World of Warships

Des Moines vs. Salem vs. Alaska… What are your thoughts & experiences?

WorldOfWarships3 - Des Moines vs. Salem vs. Alaska... What are your thoughts & experiences?
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For reasons I do not want to divebomb into the combination of CV frustration and potato-popular lemming meta has made me to want expand my mostly IJN port into USN.

The ships I mostly play are torp-DD (@Shimakaze, v proud of my 52% WR especially since I unlocked Shima after 0.8.0) and CA (currently 60k from Zao, legendary mod already in inventory from Ironium). I'm also about 200k from Yamato, but I feel behemoth BB playstyle suffers in the nearly-no-DD scene I'm regularly seeing, and I'm not getting much satisfaction from being Izumo levels of slow and hard to relocate.

Preparing for Yoshino I'm stockpiling coal (~180k currently), which is enough to get Salem. If Yoshino turns out to be undesirable, Salem is currently my Plan B. I also have enough FXP for Alaska. Azuma will not give me the AA hit I'm after, and as far as I can see is is different to Zao in either ways I do not like (Armour, stealth, manoeuvrability, accuracy, troll armour) or better at aspects that I care about (HP pool, HE Alpha, better-but-still-not-great AA… Staying on fire?)

What I want is a ship that won't fear enemy aircraft. It doesn't have to be a dedicated AA platform, just a ship I won't get the shivers seeing a plane fly towards me with DFAA on cooldown. As I said in the intro I don't want this to turn into "I hate CVs", just I'm tired of aircraft being an issue I can at best cope with and at worst die to. USN seems to be the best way to deal with that, and I'm currently enjoying cruiser gameplay the most, so my options are the titular three:

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  • Use the FXP to get Alaska. I understand it's a ship that needs a competent player, and I do enjoy battlecruiser style (I have and really enjoy Ashitaka, at least I did before all the CVs learnt they can crush it). From what CC material I can find I think I would enjoy the experience and the challenge of right-ammo-right-time-right-target.
  • FXP the rest of my way to Des Moines (currently mid NO), because I don't want to spend more time than I have to in 2×2 CV games. I understand USN is very position sensitive, and it takes a while to get used to the Island gameplay, and while I can't say I've nailed it I don't feel like it would smack me in the face without fast-tracking it
  • Get a Salem. If Yoshino turns out to be Zao-with-a-twist (AKA not different enough for me to spend the coal). I appreciate Salem is a DM without legendary upgrade and compromised radar, but I suspect I will appreciate the superheal.
  • Wildcard 4th option: FXP to Worcester? Not super keen on this as I'm 150k xp from Akizuki and I feel like there's reasonable overlap, despite the consumables differences. Not sure I want two masive ROF IFHE spammers in my port…
Read:  Should I give Implacable another chance?

What I'd like to ask USN veterans for is a relative comparison of how the boats "feel" between them. Especially comparing DM/Sal to Alaska.

I appreciate the usual response to threads asking "should I fast track a line" is always "no, play it so you learn", but I would like to focus away from that in this discussion. High tiers are getting tiring, and I am looking for some variety. Suggesting I grind through a lot of 2×2 CV games to get to the high-AA IX/X cruiser I want to play by August is not the answer I'm after.

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