In patch 0.6.6, the high tier American battleships – Iowa, Missouri, and Montana, received a buff in the form of a lowered citadel. This reduced the volume of their citadels by ~27% and redistributed the HP to more evenly throughout the ship. Wargaming did this to “promote more active play and maneuver.” But is that what it does and how has it affected these ships?
This patch has been out just over a month allowing me to get some play time in on the Montana and Missouri (I have a Missouri so I have no need for the Iowa). In so doing, this is what I have noticed with these ships:
- Seemingly increased popularity within Random Battles
- Significantly harder to citadel at ranges between 10-15km
- More forgiving broadsides
- More aggressive plays by players
- Increased survivability amongst players in those ships
Having both played in and against those ships, these observations have their pros and cons, so here is my take.
Missouri & Iowa
The Missouri and Iowa most certainly needed buffs. The lack of armor and very high citadel (though historically accurate) made playing them aggressively very frustrating. Nearly any cruiser or battleship that you would see in battle was capable of penetrating and even citadeling your ship if a broadside was given. This promoted static bow in play or passive sniping from a distance. Though they were certainly very capable of the latter, you were far more at the mercy of RNG than if you were to close this distance to the enemy. When outfitted correctly, the Missouri and Iowa are the fastest battleships in game and fairly maneuverable for their size, however, not maneuverable enough to evade deletion during a turn. So for these two ships, a buff was warranted but I think the citadel volume reduction was a bit too much.
In playing against them I’ve noticed that it is significantly harder to citadel them at point blank ranges, frustratingly so actually. More than once I have had a newly buffed USN BB show me a broadside at under 10km away and I’ll be lucky if I manage 1 citadel. Pre patch 0.6.6 and that scenario would have led to at least 3 if not complete deletion. Sure RNG could hate me, but for that much hate, it’s hard to believe. Perhaps I just need to relearn where to aim for these ships with the new buffs – only time will tell.
One of my favorite ships in the game, she was also my first tier 10. It took me some time to truly get the hang of her but once I did I understood her strengths and weaknesses. She could be very tanky bow in and very squishy broadside. In my opinion, though the buff is nice, I don’t think it was truly necessary, certainly to the degree that is was applied. A good and experienced captain could do really well in her pre-buff. Though she did not have the durability of the other two tier 10 BB’s, she could certainly hold her own in the niche that she sat. With a very heavy broadside, excellent AA, and significantly more belt armor than her predecessor, she could afford angles that would have otherwise been a citadel in the Iowa. The lines of the ship also made here armor more effective and deceiving, leading to bounces from what seemed like a broadside volley.
In her current configuration, she is far more forgiving for newer players that show their broadside. Punishment is certainly expected, but not to the extent that it once was. Her immunity zone has been broadened, making deletions at all ranges except drive-bys far less common in my experience thus far. If you play her a lot and haven’t quite gotten the hang of more advanced techniques, this is a great thing for you. If, however, you’re like me and drooled when you saw any of the top tier USN battleships offering a perfect broadside at close range, those days of a guaranteed serving of multiple citadels have passed. Do they still happen, sure, but not as much in my experience so far.
All three of the top tier USN battleships were over buffed in my opinion to compensate for less experienced players. Even in their original configuration, good players could still use them to great effect, even against Yamato’s. We would expect that once a player reaches the higher tiers that they have learned the fundamentals of playing a battleship, which includes not showing your broadside to other battleships. Sadly though, that is not the case. A noticeable percentage of players in high tier games still break these cardinal rules and bring down not just the team, but the stats of an otherwise viable ship. It’s like back in grade school where they stopped helping the ‘average’ students and spent their efforts on the ‘below average’ ones. This is what Wargaming has done in my opinion with this particular buff, over compensated for the players that still have yet to learn the fundamentals and skew the stats. Maybe, with time, they’ll see that and ‘nerf’ these ships. But somehow, I don’t foresee that happening. Perhaps the British Batteships will offer a rebalancing? That too, I fear, is wishful thinking.
Let me know in the comments below what you think of the buffs to these ships. Are they good, unneeded, or overdone?