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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Fighting the Omaha Class Cruiser

I have been playing World of Warships for two weeks. According to Raptr I have 35 hours invested into playing. It's actually a few hours more as I've played during my lunch hour a few days and I don't run Raptr on the laptop. I have now fought more PvP battles than PvE battles. Here's a quick snapshot of how I'm progressing.

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I purchased a 30 day premium account because grind. It gives a marked improvement in experience points gained during battles. It doesn't make me a better player though. ;-) What does make me a better player is practice. And practice I have, and I like to think it's paying off.

I've not sank a teammate since that first ill-fated torpedo salvo when I first got into the Phoenix class cruiser. I have actually become quite good at not causing damage to my teammates during the course of a battle. That leads me to believe my situational awareness is increasing. Either that or I check the mini map three times before I fire.

[caption id="attachment_5459" align="aligncenter" width="1920"]Taking Out Another Omaha with Torpedos Taking Out Another Omaha with Torpedos[/caption]

One thing I've learned about torpedoes is they are complimentary weapons on a cruiser. Your main weapons are your main batteries just as they are in any capital ship. If the enemy gets too close, torpedoes are a good way to discourage them from getting closer. But don't try to be a destroyer. Even in the Omaha, which I got into midweek, and doing 32 knots, you aren't fast enough to close to launch range without getting your nuts blown off. Trust me on that. I think the United States Navy finally figured this out after the Omaha class, which was about the last cruiser class to have torpedoes as armament. After that the deck space was given over to anti-aircraft (AA) guns. A sensible change in the age of naval aviation.

The best tactic I've discovered for the Omaha's torpedoes is what I call 'island stalking.' There are several maps with many small islands. They lend my cruiser cover as I get within torpedo range. Be advised, they also lend destroyers cover, and they are much better at it than you can be. Wait until the team has dealt with the enemy destroyers before you decide to be one yourself.

[caption id="attachment_5458" align="aligncenter" width="1920"]Wyoming BB Captain Requesting Omaha AA Wyoming BB Captain Requesting Omaha AA[/caption]

The Omaha really comes into its own when you get the 1944 (last) hull refit. You lose two rear facing main guns as well as half your torpedo salvo capability, but you gain a literal boatload of AA guns. At that point you become a real asset to your older battleships who have no AA capability and are big fat juicy torpedo plane targets. If you stick with them they'll appreciate it (see above) and you might even be able to drive off those pesky (and very dangerous) destroyers intent on getting a few of their fish delivered. If you position yourself ahead and to the enemy side of your battleship line, you can even use your torpedoes against those destroyers. But understand, you're not going to hit them. They are too fast and nimble for that and they will easily avoid your torpedoes unless the captain has no situational awareness. What you are going to do is influence where they go. You'll force them to turn and that'll slow them, giving you a chance to hit them hard. Also, channel them away from your capital ships. Cut off their best torpedo approaches. Push them towards your other escort ships where they can be dealt with. Or, if you've no other support ships nearby, at least get them to run broadside to you so you have a greater opportunity to hit them with your mains.

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The last thing I find the Omaha excels at is getting to where the action is. It gives me the opportunity to fight as Napoleon ordered: march to the sound of the cannon. If I am on the right side of the map, and the enemy fleet went to the left, I can get across to them in relatively short order. I can at least get into main armament range, which is 12.7 kilometers in the fully refit Omaha class; without taking into account any commander bonus. You can effectively stay out of range of older cruisers like the St. Louis while delivering long-range and accurate artillery fire. You can pull this on a stock Omaha too. ;) I look forward to future cruisers where the AA capability as well as range increases. The Cleveland class cruiser starts with a 13.3 kilometer range. :)

But cruisers are not the only ships I have been fighting. I'd been thinking about opening another line of ships, and encouragement from Corelin, whom I divisioned with one night, got me to pull the trigger. I had already earned enough experience on the St. Louis class cruiser to open the United States battleship tree. I've fought several battles with the South Carolina class battleship and am looking forward to getting into the Wyoming class. The South Carolina class is slow and short ranged with no AA capability of which to speak. The Wyoming is a touch faster, has a substantially increased range and a fully refit Wyoming class battleship as much better AA. The only thing I need to watch out for is running out of credits. I'm still a ways away from the Cleveland class cruiser but the purchase price is nearly three million!

For all its short comings though, the South Carolina has given my one of my best moments to date. In one of my battles last night, I was the last ship alive and being chased by an Arkansas Beta class battleship. It was odd, but this Arkansas Beta was on my tail as if she meant to ram me. I got 21 main gun rounds into her before the game ended (not with my death I might add.) Nearly half of those were delivered as full eight gun broadsides at less than three kilometers - practically point-blank range. Here's what that looked like.

[caption id="attachment_5456" align="aligncenter" width="1920"]Arkansas Beta at Point Blank Range Arkansas Beta at Point Blank Range[/caption]

Arkansas Beta at Point Blank Range

I have no idea why the captain never fired the main guns of that beast at me. I suppose he was just enjoying the chase too much.  Regardless, I'm happy to have survived even if not victorious. Even in defeat I could battle on!

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