Anyone who know me as a player or who has read articles here before can figure out that I love my battleships, so yes, I do have a bias when they make changes that effect this class. I do understand the necessity for balance within games such as this and it is very much a push-pull relationship – for every action there is a reaction. Destroyers, particularly the larger ones such as the Khaba, Haragumo, and the Gearing, tended to take a lot of damage from battleship AP due to full pen. This seemed to be an issue, so players complained and changes were made and here’s the story.
Taking Full Damage
Destroyers are the most thinly armored class in the game. In the early beta stages they even had citadels and below waterline shots could even cause flooding. Good thing those got changed. Up until recently, most destroyers would not take full AP pen damage from battleships at close range unless they had thicker armor like the Khaba or had larger beams1. In these cases, the thicker armor or beam allowed the shells enough time to arm and detonate inside the ship before traveling through them. Otherwise they only received over-pen damage, which certainly hurts, but wouldn’t delete a full health destroyer. Players who understood these mechanics, along with spotting distances, gun reload times, etc. tended to avoid getting spotted when too close to a battleship and if they did, intentionally showed broadside. Though counter to other ship classes, this is what would save a destroyer. Less experienced captains, or those that just got too greedy, would sail head-long at a battleship or give them just enough angle to guarantee full pens. This typically did not end well for that destroyer, thus the salt and complaints.
With enough complains filed, and probably not looking at the rest of the data, Wargaming made yet another significant nerf to a battleship’s defense against destroyers (the first was the fighter plane nerf – from 6 min down to 90sec was just too drastic in my opinion). They made it so even full pens against a destroyer at any angle (unless they are a Khaba or Haragumo) would still only result in 10% damage. The same as for an overpen. With an already existing problem of many battleship players sitting passively at a distance, and wanting to fix this mind you, they increased the threat of destroyers to battleships at close range. Though this is a team-based game and the classes are designed to compliment each other, anyone who has any history with random team based games knows that there may be no ‘I’ in team, but with some movement, there is a ‘ME.’
As healthy destroyers are far less threatened by a battleship that can shoot, populations have increased (for good and bad), but so has their brazenness. Far more destroyers are moving to within spotting range of battleships to unload a devastating salvo of torpedoes at battleships with little worry of recourse. The good players have not really changed much of their behavior as there is still the threat of cruisers and they know it. The less competent players on the other hand are typically the ones that yolo into a herd of camping battleships only to find out the hard way that they have secondaries and friends such as Minotaurs and Worcesters. They die quickly and do very little. This is rarely an issue when they are the enemy but it usually seems as though it’s those destroyer captains that you always have on your team. Now your team is down a destroyer, if not 2 or 3 and the enemy has a full compliment.
Being that battleship player who likes to get into the battle, I now feel that I can’t defend myself while still maintaining the full effectiveness of a battleship and her large AP shells against other targets. Divisions are a great way to compensate for this but we can’t always division nor can we always do so with comms. While the scenarios where this nerf has hurt both battleship players and teams continues to grow, the logic behind it to appease players who refused to understand the mechanics of the game that existed for years eludes me.
Battleship players are becoming more and more passive in random battles. While some still like using their full compliment of guns and health pool to support their team, it is just not enough. When random teams refuse to support each other, even with numbers on their side, and with the introduction of ships like the Haragumo, withering fire and constant DoTs make for a short game, even when a push was calculated and coordinated – up until first contact. Again, back to the me in Team, players are seemingly more apt to run away from the 5 v. 3 when they have the advantage, if it means them not taking damage. The passive play can certainly bring big damage numbers to a decent battleship player, but the end game is to win, and if you are a single BB against 4 or 5 or more other ships, the odds are not in your favor. Especially if the enemy has that one destroyer left that might have otherwise been sunk already. Where the effectiveness of a battleship only decreases late game, a destroyer increases. Teams with the better destroyers tend to sway the tide of battle, even before this nerf. That won’t likely change anytime soon, and sadly, nor will this drastic change. I may still gripe and grouse when I have games where I shoot at a DD 5km away only to do 10k damage to him while he takes 70k (or more) of mine with close range torpedoes. I’ll still continue shooting at them, and if I can swap to HE, I certainly will when I know it’s worth it, but I won’t swap without still unloading as much AP damage into them as I can. Because who has time to wait 30 sec, or even 15, to swap when they may only be visible for 6 sec? If I get sunk, it’s GG, well played, and time to take out my Radar Mino – see you next battle!
- This is an interesting read on the NA forums where someone has made the effort to compare the in-game models to their historic counterparts. Click Here