You might have noticed my previous reaction to the Devonshire, which was largely based off of two poorly played co-op games. Since then, I have played one (rather unfortunate) Operation (in Newport Station, a mistake I fully regret) and several Random Battles. While some traits of the ship have been revealed to me that I didn't discover before, my impression of Devonshire remains largely the same: she's pretty good, being able to bully other cruisers and BBs top tier and even hold her own in T8 games (there were a lot of T8 games I played; one time it was all T6's a T7 BB and a T8 BB. Go figure…)
If you are familiar with the state of ammo in the BB line, you'll come to be familiar with Devonshire, as HE by my standards is largely superior to AP. The HE can pen almost anything in its tier range, does about 3k pen damage, and looooooves to set stuff on fires. I think a Bayern really didn't like me when I burned him for a bout 50% of his health! However, I started experimenting with AP, and was pleasantly surprised: it isn't complete garbage. Almost like Leander AP, any broadside cruiser that I fired the stuff at them will chunk away at their health for citadel damage. Due to this fact however, even citadels don't do a ton of damage, but it still hurts a lot. A double cit will probably nuke for about 10k damage, which is about a third or more for ships it fights at this tier.
Anyone unfamiliar with this ship should probably equip Expert Loader, and primarily fire HE, unless you get to punish broadside cruisers with AP. Due to the shell velocity, I would prioritize Cruisers and BB above anything else, but practicing your leading could lead to significant DD hits.
The biggest downside I will note is the limited range, but that's just me being a BB main that also enjoys royal navy cruisers
She's not idiot-proof so per say, but you can be frustratingly tanky to the enemy if played right. Devonshire has a decent health pool and a substantial armor scheme that definitely stands out among the T6 cruisers, but she has the Royal Navy citadel that can be detonated if a BB fires at your broadside. This and her sluggish rudder come into play to make this ship unmodified a bit frustrated, but if you want to be the kiting master, equip rudder mod in your fourth upgrade slot. It allows you to have more or less the agility the normal British light cruiser rudders have, and utilize your already favorable turret arrangement.
I would say even without using DFAA (and you shouldn't use it), Devonshire has more than enough AA to make the CVs pay for attacking you. You have deck armor and mobility to dodge and mitigate their attacks, a max 5.8 kilometer AA bubble, which is comparatively HUGE compared to other ships, and when the sector is activate, any squadron that dares linger in my AA will have 2 or 3 planes shaved off, maybe more. I am not as sure for this category since I literally only had like one CV game this entire weekend in Devonshire (in exchange for mostly being bottom tier), but at the least, it's average, if not above average.
To save you the torpedo ambush that could await you (and me once), forget you even have DFAA and mount Hydro, either standard or preferably premium. Your AA on paper is already good, and I have reasons to believe DFAA will not make any more difference, and your 3km torpedo detection radius for Hydro is going to be a lifesaver, trust me on this one. I would pack Superintendent, it's a universally beneficial skill and allows you to make good use of your hydro and repairs.
The repairs are great, best cruiser heal for it's tier that I have played so far. I feared it would only repair piecemeal amounts of damage that the Emerald and Leander has, and it's not a Royal Navy Revive button by any means, but this heal can give you back quite a bit more health than you would expect, essentially making you invulnerable to HE spam.
I would be surprised if you will be compelled to utilize them at all during any random battle. It's best to think that you are a Dallas mot of the time, unless you are blind dropping on smokescreens or coming across an enemy poking an island. They lack damage and reload speed to be viable as an offensive weapon, but can definitely ruin someone's day if they failed to see them coming. The torpedo tubes themselves tend to keel over and die when you get hit anyway more often than not, and you shouldn't be fighting at that close range, you don't have the reload or health pool to brawl other DD's or cruisers. Medium to long range is where the Devonshire is at!
Still haven't changed my mind about the camo, sorry not sorry. I personally like the minimalist look, plus it's permanent, so no dubs or credits to refresh it, and it has an acceptable but not unusual application bonus. But if you are compelled to find it revolting and not use it, go right ahead. I'm sure there is plenty of other camos that would look nice on Devonshire to you…
As previously mentioned, grab Rudder Mod 1, and get the speed flag while you're at it. She's a heavy cruiser, and as a result, she is, err, heavy. She isn't slow per say, that potential 30+knot top speed rivals her light cruiser contemporaries. However, she does not inherit the light cruiser's destroyer-like handling and acceleration, and taking a sudden turn will bleed a lot of speed, not to mention an unmodified Devonsire does not kite very well when under fire. Rudder Shift Mod. 1 only gives a 20% decrease in rudder shit time, but OMG it makes this ship sooooooooooo much more comfortable to play. With it, she is able to kite effectively, and the acceleration sluggishness is rather negated at this point.
This has been more or less trial and error, but here's what I find worked well with my boring 3 point commander:
- commmander FXPing three more levels to get Priority target (incoming fire alert could work well), expert marksman, and Superintendent
- Then I would get Expert Loader, so you can quickly switch to AP to punish a broadsiding cruiser.
- This is as far as I've gotten so far, but I'm going to see how Demolition Expert works on Devonshire, being an HE spammer that already has favorable fire chance. Definitely getting concealment expert, as she's VERY detectable. Feel free to let me know how I should go from here below.
As for modules, I would buy them sooner or later if you get this ship in the bundles due to the bargain basement prices (Thank Lunar New Year event for that). I don't have any good ideas for modules, EXCEPT FOR RUDDER MOD in the fourth slot. I can't tell you how much this module made this ship that much better.
Im not an expert on flags, and I always seem to run out of them, but for the duration of the early access period I would suggest packing as many economic flags to save up XP/FXP if you haven't had the RNG to draw Surrey or Ablemarble yet in his event (I just got Hawkins in my bundles, which is hilarious considering I already have Devonshire, and from other's opinions Hawkins makes the Emerald look good). Speed flag may be advisable. and as always, #EquipYourDetonationFlags, especially since you have a citadel that can be hit.
Is she worth it? Hell yes! If you know how to play the Leander or Hawkins, you will most certainly love playing this ship, and Devonshire is a straight up improvement. I'm hoping Surrey will feel just as good as this ship, maybe as fun as Fiji maybe? IDK, haven't seen a lot of Surreys out or comments saying they got one.
Is she easy to play? Yeah, ish? It takes some skill to get used to her ballistics and quirks, but once you install the rudder mod and warm into her strats, you can easily pick up damage games totalling in the ten thousands or more as well as numerous fires and 1-2+ kills.
Is this an accurate Devonshire portrayal? Let me know.
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