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Premium Ship Review: Roma

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The following is a review of Roma, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. As far as I am aware, this is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of January 12th, 2018.  However, things may change before release.
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.
Quick Summary:  A fast, sneaky battleship with excellent gun handling on its nine 381mm rifles.
Cost:  Undisclosed at the time of publishing.
Patch & Date Written:  Patch to January 1st through 12th, 2018.


  • Has an extended belt which reaches halfway up the prow.
  • Excellent gun handling with fast turret traverse.
  • Phenomenal muzzle velocity and energy retention, giving her fast shell flight times over distance.
  • Great AP penetration power over range.
  • Good concealment with a 14.9km surface detection range which can be reduced down to 11.2km.


  • Citadel sits well above the waterline.
  • Short ranged for a tier VIII battleship at 18.1km.
  • Her guns misbehave, with poor dispersion values, overmatch problems and overpenetration after overpenetration.
  • Awful HE performance with low alpha strike, poor fire chance and mediocre module damage.
  • Anti-aircraft firepower is short ranged with only modest DPS.
  • Large turning radius, mediocre ship rotation rate.
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
The ease of her game play is facilitated by her excellent gun handling and good concealment values which will make her more forgiving to novice players. However, her raised citadel and gun accuracy will cause them problems. The combination of high concealment, speed and firepower will be of interest to Veterans and the power of these traits must not be overlooked. Roma's citadel and her smaller-caliber AP shells will hold her back from being a true monster, though.
Roma is not a complicated battleship to play. She has no gimmicks to espouse.   The summation of her various traits is as follows, with a more thorough breakdown found below in the larger sections.
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GARBAGE - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness.
MEH - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.
GUD - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.
BEST - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship. 
Roma is no up-scaled Giulio Cesare.  Her guns are average and she has mediocre durability and agility.  She has no gimmicks to speak of.  The only thing she does well is hide and her AA power is hot garbage  With all of these disparate traits, she probably doesn't look very appealing.  So how the heck did I reach a "Gudbote" conclusion?   Well, let's look into that...
Like the Japanese premium battleships Kii and Ashitaka, Roma is receiving a special camouflage designed by Makoto Kobayashi.  This is not just a skin, but a full on geometry change for the ship, including the infamous "beer can" where her rangefinders would be. It will likely be available through the larger bundle packages when you buy the ship through the online store.
  • Roma's Damage Control Party is standard for a non-American / Japanese battleship with a 15s active period and a 120s / 80s reset timer depending on which version you purchase.
  • Her Repair Party is also standard, healing back 14% of her maximum health over 28s.
  • Finally, her Spotter Aircraft is normal.  You can swap this out for a Float Plane Fighter which provides 57 DPS and boasts 1,590hp.  She has higher DPS than Japanese or American float plane fighters and more hit points than Japanese, American or British fighters.
Premium Camouflage:  There are two available:
  • The default, Standard Type 10 camouflage provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to maintenance costs, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
  • The Makoto Kobayashi - Roma camouflage provides 100% bonus experience gains, -50% to the post-battle service costs, +20% bonus credit earning, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.

When I first saw this alternative camouflage scheme, I thought it looked ridiculous.  However it has really grown on me.  The amount of small detail is spectacular.  Plus, it looks like Roma is wearing a hat.  I like it when not-people things wear hats.  Ergo, I like this camo.

Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard battleship options.

  • In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1.
  • Next, take Damage Control Modification 1.
  • In your third slot, Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal.  It's not worth trying to upgrade her AA Guns or Secondaries.
  • Damage Control Modification 2 is optimal for her fourth slot.  You may be tempted to take Steering Gears Modification 2 but this will not significantly improve her agility .
  • Finally, take Concealment Modification 1 in your final slot.  This will reduce her surface detection down to 13.04km with camouflage before Commander Skills or 11.22km with camouflage and Concealment Expert
Primary Battery: Nine 381mm rifles in three turrets in an A-B-Y superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery:  Twelve 152mm rifles in four turrets, Twelve dual-purpose 90mm rifles in single turrets.
Roma's main battery guns will deceive you.  You're going to imagine them as being far more effective than they truly are.  The deceptive veil she'll cast over your eyes has three layers; namely gun handling, shell flight time and penetration.  They will cloud your vision and make you less aware of two flaws -- one minor but one pronounced -- the latter of which has the potential to greatly sour your enjoyment of this ship, no matter how comfortable her earlier lies may have felt.
Beautiful Lie #1:  Gun Handling
The first beauty-mark you'll note is Roma's turret traverse rate and she may win you over with just this aspect. Her gun handling is simply gorgeous with her turrets rotating at 6º per second (a mere 30 seconds for 180º).  This is 50% faster than the 4º per second rotation of ships like Kii, North Carolina and Monarch and a whole degree per second faster than Bismarck and Tirpitz. Thanks to this, laying her guns on target is a breeze and there's no chance of her aim slipping off target even while under heavy manoeuvres.  In brawls, Roma can easily track enemies even on close approaches. 
Her forward fire angles are similarly wonderful.  They almost hit the highly sought after (but so seldom realized) 30º-off-the-bow benchmark which defines truly excellent fire arcs.  Her X-turret can engage enemies 31º off her forward centerline, allowing Roma to take very aggressive bow-on attack angles and necessitating only the slightest touches of a rudder to unload all nine guns.
In short, Roma's gun handling is fun.  You will never feel like you're fighting with this ship to bring your weapons to bear. 
Beautiful Lie #2: Shell Flight Time
Roma has one of the fastest muzzle velocities of any tier VIII battleship, making gunnery a delight.  What's more, her shells preserve this energy beautifully over distance which in turn leads to lower shell flight times.   She can put a shell out to 10km in less than five seconds and one out to 15km in less then eight.  This is something which Bismarck, Amagi, Monarch and North Carolina cannot boast.  In the time it takes North Carolina to throw a shell out to 17km, Roma can bullseye a target at 20km.   Her short lead times greatly cuts into the reaction time enemy ships have to evade your shells, even at range.
Beautiful Lie #3: Penetration
The high velocity of Roma's shells translates to great kinetic energy.  It's the preservation of said energy over distance which makes Roma's penetration values so frightening.  She doesn't have the same raw penetration power at point blank ranges of the Japanese 410mm shells.  However, at ranges greater than 10km, Roma takes primacy, outstripping every other battleship with her energy retention.  She has comparable and better penetration at 20km than Bismarck and Monarch (respectively) have at 15km.  Roma is thus a threat at all ranges, capable of stacking damage even against thick hided battleships within reach of her weapons.
These three traits will deceive you into thinking she's well set up to land damaging hits against enemy vessels.  Her guns can snap onto a target quickly.  Her muzzle velocity makes leading said targets easy, allowing you to catch targets before they're able to dodge or angle.  Her penetration power all but guarantees that any hits you land will be damaging ones.  
That's all well and fine in theory, but in practice, problems arise.
Roma boasts good fire arcs forward thanks to the excellent sweep of her X-turret. Her rearward arcs are terrible, forcing you to expose far too much of your broadside. Anytime you fire to your rear, you risk taking catastrophic damage.
Harsh Truths
 No one can take away the awesomeness that is Roma's turret traverse rate and shell flight time.  Let me be clear:  few battleships have as smooth and comfortable a rotation and short lead times of their main battery as this Italian beauty.  However, not everything about her guns lends to good performance.
Roma's fire angles are the first let down.  It's true, her forward fire angles are wonderful.  However, rearward, it's a completely different story.  Firing from A or B turret while on the retreat will get you sunk in a hurry.  This isn't a problem unique to Roma, but few battleships can be punished as readily as Roma when they over angle due to her high water citadel (more on that later).  I've found it preferable to use (and abuse) Roma's concealment if forced to retreat.
At close range, her high muzzle velocity can also be a detriment.  With the standard 0.033s fuse timer, Roma's shells risk blowing clean through more lightly armoured cruisers, especially at short ranges.  To test this, I used a Reference-Omaha™ and found that Roma must be at least 13.3km out in order to land citadel hits on a target showing her flat broadside, provided the shells didn't strike water first.  North Carolina can manage the same at 5.0km, owing to her lower muzzle velocity and steeper angle of her shell fall.   This is a problem that extends beyond Reference-Omaha™ and it can be infuriating to catch a cruiser broadside with perfectly aimed (and dispersing) AP shells only to watch them all over penetrate a Chapayev or Edinburgh.  Being unable to overmatch the bows of select cruisers just exacerbates matters.
 This leads me to stare down the problems Roma has with AP penetration with her 381mm rifles.  She cannot overmatch the 27mm extremities found on many heavy cruisers at tier VIII+.  It's surprising how much of an issue this causes.  A properly angled American or Japanese heavy cruiser can simply bounce her AP shells for days with the appropriate stance.  When combined with the fuse problems mentioned above, Roma must juggle different optimal fire ranges when engaging different targets.  To penetrate small, lightly armoured vessels like Nurnberg-class, French or Royal Navy light cruisers you need distance.  You may have to wait until the target angles slightly before sending your shells off.  For tier VIII+ heavy cruisers, you need to catch them broadside or risk seeing your volleys bounce ineffectively. 
Roma's dispersion with Aiming Systems Modification 1 installed. 180 shells fired, salvo by salvo at 15km, locked onto a stationary Fuso.  One of Roma's more pronounced gunnery weaknesses is her poor dispersion.  This isn't so much a trait of her 1.8 sigma, but more of her long vertical dispersion axis which you can see here causing tremendous levels of overshooting and undershooting the target by a whole ship length to either side.  This is approximately 50% larger than comparable area of battleship Alabama and Massachusetts which cannot mount any dispersion modification.
The Big Fail: Dispersion and HE.
Roma's most telling flaw with her guns is her dispersion. The Italian battleships of the Regia Marina use German dispersion patterns.  In this regard, Roma's gunnery is most akin to Bismarck with one extra gun barrel and 4 seconds longer on her reload.  The high velocity of her guns causes many shots to land long or short.  Couple this with the wider base horizontal dispersion than any other battleship group in the game, and Roma's German dispersion leads to a lot of wonky shell groupings.
It's not like Roma can simply reach for HE and solve her penetration issues either. Roma's HE shells deal a low amount of damage at 5,100 maximum per shell. That's 1,683 per penetrating hit and 852 damage per saturated penetrating hit. These values do not compare well to the 1,200 damage done by one of Roma's over penetrating AP shells. Her fire chance is abysmal at a mere 24%. She doesn't even have an especially large module-damage radius. For all this lackluster performance, she doesn't even get to enjoy the German bonus HE penetration. You largely want to avoid having to resort to these shells unless circumstance deem it necessary. Relying on Roma's HE shells too often will see her damage potential plummet.
In summary Roma's gunnery is inconsistent -- more so than many other battleships.  While it is easy to bring her guns on target with her fast traverse and anticipate their manoeuvres with her high muzzle velocity, Roma is unreliable at landing solid, damaging hits.  This is very frustrating for a ship where the gunnery otherwise feels very comfortable.  Her dispersion forces you suffer the whims of RNG.  Even when you line up the perfect shot, over penetrations and ricochets will abound and her HE shells are downright anemic.
Roma has two secondary gun types and neither is effective.  They lack range, with a 5.0km base reach.  In addition, one mount does not fire fast enough and the other is too small in caliber.
The most dramatic of the pair are her 152mm rifles, mounted in triple gun turrets, two per side flanking B and X turret respectively.  They are incredibly slow firing with a horrendous 12.0 second reload and they use AP ammunition.   The best thing that could be said about this particular mount is that the muzzle blast is enormous and your opponents may mistake it for you firing your main battery guns in a brawl and expose their sides, thinking themselves safe to fire back.
Roma's 90mm guns fire much more quickly with a 4.0s reload.  Though they fire HE, their fire chance isn't particularly good.  What's more, their small gun caliber makes them ineffective at dealing direct damage enemy ships.  Even most destroyers in her matchmaking spread can boast enough armour to foil the penetration value of her HE shells.   Short of peppering superstructures, these guns aren't going to do much in the way of direct damage themselves.  Taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells will increase her penetration enough to allow her to directly damage destroyers and some light cruisers with these guns, but that's a heavy investment for questionable gains. 
 In general, it is not worth sinking upgrades, consumables or skills into Roma's secondaries.
It's hard to call any of Roma's weapon systems "good".  Roma's 381mm guns do not enjoy the rate of fire bonus found on Monarch, Tirpitz and Bismarck.  Maybe if she had that phenomenal rate of fire or some accuracy tweak, I could shower them with praise with good conscience.  However, with a piss-poor HE shell and forgettable secondaries, Roma is reliant upon her main battery AP shells to carry the day.  Fortunately, they're sufficient to the task.

And maybe that's the best way to define Roma's AP gunnery:  It's comfortable and it's sufficient.  She won't win any prizes but she'll hold her own.
  • Roma's gunnery feels so comfortable.
  • Her gunnery performance is spotty.  They seem to do really well against battleships (up until they angle) but against cruisers, it's a lot more inconsistent depending on angle, ship type and range.
  • Her secondaries aren't worth specializing into.

Evaluation: MEH
What it would have needed to be GUD:   Roma's dispersion can be very unkind. A buff to her sigma value would alleviate this.  An alternative solution would be shaving a second or two off her reload time.  With so many misunderstandings about the reload time of the Littorio-class, I suppose we should be glad that Wargaming kept it to a mere 30 seconds.

Top Speed: 30.0 knots
Turning Radius: 810m
Rudder Shift: 15.6s
Maximum Turn Rate: 4.2º/s
Tier 8 Battleship speed, turning radius and rate of turn.  Roma doesn't excel in any one area nor does she have any glaring weaknesses.
Roma is on the good-side of average for manoevrability for a tier VIII battleship. Her top speed is okay but there are faster ships.  Her rate of turn is alright, but she's not exactly agile like the South Dakota-class sisters.  Her turning circle isn't terrible, though its certainly not great.  Overall, her handling is best compared to Bismarck -- a ship that isn't lacking overall in comparable agility but not a ship anyone would dare say has "good" manoeuvrability.  The reason Roma feels so agile is probably due to her gun traverse.  At 6º per second, it's rare that you ever need to use your rudder to accelerate bringing your guns to bear onto a new target.  It's impossible for this ship to out turn her turrets, so there's little strain on her handling to keep her weapons singing.
The best trait about her here is her top speed.  30 knots, while unremarkable at high tiers, is the benchmark I want to see.  Anything less is an obvious flaw.  Roma has the flexibility to go where she's needed and she's fast enough to make pursuit and escape possible when required.  This also allows her to make better use of her concealment to better position herself.
Most important of all, Roma's manoeuvrability is sufficient to protect her vulnerable citadel while still maintaining a steady rate of fire with all nine of her guns.
Evaluation: MEH
What it would have needed to be GUDRoma already sits on the cusp of being 'GUD', she would just need a little help.  An extra knot of speed, getting her turning radius below 800m or increasing her rotation rate by another two tenths of a degree per second would each tip her over the edge to something quite remarkable.  Fortunately, you can pull this off yourself with the use of a Sierra Mike signal.
Rate of Turn
There are several factors which affect how quickly a ship comes about. The most significant are the ship's forward momentum and the size of her turning radius. As a ship slows down, their turning radius changes, but not always for the better. To make things more complicated, different ships also preserve speed better in a turn.  When it comes to changing your heading, maintain speed whenever possible. If you want a tighter turning circle, slow down to 3/4 engine power -- but be aware that your ship will not manoeuvre as quickly.
Steering Gears Modification 2 reduces Roma's rudder shift time from 15.6s down to 12.5s.  However, this does not appreciably affect her turning values.  This upgrade can be seen as more of a placebo than a practical bonus.  When attempting to measure the gains made, some of the results fell within the margin of error of my own reaction time -- meaning that a good night's sleep or a cup of tea had more effect on the timed rate of turn than whether or not Roma had this module installed.  With torpedo and shell reaction times often being less than 8 to 10 seconds, having this module installed will not help you.  You would be better served by having a cup of coffee.  Thus, I strongly recommend installing Damage Control Modification 2 in your fourth upgrade slot instead.
None of the values found on Roma were far from what was expected.  Her measured turning radius was slightly higher than that found in port and she bled the usual 25% maximum speed with her rudder hard over.

360º Rotation Rate (Ship Maximums):
  • 1/4 speed (7.3 knots): 1.0º/s rotation, ~1099m turning radius
  • 1/2 speed (13.8 knots): 2.5º/s rotation, ~851m turning radius
  • 3/4 speed (18.6 knots): 3.6º/s rotation, ~800m turning radius
  • 4/4 speed (22.4 knots): 4.2º/s rotation, ~829m turning radius

90º Rotation Rate (Stock):

  • 1/4 speed: 1.0º/s rotation for 90.7s
  • 1/2 speed: 2.3º/s rotation for 39.0s
  • 3/4 speed: 3.2º/s rotation for 28.5s
  • 4/4 speed: 3.6/s rotation for 25.0s

90º Rotation Rate (Steering Gears Modification 2)

  • 1/4 speed: 1.0/s rotation for 90.6s
  • 1/2 speed: 2.4º/s rotation for 38.4s
  • 3/4 speed: 3.3º/s rotation for 27.4s
  • 4/4 speed: 3.7º/s rotation for 24.2s

Roma sits upon the cusp of greatness where her agility is concerned, but she falls short.  You're not likely to notice though -- you'll be too enamored with how well her turrets traverse.
Hit Points: 65,400
Maximum Citadel Protection:  375mm + 40mm
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 32mm
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 38%
Let's start with the bad news:  Roma wears a really short skirt.  While I appreciate that she wants to show off her lines, her citadel is left exposed over the water's surface by a not-insignificant margin.
The exact height of her citadel is easy to see:  it's directly behind her 375mm armoured belt.  Veterans of the American battleship line that played  the ships before the citadels were lowered in early 2017 will remember well what this entails.  Roma can and will suddenly explode in a horrendous space-kablooie when she's caught broadside.  There's nothing you can do about it but [edited].  There's another piece of not-so-great news.  Her A-Turret barbette also seems to be part of the citadel, comprising a rounded 210mm bulge to her transverse bulkhead.  This gives shells that might have skipped over a flat surface another bite at the apple if they catch this rounded surface.  It's just another little quibble to sour Roma's armour protection.  
Alright, with that out of the way, let's talk about the good stuff:
  • Her main deck is 45mm thick.  This is proof against 152mm HE spam.  Hooray!
  • She has a 130mm extended forward armoured belt.  When she angles, can foil even 460mm shells.   Rejoice!
  • Her upper hull is 70mm thick.  This is proof against HE from 420mm or smaller unless it's British BB or German BB & CA thrown.  This will also provide you with some very comfortable bounces when you angle just right.
  • Her torpedo damage reduction is pretty darned good, so to speak.  At tier VIII, torpedo defenses are either amazaballs (Amagi, South Dakota sisters) or they suck moose balls (everyone else).  Roma's in the good half of the dichotomy.
  • Her deck armour profile is a bit of a mixed blessing when it comes to armour piercing bombs, however. In testing, American AP bombs just didn't seem to be able to stack damage quickly. Without heals, it took over 20 bomb hits to sink her from American planes. Graf Zeppelin's (admittedly still in testing) bombs weren't automatic world-enders, but she could reliably sink Roma with two squadrons. 

On the whole, if it weren't for Roma's citadel situation, she'd have a great armour profile.  As it is, it's only okay.  Roma face tanks like a boss, particularly at medium ranges (between 8km and 14km) but when things go wrong, she comes apart in a hurry.

Roma's armour, including details of her citadel. 
Evaluation: MEH
What it would have needed to be GUD:   Lower her bloody citadel.
Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 90mm / 37mm / 20mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km
AA DPS per Aura: 114 / 128.4 / 54.4
The graph on the left shows the raw AA values per aura range of the AA mounts of tier 8 Battleships. 
The graph on the right applies a formula
{AA DPS x ( Range - 1.0km )} to calculate the overall effectiveness of the ship's AA power.  This weights longer ranged weapons as being much more valuable as planes will linger within their effect longer.  Weapons with less than a 2km range are only really effective if the enemy aircraft carrier parks planes on top of you.
If there's one good thing you could say about Roma's anti-aircraft firepower, it would be that it's at least better than that found on Tirpitz. Roma's AA rating sits squarely in between the German premium and Amagi, and this isn't a good place to be.  Worse, it's not like Roma's anti-aircraft guns are a straight up improvement over the performance of the German premium -- she just has more of them. Roma's large caliber, 90mm guns are hands down inferior to the 105s that Tirpitz uses.  They have 500m less range and they do less DPS over all, which makes the effective AA defense worse were it not for Roma's 37mm autocannons and Tirpitz's near lack of medium caliber guns.
It takes a rather heavy investment to get Roma's anti-aircraft firepower anywhere near effective in terms of range, and it's downright impossible to make it effective in terms of damage done.  With Advanced Fire Training and AA Guns Modification 2, you can increase the reach fo her 90mm guns from 4.0km up to 5.76km but they'll never have the punch to make anything but a stock tier VI aircraft carrier balk.  Taking a Float Plane Fighter can add a very helpful disruption effect to an incoming wave which can save your ship, but it's so short lived and difficult to rely upon.
 Roma doesn't have the agility to easily dodge air dropped torpedoes, nor does she have the armour profile to spare her the nightmare of being one-shot by German AP dive bombers.  Roma, when isolated from allies, is easy prey for an enemy aircraft carrier and she must be played with this weakness in mind.
Evaluation: GARBAGE
What it would have needed to be MEHRoma really needs more range.  The 4.0km reach of her large caliber, dual purpose guns does her no favours.  Alternatively, it would take a huge DPS boost to make her AA power competitive which is a much more significant change.
None of Roma's AA mounts are especially durable.  Even her dual purpose AA guns can only boast 800hp with her 37mm and 20mm guns having only 200.  A few HE hits will strip her of most of her AA power.
Vision Control
Base Surface Detection Range: 14.94km
Air Detection Range: 13.35km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.22km
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 13.68km 
Main Battery Firing Range: 18.12km
Detection Consumables:  Spotter Aircraft / Float Plane Fighter
Short of the famous and historical HMS Monarch, Roma is the stealthiest battleship within her matchmaking spread.  What's perhaps more frightening is that she's stealthier than almost half the cruisers she faces, even when they're rigged for full concealment.  Tier VI and VII cruisers are especially vulnerable with 11 out of 24 ships unable to hide from Roma and another 7 unable to hide if they don't have a full concealment build.  When top tier, especially against inexperienced commanders, Roma becomes truly a monster.  Without spotting aircraft or a destroyer screen, she can move about the battlefield at will, confident she can outfight anything that detects her.
Let me stress this:  Without aircraft or destroyers, Roma is quite capable of being the stealthiest ship on the playing field.
Unlike the famous and historical HMS Monarch, Roma has the speed to better exploit this concealment.  And it's here, with this combination of speed and concealment where Roma becomes a truly frightening vessel.  Novice players take note: these are traits that expert players exploit to win matches.  The longer a match goes on, the more powerful this advantage of speed and stealth becomes.  It gives Roma time to heal, to flank, to secure objectives or escape.  She can dictate engagement distances, abuse cover and surprise enemies.  This is the game changer for this ship.  This is what glosses over all of her other mediocre ratings and propels her towards excellence.
Now this all said, this is a very difficult advantage to exploit properly and it can be outright negated by aircraft (especially given Roma's poor AA rating) and destroyers.   Proper use of her aircraft consumable (with the skills to support it) will help her control vision and make lurking around islands less dangerous.  But, it's knowing when to keep her guns singing and when it's best to hold your fire that really defines Roma's use and abuse of her concealment. 
Evaluation: GUD
What it would have needed to be BEST : Monarch has a smaller surface detection range and similar consumable options.  The alternative to making her sneakier than Monarch would have been to provide her with some detection consumable like Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar which is bloody unlikely.  I think we can all be happy that Roma's concealment is as amazing as it is.
Nursing the Twins
 For Roma, a survivability build is best after grabbing your concealment skills.
  • Start with Priority Target unless you've seen the oracle and you already know the future.  Then you can go for skills like Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft instead for your first choice.
  • Next up, we want Adrenaline Rush to increase her sluggish rate of fire.
  • After that, you have your choice of Basics of Survivability or Superintendent depending on how much you hate fire damage.
  • Finally, grab Concealment Expert to level up Roma to her final form.

For your next 9pts, I strongly recommend Fire Prevention, whichever tier 3 skill you skipped and your choice of Expert Marksman (cause why not?), Jack of All Trades or High Alert

Now get out there and murder your brother.
Tier for tier, Giulio Cesare is the better of the two Italian Battleships.  However, the Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camouflage combined with Roma's higher tier will make her the better potential earner.
Final Evaluation
Mouse's Summary:
  • Concealment and comfort define this ship.
  • I stress that Roma's high water citadel will be a deal breaker for some.
  • As cool as Roma's secondaries and AA batteries look, they're pretty darned useless. 
Roma's scorecard looks a little better than my first evaluation once you peel back the layers and take a closer look.  Her great concealment might functionally be the best within her Matchmaking spread thanks to her speed.  Similarly, her agility is also reasonably good, just not quite enough to make her remarkable.  This synergy between speed, gun handling and concealment has all the hallmarks of a competitive ship.
Her gunnery and durability are the let downs, though.  Her weapons are inconsistent -- prone to bouts of greatness and then some frustrating droughts of non-performance until you figure out her penetration.  Knowing what ships you can and cannot handle at which ranges mitigates some of this lack, but only just.  Contrarily, her secondaries, like her AA guns are garbage no matter what you do.. Then there's that citadel of hers -- that fly in the ointment that will preclude her from ever being the darling of the competitive scene.  In Randoms, with proper positioning, it's not really a big deal, but when it lets you down, it lets you down hard.
Roma is so much fun to drive it's hard to dismiss her out of hand, even despite these setbacks. 
My own experiences in Roma were decidedly mixed. It took me a while to figure her out.  Once I accepted I was throwing around what amounted to a  squishy, nine-gun Bismarck with no secondaries, things got a little better.  To say my performance in her was inconsistent would be an understatement.  The number of losses I suffered during the latter half of play testing wasn't fun, however this was broken up by some ridiculously high performing games.
Boiled down, Roma is a medium-range brawler.  Her gun accuracy and armour profile both excel if she can hold this range -- just on the cusp of her detection radius, and hammer the enemy over and over and over again.   Ideally you want to sneak to a vantage where your opponents can't help but give up their side to either you or their allies.  If they choose to face you, tank them and do the best you can to hurt them back -- it's not going to be easy with those 381mm guns.  If they choose to face your allies, tear them a new one until they smarten up and fall back.
The final question is if this is a role that's asked for in the current meta.   She's not a brawler like Bismarck or Tirpitz, a DPM juggernaut like Amagi, and she doesn't werf the flammen like the famous, historical battleship Monarch.  Roma encroaches upon the flanking meta espoused by the American battleships.  She's certainly faster than North Carolina or the South Dakota sisters.  She's also more stealthy.  However, she lacks the AA power to afford her autonomy when enemy aircraft carriers are in play. -- not that they're out there that often.   It's still difficult to call just based on that.
Things change when you look at her tiering.  Top tier, she's an absolute monster.  She would easily hold my pick for one of the best battleships for clubbing lower tiered vessels and this in of itself should say something.  That comfort and control pays dividends and her armour maximizes in these encounters where shell penetration may not be enough to seriously threaten Roma's raised citadel.  She uptiers alright against tier IX ships, but like all tier VIIIs, she really struggles in tier X matches.  If I could guarantee she would never see tier X games, I could slap an "OVERPOWERED" label on her and be done with it, but no such luck.
As it is, I'm inclined to say Roma has earned  her laurels.

Would I Recommend?
Some caveats must be exercised here.  The Italian Regia Marina is solely comprised of premium ships at the moment.  Between the battleships Roma and Giulio Cesare there are also the light cruisers Duca d'Aosta and the upcoming Duca degli Abruzzi.  If you had to choose one and only one, Giulio Cesare is still the front runner performance wise, even at tier V.  Roma does not displace her.

  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?
We have no tier VIII scenarios (yet), but Roma's a decent ship to take against bots.  Her AP shells struggle a little against cruisers at the point blank ranges which so often result.  Her running costs are 35,438 credits including the 10% discount provided by her camouflage (this drops to 19,688 credits with Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camo)  while you can make around 100k on a decent win.  Skip those premium consumables.
  • Random Battle Grinding:
    This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
She's a tier VIII premium, so economy wise, she'll do you just fine.  The increased earnings will also make her a wonderful trainer.  Note if you have the Makoto Kobayashi: Roma camouflage, her earning dividends just got that much better.
  • For Competitive Gaming:
    Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
I have to give her a firm pass here.  Between her high water citadel, 381mm teething issues and poor AA power, she's not ideal.
  • For Collectors:
    If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.

What are you, new?  It's not only the first Littorio-class battleships it's Roma.  Even as a port queen, she's gorgeous to look at.

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

Hells to the yeah. Roma doesn't always behave, but when she does...

In Closing
That about wraps it up for Roma -- arguably the most anticipated premium of 2017.  Hey, stop looking at your calendar!  She's here and she's not terrible; that's a win.
I keep a list of premium ships that I enjoy playing; that I reach for whenever I just want to play World of Warships and unplug my brain from all of this analytical nonsense.  These are ships that I play simply for the love of the game.  I think it's high praise when a new premium ousts one of the old guard and muscles in on this list.  Roma isn't there yet -- we're fighting, truth be told.  She's got a long ways to go if she thinks she can earn her keep.
I'm very happy with the balanced state of Roma.  I'm very happy to have this review done.  The next review coming up will be Musashi, the tier IX Japanese battleship that's causing all kinds of controversy.  Roma and Musashi both came off of the content-embargo on the same date, but I had no warning about the latter.  You can expect this next review in about a week's time with an undue level of snark laced throughout.
A very special thank you to Lert for his continued editing efforts and to my patrons on Patreon. With as much time and energy I devote to these reviews, I cannot afford to do it alone anymore. Your continued support means the world to me and allows me to keep my head down and working hard with less worry. Thank you for reading and for all of your feedback, criticism and fun gifs too!
My current ten favourite ships.  Top Row: Fujin, Atlanta, De Grasse, Prinz Eugen, Atago.  Bottom Row:  Scharnhorst, Nelson, Harekaze, König Albert, Warspite.  Will Roma or Musashi earn a spot?  Tune in next week!
iChase put together a wonderful little history piece for those who want more Roma in your Roma review!
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