Author: Mikhail Merzlutin, Lead of Game Logic Group
“Whatever happens, we have got
The battleship, and they have not”
(remake of a quote by Hilaire Belloc)
Dreadnought battleships. Steel monsters. Formidable and proud overlords of the sea that now reside in museums. They lack the elegance of aircraft carriers, or the speed of destroyers and cruisers – all they have is monumental, menacing might.
Nowadays, you may run into a battleship as a museum exhibit. Or you may read about them in books or see them in movies and video games. Unfortunately there is a very low chance of becoming a captain of one of these monsters, so games, by far, are the only source for getting this experience. Choosing a battleship is quite logical: these mighty beasts impress everyone, even me.
“Well, if you’re so clever, why don’t you parade then?!”
Let me clarify: they actually do that in-game. Though they do it rarely – randomness is only so random, you know. But the concept of the salvo itself, as a method to inflict maximum damage, is pretty instinctive, even for newbie captains. So, we’ll inevitably see these ships heading in a similar direction (if not directly that way), with most of their cannons directed at the enemy.
The pros of battleships are quite obvious: their high survivability and powerful armament. They may withstand many hits while simultaneously turning opponents into smoking wreckage, which is a very attractive option.
The cons are the following: battleships are the largest ships on the battlefield, so they are pretty easy to aim at, whereas its heavy shells may simply penetrate unarmoured parts of the enemy without detonation. Nevertheless, a single successful hit may make an opponent change its mind and flee. Of course, if it succeeded in withstanding this initial impact.
Despite being heavily armoured vessels, battleships are not invulnerable. They’re just more complex targets to sink. Even cruisers are sometimes capable of destroying one of these monsters by penetrating its armour from short distances in the vicinity of its magazines. Size and inertia also add to the difficulties with game-manoeuvring compared to destroyers and cruisers. Coupled with unarmoured range finders, AAA sites and anti-mine cannons that are too easy to lose. So, on the whole, raging in solo attacks against enemy squadrons leaves you a miserable chance of leaving the battlefield safe and sound.
Shooting at the enemies from long distances won’t work as well: shells would have to travel for a long time with decreased accuracy, so you will only make successful hits against static or slow-moving targets – for instance, aircraft carriers that were spotted by allied aviation. A naval battle barely tolerates slowpokes.
The best option for a battleship is to join a crowd of similar ships and together push in a certain direction, covering each other with the onboard AAA. In this case, if you’re not under heavy return-fire, you can simply sit at a comfortable distance and shoot the enemies you want to.
Of course, you need to know what ships may be effectively hit from such a distance – for this check the 2nd part.