ShipComrade

Premium Ship Review #138 – Bajie

The following is a review of Bajie, the tier IX Pan Asian premium battleship.  She was provided to me by Wargaming for evaluation purposes at no cost to me.  To the best of my knowledge, the statistics discussed here are accurate as of patch 0.9.0.  Please be aware that the ship’s performance may change in the future.

Quick Summary:  An Izumo-class battleship with increased range and accuracy but with worse gun handling and a slower rate of fire.

PROS

  • Thick armour around her citadel, combining a 356mm belt with 76mm to 127mm worth of turtleback.
  • Admidships deck armour is 57mm thick, providing some immunity to HE shells.
  • Excellent 2.1 sigma on main battery, providing great accuracy.
  • Good penetration across all ranges.
  • Excellent reach, with a main battery gun range in excess of 25km.
  • Long range secondaries starting with 7km reach.

CONS

  • Citadel is exposed over the waterline with her turtleback angled poorly to deflect shells away.
  • Hull has large areas of 32mm armour, leaving her vulnerable to light-cruiser caliber HE spam.
  • Awkward gun layout and fire angles with each turret presenting it’s own problems.
  • Long, 32 second reload.
  • Poor anti-aircraft firepower.
  • Clumsy and slow with a painfully long rudder shift time.
  • Horrible concealment values.  Don’t even try to hide.

Izumo vs Bajie

Izumo has had a rough time in World of Warships.  Merely looking her up on Google brings up a list of threads from Steam, Reddit and the Forums questioning her merits.  This ship has been repeatedly buffed over the years.  Though she’s arguably in a good place now, few  people openly sing her praises.  I don’t know anyone off the top of my head that would sit up and get excited over the prospect of an Izumo-class premium — at least not without a healthy helping from the box o’ gimmicks™ to spice things up.  She even gets ragged on in Azur Lane. Thus, I have to question Wargaming’s logic in choosing this thing, of all ships, to form the basis for a Pan Asian premium battleship.

Bajie isn’t a perfect clone of Izumo but her differences aren’t especially memorable.  They are limited to the following:

  • Bajie reloads more slowly with her main battery guns with a 32 second reload as opposed to a 30 second reload.
  • Bajie has more range with her main battery guns with a reach of 25.4km instead of 21.7km.
  • Bajie is more precise with her main battery guns with 2.1 sigma as opposed to 2.0.
  • Bajie’s gun traverse is slower with a 4.0º/s rotation instead of 4.5º per second.
  • Bajie is a premium ship.  She has improved economy and with access to premium camouflage.  Izumo is a tech tree ship.

Functionally, these two ships are all but identical.  The extra range is nice, but it’s impact on game-play is circumstantial at best.  There might be the occasional game where being able to reach out and smack someone at that distance feels rewarding, so I can’t dismiss it entirely.  The loss on turret traverse is annoying but it won’t be at the forefront of anyone’s mind unless they’ve played Izumo a lot.  That just leaves her sigma value as a selling point and this is a clear case of a paper value being used to entice players.

A difference of 0.1 sigma is negligible to the player experience — it’s nearly impossible to discern in one-off games.  Some of the most experienced players out there were once blindsided by the difference between 1.8 sigma and 2.0 back when Arizona was still in testing, for example — they were unable to tell one from the other.  The same will largely hold true for Bajie.  Just knowing that she has better sigma values will bias players towards saying she feels more accurate without actual numbers to back it up.  I test dispersion a lot, and I couldn’t see an appreciable gain from this metric.  I’m sure over many games it will win out, but it would be hard to isolate it from individual experiences.

Bajie and Izumo aren’t exact clones but they may as well be as far as I’m concerned.  If you want to try Bajie, dress up your Izumo with the range modification in slot 6 instead of the reload improvement.  Your turrets will turn too quickly and you won’t reload quite as fast as Bajie will with Main Battery Modification 3, so it’s not a perfect analogue, but it’s close enough.

Overview

Here’s some graphics and details to help illustrate Bajie’s performance. This review will be following a shorter format, largely because of this ship’s similarities to Izumo — a ship that’s readily available to most. Generally speaking, she’s best played at long range, dumping accurate, high-velocity shells on people’s faces while tanking less-effective return fire.

Skill Floor:  Simple / CASUAL / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling:  Low / Moderate / HIGH / Extreme

As a long range sniper, Bajie’s pretty friendly to new players.  The challenge really comes with knowing at what range to use her effectively.  If she’s played too far back, her gunnery’s effectiveness wanes.  If she’s too far forward, she gets easily farmed by HE spam or cross-fired by enemy battleships.  Still, her range will keep her in the game for longer than other back-camping battleships.

Camouflage & Concealment

You’re not hiding this thing.  Bajie’s surface and aerial detection is abhorrent — so much so that this is one of those few ships where completely avoiding concealment upgrades and skills is acceptable.

While I am very much a fan of Bajie’s premium camouflage, what I am less a fan of is how she appears when she uses anything else.  For Type 1, Type 2, Type 5 and Type 6 camouflage, I was expecting her to use the Pan Asian colour palette — namely white, black, blue, greens and greys.  Instead Bajie clones Izumo’s Japanese greens.

It’s such a minor quibble, I know, but it irks me.

I say boo-urns to you, sir.  Wukong pulls this same crap, by the way, but with a French palette.

Accuracy & Dispersion

First up are two dispersion tests.  I was tempted to be cheeky and not label either of them and have people guess but that would just be mean.  Izumo (first) is in pink and Bajie (second) is in yellow.  Both ships cluster a lot of shells very tightly towards the centers of the aim point and both can still scatter some pretty wonky shells off towards the extremities, including having shots land well short or long of a target, given the high shell velocity from these 410mm guns.  Overall, their accuracy is pretty damn good and certainly plays well into her role as a long-range sniper.

Standard dispersion test — 180 shells fired at 15km locked onto a stationary Fuso bot that doesn’t have camouflage. Shots are coming from the right side of the screen to the left. Izumo had Aiming Systems Modification 1 installed reducing the dispersion area by 7%.
Standard dispersion test — 180 shells fired at 15km locked onto a stationary Fuso bot that doesn’t have camouflage. Shots are coming from the right side of the screen to the left. Bajie had Aiming Systems Modification 1 installed reducing the dispersion area by 7%.

Damage Output

There’s a lot of factors to consider when evaluating a ship’s damage output potential.  The hitting power of a given shell and their reload rate can give you an idea of this value but there’s a lot more to it than that.  Penetration, overmatch potential, range, accuracy, etc all muddy the waters of how the guns perform, to say nothing of how the ship performs.  A ship that’s tankier or has access to torpedoes or great secondaries may well end up with lower DPM output as a counter balancing measure.

So with Bajie ending up towards the bottom of the DPM pile you would think she has some hidden stuff going for her, and you’re right.  She does.  She has that improved Japanese battleship dispersion combined with not only her 2.1 sigma value but that great boosted range too.  Whether that’s enough to warrant the added two-seconds to her base reload is the question.  It’s not a tremendous drop from Izumo’s own rate of fire, let’s be clear — doubly so if you’re the type of player to carefully line up each shot.  If you add Main Battery Modification 3 to each of them, then the difference drops to just 1.76 seconds which is scarcely noticeable.  Then again 2.1 sigma isn’t a terribly noticeable from Izumo’s accuracy either.

Izumo and Bajie are both pretty good at playing keep away, as we’ll see.  She should be firing first and often given that there will almost always been enemy ships in range.

Bajie’s damage output is lower than I would like but it’s not so substantially lower that it feels like an immediate, telling flaw. Also, Musashi, could you chill? 32mm overmatch, reasonable accuracy and the same DPM as a twelve-gun armed battleship?  No wonder they retired you…
Bajie and Izumo aren’t lacking in penetration by any means. They’re able to easily compete with the punch of larger caliber weapons across all ranges. She manages 450mm worth of penetration up to ranges of nearly 25km (which is nuts).  Penetration values pulled from proships.ru.

You can make the argument that Bajie has too much penetration.  I should clarify this — it’s the combination of penetration and shell velocity that really makes this an issue and the issue is one of frustrating over-penetrations against broadside targets.   When you compare these 410mm/50 caliber weapons to their predecessors, the 410mm/45 caliber weapons found on Nagato, Ashitaka and Amagi, Bajie’s shells are initially faster (870m/s vs 806m/s) and they preserve energy better over distance (0.3 shell drag vs 0.355).  The net result is that at any given range, Bajie’s shells are moving much faster.  This may result in overpenetration of targets you might otherwise have dead-to-rights.  Thankfully, this extra velocity doesn’t turn all cruisers into over-penetration farming Smolensk, so it’s not like it presents a chronic problem.

Gun & Ship Handling

I’m not a fan of Izumo’s gun layout.  I do like all-forward gun arrangements.  It’s just that C-Turret (or is it X-Turret because of it’s facing?) is awkwardly placed, greatly reducing its fields of fire.  For a ship as large and open as Izumo, deck space still feels to be at a premium and her fire arcs suffer as a result.  Her slow gun traverse hurts here, particularly in bow-on or kiting situations where you have to change firing angles.  Why B-Turret can’t rotate 360º is beyond me.

There’s always one of Bajie’s turrets that’s going to cause problems. When you’re firing forward, it’s C-turret. When you’re firing aft, it’s A-turret.  And why can’t B-turret rotate 360º!? If you accept that you’re usually going to be stuck using two out of your three turrets in most situations, you’ll like this ship a whole lot more. Once you start firing with the third, you open yourself up to some pretty harsh reprisals.  Also, mind that turret traverse.  4º/s is slooooow.  It’s the only difference here between Bajie and Izumo.

The agility of tier IX battleships is a hot mess with Iowa, Missouri, Friedrich der Große and Sovetsky Soyuz all being bugged to one degree or another.  As nice as it is that Bajie performs exactly as advertised, she’s not winning any prizes in the agility department.  The best that could be said about how this ship handles is that she won’t out-turn her turrets (at least until Main Battery Modification 3 gets involved).  If Wargaming ever does get around to fixing their problem children here at tier IX, Bajie will look even worse.  Her rudder shift time is particularly painful.

For those wondering, Iowa and Missouri are supposed to have a 920m turning radius, Friedrich der Große is supposed to have a 940m turning radius and Sovetsky Soyuz is supposed to have a 950m turning radius. Iowa and Missouri’s problems run deeper than just a turning radius error, however — they bleed too much speed in a turn. Iowa and Missouri should be turning at about 24.7kts and instead manage just 23.2kts and 23.8kts respectively.

Squishitude

Musashi has kinda ruined the meta where it comes to comparing hit points, so I’ll just stick to talking about Bajie’s (and Izumo’s) armour scheme.  There’s a reason Azur Lane makes fun of Izumo for being highly flammable.  She’s a huge target with large sections of her vulnerable to HE fire.  It’s really just her turrets, the deck of her raised hull and her belt that can shatter cruiser caliber (and Japanese 100mm/65) HE shells at the moment.  Generally speaking, Bajie must avoid getting picked on by these things.

Against AP shells, her armour scheme is alright.  Her citadel protection itself is pretty good — even if it does stick up over the water.  Her belt armour is thick and reverse-sloped and her magazine and machine spaces are entirely compartmentalized meaning that after punching through the belt, shells still have another layer of protection to contend with.  When fighting at the ranges Bajie prefers to fight, this armour scheme is great.  There’s nice little perks like her turret faces having over 500mm of armour on their sloped faces to help ricochet long-range fire.

I would not take this ship into a brawl, however, or even medium-close ranges if at all possible. Anything inside of 10km is bad news for this ship.  Not only do her turrets traverse slowly and struggle to keep up in a joust, it’s far too easy to pulverize her citadel at close range, to say nothing of facilitating supporting HE spam from those annoying cruisers and destroyers.  Furthermore, there are shell traps fore and aft that a clever opponent can use to score penetrating AP shell hits, even at close ranges, so be weary of that.

Overall, Bajie has a pretty darned good protection scheme so long as you play keep away.

Butts.
Guts and know-whats.

Overall Impressions

The argument could be made that Bajie is better than Izumo.  She exaggerates the latter’s strengths — improved accuracy and improved range.  Perhaps more importantly, she gets this without having to pay for it in any particular way that matters.  The loss of turret traverse is fine.  The two seconds of reload time is more telling, but it’s not a huge drawback for more careful and precise gunners.  Yes, it will matter in some situations, but no, these situations won’t come up often.

Bajie is a premium Izumo and Izumo’s a decent battleship.  She had damn well better be after all of the buffs she’s received over the years.  However, I’d argue this doesn’t particularly matter.  Unless you like Izumo, Bajie’s not worth the money.  This is one of those rare premiums that you absolutely can try for free at zero risk to yourself.  Go play a dozen or two dozen games in Izumo.  If you’re not thrilled by the experience, then Bajie is simply not worth the quid.  It’s really as simple as that.

Bajie’s a good boat.  Whether she’s fun or not, and thus, worth the money, is up to the individual player.  I’d give her a solid “pass” to all but the most adamant of Izumo-lovers.

Conclusion

Well that’s one of three done.  I’ll have Wukong done in a few days.  Siliwangi will take a little more time as she’s different enough to deserve a full review rather than this abbreviated format.  Thank you all for reading!

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