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richie_macrophage

My thoughts on the French BB line VI-X

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Having recently reached tier X of the French Battleship line I'm going to rate how much I liked each ship.

I started the line with Bretagne by receiving it from a box. I free XP-ed to Normandie and really didn't play Bretagne at all.

Normandie

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Rating: 6/10

Normandie was an interesting ship. It's main armaments were quadruple turrets containing 13inch guns. This provided a lot of firepower to one broadside. However, the main thing that killed the ship for me were the firing arcs. I had to be almost flat broadside to get all my guns off target, leaving me very vulnerable to attacks. The secondaries are nothing to talk about and the protection is typical for a dreadnought, and the speed is pretty decent. Overall, I would've preferred a Fuso or Warspite to use.

Dunkerque

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Rating: 6/10

I picked up Dunkerque a while back and I actually haven't played too many battles in this thing. This ship is an impressive looking ship on paper, being able to frontally tank damage from tier 6 battleships while being equipped with excellent cruiser-killing guns. However, theres one problem. I was always uptiered to tier 7+, by this rank, every ship will overmatch it's frontal armor. This means I was never able to use the ship to it's biggest advantage. The ship had a very high speed and good muzzle velocity meaning that you can play it somewhat like a heavy cruiser. The ship's durability and anti air are poor and can be exploited to kill this ship fairly quickly.

Lyon

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Rating: 8.5/10

This is where the real fun started for me actually. It's essentially a Normandie, but with an extra turret. SIXTEEN guns. This massive firepower potential allowed me to hit very hard on enemy ships and do lots of damage per salvo. The secondaries weren't phenomenal but were good enough. It's anti air was also very good and the mobility was decent. The protection is still typical of any dreadnought. The main catch were again the firing arcs and especially the dispersion. Often I would complain on how this ship misses an entire salvo at <6 km away due to it's dispersion. Being a tier 7 ship, it was pretty common for me to be downtiered and slaughter other ships. The ship is equipped with 340mm main guns, same as Normandie, meaning this ship is more optimized for cruiser killing.

I recommend this ship.

Richelieu

Richelieu.jpg

Rating: 9/10

The first "modern" ship in the French tech tree. This ship is a pretty significant upgrade from Lyon, similar from Colorado to North Carolina. Richelieu is more of a "fast battleship", similar to Iowa and North Carolina. It is equipped with only forward mounted guns similar to the Dunkerque. However, these guns are upgraded to 15 inch, giving you a bigger punch against ships. The ship also finally has 32mm bow armor, meaning it can only be overmatched by the Yamato and Musashi. It is a very fast battleship at 32 knots, allowing you to keep up pace with cruisers and a bonus being the Engine Boost consumable. It still serves very well as a cruiser-killing battleship and can 1v1 other tier 8 battleships in certain situations. The anti-air is very good on this ship and can match even the North Carolina in anti-air if you spec it good enough. The secondaries on this ship are actually decent, with 152mm turrets similar to the ones on tier 6 french cruisers, but they come with a drawback of being mounted only on the rear, meaning in most situations they are useless.

Highly recommended

Alsace

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Rating: 10/10

Now this is a ship that I REALLY loved. It's essentially a Richelieu but with an extra gun turret on the rear, giving you a more conventional gun layout. Alsace has a very deadly broadside of 12 15 inch guns which will pack a massive punch against enemy ships. The secondaries are improved from Richelieu in that some can now fire towards the front. The Anti-Air is still very excellent and can deter inexperienced CV players. Alsace is also equipped with a catapult fighter which can allow you to spot some ships over islands and hills. Still retaining it's speed and engine boost consumable, it can get to the battle very well. The ship can also work well as an HE spammer should the situation require it with a fire chance of 35% and 12 shells per volley. I often use it as a kiting ship, not sailing at full speed but still keeping a respectable distance from enemies in order to single them out better. One downside you will notice here is that most of the armor is 32mm, leaving you vulnerable to being HE spammed by 203 cruisers and IFHE light cruisers.

You gotta play Alsace to get all the sauce.

Jean Bart

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Rating: 7.5/10

I won this ship through the "Full Ahead" series from WOWS' youtube channel. This ship is a Richelieu at tier 9 with an improved reload and a new consumable: Main Battery Reload booster. I've heard many good things about this ship, but to be honest, I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I can do well with this ship at times but often I don't know the correct timing to use the consumable to maximize it's advantage. Being 15 inch, they won't overmatch some cruisers such as the Des Moines or Hindenburg. This ship gains extra anti-air armament making it even more potent and still retains the mobility of Richelieu, while still maintaining the engine boost consumable.

For me, I can't seem to notice any major difference over Richelieu. I'm fairly certain it's just me not knowing how to use it correctly. So take my recommendation with a grain of salt and look for other people's opinions instead.

It's a premium at tier 9, so it will bring in lots of money whether you play well or not.

Revised as of 1/3/19

Rating: 9/10

This is essentially just another Richelieu with a faster reload, better anti air, secondaries and that hot new consumable. It's a good ship for grinding, but functionally it's very similar to Richelieu. It is still even more effective than Richelieu, and tier for tier just as effective since it has a faster reload and the consumable to compensate. I still have difficulties knowing when to use the consumable correctly, but it's good whenever I do. The forward only gun arrangement is very comfortable for this ship and Richelieu.

Republique

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Rating: 10/10

The Final ship of the line and to make it terse: it's very worth it. 

But why is it, you might ask? It only has eight guns in a weird layout.

Now these guns are 431 mm, they are the third largest guns in the game. This allows you to do a lot of damage per shot and also overmatch 30 (not 32) millimeters of armor that is found on some cruisers like the Worcester. However, it's the reload that is the hot stuff. Stock, it comes with a   t w e n t y   f o u r   s e c o n d  reload. With a main battery module it can bump it down to as low as 21 seconds and with the special module, down to 20 seconds. Combine this with adrenaline rush and you can even get it down to 15 seconds. This means that you have the reload rate of a heavy cruiser, but with 17 inch guns. You will reload faster than every other battleship you will meet at this tier. The Anti-air of this ship is phenomenal. With AFT, the AA rating goes up to 98 which is very good. The secondaries are also a decent improvement with 127mm guns replacing the old 100mm guns. Now, one 152mm turret has been moved to the front compared to Alsace giving you more flexibility with them. The ship still maintains a fast speed and the engine boost consumable. The armor of the ship, like Alsace, is mostly 32mm so training your ship in survivability will be helpful. This ship comes with a helicopter landing pad (I assume) on the stern too! (Can we get a "spotter helicopter?" :cap_hmm:)

This ship is very competitive in Tier X matches and can punish enemy ships very well. Total recommendation.

 

Overall line rating: 9/10

My grind with this line was a very enjoying experience. The ships weren't incredibly overpowered like the UK or incredibly overspecialized like the Germans. You can play these ships like a heavy cruiser or a conventional battleship and it will do you fine. The ships still have features that make them stand out and still be interesting to play while still being fairly balanced well.

I recommend going up this line.

Edited by richie_macrophage
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Agreed with everything.

The French BB line (and CL line as well, to a lesser degree) is just an all-round, solid line that has gimmicks but doesn't rely on them.

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Favorite BB line by a large margin. And I only played bbs

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32mm deck is pretty much all I hate because there is absolutely no way to prevent them from burning to death. Other weaknesses can be compensated by player's caution and agility.

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Good write up @richie_macrophage,

   Agree with everything. I, too started with the Tier 5 Bretagne, which wasn’t bad for that tier, guns were surprisingly accurate.

   I Free XP’d past the Normandie, and went right to the Lyon at Tier 7. She is a lot of fun to play, once you get around her crappy firing arcs. With the right modules and captain skills, her secondary battery and AA suite are very strong for Tier 7. And sending sixteen 13-inch shells down range, you’re bound to delete something.

   The play style of T8 Richelieu and Tier 9 Alsace are very similar, best described by Poetic Motion as a lancer: Moving in close, then timing your turn to minimize broadside exposure, and sailing away at an angle, throwing shells over your shoulder while staying within their impressive secondary battery range. They used to be very deadly when the IFHE captain skill was still allowed on battleships, not so much now.

   The Tier 10 Republique is hands down my favourite ship of the whole game, although her play style takes some getting used to. Her secondary battery is phenomenal, and she is best suited to brawling. I have mine set up as a brawling/plane swatting hybrid. With the right combination of modules and captain skills, she is a DD killer extraordinaire, and it is a rare occasion indeed that a plane gets close enough to drop its ordnance, she’ll wipe out whole squadrons wholesale. As well, the Unique Upgrade that you can grind towards drops the reload on her massive 17-inch guns to an incredible 19.7 seconds.

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On 12/25/2018 at 5:47 AM, HMCS_Moncton said:

They used to be very deadly when the IFHE captain skill was still allowed on battleships, not so much now.

The skill is still allowed on BBs. It just isn't recommended because it will not help your main batteries. All those greyed out skills CAN still be taken, they just are not generally optimal and WG has found a way to advise the newbies not to take them. Secondary builds are special cases and not  considered. You could also take torpedo acceleration if you want to but...

Consider you can transfer captains around with premiums and may end up with a DD captain on a premium BB while retraining him to a different DD. That captain would likely have several skills useless to a BB commander.

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4 hours ago, Paul_Revere735 said:

I'm curious as to if most of you played the Alsace pre nerf or post nerf.  This thing is no Richelieu.  Its a heap of trash.

Vast, vast, vast majority of my Alsace games are post 'nerf' and it is a solid 10/10.  It is anything but a 'heap of trash'.

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The Republique is my overall favorite Tier 10 BB.

 

There's just so many things that makes her better than any other T10. My close second is Montana. But, I had fun with the French grind when I was doing it. I started at the Bretagne (T5) before the line was officially released. 

French AP is no joke. The penetration of them shells are insane.

 

I pretty much only play the Republique than my other T10s. She's too much fun. Mine is spec'd for secondary range and AA. Also running AR and reload modules to reduce reload time. It's crazy how fast reload this ship has and is what really makes her different than all the other T10 BBs.

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