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Survivability Expert? Better than its reputation! (Numbercrunching)

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Most players agree, that Survivability Expert is a top choice for virtually every DD captain, providing a HP bonus ranging from 15.5% (Khabarovsk) – 20% (Shimakaze). Where it gets controversial is its utility for cruiser captains. Here many players argue that here the additional HP are not worth the 3 skill points and advise to not spec into it.

In this post I want to show with a very short and simple argument that this is not necessarily the case. In my humble opinion SE on cruiser captains is not nearly as useless as commonly suggested and I want to back this up with some numbers.

 

Note, that I am not trying to promote SE as a must-have skill for all cruisers, since its utility depends on the playstyles of both the ship and its owner. My aim is to look at the hard numbers to assess the usefulness of SE in the very same way, that numbers have to be involved in deciding wether to use IFHE for a given gun caliber. I like to know these things instead of only relying on gut feelings.

 

Edit: The numbers in this tread are not correct, since contrary to a widely made assumption, SE does not increase the amount of HP healed by the Repair Party consumable. This greatly reduces the overall HP bonus provided, as you can see in a table at the end of this post.

 

The obvious bonus SE provides at T10 is a flat 3500 base HP increase. However, since the amount of HP restored by the Repair Party consumable is derived from a ship's base HP (14% of base HP total, 40% for UK), it also increases the amount of HP healed per use. In the following table you can for each T10 cruiser see its (1) base HP, (2) base HP including SE, (3) HP / Heal, (4) HP / Heal including SE:

 

image.png.5222f234d4aa34c6b7132f923d2c69b0.png

 

Here I am just showing the obvious: the less HP a ship possesses, the more it benefits from SE. The real subject of the debate is, wether these boni are worth the 3 points one has to spend for them.

When trying to quantify the usefulness of SE I look at the cumulative potential HP that a ship has access to over the course of the game:

 

Potential HP = Base HP + #Heals * HP/Heal

 

This represents the maximum amount of HP a ship can spend in order to exert influence on the course of the game and is effectively modified by the type of damage it suffers (not every HP loss can be healed 100%). The potential HP accessible by 4 uses of the Repair Party consumable with and without SE can be taken from the following table.

 

image.png.37e2b4d6bebeca2cb259db6024aba0f0.png

 

The absolute HP bonus ist not surprisingly the same for all cruisers with Minotaur being the noteworthy exception. It gains 9100 potential HP by slapping SE on top of SI in your captain build. I am showing you these numbers in order to put SE into perspective by comparing it to another skill most people agree to be a no-brainer for high tier cruisers: Superintendent. The non-UK cruiser benefitting the most from SE is Zao. Here the sum of base HP increase (+3500) and the increased healing (+490 HP/Heal) almost has the same effect as getting a 5th heal (5460 vs. 5712 HP).

 

Every Zao player using Superintendent obviously thinks that 5712 additional HP are well worth the 3 skill points. In that case, 3 points for 5460 HP (which is 95.5% of one heal) cannot suddenly become a horrible deal. That would be like saying: '3€ for 20 bottles of beer is a great price, but 3€ for 19 bottles is a ripoff'. I intentionally picked Zao here, because out of all T10 cruisers it benefits the most from SE and thus serves best to illustrate my point.

A valid point of view here is, that skill points are limited and SE (assuming its non-uselessness is accepted) is competing against DemoExpert and Vigilance. In this context I will now make the most controversial statement. Please keep your pitchforks and torches in the shed for now.

 

If next to Vigilance and DemoExpert there are just 3 Skillpoints left, then in some cases picking SE instead of SI is actually a good choice.

 

That guy must be insane, right? Well, maybe. But let's look at the numbers again. In the following table you see for each T10 cruiser the total potential HP in the case that the captain has either SI (4 heals) or SE (flat bonus + 3 enhanced heals). Also we see a breakpoint value, that determines wether SI or SE is more effective for each player (more on that later).

 

image.png.174c32a17416ac7c7f93b2b03f363624.png

 

On Zao, Des Moines, Hindenburg and Henri replacing SI with SE nets a HP loss of less than 3% when all heals are being used. In return you gain access to these HP at an earlier time in the game, increasing your ability to survive until the late game. On top of that the increased base HP mean, that you can endure those extra few overpens, possibly allowing you to escape to use your next heal. A more aggressive playstyle thus favors SE over SI in my opinion.

 

So can we quantify how much sense it makes to take SE instead of SI? This picks up the question of playstyle. If you want that 4th radar/hydro charge (i never find myself needing more than 2 or 3 DefAA charges), then of course there is no discussion. As a consequence I will limit my discussion strictly to HP considerations. A cruiser with SI will have more potential HP only if it is able to use its 4th heal. That means if you find yourself being unable to use that 4th heal on a regular basis, then you would benefit more from SE. Since the HP bonus that you get from SI compared to SE is quite small, you would indeed need to use your 4th heal in most of your games in order to break even with the HP advantage SE provides up until that 4th heal.

 

This is described by the breakpoint value in the last table column. It means that e.g. a Hindenburg needs to use its 4th heal in 68.4% of all games so that when averaged over many games, SI provides as many potential HP as SE. If that Hindenburg uses its 4th heal in 100% of all games, then it will gain 2.9% potential HP over another Hindenburg that uses SE instead.

 

Looking at these numbers it means that from a survivability point of view SE is still not perfectly viable in all situations, but it is far from being a useless captain skill for cruisers.

Personally I will try replacing SI by SE on my IJN captain as soon as I reach Zao (on Ibuki now), since I cannot see myself using 4 DefAA charges and only consider my HP pool. Being an average player (at least according to WTR) I am not using all 4 heals all the time, so in this regard SE seems like a more effective choice. Even if my skill eventually becomes sufficient to be able to pull this off, I think paying a negligible 1.2% of my overall HP for being able to take more risks and get away with it in the early game is a really great deal.

 

If you have read this wall of text until here, I thank you for your time. You may now bring your pitchforks and torches, but I am also looking forward to reading your more objective arguments concerning this topic :Smile_Default:

 

 

Erratum:

 

As it turns out, SE does not enhance the amount of HP healed by the repair party consumable, which stronly reduces the HP bonus when measured with the total potential HP in mind. As a negative side effect SE increases the amount of fire damage taken, since it depends on a ship's base HP. This effect would have canceled itself with the increased heal, but as it stands this does not apply. In the following table you can see the bonus SE provides with respect to base HP and total potential HP. This does indeed cast doubt over the utility of SE, since the total HP bonus is below 5% with the exception of Zao. Thanks to ColonelPete, Affeks and tmGrunty for bringing up these points!

 

image.png.998d6c7561c490968aa3c7bf7f16c750.png

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Only on DDs, for everything else it's a waste of 3 points and there's a lot better options for that 3 points. 

 

That being said, few days ago I saw a Missouri cpt with SE skill :Smile_child:

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1 hour ago, ColonelPete said:

And you recieve more damage from fire and flooding...

Good point! The increased damage received here and the benefits of SE cancel each other out, effectively. So it depends how the damage you take is composed. If most of the damage you receive is from fire, then it is not a good choice. If you mostly suffer HE/AP damage, the benefits described above come into play.

 

 

45 minutes ago, quickr said:

Only on DDs, for everything else it's a waste of 3 points and there's a lot better options for that 3 points.

My aim was exactly to get away from blanket statements like this and provide a more detailed analysis. I explicitly adress this point in the section between 2nd and 3rd table.

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Played around with it on some of my t9-10 cruisers and I must say... in a few situational games itll save your life.. but in most games itll just be extra HP that does nothing or doesnt matter as youd be dead anyways.

 

Did the numbers and SI gives you more HP plus extra charges on other consumables as well. Skills like DE gives a DPM percentage better than the HP percentage from SE. AFT and Manual AA gives you a more foolproof lifeline against CV threats. Fire damage is still a significant factor ergo BoS and even FP has arguably higher value than SE. Most importantly Cruisers benefit a lot from auxiliary perks like Double fighters/spotter, Jack of all trades, Expert loader etc etc along with the usual suspects like PM, AR and CE.

 

There are just too many other important skills to choose from.

 

The only ship Id take it on is Minotaur as it has a rather low health pool but at the same time doesnt care at all about fire/flooding dmg as it just zombie heals it.

 

Trust me I did numbers on this over and over during CW. You know everything to just get an edge. Truth is fire damage was too big part of CW so turned out the be worthless in most games

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I have to admit I did not consider the impact of fire damage and I agree that highly skilled players will probably get more use out of SI. The people who I think would benefit from SE are rather players who struggle to survive long enough to use more then 2 heals. In fact, with all those UK BBs around I may have vastly underestimated the role of fire damage here. Thanks for pointing that out :Smile_honoring:

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You do not receive more heal per second with SE.

Yes the ingame tooltip says so but it is not the case if you actually test it.

 

It is a bug but I honestly don't know if the bug is the tooltip or the fact that it doesn't count.

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Thank for your analysis OP. +1 for the effort from me. I never seriously considered SE on any ship. Yes perhaps the high tier Russian DD's. But I find the playstyle so tediously boring: mach 5 zigzag pewpewing. Not really my idea of fun. As far as the rest of the DD's conserned: SE would delay my perish by 2 or 3 seconds. When I get caught I usually get the entire red TLC on my face...

 

Indeed the fire argument. But the duration of a fire has been buffed for non BB's and with fire prevention skill/ flags/ upgrades that shouldn't be that much of a problem. Also fire dmg is fully healable.

 

So I might give it a thought on high tier cruisers with heals...

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It's an interesting read, but I still think SI is way better on high-tier cruisers with heal. Mostly because you also get another hydro/radar/speed boost/DAA that is always useful. Especially the radar and speed boost.

 

SE on the other hand is amazing on gunboat DDs, especially Harekaze, Akizuki and US. Definitely a top pick over a smoke charge.

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On ‎14‎/‎01‎/‎2018 at 12:44 PM, quickr said:

Only on DDs, for everything else it's a waste of 3 points and there's a lot better options for that 3 points. 

 

That being said, few days ago I saw a Missouri cpt with SE skill :Smile_child:

He might have been retraining a DD captain. Although I do remember seeing a Yamato last year with over 100k health :Smile-_tongue:

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Actually, I decided to get Minotaur its own captain so I could experiment more with SE.

 

And I must say doing even more theory crafting on it as well as testing it in practice I found it to be very much worth it on Minotaur (I still havent changed my mind about using it on other cruisers).

 

A straight up 8.1% increase in health pool as well as an additional 84 HP per sec on the heal makes the ship much more effective in non-smoke/non-static engagements.

 

Mino is also a really good ship to bait with, and it is just furthered by the increase in Heal effectiveness and the 3500 hp makes it just that little bit safer. Mino is a ship that "if survives it will be able to bounce back and have a big impact if played right". Thats because the great Concealment, good torps, agility, smoke, ability to shoot over terrains and zombie Heal makes for a ship that can really pull its weight 10 fold as long as it survives. Thats why I think that just having a small chance at surviving or even just a few seconds longer to live will improve your average stats by a fair amount for a 3 point commander skill. (ofc not saying Mino is the only cruiser like this, but at tier 10 I think Mino is by far the one cruiser where this statement is the most relevant).

 

Minotaur is not a ship that has a lot of "must have skills" other than AR, SI and CE. Therefore this is how my cpt looks after 15 points:

mb8QuHQpS2GBcoAkCe-hNw.png

I must say I value SE over JoAT on Minotaur as well (mostly cause I dont have Jack Dunkirk on Minotaur tho).

I usually list captain skills like this

1. Must have (Without these the ship becomes different to play or just fundamentally crippled, either the whole game or over the length of the game)

2. Nice to have (has a direct impact on every game played. Either in the form of direct damage output, staying power and minor strategic/tactical decisions)

3. Optional (Either super situational, very small direct impact or just something that can be played around with decent-good skill)

 

For Minotaur I would categorize the skills like this.

1: CE, AR, SI

2: PM, PT, JoAT, SE, AFT (if you dont have AA guns mod 2)

3. Vigilance, TAE, MFCAAA, AFT (if you have AA guns mod 2)

 

 

The whole AFT thing is because in Mino you are crippled if you dont have smoke and a plane is spotting you, therefore having the 152mm AA shoot to 7.2 km is a must since thats the range of your aerial spotting. For that you only need either AFT or AA mod 2. I still put AFT at 2 since it will only be a minor inconvenience in some games and only really put you in danger in a very few games or if you just didnt pay attention to the skies.

 

Vigilance is on 3 because its really very situational for a ton of reasons. The torpedo threat can be mitigated by good hydro management, positioning, map awareness and just preemptive turning. Still even with Vigilance where all the other counterplay measures are exhausted there is no guarantee it will make a difference.

 

Torpedo Armament Expertise is self explanatory. While Mino has good torps its still not something you rely on too much, and even if you use torps to great effect one game there is a very small chance a 10 sec shorter reload would have made a difference.

 

MFCAAA helps your 152mm AA only, but that in itself is 118 dps afaik. You will mostly use this to shoot down catapult planes that stray within 7.2 km of your aerial detection range. OFC only take MFCAAA AFTER AFT OR AA guns mod 2.

 

Ofc if you div with a CV all the time then both AFT and MFCAAA would be tier 1 or 2 skills haha. So take what I write with a grain of salt as its only applicable to the current meta AND when playing randoms outside of CV div.

 

A lot of off topic theory crafting on Minotaur, but I just wanna give an example of how sure I am SE has a bigger impact that one would initially believe.

 

On 1/14/2018 at 5:04 PM, tmGrunty said:

You do not receive more heal per second with SE.

Yes the ingame tooltip says so but it is not the case if you actually test it.

 

It is a bug but I honestly don't know if the bug is the tooltip or the fact that it doesn't count.

 

I also tested this and youre right. This actually makes me kinda mad. You know if this is intentional or not? Has any WG employee made a statement about it? I wanna make an own thread just for this issue right here.

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Well there is obviously a bug, be it either the tooltip being wrong or SE not giving more heal per second.

I do not know which one it is but I do know that WG is aware that there is a bug because it has been reported in the CC Discord.

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This makes SE indeed very unattractive, as the respective HP boni now are 5.5% or lower when using the total potential HP as reference. Ironically Minotaur now benefits the least since the 3500HP from SE add mere 3.1% to its overall potential HP. Still, Affeks's point remains solid, since those few extra HP may enable her to heal back up instead of returning to port immediately. I will edit my OP with another table listing these numbers.

 

While grinding credits for the New Year's campaign in my Atago, I also found I am using my 4th heal much more often than I thought when I started this topic. So in face of these finding I agree that SE is not an optimal choice for my cruiser captains, with the possible exception of RN CLs. I know that most people have had this opinion from the very beginning, but I'd much rather have a thread like this containing all relevant information and implications of the skill in order to put some facts into what otherwise would only be 'general wisdom'.

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6 minutes ago, Jagod said:

This makes SE indeed very unattractive, as the respective HP boni now are 5.5% or lower when using the total potential HP as reference. Ironically Minotaur now benefits the least since the 3500HP from SE add mere 3.1% to its overall potential HP. Still, Affeks's point remains solid, since those few extra HP may enable her to heal back up instead of returning to port immediately. I will edit my OP with another table listing these numbers.

 

While grinding credits for the New Year's campaign in my Atago, I also found I am using my 4th heal much more often than I thought when I started this topic. So in face of these finding I agree that SE is not an optimal choice for my cruiser captains, with the possible exception of RN CLs. I know that most people have had this opinion from the very beginning, but I'd much rather have a thread like this containing all relevant information and implications of the skill in order to put some facts into what otherwise would only be 'general wisdom'.

I think SE on Minotaur is arguably still worth even without the extra synergy from heals. Just the 8.1% is enough for me

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Have tried a few different Mino builds later, driven by the fact that I felt some skill points were getting wasted due to the near extinction of CV's.

 

Currently have PT, SSE, AR, SI, RL and CE.

 

That leaves 3 points spare, I did try SE and had some mixed results but it did come in useful at times and I would agree that for CL's it is a choice which is too harshly considered. However ultimately I went with Vigilance instead, Vigilance stacks with Hydro and with the new deep water torps having tiny spotting ranges it has proved more useful, both for myself and as a torp spotter for the team.

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Ive been using SE on my Zao, Mino and NO lately (planning to use SE on DM and Worcester when I get to them) and I have liked it quite a bit in fact. 

 

Ive been seeing a lot of CVs lately so I might switch out SE on some of them for AFT or Manual AA. 

 

Im still a long way from putting SE anywhere near top tier, but its a nice pick up for the last few skillpoints if you already have a 19 point captain.

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I run SE on my Gallant because lord knows that ship needs every little bit of extra hp that little ship can muster. I also have SE on my Belfast... please dont give me the Belfast is OP line Im sure there have been millions of threads on that. But to my way of thinking the SE on the Belfast is more valuable than on my other RN cruisers because like my DD it doesnt have a heal. If I had the Duke of York I dare say I would probably run it on that too despite the total amount of health i would gain could be taken away in a single good hit from a BB shell.

 

There is a certain amount of logic to running it on RN cruisers and I wont outright dismiss it as a viable option. But in my opinion at least i would rather put the points else where.

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1 hour ago, Rooke_1704 said:

I run SE on my Gallant because lord knows that ship needs every little bit of extra hp that little ship can muster. I also have SE on my Belfast... please dont give me the Belfast is OP line Im sure there have been millions of threads on that. But to my way of thinking the SE on the Belfast is more valuable than on my other RN cruisers because like my DD it doesnt have a heal. If I had the Duke of York I dare say I would probably run it on that too despite the total amount of health i would gain could be taken away in a single good hit from a BB shell.

 

There is a certain amount of logic to running it on RN cruisers and I wont outright dismiss it as a viable option. But in my opinion at least i would rather put the points else where.

I would never run it on any BB. All BBs have a lot more HP. DoY has 60 500 right and on tier 7 you only get 2450 hp from SE. This is equal to no more than 4% more HP, and thats not taking the heals into account.

 

On BBs you are much better off with FP and BoS along with the standard ones like CE, SI, AR and EM (last one is very needed on slow turreted ships like DoY).

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6 hours ago, Affeks said:

I would never run it on any BB. All BBs have a lot more HP. DoY has 60 500 right and on tier 7 you only get 2450 hp from SE. This is equal to no more than 4% more HP, and thats not taking the heals into account.

 

On BBs you are much better off with FP and BoS along with the standard ones like CE, SI, AR and EM (last one is very needed on slow turreted ships like DoY).

Generally I would agree with you and I wasn't saying I would take it on the Duke but I wouldn't dismiss the idea outright.. This due to the fact that DoY doesnt get a heal. If I ever get the Duke which I doubt I will because it doesnt fit my play style, I will have to carefully consider which skills I would take.

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14 hours ago, Rooke_1704 said:

Generally I would agree with you and I wasn't saying I would take it on the Duke but I wouldn't dismiss the idea outright.. This due to the fact that DoY doesnt get a heal. If I ever get the Duke which I doubt I will because it doesnt fit my play style, I will have to carefully consider which skills I would take.

Sorry to break it to you, but DoY gets heal, one less charge than normal BBs however but a heal nonetheless.

 

It was changed just before release. DoY changed back to a normal boring BB. Basically a weaker KGV in my opinion. Still good ship tho

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well, I only see it as a useful perk in tanky CA like Hindi or maybe Moskva. They can bounce a lot of shells and with 3500 HP, a good player could maybe live for a few minutes longer.

 

On Mino? No. It gets 8.1% incease, but the dmg you take is usually massive and 3500HP is rarely gonna to save you.

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