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Mouse and Lert’s Most Memorable Premiums of 2018

Happy New Year!

The last dregs of 2018 are dripping away, so it’s time to look back on the last 365 days and get all mushy about it.  In my case, this largely involves reflecting on all of the ships Wargaming released over the last twelve months that tried to bait out your wallets, your time and/or your sanity.

A total of thirty new premium and reward ships were released in 2018, including four clones.  Of these, twenty-six were sold and eleven were “free” ships.  There’s a bit of overlap there. Given the gating of alternative currencies used, it was all but impossible for a player to acquire all of the free ships without forking out money.  Of these eleven freebies, six were high-tier reward ships including no less than two vessels that can only be purchased with Steel.

2018 wasn’t anywhere near as dramatic as 2017 when it came to ship releases and shifts in the meta.  Given the upcoming aircraft carrier rework slated to drop in the early months of 2019, this past year looks like a quiet lull sandwiched in between two poop-tornadoes.  Leaving fecal-forecasting aside, I’ve asked Lert to once again join me in looking over the premium and reward ships released in 2018 and going over which ones we thought were the most memorable.

Lert:   This year has gone without great controversy, as far as premium ships are concerned. No Alabama, no Graf Zeppelin. One might argue that West Virginia was a controversy when they announced the 1941 version instead of the more coveted 1944 one, but all in all the outrage about WeeVee was a drop in the bucket compared to the aforementioned tier VIII premiums of years of yore. Maybe we as a community grew up a little and learned how to present our opinion without rage, maybe WG listened more and capitulated earlier, I don’t know – but the end result is overall less controversy, and I can only consider that a good thing.

As for the premium ships themselves, maybe I’m getting older and more jaded, but I think this was one of the lesser years in World of Warships history as far as interesting premium ships are concerned. Sure there were some gems and some stinkers, but overall I’d say 2017 was a better year than 2018 was and 2016 a better year than 2017 was. But even a mediocre year for premiums still leaves me with enough to talk about. So without further ado …

These are all of the new premium and reward ships released in 2018 arranged by order of their release.  Starting at the top left: Musashi, Roma, Aigle, Gascogne, Varyag, Asashio, Duca degli Abruzzi, Z-39, Kronshtadt, Salem, Monaghan, Haida, Massachusetts, Nueve de Julio, Boise, T-61, Stalingrad, Cossack, Le Terrible, Jean Bart, Charleston, Vanguard, Dreadnought, Bourgogne, Atago B, Asashio B, Massachuetts B, Tirpitz B, West Virginia 1941, Prinz Eitel Friedrich

The Biggest Disappointment

Varyag is an underpowered and totally superfluous premium ship. Remarkable for being completely unremarkable. Did we really need another low tier Russian protected cruiser? Nothing interesting in the way of game play, she only stands out for being absolutely drop dead gorgeous. Varyag gets the waste of effort award for the 3D modeling and texturing team churning out an absolute masterpiece that the balancing team couldn’t make worth actually taking out into battle.

Varyag is not even interesting enough for a second paragraph. Moving on …

Varyag wasn’t even on my radar, which I guess supports Lert’s argument that she’s utterly forgettable.  There were a few candidates here, including Vanguard, Salem and WV41.  However,  in my mind, the biggest disappointment was also the ship I found to be the most frustrating.

Duca degli Abruzzi is the Krasny Krym of 2018.  This undergunned, overtiered abomination is only held together grace of her Repair Party.  However, the near-exclusivity of that consumable at tier VII immediately lost its shine when Boise and Nueve de Julio showed up.  I have no doubt it will continue to erode in the future.  The poor manner in which she was balanced fills me with dread.  Rather than address the core issues with the ship Wargaming resorted to diving into their box of gimmicks.  I am not optimistic about the balance and play style upcoming Regia Marina cruisers.

There is no doubt a health counter-culture movement that loves Abruzzi but she’s no darling of mine.

That Time Wargaming Made Me Uncomfortable

Jean Bart is a battleship with main battery reload booster, but that’s not why I’m discussing her here. She’s an uptiered tier VIII with some tweaks, buffed AA and a reload booster. That’s it. She manages to be very flexible and reward good aim, a worthy addition to the game in and of itself. But that’s not the reason she’s on this list. She’s here because WarGaming broke their long standing rule of not directly selling anything higher than tier VIII for money. Of course, Jean Bart cost a veritable aft load of money, but there she was, a tier IX, being sold directly in the premium store.

What does this mean? Well, it opens the gates for further tier IX premium ships for direct sale. Here’s hoping for Friesland. Ah, who am I kidding – we’ll see pigs fly before Friesland makes it into the game. Jean Bart, she’s fun, she’s novel, she’s flexible and she’s the first tier IX sold for direct money.

I echo Lert’s concerns here regarding Jean Bart.  She had a troubled development cycle, showing up originally as a tier VIII premium and then getting bumped up to a IX when she proved to be too powerful.  I dunno why they chose to sell her directly.  Maybe the penny-pinchers at Wargaming had already forecast that Jean Bart was supposed to recoup X amount of money and they needed to make up the difference.  Maybe they were simply testing to see what they could get away with.  In either case, it left a bad (and memorable) taste in my mouth, so she deserves to be on the list.

The False-Alarm

Ooh, I’ma go first on this one!  Remember that time when they said that Asashio was going to reduce the number of battleships in the queue, all by herself?  Remember when they said that no battleship was ever going to push anymore?  Remember when someone predicted some other unrealistic hyperbole and blamed Asashio for it?  I remember.  I remember it fondly.

Look, Asashio is a terrible design good for one thing and one thing only: trolling.  Ostensibly Asashio was implemented to test the viability of giving the Japanese destroyers access to deep water torpedoes as an alternative armament.  I wonder what their data is showing regarding this experiment?

Yeah, can’t really make a most memorable premiums list without discussing Asashio. The destroyer nobody was asking for, with a gimmick nobody needed. Many people – including me – feared that Asahio’s long range, deep water torpedoes that can’t hit cruisers would lead to bad play. While my fears were not completely realized, the fact remains that Asashio is criminally misplayed, in general.

Too many people stay at too long range, just lobbing torpedoes at the general vicinity of the red team, forgetting that they are a small, stealthy, fast destroyer. Too many people don’t provide enough vision, don’t contest caps. And while I can’t blame all that on Asashio, I also don’t think her 20km, battleship-and-carrier-only torpedoes really do much to dissuade such bad play.

The Click Bait

You can’t talk about ships released in 2018 and not mention Stalingrad.  The community at large cannot agree if she’s overpowered or underpowered, if she’s viable in competitive modes or if she’s a troll pick.  With Wargaming giving away and directly selling Steel this holiday season, her sense of exclusivity has been severely damaged.  There’s fears that this accelerated Steel acquisition is an indicator that she will soon be pulled from the Arsenal.

As far as drama llama boats go, Stalingrad isn’t the raging dumpster fire of yesteryear’s Alabama or Graf Zeppelin.  2018 was pretty tame when you get down to it if the only thing we could really get uppity over was another perceived helping of Russian-bias or Lert’ choice…

If there was one controversy this year, it was this ship. West Virginia 1941. She turned out a decent ship by herself, and the controversy wasn’t anything about her consumables or gimmicks; it was because Wargaming completely missed the point with choosing her for introduction. Many were the requests for West Virginia through the years, this G heard. But all of those wanted the arisen-out-of-the-ashes, 1944, Puget Sound refit – which apparently went over their head.

I have to give the community props though, the controversy as it were was a lot less noisy than previous ones. Cooler and calmer heads prevailed, most threads about #WV44 were polite discussions rather than rant fests, and WG actually listened. While personally I would’ve introduced WV’41 as Maryland and kept the WV name for the 1944 Puget Sound refit, I can find myself in the solution WG has chosen.

West Virginia 1941 gets my ‘Bless their hearts, they tried’ award, though Mouse is likely going to list this entry under a ‘controversy’ heading.

 

Smarty pants.

 

The People’s Voice

Last year we championed Alabama and Enterprise as community-lead projects.  Haida has more in common with the latter — having been requested repeatedly by (Canadian) members of the community over and over and over again until Reddit was damn well sick of hearing about it.  These projects are of particular importance to me and I think they always deserve recognition as the success stories they are.  Another ship, HMS Exeter, is showing up in 2019 at the request of the community, so it shows that Wargaming is paying attention to the ships we want.  We can only hope that West Virginia 1944 is being hastened through the development process given all of the hubbub made about her after WV41’s announcement.

I could go on at length about Haida’s development cycle, but I’ll spare you that for this article.  I was heavily invested and involved in her testing, providing volumes of feedback (and many an angry rant besides).  She’s definitely my darling of 2018 and no look back at this year would be complete without her mention.


Yeah, you finally got her. Congratulations. And she’s actually a good bote, too! Nice one, WG. Thanks. Now can we get some Dutch ships up in here?

Best Premium of 2018

People said Musashi would be completely useless. Superfluous. Meaningless. Not worth it. And she turned out to be an absolute unit, a sledgehammer without equal. Nothing else at tier IX can match Musashi in sheer, raw power. Everything about her sucks – except her hit point pool, and those unholy, massively powerful guns. Do you need 460mm at tier 9 to brutalize everything? No, but it’s a lot of fun. Well, fun is relative. I can see people decrying her lack of speed. Or agility. Or AA. Or stealth. And they have a good point.

But, for me, when I want some uncomplicated, sledgehammer-swinging, brute force, ludicrous ultra-violence; Musashi. There is no substitute. I like her even more than Yamato, and I couldn’t explain why. Maybe it’s because I’m beating up on smaller botes. Maybe it’s because as a tier 9 there’s less pressure to carry than as a tier 10. But, I don’t mind that she makes less credits than Missouri – she stil make a buttload. I don’t mind that she’s not as accurate as Yamato, she still puts warheads through foreheads.

Just – look over there please, carrier driver. No, over there. On the other side of the map. Thank you.

I wanna give top prize to Miss Moo-Moo too, but I gotta give premium of the year to Massachusetts.  She ticks all of the right boxes, being (almost) everything I could want in a premium.  She offers fun and unique game play.  She’s strong and competitive without being overpowered.  The only fly in the ointment is that she’s not the best commander trainer, but so long as you ditch manual-secondaries, you could stick a soft-AA build captain on her and do alright.

What’s most surprising is that she comes from such humble origins.  Massachusetts was supposed to be a near Alabama-clone with slightly different AA and a touch more agility than Alabama.  This was back when Alabama was going to be a reward-ship only for Supertesters.  Of course, then Alabama-gate happened and she had to be overhauled.  I have to say that Wargaming knocked it out of the park with this one, giving us a fun and rewarding ship that well deserved her “Black” clone.  She is, in my mind, the safest acquisition anyone could make out of all of the ships released in 2018.


Yeah I can find myself in your choice of Massachusetts, but I’m going to stick with Musashi.

 

Concludy-Bits

Although in my intro I said that this year was not as good for premium ships as 2016 was, it was arguably the year in which WG listened. With the promise of WV44 in the future, the introduction of Haida and the announcement of both HMS Exeter and a pan-european umbrella nationality, I am hesitantly optimistic for the future. Let’s see if WG can maintain this upwards trend.

I share Lert’s cautious optimism for the upcoming year with a big ol’ butt attached:  It’s all going to depend on how well the aircraft carrier rework goes through.  2019 already has some interesting premiums lined up, including some very big names attached (Alaska, I am looking at you).  I hope everything runs smooth — mostly because when things don’t it makes more work for me.  Which reminds me, I’m still playing catch-up on 2018 premiums so I should probably shut down this article and get back to work on those wee tier 3s that snuck through the net.

So, dear readers, Lert and I want to know:  What were your most memorable premiums of 2018?  Which were the best?  Which were the worst?

Thank you all for reading and we’ll see you in 2019!  Happy New Year from Lert, myself and the rest of the ShipComrade crew!


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4 thoughts on “Mouse and Lert’s Most Memorable Premiums of 2018

  1. I’ve only been playing for 45 days so everything is nice and shiny. I’m gutted that I’ve missed out on some awesome botes this year although the Secret Santa Crates have swollen my shipping roster. I’m holding out for HMS Belfast and thereafter everything else is pure icing on the cake. As for favourite Premiums from this Years batch I love the Haida, WV & the Cossack. The least favourite for me is the PEF she’s a bit of a disappointment to me, she’s slow and cumbersome and the accuracy sucks (but that could just be me, lol ).

    1. Dude, if you just started playing the game you would have to spend several thousand dollars on santa crates (not kidding) and still have insane luck to get a Belfast.

      It’s just not worth it, take it from someone who owns one (from when they were for sale before they were removed from the game). You have a 0% chance getting one until you own literally everything else and then it’s like >1%.

  2. My 4 most memorable premiums of 2018 were Musashi, Jean Bart, Massachusetts and Asashio.

    I first disregarded Musashi as a cheap, inaccurate and underprotected Yamato (an opinion I mostly blame on YOU and your test, Mouse xP), but finally decided to get one as I badly needed an IJN BB trainer ship and there was no better candidate around (plus you could get it for coal). Man, was I right! Yes, she’s fat and clumsy; Yes, she’s impossible to hide and gets focused a lot; yes, her gun accuracy isn’t exactly reliable. But boy, does she hurt! While not on par with Yamato’s, her accuracy is still decent and her reload speed is insane. Even an overpenning salvo deals 5-6k damage and almost doesn’t care about angling or armour thickness. Did you have a bad day? The game or your teams can’t seem to stop trolling you? Turn your brain off and jump into the Musashi to roflstomp everything you cross, from tier 7 to tier 10. She’s one of those ships I hate playing against.
    Jean Bart is another kind of monster. As a fan of the Richelieu and her unique gameplay, I was looking forward to getting my hands on her and bought it as soon as I got an opportunity to do so. I agree it’s a disturbing and dangerous precedent (and something I don’t usually do), but it would have been criminal not to secure it in my poŕt considering how ludicrously imbalanced she is. I broke my damage record with her and so far she’s the ship I hold the highest performance in.
    Massachusetts has been a blast. I long hesitated to grab her; the huge Black Friday discount helped me make up my mind and I’m not disappointed. You really need an 18-pt captain to make her perform optimally with AFT, manual secondaries and IFHE, which is far from being my case (I don’t have the last 2) so I can’t enjoy all the might of her secondaries just yet, but her stunning agility and repair party really help and make her fun to play. The downside is that she’s excessively prone to fires and would really deserve a buff here. Still a great pick you wish to try something new.
    Finally, Asashio turned out to be a surprise for me. To tell the truth, I HATED this ship back in early 2018 as I saw it as a legal cheatcode, a clear middle finger from WG to all BB captains (me included) and a game/meta-breaker that would till the bell for WoWs. As my core opinion hasn’t changed – the ship is clearly OP -, her impact hopefully proved to be much lower than expected: she wasn’t such a popular Premium in the shop, and once the novelty wore off and the repetitiveness of her gimmick kicked in, we ended up rarely seeing more than one per day, if not per week. Plus, most players gt lured by her 20km torps and play her excessively bad. Most fail to realize that no matter how fast her fish are, when fired at 16+ km the target has time to change course and speed 3 times before they arrive. On the other hand, being the sneakiest destroyer in your matchmaking spread, you can drop them at ranges as close as 7-8 km where they become deadly. Your stealth also makes you a nuisance for the enemy as a spotter and cap-contester. And the recent buff to IJN DD HE made her much more viable against other DDs too, compensating in raw damage what you lose in rate of fire. Pretty much in the same fashion than the Musashi, Asashio is one of my go-to stress-relief ships of 2018.

    In the “not bad but slightly disappointed” cathegory, there’s the recent PEFriedrich. Watching the different gameplay reviews from Notser, Flamu and the like, the ship seemed very agile and surprisingly deadly. It turned out to be a very fragile piece of torch, easy to set on fire and citadel even by a tier 4 BB, as the weekly Operations against bots proved. As a result, her only worthy selling point at the moment is her indeed insane AA power for a tier 6 ship, but even that will most certainly become irrelevant in a few weeks once the CV rework (and its disgusting imbalance and AA nerf) hits the live server… While still pleasant to drive, as a highly expected ship she left somewhat of a slightly bitter taste in my mouth.
    Another highly expected ship in my books, the T-61, also performed a bit weaker than expected. While definitely miles ahead of the Gaede (a ship which I enjoyed back in the days) and most other T6 DDs in terms of stealth, torpedo reload and overall performance, I can really feel the limited range of her drops and her lack of gun power. Maybe I got spoiled too much by the tier 8-9 DDs I’m currently grinding and their long-range fish and hard-hitting guns; maybe there’s been some powercreep since with the British gunboat line and the improved IJN HE; I can’t point the finger at what bothers me. The T-61 is still my go-to destroyer at tier 6; but she’s not quite the OP marvel I was awaiting.

    To end this overly long post, Aigle was a surprisingly fun ship to play (and a free one with that!) despite her being crippled with all kinds of flaws. Yes, her firing arks are terrible, her torpedoes almost unusable, her handling dangerously average and she’s possible to hide, but her great firepower coupled with her blazing fast speed (and an acceleration almost on-par with the Brits) make her a surprisingly good harrasser for all kinds of surface targets, especially DDs.

    The rest of the 2018 Premium roster is either locked behind an impenetrable wall (i.e. all Steel-ships that are inaccessible to players like me who are not involved in Clan Wars, and the current snowflake campaign doesn’t contradict that fact, especially when you have a life and can’t afford farming for hours and struggling with your teams even more than with your enemies to achieve a single victory on each one of your ship’s…), or meh at best and are a hardly worth/justify buy (Vanguard, WV’41, Roma, I’m looking at you), when they aren’t outright atrocious (Abruzzi, Monaghan, Le Terrible).
    All in all, I agree 2018 in a pretty meh year for premiums. Many questionable design choices, torturous developments, dubious gimmicks, overpowered ships released for a limited population (CW folk) or for an insane price and obvious powercreep in Premiums’ strength and random in general left a pretty poor impression of WG’s design capabilities and QA testing. Add to that the edge of chaos the CV rework is about to put the game in, and you’ll get a solid recipe to become frankly skeptical about the future of Premiums in 2019, and probably the future of the game as a whole. The recent announcement of Alaska being sold for 1.000.000 Free SO instead of the usual 750.000 follows the long trend of missteps in WG’s communication and leaves with a lot of questions and too few answers. We count on you and your CC friends, Mouse, to keep us informed and sort things out for us. But considering one has his own preferences in terms of gameplay, I’ll take your reviews with a bit more grain of salt in the future, as your respected – but obviously personal – opinion misled me already a couple of times and almost made me miss ships I eventually enjoyed 😉 I know I’d love to see a Youtube channel in yoir name where you would upload either commented tests or just curated gameplay videos showcasing the strengths, weaknesses and general performance of a new ship, but I can only imagine the amount of work it already requires you to test a ship, collect all the relevant data and put together a review, so I guess this is something we’ll probably never see happening, although this (recording, editing, uploading…) is something you could probably delegate to a trustworthy colleague. Anyway, keep up the great job!!! And a lovely New Year to all the WoWs CCs and the ShipComrade staff! 😀 o7

    1. (…and please excuse the numerous mistakes in my previous post, writing on a phone isn’t easy, especially when you’re tired and the 《●?$&%□¤{7*;? autocorrect decides to kick in and messes up with your sentence.)

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