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.
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
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 & CamouflageThe 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.
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.
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?
Outfitting your Emden
Recommended ModulesIt'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 ConsumablesYou 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: