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Ensign_Cthulhu

Random Thoughts from Deep R'lyeh: What's a Defensive Destroyer meant to do?

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I got the Acasta and the Icarus in the first part of the RN event, but put them away after brief tries in order to wait for the entire line to come out.

I figured that the RN DD's are such different beasts, with their lack of speed boost, weird smoke and sparkling acceleration, that I needed to work them up from the very bottom to find out...

a) What they were like as fighting boats,

b) Whether I could accordingly stand to play them, and

c) What I was actually supposed to do with them.

I have so far played the Medea and just begun to play the Valkyrie. Almost all these games have been played in co-op because I need some downtime from the RN grind wherever I can and I wanted a place where testing out my game-play theories wasn't going to screw things up for too many people and where I wasn't going to be accused of seal-clubbing. I'm no unicum, but since I've been in the game for over a year I thought my low-tier play should ideally be in a place where I wouldn't be beating up on relative newcomers. (I accept there will be better men - and women - than me also grinding this line from the start because it's new and they might not have won higher-tier unlocks, and am likely to be clubbed in randoms as often as I do the clubbing, but for now I stick to co-op.)

So far, I have found myself in little boats that are nimble, easy to avoid return fire, and can use their smoke to reposition VERY quickly and unexpectedly because they change direction with almost no loss of speed, so you come in from one angle, make your attack, and then you're ready to either disengage or re-engage at a completely unexpected angle and time. With Torpedo Armament Expertise on my captain, I rarely found myself without at least one set ready to go when I wanted it, unless I'd dumped both pairs on a big or important target.

I have had NO issues in co-op with shooting it out with several varieties of light cruiser, and I will happily charge Chesters and Weymouths in my Medea to almost touching distance before dumping one or both torp pairs (according to health remaining) and walking away with the kill. Valkyrie is even better - five kills in my first game out in co-op, and four guns instead of three. She's like Vampire but even better, because the two twin launchers with narrow spread give you more flexibility than one triple with default wide. All these DD's have the single-shot ripple option, but as @mofton pointed out in a post of his own on these ships, with only two twins and a nicely angled narrow spread, it tends not to make as much difference here.

 These ships inspire supreme confidence, but at the same time their lack of speed boost means there is an overlay of caution, and repositioning must be planned ahead to a somewhat greater degree.

So... with their utility and comfort in battle established, how do I use them?

There are multiple things you can defend.

1) Capture points your team has flipped. This is the obvious, superficial answer - that these ships are built for being late to the party and standing guard on the gains others have made. 

2) Capture points your team has NOT yet flipped, but nor has theirs. Because of their very short duration smokes, these ships cannot sit undetected in cap for the entire time it takes to flip it, even if such a tactic were advisable, which as we know it is very often not. However, there is more than one way to take a cap... and if you can make yourself a PITA and stop the enemy from taking it first, that's just as good for your team - and better for you, because you're going to collect cap defence ribbons for that, and that boosts your XP and reduces the time you have to spend in that ship. Inexperienced enemies expect you to continue through your smoke, sit inside it or withdraw at some angle, but RN smoke is different and we are going to have to get used to people who double back and come straight out at you from the direction they entered, or even right in your face, without having bled off a single knot in the about-turn. And they are possibly going to have lit you on fire in the process.

3) Choke points and gaps between islands. This is the least obvious thing. Look for a channel the enemy might want to come through to outflank your team or go for a standard cap on you, and defend THAT.

I haven't yet explored the role of steaming ahead of my battleships and actively hunting enemy destroyers - I haven't had enough time in Tier 3 games - but this will come. 

 

Right now I'm having a lot of fun in a very interesting line of ships, and I'm grateful to WG for bringing them to us in the form that they did. I had grave concerns based on the first round of WG-CC testing, but most of those have been addressed and even the one stand-out difference (no speed boost) is compensated for in a way that I feel is both sufficient and appropriate. Whether my observations and play-style will continue to remain valid all the way up the line and into serious Random games at Tier V and above remains to be seen, but I look forward to discovering the truth either way by experiment and adjusting my style as a result.

  • Cool 3

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Nice write-up! Don’t know about lower tiers, but at Lightning, you’ll certainly feel empowered to screen for team and hunt DDs just outside of you friendly cruisers spotting range.

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It sounds like the RN DDs have both staying power and the capability to contest any situation they come across.  That would be a deadly combo against any other DD line.  The only potential opponent would be the Russian DD line.  The top tier 9 and 10 US DDs would definitely give them a run for their money, as well as that demon Harugamo. 

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10 minutes ago, Ie_Shima said:

It sounds like the RN DDs have both staying power and the capability to contest any situation they come across. 

Bear in mind that I have only tested Tier 2 and Tier 3 right now, and am slowly working my way up. By staying in a ship until it has paid all its purchase costs (including modules, B hull unlocks etc.), I hope to gain more experience in each one than I would have by rushing up the line. I don't think the pattern will be fully formed for the lower tiers until I get into Wakeful.

How things work out versus other destroyers in this game depends entirely on how good a shot you are while dodging and weaving (the lack of speed bleed-off in turns is a huge help) and how well you can use your smoke. If you have friends to spot for you or you can bait the enemy into shooting, you can sometimes get a few really good hits in that whittle him down and break stuff, giving you the advantage to finish him off. Pan-Asian destroyers make the best targets for knife fighting and YOLO torp charges in British DDs, because they cannot torp you back and killing them eliminates a significant threat to your bigger ships.

This is all at lower tiers. Acasta faces much nastier opposition that can blap her very quickly, and YOLO charges against cruisers are likely to end very violently and badly for you at that tier.

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2 hours ago, Ie_Shima said:

It sounds like the RN DDs have both staying power and the capability to contest any situation they come across.  That would be a deadly combo against any other DD line.  The only potential opponent would be the Russian DD line.  The top tier 9 and 10 US DDs would definitely give them a run for their money, as well as that demon Harugamo. 

I wouldn't say "any" but they are quite good in situations @Ensign_Cthulhu described. Their low speed though means that they do need support from the rest of the team in particular to clear out radar cruisers. USN CLs and CAs are deadly dangerous because you can't boost out of range like other DDs can and you don't have enough speed advantage to pull out of range without it if they pursue. You'll be lit up for the entire duration and you don't have good tools for dealing with them. RN CLs will also end you quickly if they catch you. You really have to figure out if any of those guys are in the area before you try anything and know the ship's radar range. 

I've found that USN DDs are dangerous too because they play a similar game to the RN but with worse torps overall and detection but better firepower and even faster turrets. They are deadly knife fighters and that is precisely the range RN DDs like to operate. Other DDs aren't really that bad because they have some combo of worse detection, poorer agility, and/or slow turret traverse. Japanese torp boats are the easiest. I haven't found the Russian DDs to be a particular problem. You'll see them long before they see you and you can plan appropriately.

I wouldn't duel Haragumo with Daring. I don't have Daring yet but I'm pretty confident Haragumo eat you. You just keep it spotted and call allied fire to drive it away or sink it. The Akizuki line is easy to outspot. It really shouldn't be able to surprise you. RN DDs have to use terrain and get good at dodging back through your own short smoke to break contact. What I do a lot with the RN DDs (Lightning mainly so far) is stay alive and solely spot the enemy for my allies until I am very confident where the enemy DDs and the radar cruisers are and I have time to get myself to the position where I want to be. I use the torps less for hits than for forcing maneuvers. It doesn't matter as much if they hit, what I want is the BBs and cruisers to turn away to dodge while I deal with enemy DDs. 

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RN DDs are absolutely terrifying around islands, and not just because they can fire over them.

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12 minutes ago, Tzarevitch said:

I wouldn't say "any" but they are quite good in situations @Ensign_Cthulhu described. Their low speed though means that they do need support from the rest of the team in particular to clear out radar cruisers. USN CLs and CAs are deadly dangerous because you can't boost out of range like other DDs can and you don't have enough speed advantage to pull out of range without it if they pursue. You'll be lit up for the entire duration and you don't have good tools for dealing with them. RN CLs will also end you quickly if they catch you. You really have to figure out if any of those guys are in the area before you try anything and know the ship's radar range. 

I've found that USN DDs are dangerous too because they play a similar game to the RN but with worse torps overall and detection but better firepower and even faster turrets. They are deadly knife fighters and that is precisely the range RN DDs like to operate. Other DDs aren't really that bad because they have some combo of worse detection, poorer agility, and/or slow turret traverse. Japanese torp boats are the easiest. I haven't found the Russian DDs to be a particular problem. You'll see them long before they see you and you can plan appropriately.

I wouldn't duel Haragumo with Daring. I don't have Daring yet but I'm pretty confident Haragumo eat you. You just keep it spotted and call allied fire to drive it away or sink it. The Akizuki line is easy to outspot. It really shouldn't be able to surprise you. RN DDs have to use terrain and get good at dodging back through your own short smoke to break contact. What I do a lot with the RN DDs (Lightning mainly so far) is stay alive and solely spot the enemy for my allies until I am very confident where the enemy DDs and the radar cruisers are and I have time to get myself to the position where I want to be. I use the torps less for hits than for forcing maneuvers. It doesn't matter as much if they hit, what I want is the BBs and cruisers to turn away to dodge while I deal with enemy DDs. 

Nahh, Harugumos are easy to kill in the Daring. Either you torp them in their smoke, smoke/hydro up to kill them, or just smoke up when friendlies have seen them fire and dakka dakka them to death.

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What is a defensive destroyer supposed to do?

 

"Suck", mostly.

 

The only fun in this game is tied to aggression. You release ships who are not meant to be played aggressively, you might as well not release them at all.

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18 minutes ago, KiyoSenkan said:

The only fun in this game is tied to aggression.

Five out of eight ships sunk in co-op isn't aggressive? LOL

The British are a historical meme when it comes to fighting with your back to the wall; it's called the Thin Red Line on land, "Engage the enemy more closely" on water, and "the Few" in the air. You pay a high tactical price if you succeed, and you've lost the war if you fail.

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4 minutes ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

Five out of eight ships sunk in co-op isn't aggressive? LOL

You can be aggressive in any ship in Co-Op.

Randoms are a completely different thing. Only time I’ve had any trouble with a UK DD is when I screwed up in some way. 

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5 minutes ago, HazardDrake said:

You can be aggressive in any ship in Co-Op.

Yeah, I know. I was just trying to make the point that killing five out of eight enemy ships is hardly sitting back and being passive. And yes, randoms are very different. That's another matter, for when I've got more time up my sleeve to experiment.

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I dont see them as defensive DDs at all.

I play them as harassing DDs.  They are probably the best in the game at hitting and running.  The only defensive thing about them is positioning yourself so BBs and CA can run you down.

Kill enemy DDs then farm more potatoes than Idaho.

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Well, going through this logically you need to first establish that RN destroyers are in fact 'defensive'  WG has repeatedly claimed that they are:

Spoiler

 

 

 

'These changes are intended to improve British destroyers gameplay in melee combat and highlight their role of “defensive” and slow ships, with bigger smoke’s range and Hydroacoustic Search consumable. '

'[Short duration smoke added] Updated equipment characteristics will make destroyers more mobile when it comes to tactics and be more efficient in their role of defensive ship.'

'Researchable British destroyers, II-X tier:
Removed the consumable "Engine Boost". The change is intended to emphasize the role of "defensive" and relatively slow destroyers, that have wide-radius smoke screens and Hydroacoustic Search.'


WG are the developers, though I wouldn't necessarily use 'defensive' for the line - several RN destroyers are not particularly defensive, even if they're not offensive in nature.

Firstly, pretty much all destroyers are better on the defense than when attacking, or at least moving forward. Torpedoes work better on closing targets rather than kiting ones. Just running directly away nullifies most torpedo boats, but moving in magnifies the threat. Kiting Khabarovsk makes it have to engage you at closer range on easier targeting aspects.

It's hard to attack. Some are a bit better suited to it than others -

  • Kidd has about the best HP at her tier, plus up to 67.2% more HP thanks to repair, plus great firepower, pushing, absorbing damage to dish it out to destroyers is all encouraged
  • Khabarovsk has the armor, HP and firepower to play fairly aggressively
  • Shimakaze might not be aggressive, but she can be offensive, flanking at 39kt with a heavy 12km torpedo barrage
  • Z-52 can situationally use its 6km hydro to attack caps, Yueyang can do the same with radar, purposefully moving up to engage
  • Good anti-Destroyer gunboats (Gadjah, Haida)

While RN destroyers are slower than average - thanks to a few slower ships and the lack of engine boost, while ships like Jervis and Lightning are far from 'slow' and generally have poor torpedo range for their tier I'd have to say they're not offensive-flanking torpedo boats like the Japanese destroyers.

Across most tiers they have moderate firepower, and only at T9 and T10 can they replicate in any way the Kidd's trading-HP style. Unfortunately their repair is pretty weak, instead of 67.5% repair in 4 charges at 14% (16.8% with flag) each, they can at best do 36% of their HP repair in 3x 10/12% charges. Daring and Jutland have good HP, though they can't be as profligate in spending it. I would guess that allows them to somewhat emulate Kidd's approach, and they have the hydroacoustic to help with torpedoes - doing 25,000 damage to a T10 DD with guns will always cost you.

My experience with the T2-T8 is that you can be offensively-oriented depending on the matchmaking. If you're driving a Jervis and you know there's a red Akatsuki on your flank then you should absolutely go after him. If you're a Lightning and there's a red Harugumo with radar backup... don't.

The hydroacoustic is certainly 'defensive' - where it's present (T6+ only) and where it has any value at all. But while being defensive it allows you to be a little aggressive heading towards torpedo threats.

 

Overall I've rarely taken my RN DD into a successful Charge of the Light Brigade, but controlled local aggression can pay off. Defend robustly with smoke and counter attack. Overall you want to fight at close range, you don't have the torpedo range or gun ballistics (in most cases) to do otherwise. Follow in the Nelsonian tradition:

image.png.cf4ad168922b9dec78c6a0454481b000.png


5 hours ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

I figured that the RN DD's are such different beasts, with their lack of speed boost, weird smoke and sparkling acceleration, that I needed to work them up from the very bottom to find out...

a) What they were like as fighting boats,

It's dangerous to try and look too much at a line rather than ships in my opinion.

How do USN battleships play for instance? Are they slow - well 21kt up to T7, or fast given NC does 27kt and Iowa's one of the fastest BB in the game?

Although they're tied together with the acceleration and smoke in other areas the line varies significantly.

  • The worst tier-for-tier DPM is probably Wakeful with half that of the best ship at T4, while Daring's the best at T10
  • Shell trajectories also vary a fair amount, while the US line has about 3 different guns for its 9 destroyers, the RN line has changes at T3, T4, T5, T8 and T9 including pretty fundamental shifts in mechanics
  • The torpedoes go from a best stealth-torp margin of 4.3km to a minimum of 0km
  • Torpedo volleys go from 4-tubes to 10-tubes, alpha from 40,000 to 168,000
  • Hydro makes an appearance at T6 only

Outside the line, the 'meta' also varies hugely, there's no radar at T2-T4 and the hydro is weak. Radar becomes more and more abundant with tier from 5 to 10.

I'd be well prepared to judge as much of the line as possible on its individual merits and if a style change is required, to roll with it.

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15 hours ago, Destroyer_KuroshioKai said:

I dont see them as defensive DDs at all.

I play them as harassing DDs.  They are probably the best in the game at hitting and running.  The only defensive thing about them is positioning yourself so BBs and CA can run you down.

Kill enemy DDs then farm more potatoes than Idaho.

Oh by all means, if you've found ways to play them aggressively go right ahead. This article was more about "If we accept WG's own description for these ships, where can we take it?" And picking on enemy ships trying to take a cap or pass through a particular location on a map sort of fits into your harassing methodology anyway.

 

13 hours ago, mofton said:

 


It's dangerous to try and look too much at a line rather than ships in my opinion.

How do USN battleships play for instance? Are they slow - well 21kt up to T7, or fast given NC does 27kt and Iowa's one of the fastest BB in the game?

Although they're tied together with the acceleration and smoke in other areas the line varies significantly.

  • The worst tier-for-tier DPM is probably Wakeful with half that of the best ship at T4, while Daring's the best at T10
  • Shell trajectories also vary a fair amount, while the US line has about 3 different guns for its 9 destroyers, the RN line has changes at T3, T4, T5, T8 and T9 including pretty fundamental shifts in mechanics
  • The torpedoes go from a best stealth-torp margin of 4.3km to a minimum of 0km
  • Torpedo volleys go from 4-tubes to 10-tubes, alpha from 40,000 to 168,000
  • Hydro makes an appearance at T6 only

Outside the line, the 'meta' also varies hugely, there's no radar at T2-T4 and the hydro is weak. Radar becomes more and more abundant with tier from 5 to 10.

I'd be well prepared to judge as much of the line as possible on its individual merits and if a style change is required, to roll with it.

Warning duly noted. I still think they're defined as a line by their smoke, handling and lack of speed boost, but I see more clearly now that it's up to the player to fit those characteristics plus their weapon performance into the prevailing meta on a tier-by-tier basis. I have some free time tonight between RN tasks. I will play around a little more with Valkyrie, but right now she simply feels just like a more powerful Medea, albeit without stealth torping (which I haven't used much anyway). The real test will come with Wakeful when she has to go up against Tier V, and with Acasta against Tier VII's.

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