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  1. First off: I like this Operation. I enjoy the feel of being on the offensive, of conducting a daring naval raid in the good old "hit and run" buccaneering tradition (although the likes of Drake and Henry Morgan would have taken a dim view of the lack of plunder and pillage). So well done to Wargaming, for this! Secondly, a disclaimer: As should hopefully be obvious from the following text, I am one of the "tactically challenged" ones to whom the title refers. Even after more than five years of playing this game, I seem to remain, at heart, something of a well-meaning noob. With this out of the way, on to the main subject. As anyone would know who has spent time fighting through operation Killer Whale in the past, it has certain built-in obstacles. These have mostly to do with the requirement that as soon at the first phase of the operation is complete - the raid on the harbour area and the destruction of those enemy forces found within - the players are expected to make an exit through one of two possible areas, one located to the west and the other to the north. This second phase, which is set on a timer, includes a number of secondary objectives in the form of options to sink certain incoming enemy ships. There is no bonus (other than xp and personal satisfaction) for sinking ships other than those specially designated, and there is indeed no option to win by sinking all incoming ships - enemies will continue to appear in wave after wave until either all players are sunk, or the countdown timer runs out. In order to complete the operation, at least half of the remaining player ships must reach the exit area. Which exit area it is - the one in the west or the one in the north - is not determined until the second phase of the operation is triggered. In this phase, there are a number of things that can, and all too often will, go wrong. Players may not realize that they are required to make an exit at all. These players will instead happily engage the wave after wave of incoming enemies, until they are all sunk or the exit timer runs out (which, unless enough players make it to the exit, fails the operation). Players who are aware of the exit requirement, may still not realize that the exit area is subject to change. These players will hare off towards the exit they went through last time, and will typically resist any and all efforts by their despairing team mates to get them to head in the proper direction (which, unless enough players go the right way, again fails the operation). Players who do realize when and where they are supposed to exit, may still be tempted to stay and engage the continuous waves of incoming enemies, some of which are - quite nefariously, to make a personal observation - designated as juicy secondary objectives. One fairly efficient but somewhat counter-intuitive tactic for dealing with these secondary objectives and still keep the time limit - namely for a player to ram the designated target and thus complete the objective while at the same time facilitating the task of getting half of the remaining ships to the exit - has yet to occur to the majority of players. (It didn't occur to me until Jingles pointed it out in a video.) During my last Killer Whale excursion, I set forth in the Admiral Graf Spee. I regard her (him?) as a good choice for this operation, since her battleship-caliber guns are excellent for wiping out the land forts, and her torpedoes come in handy for dealing with those enemy ships that for some reason won't oblige you by accepting any hits to their citadel. I had a number of battleships and cruisers in my team as well, one Ark Royal and - thankfully - no destroyers. So I figured that we were off to a good start. Halfway through the harbour area, two of our cruisers had already died to fire from those ships found inside. This left me and our two battleships to deal with the remaining enemy ships, while our carrier kept himself busy by firing rockets (not bombs or torpedoes - rockets) at the moored battleship. I went in pretty close for my torpedo runs - those bot ships seem to have a knack for knowing exactly where and when you drop your torpedoes - and by the time we were finished with all this, I was at less than a quarter health and with only one heal remaining. The second phase saw most of us starting to go for a somewhat belated journey to the west (the correct exit area, as it were). However, when we neared the entrance to the harbour area and some enemy destroyers and cruisers turned up, everyone but me and one battleship decided to turn back inside. The carrier started dropping torpedoes (not bombs or rockets - torpedoes) on the destroyers, and then proceeded to go for the north side of the map (maybe he had some relatives over there; your guess is as good as mine). My accompanying battleship was sunk by torpedoes from the enemy destroyers, and after having dealt with what remained of them I had nowhere near enough health left to make any headway out of the harbour area (not that it would have made any difference at that point). I managed to sink an incoming Ishizuchi with a lucky torpedo spread that hit home right after I had been sunk by the last salvo from said ship, and about fifteen seconds later the timer ran out and we lost (yes, I was late in starting the retreat as well; no one did much good in this battle). So that, as they say, was that. Please note that this is not a rant. I was having fun the whole time, from the intrepid charge at the beginning to the ignominious defeat at the end. I regard this whole sorry episode as a learning experience, and part of what I learned was that those operations that run the most smoothly, are not necessarily the most memorable.* When I get home tonight, I shall have to try this operation out again with my newly acquired British heavy cruiser, the Devonshire. I expect her to sink like a stone, which will make a fitting statement on this, the last day of England as a member of the European Union. There are many of us who will be sad to see her go. Cheers! * Just look at the "One Bridge Too Far" movie from 1977, or any of the films of Quentin Tarantino for that matter.** ** When they make a movie out this particular Operation Killer Whale, I want my character to be played by Sir Michael Caine.*** *** With the same complete lack of anything remotely resembling a German accent, as when he portrayed Oberst Kurt Steiner in "The Eagle Has Landed" from 1976.**** **** The new movie shall be called, "The Eagle Has Stranded."
  2. I tried for early access - and I failed. I went against my initial inclinations, and tried for the early access release of the T-61 after all. The way I reasoned was, I was eventually going to get some extra premium time anyway, and so I might just as well spend those doubloons right away and get a ship on top. What could possibly go wrong? Of course, it wasn't that easy. It turns out you can't spend more than 24 000 doubloons on premium time in one go, which will net you one year's worth. I suppose most of you already know this, but I didn't. Bummer. But hey, no problem. All I had to do was to buy at least another thousand doubloons' worth of premium time, right? Wrong. Of course it wasn't that easy. It turns out you can't purchase premium time with doubloons if you already have one year's worth or more of premium time on your account (I suppose most of you already know this, etc etc). You can buy it with real money, but that wouldn't count toward the 25 000 doubloons-goal for the early access event. So how could I rid myself of a thousand doubloons in a hurry? I didn't have enough accumulated free xp to unlock that it would cost me that amount; I only managed to spend about three or four hundred doubloons that way. So there was still about seven hundred doubloons to go; now how to spend those? The best I could think of was to purchase a premium ship from the in-game tree, but this presented me with something of a moral conundrum. I had decided to go for early access on the premise that it wouldn't cost me anything I wasn't going to spend anyway - such as doubloons for premium time or for the unlocking of free xp - but there was no hitherto un-bought premium ship available that I had any interest in. So by my own rules, I should drop out of the early access race at this point. On the other hand, I was so close to the finishing line that it would feel like I was cheating myself if I stopped spending doubloons now. (Yeah, I realize how this sounds even as I'm writing it.) In the end, I decided to buy the Aurora for 2 250 doubloons. I clicked myself through the transaction in a hurry, feeling vaguely ashamed of myself as I did it. I should have taken it slowly and deliberately. You see, I forgot to confirm the purchase with a second click. The Aurora appeared in my port only as the ghost-like, black-and-white apparition that marks a possible purchase; a ship that is not yet there. After giving her a guilty look, - you know, the kind of look you reserve for that guy who's only invited to the party because he's the designated driver - I exited the game and left for a road trip through Slovakia. I came back yesterday evening, to not find the T-61 in my port. I'd missed the mark by a few hundred doubloons. I should point out, right now, that this sorry chain of events is solely and surely down to me being a klutz. I still consider Wargaming's early access offer to be a fair one; I only wish I had known about the above-related restrictions on the spending of doubloons before going on board. And a straight-up option to complete the event simply by purchasing the required amount of doubloons might perhaps have been better for all involved, but that's neither here nor there. I am now slightly older and wiser than I was last week. I have gained useful information on the workings of the doubloon economy in World of Warships, along with some valuable insights into my own psyche. I am currently awaiting, come Friday, the standard release of the T-61. She will lie at the place in my port where the Aurora isn't.