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Buyers Beware: weeb boats (Azur Lane)

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Buyers Beware

Old style

Tachibana | Diana/Aurora | Emden | (GNB) Albany | (GNB) Katori | Campbeltown | (Limited) Yūbari | Ishizuchi | (Limited) Sims | Tirpitz | Arizona | Saipan | Krasnyi Krym | Omaha/Murmansk/Marblehead

New style

Texas | Scharnhorst | Gneisenau | Leningrad | Belfast | Perth | Mutsu | Alabama | Massachusetts | Prinz Eitel Friedrich | Roma | Lenin | Legion of Honor

Warspite & You

I did, in fact, fat-finger post this right after finishing the Yukikaze bit.

Spoiler warning: long-but-important foreword.

You don't need me to tell you, again, that the way WG sells the cosmetic stuff (commanders, camos) is pretty much targeted towards whales and that asking more for the camo set than what I paid for Death Stranding last weekend is completely ridiculous. Other people on this subreddit have told you about that already and they're completely right. It is ridiculous.

I remember buying the Hood commander (I am a card carrying member of the HMS Hood Association so I sort of had to) for about a tenner during the first collab. This being a gateway drug into AL itself aside, I felt like that was a fair price. Unless you're this invested in AL and also drowning in money, I wouldn't recommend getting the whole set of commanders and/or camos.

THAT SAID, other people have laid out why this monetisation scheme is silly already. WG is selling the ships and new camos separately this time around, and we're here for the ships. The title says weeb ships. Talking about the actual ships here, not the girls.

This is going to be closer to my short form reviews I did with the French destroyer event because I'm still trying to get my head back into the review game a bit. I should've put this into the afterword.

If you're just going to bitch about how much you hate anime, find a different thread. Let people enjoy the stuff they like. I implore you.

Without further ado-


Including the two ships from the last event in this because like… why not, I guess.

Tier VIII – Yukikaze

Full disclosure that I played this thing only a handful of times after the live testing period ended, nanoda. She really confronted me with the fact my torpedo marksmanship fizzled to dust and blew away in the wind in the last year or so, nanoda.

I'm not doing this speech quirk bullshit for much longer. Nanoda.

The good stuff

  • I think I'm traditionally supposed to start with the main battery. That would usually spell rather bad news for an IJN DD, but they got buffed a while ago…
  • Which means that Yukikaze's 6-gun 12.7cm broadside hits pretty hard! 2.1k (and change) HE alpha is more than German 15cm guns get (lol) and if you use these in an ''ambush predator'' sort of way instead of a ''close range knife fighting HE DPM face melt'' sort of way, they can do work.
  • We're long past the days of an IJN DD being able to strip mounts off USN DDs on the first salvo though, unfortunately.
  • Like her shells, her torpedoes also hit really hard. The high torpedo alpha is a crown that IJN destroyers mostly still haven't relinquished, and with the current FOTM destroyer line launching warp speed pool noodles, this is a real niche they still sort of have.
  • Seriously, approximately 21k torpedo damage before saturation/TDS modifiers is nothing to sneer at, and being able to put 8 of these on target gives Yukikaze a wallop that's… matched by essentially the entire IJN torpedo destroyer line from tier 8 and up…
  • I'm trying so hard to find good things to say about Yukikaze nanoda
  • IJN destroyers do keep their concealment crown, and 5.4km surface concealment and 2.5km air concealment (when you turn your AA off, as you really should do) are very respectable even in this day and age. It at the very least gives Yukikaze a good buffer for launching torpedoes when she does actually find a victim.
  • xXUbcbv - Buyers Beware: weeb boats (Azur Lane)
    The camouflage looks really, really nice, with a nice set of colours and a cute bow on the… bow. Do you get it?

The bad stuff

  • Boy oh boy.
  • Nanoda.
  • IJN main battery alpha comes with the huge caveat of ''their rof is fucking garbage''. There are more destroyers that don't have 3-4s rof in the game by now, but 6.3 seconds(!) at tier 8 is just really, really slow. You're not going to be winning knife fights with these rather lethargic guns.
  • They also turn really slowly, and with four of your six guns being sat on your ass, getting guns on target can be a somewhat awkward proposal.
  • Her maneuvrability is perfectly middling, with a perfectly middling 35 knot speed (which is in cruiser and some BB realms nowadays) and a perfectly middling 640m turning radius all adding up to something… really average. Average is not a good thing to be for Yukikaze, nanoda.
  • There was a time where having 76 knot-speedy torpedoes would qualify this ship as a cruise missile launcher. With European destroyers showing up with their equally fast (and sometimes even faster) torpedoes, Yukikaze's F3s have lost some of their shine.
  • What really hurts them more than some Swedish dweeb sticking hyperdrives to pool noodles, though, is that setting up torpedo runs within 8km from your target is not something that can be consistently done in current year.
  • This is compounded by Yukikaze having really shitty AA to dislodge planes that latch on to her with (to the point you should really, really, really just keep it turned off unless a plane squad is almost directly over you already, anyway)…
  • … and her rather paltry HP pool of 15.1k meaning she'll wither away rather quickly under fire.
  • I guess in this sense she is true to her AL counterpart (except her AL counterpart gets some really good skills and evasion to make up for it, which will not save her here).

In conclusion, Yukikaze is basically a Kagero with F3s. That's the tl;dr. Unless you think the girl (and her accompanying camo) are just that cute, I can't recommend getting her, simply because it's furiously difficult to get mileage out of F3s nowadays.

Tier VIII – Montpelier

The worst Cleveland, especially in a world where Biloxi and Birmingham exist. Fight me.

The good stuff

  • There isn't any.
  • What do you mean I can't make this review solely about how much Montpelier sucks?
  • Okay then.
  • Montpelier is a Cleveland, and with this comes all the boons of having a Cleveland's main battery.
  • What I mean by that is the IFHE nerf did very little to stop tier 8+ light cruisers being the absolute DPM monsters they've been for the last few years, and merely made them rather less burny. I still firmly believe in IFHE for cruisers at tier 8 and over, and Montpelier is no exception.
  • 12 USN 6'' guns capable of penning 37mm of HE plating (and thus the all-important 32mm threshold) with a 7s reload time adds up to fairly devastating amounts of HE DPM and will absolutely melt poorly plated battleships and everything else into slag before long.
  • Even if you don't believe in IFHE anymore (which is perfectly valid, given there are a great many ships that have decent plating, too) Montpelier still boasts enough HE pen to melt any lower-tiered battleships and pretty much every cruiser short of Russian supercruisers, with a 12% base fire chance to make angled battleships regret every choice that has led them to this point.
  • All of this compounded to trebuchet arcs that make it childishly easy to sit behind an island and absolutely fucking ruin someone's day. Like Cleveland, Montpelier is nasty (not in that sense though, stop).
  • wowsft and gm3d tell me she has .15 better sigma than Cleveland.
    ><noscript><img src= - Buyers Beware: weeb boats (Azur Lane)
  • One of the funny bits of USN cruiser protection schemes is that there's a very notable ''step'' in their already fairly low citadels, which puts roughly half their citadel volume firmly below the waterline. While broadsiding stuff isn't quite as legit a strategy as with like, Smolensk (Monty is rather fat for a CL), battleships will sometimes struggle to make damage stick on you.
  • The AA is… alright, I guess…? Same and lower-tier carriers are likely not going to want to stick in your AA for a long time, and if some nerd in a carrier does smack into your flak you can really rip some decent chunks out of squads. You're just not really a no-fly zone.
  • The 660m turning circle radius is nice, I guess?????
  • 11.5km base concealment (you get a free permoflage with this, I'm considering it base) is really, really good for a CL. With all the bells and whistles, Montpelier's concealment drops down to a very, very respectable 9.3km surface concealment and an okay 5.8km air concealment (which actually means you can kind of AA trap planes).
  • Montpelier is a little fatter than her older sister (get fucked), with a 37.5k HP pool. Neat!
  • She also has the usual US CL toolbox at her disposal; 9km half-a-minute radar, hydro, DFAA, the works.
  • As much as I dislike Montpelier,
    the special camo looks kind of nice. It's flashy (more flashy than the Yukikaze one), but the colour palette is good and the angry vein thing on the bow is a fun touch. Too bad Montpelier still sucks.

The bad stuff

  • It's Montpelier, which we've firmly established is the worst Cleveland.
  • As punchy as the main battery still is in current year, she actually punches a little less hard than Cleveland, with her guns taking half a second longer to reload than her big sister's guns. Poor Monty, forever in the better Clevelands' shadows.
  • The trebuchet arcs are a fantastic boon for firing from the safety of islands, but also make it furiously difficult to nail fast, small ships (like destroyers) at longer ranges.
  • She has a big ol DP secondary battery that is completely useless for doing another other than making pretty fireworks. I figured I should at least discuss the smattering of 5''/38 guns once, but they're really not very useful against ships.
  • Apart from their tendency to let battleship shells right through, Cleveland hulls are super flimsy. The lack of citadel armour coverage means the vast majority of these ships consists of 25mm plating, which gets absolutely fucking melted by most 6'' HE and up, and heavens forbid a battleship gets a good salvo against your angled ship. You will die. Hard.
  • I tried making a Die Hard reference since I love those movies but my brain was not cooperating. Sucks.
  • 32.5 knots base speed is really pretty bleh for a cruiser, especially now that even some battleships can outrun you. Montpelier isn't a particularly good kiting ship as a consequence, and will very likely suffer in open water.
  • Montpelier sucks. I will not budge. If you're a Montpelier fan, fuck you. That's rude but also I don't care. How can you prefer Montpelier when Biloxi exists???

In conclusion, she's a Cleveland with slightly more HP, slightly better accuracy, and slightly less DPM. This doesn't add up to anything particularly flashy, but Cleveland herself isn't a particularly bad ship, and I'd actually recommend Montpelier even to the non-weeb; she's basically a premium Cleveland, which isn't a bad thing to be.


Tier VIII – Littorio

Lord forgive me, for I'm about to thirst.

I'm going to do a bit less bullet point recap here because I already wrote a Roma review that you should really just read instead of a shitty tl;dr. It's old and a bit dated, but most of it still rings true.

Littorio is, rather disappointingly, a Roma clone. There was a version in testing I'm not sure I'm allowed to discuss, but we all know about it and how much more interesting it would've been than a Roma clone.

Thirst time: AL Littorio is hot. I love how they shoved the ''chauvinistic, womanising Italian'' stereotype into her (I get to say this, since half my family is Italian) and I really, really, really like her base design.

clB2JpH - Buyers Beware: weeb boats (Azur Lane)

The camouflage they put together for her is really good, too, being a lot more lowkey than the Yukikaze and Montpelier camos, with some tasteful touches and references to Littorio herself. The problem is, though, that she's just a Roma clone to the point they didn't fucking bother to model the different bow.

I can't recommend her if you already have Roma, as a consequence. Maybe if she was… different and interesting, but as it stands, no. Just no. What a disappointment.

If you don't have Roma and wanna pick her up, and you like AL, well, why not? The camo is cool and Littorio could break my spine over her knee if she wanted to. Awooga.

Tier IX – Sovetskaya Rossiya

Tall ice mage battleship mommy. Soyuz hull. Mmmmmmmmm.

The good stuff

  • It's a Soyuz with regular battleship accuracy.
  • Alright, alright, since you're twisting my arm here, a more detailed recap of tall ice mage battleship mommy…
  • A well-known feature of Russian ships in general is, well, railguns. This has a whole host of implications for Rossiya.
  • For one, with AP alpha being a function of muzzle velocity (MV) and shell weight, Rossiya has really punchy shells, lagging only slightly behind USN superheavy AP with 13250hp worth of dick punching potential.
  • High muzzle velocity also means higher penetration. USN AP actually outpens Rossiya until about 6km or so (surprisingly), but after that she massively overtakes her American counterpart. Rossiya retains enough pen to smash any battleship's belt out to pretty much her max range.
  • And, finally, high muzzle velocity has the rather natural boon of being quicker to get on target, which makes it substantially easier for tall battleship mommy to push some kiting dweeb's shit in in hopefully spectacular fashion.
  • This is both a plus and a minus, but Rossiya uses regular battleship dispersion and not the good-at-short-range-but-less-good-at-long-range Soviet dispersion curve. She plays more like a traditional battleship as a consequence, with a playstyle that takes after sluggish, large battleships like Izumo as a consequence.
  • The true star attraction with Rossiya (as it kind of is with Soyuz as well) is just how durable she is.
  • This is gonna need some EXTRA BULLET POINTS. Rossiya is drowning in protected volume, with a tall incremental belt more than thick enough to keep out lesser battleship guns at sufficient range, and a 60mm upper hull and midships weather deck… which is just enough to shatter all cruiser HE, except some really specific IFHE builds that nobody runs anymore.
  • There's a 220mm belt extension to make her ends a little tougher to HE spam, too. The Soyuz hull is deviously HE-resistant as a consequence of all this, and overmatching AP only really has the bow and stern to go through.
  • The superstructure would ordinarily be a ripe target for HE spam, but Rossiya's superstructure is a lot narrower than the actual profiel would have you suspect, with a significant chunk of it being taken up by the secondary battery and directors.
  • The TDS backs up all this durability, with 35% damage reduction, which is really funny because Soyuz actual had the Pugliese system (bad) except inserted backwards (worse).
  • Rossiya does get the Soviet flavour damage control, which reloads faster at the expense of being limited in usage.
  • Once again,
    FjEuaGR - Buyers Beware: weeb boats (Azur Lane)
    the camo looks really good. As with Littorio's, it's a lot more lowkey than the second collab's camo colours, dominated by greys and whites, with stark white and light grey turrets and some glowy blue bits on the bow. It's a really snazzy, slick looking scheme and I like it a lot.

The bad stuff

  • You may have noticed the good stuff list was dominated by all the cardinal elements of a battleship; firepower and durability.
  • Yeah that's because that's the main things Rossiya offers.
  • The turrets are sluggish (not unlike Soyuz actual's). They're not the slowest in the game by any stretch, but 4deg/s base rotation speed is just… not very good.
  • The dispersion curve means she actually has worse dispersion at short and middling ranges, which… yeah.
  • For all her tankiness, Rossiya does share one (frustratingly uncommon) trait with her line comrades: her citadel rises up above the water. It isn't as tall as her belt suggests, and there's a Bullshit Void of Slightly Less Bullshit behind it, but she is not citadel-proof by any stretch. Any prolonged periods of showing broadside are liable to be followed by some battleship feeding you shit by the spoonful.
  • The ship itself is insanely sluggish. 28 knots is on the low end of battleship speed (she's not one of the battleships that's going to outrun Montpelier) these days, and the turning circle is enormous.
  • Bonus: you get the as-designed hull without the gimped rudder shift. Downside to this bonus: your AA is pretty shocking for the tier, and for some reason Rossiya gets the base hull HP (80.9k).
  • Unlike what the shipgirl suggests (tall majestic ice mage), Sovetskaya Rossiya the ship is a big brute, with little in the way of subtlety, nuance or agility, and some decent firepower and a lotta durability to compensate. Sort of. She tries.
  • She is such a big brute that she has atrocious base concealment, sitting at 16.2km. With all the bells and whistles, this bottoms out at 13.1km, which is not very good for a slow battleship with something of a tendency to fall apart when showing broadside.

In conclusion, Sovetskaya Rossiya is essentially an A-hull Soyuz that loads slower, has regular dispersion, and doesn't have the gimpy rudder shift.

Does this all add up to a worthwhile variant of Soyuz herself? Well… No. The camouflage looks good, but Rossiya feels awkward and clumsy, and while her playstyle is oriented to that, she isn't really going to set the world on fire. She's not bad, but unless you're really invested in the girl (can't blame you), she is not worth the hefty pricetag she carries.

This was a fun little writing exercise. I've been a bit out of it, with… a lot… happening after I wrote the Warspite thing for Horsey's birthday. I didn't feel it was right writing reviews after that, but here we are. I want to move on from all of that and get back to enjoying writing (as I was planning to do with the Warspite review) and trying to enjoy a game I still love dearly. I've had more than enough negativity this year to last me the rest of the decade, and I want to refocus on the things that I enjoy, that make me happy. Writing is still one of them, and it's about time I found a rhythm in it again.

This review may have been a bit of a mess, I realise, but that's all part of the Vaexa Review Experience:tm:; inconsistent messes that I write more-or-less without any sort of plan, totally on a whim. Wouldn't be me if it wasn't a clusterfuck.

If you've read the whole thing, congrats. I hope you enjoyed it. If you don't like anime and still enjoyed it, congrats for having an open mind. If you like Montpelier and didn't enjoy it, good. That's a joke, I shouldn't be too harsh. It's all just friendly ribbing.

As a final footnote, please don't shit up my review with ''anime sucks'' or ''wg's monetisation sucks''. People are allowed to enjoy whatever media they like, even if that's weeb shit like Azur Lane. It's fucking obnoxious to shit up threads with how much you hate weeb shit.

As for the second bit, we know WG's monetisation sucks. I fully agree with that sentiment, and I really wish they'd go back to offering items individually, but alas, just blow me down. Fuck.

As always, thanks for reading! If there's any funny markup, grammar or spelling errors, let me know and I'll fix it. <3

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