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Phoenix_jz

West Virginia - Getting her done right

What tier do you think West Virginia is best suited for?  

79 members have voted

  1. 1. What tier for WV44?

    • Tier VI - She's fine as she is!
      7
    • Tier VII - She's best put balanced against her sister!
      44
    • Tier VIII - She's upgraded, so she deserves to be pushed into a higher tier!
      28

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West Virginia – Getting her done right

 

 

 

It’s little secret that the reception to the West Virginia as a tier VI premium has been overwhelmingly negative.

In fact, it’s hardly surprising. On the NA server, ‘WeeVee’ has long been one of the more heavily requested USN battleship premiums, but specifically in her 1944 state once emerging from refit after her sinking at Pearl Harbor.

Instead, WG gave us WeeVee as she appeared on December 7th, 1941 – her last modernization having been in in July of 1941.

 

Basically, we got Mutsu’d.

 

After sinking at Pearl Harbor, she took until 17 May 1942 to be refloated, and began repairs early in June. About a year later (7 May 1943), she sailed stateside for a full refit, which largely rebuilt her superstructure, and by the time she emerged in September of 1944, ready for action, she looked something like this;

oJ1arhC.png

 

Scarcely a month later, she would get some measure of revenge against the Japan for her mauling at Pearl Harbor, at the Battle of Surigao Strait. The surviving forces of the Japanese southern force sailed into the teeth of seven American Standard-Type battleships, already having lost Fuso, and Yamashiro a cripple having taken two torpedo hits an numerous 5” shell hits. As the crippled Japanese battleship came into range, West Virginia was the first to open fire, commencing the last battleship-on-battleship action in history, although the better term for it would be execution. Her first salvo, guided by her Mk.8 Fire Control Radar, straddled and hit her target, and continued to straddle for the rest of the engagement as her wounded foe was torn apart in a deluge of 16” and 14” fire from West Virginia, Tennessee, and California. Finally, destroyers came in and finished off the Japanese force with torpedoes, and the victims of Pearl Harbor had had their revenge.

So, the better question now is; how can we bring this version of West Virginia to life?

The Avenger of Surigao Strait     

Fresh from her refit at Puget Sound, ‘WeeVee’ weighed in at some 40,396 tons, and was vastly improved compared to how she had been before Pearl Harbor. Her armament of sixteen 5” guns of various types (single and dual-purpose) had been disposed of and instead her secondary battery consisted of sixteen 5”/38’s in eight twin Mk.24 mounts, power operated and capable of far more destructive potential than her prior battery had. Her Anti-Aircraft firepower had also increased considerably, her medium AA consisting of forty Bofors 40mm cannons in ten quadruple mounts and fifty single Oerlikon 20mm cannons. Her main armor deck was also considerably improved, as well as her torpedo defense system (increasing overall depth by a meter). Her Fire Control had also been improved as instead of relying purely on optics as she had done previously, she was fitted with the Mk.8 Fire Control Radar, which was inferior only to the Mk.13 fitted on some American warships at the time, such as her sister the Colorado.     The cost of this refit was not high (half a knot of speed), but it made her far more capable than she was prior to Pearl Harbor, and compared to her sisters she was outright superior to the Maryland, and had a more effective anti-aircraft armament than Colorado even if her fire control wasn’t quite equal yet.

So, how does this affect us in determining how to place West Virginia in-game? Well, from a raw statistical point of view, let us compare to Colorado;

  • Weighing in at 40,396 tons, some 744 tons short of Colorado, West Virginia will have 58,600 health points (compared to 59,300 on Colorado).
  • 20.5 knots versus 21 knots on Colorado.  
  • Slightly inferior FC (Means bugger-all in-game). 
  • Improved AA armament as illustrated below;

0bDqgSm.png

 

So basically she loses out a little in mid-range AA, but has much better close in and long-range AA – reaching near Gneisenau levels of long-range firepower. So how can we help translate these into making West Virginia unique compared to her sister? Well, the obvious choice is to maximize her main difference – her secondaries. Her AA is already strong, but her secondaries aren’t inherently better – until you Massachusetts-ize them. Crank the rate of fire up to 15 rpm and give them a long range of 7.5 km, and similar accuracy.

Sit back and laugh at the hail of fire you send downrange.

But then the question becomes, if we’re taking an upgraded Colorado-class battleship… what tier should she be? Is her refit enough to bump her up a tier? Or should she stay?

Generally speaking, battleships are meant to be built and balanced based on the holy trinity; armor, firepower, and speed. At tier VII, it looks something like this;

NfpRe99.png

 

The golden circle is just about the perfect balance of armor, speed, and firepower, and is where the true ‘Fast Battleships’ can be found. At tier VII, the only real ship that fits this role is the King George V. Colorado clearly favors armor and firepower and not at all speed, being the slowest ship at the tier. However, this doesn’t make her unbalanced at the tier – just a variety, as other ships also fit the triangle of extremes around the tree – Scharnhorst with good armor and speed but not great firepower, and ships like Ashitaka with less armor but great speed and firepower.

 

So how about tier VIII?

 

fc36Zm3.png

 

As you can see, this is a very different story, with almost all the ships focusing around the middle, as pretty much every ship here is a fast battleship. The two largest discrepancies of the tier VIII battleships is Bismarck, leaning towards armor more than speed and firepower, and Amagi, leaning more to firepower and speed than armor.

Colorado is all the way on the armor/firepower side, and also nearly off the triangle entirely.  

Why?

Well, the issue is Colorado is not only slow for the tier (7 knots behind the closest competitor), but she’s also inferior in every other regard, with inferior belt armor even to the relatively thinly armored American fast battleships, and inferior firepower, with only eight 406mm guns. While the fact she’s supposed to be ‘improved’ over Colorado is something that might lead one to assume that she’s fit for a higher tier… the key thing to remember here is that this is a 1920s hull upgraded to 1940s standards. She has limits to what she can do, and even with all her help, she’s still far behind the modern warships at tier VIII.

Perhaps the best way to evaluate just what kind of gap exists is to compare her to the two current American tier VIII premiums; Alabama and Massachusetts. The first and most obvious gap is the top speed – at 27.5 knots versus 20.5 knots, they’re a full 7 knots faster than West Virginia – and they’re two of the slowest tier VIII battleships currently.

However, she’s also inferior in other areas:

  • Armor – while nominally thicker on paper (343mm vs 307mm), the greater incline on the belt of the SouDaks gives them superior resistance at ranges of 10 km and beyond.
  • Firepower – not only do they feature an extra barrel (and able to bring 6 to bear forward instead of only four), but the 406mm Mk.6 rifles of the SouDaks fire much more powerful AP shells, the famous Mk.8 ‘Super-Heavy Shells’ with 20% more mass than the Mk.5’s fired by West Virginia
  • Anti-Aircraft Fire – WeeVee is also inferior in this regard, with less 5” and 40mm AA power than either SouDak, while having more 20mm than Massachusetts (but less than Alabama).
  • Secondaries – WeeVee is again beaten, having only 80% of the secondary broadside as the SouDak’s.
  • Healthpool – as a lighter ship than even Colorado, her healthpool will be inferior to the heavier SouDaks

With so many categories stacked against her, it’s hard to see how such a ship could make it. At tier VIII, she’s facing an uphill battle – not only is she too slow to be able to chose when and how she engages other ships, but even if she can engage she’s at a disadvantage due to her inferior firepower and armor. Even her claim to fame, her enhanced anti-aircraft armament, is nothing special for the tier. At the end of the day, she is simply out-classed by the multitude of more modern designs, all more tactically flexible than her. Placing her modernized form at such a tier would make her feel like a VW beetle painted red trying to keep up in a race with an 488 Spider – just because it wears the same paintjob, doesn’t quite make it the same league of vehicle. WV44 suffers from the same problem. She looks modern and capable, but isn’t, compared to all the modern fast battleships.

 

So where does that leave us? Well, there’s only one place we can put her between tier VI (boo!) and tier VIII (a bridge too far) – tier VII.

 

“But wait, Phoenix!” I hear you cry, “That’s the same tier as Colorado, and WeeVee44 is all modernized, and Coloradoisn’t!”

 

Well, not quite. I briefly went over their differences beforehand, but I’ll review them again. WV44, as she fought at Surigao Strait, is fresh out of her refit, scarcely a month having gone by. Colorado is the ship as she was in 1945, at which point she had taken on plenty of upgrades herself, albeit not nearly as extensive as the refit West Virginia went thought. In some ways, she’s inferior to her sister, but in other ways, she’s stronger.

 

 

West Virginia at tier VII

So how should WeeVee slot into tier VII?

She’s essentially a variation of Colorado, sort of like what Texas is to New York, but without being totally superior. West Virginia is more of a brawler ship than Colorado, with a greater emphasis on damage mitigation against torpedoes and damage output with her secondaries. She’s also not afraid to punish any attempts to distract her with long-range firepower – so she can support her friendly ships around her more effectively. However, she’s not nearly as good a shot at long range as Colorado, and her ability to take raw damage isn’t nearly as good due to lacking Colorado’s superior heal and lacking the same healthpool.

Since we’re all familiar with Colorado, I won’t give a full breakdown of all stats, but only compare the differences that the two ships could have and both fit into tier VII.

First off, what West Virigina gains:

  • WeeVee gets a major boost in AA firepower, with 180 vs 133.2 dps from 20mm AA and 120.8 dps versus 58.4 dps from her 5” guns – and a full 5.0 km base range versus the 4.2 km on Colorado.
  • Given her TDS was a meter deeper (8m vs 9m), her TDS increases from the 37% of Colorado – out to 41.6%
  •  Her secondary battery is a uniform eight 5”/38’s to a broadside with a rate of fire of 15 rpm (4 sec reload) and a base range of 6.0 km, for a base output of 120 rpm. Colorado’s secondaries are a mix, four 5”/25’s and four 5”/51’s, which put a combined 87.6 rpm out to 5.0 km.

 

However, Colorado has the advantage of:

  • Barely superior 40mm AA – 161.1 dps to 159.0 dps
  • Higher hitpoints (59300 vs 58600 HP)
  • A superior heal – she regains 0.66% of her HP per tick compared to 0.50% on West Virginia
  • She makes for a better long-range sniper due to her 1.9 sigma compared to 1.8 on WeeVee
  • 21 vs 20.5 knots top speed.

Thus, it is quite apparent that Colorado is more suited to long-range combat, sniping at enemy cruiser or trading salvoes with enemy battleships, away from the threat of torpedoes and hopefully several DFAA cruisers away from enemy aircraft carriers. She’ll have a harder time avoiding damage, but she’s better at recovering from it due to her superior heal. However, West Virginia is without a doubt the better close-support ship, her TDS shaving off almost half the potential damage of torpedoes, and her monstrous volume of secondary fire making it very difficult for enemy destroyers to approach her. Her long-range AA makes her far less vulnerable to being caught out by enemy aircraft, as tends to happen with her slow speed.

In this manner, both ships are balanced with each other, neither being totally superior to the other. They are sisters, but they occupy two different roles.

 

Final Verdict

 

Well, I’ve said my piece. What do you guys think? WV44 has been one of the more hotly demanded American battleships since before the game got out of even alpha testing, and plenty have not been pleased by her placement at tier VI. So what do you think? Is she fine at tier VI? Should she be pushed to tier VIII? Or is tier VII the best fit? I know the subject has been debated tirelessly for the last week, but I felt it was a good idea to make the point. And the poll. And please, don't vote until you've read things through! Good luck and Fair Seas!

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I'm a DD main, I don't skipper BBs. Not saying anything against those that do, not my cup of Java. 

It is clear to me from listening to the BB-philes that anything less than the 44 refit would be a disservice to the community. 

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I read it all, I think that spells it all out nicely.  Still think she should go in t7, as the brawler.  She uses the AA and Secondaries to close and has fun mixing it up in an MM where its not fast battleships all day.

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Plus one for the time and effort to write it all up. I'd prefer to see her as a tier VII, post-refit brawler. In 1941 guise, I'm not a buyer.

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I definitely think your envisaged T7 WV is more attractive, and the argument that she would work well at that tier while being both different and balanced is strong. Being Massachusetts to Colorado's Alabama is sensible.

I definitely concur that T8 is a bridge too far and fundamentally unsound. Running around at 20kt with <60k HP being set on fire by Zaos and Hindenburgs sounds grim.

T6 is unattractive to me, but aside from sentimental reasons I can't see why it wouldn't work. Colorado's already fairly similar to Warspite at T6/T7 and there's clear scope to make it work. I don't particularly like the look of her T6 iteration as A) the stealth is too good, and BB's outspotting or near-spotting cruisers is not good and B) an 8 gun battleship with 1.8 sigma I usually find unsatisfying - in particular Hood, FdG and Mutsu are standout chores lacking either volume or accuracy. T6 WV will occasionally surprise cruisers with citadels, but also frequently surprise them with playful splashes like a trained circus dolphin.

On the downside, the T6 WV is a simple re-use of the existing A-hull, something WG have been more and more excited to do. It makes some sense, in hindsight I think the A hulls were a mistake, they generated tons of angst, have now largely been removed and the latest lines - French/British haven't really bothered with them at all - A hull QE is still in her 1937-1940 refit form. Monetizing them makes some sense, done correctly and appealingly.

Building a T7 WV '44 will require remodeling the hull, changing the superstructure, a decent chunk of work, perhaps almost equivalent to a new ship build. It will take months and effort. If you want WV '44 it won't be soon. If in the meantime WG did use the T6 A-hull Colorado as say Maryland well, we generate yet another battleship premium.

Edited by mofton
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1 hour ago, Phoenix_jz said:

 Colorado is the ship as she was in 1945,

I've already told you in another thread in-game Colorado is a fictional loadout, so it's disingenuous imo to truly call it the 1945 state of the ship.

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I have zero interest in any ships that have poor accuracy.

 

Slotting her at t7 at the price of mb accuracy kills all interest I have.

 

I'd rather have a t8 that has supremely good accuracy. I can work around a ship's weaknesses as long as I can rely on the guns. If the guns themselves are the weakness, then I'm just simply not interested.

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Is reducing West Virginia's sigma to 1.8 at Tier 7 even warranted? Especially if her heal is the standard battleship heal rather than Colorado's improved heal, and the 5"/38 secondaries remain as they are (i.e. not buffed to Massachusetts' level), then I think a 1.9 or even 2.0 sigma is perfectly reasonable. Frankly, I don't even understand why the developers felt the need to reduce her sigma to 1.9 after fixing her HP value.

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Personally I don't mind WV in her 1941 configuration because it's already famous for its part in the Pearl Harbor attack. If I were to buy her (assuming WG doesn't change her), I'd like to think that Dorie Miller is manning one of the M2 Brownings near the conning tower. I can see why WV44 is more popular though, and if we must have another T8 USN BB premium I'd rather it be USS Washington in her Guadalcanal configuration.

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4 minutes ago, Wolcott said:

Personally I don't mind WV in her 1941 configuration because it's already famous for its part in the Pearl Harbor attack. If I were to buy her (assuming WG doesn't change her), I'd like to think that Dorie Miller is manning one of the M2 Brownings near the conning tower. I can see why WV44 is more popular though, and if we must have another T8 USN BB premium I'd rather it be USS Washington in her Guadalcanal configuration.

The only way id buy a pearl WV would be if it came with a 10 point cpt named John S. Harper, the 3rd in command on the Pearl WV in charge of DCP.  He kept fighting save the ship for 6 hrs or so.

He should come with improved Jack of all Trades: -10% Consumable CD, from -5%

And imoroved Basics of Survivability: -22.5% duration to repair, fire fighting and flooding, up from 15%

Then he gets a legendary perk of: +5s to DCP and RP duration.

Then id not use WV and use him on my AL and AZ.

Ofc, if he came on a T7 44WV, id buy the $100 bundle to get him.

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Very good post however I remain skeptical about battleship that only has 8 guns getting accuracy nerfs. However WG still hasn’t said anything about changing the name yet imagine how disappointed we will all be if the release WV at tier 6. :cap_fainting:

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3 hours ago, Phoenix_jz said:

 

 

So where does that leave us? Well, there’s only one place we can put her between tier VI (boo!) and tier VIII (a bridge too far) – tier VII.

 

“But wait, Phoenix!” I hear you cry, “That’s the same tier as Colorado, and WeeVee44 is all modernized, and Coloradoisn’t!”

 

Well, not quite. I briefly went over their differences beforehand, but I’ll review them again. WV44, as she fought at Surigao Strait, is fresh out of her refit, scarcely a month having gone by. Colorado is the ship as she was in 1945, at which point she had taken on plenty of upgrades herself, albeit not nearly as extensive as the refit West Virginia went thought. In some ways, she’s inferior to her sister, but in other ways, she’s stronger.

 

In this manner, both ships are balanced with each other, neither being totally superior to the other. They are sisters, but they occupy two different roles.

 

Final Verdict

 

Well, I’ve said my piece. What do you guys think? WV44 has been one of the more hotly demanded American battleships since before the game got out of even alpha testing, and plenty have not been pleased by her placement at tier VI. So what do you think? Is she fine at tier VI? Should she be pushed to tier VIII? Or is tier VII the best fit? I know the subject has been debated tirelessly for the last week, but I felt it was a good idea to make the point. And the poll. And please, don't vote until you've read things through! Good luck and Fair Seas!

I'm out of up up votes so You have my vote!

Edited by Crokodone

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1 hour ago, icyplanetnhc said:

Is reducing West Virginia's sigma to 1.8 at Tier 7 even warranted? Especially if her heal is the standard battleship heal rather than Colorado's improved heal, and the 5"/38 secondaries remain as they are (i.e. not buffed to Massachusetts' level), then I think a 1.9 or even 2.0 sigma is perfectly reasonable. Frankly, I don't even understand why the developers felt the need to reduce her sigma to 1.9 after fixing her HP value.

Because the Nagato and Scharnhorst crowd would cry otherwise.

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WV44 - Colorado's C hull

West Virginia - T6 prem

Isnt WG preparing this outcome?

 

T7 US prem BB is USS Tennessee 1943

Edited by puxflacet

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@Phoenix_jz

You make compelling arguments, but I'm still not convinced. Several reasons:

1) You rein her in arbitrarily in aspects that simply don't make sense, just to fit her in at tier 7. Like the repair party for example, the Puget Sound refit increased her survivability, and you make her repair party less effective than on Colorado?

2) You rein her in in aspects that simply put make her directly less fun to play. Accuracy for example. With only 8 guns she needs her accuracy.

3) Colorado in game is a never-existed monstrosity in terms of her 'refit', AFAIK

4) No mention of Colorado's built-in maneuvering buff and whether or not WV would get the same buff? If anything, with her fatter length-to-beam ratio, she should turn even better.

In my own proposal I 'arbitrarily' buffed her in many aspects to try and make her viable for tier 8. Some might argue that that's the same as what you did, by nerfing some aspects. What's the better solution? I guess this whole discussion ilustrates what the problem is: she's a tier 7.5 that needs either nerfs that make her less fun to put her at tier 7 or buffs that go beyond her historical specifications to fit her at tier 8.

Plus, I'd personally rather have California at tier 7, and she would occupy a very similar, overlapping and competing role to your proposal.

And, no, not Tennessee, as @puxflacet suggests; let WG keep class name ships for tech tree inclusion.

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I'm still curious why people consider West Virginia a Tier 7.5 ship, especially when translating her post-refit characteristics into game metrics doesn't yield a substantially different ship from the Colorado in terms of in-game performance parameters.

Health pool - Colorado's and West Virginia's displacements were not appreciably different, certainly not enough to make a large gameplay difference. We're talking about a delta of 1000 tons or less.

Protection - The armor of West Virginia remains the same as the Colorado's. Only the depth of the torpedo bulge was increased. While the main armor deck thickness was increased, in-game this is only relevant against armor piercing bombs, which is frankly quite niche.

Speed - As a result of the bulging, West Virginia's top speed decreased by about half a knot.

Concealment - Colorado's concealment is 16.7 km, while the lowest surface detection she can achieve is 13.9 km. West Virginia's superstructure design was largely based on the 1939 South Dakota's; using Alabama's in-game base concealment of 16.2 km, the lowest surface detection that West Virginia can get as a Tier 7 (no concealment mod) would be 13.5 km, a mere 0.4 km less than Colorado.

Secondary battery - Crunching the numbers will quickly reveal that a post-refit West Virginia using the game-standard 5"/38 guns would have lower secondary DPM than Colorado.

Anti-air - This is one area where West Virginia would be head and shoulders above Colorado and most of the Tier 7 competitors. Even then, Gneisenau would have West Virginia beat in long range AA, which is among the most important of the AA auras.

 

It's worth repeating that many aspects of the refit such as improved directors and automatic gunlaying (RPC) aren't relevant in terms of gameplay. If we do a comparison of all the parameters that actually matter in-game, then we see that post-refit West Virginia is not appreciably different from Colorado, trading secondary battery DPM for better AA and torpedo protection. Frankly this represent quite a marginal improvement; given that Colorado is not even a particularly competitive battleship, even with all of the other "soft stats" being equal, West Virginia doesn't seem like such an overwhelmingly powerful Tier 7 battleship.

Edited by icyplanetnhc
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10 minutes ago, icyplanetnhc said:

Protection - The armor of West Virginia remains the same as the Colorado's. Only the depth of the torpedo bulge was increased.

Which is a significant increase, even if you forget about the deck armor.

10 minutes ago, icyplanetnhc said:

Secondary battery - Crunching the numbers will quickly reveal that a post-refit West Virginia using the game-standard 5"/38 guns would have lower secondary DPM than Colorado/

Now redo the math with Massachusetts' base numbers, which both OP and I went with in our respective threads.

10 minutes ago, icyplanetnhc said:

Concealment - Colorado's concealment is 16.7 km, while the lowest surface detection she can achieve is 13.9 km. West Virginia's superstructure design was largely based on the 1939 South Dakota's; using Alabama's in-game base concealment of 16.2 km, the lowest surface detection that West Virginia can get as a Tier 7 (no concealment mod) would be 13.5 km, a mere 0.4 km less than Colorado.

You can't just take a larger ship and assume a smaller ship will have the same concealment than it based on a similar supertructure. It's a base to start from, but concealment is a balancing factor, and WV is a smaller ship than Alabama.

10 minutes ago, icyplanetnhc said:

Speed - As a result of the bulging, West Virginia's top speed decreased by about half a knot.

Which is as good as no difference. Really. Only if you sail ahead in a straight line for minutes at a time would half a knot make somewhat of a difference, but by then you're dead from torpedoes.

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3 minutes ago, Lert said:

Which is a significant increase, even if you forget about the deck armor.

I would need to check additional sources, but as far as I'm aware, the weather deck of the West Virginia was not changed from the Colorado. In any case, 32 mm weather deck isn't particularly special, as Lyon's weather deck over her citadel is 30 mm and Nelson's is also 32 mm. The thicker main armor deck would only be relevant against AP bombs. Perhaps once the CV rework rolls out, this would have more relevance but currently I consider this improvement quite niche.

Placing West Virginia at Tier 8 would require such a slew of awkward buffs that it would be much more straightforward to simply place her at Tier 7.

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4 minutes ago, icyplanetnhc said:

I would need to check additional sources, but as far as I'm aware, the weather deck of the West Virginia was not changed from the Colorado.

Ask the OP. :)

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I would say she is a better fit for tier seven than her tek tree counter part with good reason. 

Having the same secondary armament as the NC makes her a better plat form to make the transition from the  tier 6 standard class to the new generation of USN BBs .

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21 minutes ago, Lert said:

Ask the OP. :)

The OP made no mention of the weather deck, only that the main armor deck was thickened. In-game, this would only affect protection against AP bombs, which is currently quite niche. The developers themselves are not entirely consistent when it comes to weather deck thicknesses. Most of the time it appears to be based on tier, i.e. Tier 8+ is 32 mm, Tier 6-7 is 25 mm, etc, but there are a lot of exceptions, such as German battleships and high tier American battleships.

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Guess who will be buying it regardless of the tier it ends up in! 

Personally I think it should be placed in tier 7 with its 44 upgrade. A 20.5 knot ship has no business in teir 8. Im 95% sure it will end up in tier 6 though. WG probably doesn't want to spend the time getting the 5 inch turrets to work on the Colorado hull. Simply making a few adjustments to the A hull is probably a lot easier.

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