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So, not going to do 'full reviews' like I did of the British BBs because lazy, but having played up through Alsace, here'smy quick impressions of the French BB line so far:

Standard review disclaimer by me: I am an average to a bit above average player who plays mostly solo, so this is from that perspective. Also, while I did consult numbers and stats, my reviews are primarily based on the feel of the ship and my performance in her. This is of course a limited sample size, and is affected by my playstyle (which is generally fairly aggressive leading to occasional overreaches and a low survival rate.) Your mileage may vary depending on your playstyle and skill level. 

Tier 7-9 are the good part of this line. But once you get there, wheeee!

With low hp and good armor, angling is key with these ships. If you don't know how to effectively angle, learn or you're not going to enjoy them. And from tier 7 up, I recommend a secondary build or hybrid secondary/survival build. They have fairly strong secondaries. From tier 6 up, and especially from tiers 8-10, the speed allows you to reposition quickly and flex where needed. Very mobile.

Also, contrary to what I've seen people say, no ffs they're not HE spammers like British BBs were; use AP most of the time like your IJN, USN, and German BBs.

The line in a nutshell:

Note: I did not play tier 3 or 4 as i got Bretagne from mission. They don't matter anyway, it takes a few games to grind through a tier 3 or 4 and honestly, nothing can ever beat Orion. 

Tier 5: Bretagne is ok. Her guns are punchy af and very accurate, secondaries put out a lot of fire but suffer from her tier  (since manual control of secondaries skill is only 15% improvement at tier t5). She handles like a drunk pig; slow and waddling, and her turrets take all day to turn, but once again, this is not uncommon at tier 5. But if you can stay angled you'll shrug off a lot of potential damage despite her low HP and her guns will decimate same-tier BBs or any cruiser. 

Tier 6: Normandie was garbage for me, the only ship I disliked. I usually love fast BBs but her turret firing arcs were punitive and I couldn't seem to mitigate damage well enough to compensate for her low hp. I free-XPed out of her after four games, which is very rare for me. Part of that was garbage teams and I got frustrated. She may be workable for you; I admit four games is not enough to get a good feel for a ship. 

Tier 7: Lyon is definitely not OP, but she's a lot of fun and certainly competitive. Her guns are a bit derpy dispersion-wise and you need to expose a lot of side to fire all of them, so you have to be good at timing and positioning to do so without getting wrecked. But firing SIXTEEN main guns downrange means you're going to get hits even with weird dispersion. Also, firing sixteen guns downrange never ever ever ever gets old. She's a keeper for me, which says a lot since two of my favorite BBs are in tier 7 already (KGV and Gneisenau) and I almost never keep three ships in a tier of the same class except for DDs.

Tier 8: Richelieu is VERY fun, but quirky. With a secondary build she is the best ship I've seen at kiting; her secondaries are mounted in back and her firing arcs are very wide for good "over the shoulder" shots. Its tempting to bow-tank with all your main guns mounted on the bow, but I still recommend angling as you have a tendency to lose turrets when bow-on and with two turrets that cripples your DPS. Angling baits opponents to fire at your belt and your belt will shrug off most shots; bow-on means opponents will try and snipe your turrets. I play her as a lancer; move in at an angle, then time a turn when you have opportunity to minimize citadel exposure and pull back out, firing over shoulder while letting your 10+ km secondaries get in on the action. As such, kiting in this ship is a blast, especially since her turrets do have such strong firing arcs to the rear despite being concentrated in bow. 

Tier 9: Alsace is the jewel of the line and my new favorite tier 9 BB. She's wicked fast, has 12 undersized but accurate main guns (dispersion gets wonky near max range but from 11-13 km in they're deadly), her secondaries will merrily light fires and add damage, and her secondaries have more 360-degree coverage than Richelieu. She isn't very stealthy (although better than some BBs) but she has great speed to flex around the map, and she has low hp but if angled correctly can be very survivable. I don't straight up brawl with her as much as I do German BBs, but I do play her as a lancer much like Richelieu; charge in, then use speed to whip around and kite, staying near max range of secondaries and angled away from the enemy while lighting them up with 12-gun salvoes every 25 seconds or so. She is a BEAST. I'm honestly expecting a nerf to her; Alsace makes me look like a much better BB player than I am. 

Tier 10: I haven't played Republique but from everything I've seen in-game, plus heard from a couple friends who have her, I'm in no rush. She looks potentially fun but has a very high skill floor and will likely require a very good player with the right playstyle to consistently do well in her. I rushed to Alsace as I played her on test server and loved her, but I'm in no rush to get Republique. (Edit as of 4/3: I bought Republique about a week ago after trying her on test server and I was wrong. She's absolutely amazeballs. Still has a high skill floor but I clicked with her very well and she's as much fun as Alsace.)

For players who like speed and ability to move around map, appreciate a ship that can brawl or mid-range fight with equal aplomb, and can maximize their armor angles and stay alive to kick [edited], this is a fantastic line. Cruiser players will love them; they play like oversized cruisers.

Bon appetit!

Edited by poeticmotion
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14 hours ago, WolfofWarship said:

Thanks for sharing your experiences @poeticmotion. Overall, which would you say was your favorite ship you tried out? Alsace? 

Alsace is easily my favorite, with Richelieu second. 

 

Had a game in her with 400 secondary hits earlier.  The problem with German BBs in high tiers is that with the campy meta, its hard to do consistently well since you really have to get in close to maximize their DPM. Alsace can brawl like a champ (although you're not as tanky as Germans and have to be VERY mindful of your angles, and you want to stay a bit farther back, closer to the edge of your secondary range), but she feels like she is much more accurate at longer ranges with her main battery than Germans. So even in those games where no one on your team will push and you can't get away with closing in to knife range, you're still able to deal significant damage. She combines the mid-range accuracy of USN BBs (although with lower alpha strike potential due to small guns) with the secondary-range devastation of a Kurfurst or Friedrich.

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With Tier 5 I generally agree, though I'd like to get past my Orion and play the Iron Duke for a while to have another Tier 5 battleship against which to compare her (not that there is that much difference between the Orion and the Duke in the first place, but their matchmaking is different and that will alter perceptions).

Tier 6's observations are interesting. My experience so far in this ship is very limited and is entirely in co-op; I played her once (I think) just before I went on holiday and that was my first game after unlocking her, and then a few times after coming back from holiday and I'm so rusty my tactical performance is awful and I can no longer shoot straight. I am also trying too hard to erase destroyers and other fast, hard-to-hit threats, and that means my barrels are often unloaded when I should have them ready for bigger, slower ships.

I had the frustration of smacking a Gascogne last night at almost zero range with four- to eight-gun broadsides and doing not all that much. I know that's a higher tier ship with better armour, but surely at that distance SOME of my stuff should be getting through? I need to replay those games while we still have the current patch, look at the ribbons, and see exactly what happened to those shells when I'm NOT concentrating on fighting for my life.

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Thanks PM. Good write up.

I do like Alsace.  However, even with her the secondaries don’t do much damage. They can set fires ok but that’s about it. Then there’s the accuracy issue. All of the French BBs seem to have wonky dispersion and shell hits are unpredictable. I prefer main gun accuracy over secondary range, especially with these inconsistent French BBs. AFT is nice though in terms of boosting AA as well.

With Richelieu, I got 3 citadels on an FDG at 18 km in two consecutive salvos. Whut?  Awesome!  And yet I’ve dumped a full salvo into a broadside cruiser at 8km without a citadel. Speaking of the Richelieu, I agree about the gun arcs and secondaries for kiting. There’s one small problem though. She can get wrecked by any BB she’ll meet from the stern. Look at the armor model. 

Lyon is hysterical. The KGV eliminates the need to aim correctly with that stupid fire-starting HE. The Lyon makes it easy with sixteen (that’s right 16) rifles. Someone said something like “quantity has a quality all its own.”  Plus Tier 7 is the sweet spot in current matchmaking. And don’t neglect those pesky DDs or smoking cruisers. With 16 shells per salvo, you’re going to hit something where it hurts. Might not be what you were aiming at but you’ll hit it ?

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1 hour ago, Landing_Skipper said:

Thanks PM. Good write up.

I do like Alsace.  However, even with her the secondaries don’t do much damage. They can set fires ok but that’s about it. Then there’s the accuracy issue. All of the French BBs seem to have wonky dispersion and shell hits are unpredictable. I prefer main gun accuracy over secondary range, especially with these inconsistent French BBs. AFT is nice though in terms of boosting AA as well.

With Richelieu, I got 3 citadels on an FDG at 18 km in two consecutive salvos. Whut?  Awesome!  And yet I’ve dumped a full salvo into a broadside cruiser at 8km without a citadel. Speaking of the Richelieu, I agree about the gun arcs and secondaries for kiting. There’s one small problem though. She can get wrecked by any BB she’ll meet from the stern. Look at the armor model. 

Lyon is hysterical. The KGV eliminates the need to aim correctly with that stupid fire-starting HE. The Lyon makes it easy with sixteen (that’s right 16) rifles. Someone said something like “quantity has a quality all its own.”  Plus Tier 7 is the sweet spot in current matchmaking. And don’t neglect those pesky DDs or smoking cruisers. With 16 shells per salvo, you’re going to hit something where it hurts. Might not be what you were aiming at but you’ll hit it ?

You're right. I'm getting probably 75% of my secondary damage in Alsace from fires. I had 494 secondary hits in a game the other day and only 12k in direct damage from that. Thats ridiculously low for 494 hits. But Ialso dealt 42k damage from the fires those secondary hits set. 

It's a bit too RNG-dependent to count on setting fires against BBs with your 100mm secondaries and they won't ever pen anything on a BB, but it's a nice bonus.

Here's the game I referenced: 
uHWzs3H.png

Edited by poeticmotion

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i am only at richelieu and find the gun to be quite accurate.     overall  a pretty good bote.   

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Lyon can fire broadsides at least 30 degrees ahead and 45 degrees abaft, which is workable enough that I can claim "If I said this was balanced, I'd be Lyon my [stern] off".

Curiously, this pun has yet to be considered awful enough to be reported.

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11 hours ago, Landing_Skipper said:

Thanks PM. Good write up.

I do like Alsace.  However, even with her the secondaries don’t do much damage. They can set fires ok but that’s about it. Then there’s the accuracy issue. All of the French BBs seem to have wonky dispersion and shell hits are unpredictable. I prefer main gun accuracy over secondary range, especially with these inconsistent French BBs. AFT is nice though in terms of boosting AA as well.

With Richelieu, I got 3 citadels on an FDG at 18 km in two consecutive salvos. Whut?  Awesome!  And yet I’ve dumped a full salvo into a broadside cruiser at 8km without a citadel. Speaking of the Richelieu, I agree about the gun arcs and secondaries for kiting. There’s one small problem though. She can get wrecked by any BB she’ll meet from the stern. Look at the armor model. 

Lyon is hysterical. The KGV eliminates the need to aim correctly with that stupid fire-starting HE. The Lyon makes it easy with sixteen (that’s right 16) rifles. Someone said something like “quantity has a quality all its own.”  Plus Tier 7 is the sweet spot in current matchmaking. And don’t neglect those pesky DDs or smoking cruisers. With 16 shells per salvo, you’re going to hit something where it hurts. Might not be what you were aiming at but you’ll hit it ?

I find getting citadel hits with the Lyon is pretty easy against both cruisers and BBs. I went with an AA build as I don't feel shell dispersion is all that bad especially when she has 16 guns. I don't have the hull upgrade yet (do have firing range & speed) as I'm being tight with my 120 million credits and 408,000 free XP. LOL  The hull upgrade will further enhance the AA rating too. Plus I kept the Normandie but sold the Bretagne. 

Edited by dust340man

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I originally stated I wasn't in a rush to get Republique if I even bothered with her at all. I was wrong. Republique is ridiculously fun, and for some reason I do better with her than any other tier 10 ship I own even after 60 games to get past the 'low sample size' bump. She's absolutely amazing. I'll write up a full review at some point but she's an incredibly good ship for a player who plays aggressively and can aim well. She's very quirky and she wont' work well for spray-and-pray players, but her secondaries and her very powerful and fast-loading main guns make her awesome. She's a bit too squishy for clan battles and such; she's not built to take focus fire even though she's tougher than you'd expect when angled well. Evne though I'm stronger in Republique than any other t10 BB, I'd still reach for GK, Monty, or Conqueror before Republique for clan battles. But omg she's op in random battles. 

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I'm at T9 near to the T10 and yea, I'm enjoying the French, they are great with my aggressive play-style. The biggest bump was getting used to the Richelieu's guns. Its really off putting going from pretty standard AP, to fast super high pen AP that overpens everything, but once I got used to it I was consistently getting high damage, but still frustrating to play for me because I hate seeing overpen broadsides at all distances, and sub 10k broadside BBs, but still, was doing very well and I went from hating it to loving it very quickly. The Alsace is just a better Richelieu but with less of the quark. Being T9 you face less things you can overpen, having 4 more guns allow for more hits, armor is about the same to me, so still good, and there are secondaries that can hit all around the ship. The Republic is going to bring the quark back, but I can imagine once you work with the quark, she will work with you, with the 127mm secondaries or higher it can do more than just fires, and with 430mm guns can overmatch 27mm armor, and with the games I played with her in the Space Battles, I don't seem to get nearly as many overpens on broadsides. 

Edited by Ryuukazi

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Oh, I should mention, French BBs are the most romantic ships, while the French CAs try to play hard to get, the BBs like to get up close and sneak in a kiss (ram), although you may get in trouble for kissing those underage Anime ships, you have to do it, For FRANCE!!!!

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I found Bretagne to be a dog. She's the only T5 BB that I can't make work. IronDuke has HE, Kongo great range, NY has range and good pen, Konig has great AP and accuracy, Cesare is..Cesare...Bretagne has nothing..poor accuracy, poor shell performance, poor range and poor speed...just an overall dog. 

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I'm just at Lyon right now, but if the high tier BBs are anything like Gascogne, I'm going to love them. The speed, agility, and ability to flank and catch the enemy team in a cross fire cannot be understated.

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Great review, poetic motion.  A question:  Do you use IFHE on your Alsace & République?  I read another thread about it, and although costly, it might be worth it, especially for Alsace's two calibers of secondaries.

At the Lyon currently, a great ship with surprisingly good AA.  Sending sixteen 13-inch shells downrange is a hoot, I've nicknamed her 'the French Fowling Piece':Smile_teethhappy:

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On 4/14/2018 at 5:23 PM, HMCS_Moncton said:

Great review, poetic motion.  A question:  Do you use IFHE on your Alsace & République?  I read another thread about it, and although costly, it might be worth it, especially for Alsace's two calibers of secondaries.

At the Lyon currently, a great ship with surprisingly good AA.  Sending sixteen 13-inch shells downrange is a hoot, I've nicknamed her 'the French Fowling Piece':Smile_teethhappy:

Thank you for the compliment!

As far as IFHE, yes on Alsace, no on Republique. Why?

Alsace:

Alsace has very fast-firing (about a 3-second reload) 100mm secondaries backing up 3x3 152mm secondaries that fire more slowly (approx. 11 sec reload). The majority of outgoing fire is your 100mm secondaries. And they have good fire chance, but they don't pen anything except some parts of DDs. So you'll set lots of fires, but you won't do direct damage with them. But add IFHE, and your 100mm secondaries pen almost all parts of all DDs, large portions of cruisers (except for their primary armor belts) and BB superstructures.

Alsace 100mm 2ndary pen without IFHE: can pen up to 16.66mm armor. Alsace 100mm 2ndary pen with IFHE: can pen up to 21.66mm armor. 

I tested it both ways; I did without IFHE for my first sixty games in Alsace, and did a ton of fire damage but not a lot of direct pen damage. Once I got my 18th capt point, I added IFHE and tripled my average pen damage while only cutting fire damage by about a third. It probably doubled my overall secondary damage. @HazeGrayUnderway did some systematic testing in a training room for some less anecdotal data, shown in quote below: 

Quote

@HazeGrayUnderway says:

In training room tests, I've timed my Alsace Secondaries to fire for 2 minutes each on FDG, Alsace, Missouri, Izumo, Lion targets.  In 2 minutes:

WITHOUT IFHE:  BB targets survived with around 27k-32k HP remaining. WITH IFHE:  All BB targets were destroyed within 2 minutes. (bold print added by me.)

So for Alsace, IFHE is a no-brainer in a brawler build (and there are several viable builds for Alsace, but given my playstyle and the strengths of the ship, I strongly prefer a brawler build. 

With my 19-point Alsace Captain, I run PT, PM, Adrenaline Rush, Super (extra heal and speed boost), AFT, Manual Secondaries, IFHE. Alternatively, you could take BFT as an alternative to Super and that may even be superior if you don't often survive long enough for the extra heal, but I *hate* dying late game when that extra heal could have saved me. I run the secondary upgrade in the 500k credit upgrade slot, but for the 3-million credit upgrade slot I use the upgrade for main gun reload speed, as I find it gives me more value overall to shave time off my main gun reload as I use those all game whereas I am not *always* in secondary range (although I try to be, because brawler Alsace is best Alsace.)

Republique: 

Republique's secondary layout is a bit different. She shares the 3x3 152mm secondaries of Alsace, although 2 in front/1 in rear whereas Alsace is 1 in front/2 in rear. But her 152mm secondaries also fire much faster, approx. 7 second reload. The bigger difference is she has 8x2 127mm secondaries in place of the Alsace's 100mm secondaries. They fire a bit slower than the 100mm guns (about 4.5 seconds, IIRC) but they are much stronger. The 127mm guns have roughly the same pen without IFHE, 21.16mm armor, as the Alsace 100mm with IFHE. With IFHE, they can pen up to 27.5mm armor. 

But, the only benefit of IFHE is the ability to pen armor thicker than you would otherwise be able to. It does not increase damage if you can already pen that armor without IFHE. And aside from 25mm common plate, there is nothing the 127mm guns can pen with IFHE that she wouldn't otherwise be able to without it. Frankly, Republique doesn't see enough ships with enough 25mm plating to make the opportunity cost of IFHE worth it. Not only do you give up a bit of fire chance, but it takes up 4 skill points you can use elsewhere. Taking IFHE on Alsace increases your 2ndary damage, making that opportunity cost worth it, but on Republique it doesn't. 

My 19-point Republique captain build: PT, Expert Marksman, Adrenaline Rush, Super, BFT, AFT, Manual Secondaries. By dropping IFHE, I can run Super AND BFT at the same time, giving me a 10% boost to my 2ndary firepower without losing Super. I can also take Expert Marksman in addition to Adrenaline Rush, and since Republique has a 1x4 front/ 1x4 rear main gun layout compared to the 2x4 front / 1x4 rear layout of Alsace, EM is more valuable on Republique since switching sides takes 50% of my main gun firepower out of action until my turrets traverse as opposed to the 33% of Alsace. 

Here's an example of what Republique's secondaries can do. This is with a 16-point captain, so before I had BFT, but with manual secondaries, adrenaline rush, and AFT. This was a match where I ended up only engaging BBs (which is unusual for me), but still got 35k direct damage plus 55k fire damage from my secondaries. 

hw8QuAz.jpg

TL;DR: On Alsace, putting 4 points into IFHE is a drastic improvement to secondary effectiveness with only a minor opportunity cost (since EM is comparatively less important than it is for Republique.) On Republique, putting 4 points into IFHE is a minor improvement at best, more likely a sidegrade given the loss of fire damage potential vs very little additional pen damage, to secondary  effectiveness with a far more significant opportunity cost (EM is more important due to main gun layout, and BFT is more noticeable due to overall slower-firing secondaries plus the harder-hitting 127mm guns.)

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Thank you very much for taking the time to answer, poetic motion (and such a detailed reply too).  Appreciate it. :)

See ya on the gun line!

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