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It's been a bit, dear reader, hasn't it? After putting together the first four parts of the monster 0.13.1 balance patch analysis in as many weeks, real life caught up with me and I was forced to take a break. As so often happens, once a rhythm is broken it is disproportionately difficult to pick it up again. Like with re-starting shooty-botes after a longer hiatus, the first days of writing were an infuriating slog of re-learning how to craft an output that flowed well and struck exactly where I wanted it to.

I will admit, too, that it wasn't just real-life fatigue that had caught up with me; I was also a bit worn down from chronicling sad ships and their developer's sometimes ham-fisted attempts at un-saddening them. While the Anna Karenina quote does hold true for WoWS -- every unhappy bote is unhappy in its own way -- I feel the common thread linking most of them was a lack of clarity regarding their purpose and a lack of rigor in helping them achieve it. 

But now we're back with a refreshed appetite for analysis and MS Paint. In this episode we're going to look at the Fenyang, Siliwangi, Chung Mu, Yumihari, Yodo, Vladivostok, and Monarch. Condé and Annapolis were already re-worked once in the previous balance pass, and will address them when I put out the missing pieces of the 0.13.1 balance analysis. If you would like a bite-sized opinion on the T11 cruiser changes right now: nerfs gud, Tier 11 ships too strong.  

"Speaking of the remaining 0.13.1 Napkin Analyses, Torino, don't you still owe us America, Britain, Russia, France, Pan-Europe, and Spain?"

Scratches neck, looks at ceiling, puts on a Pan Am smile.

Yes I do. I'll get to writing/finishing them SOONTM. I'm sorry that I am making you wait; I just can't bring myself to publish something that is half-finished and/or half-effort. I am grateful for your patience. I hope this boatload of ship analysis can tide you over. As always I hope you enjoy.

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Fenyang (T8)
Torpedoes can now also damage cruisers in addition to battleships and aircraft carriers.

A lot of folks really don't like the Fenyang. I think the Fenyang is one of the most interesting ships WG has ever designed. I will do my best to explain both positions as fairly as possible.

In the Shadow of Ducky

The Akizuki is one of the most universally beloved ships in the game. She ticks all the boxes that various player groups care about: she was built in steel, she's a powerhouse on the battlefield, and (I am told) her anime incarnation is also very likeable. She is in the top 3 most played DDs at her tier, in part because her line is the cheapest way to get Research Bureau points, but also because she makes that grind as enjoyable as could be asked. Judging by the number of WoWS players who have some variant of Akizuki in their name, it is safe to say she is a rock star.

As an Akizuki sister-ship, the Fenyang was thus burdened with enormous expectations. She started out her development journey in 0.9.11 as a fairly straightforward derivative,1 trading the Japanese smoke for the short cooldown Pan-Asian smoke, standard torps for Asashio-style deep-deep-water torpedoes, and picking up Defensive AA. After the first round of testing, however, the designers decided to commit to an enormously consequential decision: they reduced the artificially high 30mm HE penetration from the Akizuki line to the 17mm of pen that the 100mm guns should have had all along.2 To some, this is where Fenyang forever became navis non grata. 

For those not adept with penetration values, 17mm of HE penetration at Tier 8 is hard on the border of unusable. It will only penetrate the destroyer hulls and battleship superstructures at Tier 7 and below, meaning that against the majority of ships in the Fenyang's matchmaking range, it lacks the punch to damage even the softest targets.3 Many players gritted their teeth and invested three captain points into IFHE, but it felt like watering a withered tree with a golden hose.4 Not only did players have to contend with the millstone of bad HE, but at launch they also had to put up with a 5.2s reload that was 73% slower than the Japanese DD's 3s cycle time. It was almost as if WG had made a cruel joke by asking folks to pay for the privilege of playing an enfeebled shadow of their darling Ducky.       

De-Fanging the Fenyang

The developer's decision to enervate the Fenyang's HE is often seen as differentiation for the sake of differentiation. I interpret it differently: the designers had created a monster and were trying to rein it in. As announced in her first devblog, the Fenyang had all the damage-dealing capabilities of an Akizuki, an improved version of the best-in-tier AA-suite of the Akizuki,5 and the two best anti-CV consumables that DD could mount (Defensive AA and short-cooldown Pan-Asian smokes). Especially in a division with a carrier, the Fenyang would have been untouchable. Something had to give.

At this point, the designers must have faced a fork in the road: either strip away the consumables that made the Fenyang a thoroughbred carrier demon, or keep the AA and tone down the prodigious damage output. They chose the latter, and I commend them for it. In a company not necessarily famed for brave decisions, they risked the ire of their community to produce a ship that is far more interesting and clear-of-purpose than if they had hewn close to the original. It would take a while to get there, but the Fenyang and Akizuki are now markedly different ships with very different roles (see chart below). 

Spoiler

Differences between Fenyang and Akizuki as of 0.13.4

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The concept started to take shape in the first rework of the ship during testing: the HE penetration was lowered to 17mm and the reload was nerfed by 50%, but the fire chance was increased by 60% and the HE alpha was raised by 25%. In short, against T8+ targets the HE would function primarily as a fire-starter; against T6-T7 targets she would maintain a damage output in the upper half of T8 destroyers.

In the second balancing pass during testing, the reload was nerfed again by 15%, but the AP alpha received a 13% buff and improved ricochet angles (60°-67.5°); from this point on it became clear that the design intention was for players to use the AP as the primary ammunition. Since release, the Pan-Asian DD has seen three rounds of reload buffs (5.2s -> 4.9s -> 4.7s -> 4.4s),x as well as a further buff to the AP alpha (1900 -> 2050) which has brought her AP DPM near the top of T8 destroyers and made her #1 in Fires per Minute (see charts below). 

Spoiler

Tier 8 Destroyers ranked by AP DPM

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Tier 8 Destroyers ranked by Fires per Minute (FPM)

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While the design of the Fenyang's damage dealing tools may appear nonsensical to some, they all have one thing in common: they scale with teamplay. The HE might feel anemic in isolation, but when a teammate forces a DCP, it is highly effective at getting permafires. The AP may struggle against bow-on targets, but when an opponent tries to angle against multiple allies, the improved ricochet means the Fenyang will have the highest applied APM DPM at the tier. The torps might not be scary on their own, but they're very stealthy and easily forgotten when a battleship is facing several sources of incoming damage.

In short, the Fenyang has a clear role (anti-aircraft support DD), her tools are aligned with that role, and her damage-dealing scales with how well she coordinates her play with others. Some folks might not like it, but this is good ship-design. Not every ship in the game needs to be optimized for solo-play.

Did the Fenyang need a buff?

Given that the Fenyang's design requires and rewards teamplay, it hardly comes as a surprise that some of her statistics are lackluster. Unfortunately, we don't have separate solo- and division-stats, so when we see the Fenyang and her Warhammer 40k clone Ship Smasha languish at the bottom of the T8 DD WinRate charts for all players,6 it is hard to tell how much of that was due to solo players trying and failing to go it alone. At time of writing, the tomato.gg 60-day winrate-differentials for both ships (i.e. how much better or worse the ships perform than the players' baseline winrate), range from bad to putrid depending on which server you look at.7

However, once we sort for the top 10% of the player base on wows-numbers, the Fenyang's winrate suddenly moves to the top third of her tier with the highest average plane kills at over 10 per match. To me, this would support the thesis that when played in division (ideally with a carrier), the Fenyang is a really solid ship that already has all the help she needs. So the question therefore becomes: how do we help her performance in the hands of a solo player without making her obnoxious in a division?

Buff me gently, Daddy

For a preview on how not to buff the Fenyang, we need only look to the Russian server. In Mir Korabley (MK) update 0.13.3,8 they gave her a 25% (!) reload buff, improving her base reload from 4.4s -> 3.3s. The resultant monster, were it to live on our servers, would easily top the charts for HE and AP DPM among Tier 8 Destroyers, while retaining the extremely strong secondary ammunition characteristics (fire chance and ricochet angles). In particular, I find the Russian Fenyang's 11.48 fires/minute to be hilariously exaggerated, standing almost 40% higher than the next best ship, the Split at 8.3 FPM (see charts below).

Spoiler

Comparison of Tier 8 Destroyer AP DPM

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Comparison of Tier 8 Destroyer Fires Per Minute (FPM)

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Imagine for minute what it would be like to run into a Fenyang + CV division on the Russian server. Like on WoWS, the nearest cap would be a no-fly-zone, virtually guaranteeing it for the enemy team. But now the monster Fenyang would really go to town, laying into your team more AP DPM than an Edinburgh. If the CV ever forces one of your BBs into a damage control, the monster Fenyang can pop one her many disposable smokes and start fires at the same rate as a Bayard.9 If one of your DDs wants to engage, the Fenyang's improved AP can force it to stay nose-in (lest it eat massive damage) while his CV buddy strikes from the side. A better two-man winrate-farming combo at T8 could hardly be conceived.

Here's the thing: we already have that winrate farming combo in WoWS. The only difference is that the Fenyang doesn't have a bonkers reload. Instead of Edinburgh AP DPM, we're talking about Pyotr Bagration AP DPM. Instead of Bayard fires/minute, we're talking about Auckland fires/minute. In other words, the potential is still there, just not as extreme.

Which brings us back to the question of how to buff the Fenyang, if you don't want to make her broken in division play. Answer: look at matchups. In particular, the Fenyang struggles against nose-in cruisers that can rush her down without fear of eating torpedoes. When paired with a CV, this is less of a concern since the allied carrier usually spots the cruisers before they can try anything funny. But in solo play, where plane cover and/or spotting is not guaranteed, an enterprising cruiser can absolutely use the Fenyang's smoke against her to score an ambush kill.

It is understandable that solo-Fenyang players might not immediately recognize that cruisers have such unbalanced matchup against them; with the buff in 0.13.4 it won't be quite as much of a walk-over. It is also forgivable that folks hopping over from other Pan-Asian ships might forget that the Fenyang had Japanese deep-deep-water torps from the Asashio instead of the normal cruiser-hitting deep-waters that they're used to. I am always in favor of helping the game be more consistent and intuitive to players.    

Conclusion

Surgical buff to help the solo players without overtuning the ship in divisional play. Two thumbs up.

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Siliwangi (T8)
Main battery reload time reduced: 4.8s -> 4.5s.

The Siliwangi was the outcome of a sweaty late-night tryst involving a severely intoxicated Ognevoi and a Loyang that should have known better. As is so often the case with mutts, traits were passed down somewhat unevenly. From the Russian parent, the destroyer inherited the clunky hull and the good guns; from the Chinese-American parent she got her defining advantage on the battlefield -- the 5.5km hydro-acoustic search. Somehow the anti-air was almost completely left by the wayside. Genetics can be funny like that.   

The Siliwangi could be forgiven for wishing she had better lot in life. In theory, the 5.5km hydro makes her a dangerous cap-contester, able to screen out enemy DDs from behind islands or inside smoke. In practice, the lack of engine boost, wide turning circle, and mediocre rudder shift mean that she struggles to react to the highly dynamic conditions with a cap. Worse still, the enemy DDs know that they don't have to respect her deep-water torpedoes, leading to more stalemate situations where the enemy sits outside hydro range and cannot be pressured.

Should the Siliwangi decide for a less cap-oriented play-style, she doesn't have many advantages. She lacks the mass fish of a lane-clogger like the Hsienyang with TRB. Without Engine Boost and Repair Party, the Siliwangi cannot run-and-gun like the Russian DDs that she was based upon. And without any anti-air to speak of, she is forced to smoke every time a carrier takes an interest in her well-being. As the chart below illustrates, there just isn't much to build a playstyle on. 

Spoiler

Major differences of Siliwangi, Ognevoi, and Loyang

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Despite several incremental buffs to main battery and torpedo reload,10 the Siliwangi languishes at the bottom of most overall winrate charts.11 While the Fenyang and her 40k clone comfortably occupy the bottom slots of tomato.gg's winrate differential charts,12 the Indonesian DD sits in third-to-last position, causing her players to win 2.95% fewer games than their baseline winrate would predict. Curiously, when we sort for the top 10% of the player base, the Siliwangi performs more towards the middle of the T8 destroyer pack, suggesting that for experienced players, there is a performance floor that can be maintained thanks to the combination of excellent hydro, Pan-Asian smoke, and 10km deepwater torpedoes. Similar to the Fenyang, it seems that any buffs to the Siliwangi should target the weaker section of the player base rather than the veterans. 

Will the buff help?

Call me crazy, but the issues we've outlined above don't sound like something that can be fixed with a humble 7.5% reload buff. As the chart below vividly demonstrates, the Siliwangi's DPM was dogwater and will remain dogwater. This is not a problem that was going to be solved with more mindless dakka; rather it is about deciding what identity of the ship should have and then committing to it with the appropriate balance changes.

Spoiler

HE DPM of T8 Destroyers

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In terms of identities, I could envision three main routes:

  • Cap Contester. This would impinge a bit on the territory of the Loyang, but with better short-area mobility, the Siliwangi could become a formidable cap defender. Key additions would be an Engine Boost (or perhaps a short-duration boost such as the one found on the Ragnar), and/or better acceleration values as on the British DD line. A more out-of-the-box buff could be to add armor to the midsection that can bounce small caliber HE, which would tilt DD vs. DD fights more in the Siliwangi's favor despite her bad DPM.   
  • Generalist. Perhaps the most natural identity for the Siliwangi as a descendant of the Ognevoi. The Generalist role is about having tools for every situation and the longevity to be able to use them. A Repair Party would definitely come in handy here, and/or an Engine Boost for better rotations.13 More main battery range could also be an option so that captains can make use of the comfortable ballistics without having to spec AFT.  
  • Torpedo Boat. The Siliwangi already has above average torpedoes for the tier, but with some buffs they could become the focus of the ship. Adding TRB would probably make her play-style too much like the Hsienyang, but a Monaghan-style 'slow TRB' with a 30s intraclip reload might be an interesting middle road. My suggestion would be to add an extra kilometer or two to her 10km torpedo range, which would push her to the top of T8 torpedo destroyers and help when she has to face T9 and T10 ships. 

Conclusion

Destroyer in search of identity receives small DPM buff that -- to no one's surprise -- probably won't fix a thing.

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Chung Mu (T9)
Torpedo maximum damage reduced: 19,033 -> 17,967.
Torpedo speed reduced: 67kts -> 64kts.

For all the concepts we've already talked about in these articles, we haven't yet discussed the idea that the developer can use nerfs to (not so) subtly discourage folks from taking a certain ship into battle. Somewhere in between the player extremes of 'wouldn't be able to tell the difference between WoWS and Kayak-Simulator 2022' and 'writes graduate papers on balance changes to pixel botes' there is the middle-ground of players who know about the game mostly by hearsay, rumor, and half-truth. These are the folks that get their WoWS-news fourth-hand in a voice-channel on Discord, which often begins and ends with "did you hear that they nerfed the Chung Mu?" To them, it doesn't matter what the nerfs were or how severe their impact, the mere fact that a ship is no longer as good as it was makes it unplayable.14 

Looking at the statistical performance of the Chung Mu, I struggle to find a more plausible explanation than 'WG would like to see slightly fewer of them in the matchmaker.' In terms of winrate, average frags, and average damage, the Pan-Asian DD consistently hovers around 5th place, a rung below the heavy hitters Kitakaze, Benham, Black, Neustrashimy, and/or Mogador.15 The tomato.gg winrate differential16 shows a similar picture: the Chung Mu is towards the top of the tech-tree T9 destroyers, but nowhere near the really broken ships at the tier.

Will the nerfs make a difference?

No. When it comes to torpedo hit rate, the number one stat to look at is reaction time, i.e. how long it takes the torpedo to reach the enemy ship from the moment it is spotted.17 The torpedo's spotting distance does most of the heavy lifting in this equation, meaning that a few knots of torpedo speed more or less hardly matter. Case in point the Chung Mu nerf at hand: decreasing the speed from 67kts -> 64kts will increase the opponent's reaction time from 4.45s to ... wait for it ... ~4.8s. The Pan-Asian DD will still stand head and shoulders above her competition, with the next closest ship having an almost 40% worse reaction time (see chart below). While the slower fish might miss the occasional target at the outer limits of their range, in most applications the difference will hardly be noticeable.   

Regarding torpedo damage, the ~6% alpha nerf will also be on the edge of imperceptible. The Chung Mu remains a scary torpedo boat that can nuke any big ship off the map (see chart below). But more importantly, what makes the Pan-Asian tech-tree DDs so formidable is not so much the raw damage of their danger-pylons but the fact that they each have an incredibly high flood chance. The ability to reliably force battleship DCPs and safely go for perma-fires using the short-cooldown smokes is the core gameplay loop of the Pan-Asian DD line. This powerful synergy of weaponry and consumables is not meaningfully affected by the balance changes.

Spoiler

Tier 9 Destroyers ranked by torpedo reaction time

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Tier 9 Destroyers ranked by salvo damage

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Conclusion

Mystery nerf, seemingly more to lower ship reputation than performance, stumps local analyst. 

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Yumihari (T8)
Sigma value increased: 2.1σ -> 2.2σ
AP shell maximum damage increased: 12,000 -> 12,600.
AP shell penetration slightly increased

For some peculiar reason, Tier 8 tech-tree battleships seem to present a particularly fiendish design challenge for WG. Maybe making a ship that holds up in T10 matches but doesn't completely annihilate T6 teams is like trying to marinate a marmot in marmalade;18 not impossible, but the successes will be outnumbered by the failures. You have the famous and historical Monarch, Kansas, Nebraska, Vittorio Veneto, Hawke, Zieten... for many these represent the low point of their respective lines. Add to this illustrious group the representative for the Japanese sniper-battlecruiser line, the Yumihari -- perhaps the struggliest bus in the misery motor pool.  

The stats aren't pretty. In particular, the tomato.gg winrate differentials19 stand out (NA: -2.13% EU: -2.19% ASIA: -1.7%) which is solidly in last place among tech-tree T8 battleships, though it should be mentioned that damage and frags are about average. Among the top 10% of the player base, which presumably know how to use the Yumihari's tools to their fullest, the average WR, frags, and damage is -- at best -- in the lower midfield.20 Some help was clearly needed, but this just raises a much more difficult question: what kind of help? 

The balancing team decided that the problem was threefold. Firstly, the shells weren't clustered tightly enough on their target, so the sigma value governing this behavior was improved by 5%. Secondly, the shells we're doing enough damage, so they raised it by 5%. Lastly, the shells didn't have enough penetration, so it was "slightly increased." To me, these buffs fail to address the Yumihari's core issues. 

Problem #1 - Plebeian Dispersion 

The Yumihari is genetically disadvantaged: she was born with Japanese battleship dispersion. To recap, the dispersion formula dictates the size of the ellipse in which all your shells will land at any given range (see image below). The sigma value determines the likelihood that your shots will land towards the center of your target ellipse. To be considered a functional artillery platform, a battleship either needs to guarantee that one or two shells will always hit exactly where you aim (sigma), or guarantee that all of them land in a very tight area (dispersion), since most BB shells do a ton of damage either way. In other words, you can make do with good sigma or good dispersion (or decent values of both).

Spoiler

Visualization of the difference between Dispersion and Sigma

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The white ellipse describes the area in which all shots will land. The red ellipse describes the area in which 50% of the shots will land.

At all but the longest ranges, the Yumihari will behave like the République, i.e. not great dispersion but good sigma. 

However, to be accepted as a true blue-blooded sniper, you need both good sigma and good dispersion. Yumihari has the former in spades -- post-buff she will be tied for the best BB sigma in the game. But she will remain hamstrung by the fact that she has normal IJN battleship dispersion, which these days is a long way off from the best. The two charts below illustrate this point: first is a line graph comparing Japanese tech-tree battleship dispersion (which is what Yumihari uses) to other dispersion formulas. Though it does get better with range (or rather it gets worse less quickly with range), it cannot touch "battlecruiser dispersion" or the custom formulas used by sniper royalty like Slava and Tsurugi.

Second is a ranking of high tier battleships by horizontal dispersion when using all available improvements (modules and consumables); here we can see that Yumihari with precision spotter up is still far from the top, even at her own tier! That's how big a difference there is between those that are born with "battlecruiser dispersion" (Champagne, Borodino), and those that have to make up for bad genes with finnicky +10% spotter plane gimmicks.

Spoiler

Comparison of BB Dispersion Formulas

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Tier 8 through 11 Battleships ordered by horizontal dispersion

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To truly overcome the Yumihari's dispersion handicap you would need the Bungo-only +20% precision spotter.

Problem #2 - Wonky AP Shells

Yumihari has some of the strangest shell characteristics out of any high tier battleship. For starters, she has one of the lightest AP shells of any 406mm/410mm gun at 870kg, compared to the 1020kg projectiles fired by the Amagi sisters or the 1225kg super-heavy depleted-unobtanium monster turds flung by the Americans. Unsurprisingly, the lighter shell allows the Japanese sniper BB to generate one of the best muzzle velocities among high-tier BBs at a Slava-esque 870m/s. Much-more-surprisingly, however, the Yumihari's AP has one of the worst air-drag coefficients at T8+, meaning that the shells disproportionately slow down with distance traveled. This push-pull of high initial velocity combined with high air drag is not ideal for an inexperienced player learning how to snipe, especially since this trend is found neither on the preceding Nagato, nor on the subsequent Adatara and Bungo.

To visualize the unique weirdness of the Yumihari's shells, below are two charts showing all high tier battleship AP shells, with Shell Velocity on the X-axis and Air Drag on the Y-axis. Roughly speaking, we can divide the chart into four quadrants. In the top right, we have the shells leave the barrels fast and hardly lose any speed going down range. In the bottom left we have the slow chonky-bois that only get slower over distance. I posit that both of these quadrants are relatively straightforward to master, since the shell characteristics don't meaningfully change over range -- you either always lead very little for the fast shells or by a lot for the slow ones. 

The other two quadrants are where it gets tricky. In the top left we have slow muzzle velocity but no air drag, which require less additional lead with increasing distance. In the bottom right are the fast shells with high air drag, meaning that the player must add extra lead over distance in compensation. Neither of these areas are impossible to master, but they are far from intuitive, especially for inexperienced players. And as we can see in the second chart below, the Yumihari is quite the outlier in a quadrant that is not a common home to snipers. 

Spoiler

Four-Quadrant Categorization of AP Shell Velocity vs. Shell Drag among T8+ Battleships

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AP Shell Velocity vs. Shell Drag among T8+ Battleships

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Problem #3 - Mirror Matchups

When a player queues up for a random battle, the matchmaker will almost always give the other team a ship of the same class and tier. Since the pool of potential mirrors is relatively constant, we can examine the matchups and see where -- assuming that both captains are equally skilled -- the Yumihari might struggle to have equal battle impact. Roughly speaking, we have the following groups: 

  • Secondary Monsters. Bismarck, Tirpitz, Zieten, Massachusetts, Atlântico, Anhalt, Flandre. Equipped for secondaries, these ships only need to press W into the enemy to have an impact on the battle. Yes they will likely explode, but in so doing, they will have likely bought their team some map presence and done some damage -- all without needing much mechanical skill.
  • Tanks. Kansas, NC, Alabama, Vladivostok, Lenin, Roma, Vittorio Veneto. Good armor and/or good damage mitigation consumables. Can sit nose-in to the enemy and absorb a lot of punishment before going down. Even if they don't do much damage, the time and shell count it took to farm them out likely bought their team a chance to accomplish things elsewhere -- again without requiring much skill from the captain.
  • Radar/hydro buoys. Borodono, Constellation, Odin. Park against rock near cap. Press radar or hydro. Repeat until cap is won or ship explodes. Doesn't take a lot of skill but still offers more contribution to winning than sitting at the back sniping. 
  • Roamers. Amagi, Kii, Hawke, Monarch, Vanguard, Champagne, Gascogne. The class that Yumihari competes with directly; all have features that arguably make them more effective given equal skill. Amagi and Kii have 10 gun broadsides that make up for lack of precision with shell volume. Kii and Hawke have torpedoes to use in brawls. Hawke, Champagne and Gascogne have far superior speed, Vanguard has absurd rudder shift and good AA allowing it to kite for days, Monarch will be getting a lot more idiot-proof thanks to a super-heal.   

As this list hopefully shows, the number of T8 battleships that can still have a make meaningful contribution even when piloted by weak players is long. Put another way: in general, the Yumihari player must consistently show greater skill to achieve the same impact as their mirror tier 8 BB.  

Will the buffs make a difference?

In certain scenarios yes; on the whole I am doubtful. The improved sigma seems like boon but is likely to be a double-edged sword. Against stationary soft targets at long range (e.g. aircraft carriers), it will undoubtedly help land the extra shell. But we should recall that an increase in precision (all the shells landing in the same place) also punishes errors in accuracy (where the shells are told to land) to a greater extent.21 The bad dispersion of notorious shotguns like Fusō and New Mexico is very forgiving for new players, who often hit lucky shells that stray far from the intended target point. The opposite will be the case for the Yumihari -- if the player misses, then it will likely be a complete air-ball. Given the wonky AP shell velocity/drag relationship, I can see the sigma buff leading to as much newfound frustration as newfound joy.

The increase in AP alpha from 12,000 -> 12,600 seems more to pad the number of buffs than to effect real change. While it may seem like a 5% improvement, recall that overpens only do a tenth of the listed damage and full pens only do a third. In practice, that will work out to be +60 damage on every overpen and +200 damage on every full pen. Nice to have, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for this buff to turn the Yumihari's fortunes around.

At time of writing, I am unable to evaluate just how much the Yumihari's penetration will change. What we can say is that, while her AP is currently among the weakest of the common BB shells at Tier 8, the difference isn't enormous (see comparison below). For example, at 15km, the Italian 381mm AP (considered one of the punchiest) has 513mm of pen vs. the 'underperforming' 450mm of pen on Yumihari's 410mm AP. The gap slowly widens to 70mm of difference at 20km and 86mm at 25km. I am not an expert in battleship armor, so perhaps there are some multi-layered schemes that can be citadeled by Italian AP but not the Japanese sniper AP. But it seems to me that the Yumihari AP already had all the force to accomplish what the line was designed to do: inflict devastating damage on soft targets like cruisers and aircraft carriers.   

Spoiler

Comparison of Yumihari AP to common BB AP at Tier 8

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Conclusion

Underperforming sniper left un-revolutionized by trio of uninspired buffs.

Spoiler

What should they have fixed instead?

  • Give the Yumihari (and Adatara) the +20% precision spotter.
  • Re-align the Yumihari AP's shell drag with the Adatara and Bungo. 
  • Go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for this all to blow over.

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Yodo (T10)
HE maximum damage increased: 2500 -> 2850.
HE Fire chance increased: 10% -> 12%

This paragraph was originally wall-to-wall expletives. Part of my routine for writing these articles is to play a few rounds in the victims ships in question to make sure that the opinions I had about them still squared with reality. In this process, none have maddened me more than Yodo. Not just because I did poorly in her, which can at least in part be attributed to user-error, but because the contradictions and failings of the ship were impossible to ignore. Playing Yodo is like going out wearing shoes that are two sizes too small -- sure, you can have a successful day, but not a second will go by in which you're not painfully aware that life ought to be a lot more comfortable. 

Hullaciously unfun

The locus of Yodo's problems is her hull. In order to cram six 150mm gun-houses22 into the re-animated husk of a franken-Mogami, WG's naval architects in St. Petersburg created a long bloaty hull with a 940m turning circle that feels like trying to turn a geriatric oil-tanker. Never mind that their past ship designs have made a mockery of the laws of physics -- Italian heavy cruisers turn like destroyers and British light cruisers don't lose any speed when throwing over their rudder -- for some dogforsaken reason the Yodo had to feel every bit as ponderous as her hull would have been in real life.      

Unfortunately, this sluggishness interferes with the intended core-gameplay loop of the Japanese light cruiser. She belongs to the sect of 'torpedo cruisers' (which includes the likes of Jinan and Kitakami) that invest most of their strength into fish dispensers that can far out-spam any destroyer. In order to accommodate so many racks of torp launchers, these cruisers must install them towards the side of the ship rather than center-line. Thus, in order to loose their full compliment, the torpedo specialists must turn both sides of the ship towards the enemy in sequence -- a technique known colloquially as 'spin-to-win' or 'beyblade-ing.' It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this process is rendered unnecessarily tiresome by Yodo's awful turning characteristics.23   

Imagine unironically wishing you were a Jinan

Like many light cruisers, the Yodo is very squishy and has fairly floaty shells. Ideally, such a ship would like to park in cover and lob shells at the enemy without being able to be hit in return. American light cruisers resolve this problem by hugging an island like their waifu. The Yodo could do this, but islands constrain her usage of her torpedoes -- both in terms of where they can be aimed and being able to launch them from both sides of the ship; 'spin-to-win' is generally an open-water tactic. The Jinan and Kitakami resolve this dilemma by bringing their own smoke-screen as portable cover. The Yodo lacks this handy 'instant-asymmetry-generator,' meaning that every time she wants to both use her torps and use her guns she must make herself vulnerable to potentially devastating reprisal.  

Does the Yodo have any tools to make open-water gunnery any easier or safer? Not particularly: the 30mm deck armor and 25mm upper belt armor is highly vulnerable to battleship overmatch; the repair party is bog standard, the maneuverability comparable to a Russian super-cruiser. In practice, this means that there are few places on the map where you could truly consider the Yodo to be 'at home,' i.e. that allow her to play her advantages to the fullest. The choice is often between safety but reduced battle impact (islands) or greater battle impact but constant danger of game over (open water). 

Will the buffs make a difference?

According to tomato.gg,24 over the last two months among the 34 Tier 10 cruisers, the Yodo is 30th for winrate, 26th for average frags, and 33rd for average damage. Presumably the +14% buff to the HE alpha and the +20% buff to the fire chance are to address the latter statistic -- the 56k damage per game that the Yodo has achieved over the last months is a good 10k short of where most T10 cruisers sit. While the increase in HE alpha doesn't really change her position in the T10 cruiser rankings by much (she was upper midfield and remains upper midfield, see charts below), the improved fire chance will bump the Yodo up from Stalingrad fires/minute to Nevsky-level fires/minute. In combination with the prolific torpedo output, this should offer a much better chance to get those follow-up fires without having to expose the squishy hull for longer than needed.

Spoiler

Tier 10 Cruisers ranked by HE DPM

yodo.thumb.png.c9a3b683109b4e97ea0132bc5effbe6d.png

Tier 10 Cruisers ranked by Fires Per Minute

yodo2.thumb.png.730d22e2db5bbded3aa1c4a2e2e02dcb.png

All of that said, I can't help but wonder if the low average damage was really caused by the HE not being up to snuff. Two factors seem to me a more logical cause: 1) the abysmal armor/handling getting many Yodos blown up before they've had a chance to do anything; and 2) the high-detect long-range torpedoes being feast-or-famine weapons that are easily avoided. Unfortunately we don't have a scatter plot to show us the distribution of battles by the amount of damage done or by the survival time. My worry is that all this buff accomplishes is strengthening the Yodo from positions of cover (islands, smoke division), while leaving the average Joe Solo Spin-to-Win with the same devstrike-prone open-water liability as before.

Conclusion

Horrible handling torpedo cruiser receives HE buffs that don't address her fundamentally unfun gameplay loop.

________________________________________________________________

 

Vladivostok (T8)
Detectability range by sea increased: 15km -> 15.4km
All other detectability ranges adjusted accordingly.

One metric that I use to evaluate the "happiness" of a ship in its current state is the wiki change log, a simple yet incredibly useful list of all testing tweaks plus post-release buffs and nerfs. A relatively short list is supportive (though not definitive) evidence of a successful ship concept, a long one can paint a picture of an arduous journey to find a solid identity. The Vladivostok's change log is about as short and sweet as they come; after some misadventures during testing25 the ship has only been touched twice since release in April 2019, once to reduce the sigma (1.7σ -> 1.6σ) and once to standardize the secondary range to 6.6km base. That's been it, until now: in 0.13.4 WG will knock 400m off her base detection.  

Did the Vladivostok's statistical performance merit this mini-nerf? I think a fair case could be made that she is the strongest tech-tree T8 battleship in the game. According to the NA 60-day recent stats on tomato.gg, she's number one in winrate and winrate differential among the free-to-play T8s, with a 1%+ margin between herself and second place;26 she is also the top of the heap in frags per game. The same picture is evident on wows-numbers:27 best among the tech-tree BBs of her tier in terms of winrate and frags when looking at all players, though when sorting for the top 10% she slides down a spot or two. All-in-all, I think we can confidently say that the Vladivostok has been doing quite well for herself and that a small bump down in terms of power-level is defensible.  

Will the nerf make a difference?

Only very slightly, but I think that is the point. The Vladivostok previously sat at the dominant intersection of having near best-in-tier HP (73,600 is second only to Flandre), while also having above-average stealth (15.02km was 10th-best). For a ship that wins games (in part) by attracting fire and then strategically going dark to reposition, this combination of health pool and cloaking ability was perhaps a tad over-tuned. Especially in the competitive game modes such as Ranked and Clan Battles, where a battleship has fewer opponents to worry about, the Vladivostok was a popular and powerful pick; in a 7v7 environment with only T8 firepower at hand, a 73k wall of Russian steel often represented an insuperable obstacle.

Once 0.13.4 hits, the spotting distance for a full-concealment build Vladivostok will be 12.47km instead of 12.16km. That still puts her solidly in the midfield of T8 battleships (see charts below), but closer to the heavy hitters that share her high hitpoint pool and/or her heavy salvo weight. This is great news for all the T8 BBs and BCs that relied on stealth to work around a lack of health/armor, as they just got a 300m reprieve from one of their most dangerous mirror matchups.

Imagine you were driving around in a Hawke or a Yumihari, which in 0.13.3 held a slender 300m-500m spotting advantage over big bad Vlad. You spot the Russian BB, and while you were frantically figuring out whether to try for a ram or risk a turn out, that buffer was already gone. Once in spotting range, a knowledgeable opponent would use the hyper-accurate-below-12km Soviet boomsticks to plant shell after shell in your weak-spots for catastrophic damage. Your day was pretty much over either way. From 0.13.4 onwards, the spotting buffer will buy some precious seconds and meters to extricate yourself from a losing situation. I think the balancing team really nailed this one: the mini-nerf to the Vlad's concealment addresses this problematic matchup without meaningfully shifting the power balance in other areas.    

Spoiler

Tier 8 Battleships ordered by their Surface Detection

vlad1.thumb.png.decb87c6948985ac6975cdad1c15f055.png

Hitpoint Pool vs. Stealth among T8+ Battleships

Vlad2.thumb.png.d28a3dbee93962ed410cda4662cd7815.png

TLDR: If your ship is to the right of the Vlad on this chart, your quality of life just got better.

Conclusion

Stronk boat receives micro-nerf to alleviate the aches of her most problematic matchups. Two thumbs up.  

________________________________________________________________

 

Monarch (T8)
Repair Party consumable is replaced with Specialized Repair Teams consumable similar to Lion, Conqueror.

Looking at the Devblog for Mir Korabley can sometimes feel like Facebook-stalking an ex; I don't recommend it unless the investigator is in a healthy mental space, lesta (ha!) they want to get a strong case of 'grass-is-greener' syndrome. Fortunately, the reality is far more balanced -- the western version has plenty of good things that the Russian version lacks. One of them is that, from the divorce until time of writing, WoWS has had the more courageous balancing team.

This might sound odd coming from a self-styled analyst who spends the bulk of his prose describing how the newest buff will not fix what it proports to fix. Yes, the WoWS balancing team does have its fair share of insipid balancing tweaks, but their number pale in comparison to the sheer mass of milquetoast mini-buffs that MK cranks out every two-or-three patches. Their latest offering was a timid symphony28 of reload, range, sigma, and turret traverse improvements (see chart below) with nary a nerf in sight. Looking at the ships they've chosen to receive minor buffs (Hizen, Anhalt, Anchorage, Poltava, Hampshire, Carnot, Marco Polo, Hector), one gets the distinct impression that the order came from high to poke players into playing them again. 

Spoiler

Mir Korabley 0.13.3 Balance Changes counted by type

image.png.b8a40498af7135be4df6ebf36ae39f10.png

See MK CLOSED TESTING 13.3 (recommendation: use Chrome + translate)

Of course, buffing ships will naturally get folks to dust them off and take them for a spin. But there is a difference between periodically improving every ship's guns to encourage play and actually making interventions to keep the meta healthy. Over time, if all the guns cycle faster, shoot farther, and are more accurate, the variety of the game starts to suffer. Players start to expect every ship to have good gunnery, and will balk at any proposal that dares to go outside of this standard. In the short term such balance tweaks provide a small upswing at the cost of doing long-term damage to the possibility space afforded to designers. 

I think the WoWS balancing team deserves credit for resisting mindless buffs as much as they have -- I am sure the temptation is ever-present. As we talked about in the Meta-Analysis to the 0.13.1 balance changes, I think they've shown more wisdom and more moxy than their MK colleagues, regarding three areas in particular:

  • Nerfing/re-working problematic ships such as submarines, CVs, and Tier 11 cruisers. WoWS has shown itself willing to hammer down some of its most toxic offerings; at time of writing, MK has not meaningfully changed any of these. In general, the Russian developers have been extremely hesitant to nerf even the most obvious problem-children.
  • Looking beyond standard main battery buffs to address specific matchups. Examples include the aforementioned Fenyang torp buff to defend against pushing cruisers or the stealthy Vladivostok's problematic matchups against lightly armored battlecruisers. In the MK balancing passes there are no matchup-based tweaks that are discernable. 
  • A greater willingness to buff with consumables and maneuverability rather than gun-power. Examples include the Khabarovsk getting an improved heal, the California acceleration buffs, the Italian BBs getting better rudder shift, and now the Monarch getting a super-heal. The game isn't made better if the damage outputs keep inflating more than they need to.  

Helping out the Famous and Historical Monarch

Despite several buffs over the years, including to main battery range (18.7km -> 19.2km -> 19.6 km), sigma (1.8σ -> 1.85σ), and repair party (heal stack increased from 60% -> 75%, HP/s regen 0.5% -> 0.6%), the Monarch was considered the ugly duckling of the Royal Navy BB line. The stats bear this out: according to WoWS-numbers she sits squarely in the bottom third for WR, Frags, and Damage no matter if captained by a novice or an expert.29 The 60-day recent stats on tomato.gg paint a similarly grim picture as with Yumihari; the British BB is bottom 5 in terms of overall winrate, winrate differential, and average frags.30 Monarch has been underwhelming since launch. If things are to change, she needs more than half-measures.

Fortunately, swapping Monarch's slightly improved Royal Navy T8 BB-heal for a super-heal is BIG DEAL (see charts below). A super-heal can accomplish in two charges what it took the old repair-party almost five (!) to recover. Besides making the Monarch the hands-down regeneration champion of Tier 8 with a ~60% lead over second place, it also makes her the clear leader in HP healed per minute, which suggests that a more offensive play-style might be sustainable.

More importantly, the Monarch will now have a unique identity apart from the other Royal Navy offerings at the tier. In the past the Vanguard and Hawke were collectively better at everything, with the former being the better open water kiter due to favorable gun angles, excellent rudder, and the better AA suite; and the latter having better offensive capabilities due to the bigger guns, better dispersion, and underwater torpedo launchers. That comparison will be irrelevant from 0.13.4 onwards -- nothing will be able to touch the Monarch's DoT-soaking ability.  

Spoiler

 

Monarch11.thumb.png.b200ab68f558258d04819ed917b50b2d.png

Note: The chart above only takes Base Heals, Emergency Repair Expert, Signal Flag, and Improved Repair Party Readiness into account. Consumables Mod 1 not included. Captain talent bonuses like Yamamoto/Kuznetsov's Emergency Reserve, Yamamoto's Second Wind, Kuznetsov's Will for Victory, Lütjens' Resilient, Cunningham's Equipment Spoils, and Sansonetti's Concealed Reserves are not included. 

Monarch2.thumb.png.1cf7877ec7d765fcd754dc7554cf02ec.png

Note: The above chart uses the formula (60/(Base Heal Duration+ Base Heal Cooldown))*Base Heal HP 

It does not factor in the November Foxtrot signal or Improved Repair Party Readiness since these are accessible to all ships.

The biggest hidden implication of the re-worked Monarch will be on her captain build. Previously, the optimal setup couldn't afford to stray far from the standard BB template: Concealment, Fire Prevention, and Emergency Repair Expert were quasi-mandatory 4pt skills. With a super-heal under your captain's belt and the recently re-worked captain skills to chose from, the world is your oyster. Just a few interesting directions that come to mind:

  • Full Damage. Furious + Heavy AP + Adrenalin Rush + Demo + Flags. At 50% health and on a single fire, the Aggro-Monarch would be flinging out 12,790 damage AP shells every 20s or starting 10 fires per minute. Everything is fun and games until the super-healing battleship starts cycling her guns faster than the large cruisers.
  • Sub Nightmare. AA & ASW Expert + Focus Fire Training + Airstrike Mod + Full Concealment. Dump 5300 dmg bombs on subs every 20s with 8.1km periscope spotting, meaning that in order to spot you, the sub must be within air drop range. In division with a max-surveillance spec German or Russian sub could be a nasty WR-farming combination.
  • Wild Weasel. Emergency Repair Specialist/Expert, Improved Repair Party Readiness, Fire Prevention, Torpedo Lookout System, Vigilance, Steering Gears Mod 1. Maximum bait setup, win games by getting the enemy to waste disproportionate amounts of ordinance on you. Provided the player doesn't take citadel damage, would be a massive pain-in-the-posterior to kill, even for tier 10 ships. 

Even though the buff was ostensibly about upgrading the Monarch's HP regeneration, the result should be a decided improvement in her offensive capabilities. I, for one, look forward to regrinding the line and seeing what new builds are possible. 

Conclusion

Long-suffering ship finally gets the super-help she needed to be her best self. Two famous and historical thumbs up.

________________________________________________________________

 

Final Thoughts

Looking back at all the Napkin Analyses I've done so far, I'm hard pressed to find a set of balance changes that I've liked as much as this one. I think the balancing team deserves a lot of credit for their thoughtful approach to the Fenyang and the Vladivostok, and for their courage in giving the Monarch her long-deserved super-heal. Not included in this analysis but equally positive are their efforts to rein in the over-performing T11 cruisers Annapolis and Condé. That's five out of nine ships that -- in my estimation -- have been helped to a healthier place in the meta. The other four ships are moving in the right direction, I just don't think they're at their destination yet. If WG continues their balancing changes along the lines shown in 0.13.4, then I think we're on the right track. Thank you for reading ❤️

 ________________________________________________________________

 

Footnotes

1 See the Ship Changes section of the wiki article on the Fenyang.

2 The standard equation for HE penetration on destroyers is to divide the caliber by 6 and round up. The Akizuki line sits in the privileged position of having the best gun caliber to HE penetration ratio in the game.

3 Interestingly, cruiser superstructures are 13mm right through T10, which makes the non-IFHE Fenyang one of the best supercruiser farmers at her tier -- the direct damage and Fires per Minute definitely add up. 

4 My new hobby is asking ChatGPT to invent exaggerated idioms that sound real but aren't.

5 The Akizuki and Fenyang have virtually the same AA stats, but with one important difference: the Akizuki's 2.5km shortrange aura has been upgraded to a 3.5km midrange aura on the Fenyang. 

6 NA Server, random battles, all players/top 10%, accessed April 29th, 2024. https://na.wows-numbers.com/ship/3751687376,Fenyang/

7 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 DDs, NA Server, accessed April 29th, 2024. https://tomato.gg/wows/ship-stats/NA/recent?sort=winrate_differential&direction=true 

Spoiler

tomato.gg 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 DDs, NA Server, 29th of April 2024

image.thumb.png.6efebee917cb4ba8a23e2c19d04e35ee.png

8 See MK CLOSED TESTING 13.3 (recommendation: use Chrome + translate)

9 Fun fact, as of 0.13.3, the only DD in all of Mir Korabley that has better base FPM than Fenyang is the Vampire II. 

10 See the Ship Changes section of the wiki article on the Siliwangi.

11 NA Server, random battles, all players/top 10%, accessed May 5th, 2024. https://na.wows-numbers.com/ship/3751687376,Fenyang/

12 See table under footnote no. 7 for the tomato.gg WR differentials among T8 destroyers.

13 You know things are bad when a suggested improvement is: 'be more like Ognevoi.'

14 When it comes to buffs, this effect is much less pronounced in my experience.

15 NA Server, random battles, all players/top 10%, accessed May 6th, 2024. https://na.wows-numbers.com/ship/4180554960,Chung-Mu/

16 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 DDs, NA Server, accessed May 6th, 2024. https://tomato.gg/wows/ship-stats/NA/recent?sort=winrate_differential&direction=true&shipType=all&tiers=0000000001

Spoiler

tomato.gg 60-day Winrate-Differential for T9 DDs, NA Server, 6th of May 2024

image.thumb.png.29c665785fb6d867637213d4a7f51f69.png

17 For more on the reaction time formula, see the wiki torpedo article.

18 Help! I've become addicted to nonsense AI-generated idioms and can no longer= stop myself! 

19 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 DDs, NA Server, accessed May 7th, 2024. https://tomato.gg/wows/ship-stats/NA/recent?sort=winrate_differential&direction=true

Spoiler

tomato.gg 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 tech-tree BBs, NA Server, 7th of May 2024

image.thumb.png.144133d0d5c1ba0c7291c7c59abd51b5.png

20 NA Server, random battles, all players/top 10%, accessed May 7th, 2024. https://na.wows-numbers.com/ship/4076811984,Yumihari/

21 See chart below for a quick refresher on the difference between precision and accuracy:

22 Don't get me started on the un-armored turrets that get knocked out all the time. Somehow these things turn faster than those found on the Worcester, which were the most advanced of their day...

23 It occurred to me that poor turning characteristics of the Yodo were put in as an intentional impediment to the 'spin-to-win' gameplay loop. If so that would be a spectacularly short-sighted decision given that 1) the torpedoes are the Yodo's main advantage she brings to battle; and 2) with all modules and skills the torpedo reload can be brought down to ~76s base, which is begging to spammed.

24 60-day Winrate-Differential for T10 Cruisers, NA Server, accessed May 13th, 2024. https://tomato.gg/wows/ship-stats/NA/recent?sort=avg_frags&direction=true&tiers=00000000001&shipType=all&minBattles=1000&classes=Cruiser

Spoiler

tomato.gg 60-day Winrate for T10 Cruisers, NA Server, 13th of May 2024

image.thumb.png.6181bcfad1cc2969256f713c1405f782.png

25 In one of WG's more mad-scientist moments they earnestly considered a long-range 'deep-water radar' that could only detect battleships and aircraft carriers. Fortunately it collapsed under the weight of its own absurdity.

26 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 Battleships, NA Server, accessed May 15th, 2024. https://tomato.gg/wows/ship-stats/NA/recent?sort=winrate_differential&direction=true

Spoiler

tomato.gg 60-day Winrate Differential for T8 tech-tree Battleships, NA Server, 15th of May 2024

image.thumb.png.6da0f7b0b73eec092f2e9bbf8113d591.png

27 NA Server, random battles, all players/top 10%, accessed May 15th, 2024. https://na.wows-numbers.com/ship/4181669328,Vladivostok/

28 Timid with one exception: the Fenyang +25% DPM buff, where they inexplicably went completely overboard.

29 NA Server, random battles, all players/top 10%, accessed May 14th, 2024. https://na.wows-numbers.com/ship/4181669840,Monarch/

30 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 Battleships, NA Server, accessed May 14th, 2024. https://tomato.gg/wows/ship-stats/NA/recent?tiers=0000000010&classes=Battleship&sort=winrate_differential&direction=true&minBattles=1000

Spoiler

tomato.gg 60-day Winrate Differential for T8 Battleships, NA Server, 14th of May 2024

image.thumb.png.0a93842cee5a942705505b04b04c64bb.png

x In the final balance pass before release, the Fenyang's reload was nerfed from 4.5s -> 5.2s. In 0.12.2 the reload was pushed to its current state of 4.4s -- yet another example of a ship whose pre-release changes were subsequently undone. However because I began my running count with 0.12.10, I won't add her to the running tally.

Have a cookie for reading all the footnotes 😃

________________________________________________________________

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Well, I haven't touched the Vladivostok in a while, but other things being equal, I don't think this nerf will change a thing. I remember Vladivostok being very good at propping up a flank against numbers when bow tanking. I just don't really fancy bow tanking myself, but that apparently seems to be how that ship is meant to be deployed.

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20 minutes ago, Admiral_Karasu said:

Well, I haven't touched the Vladivostok in a while, but other things being equal, I don't think this nerf will change a thing. I remember Vladivostok being very good at propping up a flank against numbers when bow tanking. I just don't really fancy bow tanking myself, but that apparently seems to be how that ship is meant to be deployed.

I love the Vladivostok one of the few ships I have a good win rate in. I have to say I never played her as just a bow tanking BB she hits hard and when angled good is tanky. She can do a lot things I think besides bow tanking but I'm not the best player.

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1 hour ago, torino2dc said:

Yumihari has some of the strangest shell characteristics out of any high tier battleship. For starters, she has one of the lightest AP shells of any 406mm/410mm gun at 870kg, compared to the 1020kg projectiles fired by the Amagi sisters or the 1225kg super-heavy depleted-unobtanium monster turds flung by the Americans. Unsurprisingly, the lighter shell allows the Japanese sniper BB to generate one of the best muzzle velocities among high-tier BBs at a Slava-esque 870m/s. Much-more-surprisingly, however, the Yumihari's AP has one of the worst air-drag coefficients at T8+, meaning that the shells disproportionately slow down with distance traveled. This push-pull of high initial velocity combined with high air drag is not ideal for an inexperienced player learning how to snipe, especially since this trend is found neither on the preceding Nagato, nor on the subsequent Adatara and Bungo.

The light-weight projectile which occupies the same diameter of gun-barrel is naturally going to have a worse ballistic-coefficient.
That is exactly why such projectiles slow down more quickly than heavier & longer projectiles with a better ballistic-coefficient.
But, the lighter projectiles can use the same amount of gunpowder and barrel/chamber pressures to get a faster muzzle velocity.

This may seem unintuitive to some, but it is simply "Ballistics 101" for those of use who've learned about bullets/projectiles.

 

Quote

Ballistics callculator
https://www.federalpremium.com/Ballistics-Calculator

Fire Control Fundamentals, NAVPERS 91900, 1953,
https://maritime.org/doc/firecontrol/index.php
PART C -    THE PROJECTILE IN FLIGHT - EXTERIOR BALLISTICS

https://maritime.org/doc/firecontrol/partc.php
 

Edited by Wolfswetpaws
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1 hour ago, torino2dc said:

Final Thoughts

Looking back at all the Napkin Analyses I've done so far, I'm hard pressed to find a set of balance changes that I've liked as much as this one. I think the balancing team deserves a lot of credit for their thoughtful approach to the Fenyang and the Vladivostok, and for their courage in giving the Monarch her long-deserved super-heal. Not included in this analysis but equally positive are their efforts to rein in the over-performing T11 cruisers Annapolis and Condé. That's five out of nine ships that -- in my estimation -- have been helped to a healthier place in the meta. The other four ships are moving in the right direction, I just don't think they're at their destination yet. If WG continues their balancing changes along the lines shown in 0.13.4, then I think we're on the right track. Thank you for reading ❤️

Thanks for an in-depth write-up.  It was an interesting read.  🙂 

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I played the Yodo almost exclusively for ASB's.....  I like the way she works.......I like the play style of a torpedo heavy, long range, operational level ship. 

Her turn distance is worse than a barge on the Ohio river.....being pushed by a tug.  That is the less-than-reality that confounds and makes this entire game:  eccentric...

With a better turn distance, even with her "issues", she's a lot of fun in:    PVE    and, PVE only.  That entire line is a waste of effort and time for PVP modes IMO....

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23 hours ago, Wolfswetpaws said:

The light-weight projectile which occupies the same diameter of gun-barrel is naturally going to have a worse ballistic-coefficient.
That is exactly why such projectiles slow down more quickly than heavier & longer projectiles with a better ballistic-coefficient.
But, the lighter projectiles can use the same amount of gunpowder and barrel/chamber pressures to get a faster muzzle velocity.

This may seem unintuitive to some, but it is simply "Ballistics 101" for those of use who've learned about bullets/projectiles.

et al...

If this was "bait" for comment.......pass.  Not with a ten foot pole.  Naval Ballistics and Small Weapons Ballistics are apples and oranges.....   And, in a game where "reality" simply isn't the norm, what is there to discuss???  

Wolfie, alien space bats created this game, eh???  Reality went out the window at game start.  Gosh, it's hard some days to play and count on your weapons that, if they want to, simply "do something" else...

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39 minutes ago, Asym said:

If this was "bait" for comment.......pass.  Not with a ten foot pole.  Naval Ballistics and Small Weapons Ballistics are apples and oranges.....   And, in a game where "reality" simply isn't the norm, what is there to discuss???  

Wolfie, alien space bats created this game, eh???  Reality went out the window at game start.  Gosh, it's hard some days to play and count on your weapons that, if they want to, simply "do something" else...

It wasn't "bait".  Could you not overreact so much?  🙂 

The links I included, especially the Fire Control Fundamentals PDF, were a sincere effort to educate everyone.
For some, they're similar to Hermionie Granger's "light reading" adventures.  🙂 


Nicholas Flamel Scene - Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone

 

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1 hour ago, Wolfswetpaws said:

It wasn't "bait".  Could you not overreact so much?  🙂 

The links I included, especially the Fire Control Fundamentals PDF, were a sincere effort to educate everyone.

"Over reacting?"   Oh Kay....   I don't feel as if I'm over reacting?  In fact, I thought you were baiting a reply....  No harm mate.  I replied.

On the topic:  You do realize this game is using Alien Space Bat physics.....yes???   There,  'nuff said.'......

break

I do love that you used 303 examples....  Considering,  I load Russian x54R with 303 bullets for several rifles...  Personally, I prefer to cast my own and get better results for their intended purposes...  BTW, my forum picture is a .314 diameter, 198g Lead GC bullet I have used in the 303 @ .312......   But hey, what do I know??

BTW, a veteran friend of my family  (who will be in Africa the entire month of June for Rhino and Elephant) asked me a while back to develop a light skin animal load for his 375 Ruger....  Now, as soon as he sends me his rifle, "we're off to the races; " and I know, he'll blow coffee out his nose when he finds out I already have a load developed for another "big game hunter:" which,  shoots a GC, hard lead,  flat nosed bullet, used for the late 1890's Marlins... 

I actually shoot my 1893 38-55 Marlin with a 284 grain GC Lead flat nose (28 inch special barrel) for competitive antiques rifle matches !  

Here's a sample.

IMG_0939.thumb.JPG.b04f2b7f6c7d0de5487f601dce2f1fe8.JPG  That is the Gas Checked .377 hard lead bullet and a loaded 38-55 case with that bullet.

I added ^^^ a silver cased 30-06 precision load to give you a size perspective. 

38-55 is one of the Cowboy era, big** bore lever guns.  The 32-20 was the most used cartridge of that era and Marlin's 1889 lever action is what I use for Cowboy Action shooting...  And, it is a tack driver as well - with a 26 inch barrel...

**  the term "big bore" is always subject to interpretation from that era.  Some say 45-70 and up are the big bores and others, 38-55 and up.  What it really comes down to is the rifle frame sizes !  Sigh..... details, details, details.......

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1 hour ago, Asym said:

I do love that you used 303 examples.... 

Thanks.
For decades I owned three rifles chambered for .303 British. 
A Rifle No.1 Mk-III, a Rifle No.1 Mk-1*, and a Rifle No.4 Mk-2.  During the 1990's/2000's, I was a member of a Lee-Enfield rifle oriented forum, and of AR15.com.
I also have two books authored by Ian Skennerton.

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1 hour ago, Asym said:

On the topic:  You do realize this game is using Alien Space Bat physics.....yes???   There,  'nuff said.'......

WOWs uses time-compression and distance compression.  It also distorts the ships to make them easier for players to see.
Topics that reverse-engineered the above phenomena were on the old forum.

Knowing how reality works can be useful to compare with the imperfect in-game environment.  Simply a "frame of reference" thing.

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3 hours ago, Wolfswetpaws said:

WOWs uses time-compression and distance compression.  It also distorts the ships to make them easier for players to see.
Topics that reverse-engineered the above phenomena were on the old forum.

Knowing how reality works can be useful to compare with the imperfect in-game environment.  Simply a "frame of reference" thing.

The old school "Burst on Target" sight correction process I use everyday I play this game....  So, we aren't too away from each other:  other than I don't have a 303 and never will I suspect... 

Back home growing up, at the Deer Hunting camp, we had a hunter with a Savage 99 in 303 --- and he took endless crap from all the other hunters cause it wasn't an American cartridge as the venerable 30-30 is the gold standard.  Of course, my first rifle was a Marlin (gee, I wonder why I collect them?) 336 in 35 Remington...  That, was the subject of endless, until I joined the Army, conversations........sigh.  BTW, I hunt with that rifle to this day and still have the Winchester, yellow and red boxes, with about 30 - 1950's-60's Silver Tips...from my Dad when he passed.   Marlin's because I am Left Handed and Winchesters have a tendency to eject spent rounds in my face....  Marlins side eject away from you !!!  

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Great work. I do like Ship Smasha (Fenyang) buffs and Yodo buffs. Spamming AP rounds in DD I always find novel. 

Yodo was just a mistake. Your team doesn't need a cruiser that spams out long lances with high detectability. No team does. There are so many unexplored ways to make a torpedo cruiser that could be intresting, and this isn't it. But it does damage. Pointless low-impact slowly-cooking he and fire damage, but damage nonetheless. 

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4 hours ago, Itwastuesday said:

Great work. I do like Ship Smasha (Fenyang) buffs and Yodo buffs. Spamming AP rounds in DD I always find novel. 

Yodo was just a mistake. Your team doesn't need a cruiser that spams out long lances with high detectability. No team does. There are so many unexplored ways to make a torpedo cruiser that could be intresting, and this isn't it. But it does damage. Pointless low-impact slowly-cooking he and fire damage, but damage nonetheless. 

🙂

Quote

“- Guy of Gisborne: Why a spoon, cousin? Why not an axe?
- Sheriff George of Nottingham: Because it's dull, you twit. It'll hurt more.”

Sheriff George of Nottingham has said he'll cut out Robin Hood's heart with a spoon

https://www.moviequotes.com/quote/guy-of-gisborne-why-a-spoon-cousin-why-not-an/

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8 minutes ago, Utt_Bugglier said:

I think someone doesn’t grasp what “napkin analysis” means.

Nah, it just means the author could make a much formal, deeper and detailed analysis if he so wanted. Somehow I get strongs vibes that's what he would do if writing these analysis were his regular occupation, but as it is about a hobby, he probably goes easy and tries to keep it light and simple for regular people to enjoy... thus "napkin".

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18 minutes ago, ArIskandir said:

regular people to enjoy... thus "napkin".

No, “napkin,” as in “written or drawn up on the back of a napkin,” as in what someone does to communicate an idea or thought over lunch, when other surfaces to write on aren’t handy.

I read and write as long as what the OP wrote routinely; I never mislead my audience by billing it as “napkin analysis.”

SEVEN (count ‘em seven!) hidden contents windows after declaring “final thoughts.”

This thing cries out for a “TL;DR,” because that’s exactly what I did: it’s far TL, and I DR.

 

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On 5/15/2024 at 2:15 PM, torino2dc said:

As always I hope you enjoy.

I did; thank you. There's not much I can fault here. A typo or two here and there, but nothing egregious.

An excellent summation. 

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9 hours ago, Utt_Bugglier said:

I think someone doesn’t grasp what “napkin analysis” means.

I enjoy the irony 😉

But in all honesty it is also a hedge against being held to Little White Mouse's impossibly high standard. Compared to her, everything else is just napkin scribbles. 

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On 5/16/2024 at 12:45 AM, torino2dc said:

It's been a bit, dear reader, hasn't it? After putting together the first four parts of the monster 0.13.1 balance patch analysis in as many weeks, real life caught up with me and I was forced to take a break. As so often happens, once a rhythm is broken it is disproportionately difficult to pick it up again. Like with re-starting shooty-botes after a longer hiatus, the first days of writing were an infuriating slog of re-learning how to craft an output that flowed well and struck exactly where I wanted it to.

I will admit, too, that it wasn't just real-life fatigue that had caught up with me; I was also a bit worn down from chronicling sad ships and their developer's sometimes ham-fisted attempts at un-saddening them. While the Anna Karenina quote does hold true for WoWS -- every unhappy bote is unhappy in its own way -- I feel the common thread linking most of them was a lack of clarity regarding their purpose and a lack of rigor in helping them achieve it. 

But now we're back with a refreshed appetite for analysis and MS Paint. In this episode we're going to look at the Fenyang, Siliwangi, Chung Mu, Yumihari, Yodo, Vladivostok, and Monarch. Condé and Annapolis were already re-worked once in the previous balance pass, and will address them when I put out the missing pieces of the 0.13.1 balance analysis. If you would like a bite-sized opinion on the T11 cruiser changes right now: nerfs gud, Tier 11 ships too strong.  

"Speaking of the remaining 0.13.1 Napkin Analyses, Torino, don't you still owe us America, Britain, Russia, France, Pan-Europe, and Spain?"

Scratches neck, looks at ceiling, puts on a Pan Am smile.

Yes I do. I'll get to writing/finishing them SOONTM. I'm sorry that I am making you wait; I just can't bring myself to publish something that is half-finished and/or half-effort. I am grateful for your patience. I hope this boatload of ship analysis can tide you over. As always I hope you enjoy.

________________________________________________________________

 

Fenyang (T8)
Torpedoes can now also damage cruisers in addition to battleships and aircraft carriers.

A lot of folks really don't like the Fenyang. I think the Fenyang is one of the most interesting ships WG has ever designed. I will do my best to explain both positions as fairly as possible.

In the Shadow of Ducky

The Akizuki is one of the most universally beloved ships in the game. She ticks all the boxes that various player groups care about: she was built in steel, she's a powerhouse on the battlefield, and (I am told) her anime incarnation is also very likeable. She is in the top 3 most played DDs at her tier, in part because her line is the cheapest way to get Research Bureau points, but also because she makes that grind as enjoyable as could be asked. Judging by the number of WoWS players who have some variant of Akizuki in their name, it is safe to say she is a rock star.

As an Akizuki sister-ship, the Fenyang was thus burdened with enormous expectations. She started out her development journey in 0.9.11 as a fairly straightforward derivative,1 trading the Japanese smoke for the short cooldown Pan-Asian smoke, standard torps for Asashio-style deep-deep-water torpedoes, and picking up Defensive AA. After the first round of testing, however, the designers decided to commit to an enormously consequential decision: they reduced the artificially high 30mm HE penetration from the Akizuki line to the 17mm of pen that the 100mm guns should have had all along.2 To some, this is where Fenyang forever became navis non grata. 

For those not adept with penetration values, 17mm of HE penetration at Tier 8 is hard on the border of unusable. It will only penetrate the destroyer hulls and battleship superstructures at Tier 7 and below, meaning that against the majority of ships in the Fenyang's matchmaking range, it lacks the punch to damage even the softest targets.3 Many players gritted their teeth and invested three captain points into IFHE, but it felt like watering a withered tree with a golden hose.4 Not only did players have to contend with the millstone of bad HE, but at launch they also had to put up with a 5.2s reload that was 73% slower than the Japanese DD's 3s cycle time. It was almost as if WG had made a cruel joke by asking folks to pay for the privilege of playing an enfeebled shadow of their darling Ducky.       

De-Fanging the Fenyang

The developer's decision to enervate the Fenyang's HE is often seen as differentiation for the sake of differentiation. I interpret it differently: the designers had created a monster and were trying to rein it in. As announced in her first devblog, the Fenyang had all the damage-dealing capabilities of an Akizuki, an improved version of the best-in-tier AA-suite of the Akizuki,5 and the two best anti-CV consumables that DD could mount (Defensive AA and short-cooldown Pan-Asian smokes). Especially in a division with a carrier, the Fenyang would have been untouchable. Something had to give.

At this point, the designers must have faced a fork in the road: either strip away the consumables that made the Fenyang a thoroughbred carrier demon, or keep the AA and tone down the prodigious damage output. They chose the latter, and I commend them for it. In a company not necessarily famed for brave decisions, they risked the ire of their community to produce a ship that is far more interesting and clear-of-purpose than if they had hewn close to the original. It would take a while to get there, but the Fenyang and Akizuki are now markedly different ships with very different roles (see chart below). 

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Differences between Fenyang and Akizuki as of 0.13.4

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The concept started to take shape in the first rework of the ship during testing: the HE penetration was lowered to 17mm and the reload was nerfed by 50%, but the fire chance was increased by 60% and the HE alpha was raised by 25%. In short, against T8+ targets the HE would function primarily as a fire-starter; against T6-T7 targets she would maintain a damage output in the upper half of T8 destroyers.

In the second balancing pass during testing, the reload was nerfed again by 15%, but the AP alpha received a 13% buff and improved ricochet angles (60°-67.5°); from this point on it became clear that the design intention was for players to use the AP as the primary ammunition. Since release, the Pan-Asian DD has seen three rounds of reload buffs (5.2s -> 4.9s -> 4.7s -> 4.4s),x as well as a further buff to the AP alpha (1900 -> 2050) which has brought her AP DPM near the top of T8 destroyers and made her #1 in Fires per Minute (see charts below). 

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Tier 8 Destroyers ranked by AP DPM

FenAP2.thumb.png.568dc4b808e09e920725d2f1553f1b31.png

Tier 8 Destroyers ranked by Fires per Minute (FPM)

FenFPM2.thumb.png.39459641aa34de16fa97fd87f8ceb9bb.png

While the design of the Fenyang's damage dealing tools may appear nonsensical to some, they all have one thing in common: they scale with teamplay. The HE might feel anemic in isolation, but when a teammate forces a DCP, it is highly effective at getting permafires. The AP may struggle against bow-on targets, but when an opponent tries to angle against multiple allies, the improved ricochet means the Fenyang will have the highest applied APM DPM at the tier. The torps might not be scary on their own, but they're very stealthy and easily forgotten when a battleship is facing several sources of incoming damage.

In short, the Fenyang has a clear role (anti-aircraft support DD), her tools are aligned with that role, and her damage-dealing scales with how well she coordinates her play with others. Some folks might not like it, but this is good ship-design. Not every ship in the game needs to be optimized for solo-play.

Did the Fenyang need a buff?

Given that the Fenyang's design requires and rewards teamplay, it hardly comes as a surprise that some of her statistics are lackluster. Unfortunately, we don't have separate solo- and division-stats, so when we see the Fenyang and her Warhammer 40k clone Ship Smasha languish at the bottom of the T8 DD WinRate charts for all players,6 it is hard to tell how much of that was due to solo players trying and failing to go it alone. At time of writing, the tomato.gg 60-day winrate-differentials for both ships (i.e. how much better or worse the ships perform than the players' baseline winrate), range from bad to putrid depending on which server you look at.7

However, once we sort for the top 10% of the player base on wows-numbers, the Fenyang's winrate suddenly moves to the top third of her tier with the highest average plane kills at over 10 per match. To me, this would support the thesis that when played in division (ideally with a carrier), the Fenyang is a really solid ship that already has all the help she needs. So the question therefore becomes: how do we help her performance in the hands of a solo player without making her obnoxious in a division?

Buff me gently, Daddy

For a preview on how not to buff the Fenyang, we need only look to the Russian server. In Mir Korabley (MK) update 0.13.3,8 they gave her a 25% (!) reload buff, improving her base reload from 4.4s -> 3.3s. The resultant monster, were it to live on our servers, would easily top the charts for HE and AP DPM among Tier 8 Destroyers, while retaining the extremely strong secondary ammunition characteristics (fire chance and ricochet angles). In particular, I find the Russian Fenyang's 11.48 fires/minute to be hilariously exaggerated, standing almost 40% higher than the next best ship, the Split at 8.3 FPM (see charts below).

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Comparison of Tier 8 Destroyer AP DPM

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Comparison of Tier 8 Destroyer Fires Per Minute (FPM)

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Imagine for minute what it would be like to run into a Fenyang + CV division on the Russian server. Like on WoWS, the nearest cap would be a no-fly-zone, virtually guaranteeing it for the enemy team. But now the monster Fenyang would really go to town, laying into your team more AP DPM than an Edinburgh. If the CV ever forces one of your BBs into a damage control, the monster Fenyang can pop one her many disposable smokes and start fires at the same rate as a Bayard.9 If one of your DDs wants to engage, the Fenyang's improved AP can force it to stay nose-in (lest it eat massive damage) while his CV buddy strikes from the side. A better two-man winrate-farming combo at T8 could hardly be conceived.

Here's the thing: we already have that winrate farming combo in WoWS. The only difference is that the Fenyang doesn't have a bonkers reload. Instead of Edinburgh AP DPM, we're talking about Pyotr Bagration AP DPM. Instead of Bayard fires/minute, we're talking about Auckland fires/minute. In other words, the potential is still there, just not as extreme.

Which brings us back to the question of how to buff the Fenyang, if you don't want to make her broken in division play. Answer: look at matchups. In particular, the Fenyang struggles against nose-in cruisers that can rush her down without fear of eating torpedoes. When paired with a CV, this is less of a concern since the allied carrier usually spots the cruisers before they can try anything funny. But in solo play, where plane cover and/or spotting is not guaranteed, an enterprising cruiser can absolutely use the Fenyang's smoke against her to score an ambush kill.

It is understandable that solo-Fenyang players might not immediately recognize that cruisers have such unbalanced matchup against them; with the buff in 0.13.4 it won't be quite as much of a walk-over. It is also forgivable that folks hopping over from other Pan-Asian ships might forget that the Fenyang had Japanese deep-deep-water torps from the Asashio instead of the normal cruiser-hitting deep-waters that they're used to. I am always in favor of helping the game be more consistent and intuitive to players.    

Conclusion

Surgical buff to help the solo players without overtuning the ship in divisional play. Two thumbs up.

________________________________________________________________

 

Siliwangi (T8)
Main battery reload time reduced: 4.8s -> 4.5s.

The Siliwangi was the outcome of a sweaty late-night tryst involving a severely intoxicated Ognevoi and a Loyang that should have known better. As is so often the case with mutts, traits were passed down somewhat unevenly. From the Russian parent, the destroyer inherited the clunky hull and the good guns; from the Chinese-American parent she got her defining advantage on the battlefield -- the 5.5km hydro-acoustic search. Somehow the anti-air was almost completely left by the wayside. Genetics can be funny like that.   

The Siliwangi could be forgiven for wishing she had better lot in life. In theory, the 5.5km hydro makes her a dangerous cap-contester, able to screen out enemy DDs from behind islands or inside smoke. In practice, the lack of engine boost, wide turning circle, and mediocre rudder shift mean that she struggles to react to the highly dynamic conditions with a cap. Worse still, the enemy DDs know that they don't have to respect her deep-water torpedoes, leading to more stalemate situations where the enemy sits outside hydro range and cannot be pressured.

Should the Siliwangi decide for a less cap-oriented play-style, she doesn't have many advantages. She lacks the mass fish of a lane-clogger like the Hsienyang with TRB. Without Engine Boost and Repair Party, the Siliwangi cannot run-and-gun like the Russian DDs that she was based upon. And without any anti-air to speak of, she is forced to smoke every time a carrier takes an interest in her well-being. As the chart below illustrates, there just isn't much to build a playstyle on. 

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Major differences of Siliwangi, Ognevoi, and Loyang

image.thumb.png.53b885d863157e7c5f4e0e00f930733f.png

Despite several incremental buffs to main battery and torpedo reload,10 the Siliwangi languishes at the bottom of most overall winrate charts.11 While the Fenyang and her 40k clone comfortably occupy the bottom slots of tomato.gg's winrate differential charts,12 the Indonesian DD sits in third-to-last position, causing her players to win 2.95% fewer games than their baseline winrate would predict. Curiously, when we sort for the top 10% of the player base, the Siliwangi performs more towards the middle of the T8 destroyer pack, suggesting that for experienced players, there is a performance floor that can be maintained thanks to the combination of excellent hydro, Pan-Asian smoke, and 10km deepwater torpedoes. Similar to the Fenyang, it seems that any buffs to the Siliwangi should target the weaker section of the player base rather than the veterans. 

Will the buff help?

Call me crazy, but the issues we've outlined above don't sound like something that can be fixed with a humble 7.5% reload buff. As the chart below vividly demonstrates, the Siliwangi's DPM was dogwater and will remain dogwater. This is not a problem that was going to be solved with more mindless dakka; rather it is about deciding what identity of the ship should have and then committing to it with the appropriate balance changes.

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HE DPM of T8 Destroyers

image.thumb.png.e5c79f9364fc5c34ef36e7a5eb8834e9.png

In terms of identities, I could envision three main routes:

  • Cap Contester. This would impinge a bit on the territory of the Loyang, but with better short-area mobility, the Siliwangi could become a formidable cap defender. Key additions would be an Engine Boost (or perhaps a short-duration boost such as the one found on the Ragnar), and/or better acceleration values as on the British DD line. A more out-of-the-box buff could be to add armor to the midsection that can bounce small caliber HE, which would tilt DD vs. DD fights more in the Siliwangi's favor despite her bad DPM.   
  • Generalist. Perhaps the most natural identity for the Siliwangi as a descendant of the Ognevoi. The Generalist role is about having tools for every situation and the longevity to be able to use them. A Repair Party would definitely come in handy here, and/or an Engine Boost for better rotations.13 More main battery range could also be an option so that captains can make use of the comfortable ballistics without having to spec AFT.  
  • Torpedo Boat. The Siliwangi already has above average torpedoes for the tier, but with some buffs they could become the focus of the ship. Adding TRB would probably make her play-style too much like the Hsienyang, but a Monaghan-style 'slow TRB' with a 30s intraclip reload might be an interesting middle road. My suggestion would be to add an extra kilometer or two to her 10km torpedo range, which would push her to the top of T8 torpedo destroyers and help when she has to face T9 and T10 ships. 

Conclusion

Destroyer in search of identity receives small DPM buff that -- to no one's surprise -- probably won't fix a thing.

________________________________________________________________

 

Chung Mu (T9)
Torpedo maximum damage reduced: 19,033 -> 17,967.
Torpedo speed reduced: 67kts -> 64kts.

For all the concepts we've already talked about in these articles, we haven't yet discussed the idea that the developer can use nerfs to (not so) subtly discourage folks from taking a certain ship into battle. Somewhere in between the player extremes of 'wouldn't be able to tell the difference between WoWS and Kayak-Simulator 2022' and 'writes graduate papers on balance changes to pixel botes' there is the middle-ground of players who know about the game mostly by hearsay, rumor, and half-truth. These are the folks that get their WoWS-news fourth-hand in a voice-channel on Discord, which often begins and ends with "did you hear that they nerfed the Chung Mu?" To them, it doesn't matter what the nerfs were or how severe their impact, the mere fact that a ship is no longer as good as it was makes it unplayable.14 

Looking at the statistical performance of the Chung Mu, I struggle to find a more plausible explanation than 'WG would like to see slightly fewer of them in the matchmaker.' In terms of winrate, average frags, and average damage, the Pan-Asian DD consistently hovers around 5th place, a rung below the heavy hitters Kitakaze, Benham, Black, Neustrashimy, and/or Mogador.15 The tomato.gg winrate differential16 shows a similar picture: the Chung Mu is towards the top of the tech-tree T9 destroyers, but nowhere near the really broken ships at the tier.

Will the nerfs make a difference?

No. When it comes to torpedo hit rate, the number one stat to look at is reaction time, i.e. how long it takes the torpedo to reach the enemy ship from the moment it is spotted.17 The torpedo's spotting distance does most of the heavy lifting in this equation, meaning that a few knots of torpedo speed more or less hardly matter. Case in point the Chung Mu nerf at hand: decreasing the speed from 67kts -> 64kts will increase the opponent's reaction time from 4.45s to ... wait for it ... ~4.8s. The Pan-Asian DD will still stand head and shoulders above her competition, with the next closest ship having an almost 40% worse reaction time (see chart below). While the slower fish might miss the occasional target at the outer limits of their range, in most applications the difference will hardly be noticeable.   

Regarding torpedo damage, the ~6% alpha nerf will also be on the edge of imperceptible. The Chung Mu remains a scary torpedo boat that can nuke any big ship off the map (see chart below). But more importantly, what makes the Pan-Asian tech-tree DDs so formidable is not so much the raw damage of their danger-pylons but the fact that they each have an incredibly high flood chance. The ability to reliably force battleship DCPs and safely go for perma-fires using the short-cooldown smokes is the core gameplay loop of the Pan-Asian DD line. This powerful synergy of weaponry and consumables is not meaningfully affected by the balance changes.

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Tier 9 Destroyers ranked by torpedo reaction time

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Tier 9 Destroyers ranked by salvo damage

image.thumb.png.bda9463aeceb3572a2b6e8b16a4e7113.png

Conclusion

Mystery nerf, seemingly more to lower ship reputation than performance, stumps local analyst. 

________________________________________________________________

 

Yumihari (T8)
Sigma value increased: 2.1σ -> 2.2σ
AP shell maximum damage increased: 12,000 -> 12,600.
AP shell penetration slightly increased

For some peculiar reason, Tier 8 tech-tree battleships seem to present a particularly fiendish design challenge for WG. Maybe making a ship that holds up in T10 matches but doesn't completely annihilate T6 teams is like trying to marinate a marmot in marmalade;18 not impossible, but the successes will be outnumbered by the failures. You have the famous and historical Monarch, Kansas, Nebraska, Vittorio Veneto, Hawke, Zieten... for many these represent the low point of their respective lines. Add to this illustrious group the representative for the Japanese sniper-battlecruiser line, the Yumihari -- perhaps the struggliest bus in the misery motor pool.  

The stats aren't pretty. In particular, the tomato.gg winrate differentials19 stand out (NA: -2.13% EU: -2.19% ASIA: -1.7%) which is solidly in last place among tech-tree T8 battleships, though it should be mentioned that damage and frags are about average. Among the top 10% of the player base, which presumably know how to use the Yumihari's tools to their fullest, the average WR, frags, and damage is -- at best -- in the lower midfield.20 Some help was clearly needed, but this just raises a much more difficult question: what kind of help? 

The balancing team decided that the problem was threefold. Firstly, the shells weren't clustered tightly enough on their target, so the sigma value governing this behavior was improved by 5%. Secondly, the shells we're doing enough damage, so they raised it by 5%. Lastly, the shells didn't have enough penetration, so it was "slightly increased." To me, these buffs fail to address the Yumihari's core issues. 

Problem #1 - Plebeian Dispersion 

The Yumihari is genetically disadvantaged: she was born with Japanese battleship dispersion. To recap, the dispersion formula dictates the size of the ellipse in which all your shells will land at any given range (see image below). The sigma value determines the likelihood that your shots will land towards the center of your target ellipse. To be considered a functional artillery platform, a battleship either needs to guarantee that one or two shells will always hit exactly where you aim (sigma), or guarantee that all of them land in a very tight area (dispersion), since most BB shells do a ton of damage either way. In other words, you can make do with good sigma or good dispersion (or decent values of both).

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Visualization of the difference between Dispersion and Sigma

image.thumb.png.916adb2c896807cabc78598c76d2b207.png

The white ellipse describes the area in which all shots will land. The red ellipse describes the area in which 50% of the shots will land.

At all but the longest ranges, the Yumihari will behave like the République, i.e. not great dispersion but good sigma. 

However, to be accepted as a true blue-blooded sniper, you need both good sigma and good dispersion. Yumihari has the former in spades -- post-buff she will be tied for the best BB sigma in the game. But she will remain hamstrung by the fact that she has normal IJN battleship dispersion, which these days is a long way off from the best. The two charts below illustrate this point: first is a line graph comparing Japanese tech-tree battleship dispersion (which is what Yumihari uses) to other dispersion formulas. Though it does get better with range (or rather it gets worse less quickly with range), it cannot touch "battlecruiser dispersion" or the custom formulas used by sniper royalty like Slava and Tsurugi.

Second is a ranking of high tier battleships by horizontal dispersion when using all available improvements (modules and consumables); here we can see that Yumihari with precision spotter up is still far from the top, even at her own tier! That's how big a difference there is between those that are born with "battlecruiser dispersion" (Champagne, Borodino), and those that have to make up for bad genes with finnicky +10% spotter plane gimmicks.

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Comparison of BB Dispersion Formulas

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Tier 8 through 11 Battleships ordered by horizontal dispersion

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To truly overcome the Yumihari's dispersion handicap you would need the Bungo-only +20% precision spotter.

Problem #2 - Wonky AP Shells

Yumihari has some of the strangest shell characteristics out of any high tier battleship. For starters, she has one of the lightest AP shells of any 406mm/410mm gun at 870kg, compared to the 1020kg projectiles fired by the Amagi sisters or the 1225kg super-heavy depleted-unobtanium monster turds flung by the Americans. Unsurprisingly, the lighter shell allows the Japanese sniper BB to generate one of the best muzzle velocities among high-tier BBs at a Slava-esque 870m/s. Much-more-surprisingly, however, the Yumihari's AP has one of the worst air-drag coefficients at T8+, meaning that the shells disproportionately slow down with distance traveled. This push-pull of high initial velocity combined with high air drag is not ideal for an inexperienced player learning how to snipe, especially since this trend is found neither on the preceding Nagato, nor on the subsequent Adatara and Bungo.

To visualize the unique weirdness of the Yumihari's shells, below are two charts showing all high tier battleship AP shells, with Shell Velocity on the X-axis and Air Drag on the Y-axis. Roughly speaking, we can divide the chart into four quadrants. In the top right, we have the shells leave the barrels fast and hardly lose any speed going down range. In the bottom left we have the slow chonky-bois that only get slower over distance. I posit that both of these quadrants are relatively straightforward to master, since the shell characteristics don't meaningfully change over range -- you either always lead very little for the fast shells or by a lot for the slow ones. 

The other two quadrants are where it gets tricky. In the top left we have slow muzzle velocity but no air drag, which require less additional lead with increasing distance. In the bottom right are the fast shells with high air drag, meaning that the player must add extra lead over distance in compensation. Neither of these areas are impossible to master, but they are far from intuitive, especially for inexperienced players. And as we can see in the second chart below, the Yumihari is quite the outlier in a quadrant that is not a common home to snipers. 

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Four-Quadrant Categorization of AP Shell Velocity vs. Shell Drag among T8+ Battleships

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AP Shell Velocity vs. Shell Drag among T8+ Battleships

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Problem #3 - Mirror Matchups

When a player queues up for a random battle, the matchmaker will almost always give the other team a ship of the same class and tier. Since the pool of potential mirrors is relatively constant, we can examine the matchups and see where -- assuming that both captains are equally skilled -- the Yumihari might struggle to have equal battle impact. Roughly speaking, we have the following groups: 

  • Secondary Monsters. Bismarck, Tirpitz, Zieten, Massachusetts, Atlântico, Anhalt, Flandre. Equipped for secondaries, these ships only need to press W into the enemy to have an impact on the battle. Yes they will likely explode, but in so doing, they will have likely bought their team some map presence and done some damage -- all without needing much mechanical skill.
  • Tanks. Kansas, NC, Alabama, Vladivostok, Lenin, Roma, Vittorio Veneto. Good armor and/or good damage mitigation consumables. Can sit nose-in to the enemy and absorb a lot of punishment before going down. Even if they don't do much damage, the time and shell count it took to farm them out likely bought their team a chance to accomplish things elsewhere -- again without requiring much skill from the captain.
  • Radar/hydro buoys. Borodono, Constellation, Odin. Park against rock near cap. Press radar or hydro. Repeat until cap is won or ship explodes. Doesn't take a lot of skill but still offers more contribution to winning than sitting at the back sniping. 
  • Roamers. Amagi, Kii, Hawke, Monarch, Vanguard, Champagne, Gascogne. The class that Yumihari competes with directly; all have features that arguably make them more effective given equal skill. Amagi and Kii have 10 gun broadsides that make up for lack of precision with shell volume. Kii and Hawke have torpedoes to use in brawls. Hawke, Champagne and Gascogne have far superior speed, Vanguard has absurd rudder shift and good AA allowing it to kite for days, Monarch will be getting a lot more idiot-proof thanks to a super-heal.   

As this list hopefully shows, the number of T8 battleships that can still have a make meaningful contribution even when piloted by weak players is long. Put another way: in general, the Yumihari player must consistently show greater skill to achieve the same impact as their mirror tier 8 BB.  

Will the buffs make a difference?

In certain scenarios yes; on the whole I am doubtful. The improved sigma seems like boon but is likely to be a double-edged sword. Against stationary soft targets at long range (e.g. aircraft carriers), it will undoubtedly help land the extra shell. But we should recall that an increase in precision (all the shells landing in the same place) also punishes errors in accuracy (where the shells are told to land) to a greater extent.21 The bad dispersion of notorious shotguns like Fusō and New Mexico is very forgiving for new players, who often hit lucky shells that stray far from the intended target point. The opposite will be the case for the Yumihari -- if the player misses, then it will likely be a complete air-ball. Given the wonky AP shell velocity/drag relationship, I can see the sigma buff leading to as much newfound frustration as newfound joy.

The increase in AP alpha from 12,000 -> 12,600 seems more to pad the number of buffs than to effect real change. While it may seem like a 5% improvement, recall that overpens only do a tenth of the listed damage and full pens only do a third. In practice, that will work out to be +60 damage on every overpen and +200 damage on every full pen. Nice to have, but I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for this buff to turn the Yumihari's fortunes around.

At time of writing, I am unable to evaluate just how much the Yumihari's penetration will change. What we can say is that, while her AP is currently among the weakest of the common BB shells at Tier 8, the difference isn't enormous (see comparison below). For example, at 15km, the Italian 381mm AP (considered one of the punchiest) has 513mm of pen vs. the 'underperforming' 450mm of pen on Yumihari's 410mm AP. The gap slowly widens to 70mm of difference at 20km and 86mm at 25km. I am not an expert in battleship armor, so perhaps there are some multi-layered schemes that can be citadeled by Italian AP but not the Japanese sniper AP. But it seems to me that the Yumihari AP already had all the force to accomplish what the line was designed to do: inflict devastating damage on soft targets like cruisers and aircraft carriers.   

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Comparison of Yumihari AP to common BB AP at Tier 8

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Conclusion

Underperforming sniper left un-revolutionized by trio of uninspired buffs.

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What should they have fixed instead?

  • Give the Yumihari (and Adatara) the +20% precision spotter.
  • Re-align the Yumihari AP's shell drag with the Adatara and Bungo. 
  • Go to the Winchester, have a nice cold pint, and wait for this all to blow over.

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Yodo (T10)
HE maximum damage increased: 2500 -> 2850.
HE Fire chance increased: 10% -> 12%

This paragraph was originally wall-to-wall expletives. Part of my routine for writing these articles is to play a few rounds in the victims ships in question to make sure that the opinions I had about them still squared with reality. In this process, none have maddened me more than Yodo. Not just because I did poorly in her, which can at least in part be attributed to user-error, but because the contradictions and failings of the ship were impossible to ignore. Playing Yodo is like going out wearing shoes that are two sizes too small -- sure, you can have a successful day, but not a second will go by in which you're not painfully aware that life ought to be a lot more comfortable. 

Hullaciously unfun

The locus of Yodo's problems is her hull. In order to cram six 150mm gun-houses22 into the re-animated husk of a franken-Mogami, WG's naval architects in St. Petersburg created a long bloaty hull with a 940m turning circle that feels like trying to turn a geriatric oil-tanker. Never mind that their past ship designs have made a mockery of the laws of physics -- Italian heavy cruisers turn like destroyers and British light cruisers don't lose any speed when throwing over their rudder -- for some dogforsaken reason the Yodo had to feel every bit as ponderous as her hull would have been in real life.      

Unfortunately, this sluggishness interferes with the intended core-gameplay loop of the Japanese light cruiser. She belongs to the sect of 'torpedo cruisers' (which includes the likes of Jinan and Kitakami) that invest most of their strength into fish dispensers that can far out-spam any destroyer. In order to accommodate so many racks of torp launchers, these cruisers must install them towards the side of the ship rather than center-line. Thus, in order to loose their full compliment, the torpedo specialists must turn both sides of the ship towards the enemy in sequence -- a technique known colloquially as 'spin-to-win' or 'beyblade-ing.' It doesn't take a genius to figure out that this process is rendered unnecessarily tiresome by Yodo's awful turning characteristics.23   

Imagine unironically wishing you were a Jinan

Like many light cruisers, the Yodo is very squishy and has fairly floaty shells. Ideally, such a ship would like to park in cover and lob shells at the enemy without being able to be hit in return. American light cruisers resolve this problem by hugging an island like their waifu. The Yodo could do this, but islands constrain her usage of her torpedoes -- both in terms of where they can be aimed and being able to launch them from both sides of the ship; 'spin-to-win' is generally an open-water tactic. The Jinan and Kitakami resolve this dilemma by bringing their own smoke-screen as portable cover. The Yodo lacks this handy 'instant-asymmetry-generator,' meaning that every time she wants to both use her torps and use her guns she must make herself vulnerable to potentially devastating reprisal.  

Does the Yodo have any tools to make open-water gunnery any easier or safer? Not particularly: the 30mm deck armor and 25mm upper belt armor is highly vulnerable to battleship overmatch; the repair party is bog standard, the maneuverability comparable to a Russian super-cruiser. In practice, this means that there are few places on the map where you could truly consider the Yodo to be 'at home,' i.e. that allow her to play her advantages to the fullest. The choice is often between safety but reduced battle impact (islands) or greater battle impact but constant danger of game over (open water). 

Will the buffs make a difference?

According to tomato.gg,24 over the last two months among the 34 Tier 10 cruisers, the Yodo is 30th for winrate, 26th for average frags, and 33rd for average damage. Presumably the +14% buff to the HE alpha and the +20% buff to the fire chance are to address the latter statistic -- the 56k damage per game that the Yodo has achieved over the last months is a good 10k short of where most T10 cruisers sit. While the increase in HE alpha doesn't really change her position in the T10 cruiser rankings by much (she was upper midfield and remains upper midfield, see charts below), the improved fire chance will bump the Yodo up from Stalingrad fires/minute to Nevsky-level fires/minute. In combination with the prolific torpedo output, this should offer a much better chance to get those follow-up fires without having to expose the squishy hull for longer than needed.

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Tier 10 Cruisers ranked by HE DPM

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Tier 10 Cruisers ranked by Fires Per Minute

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All of that said, I can't help but wonder if the low average damage was really caused by the HE not being up to snuff. Two factors seem to me a more logical cause: 1) the abysmal armor/handling getting many Yodos blown up before they've had a chance to do anything; and 2) the high-detect long-range torpedoes being feast-or-famine weapons that are easily avoided. Unfortunately we don't have a scatter plot to show us the distribution of battles by the amount of damage done or by the survival time. My worry is that all this buff accomplishes is strengthening the Yodo from positions of cover (islands, smoke division), while leaving the average Joe Solo Spin-to-Win with the same devstrike-prone open-water liability as before.

Conclusion

Horrible handling torpedo cruiser receives HE buffs that don't address her fundamentally unfun gameplay loop.

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Vladivostok (T8)
Detectability range by sea increased: 15km -> 15.4km
All other detectability ranges adjusted accordingly.

One metric that I use to evaluate the "happiness" of a ship in its current state is the wiki change log, a simple yet incredibly useful list of all testing tweaks plus post-release buffs and nerfs. A relatively short list is supportive (though not definitive) evidence of a successful ship concept, a long one can paint a picture of an arduous journey to find a solid identity. The Vladivostok's change log is about as short and sweet as they come; after some misadventures during testing25 the ship has only been touched twice since release in April 2019, once to reduce the sigma (1.7σ -> 1.6σ) and once to standardize the secondary range to 6.6km base. That's been it, until now: in 0.13.4 WG will knock 400m off her base detection.  

Did the Vladivostok's statistical performance merit this mini-nerf? I think a fair case could be made that she is the strongest tech-tree T8 battleship in the game. According to the NA 60-day recent stats on tomato.gg, she's number one in winrate and winrate differential among the free-to-play T8s, with a 1%+ margin between herself and second place;26 she is also the top of the heap in frags per game. The same picture is evident on wows-numbers:27 best among the tech-tree BBs of her tier in terms of winrate and frags when looking at all players, though when sorting for the top 10% she slides down a spot or two. All-in-all, I think we can confidently say that the Vladivostok has been doing quite well for herself and that a small bump down in terms of power-level is defensible.  

Will the nerf make a difference?

Only very slightly, but I think that is the point. The Vladivostok previously sat at the dominant intersection of having near best-in-tier HP (73,600 is second only to Flandre), while also having above-average stealth (15.02km was 10th-best). For a ship that wins games (in part) by attracting fire and then strategically going dark to reposition, this combination of health pool and cloaking ability was perhaps a tad over-tuned. Especially in the competitive game modes such as Ranked and Clan Battles, where a battleship has fewer opponents to worry about, the Vladivostok was a popular and powerful pick; in a 7v7 environment with only T8 firepower at hand, a 73k wall of Russian steel often represented an insuperable obstacle.

Once 0.13.4 hits, the spotting distance for a full-concealment build Vladivostok will be 12.47km instead of 12.16km. That still puts her solidly in the midfield of T8 battleships (see charts below), but closer to the heavy hitters that share her high hitpoint pool and/or her heavy salvo weight. This is great news for all the T8 BBs and BCs that relied on stealth to work around a lack of health/armor, as they just got a 300m reprieve from one of their most dangerous mirror matchups.

Imagine you were driving around in a Hawke or a Yumihari, which in 0.13.3 held a slender 300m-500m spotting advantage over big bad Vlad. You spot the Russian BB, and while you were frantically figuring out whether to try for a ram or risk a turn out, that buffer was already gone. Once in spotting range, a knowledgeable opponent would use the hyper-accurate-below-12km Soviet boomsticks to plant shell after shell in your weak-spots for catastrophic damage. Your day was pretty much over either way. From 0.13.4 onwards, the spotting buffer will buy some precious seconds and meters to extricate yourself from a losing situation. I think the balancing team really nailed this one: the mini-nerf to the Vlad's concealment addresses this problematic matchup without meaningfully shifting the power balance in other areas.    

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Tier 8 Battleships ordered by their Surface Detection

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Hitpoint Pool vs. Stealth among T8+ Battleships

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TLDR: If your ship is to the right of the Vlad on this chart, your quality of life just got better.

Conclusion

Stronk boat receives micro-nerf to alleviate the aches of her most problematic matchups. Two thumbs up.  

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Monarch (T8)
Repair Party consumable is replaced with Specialized Repair Teams consumable similar to Lion, Conqueror.

Looking at the Devblog for Mir Korabley can sometimes feel like Facebook-stalking an ex; I don't recommend it unless the investigator is in a healthy mental space, lesta (ha!) they want to get a strong case of 'grass-is-greener' syndrome. Fortunately, the reality is far more balanced -- the western version has plenty of good things that the Russian version lacks. One of them is that, from the divorce until time of writing, WoWS has had the more courageous balancing team.

This might sound odd coming from a self-styled analyst who spends the bulk of his prose describing how the newest buff will not fix what it proports to fix. Yes, the WoWS balancing team does have its fair share of insipid balancing tweaks, but their number pale in comparison to the sheer mass of milquetoast mini-buffs that MK cranks out every two-or-three patches. Their latest offering was a timid symphony28 of reload, range, sigma, and turret traverse improvements (see chart below) with nary a nerf in sight. Looking at the ships they've chosen to receive minor buffs (Hizen, Anhalt, Anchorage, Poltava, Hampshire, Carnot, Marco Polo, Hector), one gets the distinct impression that the order came from high to poke players into playing them again. 

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Mir Korabley 0.13.3 Balance Changes counted by type

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See MK CLOSED TESTING 13.3 (recommendation: use Chrome + translate)

Of course, buffing ships will naturally get folks to dust them off and take them for a spin. But there is a difference between periodically improving every ship's guns to encourage play and actually making interventions to keep the meta healthy. Over time, if all the guns cycle faster, shoot farther, and are more accurate, the variety of the game starts to suffer. Players start to expect every ship to have good gunnery, and will balk at any proposal that dares to go outside of this standard. In the short term such balance tweaks provide a small upswing at the cost of doing long-term damage to the possibility space afforded to designers. 

I think the WoWS balancing team deserves credit for resisting mindless buffs as much as they have -- I am sure the temptation is ever-present. As we talked about in the Meta-Analysis to the 0.13.1 balance changes, I think they've shown more wisdom and more moxy than their MK colleagues, regarding three areas in particular:

  • Nerfing/re-working problematic ships such as submarines, CVs, and Tier 11 cruisers. WoWS has shown itself willing to hammer down some of its most toxic offerings; at time of writing, MK has not meaningfully changed any of these. In general, the Russian developers have been extremely hesitant to nerf even the most obvious problem-children.
  • Looking beyond standard main battery buffs to address specific matchups. Examples include the aforementioned Fenyang torp buff to defend against pushing cruisers or the stealthy Vladivostok's problematic matchups against lightly armored battlecruisers. In the MK balancing passes there are no matchup-based tweaks that are discernable. 
  • A greater willingness to buff with consumables and maneuverability rather than gun-power. Examples include the Khabarovsk getting an improved heal, the California acceleration buffs, the Italian BBs getting better rudder shift, and now the Monarch getting a super-heal. The game isn't made better if the damage outputs keep inflating more than they need to.  

Helping out the Famous and Historical Monarch

Despite several buffs over the years, including to main battery range (18.7km -> 19.2km -> 19.6 km), sigma (1.8σ -> 1.85σ), and repair party (heal stack increased from 60% -> 75%, HP/s regen 0.5% -> 0.6%), the Monarch was considered the ugly duckling of the Royal Navy BB line. The stats bear this out: according to WoWS-numbers she sits squarely in the bottom third for WR, Frags, and Damage no matter if captained by a novice or an expert.29 The 60-day recent stats on tomato.gg paint a similarly grim picture as with Yumihari; the British BB is bottom 5 in terms of overall winrate, winrate differential, and average frags.30 Monarch has been underwhelming since launch. If things are to change, she needs more than half-measures.

Fortunately, swapping Monarch's slightly improved Royal Navy T8 BB-heal for a super-heal is BIG DEAL (see charts below). A super-heal can accomplish in two charges what it took the old repair-party almost five (!) to recover. Besides making the Monarch the hands-down regeneration champion of Tier 8 with a ~60% lead over second place, it also makes her the clear leader in HP healed per minute, which suggests that a more offensive play-style might be sustainable.

More importantly, the Monarch will now have a unique identity apart from the other Royal Navy offerings at the tier. In the past the Vanguard and Hawke were collectively better at everything, with the former being the better open water kiter due to favorable gun angles, excellent rudder, and the better AA suite; and the latter having better offensive capabilities due to the bigger guns, better dispersion, and underwater torpedo launchers. That comparison will be irrelevant from 0.13.4 onwards -- nothing will be able to touch the Monarch's DoT-soaking ability.  

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Note: The chart above only takes Base Heals, Emergency Repair Expert, Signal Flag, and Improved Repair Party Readiness into account. Consumables Mod 1 not included. Captain talent bonuses like Yamamoto/Kuznetsov's Emergency Reserve, Yamamoto's Second Wind, Kuznetsov's Will for Victory, Lütjens' Resilient, Cunningham's Equipment Spoils, and Sansonetti's Concealed Reserves are not included. 

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Note: The above chart uses the formula (60/(Base Heal Duration+ Base Heal Cooldown))*Base Heal HP 

It does not factor in the November Foxtrot signal or Improved Repair Party Readiness since these are accessible to all ships.

The biggest hidden implication of the re-worked Monarch will be on her captain build. Previously, the optimal setup couldn't afford to stray far from the standard BB template: Concealment, Fire Prevention, and Emergency Repair Expert were quasi-mandatory 4pt skills. With a super-heal under your captain's belt and the recently re-worked captain skills to chose from, the world is your oyster. Just a few interesting directions that come to mind:

  • Full Damage. Furious + Heavy AP + Adrenalin Rush + Demo + Flags. At 50% health and on a single fire, the Aggro-Monarch would be flinging out 12,790 damage AP shells every 20s or starting 10 fires per minute. Everything is fun and games until the super-healing battleship starts cycling her guns faster than the large cruisers.
  • Sub Nightmare. AA & ASW Expert + Focus Fire Training + Airstrike Mod + Full Concealment. Dump 5300 dmg bombs on subs every 20s with 8.1km periscope spotting, meaning that in order to spot you, the sub must be within air drop range. In division with a max-surveillance spec German or Russian sub could be a nasty WR-farming combination.
  • Wild Weasel. Emergency Repair Specialist/Expert, Improved Repair Party Readiness, Fire Prevention, Torpedo Lookout System, Vigilance, Steering Gears Mod 1. Maximum bait setup, win games by getting the enemy to waste disproportionate amounts of ordinance on you. Provided the player doesn't take citadel damage, would be a massive pain-in-the-posterior to kill, even for tier 10 ships. 

Even though the buff was ostensibly about upgrading the Monarch's HP regeneration, the result should be a decided improvement in her offensive capabilities. I, for one, look forward to regrinding the line and seeing what new builds are possible. 

Conclusion

Long-suffering ship finally gets the super-help she needed to be her best self. Two famous and historical thumbs up.

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Final Thoughts

Looking back at all the Napkin Analyses I've done so far, I'm hard pressed to find a set of balance changes that I've liked as much as this one. I think the balancing team deserves a lot of credit for their thoughtful approach to the Fenyang and the Vladivostok, and for their courage in giving the Monarch her long-deserved super-heal. Not included in this analysis but equally positive are their efforts to rein in the over-performing T11 cruisers Annapolis and Condé. That's five out of nine ships that -- in my estimation -- have been helped to a healthier place in the meta. The other four ships are moving in the right direction, I just don't think they're at their destination yet. If WG continues their balancing changes along the lines shown in 0.13.4, then I think we're on the right track. Thank you for reading ❤️

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Footnotes

1 See the Ship Changes section of the wiki article on the Fenyang.

2 The standard equation for HE penetration on destroyers is to divide the caliber by 6 and round up. The Akizuki line sits in the privileged position of having the best gun caliber to HE penetration ratio in the game.

3 Interestingly, cruiser superstructures are 13mm right through T10, which makes the non-IFHE Fenyang one of the best supercruiser farmers at her tier -- the direct damage and Fires per Minute definitely add up. 

4 My new hobby is asking ChatGPT to invent exaggerated idioms that sound real but aren't.

5 The Akizuki and Fenyang have virtually the same AA stats, but with one important difference: the Akizuki's 2.5km shortrange aura has been upgraded to a 3.5km midrange aura on the Fenyang. 

6 NA Server, random battles, all players/top 10%, accessed April 29th, 2024. https://na.wows-numbers.com/ship/3751687376,Fenyang/

7 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 DDs, NA Server, accessed April 29th, 2024. https://tomato.gg/wows/ship-stats/NA/recent?sort=winrate_differential&direction=true 

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tomato.gg 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 DDs, NA Server, 29th of April 2024

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8 See MK CLOSED TESTING 13.3 (recommendation: use Chrome + translate)

9 Fun fact, as of 0.13.3, the only DD in all of Mir Korabley that has better base FPM than Fenyang is the Vampire II. 

10 See the Ship Changes section of the wiki article on the Siliwangi.

11 NA Server, random battles, all players/top 10%, accessed May 5th, 2024. https://na.wows-numbers.com/ship/3751687376,Fenyang/

12 See table under footnote no. 7 for the tomato.gg WR differentials among T8 destroyers.

13 You know things are bad when a suggested improvement is: 'be more like Ognevoi.'

14 When it comes to buffs, this effect is much less pronounced in my experience.

15 NA Server, random battles, all players/top 10%, accessed May 6th, 2024. https://na.wows-numbers.com/ship/4180554960,Chung-Mu/

16 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 DDs, NA Server, accessed May 6th, 2024. https://tomato.gg/wows/ship-stats/NA/recent?sort=winrate_differential&direction=true&shipType=all&tiers=0000000001

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tomato.gg 60-day Winrate-Differential for T9 DDs, NA Server, 6th of May 2024

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17 For more on the reaction time formula, see the wiki torpedo article.

18 Help! I've become addicted to nonsense AI-generated idioms and can no longer= stop myself! 

19 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 DDs, NA Server, accessed May 7th, 2024. https://tomato.gg/wows/ship-stats/NA/recent?sort=winrate_differential&direction=true

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tomato.gg 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 tech-tree BBs, NA Server, 7th of May 2024

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20 NA Server, random battles, all players/top 10%, accessed May 7th, 2024. https://na.wows-numbers.com/ship/4076811984,Yumihari/

21 See chart below for a quick refresher on the difference between precision and accuracy:

22 Don't get me started on the un-armored turrets that get knocked out all the time. Somehow these things turn faster than those found on the Worcester, which were the most advanced of their day...

23 It occurred to me that poor turning characteristics of the Yodo were put in as an intentional impediment to the 'spin-to-win' gameplay loop. If so that would be a spectacularly short-sighted decision given that 1) the torpedoes are the Yodo's main advantage she brings to battle; and 2) with all modules and skills the torpedo reload can be brought down to ~76s base, which is begging to spammed.

24 60-day Winrate-Differential for T10 Cruisers, NA Server, accessed May 13th, 2024. https://tomato.gg/wows/ship-stats/NA/recent?sort=avg_frags&direction=true&tiers=00000000001&shipType=all&minBattles=1000&classes=Cruiser

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tomato.gg 60-day Winrate for T10 Cruisers, NA Server, 13th of May 2024

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25 In one of WG's more mad-scientist moments they earnestly considered a long-range 'deep-water radar' that could only detect battleships and aircraft carriers. Fortunately it collapsed under the weight of its own absurdity.

26 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 Battleships, NA Server, accessed May 15th, 2024. https://tomato.gg/wows/ship-stats/NA/recent?sort=winrate_differential&direction=true

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tomato.gg 60-day Winrate Differential for T8 tech-tree Battleships, NA Server, 15th of May 2024

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27 NA Server, random battles, all players/top 10%, accessed May 15th, 2024. https://na.wows-numbers.com/ship/4181669328,Vladivostok/

28 Timid with one exception: the Fenyang +25% DPM buff, where they inexplicably went completely overboard.

29 NA Server, random battles, all players/top 10%, accessed May 14th, 2024. https://na.wows-numbers.com/ship/4181669840,Monarch/

30 60-day Winrate-Differential for T8 Battleships, NA Server, accessed May 14th, 2024. https://tomato.gg/wows/ship-stats/NA/recent?tiers=0000000010&classes=Battleship&sort=winrate_differential&direction=true&minBattles=1000

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tomato.gg 60-day Winrate Differential for T8 Battleships, NA Server, 14th of May 2024

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x In the final balance pass before release, the Fenyang's reload was nerfed from 4.5s -> 5.2s. In 0.12.2 the reload was pushed to its current state of 4.4s -- yet another example of a ship whose pre-release changes were subsequently undone. However because I began my running count with 0.12.10, I won't add her to the running tally.

Have a cookie for reading all the footnotes 😃

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it's hard to say.......but marco polo need buff...... as everyone know that italian shells all got better penetration(except lauria her shells are thunderor's copy)and also they use SAP to replace HE & got slowly reload......but normal italian usually use more shells to offset longer reload time,marco polo just as same as other tier 9 bbs.Not to mention he gains a reload speed similar to kearsarge(The latter has 12 tubes of 406)these made marco polo bacome a contradictory individual.Playing with the goal of harvesting meaningless damage will suffer from extremely long reload times,and players whose main gameplay is critical kills/critical rounds will miss out on opportunities due to his poor accuracy and reload time.Now she is indeed an all-rounder, but this only shows that she is not proficient in all abilities.On the contrary, all her abilities are due to her shell index

Edited by Kawaii_shirasu_azusa
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