VERDICT: Not appallingly bad, but barely adequate. You would think for a ship with such troubled firepower that she'd be amazing here but nope. Agility Top Speed: 28.2 knots Turning Radius: 880m 7Rudder Shift Time: 17.1 seconds 4/4 Engine Speed Rate of Turn: 3.8º/s at 21.2 knots Were it not for the other Japanese battleships, Hizen would be the least agile ship at her tier. This is largely owing to her sub-30 knot top speed which, when combined with an average turning radius for a tier IX battleship, she ends up feeling very sluggish. This is compounded by her slow rudder-shift time, though at higher tiers, such an affliction becomes increasingly commonplace. There are only two curiousities when it comes to Hizen's agility (which I rate as "poor" overall). The first is that she turns a bit more tightly than her in-port turning stat would suggest. She's closer to an 870m radius than an 880m. But as this still falls into my +/- 10m margin of error, I'll still consider the in-port stat accurate enough. The other oddity is more of a new trend where Wargaming have divorced themselves from top speeds that end in either full or half-knot values. It's only within the last year that we've seen ships like Hizen that end in something other than zero or a point-five. Neither of these curiousities have any redeeming value on Hizen's poor performance in this category, though. For nerds like me? They're interesting but nothing else. Hizen's agility is pretty trashy. VERDICT: Anti-Aircraft Defence Flak Bursts: 4 + 1 explosions for 1,540 damage per blast at 3.5km to 5.8km. Long Ranged (up to 5.8km): 105dps at 75% accuracy Short Ranged (up to 2.5km): 304.5dps at 85% accuracy Crap. Seriously. At least this is comfortably familiar. A Japanese battleship with bad AA? Totally unsurprising. VERDICT: No. Vision Control Base/Minimum Surface Detection: 17.38km / 13.66km Base/Minimum Air Detection Range: 12.96km / 10.5km Detection Range When Firing in Smoke: 17.01km Maximum Firing Range: Between 19.33km and 23.58km (max of 28.30km with Spotter Aircraft). Hizen is a big, fat battleship with a big, fat surface detection range. Aside from her Spotter Aircraft she brings absolutely nothing of value to the table here. She is a chunktacular travesty, visible from Mars and suffering for it besides. She needs more space than most to activate Dead Eye and she hasn't the range to capitalize on it either. This forces you to choose between boosting her range with Gun Fire Control System Modification 2, thus suffering the full wrath of her 38 second reload or coping with having a smaller activation window if you buff her rate of fire with Main Battery Modification 3. Hizen has similar tolerances as Marco Polo in this regard, which is pretty damning. VERDICT: Terrible and made worse that you need to choose between a bad reload or bad range in order to counter it. Final Evaluation Hizen is a Japanese Minnesota -- slow, fat and with a main battery armament that somehow manages to be disappointing despite its huge size. Being disappointing does not preclude Hizen from being effective, however. World of Warships is designed in such a way that even an aberrant, mediocre vessel can still perform in the hands of someone with the inclination (and enthusiasm) to squeeze some numbers out of it. The question becomes how much you have to work for it and Hizen is going to make you toil. Nothing for Hizen comes easy and her lists of serious advantages begins and ends with "twelve 410mm guns". I would much rather play Amagi at tier VIII or Izumo at tier IX than Hizen. Their advantages are much more clear cut, with Amagi offering almost as much firepower with slightly worse protection and penetration but increased agility and Izumo having great range, penetration and accuracy in exchange for slightly less potential DPM. Hizen doesn't slot well between them and feels clunky as a result. For those who have read my short summary of Hizen, I gave her a GARBAGE rating and I stand by it.: I think she performs fine, but I do not like this ship which is all I need to slap that label on her. She was not worth the grind, in my opinion, and worst of all, she's not fun to play. Those who failed to get her over 2020-2021's New Years aren't really missing out.
  10. Hi all, I wish you all a happy new year! Are you a fan of HE spam? Are you afraid of them? Do you know how to encounter them? If you don't, then join them! Tier 9 Premium US Cruiser USS Fargo CL-106 Ship Length - 610 feet Beam - 66 feet Draft - 25 feet speed - 32.5 knots Hit points - between 39,000 - 49,000 Main Battery Four 150mm triple-barrelled guns Rate of Fire - 10 rounds per minute Reload Time - 6 seconds Firing Range - 18.29km Maximum HE shell Damage - 3,400 Maximum AP shell Damage - 8,200 Secondary Armament Six 130mm double-barrelled guns Firing Range - 5km Rate of Fire - 15 rounds per minute Reload Time - 4 seconds Maximum HE Shell Damage - 2,100 AA Defence Four 150mm triple-barrelled guns Average Damage per second - between 90 - 95 Firing Range - 6km Four quad 40mm Bofors Average damage per second - 270 Firing Range - 3.51km Six double 40mm Bofors Average Damage per Second - 135 Firing Range - 3.51km ten 20mm Oerlikon Average Damage per Second - 83 Firing Range - 2.01km Maneuverability Rudder Shift Time - between 7 to 9 seconds Speed - 32.5 knots Concealment Detectability by Sea - between 9 to 11km Detectability by Air - between 7 - 8km Aircraft Complement 4 Floatplanes Possible Consumables Damage Control Party Enhanced AA Fire Hydroacoustic Search/ Fighter Surveillance Radar/ Spotting Aircraft Repair Party
  11. Like many other people who plays WOWS regularly, I received the USS Kansas free of charge before the full release of the new line of low speed American BBs. The Kansas turned out to not be the best BB at tier 8. But from my perspective, it's also not the worst. It's slow in a straight line. But it turns okay. It's vulnerable to HE hits and fire. But its citadel also happens to be well armored and fairly low in the water. (in practice, AP hits that miss the citadel tend to overpen) Its 40 second reload on the main battery takes getting used to. But the fact that you have 12 16" guns at tier 8 despite the slow reload and semi iffy accuracy seem to work out as more of a trade off in play style than an outright disadvantage in comparison to the main batteries of other T8 BBs. At the end of the day, the Kansas worked out okay for me. Its HP pool is decent. Its AA is actually semi reliable. (I was able to fight off attacks by a Hakuryu with it) When fighting against lower tier enemies, it has no problem doing its part as it's essentially a bigger and heavier dreadnought style BB. Against same tier and higher tier enemies, it isn't really more vulnerable or helpless than some other T8 BBs as its heavy broadside compensates for its poor accuracy and slow reloads while its protection scheme remains workable. I managed to earn enough XP in the Kansas to research the Minnesota just in time for the line's full release. Unfortunately, the Minnesota seems to have some very serious problems. It very much struggles in combat and might just currently be the worst tier 9 BB available in game... Here are some of my observations: On survivability 1. Unlike with the Kansas, the entire superstructure of the Minnesota seems to receive normal penetrations instead of over-penetrations when hit by AP shells of all calibers. Angling or facing the enemies bow on does not seem to mitigate this problem at all. Maybe this is due to the size and volume of it. 2. The 38mm plating on the ship is obviously meant to give it a degree of protection from smaller caliber HE shells as it prevents light cruiser caliber HE from penetrating. But it seems that when hit by enemy AP shells, the 38mm plating often arm their shells' fuses resulting in normal pens rather than over-pens. When angling against the enemies just enough to still use all 4 of your turrets, enemy AP hits on the upper cheeks of the ship's frontal hull (essentially the upper parts of the ship's 38mm torpedo bulge) seem to almost always result in normal pens. It's not unusual for enemy AP salvos to do about 10k damage each despite angling and maneuvering. 3. When sailing away from the enemies, the ship's 38mm plating and superstructure's vulnerability to normal pens seem even more pronounced as the Minnesota has a stern quarter deck a full deck lower than is the case towards the bow. In this situation the superstructure is even larger and more easily hit. 4. So even before we factor in the damage the ship can take from HE and fire, it already has a major weakness of taking high damage AP salvos if and when it's hit by the enemies around its center of mass regardless of positioning. In practice, any enemy ships of all classes with good AP performance or shoot AP regularly are serious threats to the Minnesota. The Stalingrad, Moskva, Petropavlovsk, and other Soviet cruisers, any German cruisers, any British light cruiser, any Soviet DD, any Italian cruiser with SAP shells, any German DD with their high alpha AP, and British DDs with good AP normalization can all quickly farm off HP from a Minnesota. They can usually do it way more efficiently than a Minnesota can reply. 5. Despite the prevalence of 38mm CL HE resistant plating on the ship, its superstructure is large relative to the ship and very easily hit in combat. So it remains very vulnerable to enemy HE and fires, particularly if we consider the ship's small for a tier 9 HP pool, poor for a tier 9 mobility, and the lack of a superior than standard heal consumable. 6. Ironically despite the ship's relatively small HP pool and short length, its concealment is not great. Technically it's worse than that of several other tier 9 BBs that are longer. So the low speed, short length, and smaller HP pool did not provide any perk in terms of concealment to compensate. Its concealment is outright worse than a similar configured Kansas (with concealment upgrade and camo paint) at 15.3km vs the Kansas’ 14.5km. 7. Being a dreadnought and US standard style BB, the ship is proportionally wide and stubby for a tier 9 BB. I would think that these traits would allow the ship to turn well despite the inferior straight line speed in comparison to same tier BBs that are longer. But unfortunately the ship turns sluggishly and reluctantly in a way that's possibly worst in tier. Maneuvering the Minnesota to dodge incoming enemy fire is usually ineffectual and a fruitless chore. On its effectiveness in combat As a design concept, The Minnesota seems to be very similar if not too similar to the Kansas. I think the 2 ships are similar enough to be sisters or half sister ships of the same class that just happened to have undergone a different modernization upgrade/rebuild. The Kansas is obviously a WW2 era update of the 1920 South Dakota class super dreadnought, which's essentially an enlarged Colorado class style design with 50% more main guns and a minor speed buff to 23 knots. Ironically the Minnesota could just as well also be a WW2 era update of the 1920 South Dakota class super dreadnought. Currently the Minnesota is visually similar (albeit at a larger size) to the late war rebuilt USS California as seen in game. I think for the sake of the game it makes sense to differentiate the 2 ships, more specifically it makes sense to make the Minnesota good enough to be workable for its tier. 8. For some reason the Minnesota’s main battery has a 40s reload like the Kansas’. I think the slow reload on the Kansas can be explained as “it just happens to be an early design for a 16” gun armed ship using triple turrets, so there’s a speed penalty for its once novel and advanced configuration, or rather in the context of the game to compensate for the heavy weight of its broadside for its tier”. (like how the New Mexico’s 4x3 14” main battery has a slower reload than the Fuso’s 6x2 14” main battery) But considering the Minnesota’s placement at tier 9, wouldn’t it make sense for the Minnesota to have a quicker main battery reload speed than that of the Kansas? I think a reload speed buff to 33s to 35s is reasonable. Currently the only advantage the Minnesota has over the Kansas in terms of DPM comes in the form of its AP shells having an extra 1000 HP points to their alpha. In practice, its impact is minimal. 9. I think both the Kansas and Minnesota’s main batteries are relatively unreliable when it comes to accuracy. The good range they have seem to only come in handy when shooting HE against slow or stationary and angled enemy BBs. Against maneuvering cruisers and DDs, neither the Kansas nor the Minnesota are reliable unless the enemies are close. In absolute terms, the Minnesota’s main battery feels somewhat more accurate and reliable than the Kansas’. But considering the meta of its tier (in terms of typical engagement range and enemies it faces regularly), the Minnesota fares significantly worse than the Kansas. Sure 12 16” guns are always nice to have at tier 9. But in practice the Minnesota seem to struggle with consistent damage dealing at range. I think the FDG is the only other BB of its tier that has issues in this regard.Also if we look at the other tier 9 BBs with 12 guns, the Alsace and Pommern, those ships are significantly superior to the Minnesota in every other way (in terms of speed, secondary armament, special consumables, and survivability) aside from their smaller caliber. 10. The slow top speed of 23 knots is a far greater handicap for a ship at tier 9 than at tier 8. It’s technically unprecedented, as before this new line of US BBs, the Musashi and Soyuz were considered slow for tier 9 BBs: in comparison the faster BBs like the Georgia, Iowa, and Alsace are all more competitive and user friendly. The Kansas is mobile enough when fighting against similar “slow” BBs found at tier 6 and 7 (Like the QE, New Mexico, Colorado, and other dreadnoughts), and when up tiered, as a tier 8 it at least has far less pressure to contribute and carry than a Minnesota at tier 9. Worse comes to worst a Kansas can play defensively and passively and be okay, while a Minnesota needs to push, chase, relocate, and disengage on a far more regular basis. Unfortunately the Minnesota struggles to move around fast enough to accomplish anything. On one hand it can be outright left behind by faster ships engaged in a running gun battle. On the other hand, should a Minnesota ever commit to a flank but it falls or is abandoned, it’ll inevitably not be able to escape from the falling flank. It’s seemingly too slow to even perform a fighting retreat properly. Often it’ll just be swarmed and shot up quickly through the back side of the superstructure from the rear end… I think if the Kansas retained its original speed like the standard battleships IRL, maybe it make sense to give the Minnesota a propulsion upgrade as a part of its fictional upgrade scheme and allow it to reach 25 knots. Something like this was done to the Kongo class in IRL and happened to the German Bayern class in game. (IRL and before their fictional modernization they were slower than the Queen Elizabeth class). It’s not too much to ask. I think this is enough analysis for now. Please feel free to discuss about how you feel the Minnesota and what should be done about it. The video below shows game I played in the Kansas with just a 6 point captain at the helm. The Kansas just somehow felt easier and more forgiving to play despite having to face off multiple tier 10s, including a Kremlin in a brawl and repeated attacks by a Hakuryu. Nowadays I almost prefer to play the Kansas in place of the Minnesota if I can…
  12. Hey all, so could you guys give your opinions on the best tech tree tier 9 ships? I havent played that many and am considering who deserves free permacamo. Best 3 tier 9 ships: Best 3 tier 9 dd: Best 3 tier 9 ca: Best 3 tier 9 bb: thanks in advance
  13. So, I saw the WIP premium cruiser Siegfried, and I was thinking, it looks a lot like the Fredrick Der Große. Is this perhaps a coincidence, is this intentional, or is there no connection between the two whatsoever? To me, it is kind of similar to the Scharnhorst and the Gneisenau in game. What I mean is, The Scharnhorst is somewhat lesser than the Gneisenau, while at the same time being a really good ship on its own. It is somewhat lesser than the Gneisenau because it has smaller guns, and having a harder time dealing with battleships. But it is better than the Gneisenau in the fact that it has more guns, better HE shells, and a shorter reload time. I don’t know how to compare the FDG to the Siegfried, but I am sure that there are some comparisons. One that I can immediately think of, is how the FDG is a battleship with more guns, while the Siegfried is a Cruiser with smaller guns. The FDG and the Siegfried also look similar. IDK about else, but the Siegfried looks like what I’d imagine the FDG would look like if it was a cruiser. Does anyone else share similar thoughts? Does anyone else’s opinions differ from mine? Does my opinion make sense? Please let me know what you think! Feel free to share you opinion!
  14. 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.
  15. 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?
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
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