T9 ship summaries

In anticipation of tier 9 ranked season, I check out the various ships and write a few words about them.

Destroyers:

  • Yūgumo: Torpedo boat with 2×4 12km torpedoes with torpedo reload booster or smoke. Has the best concealment in the tier
  • Kitekaze: mini-Harugumo. 1×6 12 km torpedoes and good guns. Long torpedo reload, but has TRB on different slot than smoke.
  • Fletcher: 2×5 10.5km torpedoes, good concealment and good guns
  • Black: 2×5 13.7 km torpedoes (longest in tier), has better guns than Fletcher and has a 7.5km, 20 seconds radar. Absolute P2W ship.
  • Udaloi: 8km torpedoes, bad concealment, Russian long range guns with good DPM
  • Tashkent: mini-Khabarovsk, rather light cruiser than destroyer. Excellent guns, crappy concealment, repair party consumable, highest speed. 8km torpedoes.
  • Neustrashimy: bizarre P2W ship with Yugumo concealment, 10km torpedoes, better than Tashkent gunfire
  • Z-46: 10km torpedoes, average guns with good tracking, OK concealment. 100secs, 5km Hydro.
  • Jutland: 2×5 10km torpedoes on fast reload, good concealment, guns are OK-ish with high fire chance. 180secs, 3km Hydro and repair party on different slots than smoke.
  • Chung mu: basically Fletcher, with deep water torpedoes and 17 secs, 7.5 km radar.

Cruisers:

  • Ibuki: 4×4 rear-facing, 10 km torpedoes. High HE damage, high fire chance, high range guns with slow reload and traverse speed. Low HP, good speed<
  • Buffalo: no torpedoes. High damage, slow reload guns. Has 5km, 100 secs Hydro and 9.5km 35 secs radar and repair party.
  • Seattle: no torpedoes. High speed, high traverse guns. Has 5km, 100 secs Hydro and 9.0km 35 secs radar and repair party.
  • Alaska: P2W ship, rather battleship than cruiser with its HP and armor. No torpedoes. Strong, very slow reload guns. Has large size, easier to hit with both guns and torpedoes. Has 5km, 100 secs Hydro and 9.5km 35 secs radar and repair party.
  • DM. Donskoi: 2×5, 8km torpedoes. Slow reload, good aim and range guns. Low fire chance HE. 36 knots base speed. Large size, easy to hit. Has 5km, 100 secs Hydro and 11.7km 20 secs radar and repair party.
  • Kronshtadt: P2W ship, rather battleship than cruiser with its HP and armor. No torpedoes. Very accurate, but slow reload guns. Has 11.7km 20 secs radar and repair party.
  • Roon: 2×4, 6 km torpedoes. Quick turning, accurate guns. Large HP. Has 6km, 120 secs Hydro and repair party and aircrafts.
  • Neptune: 6×2, 10 km torpedoes. Very fast firing and turning guns. Weak armor and slow to turn. Has 5km, 100 secs Hydro and 9.0km 35 secs radar and repair party.
  • Saint-Louis: 2×3 9 km torpedoes with good firing angles. Fast with engine boost. Very long range guns with main battery reload booster. Has 5km, 100 secs Hydro and repair party.

Battleships:

  • Izumo. Slow reloading long range guns, strong superstructure armor against HE. Bad torpedo protection and huge size makes it vulnerable to torpedoes. Has planes.
  • Mushasi: P2W ship. Practically Yamato playing in Tier 9, with matching firepower, though the guns are slowly turning . Has the highest HP and best torpedo protection in tier. Has planes.
  • Iowa: High range, slow guns with good dispersion if upgraded. Good armor and torpedo protection. It’s the fastest battleship, but has bad rudder shift and large size, so turning is hard. Has weak secondaries. Has planes.
  • Missouri: P2W ship. Practically Iowa, with stronger armor and a 35 seconds, 9.45 km radar. On a battleship.
  • Friedrich der Große: it has great armor, HP, best secondaries and fast-aiming, (relatively) fast-firing turrets with bad sigma. Its weakness is bad maneuverability. Has 120 seconds, 6 km hydro.
  • Lion: Has slow, slow turning, but strong and high fire chance guns. Maneuverability is good, but length makes it hard to avoid torpedoes. Torpedo protection system is weak and HP is small. Has planes.
  • Alsace: slowest reload, but fastest turning guns with bad dispersion. Lots of them. Very fast for a battleship and has speed boost. Good secondaries. Low HP and bad maneuverability.
  • Jean Bart: P2W ship. Fast reload and has reload booster. Relatively fast ship, has lots of high fire chance secondaries. Good maneuverability. Weak top armor allows overmatch and HE spam.

What’s really interesting is how many ships there are for a new player to learn. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses (except Missouri, that only has strengths). Anyway, the next ranked season will be interesting.

Immersion breaking designs

Bhagpuss wrote how strange and stupid it was to set fire on a wooden raft. I was bothered that you can fire arrows and fireballs underwater in WoW.

These aren’t the only ridiculous mistakes game designers do. I understand where they come from: they want the player to be able to access the utility of the cooking fire everywhere. They didn’t want to rebalance the classes to perform equally under water.

But people want to be immersed into virtual worlds. That’s the pure point of the raft being a raft instead of an instant portal. That’s why water is added at the first place. To add variety. To provide a sense of reality of the world you are in. Then why ruin it with something stupid?! If you want a pure game, then design a pure game with no fluff. There isn’t water in chess. You can’t swim in World of Tanks or League of Legends.

The game designers want to catch two birds but catch none. They need to decide if they are building a virtual world where people like to be, or a game they want to play. If it’s a world, it needs to be consistent and sometimes frustrating. You experience reality via frustration. The world proves that you must obey its rules. Are you on a raft and didn’t pack food? Tough luck, pal! Are you diving underwater without specific underwater gear or abilities? That’s a dumb idea, as relatives of anyone, who went scuba diving without training or equipment, can testify.

A virtual world doesn’t have to be fair. If you can’t “win” a MMO-virtual world like WoW, in the sense of “game over, victory” like you do after a League of Legends match, why care if fire mages have it hard underwater? The players aren’t there to “win”, but to be immersed in a magic life. Sure, the game devs can make life possible all the time, excluding impossible barriers. For example, there could be a mage nearby, who offer instant respec to arcane, because arcane energy can flow under water. There can be an old hunter by the shore offering his sea lion pet to hunter players to do the underwater content. There can be a harpoon vendor who takes the sword of warriors and provides an equal ilvl harpoon to do the content, and of course gives back the sword for the harpoon when the player wants. When the warlock summons an imp underwater, it should complain and despawn, leaving a soulstone that summons an octopus-like demon for underwater. But make it “real”!

If the devs don’t want to include all these details into their game, then guess what, just don’t add underwater fights. Player characters can swim down to find lost bauble but there aren’t any enemies around to fight, so no fireball under the water is needed.

Politics IS hate speech

Short gaming update: Japan criminalized cheating by hacking save files. Another step to the right direction.

Philosophy post, no candidate or side is endorsed.

When internet companies censor conservatives, they claim that they don’t censor conservatives per se, they are banning hate speech. I’m not here to tell that they are lying. I’m here to tell that “hate speech” and “politics” are the same thing and banning one is banning the other: flat out political censorship.

Politicians can’t built spaceships, cure sick, fight wars, build bridges or feed the hungry. All they can do is assign budget funds and clear legal obstacles in front of the space agency, health care, military, infrastructure or welfare.

They don’t have this money. Taxpayers have it. There are people on the other side of the “legal obstacles” who will be now “cleared” like the natives from the way of the oil pipeline.

The way of choosing which side to support is politics. A classical right-wing says that businessmen are the Atlases and we should cut taxes and the poor should just get a job. Classical left-wing says that poverty is the product of exploitation and the exploiting rich should be taxed and their victims helped.

These are moral statements. These are defining who is “good” and who is “bad”. They contain clear condemnation of a group of people. Call it “hate” if you wish. A classical conservative “hates” the poor for their laziness, while the social-democrat “hates” the rich for exploitation. You can’t make any political statement without “hating” a group of people. So banning “hate” is banning an idea behind it and all ideas could be banned based on being “hateful”.

Sure, one can be diplomatic and tiptoe around hate speech. One can say “the poor should accept more responsibility for their lives” instead of “they are lazy fucks who deserve to starve until they lift their asses”. One can say “we should take immigrants based on merit” instead of “they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists”. One can say “we should consider the historic injustice imposed upon communities of color” instead of “#cancelwhitepeople”. But such speech is unavailable for anyone without extensive education and even for them it’s counter-productive, as it makes them distant and barely understandable by the target audience: the low information voters whose opinion can be persuaded.

Banning “hate” of a group is banning all political ideas that negatively affects that group. Selectively banning hate speech is banning certain political sides. It’s censorship, with the same effect as Orwell’s.

But Stawek told me it’s not pay to win

I wrote how it’s moving to pay-to-win to hold competitive ranked matches in a tier that has overpowered ships that are available by buying with money.

Stawek, ardent defender of Wargaming’s honor, wrote “Missouri is an Iowa with a radar. It’s strong and could be bought for 750k XP. Not in the shop anymore for at least 6 months. … So, of all the ships you listed, WG can’t earn money on any but a few.”

And now this:
missouri

No, it’s not mine. I’m not the guy who bought 5 “Santa crates” (Wargaming holliday-themed lootboxes) and got the ship.

Since all the other posts of the user about World of Warships are “An 8 year old MacBook is still good enough for me to play this beautiful ship WG gifted me! Thank you so much WG and all of the kind people who wished me the best with my recovery” and “Hello, new to the game, help?”, I tend to believe that this is purposeful guerilla marketing, but even if it’s just a honest newbie getting lucky, the effect is the same: players are offered overpowered ships for money that they can use in ranked games.

The truth is that all the overpowered ships are available in the form of paid lootboxes. Even worse, they aren’t available in any other means, “forcing” the pay-to-win kids to spend excessively on these damn things. Yes, they were available once for free XP or missions or whatnot. But if you’ve been playing for less than a year like me, your only option to get them is opening your wallet and buying lots of lootboxes.

Sure, I haven’t bought a single lootbox in my life and intend for it to stay this way. I wouldn’t play the Missouri, even if I’d have one. I’d play the Black though. However I’m confident that I’ll rank out fine with my Yugumo. But that doesn’t change the fact that the top 5 ships of they past and next season will be available to those who pay on top of subscription and gold for flags or camo or whatnot.

RTS without micromanagement

I like RTS games, in theory. In practice, they are focused on high action count. Click faster to win. While Northgard is not a particularly micromanagement focused game, you can give orders to individual units in a battle, usually resulting in the whole army running around to path towards the target you’ve wrongfully given.

I don’t like this focus of the genre. It dismisses actual strategy for micromanagement. One of my gaming highs was defeating the college Starcraft champion (back before there was even Broodwars) 1 v 1. How did I do it? I challenged him to play on slowest setting. The game had 8 speed settings and everyone was playing on the highest for “more fun”. Without his APM advantage, he was just mediocre.

The RTS that I’d call best written is Tier 5 carriers in World of Warships. Tier 6 got a particularly retarded micromanagement: manual drops and strafes. But T5, which had its first and second ranked sprint is free from these. Your APM is about 20. All you do is watching the battlefield and evaluating. Most of my thoughts is about figuring out which battleship will get the enemy torpedo bombers and place my fighters accordingly.

I believe there could be a sub-genre of the RTS genre: limited APM RTS. In this, the units have basic automatic behaviors, like patrolling an area or scouting. You can’t pinpoint-place a unit, you just send him “around that area”. If engaged, you can only give one order: “flee”, which make them automatically trying to find a way out. You can’t give any other order, forcing you to think when to engage without getting destroyed or routed.

The fun thing is that such game could be created with minimal effort from any existing RTS, as no further graphics or engine programming is needed. Just a new AI and the limitations of the commands.

Northgard is very close to it, but “very close” is not good enough. The “competitive scene” died, and without it the game only lingers, because high APM RTS players destroyed everyone else, then quit, because they didn’t find the APM game challenging enough and were bothered by the random maps that forces them to think. I have a feeling that Northard could be successfully re-launched with some marketing, if all battle micromanagement is removed.

Please note that I do not try to take away the top RTS games from the APM people. Let them have the current genre. I just wish to fork it for those who like the settings and the strategy, but not the micromanagement.

Tier 9 ranked pay-to-win

Wargaming announced that the next ranked season will use Tier 9 ships.

At first I was very happy. Yugumo is by far my favorite ship but she sees action rarely, due to no competitive ways to play it and it’s not optimal for coal producing either. I look forward using it.

However the past ranked sprints gave me suspicions:

  • In Sprint 3 (Tier 6) the top 5 winrate ships were T-61, Shinonome, Leander, Perth, Graf Spee. Only the Leander is tech tree ship.
  • In Sprint 2 (Tier 5), the top 5 winrate ships were Kamikaze, Gremyashchy, Kamikaze R, Fūjin and Giulio Cesare, none of them from the tech tree.
  • Sprint 1 has the same ships as 2 in the top 5

While some non-tech-tree ships are available for complicated in-game tasks or events and can drop in containers, the normal way of getting them is paying in the shop. Also, doing the tasks needed for ships is much easier if you pay royally for economic signals and paints, you can’t just grind in your own time when the event is limited. I don’t think many people will actually gain Ethel Fredrick in-game. I sure won’t, check out the last step demands.

As you can see, they are absolutely better than their tech tree counterparts. Sure, many players, including myself ranked out tech-tree ships, but it’s clear pay-to-win. The ship you can buy for money is flat out stronger than the ship your opponents are using.

Tier 10 is free of such P2W ships and that’s why this tier is used for clan wars and ranked. But let’s see what ships are (or were) available in Tier 9 for the wallet warriors:

  • Battleships: Missouri, Jean Bart
  • Cruisers: Alaska, Kronshtadt
  • Destroyers: Black, Neustrashimy

Too bad there are 6 of them, so one of them can’t make it to the top 5 of Season 11. You can guess which one. I can already tell that radar battleship Missouri will be the best ship of the season.

I really don’t like this turn of events. I’d prefer ranked battles be free of pay to win.