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JakeParlay

Alsace... what am I doing wrong?

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I picked up the Alsace a week or so and I'm sincerely asking for help. 27 battles with it so far and I cannot get any spark going. Every fight feels like an ordeal. Does that ever happen to you guys with new ships?

I'm not the best player. nor the most experienced (this is my first IX), but I'm not totally inept. I bought Alsace the moment I hung up 201k with the Richelieu, and have been 100% confounded, humbled and frustrated by it ever since. I rush in... I get torched. I hang back... I can't hit a goddamned thing. I try to be strategic, and eat 20k salvo after salvo.

I've got the B hull, the longer range arty, and have tried two different setups for my 18-pt captain (survival, then secondary build). I know they recently nerfed the Alsace, but I had such an amazing time with the rest of the French BB line that I couldn't resist... 23 million credits later and I'm cursing myself.

Alsace, so far, is my lowest K/D out of 15 battleships I've tried. It's abysmal. It's even worse than the Tier IIIs that I first fumbled around with:

alsace2.thumb.jpg.ac4694c74ba0ba08cf20e249943c11f1.jpg

Any pointers? What am I missing? Am I washed up? I would greatly appreciate any advice, tactics, recommendations, etc. that you have.    -Jake

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Upgrades:

Aux mod 1

Dam mod 1

Secondary mod2

Dam on mod 2

Concealment 

Main batter mod 3

....

Captain skills:

PM

EM 

AR

BFT 

AFT

FP

JACK OF ALL TRADES

....

Try that out.

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Aside from kills, let's see what you DO have:
One of the best maneuverbility for tier 9 battleships
One of the best concealment for tier 9 battleships
The best anti-aircraft armament for tier 9 battleships
The best secondary armament suite for tier 9 battleships
Solid armor scheme, vulnerable to prolonged HE spam
Heaviest raw broadside weight for tier 9 battleships
Fast turret traverse and fast reload
Phast Boi

For all of that, you pay the price of raw firepower, in terms of gun caliber, accuracy, and ballistic characteristics. 

So, what does this mean?
You cannot fight your enemies head on. You do not stick in a fight for long. 

But you can do well going into risky positions (especially in mid-late game when destroyer threats are neutralized), stealthing up if the fight becomes unfavorable, defending yourself against aircrafts, dealing with unexpected sudden threats with secondaries and main batteries alike.

You are a flanker, actively trying to put your enemies into a crossfire between you and your team. Need to face tank several AP vollies from enemy battleships? The Alscase can handle it! Calculate your threats, what ship poses the most threat to you, how long might it take them to kill you, is it worth it to push to where I am about to...

 

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6 minutes ago, The_first_harbinger said:

You are a flanker, actively trying to put your enemies into a crossfire between you and your team. Need to face tank several AP vollies from enemy battleships? The Alscase can handle it! Calculate your threats, what ship poses the most threat to you, how long might it take them to kill you, is it worth it to push to where I am about to...

This is the best piece of advice. The French line 100% can't be played in the middle of the battle line. Try getting on the flanks where people are less likely to focus fire on you. Also, IFHE can really help Alscase's 100mm secondaries.

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So, let's do a classic strengths/weaknesses analysis for the Alsace.

Strengths:

-She has twelve guns on a BB, which pretty much guarantees you good firepower and performance in knife-range brawls. Add to that fast shell velocity and a surprisingly fast reload, and you have yourself some great overall DPM. Not necessarily burst DPM, but DPM over a period of time, kinda like a cruiser.

-She's fast. With flag and speed boost I think she ties Republique for the fastest BB in the game. Her turn is ok, although personally I always found it frustrating.

-She has decent concealment. Not great, but in the world of tier XI BBs her concealment is just far enough on the right side of 13km that you can really start using it.

-She has good secondaries. This allows her to push isolated DDs in smoke surprisingly effectively (I mean, you'll still take damage, but it'll turn out better for you than it would for other BBs).

Weaknesses:
-Guns underperform. This was my personal frustration with this ship. The accuracy was always terrible, now it is atrocious. When your shells do land they tend to either overpen or shatter. When they do land, and pen, they often for some reason don't do damage. And when they do land, pen, and damage, they're relatively small shells for the tier so you're not doing much anyway. Relying on 'the one critical volley' in the Alsace is a recipe for disappointment; you must wait for the averaging effect of many volleys to smooth out any quirks.

-She burns easy. Massive superstructure, big areas of low armour protection. She's also at tier XI, so there's lots of tier X BBs around to overmatch your armour. She can definitely take some hits, but she'll never stand up to concentrated fire.

 

From this list we can begin to see a playstyle emerging. First, she is not a very reliable damage dealer, but is capable of racking it up if allowed to average out her quirks over a large number of volleys. In terms of damage she generally wants to be as close as possible to minimise the effects of her terrible dispersion. But in order to get that large volume of shots in she needs to survive, which means taking advantage of your concealment and speed to avoid being concentrated by HE spammers or the tier X heavyweight BBs.

The first step in not-being-concentrated is to go down one of the flanks. In the middle the entire enemy team can shoot at you. At the flanks only half and they usually need to turn their turrets to do so. You're fast enough to skirt the map border and still be aggressive at the same time. Going around the long way will also give you enough time to let most of the enemy team be spotted before you commit yourself to a push. Depending upon where each team is headed, you are able to decide if you're going to push as planned, go an even more direct route, or double back and start kiting away. In any case, try to form a crossfire with the rest of your team, so the enemy is forced to choose whom they shoot and point their turrets at. 

Next, try to use your concealment. I think you can get it down to 12.6km (If I remember right), which usually puts you just within the range at which your guns start becoming effective. This is particularly useful when there's a significant enemy presence on your flank or you're actively kiting away, as it allows you to disappear from the enemies' screens as soon as things start getting uncomfortable for you. Just make sure you're still tanking your fair share of damage. It should also be noted that at these middle ranges you do become fairly manoeuvrable while engine boost is on, allowing you to actively wiggle, dodge shots and bounce shells. This also has the effect of slowing you down, allowing you to control the distance when pushing in or kiting away without losing much of your speed.

Lastly, know that the Alsace is a pretty decent brawler, which can take out same tier BBs, CAs, and even DDs (given the excellent secondaries, high speed and lots of shells) at very close ranges. If the enemy does not send many ships to your flank or you find yourself in the late stages of a battle it is worth becoming extremely aggressive, even in the face of smoke screens (just make sure to play your cards right). You can 1v1 just about anything that isn't a GK, Montana or Conqueror.

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7 hours ago, JakeParlay said:

I picked up the Alsace a week or so and I'm sincerely asking for help. 27 battles with it so far and I cannot get any spark going. Every fight feels like an ordeal. Does that ever happen to you guys with new ships?

I'm not the best player. nor the most experienced (this is my first IX), but I'm not totally inept. I bought Alsace the moment I hung up 201k with the Richelieu, and have been 100% confounded, humbled and frustrated by it ever since. I rush in... I get torched. I hang back... I can't hit a goddamned thing. I try to be strategic, and eat 20k salvo after salvo.

I've got the B hull, the longer range arty, and have tried two different setups for my 18-pt captain (survival, then secondary build). I know they recently nerfed the Alsace, but I had such an amazing time with the rest of the French BB line that I couldn't resist... 23 million credits later and I'm cursing myself.

Alsace, so far, is my lowest K/D out of 15 battleships I've tried. It's abysmal. It's even worse than the Tier IIIs that I first fumbled around with:

alsace2.thumb.jpg.ac4694c74ba0ba08cf20e249943c11f1.jpg

Any pointers? What am I missing? Am I washed up? I would greatly appreciate any advice, tactics, recommendations, etc. that you have.    -Jake

Looks like Alsace  is your first Tier 9 in any BB line and you only have 26 battles in her.  I like BB's and do pretty well in them, but Tier 9 just doesn't seem to be the most comfortable Tier in any line (Iowa, FDG, and Izumo didn't feel nearly as capable at their tier until I got somewhat used to them - and got them upgraded from stock).   Alsace might be the best Tier 9 experience I have had so far, now that I have the hull and engine upgrades and am starting to get a feel for how to play her (like folks have said above, more like a flanking battlecruiser).  There is good advice in the posts above.

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Just remember you most powerful secondary barrage comes when you have your Stern to whatever you are engaged with.

Get to a Flank where you have the enemies side and then position yourself to kite away at a good angle to anything close to you.

Secondary build plus IFHE is still the way to go in this ship and try to save your speed boost for when you start to get overwhelmed.

The ability to get out of range and reposition is critical in this ship.

Also when you are top Tier in a 7,8,9 match you need play it like you are the Boss.

Because you are be the Bully and make anyone pay for getting anywhere close to you.

Edited by GUNSTAR_THE_LEGEND
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3 hours ago, The_first_harbinger said:

Fast turret traverse and fast reload

Not the latter, anymore.  32s is among the slowest, if not the slowest, reload at tier.

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1 minute ago, landcollector said:

Not the latter, anymore.  32s is among the slowest, if not the slowest, reload at tier.

Keep in mind about the effect of the special french captain and his enhanced adrenaline rush skills, 32 second reload is fake news if you keep the aggression up.

Edited by The_first_harbinger

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3 minutes ago, The_first_harbinger said:

Keep in mind about the effect of the special french captain and his enhanced adrenaline rush skills, 32 second reload is fake news if you keep the aggression up.

Not everyone has that captain though, the above is of limited usefulness. Not to mention it requires being at very low HP and a stupid red team not focusing you as a priority target to get much mileage off of that skill-based RoF increase.

Edited by landcollector

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1 minute ago, landcollector said:

Not everyone has that captain though, the above is of limited usefulness. Not to mention it requires being at very low HP and a stupid red team not focusing you as a priority target to get much mileage off of that skill-based RoF increase.

In my personal opinion, if you are playing the Alsace, chances are she's sailing with the special captain that you moved up from Normandie, Lyon, and Richelieu, and you are on your way to Republique. Alsace is decently fun, but I wouldn't go back to her when I reached Republique.

Besides, the armor profile of the Alsace is very solid, and the superstructure don't eat full pens often. Unless you are under constant crusier HE spam (which you can and should avoid), it will take enemy battleships a very long time to put you down even if you are on half health. Combined with the main battery reload mod, Alsace realistically has a very decent rate of fire, as Iowa and Missouri usually mounts the accuracy mod, nobody plays the FDR, and Izumo's reload isn't that much better.

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6 hours ago, GUNSTAR_THE_LEGEND said:

Secondary build plus IFHE is still the way to go in this ship

When do you take the IFHE? I notice it was not included in the suggested build above. Getting frustrated with my Richelieu getting lots of no-damage secondary hits.

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2 minutes ago, Sabot_100 said:

When do you take the IFHE? I notice it was not included in the suggested build above. Getting frustrated with my Richelieu getting lots of no-damage secondary hits.

When i noticed the same thing from my Alsace, lots of hits for no damage just a few fires here and there.

Took IFHE maxed out my secondaries and watched my secondaries pump out 50 to 75 K depending on what I was going against.

 

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Just now, GUNSTAR_THE_LEGEND said:

Took IFHE maxed out my secondaries and watched my secondaries pump out 50 to 75 K depending on what I was going against.

But if you don't have a 19 pt captain to respec into the ship, when would you pick up the skill? Would you take it before/instead of CE? AFT?

Don't have the ship yet. MAY want to keep the Richelieu so I won't have a good captain to drop into it.

May need to be a separate topic, but after the nerf, is Alsace a keeper after you unlock the Republique? Not sure what purpose even a decent tier 9 serves as you will see T10s in most battles. Why not play the T10?

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12 minutes ago, Sabot_100 said:

But if you don't have a 19 pt captain to respec into the ship, when would you pick up the skill? Would you take it before/instead of CE? AFT?

Don't have the ship yet. MAY want to keep the Richelieu so I won't have a good captain to drop into it.

May need to be a separate topic, but after the nerf, is Alsace a keeper after you unlock the Republique? Not sure what purpose even a decent tier 9 serves as you will see T10s in most battles. Why not play the T10?

If you do not have a 19 point captain then you will have to work with what you got.

I do not run CE, I do run AFT because i basically plan on using those secondaries so CE is pointless.

I feel as if the Alsace is way more fun to play, Ionly got the Republique because I had a lot of XP earned on the Alsace so I used it lol.

Honestly I can hardly tell they nerfed it, i do the same amount of damage if not more now.

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1. I greatly appreciate the depth of people's responses and the advice given here. Truly.

I can tell already I have a lot of improvement with my tactics. I was getting eaten alive trying to lead the charge in map center -- I think that's a large part of it. (and me being too thick-headed to think about flanking around, working perimeters, timing my charges, etc)

2. What the heck is a special French captain?

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11 hours ago, JakeParlay said:

2. What the heck is a special French captain?

Can't remember his name but he is a captain you earn by completing a number of missions in the French campaign. He gives the ship he is on small bonuses to certain captain skills (If you select those skills). Most (All?) nations have similar earned captains available if you complete the missions.  Some are easier to get than others. The actual bonuses provided vary by captain/nation.

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12 hours ago, JakeParlay said:

2. What the heck is a special French captain?

Jean-Jacques Honoré (or his brother, Charles-Henri Honoré).

Timely post, I picked up Alsace last weekend but didn't play until last night.  Won both, but got eaten alive.  I was very tired and maybe not focused enough, but felt maybe I allowed my speed to get in too deep too soon.  Will try the suggestions in this thread.   Good luck to us both in figuring out this ship most seem to rave about.

Edited by groomsiebelle
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Alsace is one of my favorites.  Her secondaries really don't sing until you take IFHE before that they will do only moderate damage.  But take IFHE all the other secondary skills and secondary mod 3 and they are insane, 2.1S reload on the 100MM secondaries.  Its like having 1.5 Akisuzkis strapped to each side + 9 152mm guns firing every 8.1S.  If all are firing its 408 rounds per minute, its glorious watching the damage counter go up like a pinball machine. 

Its also enough fire power you can engage two ships at once while brawling, especially if one is a CL or DD and focus your main guns on a BB. 

But your armor is squishy and you have to work the angles hard to control damage.  I also take the first option that doubles secondary health and I have found it keeps them in action much longer. 

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Upload a replay, shoot AP, flank to get broadsides, collect cits.  Just can't get to aggressive and use the speed boost to get out of town fast if it gets too hot.  She can't take on 4 ships at once.  She does not play extremely differently than the Richelieu,  which you do well in. You are not really far off from oyur Richelieu averages.  You need to work on surviving battles in the Alsace.

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You will struggle the deeper you go into High Tier (VIII-X) with your first ships in those tiers.  High Tier is nothing at all like prior tiers and is very unforgiving.  Cruisers, Battleships in High Tier are on average, far more powerful and accurate at range compared to prior tiers.


When you get to your first Tier X ship, which seems to be Republique, do not be surprised if you struggle with even her.

 

I struggled with Iowa, which was my first Tier IX ship.  When I first got her, I got real cocky thinking it's easy mode now, and a well played North Carolina in a brawl with my Iowa showed me how much I had to learn.

 

Yamato was my first Tier X.  I got mighty Yamato!  460mm guns!  I felt invincible when I got her.  Except I was an idiot and was getting rekt.  I was one of those Yamato players that die early in a match, which is real annoying to your teammates when they see their top tier BB get rekt like a chump.

 

4 generic pointers for High Tier BBs & Cruisers.  It seems obvious but it's fundamental and prone to getting screwed up.  In no particular order:

 

1.  Get familiar with the maps and player tendencies.  Start noting those little nook and crannies ships try to hide in for ambushes, or lobbing shells from spots where you can't see them, etc.  Position is everything in a game, most especially so if your enemy can't strike back at you, or from where they can ambush you for a killer torpedo or gun attack.  Map familiarity and getting a feel of what players do will get you to make the right action to counter them soon.  You can tell by where the players are sailing to, to avoid a certain spot on the map because they'd have advantage against you there.  Take note of where DDs like to infiltrate to for their stealth torpedo attacks, and not put yourself into their projected kill zones.  Etc.  Map familiarity also helps in recognizing map features to help you out, i.e. quickly knowing certain islands that block LOS from entire regions of the map.  I'm not only talking about a USN Cruiser finding islands to camp behind.  I'm talking being a Battleship or open water Cruiser using islands to block LOS so that instead of 6-7 guys having a chance to shoot at you, the most is 1, 2 or even 3 ships at most, while you still got the opportunity to attack the desired target(s).  You don't have to be right next to an island to use it to break LOS with the enemy.

 

2.  Get good with your aim, especially as a BB.  Ships are very tough in High Tier and opportunities to punish someone can be fleeting.  Someone may briefly show you broadside at 18km.  With good match awareness and good, fast aim, you can punish that chump at long range.  The engagement ranges in High Tier are very long and you better get the hang of it, whether you are playing ranged combatants like IJN & USN BBs or Brawlers like German BBs.  If you relied on rolling up to someone at 13km like you did in mid and low tiers and blasting them, that doesn't work in High Tier since it's not a regular event.  The typical engagement range is at least 15km for Cruisers and Battleships.  14km is considered a short ranged fight already in High Tier.  There are Cruisers like Zao, Moskva, Hindenburg that can reliably hit at around 18km.  The only way you will make those Cruisers respect your Battleship is if you can show you can slap them right back across the face even at long range.  They'll then consider doing something else than bothering you.  If you can't hit them back, they'll keep shooting at you with zero respect.  When I do a High Tier ranged Cruiser like Zao, I'll open up on the BB with a very good ranged and angled profile, ready to bail out.  If I see the BB has poor aim and can't hit me back, I just found my shooting target to farm damage off of.  OTOH, if he starts showing he can hit me back even at long range, I had best do something else like "going dark" into stealth and find another target.  Get good with your aim, because you will be tested in your BB.  If you are playing in a BB and find yourself being attacked by a Engine Boosting Khabarovsk at 13km, it's game on.  You either smack Khab around and kill it, or drive it off, or Khab will gun you down and burn you at the same time.  There's lots of BBs who can't engage a Khab properly and so Khabs rack up lots of damage against players that don't know how to hit them.

 

3.  Position is everything, be mindful of where your ship is at, where it's going to be relative to your team and the enemy.  High Tier maps are very wide open with sparse cover to break LOS to you.  You put your ship in the wrong spot, especially at the start of the match, you will see your Priority Target counter skyrocket to 6+ and immediately come under HEAVY focus fire.  No ship, Cruiser or even Battleship, is going to last long in High Tier under focus fire.  If you do somehow survive, you'll be inches from being sunk.  Position is everything, don't be in a bad spot where you make yourself the most convenient target for a bunch of people to shoot at.

 

4.  And here's the good one, the one which seems counter to some of these previous points.  You need to be aggressive, you need to get close.  You need to be close enough where your attacks have higher probabilities of making hits.  Just because you can shoot at 24km doesn't mean you should be parking at 20km and settling for low hit probability attacks.  You need to get close for higher chances to hit.  How close depends on the ship in question, but BBs on average get much more scary accurate in High Tier at 15km or less.  You need to be close but not so close where you get into deep trouble and start eating even lots of torpedo attacks.  It's a very fine line between being stupidly close or being too passive at too long a range.  One makes you dead early, the other makes you irrelevant and a waste of a ship slot for the team.  You need to strike a balance.

Edited by HazeGrayUnderway
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I read every word, Haze. Thank you. I think you identified a significant part of my struggle... something I hadn't really factored in before. It's not just a new, unfamiliar ship. It's also a brand new tier, and a significant one.

Since I played a great deal with the Richelieu, and saw Tier X opponents and plenty of IX's, I figured that this would be comparable. It is not. The strength and number of IX and X tiered ships is much higher now (duh, Jake).

Things are going better now, and I can attribute 100% of that change to this discussion thread. I have rethought my tactics and strategy based on the advice here, and while I still get hammered on occasion (in-game, I mean), I am finally able to dish out some, too. 

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On 8/28/2018 at 1:52 AM, JakeParlay said:

Since I played a great deal with the Richelieu, and saw Tier X opponents and plenty of IX's, I figured that this would be comparable.

I'm here to post because I cannot make Alsace work consistently/reliably at all either. I expected it to be a better Richelieu, which was a laser pointer that any cruiser trying to run away from needs to look out for.

A Tier 8+ heavy cruiser running away from an Alsace doesn't even need to wiggle to get away without eating more than 1 hit per salvo, almost always a ricochet or overpen.

I genuinely think Richelieu is scarier to a Tier 10 ship than Alsace is, because unlike Alsace's useless shotgun tendencies,, a Richelieu can reliably wear down the other guy enough on the run in to kill them in a close-range passing mass citadel strike. Alsace can only ram.

 

The guns are so awful they cannot hit even at short range, let alone long, and at mid range they can't shoot over islands due to flat trajectory.

 

And now Alsace can't even shotgun DDs charging it anymore. I've been reduced to spamming HE and slowly going through matches by pure spite due to how hopelessly bad the guns are. At least fire actually gets worthwhile amounts of damage unlike ricochets and overpens whenever the guns don't outright miss.

Edited by Guardian54
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On ‎8‎/‎21‎/‎2018 at 3:09 AM, JakeParlay said:

I picked up the Alsace a week or so and I'm sincerely asking for help. 27 battles with it so far and I cannot get any spark going. 

Probably a good thing, because ANY spark will set the entire ship on fire.

Note to French maintenance yards.  Do NOT, repeat NOT, soak the decks in kerosene!

Fwiw...this 'feature' makes the ship unfun for me.  Far too easy to burn down.

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