ShipComrade

Premium Ship Review #137 – Indomitable

The following is a review of Indomitable, the tier VIII British Aircraft Carrier.  This ship was provided to me for free by Wargaming for review purposes.  To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed in this review are current as of patch 0.9.0.  Please be aware that her performance may change in the future.

Well, this won’t be popular.

Seriously, what a way to tank my readership numbers — reviewing an aircraft carrier of all things.  I can already hear the furious keyboard mashing of the rework-haters preparing to repeat oft-rehearsed mantras and soundbites.  Well, whether social media likes it or not, Indomitable is a premium that Wargaming is charging money for and it should be reviewed.  Players should have access to as much accurate information about her as possible.  So here I am.

Don’t hate the facts.  Hate the feels.  Welcome to 2020, everyone!

Quick Summary:  A carpet-bombing nightmare.  Her planes are super fast and super tough but she gets so few of them.  The game play is quick, monotonous and heavily RNG based.

PROS

  • Armoured flight deck.
  • Her aircraft are very fast.
  • Enormous aircraft health pools.
  • Her bombers are very easy to use.
  • Bombers are good at starting fires.
  • Accelerated reset timers after attack runs, allowing for faster repeat-strikes.
  • Very fast patrol fighters, excellent at intercepting enemy air groups.

CONS

  • Enormous, high-water citadel.
  • No torpedo planes whatsoever.
  • Tiny hangar capacity and slow regeneration of aircraft.
  • Strike groups are very small and easily wiped out when caught by flak or fighters.
  • Low agility on aircraft.  They’re only fast in a straight line.
  • Her bombers have very poor energy retention.
  • Low penetration on bombs and rockets limits their ability to stack direct damage.
  • Success is heavily RNG based, banking on fires to burn down targets or a good drop pattern to pulverize destroyers.  You can setup everything correctly and still fail.

Overview

Skill Floor:  Simple / CASUAL / Challenging/ Difficult
Skill Ceiling:  Low/ MODERATE/ High/ Extreme

Indomitable isn’t terribly complex — she’s arguably one of the easiest aircraft carriers in the game to learn.  If she could automatically avoid flak, fighters and negate the effects of AA, I’d give her a “simple” rating but she’s not quite there.

There’s not much else to Indomitable beyond proper target selection.  Few of the high-skill CV tricks work here.   Indomitable has a shorter immunity window than other carriers so sling-shotting provides less returns that it would for other carriers.  Fast recall doesn’t work either.  This limits “high skill play” to pre-dropping planes and knowing which ships you can damage directly with her low-penetration attacks.

Options

Ship Consumables

Aircraft carrier consumables are fixed and activate automatically. 

  • Indomitable’s Damage Control Party is activated anytime she takes critical damage.  This includes taking floods, being set on fire, taking critical damage to her steering gears or engines.  This is active for 60 seconds with a 90 second reset timer.  It has unlimited charges.
  • Her CAP Fighters (combat air patrol fighters) are activated anytime Indomitable is spotted.  Once launched, these will patrol for TEN MINUTES (600s) if they’re not destroyed or they aren’t required to intercept.  The four fighters (five with the Direction Center for Fighters commander skill) orbit Indomitable at a range of 1km and engage enemy aircraft that slip within 3km of their current position.  Each aircraft is capable of shooting down a single plane.  This consumable has four charges and a 40s reset timer.

Aircraft Consumables

Indomitable’s two squadrons each have consumables with her fighters being slightly improved to compensate for the lack of torpedo bombers.

  • The Engine Cooling consumable restores the carrier’s boost meter to full over the course of five seconds.  In addition, while it’s active, boosting will not drain the meter.  Each squadron has two charges and they reset over 80 seconds.
  • Indomitable’s Patrol Fighters come with an extra charge compared to most of the other tier VIII carriers.  She starts with four charges instead of three.  This gives Indomitable a total of eight charges compared to the nine the other carriers enjoy.  These fighters fight on station for 60 seconds with a five second reset timer after the planes depart.

Upgrades

  • Take Air Groups Modification 1 in your first slot to accelerate aircraft return & recovery time.
  • Next, take Aircraft Engines Modification 1 to give you more boost time.
  • You have a choice in slot three.  Attack Aircraft Modification 1 will give you an additional 2 seconds of time to fire your rockets in an attack run.  If you patently hate your rockets (or don’t see an additional 2 seconds as useful), then AA Guns Modification 1 should be your fallback.
  • You have the choice between increasing the hit points of your attack aircraft or bombers here.  Pick whichever one you’re more reliant upon.  I personally prefer Bombers Modification 2 over Attack Aircraft Modification 2.
  • Let’s not kid ourselves:  Flight Control Modification 1 is hella important for a carrier with such limited hangar capacity as Indomitable.  Concealment System Modification 1 will help keep your carrier alive (somewhat), but Indomitable’s surface detection isn’t so appalling that she needs much help.

Commander Skills

I’d like to be able to tell you that you should take a unique, Indomitable-only commander build but it’s really not necessary.  Focus on aircraft survivability skills primarily, increasing boost time, regeneration time, health and protection versus AA power.  After that, do whatever.  Demolition Expert is probably the only must-have that you might otherwise skip on some carriers.

Camouflage

Indomitable comes with Type 10 Camouflage providing the standard bonuses for a tier VIII premium:

  • 3% reduction to surface detection.
  • 4% increase to enemy dispersion.
  • 10% reduction to post-battle service costs.
  • 50% increase to experience earned.
Provided you’ve completed the necessary collections, you have two palette options for Indomitable. This is the alternate camouflage colours. Both are nice.

The Planes

Indomitable’s most telling trait isn’t what she can do, but rather what she can’t.  She does not have access to any torpedo bombers and is thus entirely reliant upon her attack aircraft and bombers to carry the day.  The former are pretty forgettable, leaving most of the heavy lifting to Indomitable’s bombers.  For a ship with already pared down game play options, having success largely stacked onto the shoulders of a single aircraft type makes for hella-dull game play.

Like more than a few recent ships, Indomitable’s fortunes are tied directly to her matchmaking.  I cannot stress this enough:  She lacks penetration.  The more well armoured her opponents, the more reliant she is upon RNG to stack hits on the few squishy areas that remain or to start fires. This has the potential to severely limits her damage output.  There’s a world of difference between nearly every hit causing damage and only a choice few.

At her core, Indomitable is little different than an HE-spamming heavy cruiser or British battleship.  Her preferred means of damage comes from landing penetrating hits, but in a pinch, fires will do.  She manages this by fast-cycling her aircraft.  Indomitable greatly reduces travel times compared to her contemporaries, taxing Damage Control Parties and repeat-striking exposed ships until they are burned or bombed to death.  Her preferred targets are the squishy and the battleships.  The former she can hurt directly, the latter she can burn.  However, she is deathly allergic to strong, combined AA auras.  Thus, most cruisers are off the menu, making Indomitable’s already limited gameplay incredibly myopic.

Burning battleships leads to three things:  big numbers, Witherer medals and lots of raging in chat.  This kind of triple-stacked positive reinforcement will all but guarantee that most Indomitable players will ignore objectives, dismiss targets of importance and focus instead upon farming battleship tears.

What else did you expect from a demented Sky-Conqueror?

Hangar Capacity

Attack Aircraft Capacity:  12 Aircraft
Attack Aircraft Regeneration:  115s per
Bomber Capacity:  8 Aircraft
Bomber Regeneration:  117s per

Indomitable’s hangar is … well, crappy to say the least.  The only positive here is that she holds more aircraft than she otherwise should.  With her squadrons a mere four bombers and six attack aircraft in size, I would expect her to house six bombers and nine attack aircraft in her hangar if she conformed to CV norms. However, Wargaming “balanced” her by letting her carry double the size of her squadrons instead.

Indomitable’s aircraft regeneration is painfully slow to boot.  This isn’t a terribly forgiving aircraft when it comes to mistakes.  At best, she can regenerate a maximum of 11 of each aircraft type over the course of a twenty-minute match and that’s only the theoretical maximum.  In practice count assume you’re getting one aircraft of each type back every two minutes provided you’re using both types regularly.

There’s no way in Hell any of these carriers will reach their theoretical maximum capacity. Regeneration of aircraft only occurs when there’s empty room in the hangar. The moment the hangar is full, typically from returning aircraft, regeneration stops and any remaining progress is lost.

Bombers

Aircraft Type:  de Havilland Sea Hornet
Ordnance:  Six 250lb general purpose bomb
Group Size:  Four aircraft per squadron with two aircraft per attack flight
Hit Points: 
2,590hp per Aircraft
Min/Cruising/Boosted Speed:  157kts/182kts/217kts

Easy to Use, Easy to Praise

Indomitable’s bombers are amazing.  They are fast.  They are tough.  Her bomb aiming reticule isn’t punitive with a short and forgiving aim-time.  She dumps a ton of ordnance allowing her to land big alpha strikes or ensure a hit on even a small target.  She’s capable of starting multiple fires per run.  It doesn’t take five years for her bombs to drop either.  British carpet-bombers are little more than over-glorified rocket aircraft in terms of their ease of use.

Indomitable may not have torpedoes, but her bombers pretty much make up for this lack — they truly are excellent.  Let’s start with the basics.  This is what she uses to aim:

Photoshop composite showing the size and shape of Indomitable’s fully aimed bomb reticule. Aircraft are moving from the bottom of the screen to the top. Reference-Mahan™ for scale.

Indomitable drops twelve bombs over this small area and it takes no time at all for this marker to settle to the narrowest aim.  Bomb drop times are about 3.5 seconds, so this necessitates quite a bit of lead.  However, if you can predict ship movements properly, it’s possible to score multiple hits even on a Just-Dodging™ lolibote or cruiser.  They’ve a very gentle learning curve which makes it easy to score some big numbers provided you pick the right targets.

All of Indomitable’s bombers have a reduced recovery period. This allows her to launch repeat strikes faster than most of her contemporaries, however it makes her remaining planes more vulnerable to AA fire after the drop.  It should be noted that Indomitable, like Implacable, cannot fast-recall her bombers immediately after an attack.

The ease of use continues with the aircraft’s survivability.  These things are fast and they’re tough.  With full upgrades, it’s possible to get their hit points just shy of 3,000hp (and exceed it with the new legendary commander).  These aircraft can literally outrun some of the fighters they come up against, making them capable of leading them on merry chases forever and a day.  Similarly, their high speed and durability trivializes modest AA defenses and get through with few (if any) casualties.

Indomitable’s bombers are tough as nails, but it pays to invest in every health upgrade you can afford to give them. These aircraft will be your mainstay damage dealers, so do everything you can to keep them intact.

Complications

I only have two general areas of complaint with Indomitable’s bombers — penetration and their agility.  I’ll start with the latter mostly because it was a Hell of a lot of work to isolate.

Agility wise, Idomitable’s bombers are great in a straight line.  However, they’re as awkward and uncoordinated as Wargaming’s PR and marketing departments.  Indomitable’s bombers require a RIDICULOUS amount of room to come about.  While boosted, their turning circle radius is a whopping 1,700m!  Even at normal speed, it isn’t much better requiring 1,200m. The aircraft are slow to respond to commands and feel sluggish compared to the American or Implacable’s bombers.

These are not winning any agility prizes.  No, I don’t know why so many aircraft had similar agility.  Lexington and Enterprise make sense (they’re the same aircraft, after all) but the others?  No clue.  Happy coincidence, I guess.  If you elect to make follow up attack runs with Indomitable’s bombers, don’t try and turn about immediately.  Power through the ship’s AA bubble before you begin coming about.  It’s ridiculously easy to overshoot targets with Indomitable’s bombers.

Her agility woes continue, though. While it looks like she shares parity with Graf Zeppelin’s Ta-152s, this isn’t the case.  The German bombers are faster, having both a higher boosted speed (+40kts vs the +35kts of Indomitable’s bombers) and better energy preservation besides.  Graf Zeppelin (and most, if not all other carriers) can ride and flutter their throttle to extend the use of their plane’s boost consumable.  When Indomitable let’s go of the W-key, her planes bleed all of the extra speed like they hit a brick wall.

What energy preservation?  Deceleration from boosted speed is a linear-loss.  The longer aircraft can preserve speed, the better.  The consumable has 20 seconds of active time and a 40 second reset timer.  These both can be increased by 10% with an upgrade.  Players may flutter the boost-power, stretching out its duration.  Indomitable can’t do this at all, losing everything almost instantly.  Even her Attack Aircraft preserve speed better.
Lert recklessly took his finger off the boost button while playtesting Indomitable’s bombers. I wish I could take credit for this one, but this is all Chobittsu.

As for Indomitable’s HE bomb penetration, it’s not terrible.  It’s simply not high enough to make it a universal threat against all targets.  When she’s top tier, the monstrous potential of what could have been is unleashed — there are few ships at tiers VI and VII that have protection schemes to defend against 32mm of penetration.  Indomitable wrecks all comers with her fast-cycling planes.  Against tier VIII+ battleships and carrier, Indomitable’s HE penetration starts feeling sub-standard.  Shatters abound and her alpha-strike potential plummets.

Neither of these two issues damns Indomitable’s bombers.  They’re merely minor complications.

32mm of penetration is PRETTY good, but it’s not good enough to hurt everything she comes across.  I’ve left the AP bomb comparison out of this as their damage output is hella wonky, with impressive citadel hits, the occasional penetration or horrible over-penetration damage. HE bombs by contrast are pretty reliable in terms of their binary — either a penetrating hit or the bomb shatters for zero damage until saturation kicks in.

The Genuine Problem

So let’s recap:  Indomitable has fast, tough planes.  They’re not especially agile and they don’t preserve speed very well.  Furthermore, Indomitable can’t afford to take many losses — she doesn’t have the regeneration to recoup from mistakes being made.  Screw up against flak, fighters or misjudge the potency of an AA-wall and you’re in trouble. Finally, they do good direct damage against tier VI and VII targets, but struggle against tier VIII+ battleships and some aircraft carriers.

In short, Indomitable’s bombers over-perform against lower-tiered targets but they fall back into an unhealthy behaviour against higher tiered enemies.  With AA power increasing, higher-tiered cruisers are generally off the menu.  She can’t afford running the gauntlet of taking even one or two casualties per attack run.  Thus, Indomitable’s design encourages players to focus on stacking fires against isolated, modest-AA defended battleships — namely Japanese and German designs though any will do if there’s a lack of available targets.

Fire resistance cuts these values in half against tier X targets and by roughly 1/4 against tier VI targets.  Indomitable tends to average 1-2 fires per attack-flight drop against most battleships.

This game play is infuriating to suffer.  Her bombers can outrun many fighters and outlast modest AA fire coming from a single battleship.  A target 25km away will face repeat strikes from even a single flight every 50 seconds — those fires will begin to stack and there’s little to nothing they can do to stop it.  They can’t hide.  They can’t run.  Their only hope is to be rescued by fighters fast enough to catch Indomitable’s bombers and this isn’t guaranteed or to find themselves under the combined AA umbrella of several allies.

To the Indomitable player, the damage numbers this generates are incredibly rewarding.  Big numbers.  Lots of medals.  All but guaranteed kills.  Fun and Engaging 101.  Why hunt cruisers and destroyers when battleships are such easy farms?

Yes, Indomitable’s bombers are capable of wrecking cruisers.  Yes, they’re perfectly suitable for nuking lolibotes, but why bother when you can Sky-Conqueror your way to the top of the experience pile?  Sure, you might win more if you actually helped out your team and took out targets that mattered, but that’s not going to help you average over 100k to 200k damage every match, now will it?

Summary:

Indomitable’s bombers are powerful, versatile, fast and deadly.
It’s too bad all you’re going to use them for is farming fire damage off battleships.

Attack Aircraft

Aircraft Type: de Havilland Sea Hornet
Ordnance:  Eight RP-3 60lb HE No1 Mk1 per aircraft
Group Size:  Six aircraft per squadron with two aircraft per attack flight
Hit Points: 
2,100hp per Aircraft
Min/Cruising/Boosted Speed:  158kts/188kts/228kts

I don’t like Indomitable’s attack aircraft.  Well, I don’t like attack aircraft in general and while I’m sure that bias carries over here, Indomitable’s aircraft feel of poor quality compared to her bombers.

They’re fast, sure — and that’s probably the best thing about them.  They have other positive traits, such as a good health pool, faster reset-timer between attacks and a decent fire-chance per rocket hit.  However, we still need to be aware of Indomitable’s lack of torpedo planes.  Unlike her bombers, Indomitable’s attack aircraft don’t take up any of the slack.  They don’t exactly need to given the general cancerous awesomeness of her bombers.  (“I’m sorry, son, you have cancer.  The awesome kind of cancer.”)

And that’s really the problem: most of the jobs you would delegate to attack aircraft are performed better by Indomitable’s bombers.  Thus Indomitable’s rockets lack purpose.  The only reason to take them out is when you’re running low on bombers.

Let’s look at these aircraft in more detail:

Survivability

I’m not going to lie — the survivability of Indomitable’s Attack Aircraft is pretty damn good.  This shouldn’t be any surprise after her bombers.  She hasless exposure time to damaging effects and more health to tank through it.  While this doesn’t make her aircraft invincible by any means, it does all but guarantee that her planes will survive long enough to deliver an attack provided you don’t drive into a flak explosion or fighter swarm.

It’s the speed of her aircraft that are the real superstars. At 188kts cruising speed, she covers 5km every 10 seconds.  This accelerates not only her ability to deliver strikes but also to return the limited number of aircraft to which she has access.

Indomitable’s Sea Hornets have the same hit point pool as Implacable’s Seafires which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me, but whatever.
Indomitable has not only the fastest attack aircraft at tier VIII, but some of the fastest attack aircraft in the whole game.

The same problems that plagued her bombers are repeated here.  She doesn’t have the reserves to tough-out taking sustained casualties.  As resilient as her individual aircraft are, every loss hurts.  Indomitable has an absolute maximum of twenty-five (25) attack aircraft to play with over the course of the game with more realistic numbers sitting closer around sixteen to twenty depending on frequency of use and game duration.  Losing a mere eight aircraft in quick succession severely limits her ability to deliver-repeat strikes without a pronounced wait on aircraft return times.

Her attack aircraft agility sucks too but it isn’t as much of a disparity gap as it was with her bombers:

Unlike ships, if you want to improve both the rate of turn and turning radius for aircraft, hit the brakes. With her airbrakes, Indomitable’s Attack Aircraft have a 30.6º/s rotation rate and 790m turning radius. Don’t boost — that just makes everything worse.  The horrible agility and twitchy aim marker makes lining up shots with Indomitable’s rockets difficult unless you start VERY far out.  Any kind of manoeuvring will throw off your lead.

 

 

 

Indomitable’s attack aircraft have a very short recovery timer after a run.  This allows Indomitable to make repeat-attacks faster than her contemporaries, however it limits the range of her sling-shot immunity from AA fire.  In addition, her Sea Hornets cannot make a fast-recall like other attack aircraft.

Ordnance

As controversial as rockets are, Indomitable’s are pretty forgettable.  Their individual damage values are decent and their fire chance per hit is good.  However, their flight fires only a modest 16 per salvo limiting their effectiveness.  It’s not that these weapons are terrible, they’re simply average while those of many other aircraft carriers are much better or at least more interesting.

On paper, the stats of Indomitable’s individual rockets are pretty good.
Comparison of the tech-tree carrier rocket-ordnance including the shape of their attack reticle.
Comparison of the premium carrier rocket-ordnance and the shape of their attack reticles.

Protecting the Lolibotes

Indomitable’s rockets were nerfed repeatedly over the course of her development to limit their effectiveness against destroyers.  They had their damage reduced and dispersion worsened.  Only half of Indomitable’s rockets will ever land towards the center of the target marker, greatly limiting the maximum amount of damage possible in a single run unless hitting a chunktacular-sized vessel.

Photoshop composite showing the size and shape of Indomitable’s fully aimed rocket reticle. Aircraft are moving from the bottom of the screen to the top. Reference-Mahan™ for scale.  The orientation of this aiming reticle makes it harder to land hits against small targets like destroyers compared to the perpendicular drop pattern of American FFAR and HVAR rockets.

The 27mm of penetration on Indomitable’s rockets repeats her improved performance parameters against tier VI and tier VII targets of all types.  When Indomitable is top tier, there isn’t anything her rockets are incapable of preying upon, delivering reliable damage against cruisers and battleships and supplementing her bombers well.  When facing tier VIII+ ships, the number of targets reduces.

In theory, she should still be quite effective against cruisers and some carriers, however, the level of anti-aircraft firepower from most of these ships at tier VIII+ precludes them from being viable targets until the very end of a match.  If these ships absolutely must die, then certain her rockets are preferable to use over her more valuable bombers — the larger effective health pool of six rocket planes versus four bombers will tough out AA better, but the casualties will cost Indomitable dear.

While not essential for putting down the hurt on most vessels, higher penetration allows for more damage to a greater range of targets.  With Indomitable’s rocket penetration being kinda meh, it puts more of a burden on her bombers to carry her performance when dealing with high-tier battleships.  Against ideal, soft targets, her damage caps out at 11,088hp per attack assuming they all hit and penetrate… which they won’t.
Effective fire resistance of most target ships will reduce the odds of stacking blazes. Indomitable’s rockets are a poor choice for starting fires unless you can make repeat strikes.  It’s only against targets with very weak AA power where this is even remotely feasible.  These are yet even more reasons that Indomitable’s rockets should generally be relegated to pounding soft targets.

Summary:

Indomitable’s rockets are okay.  They feel pretty good when she’s top tier.  Make sure to use and abuse them when tier VI and VII targets are present as this takes some much needed strain off her bombers.  Just remember:  Her bombers are better and will do the same job more effectively.

Fighters

It’s not uncommon for ships to use different types of aircraft for Combat Air Patrol (carrier defense) and Patrol fighters (summoned by squadrons).  All of the tier VIII American carriers use Corsairs for CAP while they use a mix of Corsairs, Hellcats and Bearcats for patrol summons between Lexington, Enterprise and Saipan respectively.  Indomitable is no different, making use of the same Seafires as Implacable for CAP and recruiting a wave of Sea Hornets for patrol duties.  The latter are MUCH faster — some of the fastest fighters in the game while the former are some of the slowest CAP fighters at tier VIII.  Thankfully you can all but guarantee that whatever planes are coming towards your carrier will fly right into your Seafires so their speed is less of an issue.

Indomitable uses Implacable’s Seafires for her combat air patrol defense around the carrier. These orbit at a range of 1km around the ship and engage enemy aircraft that slip within 3km of their position.  The flight size can be modified by taking the Direction Center for Fighters skill.  Indomitable starts with four charges of CAP fighters but you may increase this to five if you take Superintendent (but why would you?).
Nothing can outrun Indomitable’s summoned Patrol Fighters. Once they lock on, casualties are all but guaranteed.

Praying to RNGesus

Indomitable is the great equalizer.  Forget skill — it will only take you so far with this ship.  The layers of RNG are stacked pretty high with her performance.  While timing and target selection matter, you can do everything right and still do poorly because your rockets scattered oddly or you didn’t set that fire when it was optimal to do so.

Fires and dispersion make all of the difference in Indomitable — it’s what separates a good game from a poor showing.  You’ll need between five and eight permanent fires to score a Witherer‘s medal — that’s five to eight fires pushed past an enemy battleship’s Damage Control Party.  If the numbers aren’t coming up, there’s not much you can do to stack damage quickly against higher tiered battleships.  Similarly, bad bomb or rocket scattering can make even a perfectly lined shot fall flat.  Conversely, a well timed triple (or quadruple!) fire and suddenly you’re a rockstar.

This is why I rag on Indomitable’s low penetration and also why I say this ship patently over-performs when facing a glut of tier VI and VII targets.  Lower-tier AA power largely doesn’t matter, but more importantly she can partially bypass RNGesus.  She’s no longer reliant upon fires for her damage totals and can stack the hurt directly.  I would have gladly traded some of Indomitable’s alpha-strike and fire setting potential for better penetration or more accurate drops.  It would have taken some of the lottery-feels out of her successes.

This is what’s so infuriating about playing with and against Indomitable.  You’re forever hoping RNG screws over your opponent.  You don’t need to get good in Indomitable, you just need to get lucky.

The Ship

Carrier hulls aren’t worth noting until they’re being shot at.  There’s really only one carrier currently in the game that rewards you for taking control of the hull and that’s Graf Zeppelin.  For every other CV in the game, the hull is just where your planes are stored.  It’s a box of hit points you try to keep as close to the action as possible while remaining hidden.

Durability

Hit Points: 51,400hp
Maximum Citadel Protection: 114mm belt
Minimum Hull Armour: 19mm to 21mm
Flight Deck Armour: 25mm to 76mm
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 28%

Aircraft carriers are not known for their durability.  British carriers have an marked flaw with their high-water citadels.  Indomitable’s citadel pokes up well over the waterline with a noticeable ‘hump’ beneath her conning tower.  Taking hits to her machine spaces is tragically commonplace, even from incidental pot-shots.

It’s not all doom and gloom, however.  Indomitable has good anti-torpedo defense for a carrier.  She also boasts an armoured flight deck.  The latter element provides some immunity to HE attacks and can ricochet poorly aimed (or poorly dispersed) long range AP fire.  This only applies to the central part of the deck, however.  Her bow and stern are still highly vulnerable to both HE and large caliber AP shell over-matching.  Still, it’s nice to see this historical element do it’s job versus HE bomb attacks, allowing Indomitable to shrug off sniping attempts from dive bombers.

Except AP bombs.  Oh lordy, does she hate AP bombs.

Damage over time (DoT) effects have very little impact on aircraft carriers and Indomitable is no exception.  This is in part due to their long-duration, automatically deploying Damage Control Party which activates the moment critical damage is done and provides a 60 second immunity window. In addition, fires and floods simply don’t last as long as they do on other types of ships and deal less damage.

Maximum Fire Damage per Ship Type:

  • Destroyers & Cruisers: 9% over 30 seconds.
  • Graf Spee: 13.5% over 45 seconds.
  • Battleships & Large Cruisers: 18% over 60 seconds.
  • Aircraft Carriers: 2% over 5 seconds.

Maximum Flood Damage per Ship Type:

  • Destroyers & Cruisers: 10% over 40 seconds.
  • Graf Spee: 15% over 40 seconds.
  • Battleships & Large Cruisers: 20% over 40 seconds.
  • Aircraft Carriers: 7.5% over 30 seconds.

Thus attempting to stack DoTs to bring down a carrier is a fool’s errand, really.  Even if you do get past their Damage Control Party, the returns just really aren’t worthwhile.  This was ostensibly designed to mitigate the effectiveness of aircraft carriers sniping one another.  The result of this is to make direct damage the only effective way of sinking the ship itself.

Indomitable is super squishy. The best thing about her protection scheme is her armoured deck which can shrug off HE hits that avoid striking its extremities. However, her enormous, high-water citadel means that it’s always (ALWAYS) worth a battleship’s time to fire Hail Mary shots from across the map at her if she’s spotted. Heavy cruisers should do the same.  Citadel hits from the extremes of range are painfully commonplace.

Agility

Top Speed: 30.5kts
Listed Turning Radius:  970m
Rudder Shift Time:
13.0s
4/4 Engine Speed Rotation Rate:
3.2º/s

Well, this section’s going to be hella brief.

Aircraft carrier agility is a cruel joke.  They can barely manage to maintain 2/3s of their forward momentum when you touch their rudder.  The only thing that’s ever considered good about their agility is their top speed.  Indomitable is downright mediocre in this regard, barely managing to exceed 30 knots.  Running away means sailing straight lines or risk being overtaken by even the pedestrian velocities of some of the tier VIII battleships.

It’s not like her autopilot is going to do her any favours either.

They’re all pretty terrible but Kaga gets the special loser-points for being so slow.  I do get a laugh that Indomitable can turn inside her own aircraft.

Refrigerator

Base Surface Detection: 13.5km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 10.61km
Air Detection Range: 10.58km

Indomitable’s surface detection range is decidedly average for a tier VIII carrier though her aerial detection is a bit on the high side.  That “Minimum Surface Detection Range” is a pipe dream — you’re not going to use Concealment System Modification 1 so Indomitable’s surface concealment tends to cap out at around 11.79km

Secondaries

Secondary Battery:  Sixteen 113mm/45 rifles in 8×2 turrets with four on each side of the ship.  Her turrets are not superfiring and arranged on platform-wings jutting out from the front and rear of the flight deck.

Graf Zeppelin, this carrier is not.

Indomitable’s secondaries are a mere afterthought.  These dual purpose weapons work better as anti-aircraft mounts than anti-surface weapons and they don’t win any prizes for the former.  I took her out and tried to have her sink a stationary Reference-Mahan™ at a range of 4km with secondary fire only.  It took over 230 shells fired (that’s two and a half minutes worth of shooting) to sink the darned thing and that’s largely owing to some lucky fires.

Don’t waste your time with these.

If you squint, you can make out the secondaries fore and aft on their isolated platforms.  Unless a target is completely broadside, you’re not bringing all four turrets onto a target.   Indomitable has an 8° blindspot directly forward and an 18º blindspot to the rear where an enemy ship can sit with impunity.

Anti-Aircraft Defense

Flak Bursts:  Four for 1,330 damage per blast.
Long Ranged AA: ~88dps at 5.8km
Medium Ranged AA: ~228dps at 3.5km
Short Ranged AA: ~366dps at 2.0km

I kinda wanted to rag on Indomitable for her AA not being up to scratch, but looking at the numbers, she’s alright’.  Indomitable’s AA firepower is based around point defense, with the majority of her AA limited to engaging aircraft just before or during an ordnance launch.  This isn’t ideal — I’d prefer to see a lot more teeth in her 3.5km batteries as per Implacable but whatever.

Ranking wise, I’d put her tied with Graf Zeppelin overall which is just ahead of Saipan, Shokaku and Kaga.

Most of Indomitable’s AA defense comes from her multitude of 20mm Oerlikon mounts. Seriously, those things are scattered everywhere. It’s pretty impressive.

Aircraft Carrier Summary

I’ve got to give Indomitable’s hull failing marks.  The carrier’s purpose is to keep out of harm’s way and cycle aircraft.  Indomitable isn’t terrible at the former — she doesn’t win any prizes, though.  She’s pretty darned awful at the latter.

  • Unremarkable AA power, agility and concealment.
  • Below average durability due to high vulnerability to AP citadel hits.  Her armoured deck is nice but it rarely comes into play short of being attacked by other carriers or long-range HE spam.
  • Hangar capacity is stupid-small with very long aircraft recovery times.
  • Laughable secondaries.

Final Evaluation

I was expecting this ship to be released with patch 0.8.2.  The early rework was Hell for me.  Not only was I trying to familiarize myself with the new CV systems, I was trying to make myself expert on Indomitable on a short time frame. I put in over 100 games in this ship between patches 0.8.0 and 0.8.0.3.  This was when the changes to AA power and aircraft performance were almost constant.   I fully expected Indomitable  to be released with the British Aircraft Carrier tech-tree; if not with Hermes, Glorious and Implacable in patch 0.8.1, then surely with Audacious in patch 0.8.2.  There was never enough time.

But those deadlines came and went.  More changes occurred and the data I had collected faded to frustrating obsolescence.  Indomitable was hit with a few small evolutionary changes for patch 0.8.3 and I put in almost another 100 games, updating my notes.  This was especially hard to do with my health struggles at the time, but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t behind the curve with the carrier rework.

And then nothing happened.  Indomitable disappeared.  She went back into the vault even as the rework continued.  What followed was a series of dramatic changes to her performance but with no follow-up testing.

  • Indomitable lost one of her most defining features — the ability to have her aircraft exceed 250 knots.  I didn’t get to play test her through this.
  • Anti-aircraft firepower became ridiculously powerful only to see-saw back towards a much more modest state we have currently.  I didn’t get to play test her through these changes either.  Indomitable was placed upon the back burner.

Ark Royal ended up being released instead — a much better and more interesting premium carrier in my opinion.

Indomitable made a reappearance late in 2019, hidden among all the fuss and fluff of the then upcoming (and highly anticipated with much positivity!) Puerto Rico build.  I still didn’t get to play test her during this time and expressed some pretty firm concerns that she might have lost her pizazz.

Y’see, with all of the games I had played with her previously, I had actually found some enjoyment in the rampant fire-setting sadism that Indomitable provided.  Looking back, I think this might have been some abusive transference.  I was in pain. Keeping track of the CV rework was similarly a pain.  So, sharing the hurt around seems entirely in character and reasonable. The kinder, gentler and more fluffy Mouse of today doesn’t do that.  I don’t need to farm Witherer medals in Indomitable anymore — the hurt has gone away.  I don’t need to terrorize poor destroyers and battleships with her planes to spread hate for the CV rework.

I have Ark Royal for that.

Whatever charms Indomitable once held have long since faded. She’s pretty boring to play.  Don’t get me wrong — she can generate the numbers so long as you’re okay with farming useless damage off battleships.  Getting those big numbers, farming Witherer medals and hoovering up the hate in chat is amusing too.  But she’s definitely not a great performer.

I think Wargaming is understandably gun-shy about releasing a carrier premium that’s anywhere close to “good” these days.  Graf Zeppelin is never allowed to be good ever again and Indomitable stands proudly beside that train wreck as a whole bucket-load of meh.  At least both of them are interesting design concepts, I’ll give ’em that much. There’s always a chance that if Indomitable under-performs that she’ll get buffed in the future, but I don’t honestly see that coming in any significant way.

Here we are almost a year after my testing of Indomitable began, near unto the one year anniversary of the CV-rework.  I wish I could go back and tell myself to go lie down and take a few months off.  The final product that Indomitable became isn’t worth the attention.  I’m not sure the rework is either.

Would I Recommend?

Generally speaking?  No, if only because Ark Royal is a thing.  Not only does the tier VI premium come at a lower price point, she’s much more interesting and fun to play.  It’s a shame because Indomitable looks gorgeous.  The potential is also there but in practice her game play is so repetitive and infuriating. Indomitable is arguably the weakest (or at least, the most inconsistent) of the tier VIII premium carriers.  As a co-op boat, she’s an especially poor choice.  It takes time to stack fires — time is at a premium in such encounters.

Conclusion

Thank you all so much for reading.  The next reviews will be short and sweet, each covering the new Pan Asian clones Wukong, Bajie and Siliwangi.  Look for them soon!

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