Is "Smoke Generator Modification 1" really as useless as we think it is?
TLDR: Think of it as free 625,000Cr
The common assumption is that the super smoke mod is useless, because it cuts down on how long the smoke lingers around and, therefore, how long a ship can stay inside of smoke. However, this assumption fails to account how much the activation time, the emission time, bonus adds to how long a ship can stay inside of smoke.
This is what Smoke Generator Mod 1 does, as of 0.6.10.
+30% to Emission Time (calculated as X * 1.3 = Xsgm)
-5% to Duration (calculated as Y * 0.95 = Ysgm)
As you can see, most people focus on the -5% Duration portion, but fail to account for +30% Emission time.
Assumptions on Paper
Smoke will deploy almost instantly the moment you use it (there might be a bit of lag in real usage)
Your ship is already slowed down enough to be inside your FIRST puff of smoke
You will maneuver your ship so that you will be inside the LAST puff to come out of your ship
Does not include most T6/7 ships, as I assume most players will want to use it on higher tier ships
You will always get extra puffs of smoke, even on fractions (as in not a whole number)
Most "offensive" smoke usage will start off with the ship using it being invisible, and will also mean that the ship using smoke will have enough time to slow down to stay inside of the smoke it laid down itself. Although selfish, this is the, 100% guaranteed, way to get the most usage out of your own smoke.
The alternative "offensive" smoke usage is using smoke for teammates or divisionmates to sneak into, but this post does not cover that, as there are too many variables at play.
Fancy schmancy chart, both with normal, modified time and their totals.
Emission Time /w SGM1
Duration Time w/ SGM1
Total Time w/ SGM1
Fletcher / Black
Benson / Lo Yang
Other TX DD
Other T9 DD
Other T8 DD
Thoughts and Conclusion
On paper, it appears that most ships, excepting RNCL, get a net benefit when using SGM1. The longer the original Emission Time, the more the ship seems to benefit, as Perth has an astounding 26.5% extension to its total smoke duration. Most other ships have a net gain of around 1.4% - 1.5% to the total duration of their smoke. Even the horribly bad German DD smoke will see a net benefit in total duration when using SGM1.
Only the British RNCL line, with their short Emission Time, stand to lose out when using SGM1, with a sub 3% net loss to total duration.
+ As of 0.6.13, RNCL had their smoke emission time doubled to 15s. This change lessened the margin, but it still results in a net loss, so SGM1 is wasted.
While SGM1 does benefit most ships with smoke, SGM1 also goes into the same slot as AAGM2 (+20% AA range) and ASM1 (+Accuracy, +Torpedo traverse speed). For most ships with smoke, that are not RNCL, I think ASM1 still has better overall benefit to the ship, as the difference between SGM1 and not is less than 3s.
Perth stands to gain the most from SGM1, with an extra 26.5s of smoke per usage, and this results in Perth being the only true benefactor of SGM1.