Many seem to agree by now that the upcoming Russian battleship line might be a bit on the more powerful end of the spectrum. Perhaps too much so.
But how much of this has to do with them having too much power rather than simply not being dragged downwards by any undesirable qualities?
Every battleship line in the game is held back from becoming overpowered in one way or another.
American and French guns are far from the most accurate things in the world, with the Germans taking this statement to the very extreme.
Japanese turrets barely rotate while the ships themselves have mediocre armor or massive weak spots that are hard to cover.
British guns, while not to be underestimated, are just overall nothing special beyond the HE inferno they are often used to cook up.
In return they all get a bit of this and a bit of that. Better AA and/or secondaries, slightly improved speed and maneuverability for flanking, turtleback armor or huge torpedo defense systems for when the player has already messed up, or some extra range for shooting at ranges where very little usually hits anyways, just to name a few. Everyone however has some sort of a notable trade-off when it comes to their guns.
That is, until we get to the Russian BB line.
The gun caliber and thus the damage keeps up with the competition all the way through the line, the guns themselves are among the most accurate once at proper range (incidentally about the same range where other BBs would prefer to fight as well to really maximize their accuracy), the turrets traverse at speeds normally reserved for cruisers, all the while having enough armor and hitpoints to put the Germans to shame. All stats 100% relevant to a battleship at all stages of the game.
Even the somewhat gimmicky, limited damage control party can be a massive asset thanks to its faster recharge time.
So what do they give up in exchange for having the most relevant parts of the "Perfect BB" -checklist filled, then? What are their actual downsides?
Poor maximum range and bad accuracy at medium to long ranges? High range is certainly nice to have, but practically every battleship suffers a notable enough drop in accuracy past 15+ km to sooner or later be encouraged to begin closing the distance. Especially if they want to contribute to objectives, which rarely goes hand in hand with staying at max range. And as it happens, the Russian battleships are among the most accurate once the engagement distances begin to shrink.
Massive citadels? While having turtleback would be nice to have, a player that knows how to angle their ship and position themselves to avoid receiving crossfire probably doesn't really need much extra as long as there's enough armor where it matters. And Russia delivers once again with massive amounts of it, their BBs being able to nose-tank shells even from the mighty Yamato thanks to that extra layer of armor at the waterline. If the player can avoid making mistakes, the ships are among the toughest in the game despite half the ship being a massive, floating citadel.
Unremarkable AA and secondaries? Nice to have, certainly, but when have these ever been a reliable game changer for anyone? The targets that either weapon system is good against can most often just avoid the ship altogether as long as easier targets exist. And even then a ship fully specialized in either can be completely irrelevant when the need for said systems does arise. Even the best AA shield folds under sustained HE fire, and secondaries still lack the bite that the very same guns would have as primaries on any other ship. With the way they work right now, they are more often than not little more than a deterrent against planes and lighter ships.
Since most of the Russian designs never existed in the first place, there is little to no historical accuracy that Wargaming really has to abide by. As such, it seems that they looked at the way current game mechanics work and went with the idea of creating the ideal battleships to meet these exact conditions. The ships are 100% focused on the aspects that make battleships as a class good, while giving little to nothing in return for some 'nice-to-have' -mechanics that other lines are currently shackled with and give up so much for.
While as a whole the Russian battleship line may very well be too powerful in its current iteration, some of it might actually have more to do with the other lines giving up too many qualities of a good BB for what at worst amounts to nothing more than poorly implemented gimmicks. Perhaps some of the so-called strengths of these other lines need to be properly looked at to make them actually worthy trade-offs so a ship line that invested in no such trade-offs doesn't just seem outright overpowered.
The way I see the situation now, every other nation's battleships are, historically accurate or not, not quite optimized for the role forced upon the class by the current game mechanics, while the Russian BBs seem completely min-maxed for it, designed from the ground up to fit into that exact role. Not necessarily a bad thing by itself, but it does bring up some thoughts regarding the way BBs of the other nations have been balanced.
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© Post "Are the upcoming Russian BBs too powerful in their current iteration, or simply too min-maxed around current game mechanics?" for game World of Warships.
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