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Soshi_Sone

California at 100

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I am a casual serious player.  Basically, I play for fun, but I'm serious about winning.  On the casual side, I do not study the intricacies of ship armor to the fine details you will see many other folks do in their reviews.  I tend to learn from either reading their assessments, or over time I just assimilate the correct thing to do.  On occasion, if something doesn't work out the way I expected, I might take a deeper look at the fine details of a ship after a match. But that is an exception, not the rule.

California can be a tough ship to play well.  It's a squishy, slow T7 with 14 inchers and a long reload.  This requires some thought in how to deploy it.  It requires more strategic thinking than many other ships. If you like to do that, or just like the difference in play thought, then it's a nice ship in that regard.
 
The matchmaking look is important, as this will often determine the choice of HE or AP as a starting load.  

And the decision to switch depending on situation is always in the back of your mind.  If you're a full salvo player, this is somewhat simplified.  But if you like to stagger your turrets (like me), it makes for a much more difficult decision. 

In general, it's a mid/long range gun platform.  With all the range bonuses, it has fantastic reach for a T7.  Because it's slow, you often have to be a follower, not a leader.  And following isn't too bad because having a family of ships around you helps.  Helps with your concealment and helps with your escape from a bad situation.  Can't go alone in this ship except in exceptional circumstances.

It can kick very nicely when top tier.  And, contrary to many reviews, is actually a very good T7 ship in a big T9 fight.  T7 BBs in a T9 fight serve a support role.  California's ability to deliver accurate fire (often HE) at range makes it a "relatively" good T7 BB in a T9 fight.  A great attrition support gun platform.  It won't carry.  So if your team collapses..there's not much you can do no matter how well you position.

Although it does well when top tier, one thing I noticed is if your team loses too many ships early...before you can make your presence felt...it becomes a really tough game.  Its forte is the attrition game, not the fast and loose game.  It often needs time, and a decent team, to do well in a match.  

In all tiers, it takes learning what works (I'm still figuring it out at 100 games); where you need to be in terms of range-to-enemy.  There are sweet spots in all tiers.  With Superintendent she has five Repair Teams.  And with her excellent concealment, fire really isn't much of an issue...if (IF!) you can go quiet to heal.  And that's all about range.

Lastly, as I've noted in my other postings, the California likes to have a big team.  Twelve ships. Random games.  Here, strengths can be magnified, and weaknesses mitigated, in the presence of the group of players.  So it's all about knowing where to go, how far to go, and what to load based on tier, ships in tier, map, and the ever evolving landscape of the battle.  While this is true of all ships, it is a much bigger factor in the California's success in battle.  Make a positioning mistake in other ships, and you often have an out...an escape.  Some ships let you down easy if you make a mistake.  Make a positioning mistake in California, and there often is no out.  No escape.  And the punishment can be severe.

I enjoy the California.  But she is not easy to play well.  And this can be frustrating at times.  But that's part of what I like.  Making her work.  If you want a challenge that tests all aspects of the fight, and enjoy those challenges, she might be fun for you.  If you prefer a ship where you get to dictate the fight early, with a more linear line of the fight, California isn't for you.    

Also, get used to other players thinking you are out of position.  Unless they understand your mid to long range characteristics, sometimes it seems you're out of place when you're not.  California has range...and can be making a difference even at long distances.  Not to mention she just sometimes takes time getting to the next place on the map.  On the plus, she will often still be contributing, even if the main battle has moved elsewhere.  

One final technical note.  She does have 31mm top armor on the mid rear section.  So while bow tanking might not be smart in this ship, butt tank angling on an escape vector is sometimes a valid tactic.  That said, bouncing 16 inches off the top plate and into the turret might be a bad day for the turret.

cali.thumb.jpg.f099ce55efa7bc6480f7f805770e1126.jpg

 

I'll close with screenshots of my recent games this weekend..post 100.  First six this weekend...and two last tonight.


1.  Bottom tier loss, top finish.  This is a good example of a game where your team kinda disintegrates.  When two T9s finish dead last, that does not bode well.  Another part of this example which is a characteristic of California is the ability to score high on T9 loses.  That's because she is a mid to long range support ship at T9.  You don't finish high because you necessarily play well.  You finish high because everyone else dies too fast...and (being a mid to long range support ship) California survives longer to do more damage in a lost cause.

Spoiler

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2.  California top tier win, top finish.  Just an all around decent ship when top tier with a decent team.   But even when top tier, if the team falters early, you often face an up hill losing battle.  Even more so on a small map.  California likes big maps.  Makes it easier to sling and conceal.

Spoiler

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3. Bottom tier loss, mid finish.  A basic T9 loss.  I did finish at what I call above tier (Above or at tier position in line up).  And I misplayed the mid game (pushed too early for a mid/long range support ship).  Probably wouldn't have made a difference in the win, but better play on my part would have got me fourth position on the loss. 

Spoiler

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4.  Mid tier win, top finish.  Again, needed a decent team that didn't fold early.  Hung in there on a close game, and got the win.

Spoiler

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5.  Mid tier win, mid finish.  Team won this one.  I also finished above tier.

Spoiler

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6.  Mid tier loss, top finish.  Red team simply outplayed us.  As with the first example, my top out position was due to being the survivor after everyone else was gone in a losing cause.  I may have misplayed some of the mid game...might have been better to push more than I did, but doubt it would have changed the outcome.

Spoiler

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7.  Bottom tier win, mid finish.  Nothing spectacular on my part.  Finished above tier.

Spoiler

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8.  Top tier, top finish.  Good team.  As long as too many friendlies don't die early, if California is given time at top tier, she will do well.

Spoiler

8.thumb.jpg.0f5a244cfe9b7c8288c9115f7e17d495.jpg

 

Edited by Soshi_Sone
  • Cool 7
  • Meh 1

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Have it, likely because of your posts Soshi; but only have five Co-op in because of spamming for UUs, Odin and German CVs.

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I’m not close to a 100 games, but I too am enjoying playing her. It’s a pleasant surprise.  I agree with your review, +1.

Also, I feel like a lot of players don’t see the California as a big threat and therefore you’re not focused as much, and thats a big mistake on their part.

I’m a full salvo player and love those 12 gun salutes!

 

well done

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Yup. I like the slow boat us bbs. Its pretty hard to end up as the first ship to be killed in one. 

Most reds I have seen don't seem single the California out as kill on sight ship which I think helps.

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3 minutes ago, HMAS_Melbourne said:

Most reds I have seen don't seem single the California out as kill on sight ship which I think helps.

We call this the Roma effect.

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21 minutes ago, HMAS_Melbourne said:

Yup. I like the slow boat us bbs. Its pretty hard to end up as the first ship to be killed in one.

Yet I find it pretty easy to be last man standing if the team melts.

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I've only a few games in my Cali.  I've found nothing redeeming about her unless she's top tier.  Most of my matches have been T9 and she's been wrecked.

Too slow.  Reload too slow.  14" guns struggle with T9 ships.

The ship is SO NOT FUN to play, I don't know if I'll ever get to 100 matches in her.  IMO - she's a T6 at best right now.

 

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