The following is a PREVIEW of the upcoming release of Duca d’Aosta, a ship Wargaming very kindly provided me. This is the second version of the ship seen during testing and her stats are current as of April 7th, 2017. However, the statistics and performance discussed here are still being evaluated by Wargaming’s developers and do not necessarily represent how the ship will appear when released.
Here we go again…
Quick Summary: One of the fastest cruisers in the game with destroyer-levels of handling and agility. For a cruiser, she is under gunned with painfully slow turning turrets compensated for with very long range (and slow) torpedoes.
Cost: Undisclosed at the time of publishing
Patch & Date Written: 0.6.3.1, April 5th through 7th, 2017.
Excellent muzzle velocity and ballistic arcs on her AP shells.
HE shells, with their higher ballistic arcs, can be lobbed over intervening terrain giving her more gunnery flexibility.
Her torpedoes have a 12km range enabling her to launch from concealment with the proper stealth-build.
High top speed of 36.5 knots coupled with a decent turning radius of 710m and short rudder shift of 6.7s. She is one of the most agile ships at her tier.
Able to use both Defensive Fire and Hydroacoustic Search consumables at the same time — a rarity among cruisers.
Gorgeous looking — one of Wargaming’s best ship models to date.
Long citadel which peeks well above the waterline.
Despite the recent buff, she still takes frequent critical damage to her steering gears.
Horrible fire chance (7%) and bad long ranged ballistics of her HE shells.
Anemic main battery DPM for both AP and HE.
Slow turret traverse, taking 25.7s to rotate 180º.
Her torpedoes are slow at 51 knots, don’t hit particularly hard and she only launches three fish per side.
Terrible anti-aircraft damage and an ineffective range on her large caliber AA guns.
I was hoping for subtle changes. Duca d’Aosta has changed quite significantly since my last review — so much so that I felt it prudent to look at the ship with a fresh pair of eyes and a brand new article. More changes are possible (perhaps necessitating a further review), so please keep in mind that Duca d’Aosta is still undergoing testing and that this may again not be the final version.
It’s important to keep in mind where these changes are coming from. Contrary to popular belief (and sensitive egos), it’s the feedback provided by the Supertest program that shape the design process — not the previews done by Community Contributors. This does not mean that the changes we’re seeing are the direct suggestions from testers. They are more likely the developers interpretation of acceptable changes based upon the challenges testing identified, plus whatever other whims tickled the devs’ fancy in St.Petersburg. I can’t sing enough praises for the volunteers who put their time in to try to help improve the game. Their work is often getting lost in all the fuss of these early sneak peaks. Really, we can’t thank these volunteers enough.
With that said, let’s take a look at what the developers have cooked up for Duca d’Aosta and how she now appears in World of Warships.
Yes, it’s a port shot. But it’s a damn pretty port shot.
Duca d’Aosta boasts the ability to use Defensive Fire and Hydroacoustic Search at the same time. It’s highly recommended that a premium version of her Damage Control Party is equipped, with the other consumables being upgraded to premiums as well as the player can afford.
Damage Control Party
Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard cruiser options
Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ Standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
For upgrades, Duca d’Aosta should equip the following modules:
First slot – Main Armaments Modification 1 will reduce the number of incapacitations of your main battery and torpedo tubes.
Second slot – Aiming System Modification 1 provides improved accuracy and faster torpedo traverse.
Third slot – Damage Control System Modification 1 or Steering Gears Modification 1 are both good choices. The first will improve your torpedo defense while reducing fire damage. The latter will help keep your fragile rudder intact.
Fourth slot – Steering Gears Modification 2 or Propulsion Modification 2 are good choices. The latter is especially helpful if you division with smoke-laying ships often.
Primary Battery:Eight 152mm rifles in 4×2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery: Six 100mm rifles in 3×2 turrets with one to either side of the ship behind the rear funnel and one mounted dorsally in front of X-turret.
Torpedoes: Six tubes in 2×3 launchers, one off each side behind the first funnel.
Let’s start with Duca d’Aosta’s Torpedoes. She has a pair of triple launchers on either side of the ship. These have good fields of fire, perfect for aggressive plays with a 25º launch angle off her bow. This comes at the price of being less ideal for defensive, rearward launches. Her torpedoes can only be sent off at 140º behind her, creating a 80º blind spot across her stern. Overall, given Duca d’Aosta’s speed and agility, these fish are well situated.
From their stats, one problem becomes readily apparent: Her individual salvos simply don’t do enough damage. With only a single triple launcher per side, she isn’t able to put out a sufficiently devastating strike to gut even a tier 5 Battleship. This limits their effectiveness as a clutch weapon when matters come to a head, at least when encountering enemy dreadnoughts. They are sufficient for tearing apart any destroyer she’s likely to face, though a full three hits may be needed to put down enemy cruisers.
Duca d’Aosta’s torpedoes take about 88 seconds to reach 12km — a lot can happen in that time and even a small course adjustment by her quarry can make these torpedoes miss. This combination of low speed and long-range has been seen before with ships like Marblehead (49 knots at 8.2km), Sims (49 knots at 9.2km) and Black (43 knots at 13.7km) and often earn the fish in question the affectionate appellation of “water mines”. The next salvo of torpedoes will be ready before the first has reached the end of its run. With the commander skills, Torpedo Armament Expertise, this reload drops from 71 seconds to 63.9 seconds. Adrenaline Rush will cut it further — at 50% health, the two skills combine to bring the reload down to 57.5 seconds.
It’s entirely possible for Duca d’Aosta to launch her torpedoes without being detected. Fully specialized with camouflage and using a Captain with Concealment Expert, Duca d’Aosta can reduce her surface detection range to a mere 10.3km, opening up a 1.7km stealth-firing window with her torpedoes. This will no doubt create all sorts of excitement and several fun theory-craft builds.
Relying on such slow torpedoes to provide consistent damage totals from long-range stealth-firing would be a mistake, however. Game to game performance will vary considerably. In some matches you can seem to do no wrong and hoover-up massive damage totals from people derping into your fish. The pendulum may swing to the other extreme, though, and enable little to no damage at all for several games.
The tremendous range of these fish makes Torpedo Acceleration an interesting skill choice. This increases her torpedo speed to 56 knots while reducing their range to 9.6km. With the 1.0km surface detection, enemies have no more than 6.9s to react . This really helps Duca d’Aosta perform well in a brawl where these fish can be used more aggressively.
As you can see, her torpedo armament has become very interesting and perhaps a defining feature. This is good news because her guns are lackluster.
We’ll start with her secondaries and work our way up to her primaries. Duca d’Aosta is armed with six 100mm rifles for secondary mounts. Mounted between three turrets, Duca d’Aosta has one to each side as “wing” mounts and the third mounted dorsally. This provides a maximum broadside of four guns at a range of 4.5km with a rate of fire of 10 rpm. They have a 6% chance to start fires with these shells. Like most cruiser secondaries, they’re more cute than they are effective.
Her high explosive shells are terrible. Their good muzzle velocity bleeds away quickly, giving them scarcely any better performance than Royal Navy and Commonwealth shell ballistics at maximum range. Her lightweight shells have the additional flaws of providing low shell damage and an appalling 7% base fire chance. Their saving graces are twofold. First, her shells maintain a good velocity at medium and close ranges, making them accurate enough to reliably hit destroyers within their detection range without too much lead. Second, at extreme ranges, Duca d’Aosta can lob her shells over intervening terrain — something that isn’t possible with her AP shells.
It’s possible to give her HE shells with a bit more ubiquity by using the Captain Skill, Inertial Fuse for HE Shells. This will allow Duca d’Aosta to penetrate the fore and aft sections of most Battleships within her matchmaking spread — something her 152mm shells are unable to do otherwise. This does come at the cost of some of her already poor fire chance. Alternatively, you can use Demolition Expert instead and prop her fire chance up to 9%. Combined this with the right signals and her fire chance will boost up to 10% which is closer to an acceptable level for a cruiser. Mixing and matching these two skills will never fully prop up her flagging HE performance. Duca d’Aosta must be very dynamic with her ammunition choices, switching between HE and AP as opportunities arise.
Speaking of which, her AP shells are very interesting. They are again a rather lightweight shell, but they maintain their speed sufficiently over range that they end up comparable to Soviet 152mm rifles like those on Chapayev and Budyonny. This gives them good penetration power at a distance, making Duca d’Aosta quite capable of stacking citadel damage against even heavy cruisers at ranges of 10km to 11km. Only two issues hold these shells back. First, they’re a bit soft and they have a tendency to shatter against thick or angled armour. Second, their individual shell damage isn’t inspiring.
Boiled down, Duca d’Aosta’s only real point of merit with her guns is her muzzle velocity and, as shown, this really only applies to her AP shells. She does not seem to have any special bonuses to normalization. Her AP shells auto-ricochet at 60º like most nations. They also have standard fuse timers at 0.025s, meaning that they will over penetrate soft skinned targets like destroyers. But, perhaps most telling, Duca d’Aosta only has eight guns.
On paper, Duca d’Aosta has better DPM than the British and Commonwealth light cruisers at tier 6, but she falls behind all the other vessels armed with six-inch rifles. Budyonny and Nurnberg have nine guns with comparable (or better) reloads. Cleveland has twelve. Short of trading AP fire at their broadsides, Duca d’Aosta will always come out the worse in raw slug fests. Even Leander and Perth are more reliable gun platforms grace of their Smoke Generators, which can create long opportunities to cycle their weapons with less fear of reprisal. Duca d’Aosta doesn’t have this advantage and is often forced to manoeuvre and dodge. This hurts her already low DPM, especially when she’s down to just two turrets firing.
What you need is time to make Duca d’Aosta’s weapons sing. They create their own special brand of chaos, but it’s a slowly growing calamity rather than sudden mayhem. It takes time for her to stack damage. It takes time to get into position to catch the broadside of a cruiser, to run down a destroyer or for her fish to travel the distance to her target. Fortunately, this ship is specifically built to buy time.
Her best performing weapon is her AP shells and this should be relied upon to do much of her damage.
Even with Captain Skills and signal flags, Duca d’Aosta’s HE performance is poor, both for damage and fire starting.
Her torpedoes are interesting, but not powerful in and of themselves. Attempts to snipe at very long range will provide inconsistent results and are better used as area denial weapons at such distances. Incidental hits can be telling however and they make good brawling weapons.
Overall, she is under-gunned. Proper positioning, ammunition and weapon choices based on play style will be key to getting good results.
Duca d’Aosta’s torpedoes are best used aggressively.
Top Speed: 36.5 knots Turning Radius: 710m Rudder Shift: 6.7
Duca d’Aosta can chase friendly destroyers into the cap circles and easily outrun pursuing foes. Being so fleet of foot allows her to dictate engagement ranges against almost any enemy ship she faces and to flex where she’s needed most. Be aware of speed’s double-edged sword — Duca d’Aosta can get you into trouble very fast and over extending is a constant danger in this ship. But even with this caution, Duca d’Aosta’s agility is truly her greatest strength.
And it’s using this strength which affords you time to make your mediocre weapon systems shine. Duca d’Aosta can disengage from unfavourable encounters or change the angle of engagement to make weapons like her torpedoes and AP shells more viable. She can keep pace with a fleeing destroyer to give herself more chances to land those last few hits with her HE shells. And finally, she can twist and dodge while she gradually chews through the hit points of an enemy ship.
Speed and agility is life for Duca d’Aosta. To be successful in this ship, you will be dodging often. Doing these kinds of manoeuvres will tax the turret traverse of Duca d’Aosta’s main armament. Often, you’ll find yourself with only two turrets on target while the other two are out of position. This is a very active, very frantic style of play and it’s not for everyone. Duca d’Aosta is well equipped to do it,
Durability Hit Points: 29,700 Maximum Protection: 70mm of belt armour + 40mm of magazine protection (or 35mm of engine protection)
Min Bow & Deck Armour: 16mm Torpedo Damage Reduction: 7%
Few people would ever call a Light Cruiser well protected. Duca d’Aosta is no exception. This said, her armour is almost on the level of a heavy cruiser, with 16mm deck plating and the same measure found on her bow and stern. Thus, she’s sufficiently protected to tank even 220mm AP shells provided she angles properly which can make her a real nightmare for British cruisers.
Duca d’Aosta’s armour profile is a little trollish. It’s possible for her to ricochet 283mm rounds from Scharnhorst or Admiral Graf Spee off her upper hull armour on rare occasions due to her 20mm armour above her belt. Her citadel, though raised above the waterline, doesn’t span the width of the ship. As a result, some shells that penetrate her bow may miss her citadel entirely in lucky cases. This said, I wouldn’t count on her standing up to the attentions of enemy Battleships, nor a constant barrage of high explosive shells.
One particular vulnerability of Duca d’Aosta is her steering gear which breaks frequently. Players may want to consider equipping Steering Gears Modification 1 to help protect it or investing in the skills Preventative Maintenance or Last Stand. As ever, you also want to make sure you have the skill Priority Target on hand to keep you appraised of when you need to go evasive.
Concealment & Camouflage
Base Surface Detection Range: 12.1km
Air Detection Range: 7.3 km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 10.3km
Main Battery Range: 14.0km
Like a destroyer, Duca d’Aosta is a ship that becomes progressively more dangerous the longer she survives in a match. This comes from a combination of her speed but also her concealment. With less ships (and planes) about, it becomes easier for her to hide and redeploy, shifting to where she will best influence the outcome of the match. Concealment Expert is a key skill for Captains of Duca d’Aosta, and acquiring it opens up many opportunities to truly get the most out of this ship.
One of her big weak points with stealth and concealment is her vulnerability to aircraft. Her aerial detection range far exceeds her anti-aircraft firepower, allowing carriers to safely shadow her. This can complicate early engagements, especially risky pushes near cap circles. Players of Duca d’Aosta had best keep this in mind when setting up to attack enemy capital ships as she may not have the option of disappearing by silencing her guns grace of the aircraft overhead.
Overall, Duca d’Aosta’s stealth rating is best described as ‘sufficient’ — it’s not so large as to be a hindrance, but not so small that it’s an immediate advantage. You won’t sneak up on any destroyers with this ship and you may find yourself caught out on occasion by other cruisers.
Islands are still your friend, even with all of the changes — perhaps even more so with her increased agility.
Anti-Aircraft Defense AA Battery Calibers: 100mm / 37mm / 13.2mm AA Umbrella Ranges: 4.0km / 3.5km / 1.2km AA DPS per Aura: 20 / 46 / 16
There isn’t much redeemable about Duca d’Aosta’s anti-aircraft firepower. She’s crippled by her 4.0km reach with her large caliber 100mm rifles — this is just beyond self-defense range. Even with a full anti-aircraft specialization, Duca d’Aosta’s maximum range would cap out at 5.8km which is barely acceptable and hardly usable for fleet defense. She is further hampered by low average damage values across her different armaments. She is no threat to most carrier attack-squadrons even when propped up by signals and skills.
This range deficit is a particular concern. Even with a Concealment build, Duca d’Aosta’s aerial detection sits at 6.5km — far outside the reach of her 100mm rifles. This means that a savvy carrier can keep her permanently spotted and there’s nothing she can do about it.
Duca d’Aosta’s only saving grace is having access to Defensive Fire. While this is of little help to her team mates in most circumstances, it at least makes her a slightly less appealing target for enemy carriers due to the disruption effect this provides to attack plane accuracy. However, it would be foolish to assume that Duca d’Aosta is going to shoot down a large number of planes in a match.
Got any Grapes?
And the man said…
When you’re training your Captain for Duca d’Aosta, these are the skills you should invest your first 10pts.
Tier One – Priority Target
Tier Two – Adrenaline Rush
Tier Three – Demolition Expert
Tier Four – Concealment Expert
These core skills will warn you when you’re being shot at, increase your rate of fire as you take damage, improve the fire chance of your HE shells and reduce your surface and aerial detection ranges. From this point, you can choose to specialize your commander as you see fit. Here are some possible skill combinations to consider.
There are two skills to consider taking to improve her torpedo performance.
Tier Two – Torpedo Acceleration
Tier Three – Torpedo Armament Expertise
The former will cut her torpedo range down to 9.6km but it will increase their speed to 56 knots making them a lot more useful against targets closer in. This will also give your quarry almost no chance to dodge them, reducing their reaction time below 7 seconds. Torpedo Armament Expertise will accelerate her reload from 71s down to 63.9s. This will stack with Adrenaline Rush. Both these skills are excellent investments for this ship.
Inertial Fuse for HE Shells
Duca d’Aosta will never have good HE shell performance, no matter how you prop them up. She should be reaching for her AP shells whenever possible. But sometimes your opponents won’t give you the luxury of a flat broadside to shoot at, which forces you to reach for her HE. Stock, Duca d’Aosta has to rely on hitting the superstructure of tier 6+ battleships to do direct damage. Otherwise, she has only her poor fire starting to rely upon. This tier 4 skill changes this, allowing Duca d’Aosta to penetrate most cruiser she faces anywhere but their belt armour and to damage the fore and aft ends of all Battleship she meets. This comes at the cost of greatly reducing her chance to start fires, so its usefulness will be up to the individual player.
Another skill of questionable merit (but potentially interesting play) is Radio Location. Duca d’Aosta is fast enough that she can intercept most destroyers, especially if they’re running on anything but a parallel course to the fast Italian cruiser. This skill can help track them down, especially in late-game scenarios.
Miscellaneous Useful Skills
For filler, the following skills are worth looking into:
Tier One – Preventative Maintenace – This will help reduce the chance of your weapon mounts, engine and steering gears from being knocked out.
Tier Two – Expert Marksman – This increases her turret rotation speed by 10%.
Tier Two – Last Stand – Duca d’Aosta regularly gets her steering gears shot out.
Tier Three – Vigilance – You’re so fast that the closing distance on approaching torpedoes exceedingly dangerous when you’re bow on to their approach. This provides you with extra reaction time.
Duca d’Aosta accompanied by HMS Leander brave the narrows after purging an enemy Mahan-class destroyer from within its own smoke screen.
With all the changes added in 0.6.3.1, Duca d’Aosta has moved from a challenging ship to play to a very comfortable one. The bar has been lowered significantly with a combination of quality of life buffs and outright performance buffs. She won’t out turn her turrets. Her torpedoes are easy to use and there’s no debate on which consumables to mount.
For the expert player, Duca moves up from a cruiser that fights you for every scrap of performance to one that arms you with enough tools and tricks to make you a real threat to anything you might face. It’s only her fragility and her lack of show-stopping weapons that keeps her from being more influential.
Shoot and scoot, baby!
God is this thing fast. It’s weird to be able to keep up with destroyers.
Always having Hydroacoustic Search AND Defensive Fire is so welcome. She’s always got the right tools handy.
Her water mines are interesting. A lot of people will get hung up on the idea of sniping with them at long-range (good luck with that), but what the range has really done is improve Duca d’Aosta’s performance at mid to close range fights.
I had hoped for some subtle buffs. Well, I got those and more. In her current state, Duca d’Aosta is ready for prime time. If they released her as she is, she’d sell like hot cakes and with good reason: A lot of assessments have come out labeling her as being a little too powerful in her current iteration — that Wargaming swung the pendulum a little too far when they improved Duca d’Aosta.
Is she overpowered, though? She’s good. She’s definitely good. It’s now safe to be aggressive. The extra range on her torpedoes allows her to launch attacks with more confidence and her improved gun handling makes brawling much more appealing. But how distinct of an advantage does Duca d’Aosta bring over other cruisers?
There are three main traits that really define this ship: Her speed, her consumables and her long-range torpedoes. There is no argument that Duca d’Aosta’s speed is excellent and very powerful. She can control engagements, outrun enemies, redeploy and secure objectives. Proper use of this trait will always put her at an advantage. But what of the other two traits? The combination of Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive Fire are far from game breaking. These consumables do not synergize the way Belfast’s do. Furthermore, Duca d’Aosta’s Defensive Fire can scarcely be used in support of her team and is largely limited to self-defense purposes. It might be different if we saw this combination on Cleveland or Atlanta, where their AA firepower is incredibly effective and dangerous to all tiers of carriers they face. This just leaves on last trait to consider.
Duca d’Aosta’s torpedoes are going to get so much undue attention. Yes, they have a 12km range. However, I don’t believe that people need to worry about her stealth-firing her water mines and racking up tons of damage. Individually, her torpedoes aren’t devastating and she doesn’t fire many of them at a time. Their slow speed precludes them from being used from stealth to attack ships running a parallel course to Duca d’Aosta. At these very long ranges, they are best used defensively — pooped back into the angle of approach of pursuing vessels in the hopes of tripping them up. They are area-denial weapons in this capacity.
This doesn’t prevent her torpedoes from being powerful, however. Used aggressively, they get far more dangerous. In a brawl, they can force ships to turn disadvantageously. If they miss they can still foul up enemy reinforcements moving into the area. With this said, it’s worth keeping the most ready victims for these attacks in mind: slow (American) battleships. In an end game scenario, these torpedoes become much more useful against these leviathans, making their lives miserable and keeping Duca d’Aosta free from reprisals. While I don’t think Duca d’Aosta will easily sink an American standard-type Battleship in such scenarios, it won’t be a fun time for the USN dreadnought.
Realistically though, the lion’s share of the damage Duca d’Aosta is going to score will come from her guns and they’re … well, they’re not great. She’s no Cleveland or Molotov or Graf Spee where their guns can end worlds grace of DPM, accuracy or alpha strike. It takes time for Duca d’Aosta to stack up her damage — time where enemies can shoot back and chew her to pieces if she plays poorly.
And this is what makes her power level acceptable to me. She’s good, but she’s not overpowered, in my opinion. For all the buffs (necessary or not) she received, they didn’t give her improved survivability on the level of Leander or Graf Spee. Her attack power didn’t climb to the point where she can easily best opponents quickly and efficiently such that she’ll come out of any engagement unscathed, the way that Graf Spee and Molotov can. This creates a finite amount of influence she can have before she runs out of steam.
Duca d’Aosta is good to go, in my opinion.
Would I Recommend?
Well, here we are, twenty-five more Random Battles later. I can safely say that Duca d’Aosta is as ready as she’ll ever be.
I took her out to Co-op and she does … well, she does meh. Once all of the friendly destroyers are dead, bots like to sail bow-in against her, reducing the effectiveness of her AP shells. They’re also annoyingly good at torpedo beats so sniping with her slow fish is right out. If you’re up against cruisers and destroyers, you’ll do okay but she just doesn’t have the massive alpha strikes to put bots down quickly like some other ships can. Expect to bleed hit points. Getting good results consistently is certainly possible, but it’s easier in other ships (especially battleships).
ForRandom Battle Grinding: This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.
Yes. The changes Duca d’Aosta received makes it far more easier to play aggressively solo. This allows her to sneak on caps more (which is a huge boost to experience and credit gains) and her improved gun handling and torpedo range will facilitate doing damage. I was easily able to exceed 1,500 base experience on winning matches.
For Competitive Gaming: Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.
Her long range torpedoes and quick speed will ensure that Duca d’Aosta has a place in competitive matches. To be clear, she’s not the ideal candidate for competitive play (it’s going to be hard to nudge out Leander and Graf Spee), but she can definitely hold her own.
For Collectors: If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.
She’s a beautiful looking ship. She’ll make a good port queen if nothing else. It’s a shame she doesn’t have a more storied history, however.
For Fun Factor: Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?
Good news: I like her more than Krasny Krym. Truth be told, I did enjoy my time with this updated version of Duca d’Aosta. Her speed is wonderful and that’s really what I like best about her. Her weapon systems aren’t scoring any points with me.
What’s the Final Verdict? How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage – Meh – Good – Overpowered?