Premium Ship Review SMS Emden

The Tier 2 German Dresden-class Light Cruiser


Quick Summary: Modeled with her iconic fake funnel, the Emden is a rather fleet footed, low tier protected cruiser. She is fragile, agile and under gunned but with a blistering rate of fire.
Cost: 1500 Doubloons.

Closest in-Game Contemporary: Dresden
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique
As her sister ship, the Emden is very similar to the stock Dresden with only a few small changes. The first is cosmetic — the Emden is uniquely modeled with a fourth (fake) funnel behind the bridge to disguise her. Upgraded, the Dresden gets two extra 105mm guns and is slightly faster.


  • Low caliber main armament benefits from Basic Fire TrainingExpert Marksman and Advanced Fire Training skills.
  • Fantastic rate of fire, starting at 15rpm per gun.
  • With Concealment Expert, she can fire from stealth on the surface.
  • Quick for a low tier cruiser at 24.0 knots.
  • Good rudder shift of 4.9s, small turning circle of 420m.


  • Very poor performance on AP & HE shells
  • Low chance of starting fires per shell @ 4%
  • Range is on the short side with 8.9km which is lower than her surface detection range.
  • Poor ballistics on shells leading to a lot of float time.
  • Little to no armour and small hit point pool.

Sister ships, Dresden (foreground) and Emden (background). The Emden is, in almost every respect, a partially upgraded Dresden with the stock hull and an improved rangefinder. Note the extra, dummy funnel on the Emden just behind her bridge.

With patch 0.5.6, several ships have joined the in-game tech tree to be purchased for Doubloons. Among these are the two German premium vessels — both legends from history. I have already reviewed the Tirpitz, but it was high time I cobbled together a review of the Emden. With this article, all of the ships that will be available with the patch have been covered with only a few stragglers left to go.


Like many low tier ships, you’re not given a lot of choice with the Emden.

Consumables: One slot

  1. Damage Control Party

Module Upgrades: One slot. The Emden can choose between Main Battery Modification 1 and AA Gun Modification 1 only.
Premium Camouflage: Type 9 (Tier 2-5 standard). This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.


Primary Battery: 105mm x10. Six are mounted on limited traverse turrets on deck on each side. The other four are located in gun emplacements along the hull, two to each side.
Secondary Battery: None (see below).

As a protected cruiser, the Emden is armed with two rows of guns down each side of the ship. This gives her a broadside of five guns from a mix of turret and casemate mounted rifles. At 105mm, these are among the smallest caliber main armaments found in the game — smaller than most destroyer guns found even at these tiers (with the only exception being the Tachibana at 76mm). As you might expect, the HE and AP performance of these weapons is rather pathetic with a combination of low alpha strike and poor fire chance for the high explosive rounds. In addition, her shells have poor ballistic arcs, lobbing up into the air over even modest distances. These flaws are (partially) compensated by an aggressive rate of fire.

There is a ray of sunshine, though, for those of you already lamenting returning to the German 105mm rifles. With using Destroyer-caliber weapons, the Emden can take full advantage of the synergy of the Captain Skills, Basic Fire Training (10% faster reload rate), Advanced Fire Training (+20% main battery range), and Expert Marksman (+2.5’/s gun rotation speed). Upgraded, this gives her a 10.7km gun range, 3.6s reload time and boosts her turret rotation speed to 14.4s. This is almost, but not quite enough to make her feel viable at her tier, though it’s a long way from feeling competitive. Most of the cruisers the Emden faces are armed with 152mm rifles (to say nothing of the 305mm armed Battleships) with similar to, or longer ranges. Even with these bumped up stats, it takes her a long time for her guns to make an impression on anything but the softest skinned targets. It takes one more skill to complete the Emden and make her truly the devil — and that’s Concealment Expert. This opens up the meta to allow you to fire from the surface without being spotted between the ranges of 9.5km and her maximum range.

So, the Emden gunnery is best described as fun, but lackluster. You will put a lot of pew-pews into the air but they’re not going to do very much — or not very quickly at least. You can’t win any DPM races grace simply that your shells will either bounce off (if they’re AP) or explode for zero damage (if they’re HE) against any target with a semblance of armour. This hurts her potential maximum DPM — something the other ships won’t struggle with near as much when they shoot you back. You can hope to stack fires and may enjoy some success if you can manage it.

In regards to her secondary armament, despite having eight deck mounted 52mm guns rendered on the ship, these are inactive. They don’t even count as AA guns.


Top Speed: 24.0 knots

Turning Radius: 420m

Rudder Shift: 4.9s

Like many low tier ships, the Emden has great handling, ideal for engaging targets within the claustrophobic. island choked maps that populate the low tier games. Unlike some of the other protected cruisers, the Emden has fairly decent top speed, especially for a tier 2 ship. She’s easily able to outplace any Battleship she may encounter along with heavier protected cruisers like the St.Louis, Diana and Aurora. This can help keep her alive. Opening up the distance gives you more time to dodge incoming volleys by wiggling your ship about while peppering your opponents with a steady barrage from your 105s. This is also invaluable for changing course when destroyers launch their near point blank torpedo strikes at these tiers.

If you’re looking for a high-alpha damage attack from the Emden, you’ll have to get creative. By which I mean you’ll have to ram your opponents to death.


Hit Points: 17,100

Citadel Protection: Up to 9mm. Yes, really.

Anti-Torpedo Bulge: Haha, no.

True to their Light Cruiser designation, the Dresden-class has very little in the way of armoured protection. Anything can and will penetrate her and can do so catastrophically, including close-range high explosive fire from cruiser caliber guns. With 17,100 hit points, the Emden cannot trade blows with anything short of a destroyer. You must use your agility to dodge and avoid fire and use islands to protect your ship if you come under concerted attack. Keep in mind that the Emden will be facing ships like the Kawachi, South Carolina, Bogatyr and St.Louis regularly. These are not vessels you want to get into a slug match with.

Expect to take module damage often, losing guns as well as your steering gears and engine regularly. Proper management of your Damage Control Party is imperative for success in this ship.

Concealment & Camouflage

The Emden comes with the standard low tier, Type 9 camouflage which provides a 30% bonus to experience, 3% concealment bonus and 4% disruption to enemy accuracy. This brings her surface detection down to 9.3km before Captain Skills, meaning that without Advanced Fire Training or Concealment Expert, the Emden will always be spotted beyond the range of her guns. This 400m gap isn’t enormous but it does mean that short of lying behind islands and lobbing shells towards enemies being ranged by your allies, you will never be able to ambush a foe with the first salvo. This also makes it more difficult to disengage, as you will have to claw your way outside of your own gun range before you can disappear from an engaged enemy.

Anti-Aircraft Defense

AA Battery Calibers: 7.92mm

AA Umbrella Ranges: 1.2km

The Emden has four self-defense machine guns for anti-aircraft firepower but she won’t normally encounter any aircraft from her tier 1-3 opponents.

Overall Impressions


  • Guns are fun, but not terribly effective with low alpha, long flight time, and short range.
  • No armour really to speak of. Takes citadel and critical hits from all sources.
  • Nice and agile with a decent speed for a tier 2 cruiser and good wiggle potential.
  • Unable to sneak up on enemies, has trouble disengaging because of her range issues.

The story of the Emden is downright amazing.  It’s one of those events in history that sounds larger than life.  I strongly recommend reading up or watching a video on the history of the Emden.

Pretty cool, right? This ship is downright legendary. And if you haven’t skipped anything in the review so far, you’ll be aware that her performance in World of Warships does not live up to the legend. Frankly, I don’t know how the SMS Emden could, given that we don’t have any commerce ships for her to raid or ports for her to sneak into and bombard. World of Warships is a game about massed naval action, not commerce raiding.

I love the Emden, but more specifically, I love the Emden’s history. I’m able to separate the two and say that she’s not a very good boat in World of Warships. You can make her work, that’s for certain, but she amounts to a partially upgraded Dresden in game play terms, and I don’t  think anyone would call the Dresden terribly competitive. She can hold her own. A good Captain can make her work, but it’s definitely an uphill battle.

Would I Recommend?
The Emden is sold through the in game tech tree for 1,500 Doubloons. Is she worth it?

  • For Random Battle Grinding, the Emden is not a very good trainer or credit earner. She struggles to do damage. She’s very fragile so she can’t be up front easily capturing points in a Domination Map. Simply put, she’s going to struggle to do things in game that will consistently earn you experience and cash to finance your fleet and train up your crews. This only changes if you drop a very experienced (15pt) Captain into her with a specific set of skills.
  • For Competitive Gaming, see above. She’s a fun ship, not a good ship.
  • For Collectors, very yes. It’s the Emden for crying out loud. You don’t have to be a Germanophile to appreciate the importance of this vessel to 20th Century warfare.
  • For Fun Factor, certainly if you like the pew-pews. There’s more pew-pew per Emden than the St.Louis, Bogatyr, Aurora or Diana which are all very pew-pew based ships. The difference being that the Emden’s pew-pews are more P-U than pew. But if you like seeing a lot of guns cycling while being super wiggly, the Emden is a good purchase.

Outfitting your Emden

Recommended Modules

It’s so easy making recommendations for these low tier ships. The choice presented before you is between Main Battery Modification 1 and AA Gun Battery Modifaction 1. Here’s a hint: You’ll never see airplanes in your Emden outside of a fail division.

Recommended Consumables

You only have a Damage Control Party for your consumables. You’ll certainly see a lot of use out of the premium version of this consumable which will drop the reset timer down to Destroyer levels of 60s. However, this will quickly eat into any profits you might be making on the Emden. Though you’re unlikely to ever lose money with this ship by buying this premium consumable, you will not be making many credits if you have a bad game.

Recommended Captain Skills

If you’re a crazy nutter and you must have a dedicated Emden Captain, here’s what I would recommend:

  • From tier 1, Basic Fire Training is your first choice. Yes, I know, Situational Awareness seems like a good idea (and it probably is), but you need to get inside of your own detection range to shoot with the Emden anyway until you have a 15pt Captain, so always act like you’re spotted. Grab Situational Awareness on your second pass when you can.
  • For the second skill, Last Stand is most useful. You have no armour. You’re going to take a ton of critical hits, even from near misses from high explosive shells that land near your stern. This will take some of the strain off your Damage Control Party. Expert Marksman can wait for your 17th or 18th skill point.
  • From tier 3, Vigilance will help you avoid the low tier torpedo soup that’s so commonplace on those claustrophobic maps. A good alternative is High Alert to speed up the recovery of your Damage Control Party.
  • You should take Advanced Fire Training at tier 4. This will increase your range from 8.9km up to 10.7km. But if you’re not struggling with the range, perhaps a more interesting choice is Demolition Expert. This will bump up your fire chance on your shells to 7% which is almost respectable given their ridiculous rate of fire. Your mileage will vary.
  • At tier 5, if you’ve taken Advanced Fire Training, then Concealment Expert opens up the meta of being able to fire from the surface from stealth. This will drop your surface detection range (combined with camouflage) to 8.2km. Your guns add 1.3km to your detection range when you open fire, giving you a small window from which to pew-pew without reprisal.

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