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Premium Ship Review: Kidd

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The following is a review of USS Kidd, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of November 9th, 2017.
With historical ties to the vessels Essex, Alabama, Arizona and Black which also appear in World of Warships.
Quick Summary:   A Fletcher-class lolibote that sacrifices one quintuple torpedo launcher and manoeuvrability for improved speed, anti-aircraft firepower and a Repair Party consumable.
Cost:  The equivalent of 9,100 doubloons
Patch and Date Written: Patch to, October 28th to November 9th, 2017.
Closest in-Game Contemporary
Fletcher, Tier 9 American Destroyer
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique

There are many small differences between the two ships.  The most telling are their speed, consumables, torpedo armament and anti-aircraft firepower.  Kidd is faster than Fletcher but she doesn't handle as well.  She has only a single quintuple torpedo launcher and she's stuck with Fletcher's stock torpedoes.  Her anti-aircraft is improved with additional 40mm Bofors and 20mm Oerlikons. As a tier VIII ship, she has less hit points than Fletcher but she compensates for this with a Repair Party consumable.  There are other minor differences too, such as Kidd having slightly worse concealment by air.
  • Comes with a Repair Party consumable.
  • Armed with five rapid-fire 127mm rifles with amazing turret traverse speeds of 34º/s.
  • Excellent AA power for a destroyer, including access to Defensive Fire.
  • Good top speed of 38.0knots.
  • She's very stealthy with a 5.80km surface detection range with a full concealment build.
  • Combined features make her an excellent forward scout.
  • The shell flight time on her 127mm/38 guns is horrible.
  • She has only a single torpedo launcher.
  • The torpedoes are the same fish found on Benson (the stock torpedoes for Fletcher -- boo-urns).
  • The reload on this torpedo launcher is longer than HMCS Haida's development time (Summer 2018, maybe?)
  • Emphasis on "for a destroyer" in regards to the excellent AA power thing.  They require a deep investment in skills to make them a credible threat and then only with her Defensive Fire consumable active.
  • Large turning circle for a destroyer at 620m.
  • She's not doing a lot of damage on her own with her current build, making her more reliant on support-damage to be profitable.

I'm always excited to see new tier VIII premiums.  They feel, I dunno, more legitimate than other premiums.  It's a silly sentiment, but they truly are the flagship vessels in a given line.  People look to them not only for grinding out experience to train Captains, but also to earn credits to help maintain their fleet.  Tie in the added bonus of the competitive meta surrounding tier VIII in Ranked Battles and tournaments and it's hard not to get excited.  Seeing the United States Navy finally get some tier VIII premium love in 2017 with Alabama and Enterprise has certainly been a highlight for me.  I couldn't be happier to see USS Kidd join the fleet.

At least, that was my initial sentiment until I played her.  For those unaware, she had a rather troubled and delayed development cycle and for a while, it was anyone's guess whether she'd actually make it into the game or not.  The ship we received looks normal enough on paper, but her looks can be deceiving.  What we've received is a highly specialized vessel with a very distinct role at which she excels.  Getting the most out of this vessel is a real challenge.
Truth be told, USS Kidd reminds me a lot of USS Sims in terms of game play.
Well, there's one fun little surprise here with Kidd's Repair Party, but the rest is to be expected.  Her Damage Control Party is standard for a destroyer.

Kidd is an American lolibote.  Right out of the gates, she has access to the improved Smoke Generator for that nation.  This improves not only the smoke cloud's duration (124 seconds vs 89 seconds at tier VIII), but also the emission time of the smoke (28 seconds vs 20 seconds at tier VIII).  In short, it allows USN destroyers to lay more smoke which lasts longer.   In practical terms, Kidd can generate up to 10 individual smoke clouds maximum.  This comes with the standard two charges by default.
Now let's talk about the exciting bit:  Kidd's Repair Party is a standard version of this consumable.  Kidd queues up 100% of fire, flooding, ramming and overpenetration damage.  She queues up 50% of everything else.  It's nice not to have to worry about citadel hits.  Each charge heals up the standard 14% of the ship's maximum HP (2,338 damage in Kidd's case) over 28 seconds.  This comes with two charges by default.
Finally, Kidd must choose between the Engine Boost consumable or a Defensive Fire consumable.  I say this is a "choice" but it's not.  Take Defensive Fire.  The destroyer version of Defensive Fire has a reduced active period of 30 seconds compared to the 40 seconds of a cruiser version while sharing the same 180/120 second reset timer.  However, the DPS gain from the destroyer consumable has increased from x3 to x4 with patch 0.6.13.   Either one of these consumables comes with two charges by default.
Make sure you load up on as many premium consumables as you can afford.  Kidd is an expensive ship to run.
  • Damage Control Party
  • Smoke Generator
  • Repair Party
  • Engine Boost or Defensive Fire

Module Upgrades: Five slots, standard destroyer upgrades
Premium Camouflage: Type 10. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.  This is the gorgeous Measure-22 paint scheme which you will also see on other American premiums like Missouri, Alabama and Massachussetts.

We're going to build Kidd to emphasize her AA power.
  • In her first slot, take Magazine Modification 1.  She's a destroyer with a Repair Party.  Your cause of death to detonations just went up because you can take more hits than other destroyers.
  • In your second slot, take AA Guns Modification 2.  This will bump up your AA range handsomely and better allow you to assist allies when they come under aircraft attack.
  • In your third slot, take Propulsion Modification 1 to help keep your engines intact.  It will help a little and speed is life.
  • In your fourth slot, take Propulsion Modification 2.  You may find yourself parking in smoke on occasion and this will give you a nice jump start.
  • And finally, take Concealment System Modification 1 to make yourself sneakier.


Special Upgrades!
There are three Special Upgrades worth considering.  If you don't have access to these, don't worry about it.  They are rare.  You can win them from Super Containers or from Ranked Battles and other events.
  • Smoke Generator Modification 1 would replace AA Guns Modification 2 in the second slot. This increases the smoke generation time for Kidd from 28 seconds to 36 seconds but reduces the individual cloud duration to 118 seconds. This isn't a very strong choice. If you wanted to throw away Kidd's anti-aircraft firepower advantages and reduce your spotting-experience gains, go nuts, but it's a loser move.
  • Next up in the Special Upgrades you won't be using but technically are compatible with Kidd is Engine Boost Modifiaction 1. This competes with Propulsion Modification 1. You won't take this because you'll have Defensive Fire and not Engine Boost on this premium like a smart person.
  • And finally, also competing with Propulsion Modification 1 is Defensive Fire Modification 1. Now this seems like a no brainer -- it increases the active time of Kidd's Defensive Fire from 30 seconds to 36 seconds. The only reason I would imagine that someone wouldn't want to stick this on Kidd would be the rarity of the consumable and the demand to put it on other ships before giving it to a destroyer.
Primary Battery: Five 127mm/38 rifles in an A-B-P-X-Y superfiring configuration.
Torpedo Armament: Five tubes in a 1x5 launcher behind the funnels facing forward.
Kidd's firepower sucks.
USN 127mm/38 Mark 30s,  we meet again.  The last time we crossed swords with these weapons on a premium ship was with USS Sims at tier VII.  These are the same guns found on Fletcher, Black and Benson, so veterans of the American destroyer line should immediately be familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of these guns.  They mirror these other ships identically with their excellent rate of fire, the wicked fast gun traverse, the horrible muzzle velocity and the oh-so infamous shell flight time.  Penetration and fire chance are all on par too.  The detection in smoke while firing is different, however, with Sims having a 2.8km detection while everyone else has a 2.7km.  Don't ask me why.
uNLmrJb.png f8LXnX3.png
It's not even a contest.  The shell flight time for the USN 127mm/38s is terrible.  We're probably going to have to wait for the Royal Navy destroyers before we see Kidd's shell flight time compare favourably to anything.  This is compensated for by some of the highest HE DPM among the high tier destroyers.  The lesson here is that Kidd can potentially do a lot of damage with her guns -- but only so long as you can overcome the challenges of her weak penetration and horrible ballistics.
In theory, these guns are ideal for short range knife fights with enemy destroyers where they can throw out a wall of rapid fire shells and pummel their opponents into submission.  The reality is that outside of 8km, it becomes very difficult to lead other lolibotes properly -- especially if you're working with a 1920 x 1080 screen resolution (or smaller) and you have a habit of firing from maximum zoom.  Kidd needs to seize enemy destroyers by the belt buckle, keep close to them and hammer shells home lest she embarrassingly gets outgunned by a Yugumo.  Once ranges increase beyond this comfort zone, it's better to go gun silent, dodge and disengage; especially if they run away to tattle on you to bigger boats.
 The stranger-danger presented by grown-up ships is quite palpable given that you cannot rely on Kidd's torpedoes.  The USN 127mm/38s really struggle at tiers VIII+ to put out the damage on larger vessels.  Their anemic fire chance, horrible ballistics and poor penetration values all compound to a muddy mess. 
Kidd's HE penetration sits at 21mm which can be boosted to 27mm with Inertial Fuse for HE Shells at the expense of her chance to set fires.  This is already quite low on a per-shell basis, though the recent changes to the skill have softened this blow somewhat.  This improvement to penetration will allow Kidd to damage the extremities of all battleships at tiers VI and VII, along with those of most cruisers up to tier X with the exception of the American and German cruisers at tiers VIII+.  Without this boost, she's reliant upon setting fires and peppering superstructures to do the lion's share of her damage. 
Damage saturation mechanics, the reduced fire damage on cruisers and the increased prevalence of fire resistance skills and upgrades among battleships only makes it harder on Kidd to be relevant with her guns alone.
If this sounds bleak, it's because it is.  
Kidd is reliant on landing a high volume of hits to start fires.  The numbers presented here are very generously assuming 100% accuracy which is a pipe dream.  In addition, high tier ships will reduce these numbers further, cutting them almost in half.  Starting two fires per minute with Kidd is an ambitious goal.  Start praying to RNGesus.
There's a grim methodology to engaging enemy capital ships with Kidd's guns. 
  • Choose a target. 
  • Struggle to hit said target.
  • Laugh as you suddenly light two fires in quick succession.
  • Rage as your target uses their Damage Control Party and you're unable to light a subsequent blaze for the next two minutes. Hoover up a pittance in shell damage as you quickly oversaturated their superstructure.
  • Slowly lose your sanity as that ship heals up all of the damage you did and then some.
  • Question the meaning of life, the prevalence of the battleship meta and why oh why didn't you heed Mouse's colourful graphs and charts!?  Their colours warned you!  THEY WARNED YOU IT WOULD BE LIKE THIS!

Kidd's guns may not be terribly effective against larger ships when you get down to it, but at least they're fun to use.  The sheer volume of fire they put out is meme worthy (plus it's fun to say "pew!" every time they fire). They're decent enough against close range targets but because of the prevalence of Surveillance Radar and Hydroacoustic Search, it's dangerous to get that close, so pick your battles carefully.  Still, they'll shred other destroyers, so that's something at least.

Kidd needs more 'pedos.   They took five of her 'pedos away to give her more AA power. fz4c90t.png
You only have a single torpedo launcher on USS Kidd.  Yes, this sucks.  No, you don't get Fletcher's upgraded Mark 16 torpedoes with their awesome range and hitting power. No, they didn't improve Kidd's torpedo soft-stats to compensate. 
These are the exact same torpedoes as on the stock-Fletcher or upgraded Benson.  They have decent range and modest damage totals, but they're slow as all get out and their reload time is downright punitive.  So not only do you have your torpedo armament halved, you're also waiting just as long to fire them off as Benson does.  If you're hoping to make torpedo soup with USS Kidd, your broth is going to taste pretty thin.
Getting the most out of this horrible helping of fish requires a lot more skill than just dropping the pip onto the torpedo lead indicator and hoping for the best.  You can't saturate an area or hedge your bets with a second launcher.  Picking the right target at the right moment and anticipating how they're going to move in the 60 some odd seconds it will take for your torpedoes to reach their maximum range is a real challenge, even for veteran commanders.  Landing even a couple of hits really helps pad the terrible damage numbers that USS Kidd puts out.
The threat of Kidd's torpedoes is often worth more than the actual damage they put out.  Your opponents are inclined to be more cautious if they believe you're able to dump a salvo into them when they're most vulnerable.  Their imaginations will often envision far more devastation than Kidd can actually conjure, so sometimes it's worth holding onto your fish just for this bully-factor.
  • Kidd's firepower is terrible.
  • Same ol' USN 127mm/38s we know and love (and hate).
  • Kidd's 'pedos suck -- and not always in the sexy way.  fz4c90t.png

USN 127mm/38 gunnery in a nutshell:  First, pick a target.  Next, setup outside of radar range.  Step three: deploy smoke.  And finally, step four: put four salvos into the air before your first shells connect.
Hit Points: 16,700
Maximum Protection: 19 to 20mm
Well, this is shaping up to be a pretty negative review so far, innit?  Thankfully, it gets better from here on out.
Kidd comes with a healthy chunk of hit points -- 1,300hp more than Benson and 2,100hp more than Loyang.  This still pales compared to the tier VIII thunderchunckers Akizuki and Z-23 which have a 3,700hp and 2,800hp advantage respectively over Kidd, but at least she can say that she's not at the bottom of the pile here.  Taking Survivability Expert can prop this number up further, bumping Kidd up another 2,800hp which would make her competitive against some of the tier IX and X destroyers as well.  However, she's not as reliant upon this skill as other destroyers and the points are better spent elsewhere.
Kidd joins Khabarovsk with a fun dose of Russian-bias in the form of a Repair Party consumable.   Each charge can heal back 2,338 hit points (this does not change if you take Survivability Expert).  She begins the game with two charges that can be boosted up to four with a premium version of the consumable combined with the Superintendent commander's skill.  Without a citadel, Kidd can always heal back a minimum of 50% of damage done to her which ensures you get the maximum use out of each charge.  I tell myself that this is the reason that Kidd gives up a second torpedo-launcher.  It's not the real reason, but it certainly has improved my attitude towards this ship.
Kidd's Repair Party is a real boon.  She effectively has up to  30,722hp if fully optimized for maximum toughness (Superintendent, Survivability Expert, premium Repair Party used four times, India Delta signal), allowing her to take an absolute beating, survive and later return to the fight hungry for more.  This gives her endurance and longevity that Benson, Fletcher and Black could only dream of having.  So while it may take forever to do any appreciable damage with Kidd's terrible weapon load-out, her improved survivability all but guarantees she's got the time to do it. 
The only thing you need fear is taking massive alpha strikes or sustained burst damage.  Watch out for Surveillance Radar equipped vessels and practice dancing to those torpedo-beats.
The John McClane of destroyers.  Kidd rarely comes out of a match without looking like she was thrown through a plate glass window.
Top Speed: 38.0knots
Turning Radius: 620m
Rudder Shift: 3.9s
Maximum Turn Rate: 7.9º per second.
 As far as destroyer agility goes, Kidd is decidedly average and is best compared to the Soviet  destroyer Ognevoi in terms of her speed and handling.  For a Fletcher-class destroyer, she's much faster than either Fletcher or Black but this comes at the cost of her turning circle which is 60m wider.  Overall, this gives her power and speed enough to run down any Japanese torpedo destroyer within her Matchmaking spread and enough wiggle in her tush to dance to torpedo beats and dodge incoming shellfire.  However, she won't feel as nimble as either of her sister-ships.
For those who intend to play Kidd aggressively, I cannot stress enough how important the Vigilance  skill on your commanders will be.  High alpha strikes are the bane of this ship and there's few things worse than being blindsided by a wall of skill you didn't anticipate and being sent back to the port early.
Pertinent agility statistics for Kidd's contemporaries (click to enlarge).  She's decidedly average, with her high top speed compensating for her larger turning circle compared to Fletcher and Black.  If you want to try out Kidd's handling for yourself before making a purchase, play around with the tier VIII Soviet destroyer, Ognevoi.  The two are very similar in their overall handling characteristics with the biggest difference between them being their rudder-shift-time.
Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 127mm / 40mm / 20mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km
AA DPS per Aura: 53.5 / 65.7 / 36.6
In exchange for losing a quintuple torpedo mount, Kidd gains 21dps over Fletcher.  Most of this DPS advantage doesn't come from the 40mm quad Bofor nests that replaced her torpedoes, but rather from the upgrade of her 20mm Oerlikon from single to twin-gun mounts.  Her anti-aircraft firepower is good for a destroyer, but terrible overall if you merely wish to rely on her raw damage numbers alone.
Kidd has less AA firepower than Tirpitz and no one would ever claim that Tirpitz has good AA firepower at tier VIII. It's only with a heavy investment in AA skills that her DPS truly becomes something to concern enemy carriers.  So your choice to keep your lolibote safe from white-van driving CVs is to have them stay close to grownup ships like Kii and North Carolina or activate their 'emergency whistle'.  Note that this whistle got extra loud in 0.6.13, multiplying your 40mm and 127mm DPS by four instead of just three.  This is reflected in the animated gif above which turns Kidd into a pocket North Carolina temporarily in terms of AA power.
The game changer is her access to the destroyer version of Defensive Fire.  While some other tier VIII destroyers also get access to this consumable, only Kidd has the numbers to make it truly effective beyond a disruption effect.  Like them, she must exchange her Engine Boost consumable to gain access to this but it's well worth the trade.  Under the effects of this consumable, she becomes a credible threat to enemy aircraft and she may even be able to drive off fighters sent to perma-spot her. 
Let's be clear:  Her anti-aircraft firepower under Defensive Fire will maul attack craft waves from tier VI and even some tier VII carriers but it cannot be relied upon the prevent a strike altogether.  This may be enough to make a carrier look for a less thorny target, but against veteran CVs, it's simply going to delay their attack while they wait on your 30s consumable to run out of steam.  Destroyers are too valuable a target to leave unmolested.  It's possible, albeit very expensive to deep specialize Kidd into anti-aircraft firepower to try and make her more formidable against aircraft.  Realistically, however, it's unlikely for Kidd to have this kind of specialization in the face of more survival based skill choices.
Still, Kidd can survive better than any other destroyer under the eye of an enemy carrier.  This gives her a little more autonomy than other scouting destroyers and it also allows her to play the supporting role in disrupting attacks against her allies if you're so inclined.  More importantly, this gives Kidd the ability to extend beyond the cover of your team mates to better play out the role of a scout.
Now you know what to do when an enemy CV offers you free candy.
Concealment & Camouflage
Base Surface Detection Range: 7.38km
Air Detection Range: 4.11 km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 5.80km
Main Battery Firing Range: 12.1km
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke:  2.7km
Surface Detection Rank within Tier: Tied for 5th with Benson & Loyang, sitting behind the Kagero-sisters.
Surface Detection Rank within Matchmaking: Tied for 6th out of 36 places.
This graph shows the advantage in surface detection Kidd enjoys over her contemporaries.  All of the numbers are assuming the destroyers in question are fully rigged for stealth with all of the applicable options available to them (Concealment Expert, Concealment Camouflage, Concealment System Modification 1).  Thus, the disparity in these numbers may be even greater to Kidd's advantage in select cases.  For those that are math inclined, you can use this to estimate how much of a reaction time you have to steer away from enemy ships in order to preserve stealth and remain undetected.  For example, if you stumble across a Mahan running perpendicular while you sail towards it at 38 knots, you have approximately 11 seconds to adjust course.  However, if the same were to occur with a Z-23 heading towards you with both of you at full speed, this reaction time drops to a little over 2 seconds.
There are very few destroyers that are more stealthy than USS Kidd.  Kagero, Harekaze and Yugumo exceed her stealth rating.  Benson, Loyang, Fletcher & Black match her.  Hatsuharu and Shiratsuyu are close enough to make little difference.  Against any other opponent she enjoys a minimum of a 140m surface detection advantage.  When she's top tier, her advantage is almost comical.  Between her speed and concealment, she can easily dictate engagement distances or simply keep enemies spotted.
And herein lies Kidd's greatest strength.  More than any other destroyer in the game, she is almost an ideal scout.  Kidd is well suited to spotting targets for your allies to kill.  She's tough, she's fast, she has excellent smoke and she has one of the best surface detection ranges within her matchmaking spread.   And, it's a damn good thing too -- outside of a knife fight with another destroyer, she sucks at dealing her own damage.  The only other traits you could ask for would be some punchier guns or some form of detection consumable like Hydroacoustic Search.  Still, she's very well equipped for this task.
This makes Kidd a real threat on cap circles.  She may not be the immediate terror like Black, but she is dogged.   Her presence around one of these control points is a real obstacle for the enemy team.

Spotting Economy
I had the pleasure of speaking to Boyarsky regarding the economy surrounding destroyer spotting mechanics.  While I will compile a more complete article later, I thought it worth sharing with USS Kidd, given how dependent she can be upon the rewards earned from providing vision for her team.

There are two types of spotting (as if it wasn't complicated enough).  The first is simple and easy to understand.  There is a reward for the first ship to detect an enemy that has not been seen before.  This is a flat value.  The second type of spotting is where you facilitate damage done to the enemy team.

  • What it is:   A destroyer can receive substantial rewards by scouting ahead of the allied fleet and keeping enemy ships detected to facilitate gunnery and torpedo attack for allies that would not otherwise be able to see them.
  • How it works:  An ally shoots at a target that the destroyer can see.  The ally must not be able to see the target themselves.  The destroyer earns a bonus percentage of the rewards that ally receives for damaging that target.
  • Reward amount:  The destroyer receives approximately 45% of the experience and credits for applicable damage done to targets they spot.  Other ships may earn an award too, but they do not earn nearly as much as destroyers.
  • Multiple spotters:  If multiple friendly ships are providing vision upon a target and an ally who cannot see the target fires, the rewards are divided by the number of allies present.  So if two destroyers and an aircraft carrier providing vision, the reward for the destroyers would be divided by three.
  • Errata:  Note that the destroyer only receives the reward if, when the attack was launched, the ally could not see the target and the destroyer could -- not when it strikes the target.  This applies to all shell and torpedo attacks.

 These rewards scale as you would normally expect.  In other words, you will earn more rewards for assisting a lower tiered ship to do 10,000 damage to a destroyer two tiers higher than you would for helping a higher tiered ship do 10,000 damage to a battleship that's two tiers lower than itself. 

The big complication for earning these rewards comes from the spotting mechanics themselves.  If your allies can see the target without your help, then you earn nothing.  Given the recent changes to smoke, this pretty much means you're not going to earn much of anything at all sitting between two groups of warships shooting at each other in open water.  The bloom of their surface detection every time they pull the trigger is going to make them visible to one another.   Similarly, the presence of aircraft carriers will also eat into your earnings as their planes put eyes on targets you're spotting.
Spotting is a high risk venture and it does not always pay well.  A keen understanding of vision mechanics and how ships interact with smoke is paramount to increasing your earnings
One of the tricks to earning more spotting damage is to use your Smoke Generator to hide your allies.  At full speed, lay a long 10-cloud fog bank between your friendly ships and the enemies but don't hide in it yourself.  Then position yourself between your smoke and the enemy team.  The concealment bonus provided by smoke will reduce the surface detection of both sides -- protecting your allies but also blinding them to the enemy team save for the data relayed by your spotting.  In this manner, you help keep your team safe AND you collect a handsome reward for the damage you helped inflict.
How to Avoid Pedo-Bears
You can't.  Far too many people told me that Kidd was too sexy.  We have a real epidemic in our community, I swear. fz4c90t.png
Your first ten points should be distributed like this:
  • Start with Priority Target.
  • Take Last Stand.
  • Next grab Superintendent.  This will give you an additional charge of smoke, heals and emergency whistle.
  • And finally, take Concealment Expert.

This should be considered the absolute minimum to take to do well with Kidd.  From here, there are high value skills and players should mix and match based on their preferred play style.

  • Demolition Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells may seem like gimme skills for dealing more direct damage with Kidd.  Tag on Adrenaline Rush and you are good to go for pew pews.
  • For those who are super-salty about the stranger-danger presented by enemy carriers, Basic Fire Training and Advanced Fire Training pair nicely to give you some good punch against incoming planes and also let you help out beleaguered allies.  Just beware of your increased spotting range from AFT when you fire your main battery.  If you are more concerned with personal defense than helping others, swap Advanced Fire Training for Manual Fire Control for AA Guns.
  • The survivability skills Vigilance and Survivability Expert make Kidd harder to kill.  Not much harder, mind you, but you're less likely to get obliterated by a high alpha strike.

I tried out a lot of different commander builds when testing Kidd.  I did everything from loaning an anti-aircraft specialized Atlanta-captain to failing horribly with a 3pt newfish.  If I had a dedicated Kidd 19pt commander dropped on my lap, I would take the initial 10pts skills listed above plus Vigilance, Demolition Expert and Survivability Expert.  You'll note the lack of any anti-aircraft firepower skills and a reliance on fires to deal damage to larger vessels.

"Fire Alarm..."
In case you're wondering, the Legendary Captain, Steven Seagal, doesn't really add anything useful when he commands a destroyer.  His skill bonuses apply to Expert Loader and Expert Marksman skills -- neither of which are of particular use on a ship that already has ridiculously fast reload times and turret rotation rates.  However, if you want to phone it in the same way he narrated his dialogue, feel free to use him here.

Kidd's bread and butter:  Trading fire with other destroyers and outlasting them between her Smoke Generator and Repair Party.  She didn't choose the scout-life.  The scout-life chose her.
Overall Impressions
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Kidd struggles to do damage.  Her improved survivability traits are locked behind proper consumable management and having a commander with not only enough skill points, but the correct setup as well.  And even then, her play style is going to be utterly alien to many players.  NOT shooting?  NOT firing torpedoes?  Wut!?
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
Kidd is all about surviving some of the most dangerous encounters in World of Warships -- namely, dominating cap circles early on in a match.  She's got almost all of the proper tools to do it short of some form of Hydroacoustic Search or Surveillance Radar.  Correctly managed, Kidd can survive for a very long time, making life miserable for the Reds.  With such limited firepower, you're really going to have to milk every advantage to get the most out of this ship but she'll reward you handsomely for it.
Mouse's Summary:
  • "Tough" really defines Kidd.  She's tough in that she can take a lot of punishment.  But she's also a tough ship with which to do damage.  In this regard, she's also tough to love.  Poor child.  She's totally going to become a delinquent when she grows up.
  • Like USS Sims before her, she's going to be doomed to mediocrity in Randoms.  A lot of people will pick her up, wonder why all of the CCs were enthusiastic about her and let her collect dust in their ports if they bothered to pick her up at all. Then someone's going to rockstar with her in Ranked or some other competitive mode and everyone and their mother will suddenly want one.
  • I'm disappointed to see Repair Party used to balance yet another premium.  Healing potion proliferation feels like an arms race waiting to happen.  Remember, you didn't trade your torpedoes for more AA power -- you traded them for her Repair Party.  All of the banes she suffers from her poor torpedoes should be made up for with the advantages her Repair Party provides.  Really focus on outlasting your opponents.  Take a few extra risks that other destroyers wouldn't dare and hold onto your fish for the best target possible.
  • Scouting feels super rewarding.  It's hard to pull off, but it pays well if you can manage it.

Few ships have made me feel as categorically stupid as USS Kidd did during play testing.  I got myself delorted in the opening minutes of a match more often in this destroyer than I have in any of the others I've tested this year.  It's only when I smartened up and exerted a little more caution that things (mostly) got better.  Vigilance helped too.  Let this be a lesson -- be aggressive; just don't be stupid.

 So let's get to the meat of the matter:  Is Kidd a good ship?  My answer is:  Yes, absolutely.  She just totally sucks at doing damage and killing things.
This does not preclude her from winning games.  In fact, she's quite good at doing that so long as you don't trip over your own ego and pull a few stupids trying to pad your damage numbers instead of focusing on winning.  The toolkit with which they've equipped her makes her an absolute beast when it comes to helping your team win matches.   The manner in which she helps dominate spotting and cap control will secure you many wins.
The trouble is that spotting is feast or famine.  If there's aircraft carriers present or the enemy team roster is composed primarily of battleships, you're not going to earn many rewards for sitting gun silent.  Under the correct conditions, you can earn a lot of rewards for providing vision.  At others, you might struggle to scrimp out competitive gains compared to other tier VIII American premiums like Alabama or Enterprise.
Economy concerns aside, Kidd does win matches.  She's just not doing it with her own firepower most of the time.  To this end, if grinding for credits and experience is your goal, I would have to give Kidd a solid pass.  However, if your goal is simply to win -- such as in Ranked Battles where the quality of the win doesn't matter, just the win itself -- then Kidd is an amazing ship.
 Kidd is a premium with a purpose.  If you don't espouse this purpose, you're going to really struggle to find satisfaction with what she can do. 
Would I Recommend?
Let me apply a filter to my recommendations here.  I must stress the skill floor to play Kidd well.  If you're a novice destroyer player, you'll have a hard time with Kidd.  Just because she gets a nod from me as being good at X does not mean that you'll be good with Kidd at X.  This is not an easy ship to play.
  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?
Very no.  While she can turn a profit with a 47,250 repair cost and less than 10,000 on ammunition costs for a long game, Kidd struggles to do damage quickly.  And let's face it -- that's really what you want in Co-Op battles; that knockout punch.  Kidd does't have that.  She licks things to death.  It's slimy.  It's awkward.  It's not very fast.  It's kinda hot, really, but not terribly effective or fun.  fz4c90t.png
  • Random Battle Grinding:
    This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
Do you like a challenge?  Do you have enough patience to stomach hoping the lottery will hand you a team that can capitalize on the opportunities you'll create?  Do you like working super hard so that other people get all of the rewards? Then go nuts.  Otherwise?  Stay clear.  This is a support ship. 
  • For Competitive Gaming:
    Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
Very yes.  Really, this is the primary reason you'll want Kidd.  A tier VIII destroyer with Repair Party and Defensive Fire?  She'd have to be a steaming turd in all other aspects to not to kindle people's interests in this vessel for Ranked Battles.  Be aware that her role is to provide vision and cover, brawl with enemy destroyers and above all else: Survive.
  • For Collectors:
    If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.

Museum ship?  Check.  Tons of history?  Check.  Awesome looking boat?  Check. 
We are good to go.

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

I really enjoyed playing her, but she wasn't like ... Okhotnik fun.  The enjoyment I got out of Kidd was learning how to rise up to a challenge.  So it's probably safe to say that you have to be all kinds of weird to find this ship fun.

  • 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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