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Massachusetts and "Inefficient" Captain Skills

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I happened to note on the Captain Skills page for the Massachusetts' Captain that IFHE is designated as an "Inefficient Skill for this Ship". This is amazing considering that IFHE makes this ship's secondaries even more awesome and is a skill that is also widely recommended by CCs and the player population. Perhaps WG may want to revisit this particular "inefficient" designation..... 

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My guess is that the designation is only taking into account IFHE's effect for the main guns.

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I believe they only consider main armaments.

But I'm at work and can't check to see if it is greyed out for German BB's right now.

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IFHE is not necessary for the Massachusetts.  It already penetrates destroyer armor and superstructures without it, and the benefit of adding it is very situational.  I thought it was awesomesauce too until I took it off and took DE instead, then started doing more damage.

Edited by Ranari

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11 minutes ago, DreadRaybo said:

My guess is that the designation is only taking into account IFHE's effect for the main guns.

I'd say he's right on that one^^^^

On the other hand Oh! Those beautiful IFHE secondaries!! :Smile_izmena:

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1 minute ago, Ranari said:

IFHE is not necessary for the Massachusetts.  It already penetrates destroyer armor and superstructures, and the benefit of adding IFHE is very situational.  I thought it was awesomesauce too until I took it off and took DE instead, then started doing more damage.

 I have IFHE but I'm not sure I ever played with out it , so your saying the secondaries are just as good with out it . Do the rest of you agree with this because I sure love those secondaries  . Don't want to waste a skill reset and find out it's not the same .

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Just now, clammboy said:

 I have IFHE but I'm not sure I ever played with out it , so your saying the secondaries are just as good with out it . Do the rest of you agree with this because I sure love those secondaries  . Don't want to waste a skill reset and find out it's not the same .

Way better without.  I have the Massachusetts and have played it both with and without IFHE.  My highest [secondary] damage game was without IFHE, scoring a combined 100k between penetration and fire damage.  There are only a very few instances where having IFHE helps with the penetration, but they're so few that it's a very inefficient use of 4 captain points.  Without IFHE, the American 127mm secondaries can penetrate everything important already (all superstructure armor as well as destroyer armor, minus the Khabarovsk). 

Instead, I took Demolition Expert and Expert Marksman.  EM is superfluous, but I trade the captain between the Massachusetts, Arizona, and Montana as well where it is very useful on the latter two ships. 

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1 hour ago, Ranari said:

Way better without.  I have the Massachusetts and have played it both with and without IFHE.  My highest [secondary] damage game was without IFHE, scoring a combined 100k between penetration and fire damage.  There are only a very few instances where having IFHE helps with the penetration, but they're so few that it's a very inefficient use of 4 captain points.  Without IFHE, the American 127mm secondaries can penetrate everything important already (all superstructure armor as well as destroyer armor, minus the Khabarovsk). 

Instead, I took Demolition Expert and Expert Marksman.  EM is superfluous, but I trade the captain between the Massachusetts, Arizona, and Montana as well where it is very useful on the latter two ships. 

OK thanks here is my setup 19 point capt 

PT , PM , EM , BFT , IFHE , AFT , and CE .

I lose the IFHE 4 point lose either Pt or Pm and pick up 

AD and Vigilance what do u think ?

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9 hours ago, clammboy said:

OK thanks here is my setup 19 point capt 

PT , PM , EM , BFT , IFHE , AFT , and CE .

I lose the IFHE 4 point lose either Pt or Pm and pick up 

AD and Vigilance what do u think ?

You have a couple of options to choose from.

  • PM - I'd drop Preventative Maintenance, as it only affects your main battery.  The Massachusetts doesn't have torpedoes, and losing your engines and steering gears is uncommon in any battleship.  Additionally, American warships starting at T6 all have extremely heavy main battery protection, so it makes PM unnecessary.   I personally take Primary Armaments Mod 1 with no added protection for the secondaries.  But, American secondaries are pretty beefy unlike their French counterparts.  It's pretty rare I lose my secondary turrets.
  • PT - Priority Target is always, always useful.  When you have 3-4 people targeting you at once, it means you're being focused fired, and you need to get out of dodge, fast.
  • EM - Expert Marksman is unnecessary for the Massachusetts because the turret rotation speed is already very fast.  The only reason I take it though is because I swap the captain out between my Arizona and Montana, which both benefit greatly from it.  Expert Marksman does give the Massachusetts a "quality of life" improvement though because the turrets move so dang fast, haha!
  • AR - Adrenaline Rush is a must have, so I would find a way to take this skill.  This skill improves your reload speed based on your lost HP, and it affects secondary armaments too.
  • SI - Superintendent is a skill that greatly benefits the Massachusetts.  I personally do not take it, but I recognize the value.  It would give you 5 charges of its awesome Repair Party.  Consider Superintendent an alternative to take between BFT.  If you want to be more defensive, take Superintendent.  If you want to be more offensive, take BFT.  Many German captains do this, and it works out great.
  • Vigilance - Torpedoes are always going to be one of the greatest threats to any battleship.  While I don't have Vigilance on any of my ships, I do take Target Acquisitions Mod 1 on my Bismarck, and I've noticed that I die less to torpedoes simply because I see them a lot sooner.  If you die a lot to torpedoes, then I would consider this skill. 
  • IFHE / DE - As mentioned above, IFHE is unnecessary.  You can already penetrate everything of importance.  The benefit is so situational that you actually end up just nerfing your fire chance in 99% of the situations out there.  I could go into a long monologue about this, but you just have to trust me.  From experience, I started doing more damage after I dropped IFHE and took DE instead.
  • CE - Concealment Expert is purely optional, and I don't take it, and here's why; this is a brawling ship.  It's impossible for secondary ranges to ever be further than your detection range no matter what skills you take.  What I mean is, in order to fire on a target, you're always, always going to be visible unless you're sitting in smoke.  That, and the whole point in playing a brawling ship is to get close to fire those secondaries.  Basically, Concealment Expert is mutually exclusive with a secondary build, and is helpful only in the early stages of the game where teams are firing at each other at long ranges.  Once the meta sets in and you can get closer, it's not very useful.
  • MFCSA - Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament is an amazing and overlooked skill for many Massachusetts captains.  It's easy to get carried away with the "Oooh's" and "Aaahhh" of lots of secondary shells flying everywhere, but the reality is that the vast majority of them don't hit their target.  By my own napkin math, I find that my Bismarck w/ MFCSA is about 20-30% accurate across an entire game.  My Massachusetts w/ MFCSA is about 30-40% accurate across entire games.  Obviously, the closer you get, the more accurate, but it just goes to show just how many of those shells miss.  Additionally, what makes MFCSA so good for the Massachusetts is because it allows you to keep your target further away with reasonable accuracy.  For instance, when I engage an enemy Bismarck, FDG, or even a Massachusetts that I know doesn't have MFCSA, I'll keep them at 10-11km.  I know 95% of their shells won't hit me.  It looks scary, but it's all bluff.  Meanwhile, my secondaries are accurately hitting their target, and I'll win the DPM game every time.  Also, let's be real.  If you're in a situation where both sides of your secondaries are going off, you're probably being focused, and most of those shots are just fireworks. 

So, the core Massachusetts skills I would always take in any build would be PT, AR, AFT, and MFCSA.  This gives the range and accuracy necessary for the function of the build, and everything else can be added to that foundation.  EM is about quality of life.  BFT and DE are going to improve the damage output of the secondaries.  SI, Vigilance, BoS, and even FP are going to bolster your survivability.  As long as you have that strong foundation, there's no right or wrong build.

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14 hours ago, Ranari said:

You have a couple of options to choose from.

  • PM - I'd drop Preventative Maintenance, as it only affects your main battery.  The Massachusetts doesn't have torpedoes, and losing your engines and steering gears is uncommon in any battleship.  Additionally, American warships starting at T6 all have extremely heavy main battery protection, so it makes PM unnecessary.   I personally take Primary Armaments Mod 1 with no added protection for the secondaries.  But, American secondaries are pretty beefy unlike their French counterparts.  It's pretty rare I lose my secondary turrets.
  • PT - Priority Target is always, always useful.  When you have 3-4 people targeting you at once, it means you're being focused fired, and you need to get out of dodge, fast.
  • EM - Expert Marksman is unnecessary for the Massachusetts because the turret rotation speed is already very fast.  The only reason I take it though is because I swap the captain out between my Arizona and Montana, which both benefit greatly from it.  Expert Marksman does give the Massachusetts a "quality of life" improvement though because the turrets move so dang fast, haha!
  • AR - Adrenaline Rush is a must have, so I would find a way to take this skill.  This skill improves your reload speed based on your lost HP, and it affects secondary armaments too.
  • SI - Superintendent is a skill that greatly benefits the Massachusetts.  I personally do not take it, but I recognize the value.  It would give you 5 charges of its awesome Repair Party.  Consider Superintendent an alternative to take between BFT.  If you want to be more defensive, take Superintendent.  If you want to be more offensive, take BFT.  Many German captains do this, and it works out great.
  • Vigilance - Torpedoes are always going to be one of the greatest threats to any battleship.  While I don't have Vigilance on any of my ships, I do take Target Acquisitions Mod 1 on my Bismarck, and I've noticed that I die less to torpedoes simply because I see them a lot sooner.  If you die a lot to torpedoes, then I would consider this skill. 
  • IFHE / DE - As mentioned above, IFHE is unnecessary.  You can already penetrate everything of importance.  The benefit is so situational that you actually end up just nerfing your fire chance in 99% of the situations out there.  I could go into a long monologue about this, but you just have to trust me.  From experience, I started doing more damage after I dropped IFHE and took DE instead.
  • CE - Concealment Expert is purely optional, and I don't take it, and here's why; this is a brawling ship.  It's impossible for secondary ranges to ever be further than your detection range no matter what skills you take.  What I mean is, in order to fire on a target, you're always, always going to be visible unless you're sitting in smoke.  That, and the whole point in playing a brawling ship is to get close to fire those secondaries.  Basically, Concealment Expert is mutually exclusive with a secondary build, and is helpful only in the early stages of the game where teams are firing at each other at long ranges.  Once the meta sets in and you can get closer, it's not very useful.
  • MFCSA - Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament is an amazing and overlooked skill for many Massachusetts captains.  It's easy to get carried away with the "Oooh's" and "Aaahhh" of lots of secondary shells flying everywhere, but the reality is that the vast majority of them don't hit their target.  By my own napkin math, I find that my Bismarck w/ MFCSA is about 20-30% accurate across an entire game.  My Massachusetts w/ MFCSA is about 30-40% accurate across entire games.  Obviously, the closer you get, the more accurate, but it just goes to show just how many of those shells miss.  Additionally, what makes MFCSA so good for the Massachusetts is because it allows you to keep your target further away with reasonable accuracy.  For instance, when I engage an enemy Bismarck, FDG, or even a Massachusetts that I know doesn't have MFCSA, I'll keep them at 10-11km.  I know 95% of their shells won't hit me.  It looks scary, but it's all bluff.  Meanwhile, my secondaries are accurately hitting their target, and I'll win the DPM game every time.  Also, let's be real.  If you're in a situation where both sides of your secondaries are going off, you're probably being focused, and most of those shots are just fireworks. 

So, the core Massachusetts skills I would always take in any build would be PT, AR, AFT, and MFCSA.  This gives the range and accuracy necessary for the function of the build, and everything else can be added to that foundation.  EM is about quality of life.  BFT and DE are going to improve the damage output of the secondaries.  SI, Vigilance, BoS, and even FP are going to bolster your survivability.  As long as you have that strong foundation, there's no right or wrong build.

Maybe its just a placebo but to me it seems IFHE really ramp'd up the damage that my secondaries do to cruisers and dd's.  In testing against other bb's the difference was not noticeable.   Maybe how "situational" the benefit of IFHE is has more to do with how you play the ship?  I specifically target cruisers and dd's on caps using mountains for cover from enemy bb's.  I don't engage bb's until they are in range of my secondaries so accuracy is not really a concern.  The sigma is too high on the Mass imo to really shoot at much outside of 14 kn anyhow unless it is a big juicy slow moving broadside of a bb.  In my experience she really shines between 11.3 and 10 km and never go 2 v 1.  1v1 she is hard to beat with any other ship regardless of tier.

Edited by HallaSnackbar
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14 hours ago, HallaSnackbar said:

Maybe its just a placebo but to me it seems IFHE really ramp'd up the damage that my secondaries do to cruisers and dd's.  In testing against other bb's the difference was not noticeable.   Maybe how "situational" the benefit of IFHE is has more to do with how you play the ship?  I specifically target cruisers and dd's on caps using mountains for cover from enemy bb's.  I don't engage bb's until they are in range of my secondaries so accuracy is not really a concern.  The sigma is too high on the Mass imo to really shoot at much outside of 14 kn anyhow unless it is a big juicy slow moving broadside of a bb.  In my experience she really shines between 11.3 and 10 km and never go 2 v 1.  1v1 she is hard to beat with any other ship regardless of tier.

Potentially, for sure.  Now regarding DD's, most of them are covered in 13-19mm armor, which the stock American 127's will penetrate without IFHE.  But for cruisers, I'm sure there are some penetration thresholds that are passed by the adoption of IFHE. 

My playstyle of brawling ships is very opportunistic.  I'll play the long game with my Massachusetts or Bismarck even though they're not very ideal at doing it.  When I spot a stray cruiser or battleship, I'll start to lock on and keep them within 9-11km distance where my secondaries can start doing their work.  For destroyers, it's more about when they decide to rear their head for a torpedo run.  At <6km and with manual secondaries, the Massachusetts is laser-accurate and will land every round right smack in the middle of their thin belt armor.  But those are short windows, and it won't be long before they disappear. 

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5 hours ago, Ranari said:

Potentially, for sure.  Now regarding DD's, most of them are covered in 13-19mm armor, which the stock American 127's will penetrate without IFHE.  But for cruisers, I'm sure there are some penetration thresholds that are passed by the adoption of IFHE. 

My playstyle of brawling ships is very opportunistic.  I'll play the long game with my Massachusetts or Bismarck even though they're not very ideal at doing it.  When I spot a stray cruiser or battleship, I'll start to lock on and keep them within 9-11km distance where my secondaries can start doing their work.  For destroyers, it's more about when they decide to rear their head for a torpedo run.  At <6km and with manual secondaries, the Massachusetts is laser-accurate and will land every round right smack in the middle of their thin belt armor.  But those are short windows, and it won't be long before they disappear. 

I am self admittedly lazy when it comes to researching armor thickness and shell pen.  I prefer to set it up, take it out and see how she performs.  What I have noticed is that with IFHE my secondaries seem to do considerably more damage to cruisers like the DM and the Minotaur.  I know they are t-10 but I would say the vast majority of randoms I get into are t8-t10 so it seems to work out to my benefit.  I played this build in ranked as well and did great with her.  Against DD's IFHE is probably not as necessary, I run with another Mass that does not have IFHE and we both seem to wreck dd's at the same rate, same with most BB's.  So I would agree that the benefit is purely situational however with my play style it is a situation I have managed to exploit on a regular basis.  I play my Mass more like a cruiser initially, I find a large land mass I can use to protect myself with and try to pick fights one at a time.  Early on in a match I go after dd's and cruisers that are trying to take caps or harass our dd's that are on caps.  The high arching shells of the Mass secondaries have no problem hitting those pesky cc's that try to hide behind islands.  DD's that accidentally emerge from their smoke typically get eaten up by the unrelenting and very accurate secondaries as well.  The best part is that there is no place for human error on my part so no matter how much evading they try to do, if they are in range they get hit and hit hard.  Once the smaller ships are down I pick lone BB's, nose into them and fire away.  I try to keep fights between 11.3 and 9 KM.  That range is where my main guns shine and it in most cases means my secondaries are the only ones hitting.  Playing this way seems to work very well so far.

Don't get me wrong, IFHE is the last of the 3- 4 pt skills I would use however I have not found any other combination of skills that are more beneficial than IFHE for your last 4 pts.  The only other skill that comes close is SI however I found If I play her correctly I rarely run our of heals anyway.  She is a great ship but does have her limitations.  She is easy to set on fire and is not very tanky especially for a ship that you would think is a brawler.  Learn to play her correctly however and she is a pleasure so sail in.

 

My build is this;

Captain

PT, PM

AR

BFT

AFT, MFCSA, IFHE

Ship mods

AAM1, DCSM1, SBM2, SGM2, CSM1

 

Battle record to date;

151 battles, 53% WR, average xp per battle 1501 XP, 1.58 average ships destroyed, average damage per battle 61k

Total warships destroyed 145 - 89 by main battery 37 by secondaries

Highest damage 222,945 

Highest xp 3845

 

Hope this helps

 

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Yeah, I think our difference in playstyles highlights the usefulness of different skills.  You play yours like a cruiser, I play mine like an opportunistic shark (haha).  You also survive more battles than I do!  But, they're both good.  Here are my averages so far with the Mass below.  I've been playing the German line over the last two weeks mostly, so I haven't put a lot of games into her lately.  I average more damage on my Massachusetts than I do my Montana rofl.

Overall Results

Battles 48
Victories 22 (46%)
Battles survived 16
Damage caused 3,844,665
Warships destroyed 54
Aircraft destroyed 83

Average Score per Battle

Experience 1,668.50
Damage caused 80,097.19
Warships destroyed 1.13
Aircraft destroyed 1.73
Main battery hit ratio 28%

Highest Score

Experience 3,636
Damage caused 239,392
Warships destroyed 4
Aircraft destroyed 17

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Yeah, the biggest downside to my playstyle is it requires patience and there are some matches where my contribution involves simply holding a group of ships off of a cap.  They know not to advance as to avoid my secondaries so they sit still until the rest of my team flanks them.  Unfortunately for me although influential in the fight it does not net much damage nor experience. 

Edited by HallaSnackbar

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Well even then if WG is going to do this to players and make a skill unusable in a ship, they should give that Captain a single free reset. 

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On 9/24/2018 at 7:31 PM, Rythcan said:

Well even then if WG is going to do this to players and make a skill unusable in a ship, they should give that Captain a single free reset. 

 I don't believe they made the skill unusable, I believe they are advising that it's inefficient. Whether or not it is inefficient is up for debate.

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Ever notice something that's op after its designed by lines of code, little 1's and 0's ??  Then in a panic the nerf it in the most obscure ways to cover their mistakes, and expect us to buy it?

The Mass was a great ship so why is it hog tied in this game????

O.P. you make a case for the idea.

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On 9/25/2018 at 7:58 PM, HallaSnackbar said:

I don't believe they made the skill unusable, I believe they are advising that it's inefficient. Whether or not it is inefficient is up for debate.

I don't want to try, but is such a skill unselectable or just marked out? Can you take the double catapult fighter skill on a ship without a catapult? I assume you can as you can always drop any captain into any ship.  WG is just letting the less informed know it is a really bad idea. They don't mark all bad choices however. Don't think Expert Loader marked out on an Akizuki captain, but all the CV only skills will be.

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