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Saturday, October 31, 2015

Sunday Highlight #11: The Phantom Fortress

This week's Sunday Highlight delivered a bit early because it's the day for tricks or treats. Here's my treat for you. A trick I played on the Phantom Fortress. Enjoy!

Friday, October 30, 2015

Fleet Friday: My Best Ship? Really? Why?

I've been looking through the stats provided on the World of Warships web site, and it's been over a month since I've said anything about my stats. Mostly that's because there is nothing much to say. I'm not the worlds best World of Warships player, nor am I the worst. I'm solidly middle of the pack - or so I'd like to believe. I've not quantifiable comparisons to back that up. The players whose names I look up are guys like Notser, who have a 59.95% Victories/Battles rating and a 3.41 Kill/Death Ratio. Of course, he's fought more than twice as many battles as I have. Still, I'm not in that league, though I have gotten better thanks to watching his videos. They are informative, especially when it comes to targeting and aiming (not the same thing BTW.)

In summary, since the last time I posted statistics I have fought 202 battles, I've increased my victories per battle statistic by 2.03% and killed 0.18 ships more per battle. The only top line statistic to slip is average experience per battle. I attribute that to starting the Japanese destroyer tech tree. Lower tier battles just earn less experience. My gameplay is less cruiser heavy than before, but mainly because I started Japanese destroyers.

So that's my progress in general. But what surprised my about my statistics was in the warships statistics. It is through that drop down selection you can analyse your performance in individual ships. Every ship you have purchased is listed. As I was going through the various ships I've played, I discovered I have a 68% victory rate with my Colorado class battleship. I kid you not.

Granted, I've only fought 28 battles in it, but what does that matter? A win is a win even if it's your first battle. But looking at this fact, and thinking back about the bad reputation the Colorado class has in World of Warships, I'm finding it difficult to correlate the two. And then it struck me. The same reason the Colorado gets such a bad rap is the same reason I am doing relatively well in it. It's slow.

How's that you ask? Well, it works like this. When I am only able to do 21 knots, I have lots of time to plan my advance. With a 30 second reload time, I have lots of time to pick my target and aim well. Very seldom have I felt rushed when sailing the Colorado, even when I am primary for the entire enemy fleet. There is no point in rushing. It's a slow ship and you have to live with it.

Contrast that against the destroyers I've played. Let's assume that I'm as used to playing destroyers after 42 battles in a Mutsuki as I am with bullet slinging ships. My victory rate in the Mutsuki is only 45%. And I think I know what hurts me in that regard. I race into the unknown, get detected, and get whacked. I've written before of the all or nothing games I seem to have with destroyers. The nothing games are the games where I get into a capture point, get caught up in a hairball with another destroyer or a light cruiser, and have it handed to me. I'm just not that good of a twitch player. I do better when I slow down and plan my assaults, not rush headlong into a meeting engagement.

But it's difficult to prove such an assertion even when it makes perfect sense for the type of gamer I am. But there is some evidence for the assertion slowing down pays off. We only need to look at the statistics for my other tier VII ship, the Pensacola class cruiser, my second highest victory percentage ship.

Here is another bad rep U.S. ship with a better than 50% victory rate, and these are only my random battle statistics. There is an even better case for taking one's time in a battle in order to do better. My ranked battles in the Pensacola, the only ship I fought ranked, ended at 17 when the wait time in minutes began to exceed the number of ships in the battle. In ranked battles, no one rushes into anything. Fleets stick together, tend to play conservatively, and surprises are few. My victory percentage in ranked while using the Pensacola is 71%.

Once I had my hypothesis, it was time to put it to the test. I decided to do so in the Mutsuki. It can both dive into trouble quickly and play the patient game. I can't actually give you real statistics. I can only give you my opinion on how various games went as I tested out the hypothesis that slow and steady improves performance. Those games where I did not hit full throttle and dive into a capture point straight away did go better for my. Not always, but more often than not, and certainly more often than those games were I dove in fast, got into trouble and was blown out of the water. Now it only remains to be seen if I have the force of will to curb my love of fur-balls. Though I am not all that good at them, they are exciting.

So what do you think? Do your matches go better for you when you slow down and make a plan? What else is necessary for victory, other than team mates who are not complete idiots? That's a completely different subject and one I'll not get into on this blog. Let me know in the comments, and until we meet on open ocean, sail carefully.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Raising Caine - Tales of the Terran Republic Book Three

Since reading and reviewing Trial by Fire last May, I have been eagerly anticipating the release of Raising Caine by Charles E. Gannon, the continuing adventures of Caine Riordan, a one time writer now pressed into diplomatic and military service of the newly formed Terran Republic. In fact, my excitement is such that I am writing this review with 35 minutes left before I actually complete the audio book I purchased. I've already completed over 21 hours and that is more than enough to give my thoughts on this book, and I will finish it today. But first, here's the obligatory publisher's summary so you have an idea of what I'm reviewing.

Caine Riordan, reluctant diplomatic and military intelligence operative, has just finished playing his part repulsing the Arat Kur’s and Hkh’Rkh’s joint invasion of Earth.
But scant hours after the attackers surrender, the mysterious but potentially helpful Slaasriithi appeal to Caine to shepherd a diplomatic mission on a visit to their very alien worlds. The possible prize: a crucial alliance in a universe where the fledgling Consolidated Terran Republic has very few friends.

But Caine and his legation aren’t the only ones journeying into the unknown reaches of Slaasriithi space. A group of renegade K’tor are following them, intending to destroy humanity’s hopes for a quick alliance. And that means finding and killing Caine Riordan.

Assuming that the bizarre and dangerous Slaasriithi lifeforms don’t do it first.

The first thing I'd like to say about this book is that Charles Gannon gets the military mindset in most ways. I say this as a vet who has served. When his military characters interact, the do so in a way that is very real to me. It reminds me of the interacts I have with my fellow vets, and those of my classmates still in uniform. There are many things civilians do not understand about soldiers. I see it constantly. Unless you live that life, unless your life actually depends on the man to your right and the woman to your left, you don't have the life experience to grok it. I've read Dr. Gannon's bio, and I see no indication of military service. I can only guess he is informed by his membership in SIGMA and a set of militaristic hobbies. Whatever the source, he's taken it to heart. I won't say it's perfect, or that it isn't occasionally Hollywood, but it's damn refreshing Sci-fi for a vet to read.

But that doesn't mean this book is all about the military and military action. It's far more personal than that. In Trial by Fire, the action was hot and heavy encompassing many star systems and hundreds of thousands if not millions of sentient beings. Tens of thousands of them died in a huge war. In Raising Caine, the action is confined to two small groups of humans and a few Slaasriithi. The action is close. There's a traitor in their midst and they know it, just not who it is. It's all very, very personal. To me, the characters in Raising Caine, even the ones new since Trial by Fire, are deeper and more complex in this book than they have been in the previous. Though the story unrelentingly focuses on Caine Riordan, you still get to know many of the other characters - love them or hate them. It makes for a strong story.

In my review of Trial by Fire I wrote, "There are a few female characters and Dr. Gannon probably even thinks they are strong female characters." That's not all I said on the matter. The rest is even less complimentary. They were harsh words, but I felt compelled to say them. And though I know they are not responsible for any changes in that regard, I am still very happy to report the female characters in Raising Caine are much, much better. It's a more inclusive story. Males and females share responsibilities. The sex of the character matters far less in this book than it seemed to in Trial by Fire. And though there were a few places where romance rears its undesired head, it is kept low-keyed and is not a vehicle for anyone's actions... well it was once but that was completely understandable. I'd have done the same thing.

And for those who read this and wonder about the Bechdel Test, yes, this novel passes that test quite early on. In fact, I was disappointed that more was not done with one of the female characters involved in the particularly riveting conversation I'm thinking about, but I know we haven't heard the last of her. She's singled out in that plot line's wrap-up for this novel. (That's perhaps a wee bit of a spoiler, but what the hell. It really isn't telling you anything.) There wasn't much opportunity for female on female scenes throughout much of the book though. The protagonist is male and there is only so much that can be done about that. But that could change, and I can see some spin-off stories possibilities if Dr. Gannon ever decides to write his version of Zoe's Tale (Pandora's Tale. *cough,cough*)

There are no really negative things to say about Raising Caine. It is interesting, action packed and just about everything you could want in a Space Opera. It even managed to surprise the hell out of me when the traitor's identity was finally revealed. Man, I didn't see that coming. Well played Dr. Gannon, well played. However, you used the phrase "just so" at least a half-dozen times in this novel, and every time the Slaasriithi ambassador said it I thought of a particular Arat Kur from Trial by Fire. Please stop. But honestly, that's the worst thing I can think of about this book. All in all, I feel Raising Caine is better novel than Trial by Fire, and that's saying a lot. It's well worth the read. I look forward to the future adventures of Caine Riordan (and Pandora's Tale. *cough, cough*)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Highlight #10: How to Shoot Down Airplanes with a Battleship

All good things come to those who wait, and sometimes the other things as well. This was one such occasion. After three waves of attackers, we nearly melted the barrels on those AA guns! In between, I landed some good shots, but this game was all about downing the airplanes. Enjoy!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fleet Friday: The Mutsuki Class Destroyer

The Mutsuki class destroyer was the first built by Japan after abandoning the Washington Treaty of 1923. It relied heavily upon the designs of the Minekaze and Kamikaze class destroyers which proceeded it. Of the twelve ships built-in this class, all saw combat in World War II, and all were sunk. I have to admit, the concept of the citadel penetration in World of Warships did not really sink in until I read about what happened to the Mutsuki herself. Here it is from the Mutsuki's Wikipedia page,

During the Battle of the Eastern Solomons on 25 August 1942, Mutsuki was sunk in an attack by USAAF B-17 Flying Fortress bombers while assisting the damaged transport Kinryu Maru, 40 miles (64 km) northeast of Santa Isabel island. Mutsuki took a direct bomb hit in her engineering section, killing 41 crewmen and injuring 11 more.

In World of Warships terms, that was a single citadel penetration. It not only confirms to me the citadel mechanic in the game is justified, but I will never look at bombers in World of Warships the same way again.

After 47 battles in the Minekaze class destroyer with a victory standing of 55%, I finally earned enough experience to purchase and fully upgrade a Mutsuki class destroyer. She is not quite as fast as the Minekaze (3.7 knots slower,) and has a slower torpedo reload time (see below,) but her guns in their final configuration are better and she has slightly more hit points. With the Faster Rudder Shift upgrade she also has a blinding fast 1.7 second rudder shift time. She also has considerably better anti-aircraft guns in the final fitting as well. This is the first destroyer I've played where the AA range exceeds the aircraft detection range. This makes it a requirement to turn off AA if you don't want to give away 1.9 kilometers of stealth.

Mutsuki Class Destroyer Stats
These stats are with camouflage and a properly trained captain. "Fully upgraded" is a key requirement to enjoy the Mutsuki. After the Minekaze class destroyer, if you sail a stock Mutsuki you are going to feel like it is a downgrade, and you'd probably be right. You won't be happy with it. Not even a little. The stock Mutsuki is slower, has terri-bad torpedoes (short range and long reload!) as well as the awful guns of the Minekaze class destroyer. The worst downgrade is the torpedo system. Have a look at the stats for the Mod 1 and Mod 2 torpedoes on the Mutsuki.

Mutsuki Mod 1 Torpedoes

Mutsuki Mod 2 Torpedoes
Though it has two triple launchers (a better fitting as I'll expound on in a bit,) the range on the stock Torpedoes is a paltry 6.0 Kilometers. That's as low as you can get the detection range on the beast, making it no better than a U.S. destroyer's torpedo capabilities, but saddling you with worse guns and less armor. Just don't do it. Research the Mutsuki to make your Minekaze an Elite ship and continue sailing it until you have enough experience so you can convert it to Free XP to use on your Mutsuki. WARNING: this will cost you real money as it takes doubloons to convert Elite experience into Free XP. But it's worth the small cost and it will support the game you love. Right? If you don't you're going to hate the Mutsuki until you can get better torpedoes.

Now about those upgrades. You don't need to upgrade everything to make the Mutsuki a ship sinking machine. Just purchase the B hull and the Mod 2 torpedoes and you're in business. You'll get a nice hit point upgrade, but more importantly your torpedoes gain four kilometers range at the sacrifice of a little speed. That is four kilometers where you are completely undetectable by ships, and even cruiser based aircraft so long as you stay beyond 6.6 kilometers (3.5 kilometer patrol distance of the aircraft and 3.1 kilometer spotting distance for your Mutsuki.) Rest assured, I have already but the undetected launch to good use. ;)

Now, about those dual triple launchers and why I find them superior to the triple dual launchers of the Minekaze class destroyers. It is primarily for two reasons. They are speed of use (not reload, that is much worse) and dispersion.

The speed of use is the minor reason. With the Minekaze, it takes a second or two longer to fire all torpedoes at a single ship as you have to aim each launcher independently and one at a time. With two launchers it takes two-thirds the time. That's one-third less time in tunnel vision mode. Situational awareness is a life and death skill for a destroyer captain and that is aided by only having two launchers. Because after all, you still have to aim torpedoes.

The second and primary reason I prefer the new configuration is because the dispersion is easier to plan. Perhaps it is a personal preference, but I find it easier to overlap two triple launchers than three dual launchers. And in higher tier games, that's a big benefit. Like many other players, I've found in higher tier games only the narrow spread really works. The wide spread is too easy for more maneuverable higher tier ships to avoid. So it comes down to good aim and surprise. The four kilometer launch buffers aids surprise. Good aim is aided by triple torpedoes slightly overlapped. You can either go for four center line torpedoes with two outside in case of a speed change, or two center line torpedoes and four to account for speed change-ups. If I'm not being very clear, have a look at this How to Hit with Your Torpedoes guide put on the forums by MinorMorris, complete with diagrams on how to position your spreads. His example uses three dual torpedo spreads like the Minekaze has, but the principles are identical.

There is one more thing some people will not like about the Mutsuki class destroyer. The torpedo reload time is about 60 seconds, even with relevant upgrades and captain skills. It forces me to plan my attacks more carefully. I can't just spam torpedoes any longer. That's not a bad requirement, it's just a different one. I find myself strategizing more. It's making me a more thoughtful destroyer captain. Do you find it's done the same thing for you, are do you miss the torpedo reload time of the Minekaze? Let everyone know in the comments. And until we meet on the sea, safe sailing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Rising Tide Raises All CivBE Ships

Last Sunday I needed a break from everything. I needed a break from the grind that is getting to upper tier ships in World of Warships. I needed a break from real people. Hell, I needed a break from RL. When such occasions have arisen in the past, I've often gone to my life long favorite Civilization V. However, last year I bought and played a fair amount of Civilization: Beyond Earth (CivBE.) It didn't fill that niche in my psyche it's Earth bound antecedent does though. After about 50 hours of game play, and the release of Elite: Dangerous and World of Warships, I stopped playing it.

However, Firaxis just released (October 8th to be exact) the first DLC for CivBE. It is called Rising Tide. What intrigues me about this $30 DLC is it allows players to found colonies on water as well as land. And I don't just mean the city can control water hexes. I mean the city itself can occupy a water hex. And players can move them. For some reason this really appeals to me. So I purchased the DLC on Steam and installed it. I then jumped right in, selected one of the four new leaders (the aquatic city one of course,) and jumped right into a game.

Brace for Water Landing
In the beginning, cities can only land in shallow seas. You must research the Planetary Survey technology to move into deeper water. Still, it is possible to land completely away from any shoreline as my Select a Landing Site screen shot illustrates above. Of course, only the new leaders Duncan Hughes of the North Sea Alliance and Han Jae Moon of the Chungsu can initially land on water unless you choose that option as one of your startup conditions. You can read about how these options work to create incredibly variable start conditions on my CivBE game setup post from last year.

But aquatic cities and new leaders aren't the only thing offered by this DLC. The entire diplomacy system has been re-imagined, and I like it much more than the old system. The first thing I want to rave about is the Personality Trait system for your leader. Here's what a completed Personality Traits tree looks like.

Personality Traits
There are four main areas and three levels for each trait you select. The Character traits are set and are equitable to the old personality settings for each leader. There are three other categories you can choose to purchase. There are 10 traits per category. If my math foo doesn't fail me, that's 27,000 possible combinations! And you can see from the traits I selected for my game they are substantial bonuses. But wait, there's more! If you don't like what you've selected, you can change them - for a price. If the game zigs when you thought it would zag, you're not locked into worthless traits. Nice.

Traits aren't the only change to the Diplomacy system. The entire system is new and different. Other leaders no longer seem so fickle in how they relate to your civilization. With the new Fear and Respect system, you can see exactly what motivates them.

Fear and Respect
This also has a bearing on what agreements you can obtain from another civilization. You pay Diplomacy Points on a per turn basis for these agreements. Better agreements cost more. And the payments come from the same pool you from which you purchase traits, so you have to make a decision on which is more valuable to your civilization. In return, the other leaders can buy agreements from you and the Diplomacy Points earned go back into your diplomacy coffer. It is a dynamic and changing system, and more than a little nuanced. You are in effect providing aid to a potential enemy in return for political hay. Choose wisely.

All these changes though can't make an NPC leader into a real person though. They still exhibit some irritating NPC behavior. In my game, the ever warlike Rejinaldo de Alencar was as unpredictable and unstable as ever, and seemed to be stuck on the same old rut of "you're doing your military stuff all wrong," which lowers his respect rating for you. I had to kick his ass a couple of times before he changed his tune. ;-)

To do so, I used some of the new hybrid units. Damn, those units are awesome. You can unlock them by pursuing two affinities and researching the appropriate technology. If your affinity levels are sufficient, and you have the technology, the game will automatically tell you there are units you can upgrade. Upgrades are immediate no matter where the unit is located. You benefit from the upgrade immediately. Here is what that looks like.

Upgrade Unit Screen


Champion Hybrid

CivBE Combat

As you can see on the third screen capture, each upgrade comes with two possible paths for enhancement. There are four tiers of enhancement, so each unit can have one of 16 different sets of special abilities. Some may supersede others. My Sentinel had +5 Heal When Not Embarked special ability. This was the Marine Perk Choice B. When I upgraded to a Champion, I selected the Automatically Heal Every Turn perk pack. This obviated the need for the +5 Heal special ability. You cannot go back, so plan your unit upgrades carefully.

The last big change in Rising Tide is in the exploration system. Exploration is now far more useful. It was always required to fulfill the quests that lead to victory, but now you can get even more assistance from exploration in the form of Artifacts and Marvels. I did not discover any Marvels during my game, but they are like wonders except they're available to all players. This would make them something like National Wonders in Civ5, but more limited in number. Here is what the CivBE Wikia says about them,
Marvels take up three hexes. Every biome has a unique marvel, and water has a unique marvel.
Once a biome is found, a quest begins for all players, which requires players to explore the map to find various items. Once the quest is complete the player will gain that bonus. Unlike wonders, multiple civilizations may complete these quests. Different factions can complete the same marvel quest, as well.
I look forward to completing my first Marvel quest now that I know what to look for. I did manage to dig up four Artifacts during the course of the game. However, I also lacked a complete understanding of how they worked. The mistake I made was in not waiting until I had three of them.

Artifacts Library
There are three sorts of artifact, Old Earth Relics, Alien Biology Artifacts and Progenitor Artifacts. It is only when you combine three of these that you receive special rewards. Otherwise you only receive what is shown: Production, Energy and Culture bonuses, which are also useful but not awesome. :D

Those are the game changing enhancements Rising Tide brings to CivBE. There are other changes, but they are simple additions to mechanics already in the game, or simplifications of existing mechanics in the case of trade vehicles, and don't really change how people will play CivBE. The four additions and reboots mentioned above absolutely change how CivBE plays. I find the changes most welcome, and CivBE has become a game I am more interested in investing a weekend's worth of time in exploring now. That should tell you I think the $30 price tag is worth the money. If you have the funds, I recommend purchasing Rising Tide. It makes a good game even better.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sunday Highlights #9: Big Hits

From catastrophic citadel penetrations to devastating torpedo strikes, here are my biggest hits this week in World of Warships. Enjoy!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Fleet Friday: The Minekaze

For most of the time I've played World of Warships, the Minekaze was the most OP ship in the game. With a detection range of six kilometers and a torpedo range of 10 kilometers, it could launch devastating attacks against unwary opponents who literally never saw it coming. If a Minekaze back then could get within 10 kilometers of the enemy rear area undetected, it could wreck ships with impunity before they even got enough steam to get underway. I know. This happened to me in my New York class battleship one game. I was on the map North, and was steaming to join the other battleships who were all heading for A. I was most near D, and we all know how long a trek that is. I was steaming along the line just south of the two most northern islands when all my torpedo Klaxons went off at once. It was all over except the cursing at that point. Even as I sat there brooding, no one ever picked up that Minekaze on visual.

Minikaze Stats
Well, I am here to report that problem has been corrected. The torpedo range on the Minekaze is now only seven kilometers. That still gives the captain a kilometer in which to maneuver, but it is not nearly so easy as it was before to remain undetected. Scout planes and non-carrier fighters have between a 3.5 kilometer and seven kilometer orbit from their mother ship. The Minekaze's aerial detection range, if not in smoke, is 3.1 kilometers. A battleship's spotter plane will see you long before you can close to torpedo range unless you time your approach appropriately. With a cruiser's fighter, you still have 0.4 kilometers to play with even if it is between you and the cruiser... but yeah, like that's going to work in a fluid and ever-moving battle. Then there are the carrier's planes if you're in a match with carriers. Are you starting to see a pattern to my complaint?

To me, the most dangerous thing to the destroyer is a the airplane. It's not that they will sink the destroyer, though sometimes the get lucky. But when there are enemy planes all over the map, it really, really cuts down on the Minekaze's ability to slip in undetected and launch torpedoes. And that really is the only weapon of note on the Minekaze class destroyer. The guns turn so slowly you take your life into your own hands if you try to use them. They add two kilometers to your detectability range and you can't maneuver and keep them on target at the same time. And even if you get them in target, their damage potential is pathetic. I almost never use them.

Don't get me wrong though, I'm not really complaining. I think the changes to the Minekaze class destroyer are spot on. It is now a challenge to get within torpedo range undetected though it is not impossible, and that makes for more fun! I would much rather play a challenging game than one that is a gimme. That makes moments like this one all the more rewarding.

Minekaze Destroying Carrier - I love the planes being thrown off the deck by the force of the explosion!
But this came at a cost. As I said in my Isokaze post last week, destroyer games seem to be an all or nothing sort of experience. That remains true with the Minekaze as well. In this match I was spotted making my run on this carrier and ever ship within range, which was most of the enemy fleet, opened up on me. Though I got the carrier, I was quickly dispatched myself. Some matches you get the carrier, and in others the carrier gets you - or the cruiser accompanying it, which is more likely.

That said, timid play also nets you nothing. I've survived half the battles I've fought in the Minekaze, but I did better in the Isokaze in every measurable way. I don't know if that's my doing or the more experienced opponents I tend to get paired with in a tier V ship. I see a lot more Cleveland class cruisers in the Minekaze than the Isokaze for example, and people like to play those long after they've graduated to higher tier ships. They keep them as Free XP generators. I imaging me worse track record is probably a little of both. And I'd be lying if I said my game play was top form over the past week. The excuse is I got sick and then got bad news. I know better than to play when I'm down either physically or mentally. But in the hopes for a quick pickup, I play. Then I lose and it has the opposite effect. But hey, you all don't want to read about this stuff.

So where am I at in the Minekaze? I am still learning. I've 40 games in a destroyer under my belt, and I am still learning what does and does not work on each map. I am also still learning that ranging thing. Higher tier ships move faster than lower tier ships. In the Isokaze I learned when to fire torpedoes from beyond maximum range so the ships would sail into them before they ran out of kerosene. With faster ships, that's actually harder to do. I thought it would be easier, but there is a faster reaction time in higher tier ships that makes a difference. So, who has some pointers for me? Let me know what you've found does and does not work with the Minekaze class destroyer in the comments. And until we meet in battle, may you have calm seas.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Isokaze High Caliber

Today's blog is actually a vlog where I talk through a recent match I had while captaining an Isokaze class destroyer in World of Warships. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Highlight #8: Isokaze Action

This Sunday's highlights are the first eight kills I made while captaining an Isokaze class destroyer in World of Warships. As my post on Friday related, my games in the Isokaze have typically been all or nothing sorts of games. I either get totally pwned by some cruiser, or I am the one pwning people. These highlights would be the latter. :D Showing you the former would just be shot after shot of my Isokaze fulfilling enemy DIAF wishes. That seems to be the consensus feeling of opposition players whenever they detect my destroyer. :o That level of animosity isn't really a surprise to me. It's how I feel when I'm in anything other than a destroyer. ;-) So, without further delay, here's my Isokaze in action. Enjoy!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fleet Friday: OMG, the Isokaze!

So let's be honest. They call it a grind because it grinds the fun out of whatever that thing is you're trying to do. And right now, I'm stuck in the U.S. cruiser and battleship grind. I can't say it isn't totally without enjoyment any more. I do in fact enjoy ranked battles in my Pensacola class cruiser. I've fought 16 battles, am rank 18, have a 75% victory rating and a 1.43 kill/death ratio. I'm doing well. And the Colorado isn't really that bad so long as you understand she isn't fast. But ranked battles are a bit stressful because they're serious business, and Colorado game play isn't exactly flashy. Nor does it lend itself to copious awards of credits, experience and fame.

So I decided some weeks ago to limit myself to one victory a night with the Pensacola and Colorado, and then spend the rest of my evening sailing a fun ship. Until this week that fun ship had been the Omaha class cruiser. But lately I've been having it handed to my in the Omaha and it's been dragging my statistics down. Okay, it's been dragging my victories per battle score down, as well as my average experience per battle. That last happens in a lower tier ship. I wanted something better to show for my fun.

On Wednesday, after a loss/win duo with both the Pensacola and the Colorado, I was not looking forward to another long haul in the Omaha. It then occurred to me I had over 22k free experience in my pool. It then occurred to me lower tier ships are cheap, and that I was eligible to start either of the two destroyer trees in the game. If I stripped and sold the Omaha, I could buy most of another similar tier ship - and destroyers are fun!

It took me about three seconds to figure out I didn't need another U.S. ship grind, which the U.S. destroyers are until about Tier VIII, so I started researching Japanese destroyers because Type 93 torpedoes aka Long Lance. I researched ships and modules until I couldn't research them any more. That left me sitting in a fully equipped Isokaze with the upgrades Torpedo Tubes Modification 1 and Propulsion Modification 1.

Since I skipped all the captain experience of the I used doubloons to assign a captain who'd attended the Senior Command Course and had three training points ready to distribute. I of course immediately trained Situational Awareness. No destroyer captain worth his salt doesn't have it. That left me with a choice between Basics of Survivability and Torpedo Armament Expertise. I went with the latter as it's all about the torpedoes in a destroyer. I also figured it wouldn't take me long to gain experience and get Basics of Survivability later.

And so it was I became a destroyer player. It was definitely the right move. I haven't had so much fun playing World of Warships since I started back in July. I've played 14 matches in my Isokaze. My stats to date are better than for any other ship I've played.

Isokaze Overall Results 2015-10-09
And yes, that is a High Caliber award-winning highest score you see there. OMG, that was a hella game last night! There will be highlights on Sunday for sure, but here's a teaser.

Now, as you can see from the stats above, I've lost five matches and been sunk in three of them. Here's what I've discovered about playing the Isokaze. You either do really well or you get nuked before you can do anything. And that depends a lot on the other team. If they are on the lookout for destroyers and make them a high priority target, a new destroyer captain can bank on having it handed to him on his first mistake. You get detected once and a good opponent will make certain it's the last time you get detected. With a bad opposing team, you can get away with being sloppy about range, etc. Well, probably at least once; until you slam some torpedoes home and open their eyes.

Then there are the games where you do almost everything right. Those games are glorious and you will reap the rewards of being the silent assassin. But it isn't easy. There really is no room for making mistakes. I have quite a bit of experience in WoWS, and it wasn't too difficult for me to get into the habit of staying out of detection range, even from aircraft, and finding that sweet spot from which to fire your torpedoes. For a new player it is a lot to master in a short period of time. So I recommend you not do like I did and buy right into a Tier IV destroyer unless you have a lot of hours under your belt, understand that tactics most teams use on the maps you'll fight on, and grok the mechanics of the game. If you skip the player training, no amount of ship upgrades and captain training will prevent you from having a miserable experience. Do other destroyer players agree? Don't agree? Does anyone have any pointers or favorite tactics? If so, let me know in the comments, and thanks.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

World of Warships: Proof the Nagato is Totally OP

Last Friday when I asked if the Colorado class battleship in World of Warships was really so bad, the first comment I got pointed out how much superior the Nagato class battleship is in the game, of course. The actual post from Kirith Kodachi of the Inner Sanctum of the Ninveah was,
You compared her a lot to the Fuso, but she’s tier VII like the Nagato. I think the complaints come a lot from that comparison as the Nagato is all types of awesome (I might be biased.) ;-)
He is quite correct. The Nagato class is all sorts of awesome. I purposefully chose the Fuso class to compare the Colorado class against, rather than the same tier Nagato class. I consciously chose to ignore the Nagato class because the game specifications for that battleship are way out of line with what she was actually capable of doing. The World of Warships version is extremely over powered (OP) and I can prove it. WARNING: this will be a long post of several thousand words.

Now, before everyone loses their mind let me say right here and now I am not saying I can prove the Colorado class battleship was superior to the Nagato class, either in real life or in World of Warships. I am merely going to provide enough evidence to show the Nagato, as it is portrayed in the virtual reality of World of Warships, does not match enough real world data and therefore the virtual version of the ship is OP. To do this, all I need do is show parity between the real IJNS Nagato with the real USS Colorado in most ways that matter in the game.

There are many, many sources of historical data for both ships listing speed, tonnage, gun size, etc. - but that is not enough. To prove how OP the Nagato is, we must analyze the data she might actually have been able to inflict had she engaged in a surface battle. That never happened. Fortunately, I found a web site that has researched such information, and I will liberally reference it in this post. That web site is NavWeaps: Naval Weapons, Naval Technology and Naval Reunions.

I will also draw on a few other sources of information for ancillary data. I will annotate those as I present my findings. And, there is a bonus! I will also present comparative data for the KMS Tirpitz, so everyone who bought one can judge for themselves if it was worth the cost or not. Let's dive into the nuts and bolts of it shall we?

Let's start with the armor on the two classes of ship. This is perhaps the most difficult comparison to make. The Japan and the United States had two different concepts of how to armor a ship. Japan took the traditional approach of placing armor on the entire hull. The United States on the other hand recognized a shift in how surface warfare would be fought in the 20th century, and during World War I began constructing ships on the "all or nothing" principle. Basically this doctrine identified key areas of a ship that had to be protected from catastrophic shell penetrations. We call these areas citadels. The remainder of the ship received little to no armor, and steps were taken in the interior design of the ships that would ensure it was capable of remaining afloat and surviving even if these unprotected areas were completely destroyed. There is a great write-up of this on NavWeaps here. Here is the key takeaway from that page,
Part and parcel with the armor scheme went the USN concept of the “raft body.” Since the “all or nothing” scheme eliminated much of the light to medium armor intended to protect a ship’s buoyancy fore and aft, it was necessary to ensure sufficient buoyancy was enclosed within the heavy armored box to ensure the ship could survive if its ends were riddled and flooded.
There is evidence that the all or nothing concept did indeed function as envisioned. On the night of November 14, 1942 an electrical mistake silhouetted the USS South Dakota to the Japanese fleet at Savo Island during the Guadalcanal campaign, and we all know how that works from WoWS. How this specifically came to be can be read in the official incident report here. The South Dakota was illuminated and subsequently hit by 27 Japanese shells ranging in size from 5 inches to 14 inches. A very thorough summary detailing every impact and the damage that resulted from it has been posted to the NavWeap sit by Robert Lundgren, and there are more details and other analysis on his site. It is well worth the read. The conclusion of this excellent article though is this,
Overall, the South Dakota class battleships were tough ships. Their internal armor arrangement meant that Japanese AP shells faced a complex set of defenses that would typically remove their nose ballistic and AP caps before they struck the armor plates. The side shell of these ships was strong enough to limit the damage of even the largest Japanese HE caliber shells fired at point blank range. At Guadalcanal, the “All-or-Nothing” armor system worked as her designers intended in limiting structural damage and keeping the ship’s fighting capacities intact.
Though the South Dakota was in a class of U.S. battleships after the Colorado class, their armor structure was functionally the same. That is where the game designers for World of Warships got it wrong. I don't think they really understand the concept of "all or nothing." I don't think they grok a U.S. battleship can be wrecked fore and aft and still fight as effectively as before. Thus they look at the overall hull armor of the Nagato class post modernization and see it as superior when it is not. They gave the fully upgraded Nagato class ship hull hit points of approximately 65,000 as opposed to the approximate 50,000 hit points of the Colorado class, but without justification. During her modernization in the 1930s, which the C Hull in WoWS is based on, the fundamentals of the Nagato's armor construction were not altered. The website provides details on what was done to the Nagato,
1 April 1934: First Modernization :
Kure Navy Yard. NAGATO’s hull is lengthened aft, anti-torpedo bulges are added and all torpedo tubes removed. A clipper bow is retrofitted. Additional horizontal armor is fitted over the magazines and machinery spaces. An armor strake is fitted to hull bottom in the vicinity of the turn of the bulges.
New main caliber turrets taken from unfinished battleships KAGA and TOSA are installed. Her 16-inch (406-mm) guns' elevation is increased to 43 degrees, increasing their maximum range to 41, 448 yards or 23.5 miles. Additional armor is fitted to turret faces, sides and tops. The barbette armor is likewise strengthened. The secondary battery 5.5-inch (140-mm) guns' elevation is increased to 35 degrees. Two upper deck secondary caliber guns are landed.
The NAGATO’s forward funnel is removed. All of her 20 original steam boilers are removed and replaced with four large Kampon oil-fired boilers in addition to six rebuilt small boilers. As a result of increase in displacement, the NAGATO’s maximum speed drops to 25 knots. Three Nakajima E4N2 floatplanes are embarked.

She got more armor, but nothing changes about how that armor functions other than the torpedo bulges, which the Colorado class already had. So considering the "raft body" concept means the unarmored parts of a USN battleship can be destroyed without affecting the ship's capabilities, and considering the IJNS Nagato only got more armor, but nothing different or beyond what the USS Colorado had, it really comes down to armor thickness. In that regard, the ships are comparable with a slight nod to the Colorado class for having slightly thicker armor, which is accurately reflect in the game.

WoWS Colorado C Hull Armor

WoWS Nagato C Hull Armor
The only area where the Nagato exceeds the Colorado is in secondary casemates (not primary casemates, check the real world statistics,) and the loss of those can hardly account for the 15,000 hit point difference between these two ships. Perhaps the Nagato's casements could account for a slight increase in armor protection, but I think it'd be better to give it an increased secondary gun survivability percentage than overall ship hit points.

This armor parity alone might be enough to prove the Nagato in WoWS is tremendously OP, but I can't just stop there. There is also this range disparity in the game that did not exist in real life. The guns 16 inch guns on the Nagato were not inherently better than those on the Colorado. That is clearly shown on NavWeaps here (U.S) and here (Japanese.) I have taken the liberty to summarize these two pages, as well as the data for the Tirpitz main gun, in these graphs.

WWII Battleship Main Gun Comparison
First up for inspection is the range of the main guns on these ships. The chart is well labeled and self-explanatory. We have elevation in degrees along the bottom and range up the side. Overall, the Nagato's main guns have a very, very slight edge in range over the main gun used on the Colorado class battleships. How slight? At 25 degrees elevation there is less than a 250 meters difference. Both guns range out to just over 32 kilometers. There is certainly not a 900 meter difference near the 20 kilometer range. Again, the game is wrong.

The biggest difference is in elevation capabilities. I have only used the elevations the guns could attain in their final refit, and as you see above the Nagato's turrets were modified in 1934 to allow a maximum 43 degree elevation. The U.S Mark 5 16 inch guns could only elevate to a maximum 30 degrees. This gives the Nagato a decided range advantage... or does it? What is the furthest range one battleship has ever hit another? I didn't know the answer to that question until I started digging on the NavWeaps website. It turns out the Scharnhorst hit the HMS Glorious from 26,465 yards away. That's 24,200 meters, well within the maximum firing range of the U.S Mark 5 main gun. As that is the longest range anything has ever been hit at, anything beyond that range is unnecessary. You plan for the battle you will fight, not the battle you wish you'll be able to fight. And as you can see above, the Nagato has no range advantage at realistic ranges.

But range isn't everything. There is also the question of ammunition superiority. Perhaps the ammunition the Nagato used is the reason she is so powerful. That's a nice hypothesis, but it simply isn't true. First of all, have a look at the damage summary on the USS South Dakota again. How many shells failed to detonate? There is nothing superior about the performance of those shells. But it was a dark and hectic night. There were many variables which could have caused the poor performance of the Japanese shells.

Let's strip away all the variable and just look at the raw penetrating power of the guns and munitions used. There is an app for that believe it or not. It's name FACEHARD and it was written by Nathan Okun using real world testing data. Go read his site and discover the incredible program he has created. It is truly amazing. And some very OCD men named Robert Lundgram (again) and Richard Worth ran the calculations for us. I have summarized their results in the following chart.

FACEHARD Armor Penetration Capabilities
Again, this chart is self-explanatory. It shows range along the bottom and inches of armor penetration up the side. The first thing that clearly shows itself on this chart is the SUPERIORITY of the U.S. AP shell. It outperforms the Japanese equivalent at EVERY range. So much for the hypothesis of Japanese ammunition superiority.

But that isn't the most exciting result on this chart. Look at the Tirpitz data. It clearly shows it has the most superior performance out to a range of 22,000 yards (20116.8 meters.) Yes, the Tirpitz does indeed have the extra penetrating power with which bequeathed it. In that regard they got it right.

There is one more item we must consider if we are to have a truly fair appraisal of whether the Nagato class battleship in WoWS is OP. We need to look at range finders. Perhaps he range finders on the Nagato justify the increased range. It was difficult finding performance data on the actual range finder installed in the IJNS Nagato. However, I discovered in a copyrighted book the Nagato had the same fire control system as the Myoko heavy cruiser - the Type 14. It was a purely optical range finder, though a very good one. I lifted the pages from the book I found, may the copyright gods forgive me.

Page 241 gives an overall assessment of Japanese fire control during one of the early Solomon Island engagements. It is not a favorable review. Still, most of those ships had older fire control systems, and it is difficult to make the claim that the Type 14 in the Nagato would have done as badly. The only fire control system comparisons I could find was between the Yamato and several other battleships including the USS Iowa and the USS South Dakota. You can read those result at, an Imperial Japanese Navy Page, on their Best Battleship: Fire Control table. The optical fire controls of the IJN were easily superior to all but the Kriegsmarine systems, which used the vaunted Zeiss optics!

But that shouldn't be a consideration in the final upgrade of the Colorado class battleship in WoWS. Why you ask? Because by the time WWII started, U.S. battleships no longer used optical fire control as their primary means of acquiring targets. They used radar, even on the older Colorado class battleships. This is pointed out on Best Battleship: Fire Control page,
The bottom line is that, after 1943 or so, having the world's best optical fire-control systems was largely irrelevant. The night battle between Washington and Kirishima near Savo pretty much settled the point; good radar usually beats good optics in a stand-up fight. And the radar used by Washington off of Guadalcanal was not as good as the sets fitted aboard Iowa.
The emphasis is mine. The Washington (BB-56) is a North Carolina class battleship. She had radar fire control in 1942 at Savo Island. But this isn't definitive evidence. It is inferred. So the question is, when did the Colorado class ships get their radar fire control systems? To try to answer this question, I lifted another copyrighted page from Naval Firepower: Battleship Guns and Gunnery in the Dreadnought Age. It shows the USS Colorado before October 3, 1944.

USS Colorado Fire Control 1944
It says,
Surigao Strait showed that the pre-war battleship fire-control system was inadequate. By that time ships that had not been rebuilt completely were being fitted with the new Mk 34 system (with Mk 8 radar) in addition to their earlier systems. USS Colorado is shown before the battle, on 3 October 1944, with a mixed system: the old fire controls are int he structure on her foremast, but the tower aft carries a Mk 34 surmounted by a Mk 8 radar antenna. She retained the old Mk 3 radar on her foremast, and the forebridge rangefinder standard pre-war.
The picture is definitive. You can see the radar antennas quite plainly. I will also point out there is an older Mk 3 radar, which obviously was in use before she was fitted with the newer Mk 8 radar. But when was the Mk 3 radar installed? I was still looking when I started this post. It's the last bit of unfinished business so to speak.

I know from that the Colorado was one of the least modified "old" battleships of the war. She was in Puget Sound Naval Shipyard being refit when the war started for the U.S. She returned to the West Coast for repairs on August 3, 1944 due to battle damage suffered at Tinian. So the picture above was taken before August 1944. From the history pages we know she was continuously on duty from Pearl Harbor until December 1943. But it says this return, "barely gave her crew time to digest their Christmas dinners before she was back in action." There was no refit in 1943. That leaves only one conclusion, the radar fire control had to be mounted during the pre-war refit in 1942 she was undergoing when the IJN attacked Pearl Harbor.

This coincides with the historical deployment of the Mark 3 Fire Control Radar found on The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia. Specifically this source states,
The U.S. FC or Mark 3 fire control radar was known in British service as the Type 284. It gave no height information, but used lobe switching to achieve high directional accuracy. It was first tested in May 1941 and began to appear on Allied ships during the Guadalcanal campaign. It was FC radar that allowed Washington to straddle Hiei with its first salvo and rapidly render the Japanese battleship hors de combat.
Though this still is not strictly definitive proof, I believe any reasonable person will conclude Colorado class battleships used radar based fire control for nearly the entirety of WWII. This has been a very long way of saying, no, the fire control systems on the Nagato ARE NOT superior to the fire control systems on the fully upgraded Colorado class battleship in World of Warships.

At each point: armor, guns, ammunition and fire control, I have shown the Nagato class battleship was not superior to the Colorado class. The only statistic the Nagato clearly excelled at was her 25 knot speed. But just that four knot advantage would not have given her that much of an advantage at 25 kilometers. In fact, with her optical fire control she couldn't even maneuver and fire. U.S. battleships fit with radar fire control systems could - and at speed - though this was demonstrated in a North Carolina class battleship in real life. The bottom line is, the Nagato as depicted in World of Warships is completely OP - no ifs, no ands and no buts.

That said, I do believe the Colorado class is accurately reflected in the game for the most part. It's final hull should get a range boost for the fire control radar it had; to at least bring it to parity with the WoWS Nagato. But that is it. As for the Nagato, they only have to change one thing. They need to drop the hit points 15,000. That would be more in line with the actual armor she had, not the 65,000 hit points currently given. That is just flat-out ridiculous and completely unsupported by the facts of her construction. Do you agree? Let me know in the comments.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Sunday Highlight #7: Colorado Game Play Talk Through

This Sunday's highlight is an entire match. Don't worry, it's less than 20 minutes long... just. It is a representative example of how I fight my Colorado class battleship when faced with an enemy fleet having several tier VIII Tirpitz battleships. The game play is voice annotated for your elucidation. She is slow, and that needs to be taken into account, but she can deal damage with the other battleships of her tier and higher when played to her strengths. I hope it helps you get through the hell-grind that can be the Colorado class battleship.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Fleet Friday: The Colorado Class Battleship – Is She Really That Bad?

[EDIT 2015-10-02 16:00 PDT - I have managed to get into the game and have corrected all the statistics given in this post to the correct values. All of the corrections are in red type. All the original things I wrote are still in the post, only lined through. None of the corrections change my opinion on either the Fuso/Colorado or the Tirpitz/Colorado comparison. This is only an opinion. You are free to disagree, and I encourage you all to continue to respectfully do so. I write these things for fun and part of that is finding out new things from all of you. I don't pretend to know it all, though it may seem I do at times. As for the Nagato, the wiki is horribly wrong. However, it is still my opinion the ship is not accurately reflected by the game and thus I choose not to use it in comparison to the more accurately represented Colorado class battleship. If the Nagato is ever nerfed, I may revisit this post. Thank you all for reading this blog and understanding that it's just opinion and that I'm fallible. See you in-game - Mabrick.]

There are quite a few ships what get no love in World of Warships. Perhaps the king of these is the United States' Colorado class battleship. This class of Battleship was designed during World War I with the first keel laid down in 1917. They were the last of the 'old' battleships designed and built by the United States. In all, three were built: the USS Colorado, the USS Maryland and the USS West Virginia. The USS Maryland and the USS West Virginia were in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. While the USS Maryland weathered that attack with only minor damage, being docked inside of the USS Oklahoma that fateful day, the USS West Virginia, moored alongside USS Tennessee, was not so fortunate. Though sunk she was raised, repaired and got back into the war October 1944. The USS Colorado was undergoing refit at the Puget Sound Navy Yard at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack and by December 10, 1941 was patrolling the west coast of the United States.

BB-45 USS Colorado
The biggest complaint in World of Warships about the Colorado class battleship is its speed. A treaty limited capital ship, this class could only muster a top speed of 21 knots. By World War II standards this is abysmally slow. Compared to later battleship designs like the North Carolina class and the Tirpitz, the Colorado is a wallowing gilt on the best of days. But those other ships are World War II 'new' battleships. To appreciate the Colorado class, one should compare it to the last Japanese 'old' battleship - the Fuso.

[EDIT 2015-10-02 13:20 PDT - I am placing here the reply to my first comment and the reason I chose to compare to Fuso rather than Nagato. YMMV, but to me the Fuso is the more correct representation of the actual IJN 'old' design battleship within WoWS.

"The Negato is a hell of a ship. It’s true. And it is the same tier as the Colorado in-game. I don’t think it’s as good a match though. In game, it has a shorter longer range than the Fuso firing only to 13.2 out to 20.5 kilometers. The fire control can’t be upgraded. It’s slower to load than the Fuso firing 1.7 rounds per minute. It still suffers from the fact the Colorado out ranges it and can do so while undetected. It’s somewhat faster at 21.9 knots stock and measurably faster at 25.4 knots in it’s final upgrade, and has hella fast rudder shift, but a turn radius larger than the Fuso. The speed and rudder shift time, along with it’s upgraded 65,000 hit points, and incredible range, are it’s biggest selling points. It can maneuver well and absorb damage. But when I look at a detail plan of the Nagato’s armor (,) I don’t see a ship that should have 65,000 hit points. That’s too much for the armor the ship actually had IMO. That makes the Nagato overpowered, so I chose the Fuso – a more accurate representation of ‘old’ design Japanese battleships within WoWS in my view. I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but the Nagato needs an armor nerf like the Minekazi needed a torpedo range nerf. Let the piling on begin!" /EDIT]

IJN Fuso
As originally designed, the Fuso itself could only muster 22 knots and carried less citadel armor, though as was the fashion with British inspired Japanese battleship designs, the hull had far more armor than U.S. counterparts. And though the rudder shift time in World of Warships is longer in the Colorado than the Fuso, the Colorado has a 100 meter smaller turning radius. With an appropriately skilled captain and/or upgraded ship, her maneuverability is comparable to the Fuso. I might also add no one seems to like the Fuso all that much either. So it is with treaty limited battleships. :|

The one thing the Colorado definitely has going for it are her eight 45 caliber 16 inch main guns. These are the same size and caliber as the North Carolina class battleships, though with a slower slew rate. And since the last World of Warships patch, their rate of fire is to the Fuso. As for the omnipresent Tirpitz, it has only 15 inch guns which do measurably less damage than the Colorado's guns, and seem to struggle to penetrate the Colorado class' well protected citadels. I have not had a problem penetrating Tirpitz citadels. ;)

To support the measurably less damage statement I located verified data at (and other locations) to verify AP damage maximum is 11,300 and the HE maximum is 4400 for Tirpitz. The Colorado's maximum is 12,200 for AP and 5600 for HE. There are reports the shell penetration value for the Tirpitz is higher. This is a hidden statistic. I cannot confirm this either through stats look ups or from what I've seen in-game. So long as you angle your Colorado's armor properly, my experience tells me the Tirpitz is not as dangerous as people fear. I've not had one citadel penetration from a Tirpitz nor have I had a turret destroyed. Perhaps this is all luck or RNG, but I can't quantify that so choose to ignore it. This may eventually change, but I stand by my opinion the Tirpitz is not measurably more lethal than a Colorado. It is only measurably faster, much faster... scary fast.

Those two paragraphs should tell you what you need to know about fighting the Colorado. The Colorado is a long-range shooter and citadel penetrating machine. Her starting range is 15.2 kilometers 17.6 kilometers stock and 19.6 kilometers upgraded in-game as compared to the Fuso's 13.2 kilometer starting range. The base Colorado can even out range a fully upgraded Fuso which only reaches out to 14.5 kilometers. Stay at range. Don't forget, you have a spotter plane. It increases your range even more. That might just give you the edge you need. The Fuso is detectable at 18.9 kilometers! Use the spotter plane in the early stages of a match to damage your opponents before they even detect you. Your detection range is only 16.7 kilometers, the same as your gun range with updated fire control. You might even get lucky and hit a citadel with plunging fire. Yes, it's possible. :D Even against the faster 'new' battleships it is possible on most maps to stay at range, if you maintain situational awareness. Remember, islands are your friend and you can use them to block closer opponents line of fire. Use those 16 inch guns to your benefit, and don't let the enemy close on you where her more numerous 14 inch guns will flip the odds. If you are on the Ocean map, god help you. Stay with your fleet (if you can :( ) and hope the enemy doesn't see you as the biggest threat.

That said, you need to upgrade your Colorado class battleship to at least a B hull and fully upgraded propulsion and fire control before she is this good. And until you can afford the C hull, stay close to your AA cruisers. Concerning upgrades, and I think I've said this before, wait until you have enough experience to fully upgrade a new ship class before you actually buy and fight it. Most of the complaints I see in match and online are for stock configurations. Yeah, stock sucks. What do you expect? It's a 1917 design. Twenty years went by between the Colorado class design and the North Carolina class design finalization. The nature of naval warfare changed dramatically in those two decades - perhaps more than at any other point in human history. But though she was designed for a different sort of warfare, the Colorado class is still a capable ship in the hands of a knowledgeable captain. Don't ever write her off and dismiss her as not being a threat, or her 16 inch guns will convince you otherwise.