Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
You need to play a total of 5 battles to post in this section.
mofton

'But is it fun?' - A Subjective Review of the RN T2-T4 Destroyers

10 comments in this topic

Recommended Posts

2,038
[SYN]
[SYN]
Members
6,651 posts
9,960 battles

Hello Gang,

Back in February I did a preliminary review of the early-access (well, lootbox access...) French battleships I was lucky enough to get in crates. More recently I did the T5-T7 RN destroyers see here:

It was fairly fun to write and fairly warmly received so I was pretty interested to do some more. At least one person recommended giving the low tiers a go on release, and honestly I was a little curious. It's a shame to miss out on 1/3 of a new line (well as you'll discover, not always). So here it is T2-T4, where for the purposes of research and much like the Japanese 'Scientific Whaling' program to answer the key science question 'what will happen when all the whales are extinct?' I did some clubbing, and on two occasions was the clubbed.

Ground Rules:

  • I played the ships... some. I didn't really have a set objective, ended up playing at least enough games to grind, 3 in Medea, 6 in Valkyrie, 7 in Wakeful
  • For every sweeping statement read 'in the humble opinion of this poor player guv'nor'
  • Actually remarkably little beer consumed, the eyes are getting a bit yellow so I've decided to tone it down
  • I used a 12pt captain, Bert Dunkirk with the thought that 10 was more realistic than 19, and with the vague idea of training him up as a permanent skipper
  • Captain build: PT, EM, LS, SE, CE
  • I am still a Teaboo - but I don't want Vanguard

Medea, T2
Power Level: Errrrm.... 6/10?
Suitable Nickname: Medreary (I'm struggling, this ship really has no personality)
Basic Description: A stealthy T2 destroyer with identity issues ruined by being T2

Alright. Medea was really hard to review. I tried, but... I'm not a low tier player. Sure there's balanced, but playing T2 is like playing tic-tac-toe, it's mindless, not that involved but blink and some savant child who's used to it beats you and takes your favorite marbles.

Tier 2 matchmaking is pretty desperate. People only need to play a tiny handful of games to progress, so the population is small. There are relatively few premiums and there's relatively little point to playing them - retraining your 19pt skipper at 500 XP a game, woo... My main feeling with Medea was boredom because of this:

KEa4ZdA.png
If I wanted to have carrier queue time, I'd play a carrier...

Yuck. Once you get into battle Medea is rather odd in feel. She has a decent stealth margin thanks to 4.9km concealment and 6km torpedoes. She has 3 guns which are 'ok' and two of them twirl around through 360'! I would overall class her more at the torpedoboat end of the spectrum, the problem is simply that she's not very good at it. Although fast reloading she has a paltry 4 torpedo output and the torpedoes move at a glacial 53kt. The problems are that cruisers at T2 are pretty nimble, battleships are pretty nimble (lots of <600m turning circles, some near 500m) and non-existent and destroyer torpedo-brawls are odd, especially given the reload is not what you see at higher tiers. In all 3 games I saw a maximum of one battleship per team, and once my team had none:

mMY4mGFg.png
Normal MM outcome, the hunt is on... I did bag the Mikasa this round

The torpedo systems are frustrating. The gun systems are, also frustrating. Trying to kill whippy, low-freeboard V-25's and Longjiangs with 3 guns, even with good ROF... eh, meh. You have better ballistics than some, but everyone's stealth is so good it's all knife fights. Targets are so small and HP pools so shallow that RNG really matters. Medea lacks much flavor, she has the RN acceleration in exchange for speed boost, but she's slow so it doesn't 'feel' that great. She doesn't have the hydro. The short smokes are a bit of a pain, though T2 will frequently turn into a massive smoke fest. The single-launch function is at its lowest value when applied to torpedoes already launched only in pairs, you can stack a very tight grid anyway, not that it'll do much with just four fish.

In three games, nothing happened of note, three's not many, but I don't think much would change, and three was far more than the 'grind' needed.

I never felt in a good position with Medea she's just incapable of much - all T2's are I guess. I felt RNG and spawn had more impact than anything I could do, oh and being schooled in a torpedo knife fight by this guy:

1GRrQyN.jpg
Welp, whatever floats your boat. I can hardly complain about clubbing!

How to fix:
Medea isn't broken. T2 is broken. The ship is fine, just not worth training a captain, spending 3 minutes setting up modules, 3 minutes a game in queue and 6 minutes in a pretty unenjoyable battle driving a shopping cart. I would honestly just FXP. You don't really 'learn' anything from the ship, she's not very 'Royal Navy'.

 

Valkyrie, T3
Power Level: 8/10
Suitable Nickname: I love the smell of T3 in the morning
Basic Description: Do you remember Vampire? That pretty borderline OP Commonwealth T3? Take that ship, make it better but at the same time not as fun.

Valkyrie is brokenly overpowered. It also seemed to take less than  I might be an 8,000+ battle player doing clubbing scientific research at T3 but damn me. This ship isn't clubbing, it's about 500 years of worst-case CO2 emissions, and the Arctic's not only melted, but all the seals died of sunstroke while Wagner plays in the background.

In comparison to the pretty excellent Vampire, Valkyrie makes some trades:

  • Positive - 0.2km better stealth, despite taller looking masts and being the same class - 5.5km
  • Positive - the wrong HE shells with way better ballistics, you know how WG needs great data on ships? Well not for this one, Valkyrie fires the circa 1934 HE shell from another gun entirely, instead of the circa 1913 shells for Vampire - this means 6% fire chance instead of 5% and shells take 8.12s instead of 10.26s to get to 10km - a pretty huge difference by WOWS standards, and a significant advantage
  • Positive - superior torpedo DPM with 4 torpedoes every 41s instead of 3 every 62s, meaning a torpedo every 10.25s vs. 20.6s as well as higher alpha strike
  • Negative - X mounting cannot spin 360°
  • Negative - Royal Navy smoke is just worse
  • Negative - AA... erm well, yeah, erm, watch out for the autodrops...
  • Neutral - Trading engine boost for RN acceleration feels less impactful at this tier

These trades are overwhelmingly positive to the power of the ship. There is very little this ship fears, in one gunfight with a T4 double-gun Clemson (oft dubbed the 'Clubson') I did at one point feel slightly disadvantaged. The four Vampire guns are pretty excellent overall, the range is excellent which in combination with the better ballistics and maneuverability means you can do quite nasty things to the lumbering, inaccurate low tier battleships and cruisers. This somewhat offsets the poor smoke. Although Valkyrie keeps the same torpedo armament as Medea her matchmaking includes more big fat lumbering targets battleships to target and a couple of knots more speed help with the rush, the 40,000 alpha instead of 30,000 is pretty damn useful at T3 with ~40,000 HP battleships. The single launch is still a little pointless.

T3 play is generally a bit more positive though there are moments:

Spoiler

4cZatNmg.jpg

There does seem to be some confusion on torpedo ranges at T3, and whether or not you should fire them on cooldown or not, and if they can hit friendly DD's in front of you, and if it's worth a shot at that red battleship 15km away...

X9WYuFU.jpg

Tight like HMS Tiger. A very hard fought win with Valkyrie's ability to close in and kill a Langley at long range thanks to decent ballistics, torp-down battleships and contest the cap with 5 points to spare all critical. Note also it is possible to run out of smoke - don't take SI though.

 

Overall despite everything that's wonderful about her, I didn't find myself enjoying Valkyrie as much as Vampire. Winning feels good, ask anyone (not 90TH) you know! I just found Valkyrie a little too bland. I really missed the US long-duration smoke, I really, really missed the 360' traverse on X mounting too, it's a seemingly small thing but you can be so aggressive with it, engage the enemy more closely snaps at the signal halyard on Vampire, less on her British cousin.

How to fix:

Nerf it. Lots. I really don't understand the shell selection in particular, that seems egregiously unnecessary and dismays the history semi-purist in me. I would much rather have a 360° X mount and damn the ballistics. I think the concealment should be looked at too: better than Vampire is odd, and Valkyrie has very good range (10.74km) for T3 combined with the great stealth, that's usually a balance faux pas.

P7C9j6rg.jpg
Bosun, fetch the axe again. Sorry about the crew washing line but there's some attempt at flavor here eh?

 

Wakeful, T4
Power Level: 7/10
Suitable Nickname: *WIP*
Basic Description: A Valkyrie with triple torpedo tubes and a very odd gun armament

Feast or famine. As a baseline Wakeful is very similar to Valkyrie, she's a descended class and has the same overall layout of A-B-X-Y gun mounts superfiring, two torpedo tubes amidships (with cool pyramid triple tubes), she gets another 500 HP, and at 35kt goes a mighty 1kt faster. In exchange her concealment isn't quite as good, dropping to best 5.7km instead of 5.5km.

So far, so normal. An incremental improvement. All the oddity is in the gun choice.

Wakeful has an A-hull equipped with the same 102mm guns as Valkyrie firing the same (wrong) shells. Her B-hull however gets something new, a gun that calls itself the 120/45 BL Mk. I. The 120/45 BL shouldn't be a surprising gun, we have it on Jianwei in game already and it should be effectively the same gun as mounted on Gallant, Icarus, Jervis etc, only with a lower rate of fire. The BL 120mm trades higher fire chance and damage for lower ROF  - 7.5 RPM vs. 12 RPM - generally a pretty poor investment. Overall that would probably leave Wakeful a weaker ship than Valkyrie.

Wakeful doesn't get the gun values of the 120/45 BL Mk. I aside from rate of fire however, she gets the values of the 120/50 QF Mk. XI - the gun we see on T8 Lightning. That means this:

NFovU9V.png
That's right, Wakeful has more AP pen than the 5.5in guns of Kuma and is narrowly behind Omaha. Oh and T5 cruiser belts are usually about 76mm. Oh and she has 5.7km stealth. Oh and smoke.

These hybrid faux-120mm/45 guns have real punch. Better than some cruisers. This combines with the ability to open an engagement at close range. While high-penetration AP has been around on Russian destroyers for a good time, they don't have the stealth, and not at T4 - we're talking a lot of them with half the AP penetration. Shell flight times are also entirely respectable, and while the ROF is low the fire chance is a more than healthy 9%.

This means that in Wakeful you can do this:

Ze8waw3g.jpg
Target cruiser, 8km, slight angle. Double citadel, engine incapacitated. The seventh citadel in seven minutes.

OnpWEzTg.jpg

Target higher-tier cruiser, 6km, slight angle, engine incapacitated.

Which results in ribbons like these:

hdhPef6g.jpg
Pay no attention to the word 'Defeat' please. Look only at 13 delicious citadels.

FQ1YJ9Zg.jpg
Another 8, and a win this time.

Wakeful has offensive capability in spades - so long as you're fighting battleships and cruisers. These fantastic guns come with a great cost. Run and gun battleships with HE - no problem. Rip the guts out of a cruiser foolish enough to broadside that smoke screen - no problem. Her torpedoes, although now the tired, tired same weapons as the T2 Medea with 6km range and slow 53kt speed now get a 50% increase in alpha, meaning single-fire is useful, and giving you the 60,000 alpha strike to allow a margin on rushing a battleship, or two. The main downside I observed with the torpedoes was flood chance. If my math is correct then the single-tube chance of flood on a US battleship was about 35% and rather wanting. My best torpedo results were 12 hits from 15 fired, and nice little tricks like this:

VKWFPSjg.jpg
I'm not sure of the value of single-launch, but with 6 tubes it gains value and when it works, it really works

The downside for all of this is her ability to deal with destroyers. She simply lacks DPM. While the T3 Valkyrie has 72,000 DPM, and the Clemson-dual-wielding-desperado - now at the same tier - has 102,840, the Wakeful has just 51,000 with her B-hull guns. You are seriously disadvantaged in the close-range shootouts between destroyers which low-tier tin cans seem to find themselves in frequently. Smoke and run is often the sole recourse. While the ballistics are good, targets are slippery, and correcting fire with an 8s reload is tricky, missed shots hurt immensely.

How to fix:

Once again, I can't say Wakeful is bad, far from it. I don't desperately like that she doesn't really 'fit' in the line. You effectively 'have' to use the B-hull, and the guns are tied to it rather than being a separate module. The A-hull is effectively a less-stealthy Valkyrie with triple torpedo tubes. I would like to see the guns/hull split and a rapid-fire 102mm gun option. I'm torn on recommending ditching the WWII shells for the 120mm's. They're the ship's main party trick. Without them I'd probably recommend going more toward a torpedo-boat with perhaps the faster, more damaging, better flood chance but still 6km ranged torpedoes of Acasta. The ship is 'sandwiched' between the too-good Valkyrie and the pretty miserable and weak-torpedo Acasta.

 

General Observations
I hope you enjoyed the review, a lot of people I'm sure will have taken one of the DD's from the crate and gone from there. I would certainly recommend giving Valkyrie and Wakeful a go, not so Medea. I think both have something worth playing, though it's very odd.

I have some frustrations with the overall line of the destroyers if you look at the progression of some of the key attributes you get this:

 

T2

T3

T4

T5

T6

T7

T8

T9

T10

Concealment (best build, km)

4.9

5.5

5.7

6.0

6.0

6.3

5.5

5.7

6.0

Stealth Torp Margin (km)

1.1

0.5

0.3

0.0

1.0

0.7

2.5

4.3

4.0

Gun HE DPM

54,000

72,000

51,000

81,600

81,600

122,400

135,966

145,690

244,800

AP Pen at 10km (mm)

NA

34

68

38

38

38

68

46

46

HP

8,700

9,500

10,000

11,200

12,100

14,300

15,900

18,400

20,800

360° capable turrets

2

0

0

0

0

1

3

3

3

HE Shell Flight to 10km (s)

8.12

8.12

7.69

9.82

9.82

9.82

7.69

7.78

7.78

 

It's a little bit odd. The concealment is a bit inconsistent, even with the breaks for Concealment Mod being understandable. The stealth torpedo window collapses in the mid tiers, with the T2 better than any until T8. The HE DPM varies oddly, as do the shell ballistics. I'd hoped that 360° traversing turrets would be a 'thing' but they're curiously absent at some tiers (when they could be justified) while giving the higher tiers A, B and X rotation is maybe going a bit too far.

Using not one, but two ahistoric shell changes, at T3 and T4 also seems to detract from the overall homogeneity of a line. Wakeful is not a good trainer for Acasta. Valkyrie is very different to Medea. The ballistics shell flight times to 10km also wobble around, largely because of changing shell design, but also due to some odd shell choices and ship choices.

  • Cool 14
  • Funny 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
687
[SYN]
[SYN]
Members
2,861 posts
13,320 battles

Another informative post thanks @mofton

I must admit I had forgotten about them so will need to grind up the line!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,487
[42]
Members
6,615 posts
25,201 battles

Good job. This is well done and comprehensive.

I do not have T4 or T9/T10 yet. Kept Icarus, Jervis and Lightning. Sold the rest.

Icarus may be sold to. Besides the simple like/don't like test I use to sell a ship early on, I have to consider the other DDs I have in tier. Therefore Icarus may be on the block too. This analysis helps. Thanks for posting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,658
[ARGSY]
Members
5,682 posts
3,886 battles

@mofton Interesting, and a fascinating perspective that differs in some respects from mine so far.

I have played Medea out to the point where she recouped every credit I spent on her, and had a great time. She's staying in my port, and I'm eventually going to work up a replacement captain for her. I had a ball. I got four kills in co-op on two occasions. I had no problems in co-op beating up on Tier 2 cruisers and using my agility (and my lack of losing speed in turns) to get in really close before dumping fish.

I moved my 6 point captain (PT, LS, Torpedo Armament Expertise) up into Valkyrie last night and took her out for one battle in co-op just before bed, to try her out. Five kills, brought about in part by luck and the dumbest bots available (I grounded 2km away from a Mikasa in plain view and it somehow didn't kill me before my torpedoes reloaded). I tend to agree with you about "brokenly overpowered". I'm not so bothered about comparisons with the Vampire; the British destroyers are their own things, and Vampire is an oddball premium anyway. Having two twin launchers instead of one triple gives flexibility lacking in Vampire.

Again, I had no problems at all in co-op getting in close to deliver guaranteed fish, nor did I have any real problems gunning bot destroyers down, and Chesters are just food. This thing was built to kill pan-Asian destroyers. I haven't played her in Randoms yet, but given how much fun I had with her in co-op I probably won't. 

I'll let you know what I think of Wakeful when I get up to her. I like Vampire, but she has too few torpedoes to really be a good destroyer and her default wide pattern makes them painful to use. Wakeful should be an OP monster by comparison.

 

I admit to not worrying about the historic aspects of shell ballistics, etc. I'm concentrating on how much fun they are to play, and so far I'm having more fun than I ever had in any other DD line, with the possible exception of the V-25 (and that one is in its own category because of the torpedo layout). YMMV; my opinion is what it is, and differs with due respect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
267
[POP]
Members
833 posts
9,449 battles

Great job Mofton!

 

I'll also admit I had forgotten about them.  I need to do some "research" down in them lower tiers...

Wakeful, here I come!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,341
[HINON]
Beta Testers, In AlfaTesters
7,174 posts
2,029 battles

A great, and fun to read, breakdown of the ships.

I'm not going to lie, in spite of all the events that now exist to get higher tier ships sooner, I still generally prefer the classic method of just going right up a line.

  • Cool 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2
[SYN]
[SYN]
Members
12 posts
2,403 battles

image.png.3e674f459a0f947c0e08085b8151938c.png

Credit to @Camo68 for the meme.

Edited by Kronos_One

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1,658
[ARGSY]
Members
5,682 posts
3,886 battles
1 hour ago, Phoenix_jz said:

in spite of all the events that now exist to get higher tier ships sooner, I still generally prefer the classic method of just going right up a line.

I agree. I'm going to take the credit and XP benefits of having won the Acasta and the Icarus when I get there. 

It wasn't as important with the French battleships, because Bretagne wasn't that different from other T5 ships with an ABQXY twin turret layout and her guns were almost as big as Iron Duke's, and while Normandie had the weirdness of three quad turrets at Tier 6, in every other respect she was just a normal battleship with no particular gimmick.

But the RN destroyers, with their weird smokes and lack of speed boost, are a very different flavour of destroyer and IMO require working up from the bottom in order for any but the best DD players to get a proper feel for the line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
121
[UFFA]
Members
514 posts
25 battles

Wakeful has the benefit of just dealing with the usual suspects in their seal clubbers. I can’t imagine getting skinned in an Acasta and sold to Chinese herbal remedy ships by the Haida nation is much fun. :cap_yes:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×