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Premium Ship Review: Vampire (tier III)

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The following is a review of HMAS Vampire, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of December 5th, 2017.

The Hickey giving Lolibote.

Quick Summary:  A destroyer-hunter with decent guns and a terrible torpedo armament.
Cost:  Earned through a four-part mission.  Destroy 20 ships.  Win 7 battles.  Earn 25,000 experience.  Deal 750,000 damage.  Alternatively, it may be bought in a bundle $26.29 USD, including a port slot, commander, flag, doubloons, upgrades and 14 days of premium time.
Patch and Date Written:, December 1st through 5th, 2017.
Closest in-Game Contemporary
Clemson, Tier IV American Destroyer
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique

High praise, indeed, but misleading.  Vampire closely resembles Clemson in the gunship / destroyer hunter role.  Both ships bring a surprising amount of main battery firepower at their respective tiers.   Neither ship could be counted as steatlhy.  Neither ship could be described as exceedingly agile or quick at their tier.  Their similarities largely end there.

  • Good hit point pool for a tier 3 destroyer at 9,500.
  • Excellent gunship performance with high DPM for its tier.
  • X-turret can rotate 360º making it easy to shift fire from port to starboard when charging the enemy.
  • Torpedoes can be launched individually.
  • Gains no surface detection when firing guns in smoke.
  • Uses an American Smoke Generator consumable with longer emission and duration times.


  • Guns are small caliber, unable to directly damage extremities of battleships with HE shells.
  • Poor shell ballistics.
  • Only a single triple torpedo launcher, greatly limiting her alpha-strike potential.
  • Torpedoes are slow, short ranged with a large surface detection range for their low speed.
  • Poor overall concealment.
It's been a long time since we've had a helping of low-tier ships.  The last entry-level premium to hit World of Warships was the Russian cruiser, Oleg, back in February of 2017, which I admit I didn't receive very enthusiastically.  Vampire thankfully changes this.   On paper she doesn't look terribly exciting.  She's a four-gun destroyer with a limited torpedo armament.  I am happy to say that she surprised me.
Ah, low tier ships.  They're so much easier to review because there's little weirdness down at these tiers.  HMAS Vampire still surprises, though.  She uses the American Smoke Generator, which has an increased emission time (23s vs 20s) and increased duration on the individual clouds she creates (109s vs 69s). 
  • Damage Control Party
  • Smoke Generator
  • Engine Boost

Module Upgrades: Two slots, standard destroyer upgrades
Premium Camouflage: Standard Type 9/10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.

Be careful of loading up on too many premium consumables at low tiers, however. You earn less credits and experience at tier III than you do with a tier VIII premium, for example, and the 22,500 credit resupply price tag of these consumables can eat into your rewards significantly. I would prioritize them in order of Damage Control Party first, then Smoke Generator and leave off Engine Boost altogether. 
Here's your quick and dirty upgrade guide:
  • Take Magazine Modification 1 in your first slot.  Mitigate those Fun and Engaging explosions.
  • Follow this up with Propulsion Modification 1 for your second.  Speed is life in a destroyer.  This will help keep it intact.


Special Upgrades!
HMAS Vampire isn't compatible with any special upgrades, so don't worry about it.
Primary Battery: Four 102mm/45  rifles in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration.
Torpedo Armament: Three tubes in a 1x3 launcher mounted down the centre line behind the funnels.
I admit that it took me a few games to finally figure out what I was supposed to be doing with HMAS Vampire.  I stubbornly wanted to use her as a torpedo boat and this ship fought me the whole way.  I had dismissed her main battery armament out of hand when I saw their performance stats.  Combined with her anemic torpedo armament, she was a destroyer with few apparent charms.  In truth, she's a gunship destroyer, well suited to hunting down enemy destroyers and harassing enemy cruisers.  Vampire will help your team dominate capture points and annoy the Hell out of larger vessels.  The combination of tools she has to accomplish this are as subtle as they are interesting and they took me by surprise.
Before I sing the praises of Vampire's main battery guns, let's get their flaws out of the way.  These are very telling and must not be ignored as they will largely dictate the successes you can enjoy with these weapons.
  • Poor HE and AP penetration values.
  • Poor fire starting qualities.
  • Poor ballistic arcs over long distances.

So let's talk about penetration (lewd!).

You'll be reliant upon HMAS Vampire's HE shells as her AP shells just don't have the bite at range, leading to a lot of bounces and ricochets.  Even if a cruiser gives up their broadside, your AP shells will struggle to citadel them outside of 5km ranges.  Protected cruisers are all but immune to citadel hits from her.  Testing revealed the following values as the upper limits of their penetration which worked out to the following:
  • 100mm @ 3.6km - Equivalent citadel protection of most protected cruisers.
  • 76mm @ 5.3km - Citadel protection of most scout-cruisers and destroyer-leader cruisers.
  • 50mm @ 7.8km - Extremities of battleship belt armour
  • 32mm @ 10.2km - Adequate to damage most "soft" areas on cruisers, battleships and aircraft carriers.

Short of suicidal ranges to blow out the citadels of cruisers, the only time you should take AP shells is to hammer battleships in their upper hulls and extremities.  Even this damage will fall away if the ship begins to angle. 

Her reliance on AP shells to hurt battleships comes from the lack of penetration on HE shells.  Vampire can only penetrate areas of 16mm worth of armour or less with her HE.  Low tier battleships have a minimum of 19mm worth of armour protection outside of their superstructures, ensuring that almost everything thrown at them by Vampire will shatter without effect.  This can be mitigated with a commander using Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, which props up her penetration to affecting areas of up to 21mm.
Now that talking about penetration  has got you all hot and bothered, let's turn up the heat and talk about fire.  Vampires like fire, right?
Fire Starting
Wrong.  She's terrible at this.  It's almost like Vampires were allergic to fire or something.  HMAS Vampire has a 5% chance to start fires per shell hit.  Given her limited Matchmaking, we can easily calculate her fire chances per shell.
Right click and "View Image" to enlarge.  HMAS Vampire's fires per minute versus ships between tiers 2 (purple), 3 (green) and 4 (red) both stock, with fire prevention upgrade (Damage Control Mod 1), skills (Fire Prevention) and a combination of the two.
HMAS Vampire will never be a stellar firestarter, unlikely to ever exceed 4.0 fires per minute, even with the assistance of Basic Fire Training, Demolition Expert and Adrenaline RushWhile it's possible to farm some damage via fires, this will not be where the majority of her damage comes from -- this goes doubly so if you take Inertial Fuse for HE Shells to help you damage battleships directly.   You can hope that some battleship will mismanage their Damage Control Party but she's really going to struggle to hurt those big ships with her guns.
They're worse than the USN 127mm/38s that we all know and love.  Don't bother with learning Advanced Fire Training -- your lead times are over one second per kilometer at those ranges.  If you keep engagement distances under 7km, you'll have 5 second lead times which is more than manageable, even against fast moving lolibotes.

HMAS Vampire's guns have poor ballistics, poor fire starting and their penetration values are found wanting -- so what (if anything) is good about them, you may ask?  Two things, really:

  • Solid DPM
  • Excellent fire angles

Damage per Minute
Vampire's damage per minute is solid.  When you compare her to her contemporaries, she comes out looking very good even when bottom tier.  This is important.  When you come across enemy destroyers, you want to have your guns singing right from the start.  Let other players fumble trying to get their torpedoes away -- you should be taking the early lead in getting damage out.  Unchecked, Vampire will quickly overwhelm another destroyer.

Damage per Minute (x103) with HE shells with main battery guns for tier 2 & 3 destroyers (in red) and 3 & 4 destroyers (in purple).  As a destroyer hunter, HMAS Vampire is very well equipped to outgun other lolibotes, even when bottom tier.  She's capable of keeping pace with even such vaunted gunships as the American Clemson-class.  Players should endeavour to increase their firepower with Basic Fire Training to help overwhelm opponents quickly.
Them firing curves
What makes Vampire so good at fighting off would be slayers are her forward fire angles.  On the attack, she can bring A, B and X turret to engage enemies a mere 7º off her bow.  Y turret can join in at 30º.  This makes her extremely dangerous in the pursuit, allowing her to maintain 75% of her firepower in a chase without letting opponents open up the distance.  But it gets better.  X-turret can rotate 360º.  This mitigates her sluggish turret traverse of 10º/s and it allows Vampire to zig-zag while approaching enemies and have three guns once again singing within 2 seconds of beginning the turn.  Thus, HMAS Vampire can dodge while maintaining a high volume of fire -- far more so than any of the other destroyer she faces, at least so long as she's on the attack.  If you surrender the initiative and you're forced to retreat, the 294º and 284º arcs of the forward guns are less than impressive.
Provided you can force your lolibote opponents onto their back foot, Vampire will win out on most DPM races.  And this is a good thing because her torpedoes are downright unfortunate.
I like to imagine Vampire's torpedoes have a primary job -- to sweep enemy smoke screens clear of camping destroyers.  Beyond that, any damage they do is just icing on the cake.  Vampire's torpedoes aren't easy to use.  They're slow.  They have a large surface detection range relative to their speed.  They don't reload quickly.  And, for such limited armament, they don't hit especially hard either.
HMAS Vampire has a single triple torpedo launcher.  While her torpedoes may be fired individually, her combined volley of three fish doesn't have enough of a high damage yield to seriously threaten a full health battleship.  Once you factor in damage mitigation and saturation effects to the extremities, Vampire is incapable of effectively destroying a hale and healthy battleship in a single salvo.  She must give way to battleship and rely on damage over time effects or slowly chipping away at Dreadnoughts to bring them down.
  • Excellent destroyer hunting guns, especially for twisting and dodging knife fights.
  • Decent at harassing cruisers and aircraft carriers with a combination of fish and guns.
  • Really struggles to do damage to battleships.
Hit Points: 9,500
Maximum Protection: Up to 10mm
Hit point totals of destroyers when Vampire is top tier (green) and bottom tier (blue). 
 There's not a whole lot to talk about here.  Vampire has a healthy slug of hit points for a tier III destroyer but she's unremarkable when stacked up against tier IV destroyers.  She's still a destroyer, with all of the inherent vulnerabilities therein, such as no armour, exposed magazines and a propensity to take module damage from loud noises half a kilometer away.  Survivability Expert is a skill worth considering, though, adding 1,050 hit points to Vampire's totals (an 11% boost) given her role as a destroyer hunter.  This would put her hit point total just shy of Shenyang's at 10,550.  The combination of the extra hit points and her DPM can mean all of the difference.
Top Speed: 34.0knots
Turning Radius: 520m
Rudder Shift: 2.5s
Maximum Turn Rate: 8.5º per second.
 Vampire won't win any prizes for her agility at tier III.  When top tier, she's just slightly faster but noticeably less manoeuvrable than her opponents.  When bottom tier, she's just slightly slower but with comparable agility to all of her contemporaries.  Mediocrity truly defines her in this category, with no traits that truly stand out, but without any telling weaknesses either.
An Orion gets ambushed by Vampire.  Three, single fired torpedoes stack on top of each other's wake.  With a fire already burning, this dreadnought is unable to stop the resulting flooding.  This is one of the few ways Vampire can take down larger ships with any kind of haste, but it requires careful setup.
Concealment & Camouflage
Base Surface Detection Range: 6.48km
Air Detection Range: 2.97 km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.66km
Main Battery Firing Range: 10.11m
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 2.0km
Surface Detection Rank within Tier:  4th out of 6 destroyers
Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking:  Tied for 14th out of 19 Destroyers
For a low tier destroyer, HMAS Vampire has a large surface detection range.  She's not Clemson-bad, but she shares the larger surface detection radius of Shenyang.  When stalking other lolibotes, this can be a real issue as she can have as much as 900m to sprint through to find the ship that's spotting her.  If this sneaky opponent is staking you out for her bigger friends, the last thing you'll want to do is extend further.  The only consolation is that low tier maps are small and claustrophobic with all of their island cover.  Your reliance on open water stealth is of less importance provided you can slip from island to island to get closer.
An interesting quirk of Vampire's guns is that they do not penalize her at all when she fires from smoke.  Her surface detection when firing in concealment is no different from her automatic detection range (2.0km).   But speaking of her weapons, it's only with a full concealment build (Concealment Expert + Camouflage) that Vampire can get sneaky enough to dump her fish without being spotted.  She has less than 400m window from which to do this, but hey, it's something.
Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 40mm / 20mm / 13.2mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 2.5km / 2.0km / 1.2km
AA DPS per Aura: 11.4 / 3.4 / 8.2
 That Vampire has any anti-aircraft firepower at all should be considered amazing -- many low tier premiums do without entirely.  It's safe to say that her AA-power isn't good, but at least it's present.  You might shoot down a plane through the course of a game -- especially if an enemy CV attempts to keep you spotted.  Neither Langley or Hosho can afford to lose many aircraft, so every kill will help. 
At least, that's what you need to tell yourself while your guns shoot ineffectively at enemy aircraft.
The Lolibote and the Damned
Seeing as the British Commonwealth doesn't have a techtree, you can really spoil yourself and custom build a commander specifically for HMAS Vampire.  This may have some overlap with HMAS Perth and any future releases Wargaming brings out of haidaing down the line.  Your first 10pts should look like this:
  • Start with Priority Target.
  • Next take Last Stand.
  • Basic Fire Training should be your next choice to get your DPM up on your guns.
  • Finish it off with Concealment Expert.

Your job is to protect your big friends from the predations of enemy lolibotes.  To this end, take the following skills:

  •  Vigilance - not only to spot torpedoes aimed at you, but also to sniff out Deepwater torpedoes for your big friends behind you.  The more warning you give them, the more time they have to figure out what WASD does (also, the more hilariously epic your facepalm will be when they die to them anyway despite having been spotted 5km out).
  • Survivability Expert - Some lolibotes, like Clemson and Shenyang, like to fight back.  Teach them who the apex predator really is.  Besides, you know you'll be using this skill with the next British Commonwealth destroyer.  ♥
  • Demolition Expert - To give her fangs more bite when only larger prey remains.

No means no!

Overall Impressions
Skill Floor:  Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Vampire is a challenging bote for a novice destroyer player.  Her torpedoes such and her mainstay is the ever-so-dangerous destroyer knife-fight and firing from smoke at larger ships.  You have to have good reflexes, solid gunnery skills and at least basic knowledge of concealment to make her work.
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
Veterans will find Vampire a very comfortable fit, rewarding them for using an abusing concealment, being able to snipe with her single-fire torpedoes and bullying capture points.  She's held back in her carry potential by the lack of a high-alpha strike and her issues with concealment.
Mouse's Summary:
  • pQWARuJ.png-bote.
  • Proof positive that you don't need consumable gimmicks to make an interesting, fun ship.
  • Enjoy making Pan Asian destroyers cry.
Vampire chews on enemy lolibotes until they're dead. 
As a destroyer predator, Vampire is arguably the best in this role at her tier.  There's a very real need in low tier games for a destroyer-hunter role -- it's one of the reasons Clemson is so adored by those who have discovered her potential in this regard.  In fact, Vampire could be compared quite reasonably with Clemson -- both ships bring a surprising amount of main battery firepower to any engagement at their tier which makes enemy lolibotes cry.  Recent changes to the meta with the introduction of the Pan Asian destroyer line has only amplified this need.
 I cannot stress how important a job this is.  Take one look at the destroyer lineup in tiers II through IV.  Umikaze, Wakatake, Isokaze, Longjiang, Phra Ruang, V-25, Clemson -- these are all seal clubbing dream-boats.  They are overpowered little devils.  Vampire may be named after a monster, but the list above list are the real fiends.  When playing Vampire, you get to be the hero that saves those poor, innocent baby seals from these nightmares, especially when they're crewed by veterans.  Vampire trumps the torpedo boats and gives even Clemson something to worry about 
Can a ship that preys upon overpowered ships avoid the label herself?  I'm convinced Vampire does.  While she may be well designed for winning knife fights against enemy destroyers, her attack power versus battleships is lackluster.  She does alright against cruisers -- though she's very reliant on smoke to engage them with any degree of safety.
I'm very excited about this ship.  She has no real gimmick, she offers solid game play with a definite purpose and she demonstrates good performance.  I hope we see more ships like her in the future.
Would I Recommend?
HMAS Vampire can be earned for free if you're willing to put the time in to do so.  This mission ran on the North American server from December 5th through 20th and was a four-part mission.  You needed a tier IV ship at a minimum and had to accomplish the following in subsequent steps in any battle mode of your choosing.
  1. Sink 20 enemy vessels.
  2. Win 7 battles.
  3. Earn 25,000 experience.
  4. Deal 750,000 damage.

She's well worth putting the time into acquiring -- especially if you'd normally be playing anyway.

  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?
No.  Vampire really lacks the hitting power you want to contend with bots in Co-Op. 
  • Random Battle Grinding:
    This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
Honestly?  No.  Low tier premiums do not have good credit or experience earning coefficients in of themselves.  The British Commonwealth line does not have a tech tree associated with it either.  About the only thing she'd really be good for, then, is farming signal flags.  I had a lot of success hoovering up Confederate and Kraken Unleashed medals with this ship, but understand your own performance level.  If these medals are rare for you, Vampire may make them a little less rare.  Maybe. 
  • For Competitive Gaming:
    Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
Yes.  Stat pad to your heart's content with Vampire.  She's a strong ship and a perfect little chariot to hunt would-be seal clubbers in Pan Asian and Japanese torpedo ships.
  • For Collectors:
    If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.

Yes.  HMAS Vampire had earned five battle honours by the time of her loss in 1941.  There's a lot of history in this little boat.

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

Very yes.  She's very comfortable and fun to play.

  • What's the Final Verdict?
    How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered?
GARBAGE - Grossly uncompetitive and badly in need of buffs.
Mehbote - Average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable, but certainly not advantageous.
Gudbote - A strong ship that has obvious competitive strengths and unique features that make it very appealing.
OVERPOWERED - A ship with very clear advantages over all of its competitors and unbalancing the game with its inclusion.
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