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      World of Warships Forum Rules   06/08/2017

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An Opinion on Battleships [Apr 2018]

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8,102 battles

Disclaimer: This is all just my opinion. Take it as you will, a guide, a gospel, a potato, but this is purely subjective. 

So I've played through almost the entirety of every battleship line in the game. (With the notable exception of the French T9 Alsace and T10 Republique, for now) With over a thousand battles in BBs, I think it's safe to call me a battleship main. (Take that as an insult or a compliment however you will) With battleships having the lowest entry skill level in the game, most new players do tend to gravitate toward the battleship line of their favourite tech tree.

For those who stand undecided on which line to start with, here is a basic description of each line with a brief guide on what playstyles they bring to the table. (Keep in mind the date this thread was created) I will not be going over the exact specifics of each and every value and statistic for every battleship because that would detract from my point of how these ships feel to play and also make this thread way too long. I may touch on premiums, but not all of them. 

First up, the United States Navy Battleships: 

Guns And Layout: 

USN BBs start already in the classic 'dreadnought' configuration, with their primary turrets all aligned down the middle and able to fire all their guns on either broadside. All US BBs follow a two-front, two-back configuration (AB-XY) up until tier 8. At tier 8 and 9, the ships move to an AB-X design, and tier 10 rounds off with AB-XY. The guns themselves are good. Armour Piercing rounds have good damage and gun reloads are average to long (30s for most, with 35s being the highest). Velocity is a bit on the slower side, but that can be compensated for with an increased lead on target. High Explosive is good, with decent penetration and fire chance, but in most cases, shooting AP is better. Also, tier 9 Iowa (Tech Tree) and Missouri (Premium: No longer available) and tier 10 Montana are able to mount the artillery plotting room mod 2 upgrade that gives them ludicrously good accuracy, allowing you to hit those devastating strikes on distracted broadsiding cruisers (and even battleships! #feelsgoodman) 

Armour and Speed: 

US BBs start off in the classic 'tanky dreadnought' form. Heavy armour, covering all the ship's vital areas and low speed with slow turning rudders. The ships themselves have alright turning circles, making maneuvering less of a problem as long as you can get to grips with the lack of speed. At tier 8 however, there is a shift in playstyle. If low tier American battleships are heavy duty tractors, high tier American battleships are V8 muscle cars. The line drops some of the armour for more speed. This does make their turning circles wider, however. So turning to retreat is a more perilous affair. Angling is very much recommended as such. Usually having your bow pointed around 30 degrees from the enemy can help you bounce most of the damage you can't avoid. 


The US Battleship line really puts all its card on the table right from the start. The only real gimmick ship is the T9 Missouri with its 9.9km radar and ridiculous credits multiplier, but that ship is no longer available. 

(TL: DR) US BBs Are a comfortable entry point if a bit slow at the start. Keep yourself angled in most cases and you should have enough time to react to incoming shots. USN AP does tend to have slower shell speeds, so adding a bit more distance to your lead is advisable. 

Highlights: Wisconson and Arkansas Beta (12 guns at T4. Wew.), New Mexico and Arizona (BLAPPING T6 Cruisers), Alabama (A more maneuverable North Carolina), Missouri (There's a reason why she's been removed)

Lowlights: Colorado (OSOI), North Carolina (Jarring transition and a turning radius larger than the moon)


Next, the Imperial Japanese Navy. First pick for weebs who came over from Kancolle: (This includes me) 

Guns and Layout: The IJN line starts off a little bumpy. Kawachi is an oddball with its pre-dreadnought era layout and Myogi will frustrate players with her low output and bad accuracy. But things pick up with Kongou (desu~) at tier 5. Their guns are good, with good accuracy tier for tier and only slightly worse penetration compared to American battleships. Once again, armour piercing is preferable to HE. Their gun layouts and angles do force them to show a bit more juicy broadside when firing though, so do be aware of your surroundings because if you don't, some cheeky BB will chunk your side and send you back to port quickly.

Armour and Speed: 

IJN ships sacrifice some of the tankiness of the USN battleships for increased speed and better handling at said speed. Battleships are defined by their armour, and the IJN's philosophy of spreading their armour evenly across the entire ship lasts up to the Izumo at tier 9. At tier 10, the armour reverts to something more similar to the American line, with heavy armour covering only the most vital of parts. The IJN line sports the best torpedo protection in the game, able to block a significant portion of a torpedo's damage should a metal fish hit the ship's belt. The best way to mitigate torpedo damage, however, is still just to avoid taking hits in the first place. 


Izumo is the big stinker of the IJN line. She has fewer guns than her predecessor (Amagi at T8 has 10 410mm guns, Izumo only has 9 410mm guns), Her layout is very alien (All three turrets mounted up front with the third turret being rear-facing), and her handling is just... horrible. However, after the darkest night comes the brightest day. And that brightest day manifests itself as the tier 10 Yamato. Mighty 460mm guns that penetrate everything short of a bow on Kurfurst, good accuracy, on par with the American BBs, heavy armour with the all or nothing design, and the best torpedo belt in the game. (Though dodging torps is still the best way to deal with those metal fishes) 

(TL: DR) IJN BBs Make a faster alternative to USN BBs. Their weaker armour and exposed citadel make duelling less advisable. Bait the enemy into chasing you, angle against them and punish them for showing too much side. 

Highlights: Fuso (The OG shotgun at T6), Amagi and Kii (Stands on her own as one of the most powerful T8 ships when it comes to primary armament), Yamato (Need I say more)

Lowlights: Myogi (Slow, inaccurate, long reloads. 6 shells per salvo at t4 is just... pathetic), Ashitaka (Wargaming censored the name of this ship. Yeah), Izumo (THIS SHIP)


Third on the list, Ze Krauts. The KriegsMarine: 

Guns and Layout: 

Germans are good at consistency. Past tier 3, all their ships As such, their ships remain relatively similar in terms of playstyle. German shells also have consistently inconsistent accuracy. Some salvos can be perfect, striking citadels from the most unlikely of angles. But some can completely miss a broadside target, even under 10km. German AP is heavy but somewhat fat. So even the slightest angling can bounce those shells. HE has good penetration values, but poor damage and the worst HE fire chance among BBs. Their turrets have good turning speeds (With the exception of Bayern), giving them better reactivity against enemy ships coming from unexpected angles. 

Of note are the secondary armaments on these ships from tier 8 onward. With secondaries capable of reaching over 11km, the 150mm and 100mm guns can do a surprising amount of damage to any ship foolish enough to wander within range while detected. 

Armour and Speed: 

From tier 3 to tier 10, The Germans get heavy armour, a (more or less) impenetrable citadel and poor deck armour. Bow on, high tier German battleships can tank even the almighty Yamato and her 460mm guns. Speed steadily increases for every tier until tier 8, trading health and armour for turning speed and turning radius. The tier 10 Kurfurst is the largest ship in the game, as such, she has one of the slowest rudder shifts and largest turning radii. This makes dodging torpedos more difficult, but still not impossible.


German ships seem like the obvious pick for one thing: BRAWLING. German battleships do excel in close range battles against larger enemy ships. With their secondaries on par with strapping a light cruiser to your side with the right upgrades, great turret traverse from tier 7 and heavy German armour protecting their citadel, Germans should get in close to fight. From tier 8 and up, German BBs also get Hydroacoustic Search. This effectively nullifies your lacking torpedo belt weakness for a good minute or two. That could potentially save you from two full salvos from a Shimakaze. 

(TL: DR) KM BBs are the best duelers when it comes to battleships. They are almost indestructible as long as you can angle and your torpedo dodging is on point. Outside of 14km, your effectiveness drops so keep it close, but not too close. 

Highlights: Gneisenau and Scharnhorst (TORPS ON A BATTLESHIP), Bismarck and Tirpitz (YE GODS THESE SECONDARIES) 

Lowlights: Stock Freiderich Der Grobe (This thing can't turn for sh*t)


Now, a slightly (very) controversial line, Her Majesty's Royal Navy: 

Guns and Layout: 

Layout wise, the ubiquitous dreadnought configuration reigns. However, Royal Navy Battleships bring the most interesting curveball to the Battleship lineup when it comes to ammunition. Their Armour Piercing shells have shorter fuses, which makes them less effective at penetrating battleship armour but more effective in penetrating cruiser and destroyer armour. However, their High Explosive shells have the highest fire chance of all battleships in the game. For every salvo, you are almost guaranteed at least one fire on your target, should your shells hit the target. Some might argue that these ships can get by firing purely High Explosive. That is true in some cases, King George V can farm witherers if you match up to T9 and get lucky. However, Armour Piercing can still be deadly in ranges under 12km. To do very well, switch between ammo types as and when appropriate. 

Armour and Speed: 

RN BBs have weaker armour, but have underwater citadels, making critical hits almost impossible. That means RN ships tend to get away with more when it comes to close range duelling unless torpedos are added to the equation. RN Ships are very weak to torpedos. Their belts do little to block torpedo damage and a hit almost always also incapacitates additional vital systems. With the exception of Duke of York with its hydro, these ships have little defence against metal fishes. Keep your WASD hax on and never drive in a straight line for too long, especially if you've been detected. Speed and maneuverability are about average. 


Borderline overpowered High Explosive aside, at tier 9, RN battleships gain a 'super heal' similar to high tier British Cruisers. This allows them to heal up to 40% of their healable HP, which sounds like they are literally building a new ship every time the heal is active. It also has to be noted that RN Battleships have the very powerful AA, even better than American and German AA. (Japanese AA is, of course, the worst) The state of the RN battleship line is a point of contention, but arguments against the line are very well founded. They are by far the easiest battleships to do well in thus far, with the least punishing design and playstyle. 

(TL: DR) Best for newbies so far. High explosive is ideal for long to medium ranges and against angled targets, but AP is still something to consider. Keep your ship angled and you should be fine. Just don't eat torps. 

Highlights: Duke of York (Yeah, I like it. It's a good damage dealer with hydro.), Conqueror (Holy crepe the damage you can do with this thing)

Lowlights: Queen Elizabeth (All the cons of Warspite with none of the pros) 


Finally, the newcomers. The Marine Nationale: 

Guns and Layout: 

MN battleships are weird. They start off pretty normal, then you get to tier 6 and 7, where the gun volumes get increased hard, then suddenly it gets cut down by half from tier 7 to 8, then you get Alsace, then whatever the Republique is. In general, French battleships have lower calibre guns which have better penetration and higher shell speed in exchange for raw damage. This might lead you to think that they are good for punishing cruisers who show a bit too much side, but those who have tried fighting a Prinz Eugen in close range will know the pain of using these ships. These shells are good against cruisers in medium to long range but will overpen those teenage ships like no one's business in close range. Against battleships, these shells can penetrate sides and superstructures well, but a fully angled ship will bounce every AP shell you throw at it. HE is good. Not RN levels but serviceable in damaging angled targets. Of note, tier 7 Lyon. This shotgun will shred anything it sneezes at, or miss everything but one shell. 

Armour and Speed: 

In terms of Tanking, French BBs are similar to RN BBs quite a bit. Squishy outer armour with an underwater citadel protecting them from critical hits. However, French battleships boast the highest battleship speeds tier for teir. Additionally, tier 8 and above get access to *Spood Beest*, allowing you to retreat from the battlefield faster. (Dem French Jokes. Kek.) Turning radius and turning speeds are about average for battleships. 


The Classic French gimmick is SPEED. Except this time, you can actually impact the game early on because you have survivability and heavy pen-ing guns on your side. In that sense, MN BBs could utilise their speed to get in and take the initiative away from the enemy and surprise them from unexpected angles. This will, of course, require a DD spot for you, but with the new spotting counter, that should happen more often. 

Another thing French BBs get are almost KM tier secondaries, reaching out to the same distance with almost the same level of output and damage. Spec-ed right, a French bb could go toe-to-toe with a German bb in close range. 

(TL: DR) The French are fast and exacting. (with the exception of Lyon and Normandie) They have the potential to surprise enemies with their speed and penetration power. HE has great volume when shooting against angled targets. And with it's protected citadel, you can brawl and go head to head with any enemy you please. Just watch those torps. 

Highlights: Lyon and Alsace (DAT. SHELL. VOLUME.)

Lowlights: Richelieu (Eh. The output is a bit lacking)


In summary: (For those who have fallen asleep halfway through)

The British line is the most newb friendly (But quite boring after a while)

The German line is the manliest (And the most fun)

The American line is a Jack of All Traits (But does not really excel at anything)

The ~Weeb~ Japanese line is for those who do not care for Angling (When you get the Yamato that is)

The French line is for the other kind of manly man (The one who prefers a coffee jacket over going bare-top) 


I hope my opinions have helped those who are as yet, undecided. And for those who have already been there and done that, I hope this was at least a good read. I may do more of these if people wish for me to do so. (Cruisers next probably. I haven't had enough time on all the dds) Until then, Fair winds. 


Edited by Eggy_Bro

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18 posts
4,347 battles

Greatly helpful, both the content and the format, thank you. 

Definitely look forward to your take on cruisers (and if you get to destroyers). 


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