Yes, I’m still alive and so is this blog. After the summer holiday season, work (which has just got busier now that I’m management and spend my time getting people to do things rather than getting things done), actually gaming and doing a bit of fiction writing, the blogging has come a distant fifth. Now that the holidays are done it can at least move up to fourth place.
In terms of what I’ve been doing – a little GW2, some rocking of Marvel Heroes as War Machine (because, as we all know, WARMACHINEROX), a nostalgic trip back to Dark Age of Camelot which I’ll post about separately, and a lot of World of Warships, in which I’ve come to both love and hate torpedoes. Love them when I use them just right, and hate and fear them in the hands of my erstwhile teammates, never mind the enemy.
Here’s the thing about torpedoes – they are slow, short-ranged (mostly) unguided weapons that do massive damage. They can be delivered by destroyers, aircraft, some cruisers, one battleship, and by cretins. Of all of these delivery methods the one I fear most is cretins. But let’s take them in turn…
Destroyers are fast, agile and fragile as well as being hard to spot – they can get to about 6 km from the target before being seen, and can lay down smoke screens to mess with enemy visibility. At lower tiers the U.S. Destroyers have about a 5 km torpedo range and the Japanese have 7 km, making a torpedo attack a bit more of a death ride on the Yank tin cans but still doable. When it goes well, I’ve racked up 4 kills in a battle. When it goes badly, I die ignominiously and get an early bath and bugger all XP for the game.
Aircraft torpedoes can be deadly if you’re up against a competent CV driver who controls the drop manually and puts them straight into your flank at the sort of point blank range that a destroyer would never live to reach. Fortunately there are plenty of incompetent CV drivers who just click the target and let the computer drop them in a wide spread at a dodgeable range… That and having as much anti aircraft cover as possible by staying close to friendly cruisers and praying your own team’s CV has fighters and bothers to use them.
Cruisers are like destroyers without the stealth, which makes torpedoes a bit of a trap for the captains who carry them – which is all of the Japanese cruisers and a few of the US ships. You can get yourself blown out of the water trying to make a torpedo run in a cruiser, and I usually play my cruisers as gun platforms and then use my torps as a bonus if things come down to knife fighting range. That’s changing a bit now I have the Aoba, the tier 6 Jap cruiser with a 10 km range on its torps, but mostly cruiser torpedoes are long range launches so easy to avoid as long as you don’t stay steaming straight at the same course and speed for too long.
Battleships don’t carry torpedoes unless they’re called Tirpitz, which has a single 4 tube launcher on each side with a range of 6 km. on the other hand, right now there are Tirpitzes (Tirpitzen? I never did study German…) everywhere as the only thing more popular than bitching about the £40+ price tag was actually buying one. I’ve played in games with 4 of them on each team, and heard stories of games with 7 on the same team. On the gripping hand, that ship has over 20 km range with its main armament even before launching a spotting plane, and while it’s quite fast and handy for a battleship the operative words are “for a battleship”. Again, the torps are a bonus if you somehow find yourself broadside on to an enemy within spitting distance, but frankly being in that situation means that you are Doing It Wrong. Having said which, the general consensus is that Tirpitz drivers are all noobs who have bought their way into Tier 8 and doing it wrong is only to be expected.
Yes, I did buy a Tirpitz while they were on sale. Why do you ask?
Finally, many torpedoes are launched by cretins. These can be from destroyers, cruisers, planes or Derpitzes but what they have in common is that they’re launched with flagrant disregard of the weapon’s speed and range, criminal negligence towards teammates or occasionally active malice. The benign form of the disease is just launching torps well outside range. If your torpedoes can run 5.5 km at 60 knots before they run out of gas, and the target is steaming directly away from you at 30 knots, care to tell me how close you need to be before firing? If you guessed 16 km then congratulations, apparently the U.S. Navy is accepting destroyer skippers just like you! They also have a spot for anyone who doesn’t like looking to either side or checking the minimap for teammates who might be about to steam into the path of your torpedoes because if you thought that mirror, signal, manoeuvre was important when driving a car, trust me it’s even more important when flinging weapons of mass destruction around the ocean. Best of all, you don’t actually have to hit a teammate with your torps to kill him. I had one memorable battle where I found myself perfectly bracketed by a salvo of ‘friendly’ torps coming up from astern. Turn to port and I’d eat a torpedo. Turn to starboard, take a hit. Keep steaming ahead… and that gave an enemy all the time in the world to carefully line up his next volley of shells at my ship. A couple of well-placed hits and BOOM! That’s all she wrote.
So yeah, torpedoes. Deadly in the right hands, and positively fracking lethal in the wrong ones.