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  1. Yashima's Initial Test Iteration - Quick Preview Playing Yashima made me somewhat reconsider my attitude towards Battleship players. For those of you that don’t know, Yashima is a Tier 10 freemium (a pseudo-premium that can be acquired by means of in-game resources) battleship. Yashima herself is based on the A-150 design battleship, also known as the “Super Yamato”. A design it stayed - none were ever built, as more recent warfare technology became the focus of Japanese naval armament. In essence, she presents herself in game as an up-gunned Yamato. Her announcement had been some considerable time ago on the DevBlog, and a few weeks ago, contributors had gotten access to Yashima on the live server. Some of you may have already seen her perform (or not perform) in videos or on streams. I thought this would be the perfect time for me personally to clock in a few extra hours in my least played class - battleships. Most BB lines I have grinded up to tier 9 at this stage, and I do own a couple of Tier 10s like Conqueror and Republique. I just never really find a good enough excuse to play any of them. Personally I find them a bit slow and too RNG heavy to be enjoyable, despite them certainly having their moments! So, if you like, this is a non-battleship player’s perspective on an upcoming tier 10 freemium battleship. Ship initial test rundown Yashima, for all intents and purposes, is a Yamato with 510mm guns instead of 460mm. In addition, the AA suite of the Yashima is significantly improved. The final difference is an improved rudder shift time of 18.7s, as opposed to Yamato’s 22.1s. Both ships have an identical profile and armour layout, and share the same amount of HP and torpedo protection. They also mount the same consumables and upgrades, minus Yamato’s Legendary Modification. As they are the main selling point, let’s focus on the guns. Yashima’s guns have a calibre of 510mm. They are housed in the same turrets as the Yamato, and therefore come in twos, not threes, like Yamato. This means Yamato has 3 extra barrels over Yashima - 1 per turret. Yamato’s reload is a respectable 30 seconds stock, while Yashima has to load for 35 seconds with ⅓ less guns. Both turrets turn at the same 60 seconds stock. Yashima does receive an improved dispersion by 4m at maximum range, which is identical on both ships - 26.6km. The shells on Yashima hit harder than Yamato - 19400 maximum damage on AP, 8100 on HE. Yamato comes in at *only* 14800 damage AP and 7300 damage HE. But Yamato's shells are faster: 780 m/s on the AP and 805 m/s on her HE. Yashima’s HE and AP both come in at 720 m/s. Due to the higher calibre of Yashima, she is able to achieve higher penetration values. Her overmatch is also higher than Yamato’s. 35mm on Yashima versus 32 on Yamato. Conclusion In practice these are massive drawbacks for marginal improvements. 32mm of overmatch is more than enough to deal with most if not all targets at tier 10, while 35mm is not high enough to tackle the next armour threshold (i.e. 38mm US decks). Higher penetration values will also mean more over-penetrations. The 6 shells per salvo will with high likelihood mean more misses and less of a chance of hitting ships in places where one will deal proper damage instead of just over-penetrating or ricocheting off. This is coupled with worse reload (again, 35 seconds with 1 less barrel per turret), with already bad rate of fire - and significantly worse DPM - on one of the perhaps most dated battleship hulls in the game right now: big and slow, with ample weak points. Luckily, Yashima has a very strong point. Her AA. Carriers will have a hard time focusing on you for prolonged periods of time, as her AA suite is perhaps the best in class at the moment. While nowadays we can’t really speak of “stopping a drop before it happens”, Yashima certainly has very good AA sustain - she has enough health, and heals, and strong enough AA to win the war of attrition against the flat deck, providing they are not equal tier. That’s really what playing against carriers has boiled down to nowadays: Disencourage them from attacking you again, or just bleed them dry so they cannot drop you any longer. All in all, she is not overwhelming the way she stands right now. But this is the first test iteration, there certainly will be more to come. And while I cannot say that I was overly thrilled with Yashima’s first performance, I do have to concede that it was a very enlightening week of testing. It would be an exaggeration to state that I have a full grasp on all difficulties BBs face on a day to day basis, but I did get a bit of an insight why Battleships ( and their players) behave certain ways. I have mostly been on the other side of the encounter so far, so I never really questioned their patterns. I’ve just learned to accept them, even if they, for me, were not immediately comprehensible. For example, why does a Yamato spend her time sitting in the back? Well, perhaps because her accuracy makes her decent at range, and if she were to push in, she would most certainly be the focus of the enemy fleet! That, along with some other things, made this test, yet still too early to write off the ship fully, worthwhile for me. I do encourage everyone exercising a single-class diet to venture out and try being the cruiser, or destroyer, or even battleship for once: you might learn something new that you didn’t know before, even if you don’t end up picking up the class in the end - it might become useful the next time you face up against them in battle. Have a nice rest of the week, and stay safe and healthy (especially in these times)!
  2. Hayashio

    The Smith in preview

    The Smith Hey everyone. Welcome to the second last instalment on the Grand Naval Battles ship previews. Today we are looking at probably my favourite gameplay-wise. You can go and check out the other ones I did, currently we have: "What is the Smith?" you may ask. Well, to put it simply, it’s a Sampson with one more gun and a lot less torpedo tubes. At least that was the first impression I had of it. Here I have listed a table with all key differences. Basically, on paper, the Sampson does everything better or on par with the Smith. Later, we will be having another look at these two again in detail. First of all however, I want to focus on the Smith itself. Like in my previous previews, we're gonna have a shakedown of the ship itself, then move on to a short conclusion of the given stats, finally follow up with a verdict and some gameplay. Pros: -Very good concealment. The concealment comes close to that of a Japanese destroyer. 5.6 Kilometres aren’t enough to drop your torpedoes concealed, but allow you to get quite close to your enemies before they can shoot at you. -Great Rudder shift time 2 seconds is a good rudder shift time, beating the Sampson’s by 0.7 seconds. -Large number of guns The Smith is able to fire 4 of her guns in each direction at a time. That’s 1 more than the Sampson and a lot better than the Umikaze. -Great torpedo reload At 11 seconds the Smith has arguably the fastest reload of all torpedo bearing ships -Good Turn circle The Smith comes very close to the Tachibana in terms of turn circle, putting it in second place out of the tier II destroyers. Cons: -Slow for a destroyer It’s 28 knots wouldn’t probably only look good on a cruiser. It’s however manageable with engine boost. -Low count of torpedo tubes The Initial payload the Smith can launch is a lot smaller than most of it’s DD counterparts, Therefore a player has to be quite precise with his torpedoes, as he can’t fan them like with other destroyers. More on that later. -Low amount of hitpoints Even the Storozhevoy beats the Smith in terms of hitpoints. You can’t be shot at for too long since you will die very quickly. -Short range on her armament This is probably in combination with the small calibre. 6.5 kilometres doesn’t leave a lot of engagement space. -Tiny calibre on it’s main armament (76.2mm Main guns) The guns which otherwise would be secondaries (like the Umikaze’s) are considered primary on the smith, the Sampson’s guns are 30mm larger than the Smith’s. With this, penetration and damage output drop as well. AP penetration and fire chance are very low as well. Conclusion: This ship can’t fire concealed, not even with AFT, which can push the gun range up to 7.9 kilometres by the way. The guns are nothing I’d go gunboating with, but can be quite useful when dealing with enemy destroyers and finishing enemies. Overall the first impression feels like the Smith is very much a Kamikaze boat. But so are most Destroyers in low tiers. The Smith and the Sampson Like before stated, the Smith seems to be like a slightly worse Sampson. However, I can tell you gameplay-wise, both ships are very different from one another. The Smith doesn't play like any destroyer I've had. The Models: The Smith's waterline profile sits a lot higher than the Sampsons. This means you are a bigger target for incoming fire. This handicap is only really significant for the bow of the ship, since unlike the Sampson, the Smith doesn't have a lot of mid-ship objects on it. Therefore, it is in fact harder to hit the Smith from the side over the Sampson. The smokestacks are more spread out, with only the 2 and 3 one being close to each other, meanwhile the Sampson carries 4 lifeboats and has cram tightly packed smokestacks, which make it susceptible for HE hits. The weaponry placement: The two ships only share the position of 3 of their guns, these being the front placed, and the front-mid-ship guns which can only fire into one direction. Therefore, the Smith can fire 4 guns each broadside, while the Sampson can only fire 3. The torpedo tubes on the smith have a similar layout to it's mid-ship guns. It has one single tube launcher that can fire in both directions towards the aft, while it has 2 single tube launchers which can fire in each direction respectively. The Sampson has 2 twin tubes for each side at mid-ship. Torpedo Armament of the Smith and Sampson The Sampson can fire 4 Torpedoes in one salvo in each direction at a time, while the smith can only fire 2, the Smith can, however fire her torpedoes twice as fast: Torpedo launches over time Final Conclusion: Is it better than the Sampson? No, it's not. There are clear problems with this ship, it's hitpoints, it's speed, it's armament. The Sampson beats the Smith in every respect. The Smith however, has the unique torpedoes. While firing a whole bunch of torpedoes with a single salvo has a huge damage output, once you fired, you have to reload. While other ships would have to wait a significant amount of time before you can launch torpedoes again. And what if your target dodges your spread completely? You see these kinds of problems don't affect the Smith, at 11 seconds reload time, you're basically firing your torpedoes as some ships would with their main guns. This allows for some very unique gameplay, here is a screenshot of my very first match in my Smith. For the Smith, it doesn't matter whether you miss with some torpedoes, because you can just fire again and again, at some point you will hit your target. You force enemy players to spend their whole time dodging your torps, or get hit. It's not unlike a gunboat at higher tiers, you're the annoying mosquito, that constantly harrasses other ships. Everyone wants you dead. Which is why the bad concealment-torp range is a big problem. You need to make islands work, get your positioning right, use your engine boost to position yourself close to an island and close to the enemy, pop your smoke if it gets dangerous, don't manfight. Surprise battleships that don't expect you coming around the corner. You can bait people with your guns to come into the little trap that you prepare with this nasty little strike package. Use. Your. Torps. I know this might sound like a nobrainer, but your guns are not worth the effort once your enemy is torp range, you can pop some shots at them, but you should really be focusing on your torpedo launching. This is how I feel the Smith plays like. Rapid torpedo launching is it's game, and islands and smoke screens are it's best friend.This is why, for me, this is the best out of the lot. Katori gets all the collector points, but gameplay-wise, the Smith takes the crown. So If you are wondering what you should do with your diamonds, prioritize the Katori if you're a collector, take the Smith if you want some unique and fun gameplay. Or take both, since why wouldn't you if you can! I have read very often people saying that previews and reviews don't really reflect the gameplay of a ship since the reviewers only show the ship at it's best. Therefore I have picked an average gameplay video to present what a match in the Smith might look like. How did you guys feel about the Smith?