World of Warships: My favorite ships to play

I’ve been off work on vacation for almost a week, so I’ve not touched a keyboard except to write the odd blog post in that same amount of time. I’ve found myself periodically keeping up with the gaming world through Twitter, and, in a surprising twist, YouTube.

The game I’ve most often found my thoughts wandering towards is World of Warships. The amount of activity and updates that continue to pour out of this free-to-play title simply staggers my mind. In the week that I’ve been away, they’ve announced two new premium ships (the Florida and the Kitakami), released one (the California), and detailed an update to the USN battleship tech tree that will also introduce three new ships into that line. I haven’t even mentioned some of the UI updates and tweaks to the unique items currently in testing. There has been so much information released by the WoWs content creators in the past week that I feel like I’m playing the game even though the hundreds of miles between me and my gaming PC make that an impossibility.

Since my mind is on the subject, I thought I’d talk about some of my favorite ships in the game. If I can’t play them, at least I can write about them!

Tier VIII Atago

The Atago was my first premium ship. That means it’s a ship that is not available by leveling through the tech trees of the various nations. Premium ships also cost less to repair and earn more credits than tech tree ships. For some reason, I was awarded a 50% coupon by Wargaming towards the Atago. I still haven’t figured out why they gave me this offer, but the Atago is normally a $44 purchase so for a mere $22 I was able to land my first premium, and I love it. I’m a fan of the IJN cruiser style of gameplay. They’re built with high concealment and fantastic torpedos to go along with a good amount of main battery guns for popping unsuspecting targets with high-explosive shells. Just don’t charge into battle, these ships are best when kiting away from the action and relying on their concealment to disengage before being hit too many times. The torpedo configuration on this ship allows for launching in nearly any direction and the torpedo range is a gaudy 10 km.

Tier VII Skane

I’m finding that I’m a really big fan of the pan-European destroyer line. The Skane is kind of a do-it-all ship. It doesn’t have the best concealment, but it doesn’t have the worst, either. It also does not equip a smokescreen as a get-out-of-jail-free card when spotted. What it does have, is decent speed, lightning-fast torpedo reload time, excellent torpedo range at 12 km (with the module upgrade), and very impressive anti-aircraft fire for those pesky airplane squadrons. Granted, the torpedos do not do very much damage, but the sub 60 second reload means that you can continue to sling those things out there one after the other. As long as you don’t get out-spotted by another destroyer, those torpedos will be a thorn in every battleship’s side. I can’t wait to continue to progress through this tech tree. I hear the top tier (the Halland) is a joy to play.

Tier X Thunderer

The Thunderer is another premium ship, but I only spent in-game resources (coal and steel) to acquire it. It felt a little bit like a cheat because I was able to purchase this as my first tier X ship without ever having obtained a tier X through tech tree grinding. The Thunderer is certainly a fun ship. It does not have the biggest health pool for a tier X battleship, but it packs some awesome firepower. Four turrets hold two 457mm barrels each, which is the 2nd largest cannon in the game after the Yamato. It’s high-explosive shells also come with a 60% fire chance, the largest in the game. Main battery reload time is only 26 seconds (30 is about average for a battleship) and the firing range is over 24km. Generally, the best way to play the Thunderer is to sit back and fire, over and over again.

Tier VIII Bismarck

In contrast to the Thunderer’s play style, the Bismarck is built for close-range brawling. The Bismarck comes with the best secondary guns available to a non-premium ship. Secondary weapons in WoWs are guns that automatically start firing at any enemy ship that gets into secondary range, without any interaction required by the player. With a proper secondary build and signals mounted on the Bismarck, it’s possible to push the secondary range all the way out past 11 km. The presence of a secondary build Bismarck positioned strategically next to a capture point can be enough of a deterrent to keep an enemy destroyer or cruiser at bay while teammates capture the point. The main battery guns on the Bismarck are punishing but inaccurate at long distances. Armor is tanky and difficult to penetrate. If HE spamming cruisers are avoided, the Bismarck can truly be a bully.

Tier VI Leander

The HMS light cruiser line is such an interesting play style. I almost didn’t continue to grind this line when I found out that the ships are only equipped with Armor Piercing (AP) shells, and do not have the option of high-explosive shells like most other ships in the game. AP shells are good for hitting broadside targets, but nearly useless against enemies who are angling their best armor towards an adversary. Luckily, the British AP gets a buff that makes it slightly better against angled targets, but this is mostly only effective against other cruisers and destroyers. To battleships, the Leander is mostly just a pesky fly. But the Leander does come with some nice support tools, like a smokescreen to hide within while pummeling any ships within range with her quick battery reload. She also comes with hydroacoustic search, which is important to use when sitting in smoke, just in case some wise-guy destroyer tried to torpedo you out of it. Hydro will detect incoming torpedos much earlier than visual inspection only. Leander also comes with 8km torpedos, but these should only be used in a pinch. It is highly maneuverable and has good concealment, so she can be used as a spotter ship if all destroyers go down early. It’s just a very fun and versatile boat that is perfect in a support role for any kind of match. The tier X ship in this line (the Minotaur) is supposed to be a blast to play with an incomparable firing rate and good AP guns.

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