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It has been a while now since the IJN DDs got their split and I thought it would be a good time to talk about my fellings about them in a pretty lengthy post. After having played them all pre and post split, I want to present my opinion on what their flaws are and why I still think that they need to be buffed. First of all let's look at some statistics. If you check the winrates and average experience of all DDs from T6 to T10 you will find an IJN DD at the bottom. So it's not just one or two ships underperforming, it's an entire line of ships. However there are some exceptions: the T6 Shinonome (premium; reward for advanced players with high tier ships -> understandibly outperforms everything at T6) and the destroyers of the new subbranch. I wont talk much about Akizuki because she plays completely different to all other IJN DDs (very gun focused; big, slow and sluggish). The two Ships leading up to the Akizuki are interesting though. The Hatsuharu is performing ok at T6 and better than Fubuki. But the most outstanding ship is the Shiratsuyu at T7 which is currently the best (statisticaly speaking) DD for its tier. One reason for this is probably the fact that the line spit is still too recent and mostly dedicated players with some experience in IJN DDs are currently grinding towards the Akizuki. This however does not explain the huge difference between Akatsuki and Shiratsuyu at Tier 7 (we are speaking of a 6% difference in winrate and about 50% more experience and damage for Shiratsuyu). Looking a bit more into the stats of these two Ships you can get a bit confused. Akatsuki is the same in terms of her gun and torpedo performence while having one extra gun, 4 knots higher top speed and an extra torpedo tube with a more favourable launcher setup (3x3 vs 2x4) therefore having a 25% better reload speed on those tubes. Ignoring some very minor differences in HP and range the only things Shiratsuyu has going for her are a bit better maneuverability and massively better concealment. In addition to this Shiratsuyu has the torpedo reload booster consumable on a seperate slot which reduces the torpedo reload to 5 seconds once every 6 minutes (4 with premium). Her output of torpedoes over 10 minutes even with using the consumable is lower than Akatsukis. In practice and my personal experience these two advantages of Shiratsuyu are crucial to her success. The concealment advantage over any other ship at T7 is huge (we are talking about nearly a kilometer here) so you can dictate a combat with another destroyer by engaging only in favourable fights and sneak up an your main target (enemy BBs) very easily. The second advantage is your torpedo reload booster. If this consumable is ready you basicly have a 4x4 torpedo setup (yes, this is one more torpedo than a Shimakaze) and you can freely engage multible targets at once. Need to lay a big torpedo wall for area denial? No problem. Fire your torps at two or even three different targets in different directions? No problem. Steaming around a corner into the face of an enemy BB and your torps are still on a 40 second cooldown? Just press one button and you are good to go. Remember however that this will not give you an insane output of torps. The real advantage of this consumable is flexibility. So keep these two important advantages in mind for later: concealment and torpedo flexibility. Secondly, I will take a look and directly compaire two high tier DDs to understand the flaws of especially T8 to T10 where I feel IJN DDs are struggeling the most right now. The destroyers that come to mind are the Yuugumo and the USS Fletscher at tier 9. Covering the basics first, Fletcher has the egde in HP, speed and maneuverability while Yuugumo has better concealment. All of these values are however not too different and you could say they are pretty on par. Looking at the guns you immediately see a massive advantage for the Fletcher: 50% more rounds per minute and astronomicly better turret traverse and much more range. HE and AP performence are similar with the Yuugumo having better fire chance and better shell arcs. Overall however the Fletcher just outclasses the Yuugumo in a direct gun duel with much more dpm and even against other ship types Fletcher outperforms Yuugumo in gun capability. And that is not a problem at all. The role of USN DDs is fighting over caps in close quarters combat with other DDs and their toolkit is perfect for this task (stealthy, maneuverable, insane dpm and turret traverse). They can also aid their team with long lasting smokes and long range fire support. The real problem arises if you look at the torpedoes: Speed and range are nearly identical. The Yuugumo torps deal about 10% more damage, but the Fletcher beats the Yuugumo in reload (only a few seconds) while having more torps (2x5 vs 2x4) and one realy important stat: torpedo detectability (1.4km vs 1.7km). I would argue that dealing 10% more damage per torpedo is realy not a big deal at all and gets already accounted for by reloading a bit faster and having more torps to fire. Which leaves the detectibility as the one factor that puts Fletchers torpedo armament above the Yuugumos. But I hear you saying: "Fletcher is one of the best DDs in the game, of course it's overall better than a Yuugumo". Yes, I agree with that. But the fact remains that a USN DD is beating the IJNs speciality. And it's not only the Fletcher. Look at the Z-46, which has massively less damage on its torps (14400 vs 20967), but also reloads his tubes 22 seconds (ca. 20%) faster than Yuugumo while having the same speed and range. The detectability difference is the same as with the Fletcher. So overall you are looking at pretty compairable torpedo armaments while Z-46 still has 50% more shells per minute. And german DDs don't have a good reputation at the moment. We can take this as an example of what the high tier IJN DDs are suffering from. On lower tiers IJN have the best torpedo armament by far. While the USN DDs have kind of crappy range and speed, the Russians have their suicide torpedoes and the Germans are looking pretty good, the IJN DDs already have the capacility to stealth torp with relative ease and good speed. Going up to the higher tiers however, the other nations close the cap in terms of torpedo performence and are overall mostly on par or only a little behind the Japanese. On the other hand the cap in gun performence is still the same. To summerize what we need to keep in mind: lack of speciality at higher tiers and the detectability issue. The Split of the line itself brought some "interesting" changes as well. IJN DDs got better rate of fire while loosing their big alpha damage and fire chance on their HE ammunition. Overall these changes pretty much compensated each other and resulted in only small nerfs or buffs. At least on paper. The higher alpha damage was an advantage when taking shots of opportunity or at getting the jump on an enemy DD undetected. It was some kind of national flavor that got lost with the changes. Overall however by moving some ships down in tier WG mostly replaced ships with better ones. The Akatsuki and Shiratsuyu are definitivly improvements over the old Hastuharu and the same can be said about the Yuugumo replacing the Kagerou. Nevertheless when looking at the current statistics of the new ships we dont see any improvements over the old ones. They are mostly performing on a similar level as before. We can try to explain this by looking and the game in general: There are so much things that have changed over the last year, most of which made the life of destroyers harder. Let me try to explain to anyone who was not part of the closed beta what I mean with that. The Shimakaze for exaple was just a godlike ship. Sailing around the map undetected with the best speed of any ship at the time while launching waves of 15 torpedoes with 20 km range and good concealment on them was hilarious. You would regularly get games with over 100k damage and nobody on the enemy team ever saw you once. It was super easy and totally op and nobody with any sanity wants this back in the game. WG did the right thing and nerfed the Shimakaze. But with the game developing more and more, the Shima and every other IJN DD in the game got slowly but surely indirectly nerfed. Back in the day only aircraft and ships themseves were spotting your torps. Nowadays there is hydro on any number of ships especially since the introduction of the Kriegsmarine and since the captain skills got changed there are much more aircraft floating around. But not only is torpedo play increasingly difficult, your ship itself is in more danger of being sunk. Russian cruisers brought radar in the game and their destroyers are lightning fast with massive firepower. Last but not least RPF made it into the game and while not gamebreaking, it made destroyer life harder. So the meta changed so much that DDs got a harder time staying alive and torpedoes where made less of threat. But IJN DDs did not change and are in a bad state for some time now. Before I state some possible changes that I would suggest to improve the state of IJN DDs, I have some final thoughts. First of all I still like IJN DDs. The torpedo focused playstyle is enjoying for me because it involves so much predicting to be done. Where will all the ships around me be in a minute when my torps are reloaded? Were should I go to be save from enemies but still habe a good ambush position? I understand that WoWs is an arcade game, but why on earth is radar going through islands? I also get that balance is more important than historical facts, but the Japanese used oxygen in their torpedoes because that ensured better range, speed and decetability than the usual torpedo has. Why is every IJN torpedo in the game more visible than any other torpedo? Which bringst me to the final point of my rant: suggestions for improvement of IJN DDs: We learned by looking at different things what makes IJN DDs strong: A good concealment advantage over other DDs and a flexible torpedo armament that outperformes any other nation. They suffer however in exactly that regard by having too large detection ranges on their torpedoes and the fact, that high tier IJN DDs dont excell in their role that much. Shimakazes get outspottet by Fletchers and Gearings (same camo), Yuugumo has not the best torps at T9, etc. Therefore some possible ways to adress these issues are: reduce the detectability of all IJN torpedoes to the same level of other nations make their torpedoes faster than other nations or longer range (high tier; last one is not good for the game) improve their concealment on the ships themself to give them the edge they need over other DDs improve their gun performence by giving them back their old shells and/or better turret traverse (not my prefered approach) give all IJN DDs access to the reload booster consumable in a seperate slot (with rebalancing it, not just a 5 second reload, that would be op; more in the lines of cutting the reload in half once every 5 minutes or so) It just needs one of these things (NOT ALL) to give the IJN DDs back their pride as the pinackle of torpedo ninjas. Thanks for listening to my overly lengthy rant about IJN DDs. Feel free to discuss in a well-mannered fashion.