The Conqueror: Live Review

To preface this review, I apologize for have no recent content. Life has been very busy and has prevented me from releasing the type of content I wish to release at the standard that I hold myself to. So without further nonsense here we go!

With the latest patch, the new Royal Navy battleship line has arrived and is available to the rest of us. I have been hoarding my free XP for just this ship and am glad I did. She is a joy to play, but does have some issues and I will highlight those later on in my review. To start, I will go over the specifics of the ship.

Ship Overview

Armaments

The Conqueror has 2 main battery choices, a set of 12, 419mm guns with an AP alpha strike of 156,000 (12×13,000) and 8, 457mm[1] guns with an AP alpha strike of 119,200 (8×14,900)[2]. Her HE fire chance on the 419mm guns is 48% while the 457mm guns offer a 63% chance of setting fire. The shell velocity of both guns is relatively slow, with all below 800 m/s, making here shells the slowest overall compared to the other tier X battleships. However, similar to her German counterpart, her HE penetration is equal to one quarter the shell caliber, compared to the 1/6th that other battleships offer. This has been carried through the entire RN line. The secondaries on this ship are nothing to write home about and are the worst of the top tier battleships. On the other hand, the AA capabilities of this ship, while at full health, can rival that of the Montana, particularly at medium range (between 2.01 and 3.51km; 527.2 dps vs 318 dps).

Survivability

HMS Conqueror has the lowest health pool of all the tier 10 ships with 82,900 hit points and has the second lowest belt armor values at 406mm. However, the excellent heal that this ship gets more than makes up for. Capable of restoring 1,989 hp per second for 20 seconds, you could, in theory restore a total of 159,120 hp if all you sustained was fire damage (unlikely I know) if you ran with Superintendent, the India Delta flag and the premium repair party. Further, the low sitting citadel makes the ship hold up well in medium to close range engagements, particularly if you are caught off guard.

Concealment

This ship totes the best in class concealment at 11.1 km by sea and 12.1 km by air with camouflage, Concealment Expert and the Concealment module. This surpasses the detectability of even some cruisers allowing you to get the drop on them and unleash a full broadside into them as they attempt to scurry away.

Pros

  • Best detectability by far, allowing for excellent, cruiser level ninja attacks on unsuspecting Battleships and certain cruisers
  • An insane, almost OP level of repair. Though this is balanced will in my opinion by the armor level and low HP pool
  • Good maneuverability, even for a battleship
  • Excellent overall DPM. Likely the highest of all this ships since HE is strongly recommended when fires are included

Cons

  • Lowest [sensible][3] AP alpha strike.
  • Lack luster AP capabilities (the 419mm have been nerfed and their penetration, even against a broadside battleship is less than optimal in my opinion, and the 457mm are just barely too small to cross the overmatch threshold.)
  • Slow shell velocity means increased flight time and difficulty hitting faster targets at a distance
  • You’re a big target (especially right after release)

Loadout

The WoWs Wiki offers a decent configuration setup here (http://wiki.wargaming.net/en/Ship:Conqueror) but my current setup is as follows:

Upgrades

Slot 1: Main Armaments Modification 1
Slot 2: Aiming Systems Modification 1
Slot 3: Main Battery Modification 3
Slot 4: Damage Control System Modification 1
Slot 5: Steering Gears Modification 2
Slot 6: Concealment System Modification 1

If CV’s become more of an issue, I may swap out Slot 2 and 3 with the AA Gun Modifications but I don’t see that being a problem just yet.

Commander Skills

Tier 1: Priority Target and Expert Loader (Since HE is such a great option on this ship, switching ammo type quickly without giving your position away by firing is nice)
Tier 2: Expert Marksman, Adrenaline Rush, and Jack of All Trades (I might get rid of Jack of All Trades and Adrenaline Rush once the thrill killing has subsided and trade those 4 points for AFT to destroy planes)
Tier 3: Superintendent
Tier 4: Fire Prevention and Concealment Expert

Camouflage

Basically, make sure you always run it, especially if it offers both dispersion penalties to the enemy and concealment to you.

Final Thoughts

Overall, she is a very solid ship so far. Even though I don’t have too many games in her, I have yet to have a game where I’ve done less than 120k damage. However, I am not a fan of having two main armament choices where one is clearly better than the other. Though most of the advantages run with the 419mm guns, which I strongly recommend, the AP capabilities leave room for improvement. With the sigma nerf and normalization nerf, the use of the AP rounds on the 419mm guns is suffering. Nerfing both was a bit much in my opinion thus far and if they buff either back to the 6.10 release, I would probably be quite content. As for the 457mm guns, I have yet to play much with them. I’m still getting used to the 419mm with their slower shell velocity and maybe that will help with changing my opinions on their AP rounds but once I get a good handle with them I’ll try the 457mm guns for giggles. Just looking at the stats though, I’m not impressed with the 457mm guns and see no real reason to choose them over the 419mm at this point. We’ll see though, WG might see that they are not well liked and give them a buff of some kind, but I doubt it.


[1] 457mm guns are less than the 457.3mm necessary to overmatch 32mm of bow armor.

[2] Montana and G.K (with 420mm guns) are capable of a 162,000 damage alpha strike while the Yamato is capable of a 133,200 damage alpha strike.

[3] Though the 406mm guns of the Großer Kurfürst have a lower alpha strike, I find there to be no discernible advantage in the 406mm vs. the 420mm guns whereas for the Conqueror, the 419mm is the best choice so far.

Ranked Thoughts and Opinions

To start off bluntly, I’m not a huge fan of ranked. One of the simpler reasons is I do not have the time to put into climbing the ladder so before I go on keep that in mind. Further, for the last 3 seasons, I have made it to at least Rank 10 and stopped. With that said the other reasons are as follows.

Reason 2

The static meta that has been the last 2 seasons of ranked does not bode well to my style of play. I prefer to be aggressive and make plays towards the objectives of the match and do damage to the enemy team. This does not mean that I won’t play more passively if I feel that’s what needs to be done, but that I still get bored sitting around for a target to be spotted.

Reason 3

This is a team based game with a mode that is strongly depending on team play and communication. At the lower ranks, this is increasingly difficult to find. Many play for themselves and pay little attention to the needs of the rest of the team, such as the need for smoke or the need for spotting. Further, the inability for players to acknowledge the need focus targets that have been called out is exceedingly frustrating, particularly when it’s a low health destroyer. I would expect that this gets better as you move up the tiers, but due to the fact that I get easily frustrated by this, I stop progressing and go back to Randoms.

Reason 4

Many players, particularly in earlier ranks, do not have the skills necessary to be assets to their teams. The main reason behind this is the ship tier required for Ranked is easily obtainable by even a novice player in a short time, and further there are many premium tier 6 ships that can be purchased with no experience at all. Though I consider myself to be an above average player, it would be a feat for me to be able to carry a team in a ranked battle to victory. As a result, I still rely on other members of my team to provide support and carry their own weight. If, however, those players lack the skills and knowledge necessary to be effective in the ship that they are in, then they are more of a hindrance than an asset – torpedoing from behind allies is a prime example.

Reason 5

The rewards to effort ratio is just not equal or beneficial in my opinion. Sure, the accolades that come with achieving Rank 1, and certainly multiple times, are quite nice, but the time to achieve that does not equal its cost.

Final Remarks

As I tend to only play in the evening during the week and early mornings on weekends, if I play at all during the weekends, finding skilled teams is far more difficult. Many are ‘casual’ players who play to have fun or younger players. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with either they both come with issues. The casual players don’t put the efforts in to be competitive, something required for ranked, and the younger players tend to caustically spam chat. I can only deal with so many “Your mom…” jabs before I just get tired of it and run out of reports. Friendly banter is fine, spamming and raving are not.

As for the skill issues, I do understand that Wargaming wants to be more inclusive than exclusive, however, competitive gameplay requires competitive and SKILLED players. Personally, I think Ranked should be relegated to tiers 8 or 9. Tier 8 offers a better range of ships and certainly is less exclusive than tier 9, though it still has the issue of several purchasable premium ships, with no game time required. Tier 9 is far more exclusive with only one premium ship, the Missouri. Due to the ‘cost’ of that ship though, any player with one has at least a working knowledge of the game and its mechanics. Most of you are likely against having ranked be only tier 8 or 9, especially if you have yet to obtain one which is why I’ll mention Option 3. Wargaming should go back to the split tiers in ranked. For ranks up to rank 15, players can use Tier 5 or 6, and after rank 15, the only option is tier 8. This will help with the skill gap and help prevent players from riding on the backs of others to achieve the higher ranks.

Keep in mind, these are my opinions, if you share them great, if you don’t, that’s fine too. I know some will not have had the same experiences with ranked as I have, but I would assume most have had some of the same observations, though your conclusions may differ. So should you feel so inclined to comment, please keep it civil…

High Tier American Battleship Buffs: A Review

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.”[1] 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.

Montana

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.

Conclusion

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?

 


[1] http://wiki.wargaming.net/en/Ship:Update_0.6.6

Article Content Poll

As many of you have seen, most of the articles I write have to do with stats and analytics. Though I do enjoy writing them, and try to make them as friendly to the populace as I can, I’m wondering what else you might like to read about in regards to World of Warships. The poll options include topics that I feel qualified to discuss and write about and am currently able to write about. (Sorry, I’m not a community contributor, so I can get info on new ships or their stats). Also, please feel free to post suggestions for articles and content in the comments as well, I probably left things out.

What is a Team Player?

What is a Team Player? This can be an easy question to answer but very difficult to define – numerically at least. So for starters, I’ll begin by stating how I would define a team player.

A team player will player for the team and the win and not necessarily themselves. What this boils down to is making plays that benefit the team but not the individual player, at least directly. This includes, taking and defending capture points, spotting without doing damage (with guns), smoking up teammates and not themselves, using consumables for the team, tanking damage or drawing fire from other teammates and sometimes even self sacrifice. Each class of ship has their own niche in what they are capable of doing and using those to both the players advantage and the teams advantage can often mean the difference between a win and a loss, or at the very least, a close game.

Continue reading “What is a Team Player?”

Sneak Peak at Redesigned WoWReplays.com

A completely enhanced, revised, ground-up redesign of WoWReplays.com is on the horizon.  The anticipated release date of the new site is the 7th of May, 2017.  Many of you have reached out in the past regarding enhancements and additions you would like to see added.  Due to how the old site was designed, poorly, it became obvious quickly that at some point this would be required.

 

Continue reading “Sneak Peak at Redesigned WoWReplays.com”

MxStats Integrates with WoWReplays

I am pleased to announce that MxStats has integrated with WoWReplays allowing users to upload replays directly from their desktop.  Additional benefits include added details to your replay files.  If you upload a replay from MxStats you will see kills, potential damage, credits, and more associated with your replays.  

You can download the MxStats desktop application by visiting MxStats and clicking download on the latest version on the right hand side of the screen.  You can also discuss this application on the Wargaming official forums by clicking the links on the right hand side as well.

Moving forward the popular section of the site will mostly be populated with replays uploaded via MxStats.  The home page will continue to show all replays as it does now, but your odds of being featured in the Popular section go up considerably by uploading via MxStats.

You will soon be able to search on Kills, Damage, Credits, and more from the advanced filtering as well.  I hope you enjoy the new features, I’m looking forward to adding more features in the near future.