So, having played through her and bought the King George V, here's my review of the Queen Elizabeth (who is a keeper in my port now, because love that boat.) I'll write up the KGV once I've got some more battles in her, but I am loving her so far.
I skipped Bellerophon and Orion because first-week queue jam. I played 3 games in Iron Duke and she was fun, but i hate slow BBs, t5 is in a weird matchmaker place as we all know, and I had free-XP to spare, so I moved to QE. And I'm glad I did; the Queen is making me wish I'd bought a Warspite before now because I like this ship so damn much.
Queen Elizabeth is the best t6 BB in the game right now. She will own the next tier 6 season of ranked battles. Fight me.
First off, her HE is nice, but it's no replacement for AP, at least not in the middle tiers. I struggled to do BB-level dmg with HE. I'm going to keep messing with it situationally, and it is a nice arrow in my quiver for anti-DD work or heavily angled ships, but for all you guys spamming HE from RN battleships, STAHP. Yes, it's good. Yes, use it in the right situation. But British AP is fine. I used HE as primary and switched to AP situationally with Iron Duke and my first few games in QE., Then I switched back to the way I play Scharn or Konig, using AP as primary and loading HE situationally for angled ships or when facing mostly DDs. As a brawler, having improved HE is nice when I'm in a furball and a DD pops up, but my damage totals went way up once I made that change, and now I'm kicking [edited]with QE and KGV (although only a few battles with KGV so far.) Using AP literally doubled my damage totals per game (admittedly, small sample size.)
QE's guns are accurate and hit damn hard. She is a nice middle ground swiss army knife; she can't brawl as well as a German BB, she can't snipe like an IJN BB, but she does both competently. The only knock on her gunnery is her turret traverse: even with expert marksman, it was incredibly easy to out turn her guns. This hurts her in a brawl, and I did eat a couple more torps than usual since I normally WASD habitually and constantly, but with QE I had to balance evasion with keeping my guns on target.
The good news is you can angle aggressively and still keep all your guns on target. Her rear turrets have great firing arcs, so you can angle perfectly against another BB and still keep all 8 guns in action. She can take a beating when angled, although she melts if you don't angle her right. Much like Iowa/Missouri, she rewards a player who maintains minimap awareness and knows when and how to position and where/when to push. She can absolutely brawl, but between her thin sides and poor traverse, you have to pick your spots and think a few moves ahead to make brawling pay off consistently.
My mind keeps circling back to North Carolina/Iowa/Missouri as a comparison. Like them, she's heavily gunned for her tier. Like them, she is a mid-range fighter who thrives at 10-14km, angled and delivering high-alpha strikes, watching the flow of the game and picking the right time leading a push or charging in like a lancer to finish off an opponent. Unlike them, she can bring all of her guns to bear and still protect her citadel, but she is far weaker even for her tier against planes.
A note about her AA: Supposedly, by the numbers, she has at least decent AA. Unfortunately, most of the CV games I was in with her were t8 CVs. I got deleted very early on by a certain very good CV player in his Enterprise and rekt by a Shokaku, but no t6 BB is going to shoot down a ton of planes playing against t8 CVs so not really a fair test. I can say her AA didn't impress me, but I might have a different opinion if I didn't get shredded twice in sixteen games by the enemy CV.
The only other thing I disliked about her is her low speed; she's quicker than a USN standard, but I HATE slow BBs. Personal preference. But she's one of the few slow BBs that are keepers for me, because she can do everything else I want a BB to do.
I have to hand it to WG: Although I didn't mind the gimmicks of recent lines, a lot of players have been vocally concerned that it seems like each new line is gimmick-heavy, and based on the QE and the little bit I've played of KGV and Iron Duke, WG delivered. These BBs feel different enough from their peers to be worth playing, they're fun, they seem competitive, and they did it without resorting to gimmicks. This is how you build a new line.
Note: For captain skills, I used PM, EM, Vigilance, and CE. Still figuring out the rest of my captain build. I ran steering gear mod for faster rudder shift and then the typical BB picks for the other three slots. I did skip straight to B hull with free-XP as I hate stock grinds.
Gunnery is accurate and decisive.
Can angle very tight and still bring all eight guns to bear.
Very tough when angled correctly.
Citadels and penetrations for everyone!
Excellent 'generalist' BB.
Turret traverse abysmally slow; you will outturn your guns if maneuvering at all.
Slow speed hampers her, esp on the larger maps when she's bottom tier.
AA feels mediocre but I would need more games to really give an informed opinion.
(Note: damage totals for Iron Duke and QE are a bit skewed by my experimenting with their HE rounds. Once I settled down and started using AP, my QE damage jumped a LOT. Something to think about when you're spamming HE from these things.)
Now back to grinding through KGV (which is, so far, a very different ship but just as fun of one.)