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Premium Ship Review: Boise

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The following copy and paste job is a review of Boise, a ships kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release versions of the vessel and her stats are current as of July 26th, 2018.
I think I'm a clone now.  Wait, am I the clone if I'm the original ship but I got finalized second?
Quick Summary: Effectively a Helena that trades a slower reload time, less engine speed and worse AA for an excellent heal.
Cost: The equivalent of 8,500 doubloons.
Patch & Date Written:, July 11th through 26th, 2018.
  • Equipped with a modified British Cruiser Repair Party that heals up to 40% of her hit points per charge.
  • Capable of delivering massive alpha strike volleys with her fifteen 152mm guns.
  • Good fire starting potential.
  • Shell ballistics allow her to make good use of island cover.
  • Decent anti-aircraft firepower, including receiving a bonus charge of her Defensive AA Fire consumable.
  • Citadel is exposed over the waterline beneath her funnels.
  • Horrible 10 second reload on her main battery.
  • Terribly short-ranged at 13.6km and long shell flight times.
  • Horrible fire arcs.
  • Slow 30.0 knot top speed with a bad rate of turn.
  • Clone of Nueve de Julio.  Identical in all respects save for nationality, name and skin.
What about Nueve de Julio?

If this review looks familiar, it's because Nueve de Julio and USS Boise are effectively clones of one another. I've combed through their stats and even twirled the little blighters to make sure of that. 
If you've read my Nueve de Julio review, you can stop here.  Seriously, most of this is a C&P job so spare yourself the read. You already know everything you need to know about Boise.

SKILL FLOOR: Simple / Casual / CHALLENGING / Difficult
SKILL CEILING: Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme
Boise is horribly outclassed when bottom tier.  She's too slow and too short ranged to ever be considered forgiving.  Inexperienced and casual players should beware.  Still, she's a better ride than Duca degli Abruzzi.  She has a quality repair party instead of the ghetto version the Italian cruiser was shackled with.  Boise's guns work, even if they're slow firing.  
Boise's ability to go Wolverine and heal back impossible levels of damage will allow veterans to make some daring plays that would otherwise get Helena killed.  To be clear, Boise's lack of range and mobility is a detriment, but it's not as bad as all that.  Kiting and proper use of cover can more than make up for these short comings.  Bwahahaha!  Short.

iTQteVr.png- One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness.
jr7vbn9.png - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.
OzA23Hz.png - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.
G8OWSR4.png - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship.
  • While she's still-cruiser squishy, so is everything else at tier VII. She's arguably the G8OWSR4.png protected cruiser at her tier.  Yes, Nueve de Julio and Boise share the laurels here.
  • Boise is slow and, what's more, she has a slow rate of turn She deserves her iTQteVr.png rating and then some.
  • In all other aspects, Boise only warrants a jr7vbn9.png rating. Her anti-aircraft firepower is decent but not OzA23Hz.png enough to compete with Flint, Atlanta and Helena. Her concealment is okay but she's no British cruiser. Finally, her firepower is too short ranged and too slow firing to ever compete for anything better than jr7vbn9.png at tier VII.
Boise has two non-standard elements to her options.
  • As an American cruiser, she gains an extra charge of her Defensive AA Fire, with three charges initially, upgrading to four with the premium version of the consumable.
  • More importantly, she has access to a modified British cruiser Repair Party. This heals up to 40% of the ship's hit points per charge over 20 seconds. She queues up to 33% of citadel damage and 50% of penetration damage.
Not much to say here. You have the choice between Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive AA Fire in her second slot. Remember to equip as many premium versions of the consumables as you can afford, with special emphasis on her Repair Party before all others.
There are a couple of choices to be made.
  • If you intend to use Hydroacoustic Search instead of Defensive AA Fire then consider taking the special upgrade, Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 in your second slot. Otherwise, default to Steering Gears Modification 1. While kiting, Boise's rudder gets shot out often. If you're going to take the commander skill, Last Stand, then take Damage Control Modification 1.
  • In your second slot, AA Guns Modification 2 is probably your best choice, regardless of your AA status and consumables.  The extra range can often be enough to bluff away attack craft that will assume you're about to use Defensive Fire.  Boise doesn't engage at distances where the dispersion bonus provided by Aiming Systems Modification 1 are really necessary.
  • Finally, in your fourth slot, Steering Gears Modification 2 should be your go-to. However, if you like parking stationary behind islands, then you may find use out of Propulsion System Modification 2 in order to assist adjusting your position more quickly when spotted.

Boise comes with Type 10 Camouflage which provides:
  • 50% bonus experience gains
  • 10% reduction to maintenance costs
  • 3% reduction in surface detection
  • 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
If you've completed the American Cruiser collection, you'll have the option of swapping between two different colour palettes for Boise.
Main Battery: Fifteen 152mm/47 rifles in 5x3 turrets in an A-B-C-X-Y layout. A-B and X-Y are superfiring to the fore and rear respectively. C turret is mounted at the same elevation as A but is rear-facing with limited forward arcs.
Secondary Battery: Eight 127mm/25 rifles mounted amidships between the bridge and funnels.
At first glance, the Brooklyn-class looks almost identical to the St.Louis-class represented in game by Helena at tier VII.  There are some notable differences however.  Boise gives up range and rate of fire in order to pay for the advantage of her Repair Party consumable. 
Range & Ballistics
Let's get the worst out of the way.  Boise is going to win no prizes for the ability to project influence.  She's very short ranged -- a paltry 13.56km.  I remind you this is a ship that can see tier IX maps and opponents.  If this brings you pause, good.  This is the same sort of engagement distance you can expect from ships like Atlanta and Flint.  However, unlike those two, Boise is neither as manoeuvrable or packing a Smoke Generator to make everything better.  Combined with Boise's terrible top speed and modest concealment values, getting her to the front lines in order to be able to engage enemies can feel like an insurmountable challenge sometimes.
Your best bet is to make gratuitous use of island cover.  This will keep you alive and it may even allow you to get the drop on some enemies that aren't expecting you to be working so close to them.  Her high ballistic arcs on her HE shells will largely facilitate this.  Just be aware that her AP shells do not behave in the same manner if you need to switch ammunition choices.  If you get the opportunity to blow out a citadel, you may be forced to crawl out from under the skirts of your island waifu to get the kill shot.
AP shells in blue (top) and HE shells in red (bottom). Boise has comparable sustained damage output to a twelve-gun light-cruiser. Her real strength is in the alpha-strike from her initial volleys.
She's got problems but having fifteen guns isn't one of them
Boise preserves Helena's phenomenal alpha strike ability. On a per-volley basis, she delivers comparable damage to the ten 203mm-gun broadside of a Japanese heavy cruiser. Her specialty is landing these high damage strikes and forcing opponents to reassess the risks they're taking. Delivering these volleys accurately is the key to Boise's success. She is fully capable of crippling destroyers with a single broadside or landing Devastating Strikes upon exposed cruisers with multiple citadel hits.
Unlike most other light cruisers, Boise is less forgiving of player mistakes in regards to aim and target selection. Her reload is punitive for a light cruiser at ten seconds per volley. Veterans of Mogami 155mm should be familiar with this rate of fire -- Boise matches it. However, she doesn't boast Mogami's increased shell damage or improved ballistics. In order to overwhelm opponents, she must choose her targets carefully and she must land multiple hits per salvo. Missed shots are frustrating to say the least as there are long waits between volleys making for missed opportunities.
This lower rate of fire also dampens her ability to set fires. She's worse at it than any of the other 152mm armed tier VII light cruisers save Abruzzi -- cuz Abruzzi sucks.
An Omaha discovers, to its peril, that Boise is quite capable of one-shotting it with its AP shells at over 11km distant.
Like almost all 152mm armed light cruisers, Boise's guns are reliant upon the commander skill, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE).  This should come as a surprise to no one.  IFHE unlocks the ability for 152mm armed light cruisers to directly damage any battleship or cruiser they encounter with their high explosive (HE) shells. Without it, Boise is incapable of damaging anything but superstructures of tier VI+ battleships and most tier VIII+ cruisers. No other skill option in the game spikes her damage output as dramatically and it should be considered a must-have for any build. Light cruisers are reliant upon their HE shells.

This isn't to say she should eschew the use of armour piercing (AP) shells entirely. With 150mm of penetration up to 10km, Boise is capable of landing citadel hits against exposed enemy cruisers inside of this range. With up to fifteen shells landing at a time she's quite capable of one-shotting many of the cruisers she faces. Have fun sniping those Omahas.
Boise's fire arcs are garbage.. Exposing her X and Y turret to enemies on her forward quarter opens up her to taking AP citadel hits in return. She has better fire angles rearward so long as you keep C-turret masked.
  • Highly dependent on Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to make them competitive.
  • Once that skill is in place, they become universal guns with great alpha strike and competitive DPM.
  • Typical American light-cruiser guns otherwise -- very floaty, very short ranged. Hug islands and kite your way to success.

Evaluation: jr7vbn9.png
What it would have needed to be OzA23Hz.png: Boise is a long ways off here and is only spared a iTQteVr.png rating thanks to Duca degli Abruzzi being such a turd.

Hit Points: 33,300
Maximum Citadel Protection: 127mm
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 16mm
There's only one surprise here, so let's start off with it -- the rest is a mere afterthought anyway. Boise has access to a high-tier British cruiser Repair Party consumable. Effectively a dry-dock in a can, it allows you tank more damage than you have any right to endure. Combined with the Superintendent skill, the India Delta repair signal and a premium version of the consumable, Boise potentially has a maximum hit point total of 97,236hp. It will be the super rare game that it ever takes more than 80,000 hit points to sink you, but you can safely assume that it will almost always take 50% more damage to sink Boise than her hit points would otherwise indicate.
This is of course barring receiving Devastating Strikes. For all of the merits of her Repair Party, Boise is still a cruiser. She's very vulnerable to citadel hits, especially if you over-angle to bring her X & Y turrets onto a target. Battleships will be all too happy to blow out your machine spaces if you leave her exposed. She's similarly vulnerable to torpedoes with no damage mitigation there. Despite this weakness, Boise's citadel is mostly submerged -- something Abruzzi and Fiji cannot boast with their own abilities to heal. It's only beneath Boise's funnels where her citadel peeks up over the water's surface.
Overall, this one tough cruiser. She's still a cruiser, mind you, and not a battleship. Still, Boise makes a mockery out of Fiji's and Abruzzi's ability to heal, which really says something.
Evaluation: G8OWSR4.png
What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to OzA23Hz.png:  Unless something else gets super mutant British-heals at tier VII, Boise and Nueve de Julio are going to hold onto this one for a while.
Boise cannot maintain even 24 knots in a turn. This affects her rotation rate and makes her feel very sluggish. This gets pretty harrowing when there's fish on the way or you need to dodge incoming shell fire and it taxes her Repair Party as a result.
Top Speed: 30.0kts
Turning Radius: 710m
Rudder Shift Time: 9.1s
Maximum Rate of Turn: ~5.2º/s
I could make fat American jokes, but I'm not gonna.  Low hanging fruit... just like the low hanging guts off of fat -- I'm just going to stop myself right there.
Boise is chubby and not in the jolly, roly-poly way.  She feels overweight, sluggish and ill tempered when you ask her to move about.  She can't even hold 24 knots in a turn for crying out loud.  With her lack of range, her awful top speed and her poor handling just makes everything feel worse.  You can expect a lot of close calls where torpedoes are concerned and it's downright frustrating being unable to open up the distance on enemy battleships intent on pinching your big, round, cheeseburger fueled badonkadonk.
Evaluation: iTQteVr.png
What it would have needed to be jr7vbn9.png:  A gym membership and a whole lot of commitment to getting in shape.
Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 4.2km / 3.5km / 2.0km
AA DPS per Aura: 58.4 / 131.4 / 48.8
Boise's anti-aircraft firepower is frustrating.
It sits upon the cusp of greatness. For raw damage-per-second (DPS) values, she's in a good place. She can spit out a wall of flak that's more than sufficient to make aircraft want to avoid the airspace she's protecting. The only downside is that the size of this airspace isn't very large. Like many low-tier cruisers, her large caliber guns do not have a commanding range. This largely limits her flak to self-defense unless a player elects to invest heavily into upgrades to improve it. Between the commander skill, Advanced Fire Training and the upgrade, AA Guns Modification 2, Boise's large caliber AA bubble can be extended from 4.2km up to just over 6.0km. While this is much more respectable, it's a very expensive investment for situational gains. It's still not enough to let Boise ambush aircraft with a full stealth build -- her aerial detection range exceeds this upgraded reach by 650m. Given the expense of skills needed to upgrade her main battery firepower performance with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells this can be a cost she simply cannot pay.
As it stands, Boise 's AA defense is good enough for her own personal use but not much more beyond that.
Evaluation: jr7vbn9.png
What it would have needed to be OzA23Hz.png: Boise is a long way off from being able to contest Atlanta and Flint for supremacy. Upgrading her 127mm/25s to 127mm/38s to get that 5.0km base range would be a good start.
Base Surface Detection Range (stock/min): 11.88m / 10.14km
Air Detection Range (stock/min): 7.56km / 6.65km
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 5.64km
Main Battery Firing Range: 13.56km
Detection Consumables: Hydroacoustic Search
Boise misses the mark when it comes to having "good" cruiser stealth.  For that, I'd need to see her with less than a 10km surface detection range when fully upgraded and she just doesn't quite manage this.  Again, cue some tired joke about fat Americans here.  It's frustrating because Boise almost manages it.  Like her anti-aircraft firepower, it's on the cusp of being great but she misses out.  Oh well.  
Boise is going to have to get dangerously close to the enemy team in order to affect damage.  The real trick with her survival is ensuring you're close enough only to select elements of the enemy team.  Allowing battleships to draw clear line of sight onto Boise at ranges less than 14km is a death sentence.  Remember, she handles like a pig, so you need to ensure the shell flight time of those big guns is in excess of 8 seconds to give you enough time to throw your jiggly butt about when you try and dodge.   Limit the number of ships that can see you.  Make doubly sure that when you are seen that you're limiting the number of ships that can shoot you.
Generally speaking, Boise does best camping islands and using terrain to block line of sight while she engages enemies. You can attempt to be brave and kite at the extremes of her range in open water and enjoy some success, but be aware this works best against distracted or slow enemies.
Evaluation: jr7vbn9.png
What it would have needed to be OzA23Hz.png: It's not going to happen. She'd need a Smoke Generator at the very least to begin to contest Fiji and Flint.
These skills should look familiar...
  • Start with Priority Target.
  • At tier two, take either Last Stand or Adrenaline Rush. The former will help keep you alive from inevitable steering gears damage when kiting. The latter is a flat out DPM increase for your guns. We'll come back to these skills later, so move on to tier 3 after picking one of the two.
  • Next, take Superintendent. This gives you an extra charge of your Repair Party which is Boise's great strength.
  • At tier 4, you're going to double up. Take either Concealment Expert or Inertial Fuse for HE Shells and then save up your next four points to pick up whichever skill you didn't grab the first time.
  • Slip back down to tier 3 and take Demolition Expert for your sixth (17pt) skill.
  • And finally, we're back down to tier 2. If you have not taken Adrenaline Rush as your first skill here, take it now. Otherwise, you can look at taking something else, like Expert Marksman if Last Stand doesn't appeal.
There are alternative builds to consider, such as an anti-aircraft specialized build but Boise's real strength is as a tough artillery ship.
Final Evaluation
I can breathe easy.  This was one of the easiest yet one of the more stressful reviews I've done.  I was oh-so very concerned that Boise wasn't going to end up a clone of Nueve de Julio as Wargaming had claimed.  I've gone over her performance with a fine toothed comb and I haven't been able to find any differences between the two.  I'm hoping I haven't missed anything, but I seriously doubt I have at this stage.  Yay, she's a clone!
Also:  Boo, she's a clone.
Boise is a solid ship.  Not too powerful but not weak either.  She sits in that happy middle ground where she can definitely perform but she's not going to outclass everything going into a match.  While I imagine she may end up being a darling for some, I don't find her terribly exciting.  Still, she's a great trainer for American light cruisers.  No longer must you try and shoe-horn a captain into Atlanta, Indianapolis or Marblehead and hope for the best.  Boise will take whatever build you have spec'd for your light cruiser commander and she'll deliver as you expect her to.
Overall?  Boise is a safe, undramatic premium.

Would I Recommend?
It's worth repeating:  Nueve de Julio and Boise are clones of one another gameplay wise.  The only marked difference is which nations flag they sail under and some fun cosmetic changes.

  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?
Very yes. Short of her top speed being a bit of an issue in scenarios, Boise will do wonderfully here.
  • Random Battle Grinding:
    This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
Yes.  For a gunnery focused light cruiser trainer, Boise is fantastic.  She'll overlap the same artillery-based skills that you'll use from Dallas through to Cockbote.  If you want an AA trainer instead, I would suggest Atlanta.
  • For Competitive Gaming:
    Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
Meh.  Heals are great in competitive -- especially if there's not any battleship around.  If there are, however, her longevity and influence gets much more brief and you'd be better suited looking at Flint, Belfast or Fiji.
  • For Collectors:
    If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.

Yes.  Boise received 11 Battle Stars during WWII. 

  • For Fun Factor:
    Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?

No. This ship didn't tick the right boxes for me. She's decent, but I didn't enjoy her overmuch (aside from occasionally blowing out the citadel of an unwary cruiser with a Devastating Strike).

  • What's the Final Verdict?
    How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered?
GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.
Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.
Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.
OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely.
In Closing
 Hooray, that's done!   This was mostly a copy and paste job of my Nueve de Julio review -- yay, clones.  Had there been more time between the two of them, I might have written this one fresh.  I'm going to be busy with the new British destroyer line next so keep your eyes out for some fun graphics in the near future.  Premium ship wise, Cossack and Stalingrad are probably going to be coming up next.


A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.


For Graphics:

Programs Used:

  • World of Warships (duh)
  • Notepad (seriously)
  • MS Paint (also, seriously)
  • iPhone Stopwatch App (yep)

Hardware: Mouse toils away on an old i7-2600K 3.40GHz computer with 16GB RAM and an Nvidia 560Ti GPU running a 64bit OS.

  • Thanks 4
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