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Greetings, fellow captains! I will be reviewing all premium aircraft carriers (CV) in World of Warships PC excluding Indomitable because it has not been released yet. I am going to start with Ark Royal first because she is a tier 6 CV. A. Technical & historical overview The first British aircraft carrier of the new generation. She was equipped with a continuous flight deck and modern equipment for aircraft landing and takeoff. She was infamous with the contribution of the sinking of Kriegsmarine BB Bismarck. B. Comparison with CV of same tier a) Plane hitpoint (HP) without another addition factor First of all, let’s have a look at the HP of planes of Ark Royal and the comparison with the other three CV of tier 6. Ark Royal uses tier 5 Blackburn Skua rocket plane (rocket attacker/RA) that has 1820 HP, making her the second tankiest rocket attacker among the other tier 6 CV. For the dive and torpedo bombers, she uses the tier 4 Fairey Swordfish having 1550 and 1500 HP respectively. These put her on par with the upgraded DB & TB modules on Ryujo. In an attacking flight, Ark’s DB & TB seem to have HP advantage over those on the other tier 6 CV except for Ranger’s upgraded DB. This is due to the fact that she brings 3 planes per strike run compared to the others; for example, Ryujo brings 2 TB per strike run compared to Ark’s 3. Needless to say, these hold true for the total HP of planes of the entire squadron. Ark has maximum 9 planes in a squadron compared to a maximum 8 for Ranger & Ryujo with Ranger’s DB having 9 planes per squadron. b) Hangar capacity From the beginning, Ark Royal has 14 planes of each type, summing up to 42 planes in total. For the rocket attackers (RA), Ark has the highest number of them compared to the other tier 6 CV. Meanwhile for the DB, she is on par with that of Ranger. Compared to the other tier 6 CV, she has the most number of TB just like the RA. Considering her planes are all downtiered, she is given more planes compared to the others. If Ark takes a squadron off her flight deck, she will have 5 spare of that type left. This is because she can have up to 9 planes in a complete squadron for each type of plane. To avoid losing too many planes in an initial attack, a player can do squadron shortening which I will discuss later in the recommended playstyle section. Squadron shortening is recommended in order to get a full squadron of planes in the follow-up attacks. c) Aircraft restoration time with Air Supremacy commander skill Aircraft Supremacy is a 1-point commander skill which reduces the aircraft restoration time by 5%. Based on Figure 5, Ark Royal’s planes have the shortest restoration time for all types of plane except for the DB which is the same as that of Ranger. This makes sense as her planes are all downtiered with RA being the only type of plane at tier 5 as the highest tier of plane that she has. Faster aircraft restoration means that she is unlikely to be deplaned fast compared to the other tier 6 CV such as her British counterpart, Furious which has the longest aircraft restoration time of all types of plane. However, this does not mean that a player should waste their planes to AA especially against tier 7 & 8 ships. d) Aircraft cruising & maximum speed The graphs in Figure 6 and 7 show the aircraft cruising & maximum speed respectively after taking Improved Engines commander skill which increases the plane cruising speed by 2.5%. For all types of plane, Ark Royal has the slowest planes out of all the other tier 6 CV. This is again because her planes are tier 4 biplane Swordfish. The TB & DB are the exact same plane used for Tier 4 Hermes‘ DB. Her planes are easily shot down by AA because the slower your planes in AA aura, the more AA damage they receive and the easier they get shot down. The planes also turn around very slowly in hostile AA aura. This is again why squadron shortening is required which will be discussed later. Since the RA are the fastest plane type, you can scout using them first and hurt enemy DD for initial attack. e) Strike planes i) Rocket attacker Ark Royal uses RP-3 60lb HE No! Mk.I rocket which is exactly the same rocket found on the upgraded RA module on Furious. Your strike loadout is 3 RA attack runs in a squadron with 3 planes each. One plane brings 4 rockets. Therefore, you have up to 12 rockets per strike just like Furious & Ranger. The maximum damage you could deal using one rocket is 1500. Just like Furious’ rocket, you can only penetrate up to 25 mm armor and have merely 5% base fire chance without modifiers. The rockets are good against DD but not so much against cruisers and BB unless if you hit their non-saturated superstructure for that slight fire chance. The aiming reticule is small, circular-shaped just like Furious’ and Ryujo’s rockets. ii) Dive bomber Ark Royal has 40lb G.P. bombs which are the same bombs found on tier 4 CV Hermes. The drop reticule is also fairly small like that of Hermes, allowing precise drop on small targets such as DD. Just like the other Royal Navy CV, Ark also uses carpet bombing technique but the bombs drop faster unlike Furious which drops bombs from slightly higher altitude. The strike loadout is 3 strike runs per squadron with 3 planes per strike run and 8 bombs per strike. Thus, she can drop up to 24 bombs in a run compared to 12 on Furious and 3 on Ranger. As shown in Figure 10, 11 and 12, Ark’s bombs have the least maximum damage per bomb, lowest penetration capability of merely 18 mm of armor and lowest chance of setting targets on fire. Indeed, they are that bad! Most of the time, you will only get shatters on BB especially those of higher tiers than her. The fire chance is not even great that you need to use Demolition Expert commander skill and fire combat signals just to increase that 9% fire chance. The bombs are only good for DD hunting because they drop accurately and as fast as rockets. It is like almost a guaranteed death if a DD player is up against a skilled Ark Royal player with those fatally accurate bombs, providing that the Ark player knows how to lead the bombs. iii) Torpedo bomber Once more, Ark Royal utilizes the same torpedo from Hermes which is Mark VIII that deals up to 5200 damage per torp with 45% base flooding chance. Compared to Ryujo’s and Ranger’s torpedo, Ark Royal’s deals the least damage per unit only to be tied with that of Furious. However, here comes Ark’s torpedo advantage over the others of her tier. Instead of dropping two torpedoes per attack, Ark can drop up to three in her 3 attack runs per squadron and 3 planes per attack run. As shown in Figure 14, her torpedo potential damage per attack run is the highest among the other tier 6 CV at 15600 damage. Based on Figure 15, Ark is second after Ryujo in term of torpedo damage potential in a full squadron despite having one more TB in a a squadron compared to the latter. This is because Ryujo has massive torpedo alpha damage per unit to begin with. Just like the other Royal Navy CV of tier 6 and above, Ark Royal torpedoes have converging drop pattern. With Torpedo Acceleration commander skill, her torpedoes move at 40 knots with merely 1.9 km range just like Furious‘ as shown in Figure 16. This is to avoid any cross-dropping attempt such as trying to drop from behind and then from the side. Enemy ships might be able to outrun torpedoes dropped from behind especially DD & CL/CA with high speed. An attempt for follow-up drop from the side is not a great option either because the TB squadron flies and rotates slowly that some of them might be taken down by AA during the attempt. Even with TA skill, her torpedoes have 376 m activation distance which means that player can drop them really close to the enemy ships so that they have more chance of hitting the latter. f) Secondaries Ark Royal is equipped with eight turrets of dual 113 mm/45 Mk III UD secondary guns which shoot every 5 seconds, dealing 1600 maximum damage per hit. Their 4 km minimum range is the same as those of other tier 6 CV except for Ranger which has extra 0.5 km of range. There is nothing special with these secondaries because 4 km range is short and her secondary shells can only penetrate up to 18 mm of armor. There is no worth of speccing into her secondaries because it is not the way a CV should be played usually. g) Anti-air Long range AA = 0.1 – 5.8 km Long range aura damage per second = 94.5 dps (100% hitrate) AA explosions within far range AA = 4 flaks with 1190 damage each Medium range AA = 0.1 – 2.5 km Medium range aura damage per second = 231.0 dps (100% hitrate) Short range AA = 0.1 – 1.5 km Short range aura damage per second = 38.5 dps (95 % hitrate) It could be said that Ark Royal has mediocre AA at her tier. She is equipped with four quadruple 2-pounder 40 mm guns and eight quadruple .50 inch miniguns as her AA armaments. Together with 4 carrier-based fighters that patrol the hull within 3 km range for 10 minutes, she could take down any enemy planes that attempt to CV-snipe her. However, player should always move her hull to minimize hits by enemy plane-borne torpedoes. h) Hull hit point Based on Figure 18, Ark Royal is the second tier 6 CV having the most HP at 44500. Survivability Expert commander skill is intended to increase the HP her planes. As a good effect of it, Ark’s hull has extra 2100 HP, giving her a total of 46600 HP in total. Nevertheless, the extra HP does not mean that her player should get into enemy’s line of sight and tank damage like all the other BB should. i) Maximum concealment by sea & air Ark Royal has the worst concealment among the other tier 6 CV. Her huge concealment is reasonable if she is assigned as a tier 7 CV but unfortunately, CV has been removed from odd tier after the CV rework. In a small map of 36 km × 36 km size such as Straits & New Dawn, she can be easily detected by enemy ships. It is worth taking Concealment Expert commander skill as one of her skill to reduce her massive concealment down to 12.57 km. Obviously, her player should always mount camouflage for extra 3% concealment reduction. Since she is a premium ship with permanent camouflage, her player should always enable the camo auto-resupply. j) Hull speed, rudder shift & anti-torpedo bulge protection Being a British CV, Ark Royal boasts a fast speed among the other tier 6 CV at 31 knots without speed combat signal. She is merely 0.5 knots slower than Furious. The drawback is her long rudder shift time at 12.8 s which makes her the sluggiest tier 6 CV at dodging shells and torpedoes. Unlike Ranger and Ryujo, she has a good anti-torpedo bulge which gives her 28% torpedo damage reduction. This does not mean that she is made to tank torpedoes because if she does, she would be sunk too eventually. k) Squadron’s patrol fighter consumable There is nothing special with the summon fighter consumable on Ark Royal. Just like the other tier 6 CV, one patrol fighter squadron only has up to three fighters that rotate within 2.5 km radius in exactly one minute. One attacking squadron can only spawn up to 3 patrol fighter consumable with 10 seconds reload between each summon. The summon fighters are only useful during late game to protect the remaining surviving ships in the team and to spot enemy DD for easier aim using bombers/rocket attackers. C. Recommended build Consider taking the following commander skills in order of the numbers shown. First of all, take Aircraft Supremacy for 5% faster aircraft restoration time. Secondly, take Improved Engines first rather than Swift Fish because Ark Royal’s planes are really slow by default so 2.5% faster speed is important to reduce contact time with AA. Next, take Aircraft Armor and Survivability Expert for extra durability during planes exposure with AA and to increase the plane health by 150 HP each. Do not switch the order these two skills because 10% continuous AA damage reduction is more important than having extra HP on planes, making your slow planes to survive slightly longer in AA aura. For the fifth skill, pick Enhanced Aircraft Armor for 25% damage reduction from AA flaks. Ark Royal’s squadrons are big with 9 planes each; combined with sluggish squadron handling due to being tier 4 biplanes for DB and TB, it can be really challenging to avoid AA flak clouds especially those generated by ships of higher tiers. With this skill being picked, you will take less AA flak damage by 25%. However, this doesn’t mean you don’t need to dodge those pesky AA flaks because that’s a really bad gameplay, leading to your own demise by deplaning yourself faster. For the sixth skill, take Swift Fish for 5% faster torpedo speed. Starting from update 0.10.0, this skill gives percentage-based bonus instead of flat 5 kts faster torp speed. Therefore, her torpedo speed is increased to 37 knots. Be reminded that it also lenghtens the torp arming distance by a few meters. However, this effect is negligible because even with this skill, the arming distance is not overly long that will affect the torpedo bomber aim. Seventh, take Demolition Expert for 5% extra fire chance for bombs and 1% extra fire chance for rockets. The last three skills are needed to maintain the speed of the planes when flying to the targets and attacking them. The order is not really important. Upgrade-wise, you should consider taking the following. Torpedo Bomber Modification I is important to add extra 5 seconds to the default 10 seconds of TB aiming time. Once the torpedo attack path has reached maximum converging pattern, you can maneuver the flight path of the TB during aiming without resetting the cone drop path. This is a feature available only for UK CV and FDR. If you have extra 5 seconds of aiming time, you can start aiming earlier at approximately 4.5-5 km from enemy ship after dodging the first wave of AA flaks. Then you can maneuver the TB according to how the targeted enemy ship moves. Being able to have longer torpedo aiming time is really helpful because when the TB squadron is already committed in an aiming run, the planes in the reserve group will not be affected by AA flaks thus ensuring that the reserve group will last longer as sacrificial planes. Torpedo Bombers Modification II is essential because the TB plane has the least HP and most of the time, you will end up fighting against ships of tier 7 & 8 with insane AA that could easily shoot down tier 4 Swordfish planes. By having TBM II, your slow TB squadron might live slightly longer in overlapping AA of multiple ships. D. Recommended playstyle and tips The playstyle differs based on enemy composition and the tier of the match you get into. If you are the top tier in the match and there are only up to two DD per team, you can start with DB first. Find the enemy DD to be shot by your teammates and at the same time, use your precise carpet bombs to hurt them. Smart enemy DD will always turn off their AA to avoid early detection by your planes. If this happens, you can summon your fighters to spot them so that you know where they are heading to for leading your bombing run. If you are familiar with Hermes’ bombing, then you should have no problem hitting DD with Ark’s bombs. Always drop slightly in front of the DD for about ½ of the DD’s total length. If the enemy DD is using speed boost, aim further than usual. Always accelerate using the engine boost while you are doing the bombing run. If you end up in a tier 7 or 8 match with 3 or more DD per team, always start with rocket planes. Even without any DD in the match, start to spot using RA first. Your DB is considerably precious that you cannot waste them too early in the match. For DB and TB, always do squadron shortening. This is done by dropping the payloads of your first strike run into the ocean/terrain so that you will have 8 out of 9 planes in the next squadron. Do not simply use the same type of plane unless if you are playing in weekly Scenario. For the DB, your main target is of course DD and soon submarines when they will be released. If you are going to drop the bombs on cruiser or BB, always drop on the superstructure. Although the bombs will shatter most of the time, just pray so that the good RNG is with you so that your enemy catches a fire or two from those bombs. For the TB, your main targets are isolated capital ships which are BB and CV of which you should never attack the latter first. Start your attack run roughly within 4 to 3 km from your target. If you have TBM I installed instead of AAM I, you can start the attack run from 5 km, allowing your attacking flight to fly below the AA flaks 5 seconds longer than 10 seconds by default. Always speed up during your attack run because at 100.4 knots of cruising speed, you might miss your target completely. Do not hesitate to use the Engine Cooling consumable if you run out of engine boost during your attacking run. Try not to turn within the AA range of enemy ships because all of your planes turn too slow that a lot of them will be taken down during the turn! After attacking a target with TB, you can look for another target especially isolated BB for a chained drop. If there is nobody else, turn around after the TB are completely out of the AA range of the previous target. E. Skill floor, skill ceiling, and team carry potential Ark Royal is fairly forgiving for everyone who is new into CV. The short plane restoration time as shown in Figure 5 means that any player should never be effectively deplaned in the late game unless if they intentionally hit the AA flak bursts multiple times in successive runs. This does not mean that a player should waste their planes by attacking enemies who are clumped together, creating massive AA blobs. Plane quantity management should be taken into practice while playing in tier 7 and 8 matches especially. If you are an average or decent CV player in general, Ark might limit your effectiveness in the game even after you have mastered her. As a top tier ship, you have medium to high carry potential due to your decent strike capability. Unfortunately, you have low carry potential in tier 7 or 8 battles due to ridiculous AA versus plane’s survivability difference. Most of the time as bottom tier CV, you will only be able to spot enemy ships from a distance if you do not want to lose your planes for late game usage. F. Should you buy this premium CV? For Random battle Definitely not. Ark Royal is heavily punished by -1/+2 matchmaking that you will always face enemies of tiers higher than you. If you consider yourself an average or lower-than-average CV player in general who are barely able to line up perfect strikes against targets of good or decent AA, this CV is not for you. Do not bother buying her if you are going to play only in Random! Enemy ships of higher tiers will happily take down your planes for easy AA Defense Expert achievement. For Ranked/Competitive Individual-skill-dependant. Ark Royal is barely viable for Ranked only if you know the basic of CV. If you have zero knowledge about reworked CV gameplay or is literally bad at it, do not bring this CV to ranked. Bring other ship type that you are already a master of! In a Ranked or Competitive battle where CV is allowed, always expect the others to have AA-spec setup or at least decent AA to fend off against aircrafts. In Ranked, your only task as Ark Royal is to hunt DD with your rockets and carpet bombs; spotting them for your team and defending cap is your main priority. Other than that, have fun hunting Normandie or stock Bayern with meh AA while having your downtiered planes taken down by any cruiser. For Scenario Totally worthwhile. If you are going to grind for decent credit or collecting elite commander experience (ECXP) using a 19-point commander, Ark Royal is good for you regardless of your skill level. All tier 6 Scenarios other than Defense of the Naval Newport are good for Ark Royal. Bring all the economic or special signals that you have to maximize your credit/exp/commander exp net outcome. Since she is a premium CV, you could gain decent credit even without those extra modifiers as long as your team and you manage to complete the Scenario with 5 stars. If you are going to learn playing CV or just simply want to use CV in Scenario for combat missions, then Ark Royal is appropriate for you. In conclusion, I would say that it is not worth to buy this ship for Random battles due to the frequent uptier to tier 7 or 8. If you are going to buy her solely for Scenario or Coop battle, go on. If you are a competent or a unicum CV player who could dodge AA flaks well and be patient with super slow planes in heavily concentrated AA auras, she might be worth of you. If you are just a historical ship collector due to her involvement in major historical events such as the sinking of the Bismarck, then just get her and let her be a port queen. Last but not least, you can also buy her if you are a weeeeeeeeb and love her in Kancolle/Azur Lane that you must own her in WoWs too. G. Final verdict Garbage = Completely inept and critically in need of several buffs to make her relevant. Mehbote = Average ship. Has strengths and drawbacks. A couple of buffs are needed to make her slightly advantageous. Gudbote = A strong ship that has apparent competitive strengths and unique features that make it very pleasing. OVERPOWERED = A ship with very clear benefits over all of its same tier competitors and unbalancing the game with its presence Yes, she is pretty meh in my humble opinion. A couple of buffs or adjustments are needed to make her viable in Random. She should have special matchmaking restriction of which she should always be the top tier in Random instead of fighting against tier 7 and 8. Alternatively, just make her a tier 4 CV with lower alpha damage per torpedo. On the other hand, player should be given the choice to use an alternate DB module that utilizes Furious’ bombs for better armor penetration by keeping her slow tier 4 DB and the same bomb ellipse as that of Furious. If one could say that Saipan is a tier 10 CV in disguise of tier 8 CV, Ark Royal is the complete opposite of that as she is a tier 4 CV masquerading as a tier 6 CV. H. Special thanks zDeviousXp Proofreader Aiharaterumi Raw data collector [TENGO]Kitsune_Ivy Provider of screenshot of glorious Ark Royal P/S: I am not LittleWhiteMouse.