Greetings, I'm Yunamalia(player name Yunalesca, in game), and I'm bringing my How not to play reviews to World of Warships, and I'm starting with Carriers because I've seen a LOT of questions from new players about how to line up leads, and how to get damage dealt. Also, because that's the line of ships I play, dominantly.
As I don't imagine there's common cross-reading between here and my previous reviews on the FFBE subreddit, I will first give the stats of the ship, with ratings for how they fare(Between A-F at the end), then explain the basics of how to play. Many people prefer these kinds of reviews because you don't have to listen to weird accents or shrill voices on a youtube channel.
Most of this review is actually basics of game play, beyond basic stats. Generally, these reviews are very wordy, but paying attention to advice over stats is the reason they're here, as the advice is kitted to the ship, and plane in question.
Statistics: The Hosho (Difficulty: Beginner-Expert)
The Hosho is a tier 4
Seal Clubber Japanese Aircraft Carrier whose primary purpose is Seal Clubbing torpedo bombing. Unlike other tier 4 carriers, the Hosho requires much less skill to hunt and heavily damage cruisers and battleships, but counters this with absolutely abysmal DD hunting until you get REALLY good with torpedo leading, giving it a mildly harder learning curve than either the Langley or the Hermes, but with greater skill acquisition pay-offs.
Hull, Armor, AA, and Hit points:
|blank||Starting||With upgrade||Upgrade cost|
|HP||31000||31800||3K XP & 250K silverSee below|
|Weakest armor||6 millimeters||no upgrade||N/A|
|Strongest Armor||20 millimeters||no upgrade||N/A|
|AA mounts||6||no upgrade||N/A|
|Secondary Guns||2 port, 2 starboard||no upgrade||N/A|
|Engine||25 knots||no upgrade||N/A|
|Turning radius||haha good luck||no upgrade||N/A|
|Surface detectability||8.82 KM||upgrades with captain skills||Captain points|
|Air detectability||6.46 KM||upgrades with captain skills||Captain points|
note: At beginning tier 4, that's a lot of money(~3-5 random games at beginner skill) and even more XP to pay out. Not particularly worth your time, either. 800 HP is literally 2.666% of your hull. Safe to skip, unless you're OCD or a completionist.
The Hosho is a stealthy T4 carrier, and due to recent buffs, now quite easily the deadliest. While she does NOT handle targets close up particularly well(abysmal secondary guns & terrible dispersal of rocket planes), it's not uncommon with fairly limited knowledge of this vessel to average 30k damage, and to top 100k damage from time to time, as a higher knowledge player, particularly if you're on a team of low level players. It is absolutely recommended to hold on to your T4 aerial seal clubber, as it farms damage, silver, and XP comfortably, and as you progress down the Japanese carrier line, it develops semi-elite status, granting bonuses to 2/3rds of those things. This carrier is great for players who don't care about DD hunting, love torpedoes, and couldn't aim rocket planes for shit on the Langley, or advanced players who like to relax and REALLY annoy people.
Purpose: The boat.
With abysmal secondary guns, questionable armor, and low grade hit points, your boat has two modes: hide, and hide harder. Press m at the beginning of a match, and draw a course behind the nearest friendly island. Stay there.
So, You're consistently scoring 35+k Damage, and want to offer more help? Too bad. In domination maps, you can hang around any 3 BBs that are hanging back, and leech plane kills off them, but otherwise, see above.
Have you mastered the art of deleting half a DD's health with torpedo bombers? Can you routinely citadel cruisers? Are you here to make everyone's life miserable? Great. Do that. Leave your boat at home. At tier 4, with 20 MM armor, You're gonna die. Push a cap if it's vacant and your team mates are potatoes, or if you can make it vacant, easily. Otherwise, you're way more valuable to your team, where you can't be shot at.
I have played far too much time on the Graff Zeppelin, and am a bit too complacent being fairly comfortable with very aggressive boat positioning, as this reduces time for planes to get to targets. A lot of newer players and all the bots find this aggressiveness perplexing, and both have a habit of focus firing CVs, which means that in a pinch, using yourself as an HP screen over smaller boats, or pushing caps may have a high payoff. Unfortunately, the Hosho is highly flammable, and this is a very high risk strategy. Don't be Yuna until you get VERY comfortable in this boat, and get the hang of reading the skill, firepower, and level of strategy the enemy is deploying.
Purpose: Planes, pains and automokills.
Purpose: Spotting, light cruiser harassment.
I would give you the stats for the Hosho's rocket planes, but there's no point. The absolute best Hosho tip you're going to get is to never press the 1 key. Ever. Your dispersal rate is too crap to do more than a couple hundred damage to a DD, doesn't penetrate enough armor, or cause enough fires to be useful against a BB, and is vaguely useful, broadside, to do light/fire damage to cruisers. The only actual value this plane has is spotting; they are very fast, and turn on a dime making permaspotting DD's out of smoke their only actually game-play useful purpose.
Torpedo bombers(AKA Your bread and butter):
Purpose: Fucking. Up. Everything. On. The. Map.
Though the actual method of leading Destroyers with torpedo bombers is a bit of an art, dropping torpedoes on everything is how you get your average damage in to the truly extraordinary range for T4 ships, in general, and even go so far as to become a team carry master.
|blank||average % of HP bar in damage||Lead time||Difficulty|
|Destroyers||1/2 to 1-Hit KO||2 ship lengths||HIGH|
|Cruisers||1/4-1/2||1.5 ship lengths||low|
|Battleships||1/8-1/16||0.1 ship lengths||pathetic|
How to lead:
"What is a ship length?"
When you're looking to shoot at a ship, and your reticle has no markings like they did on the Destroyers you grinded to get to the carrier lines, the best unit of measurement is the ship you are targeting, itself, thus the length of the ship is the simplest way to judge how far ahead of the ship you should be leading. As an important note, the numbers provided do not work on stopped, or reversing ships.
"My aiming reticle is so wide! How am I supposed to aim?"
If you plan ahead, and keep your plane going straight, it narrows. If you aim slightly to the left or right with your mouse, the reticle barely expands. Thus, you line yourself up to drop, coming at the ship from the broadside, and start your bombing run at 6 kilometers. This gives your reticle enough time to narrow, with time to adjust your aim.
"People dodge too much!"
Play co-op to get the skill. The bots are clever. Once you get a consistently high hit rate, switch to human players. No. Seriously. This is how you get the skills to pick them off. Jumping straight in to random battles will just irritate you because you're going to get a lot of dodge-happy DD's and cruisers, and battleships that hug close for AA cover.
Battleships: Battleships have a LOT of AA damage at tier five or higher. You should save any TV+ battleships for last. You should also avoid battleships that are clustered together, as that increases their AA damage.
The approximate guide for your torpedoes to hit is to have the narrowest reticle's outline actually touching the bow of the ship, and to drop the torpedoes when the YELLOW part of the reticle would be almost touching the hull. Battleships are slow. This method will average a 2 torpedo hit 97% of the time. 2 torpedoes will do between 1/8 and 1/16th of their HP, and may induce flooding. If a little bit of the aiming reticle is on part of the ship, that's fine, but keep it well fore of the 1/4 of the ship mark or you might miss. As you get the hang of this, dropping at an angle, or from further away gets easier to line up.
Cruisers: Cruisers are on the upper edge of low difficulty. Some cruiser players are better at dodging than others, and it's very easy to get overwhelmed by clever players, as a beginner. The best strategy, if you miss, is to pick another target. Don't waste torpedoes on someone who is going to dodge them. It's also best to pick a distracted target, as it's easier to pick their broadside. 1 and a half ship lengths is a fair amount of distance. You may have to take in to account that a ship is going to turn towards an opponent firing at them, or in to your torpedoes. This is, however, a low to mid-risk higher-return attack. Cruisers have much poorer torpedo protection than battleships, and you have about an 85% chance to get a single or 65% chance to get a double torpedo hit. This will deal an average of 1/4 to 1/2 of their hit point bar, which can get very tactically handy. Picking your target to help your team is very important with cruisers because missing wastes time, but hitting can REALLY swing a cap in your team's favor. You really should practice on bots, and once you get the hang of close range dropping, start dropping from a distance, and at odd angles, until you figure those out, to maximize your torpedo harassment skills.
Destroyers: There are three points to make here;
1) A single torpedo is between 1/3rd to 1/2 of their HP bar.
2) Destroyers are very adept at dodging torpedoes.
3) I bet you wish you had a choice, huh?
This is where the Hosho is either shinning it's brightest, or frustrating at it's worst, and it literally comes down to player skill. The Hosho's torpedo bombers are the only planes that have any kind of hit chance to meaningful damage rate. If the Destroyer is going in a straight line, your flat leading time is 2 ship lengths, which makes dodging obnoxiously easy. That being said, blind dropping in to smoke or through choke points early game is rarely a bad choice because at worst, you blow 2 torpedoes, and at best, you're significantly fucking up a destroyer. You may even chase a DD out of their smoke!
If you're trying to drop on a DD that's turned towards you, don't bother, as your torpedoes probably won't arm(the yellow part of the reticle indicates the part of the water your torpedoes will be in, but not armed). If you're dropping on a DD that has turned AWAY from you, drop while they're in the yellow reticle because they will not be in there when your torpedoes get close. You CAN, however use either of these methods to force a flighty DD to drive in a straight line, between your torpedoes for 5-6 seconds, making it easier for other ships to shoot them.
Regardless, unlike other T4 carriers, this is your only reliably(like maybe 10% until you get the hang of it) accurate method of pissing off DD players, so practice practice practice. You'll need this skill against human players, and once you get good at it, the skill is easily transferable to any other non-Graff Zeppelin carrier in the game, making the Hosho one of the best ships to train at one of the most difficult carrier skills.
Aircraft carriers: "HEY! YOU DIDN'T PUT LEAD TIMES ON CV'S." Carriers are slow. You're literally going to use part of the hull in your aiming reticle. They don't turn worth shit, but the big problem you're going to have is their AA fire limiting you to 1, maybe 2 torpedo drops. Drop them at a greater distance(6 KM), with a 1ish ship length lead, and turn away for optimal AA damage reductions.
Armor Piercing Bombers(at tier 4. Yeah. Nice.)
Purpose: Cruiser deleting and Battleship damage.
This is the easy way of scoring damage in the Hosho. It's the only T4 carrier that's got AP bombs. They don't ever start fires, so they're useless against DD's, but can comfortably citadel cruisers & battleships with very little skill, and I'm going to explain how you can use this to help your team delete cruisers and agitate the hell out of BB players on a consistent basis.
|blank||average % of HP bar in damage||Lead time||Difficulty|
|Destroyers||hahaha right||half a ship length||Highly improbable|
|Cruisers||1/3rd to 2/3rds||drop directly at the bow||lowish|
|Battleships||1/8ish||drop on first gun||pathetically easy to routinely Citadel|
How to hit: Any non-DD ship about 70% of the time(99% battleships).
Basics: UNLIKE torpedoes, you come at any ship from the bow or stern with bombing runs.
"Why not ship lengths?"
With the exception of destroyers, who you shouldn't ever drop bombs on in the Hosho, you are aiming at specific parts of the ship for drops due to the short drop time.
"Does this put my planes in more danger?"
Yes. Unlike torpedo bombers, who can drop a bit further away, you're going to have to fly over the ship to drop bombs on it, and this leaves you in the AA firing arc for longer periods of time. This is why using your upgrade slot for bomber HP may be more beneficial to you than torpedo bomber HP. This also means that your planes will be in nearby ship's AA arcs for longer periods of time, too.
"Is this more beneficial to hit cruisers or battleships with?"
Yes. And no. It's easier, certainly, against cruisers, and when done correctly, does significant damage to both of them in a consistent, and annoying fashion. They're very useful, mid to late game for kill
stealingsecuring cruisers that have 1/4 of an HP bar, or battleships chilling at the 2-3k HP range left. I tend to like saving my bombers for this point because it gives my torpedo bombers a chance to recharge, and it means that I have full wings of useful ships handy, myself.
Destroyers: I mean, if you're desperate, or you want to panic them in to doing something stupid, I guess I'll tell you how to overpen for about 6-900(1/16 or less) of their HP. You put your reticle where you think they're gonna be in about 1/2 a ship length(so that the outside of your reticle touches their bow), and drop. You're only dropping two bombs on a very small target. Even if you get a hit, it isn't going to do a lot. You can usually tell how good a DD player is by whether or not they care about your planes dropping on them. New players panic. More veteran players know you're not a threat, and laugh you off, knowing you have like a 5% chance to hit them even if their ship is fully within your bombing reticle, and even then, you're doing the least amount of damage you can do to a DD while still hitting it.
Cruisers: Cruisers, unlike battleships, are generally the easiest to sneak up from behind, as most human players can't easily see planes approaching from the rear, and it makes them less prone to dodge. Your goal is to put the exact center of your reticle's crosshairs at the tip of their bow. Citadels about 60-65% of the time, and hits 85. Easy damage. Easy to aim. Easy to destabilize a cruiser trying to hold a cap, and farm those tasty defended ribbons.
Battleships: And likewise, unlike cruisers, you really want to come at them from the bow. The distance between the tip of the bow and the citadel of the battleship is much longer than most cruisers, but fortunately, they have a great marker. Put the crosshairs of your reticle on their first gun, drop, and immediately pull away with the A or D key, so as to stay in their short range AA fire as little as necessary. Situational awareness comes in handy, because you also don't want to veer in to another ship's AA fire radius. Make sure to commit to the full loop though, so you can come back for another citadel run or 2. Hit rate is in the high 90's. Citadels are VERY high(like, Graff Zeppelin range high) with this method. Learning this trick will teach you a great deal how to do cruiser & battleship bombing runs that transfers very nicely to other ships that aren't British carriers.
Aircraft carriers: Most carriers that are not the Hermes are slow enough that you can drop a plane coming from their ass end, and barely lead any time at all, and land hits. Unlike torpedo bombers, you can't limit how much AA damage you're going to take, so it may be more beneficial to hang back in the 6-8 KM range, spinning in circles, keeping them spotted for your BB team mates to snipe.
No, but seriously, I really want to use the rocket planes.
No, but seriously, you don't.
Overall score: Hosho(Tier IV)
|blank||Rating compared to other ships in tier|
|Rocket planes||HAHAHA! Cute!|
|Torpedo bombers||A+, and they get better with practice.|
What if I end up in a match with Tier 6 ships?
First off, You can avoid this most of the time by not divisioning with Tier 5 ships. Unfortunately, if someone else on your team has done this, well shit, I guess I need to write up pointers.
Step 1: Leave the T5-6 battleships the fuck alone, and pick on everyone else.
Step 2: Hover over the T5+ cruisers on the loading screen. Leave the ones with higher AA alone.
Step 3: Don't be afraid to do torpedo runs on the enemy CV, as they're also going to be a tier 4, and you will be in the comfortable position of torpedo dropping them from a distance.
Step 4: Memorize the names of lower tier ships, and prioritize them.
Most useful Step: Spot, provided you stay at a distance to avoid AA fire.
As T4 planes who might have to deal with T6 ships go, it's not the best(Langley has better plane, ship HP), but it's not the worst(Hermes has worse initial hit damage, though damage over time almost makes up for it), either, because you can still do torpedo drops, if you get the hang of leading and dropping from further away.
I want more fire or flooding ribbons!
The ship you're looking for is the Hermes. The Hosho isn't intended for damage over time. The entire Japanese carrier line isn't intended for it. Shoo.
TL;DR: A review in summary:
Step 1: Don't ever press the 1 key.
Step 2: Learn to torpedo.
Step 3: Learn to citadel.
Step 4: ???
Step 5: Literally profit. The Hosho can clear pretty good cash for a T4 ship, once you get the hang of doing a lot of damage.
Expert: Seal Clubber/10.
Yunalesca Jenkins: 9.0/10.
750th edit: I CAN'T GET THE FUCKING TABLES TO STAY FORMATTED. Sorry.
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