Expert MarksmanWargaming has nerfed this commander skill. As seen on the public test server, it will only give a 2.5 degree per second traverse improvement to 139 mm main guns and smaller. All other main guns will get a 0.7 degree per second improvement only. That means small gun cruisers like the Mogami will take longer to bring their guns to bear on other ships. This is fantastic for me! I am currently a big time destroyer captain. I am loving my Fubuki and Kiev. But even in the Kiev I am horrible outgunned by these small gunned cruisers. I've taken on and won against 203 mm cruisers, but the small caliber artillery has minimal dispersion and they are on my destroyer in a seeming heartbeat. And how many of you destroyer captains out there have been sneaking around the edge of an enemy fleet to out flank them while they fire on your fleet only to have every gun in the enemy fleet turn on you the instant you're detected? This will at least give destroyers a chance to drop off again before they get obliterated.
Last StandThis skill is not actually changing one bit. It is however getting dropped to skill level 2 instead of level 4. This means anyone who wants to pay for a three skill point destroyer captain will have both Situation Awareness and Last Stand from Tier 1 on. Gone are the days of knocking a destroyer's engines out with the first salvo and then reducing it to a smoking wreck while they sit there an just take it. This will make destroyers even more effective. I even wonder if it will make them too effective at lower tiers. Only time will tell. Of course, the same will happen with low caliber mostly low armor cruisers now that they no longer get the huge turret traverse bonus from Expert Marksman. I think this will make ships like the Omaha and Yorck not suck so bad, so in this way nerfing Expert Marksman is actually good for them.
Torpedo AccelerationOh yeah! This is going to make my Fubuki a monster. Okay, maybe that's a bit of hyperbole, but it will finally convince me to upgrade to the 15 km torpedoes. I've not done so because of dispersion concerns at 15 km. I just don't think they'll hit anything: too easy to avoid. That and they go so much more slower than the 10 km torpedoes. This new commander skill will give me back the 5 km/hr speed the upgrade losses and still give me a range of 12 km range. It's a win-win. The only problem is I'd have to choose it over Superintendent. That's a hard choice. I really like the extra smoke and speed boost I get with Superintendent, but admittedly don't need them in even half the games I play. I'd use the longer range in every game. But this is a happy choice, not a sad choice. It will all boil down to how you want to play your ship.
VigilanceThis is not a skill I currently use. It's not really worth picking over Superintendent. It still isn't worth picking over Superintendent in my book, but with the recent change in torpedo detection ranges it might be something I'd now consider for my very skilled battleship captains instead of the level 4 Advanced Firing Training, especially since that later was also nerfed to only apply to 139 mm main guns and smaller.
Advanced Firing TrainingAnd not only will those damn light cruisers not be able to stomp me down the moment I'm detected, their main guns might not even be able to reach me! Okay, that's really just a bunch of wishful thinking. Cruiser main guns have calibers that promote longer ranges (with accuracy!) so they'll still be able to hit sneaky destroyers once their traverse is completed. However, we won't see the hail Mary arcs of HE spamming battleships on the other side of the Two Brother's map any more. That should make battleship captains happier.
Survivability ExpertI think I am looking forward to this skill more than any of the other changes. Remember when the Kiev used to be a monster? Then they nerfed it last patch. It now actually has 2700 fewer hit points than it's fully upgraded predecessor the Ognevoi. Believe me, this makes a huge difference! I've charged battleships in my Ognevoi and survived. You can't do that in a Kiev. It doesn't have enough hit points. This level 4 skill will add 2800 hit points to my Kiev and make it the ship it once was - mostly. It's the perfect replacement for the former level 4 skill Last Stand.
Manual Fire Control for AA ArmamentI see this benefiting team battles more than random battles, and only if their are carriers in the game. But if those admittedly restricted conditions are met, you can say goodbye to the Japanese carrier's torpedo plane dominance. They'll get blown out of the sky by AA fit cruisers, especially U.S. cruisers, at every turn. However, it'll take the same sort of player who likes playing cleric classes in RPGs to make it work, if you know what I mean. Glory hounds need not apply.
Last ChanceThe buff does improve this skill IMO, but I'd rather see it move to level 3 as an option for non-Japanese destroyers in counterpoint to the Torpedo Acceleration skill. I love the idea that my Kiev could fire a turret every 3.5 seconds when down to just a couple thousand health, which seems to happen a lot. But there is no way I'd ever choose this over concealment expert for any destroyer. For other classes of ships, I think this skill will be a non-skill.
Manual Fire Control for Secondary ArmamentAs a predominantly destroyer captain, this skill terrifies me. Right now it is possible to follow a battleship and rain fire upon it while easily™ avoiding main gun rounds and staying out of secondary range. Hell, some battleships can't even fire their secondary guns rearward. But for those that can, this when coupled with Expert Marksman and Advanced Firing Training will make the follow the battleship game much more dangerous.
Preventative MaintenanceA negative 50% risk of incapacitation will be a boon for ships that constantly lose their main turrets to enemy fire, like destroyers. However, there is no way I'd ever select it over Concealment Expert. Concealment Expert makes me the captain of my own ship. I am in control of my range. Preventative Maintenance leaves the RNG god still in control of my fate. It lessons the impact of the RNG god, but I'd rather have me fate in my own hands thank you very much.
And those are the Commander Skills changes I'm most keen on for the upcoming update 0.5.3. What do you think of the changes being wrought by Wargaming to Commander Skills? Which ones are you looking forward to? Which ones are you mad about? Let me know in the comments. And as always, have an excellent day!