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HarryVoyager

CB thought: Dual Tier ships?

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Was reading through the thread on the placement of the Alaska, and it strikes me the issue is that the ship, and other super-heavy cruisers like it designed near the end of the war is that they are neither fish nor fowl. While it is sometimes called a battlecruiser, it does not fulfill either the force projection role that the RN BCs did, nor the small Battleship that the KM BCs were. The IJN tried to do both, and while they started with RN BCs, they ended with fast battleships instead.

The Alaska, and other late war super-cruisers, are not either of those: they lack the contemporary battleship grade guns, only retain armour to handle cruiser caliber weaponry, and lack the underwater protection to handle torpedoes or underwater shell impacts. They were, at a basic level, designed as a heavy cruiser screen for the main battle fleet. When you map their specs to how it will likely perform at Tier X in-game, you get something that, while it will be very strong against other cruisers (305mm guns, armour proof against 203mm guns, 35 knot, turning circle the size of a small ocean) it can be easily deleted by battleships, yet likely also fairly vulnerable to Destroyers (20s reload time, give me 20 acres and I'll turn this rig around, insert torps here). It will need to be a sneaky, opportunistic SoB to do it's job. While it may not be using tons of HE

Bring it down to Tier VII, and you end up with a something different. While it's broadside armour is relatively thin for a BB, it apparently had a 36mm weather deck (maximum trollage), and its 12 inch guns could match the performance of the 14/50's seen on the New Mexico class, and with its 35 knot top speed, it can show up where its least wanted far more effectively than, say, the Colorado.

So there are ultimately good arguments for placing it as either a Tier 7 battleship, or a Tier 10 Cruiser, based on the fixed stats. The next question is, what would the two ships look like, in game? After looking at the stats of Tier 10 heavy cruisers, and Tier 7 Battleships, I believe they would ultimately look very similar. In fact, I would postulate that it may be possible to make them identical, and have a ship balanced in each tier/role. How would that work?

Hit points are the simplest. What struck me was that the Tier 10 cruisers and Tier VI battleships both generally have around 50-60k hitpoints. Some have more, some have less.

Detection ranges are also in the same spectrum, with a likely detection range in the 17km range, like the Soviet Tier X's and larger T7 BBs

AA and secondaries are also somewhat related. While the Alaska has 56(!) 40mm boffors, and 34 20mm Oerlikons, it lacks the 76.2mm of the Des Moines, and we've seen ships like the Texas, with its 40x40mm and 44x20mm down at Tier V, so short range no-fun zones are a thing even at those tiers. (To be honest, I'm expecting all of the AA to be rebalanced whenever the CV rework hits. Right now CVs are so rare that AA is highly situational.)

Consumables are trickier. Both T10 cruisers and T7 BBs have the 10%/20 Repair Party, so that's a match. However the Damage Control Party is a bit different, with the US BB one being a 20s on a 120s cooldown, and the Cruiser being a 5s on a 90s cooldown, however, the Warspite has been using the Cruiser DCP for years, so its not unheard of for a BB to match the cruiser version.

The next slot is dictated by history: Spotter Aircraft/Float Fighter, with 4 charges. That was one of the things about the Alaska; it had a big hanger.

Now, this is where they diverge: T7 BBs have four consumables, while TX cruisers have 5. For a 5th consumable, it would probably be a swap between Radar and Defensive AA Fire. For its role even as a Tier X cruiser, I'd need to question whether those would actually be necessary or desirable.

The other divergence would be in the Upgrades. T7 ships top out at the four main ones, while T10 ships get access to Slots 5 and 6. The Slot 5 Concealment System is always handy, but I think it would be somewhat mitigated by the likely 17km base detection radius, so you could get it down to about a smaller T7 BB with it. The Steering Gears mod gets a bit more interesting. Most cruisers seem to shift in the 8-12 seconds range, while BB's are in the 12-20s range, with US ones tending to be on the low side. Just as a ball-park, thinking a 16s base rudder ships would allow you to either have Colorado grade rudder ships and concealment, or Moskva grade rudder shift and concealment. I think keeping that could lead to some interesting trades between maneuverability and stealth. Slot 6 would be similar, based around balancing the guns around the assumption that one of these would be slotted, allowing the commander to trade between range, accuracy, rate of fire, or AA performance.

With all that, I'd argue, with the four consumable slots, and all six upgrade slots, one can make a ship that can be in balance in both the role of a Tier 7 BB and a Tier 10 CA. So now where does the ship go? I'd propose giving the ship an extended matchmaking range, essentially being able to slot in to Tier 5-10 matches. From Tiers 10-8, it would count as a Tier X Cruiser, while from Tiers 7-5, it would be counted as a Tier VII Battleship. This would also imply the ship itself would need to be a reward ship, as it would probably have a very high skill floor to perform well in. On the other hand, it would resolve where to put it, as well as offering an extended range of ships to play against and some novelty for the players who earn it.

Thoughts? (DCMS2 installed...)

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I know at least 2 Alaskas were made.

Put one at T7 one at T9. Done

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Stalingrad is already basically an Alaska at T10. Not sure T9 is a good place for a 14/50 armed cruiser

That said, might be a good way to test the concept before committing to major architecture changes: give STs a Tier 7 BB and Tier 10 CA of the same ship and see if it goes sideways. 

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If anything Alaska was a super heavy cruiser.

Tier 9 free XP cruiser. It's an American Kronshdadt. Give her the USN normalization, mediocre HE (so that it is situational), a decent sigma, but a rather large dispersion elipse. Consumables wise, a 30 second radar, Heal (normal cruiser heal, no RN CL one), and DFAA. Maybe slot Hydro in one of those slots.

 

If the Guam (or whichever is not the tier 9 cruiser) makes it into the game as a tier 7 battleship... It would probably need a stronger heal than most just due to the fact that her belt, and general armor profile is rather mediocre. 
It is unfortunate that these ships were developed so late in the war, as there isn't a whole lot of room for refits (as on the older USN Standard BBs), which makes the downtiering of one rather difficult.

 

But hey, if they both make it into the game, one as a tier 7 BB and the other as a tier 9/10 CA, then great. That said, Alaska or Guam just need to be in the game at this point. 
At least these were ships that were built, saw combat, and were generally well liked by their crews and vessels they escorted.

They weren't some ship whose hull was only 70% complete before being designated as a target for naval gunnery. 

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17 minutes ago, HarryVoyager said:

Stalingrad is already basically an Alaska at T10. Not sure T9 is a good place for a 14/50 armed cruiser 

They are 12"/50 caliber guns (305mm/50), not 14".

14 inch guns are 356mm. 

 

Just for the record :D

Edited by Viper101

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14 minutes ago, Viper101 said:

They are 12"/50 caliber guns (305mm/50), not 14".

14 inch guns are 356mm. 

 

Just for the record :D

The WWII era 12/50 with the 1100lb super heavy rounds were considered, in performance, comparable to the WWI era 14/50s seen on the Standard BBs, but did it with a 20s reload. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/12"/50_caliber_Mark_8_gun

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2 minutes ago, HarryVoyager said:

The WWII era 12/50 with the 1100lb super heavy rounds were considered, in performance, comparable to the WWI era 14/50s seen on the Standard BBs, but did it with a 20s reload. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/12"/50_caliber_Mark_8_gun

Indeed.

But your  post seemed to claim that Alaska/Guam was armed with 14"/50 naval guns. I sought to make sure you were aware that the Alaska Class was armed with the 12"/50 guns, which definitely have similar performance to the naval guns found on older battleships (New Mexico being one of them I believe). 

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Sorry typing replies on my phine. Original point still stands: not sure T9 is a good place for a cruiser with 230mm armour, 36mm deck armour, armed with the equivalent of 14/50 guns to be at, without making the soft stats so poor that it cannot complete it's designed purpose of hunting T10 cruisers.

Could a Stalingrad equivalent be balanced at T9? Especially given the issues balancing it at T10?

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Why would WG give you a 2-in-1 when they can sell you two ships?

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