Quick Summary: A surprisingly agile, if slow battleship with the worst turret traverse rate in the game. She has very accurate, hard hitting guns for her tier, including an impressive secondary gun battery. Arguably the Battleship with the most special features found in the game at present.
Cost: 6500 Doubloons through the in game tech tree.
Patch & Date Review was Written: Mid-June through to mid-September 2016. This spans between 0.5.7 and 0.5.11
|Closet in Game Contemporary: Tier 6 German Battleship Bayern|
Degree of Similarity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class/ Similar Role / Unique
The HMS Warspite has so many special features going for it, it truly is one of a kind among battleships. On the surface, she may appear vaguely similar to the Bayern with a similar caliber of guns and gun layout, good secondaries and an armour scheme designed for up close engagements. However, when you look at her perks, she begins to step away from other Super dreadnoughts. Excellent handling, special repair mechanics, special damage control mechanics; it all adds up to a battleship that's truly one of a kind in World of Warships.
I've wanted to revisit the Warspite review for a long time but I kept putting it off in favour of covering new ships instead. I first began laying the ground work for this review when the Captain Skills changed in 0.5.3 but I soon had other priorities. Finding time to update older reviews is more difficult. Wriing for ShipComrade does provide me a ready excuse to do it though so that there's at least one copy of every review I've done in her archives.
On paper, the Warspite doesn't have a lot of options. She has four module slots -- standard for a tier 6 Battleship. She doesn't have anything unique, like a special consumable not normally found for her class. She doesn't get the choice between different types of float plane. What is significant, though, is the nature of her Repair Party and Damage Control Party consumables. See the durability section below for further elaboration on how these change.
Consumables: Three slots
Module Upgrades: Four slots, standard options. Does not have access to the American Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 range bonus.
Premium Camouflage: Tier 6+ standard. This provides 50% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.
Primary Battery: 381mm main guns in 4x2 turrets (A-B-X-Y arrangement, super-firing)
Secondary Battery: 8x1 152mm casemates, 4x2 102mm dual purpose deck mount turrets.
Short of the Yamato's guns at tier 10, you will not find as disproportionately powerful a gun as the Royal Navy 15" rifle at tier 6. Due to the overmatch mechanics, this allows the Warspite to best any section of a vessel with 26mm of armour or less. This is significant because it allows it to blast shots clean through the bow sections of vessels like the New Mexico, Dunkerque, Arizona and Colorado from any angle. Your shells simply won't bounce off these thinly armoured sections like a 356mm rifle would. As if this wasn't enough, the Warspite has a very tight shell grouping for a Battleship of her tier. While not quite on par with the IJN for the raw dispersion value, it's much improved over the USN and Kriegsmarine and has internal metrics which further increase her accuracy. For hitting power, the Warspite's guns sit between USN 14" and 16" rifles, with up to 11,400 damage per AP shell, 5300 per HE shell and a 34% chance to start a fire. These are harder hitting than the Bayern's with a 500 AP and 900 HE advantage.
|Summary of Main Battery Strengths:|
The Grand Old Lady doesn't have everything her own way, however. The over match mechanics she so enjoys against lower tiered ships falls away against vessels like the Amagi, Bismarck and North Carolina, which have 32mm forward ends. She has very low muzzle velocity for a Battleship at 732m/s and the lowest Krupp rating (shatter resistance) of any of the tier 6 Battleship shells. While this can help with achieving citadel and penetrating hits against more lightly armoured targets, that's small consolation. This hurts her penetration values somewhat which end up being marginally worse than a comparable 14" shell from the Fuso or New Mexico. This also requires more shell flight time to targets at range, adding to the amount of lead necessary to hit evasive targets. But more pressingly, perhaps, the Warspite has the worst turret rotation in the game, on par with that of the Yamato. The Warspite's turrets move at a glacial 72s for a 180' rotation, or 2.5's. It is absolutely impossible track targets with her guns and you will constantly be tempted to use your rudder to accelerate bringing weapons to bear. You can forget switching fire from one side of the ship to the other or snap firing at targets of opportunity. Lastly, the Warspite's main battery range is a mere 16.3km. This may look comparable to the New Mexico, but USN ships have access to the Artillery Plotting Room Modification 1 and can pad their range up by an additional 16%. This means that the Warspite is out ranged by all of her contemporaries -- a problem that only magnifies against higher tiered opponents.
Summary of Main Battery Weaknesses:
The secondary gun batteries on the Warspite deserve special notice. Though the weight of fire coming off the mix of 152mm and 102mm rifles doesn't look very impressive, what should concern most players is their range and placement. Properly upgraded, the Warspite can extend the range of her secondaries up to 7.56km between modules, captain skills and a signal flag. This range outstrips the respective torpedo armaments of the tier 6 Farragut and Ogenvoi and every tier 5 destroyer aside from the Gremyashchy.
This Nicholas discovers, to its peril, that the secondary battery guns on the Warspite is more than enough to doom an enterprising low-health destroyer that gets too close. One of the best uses of the Warspite's secondaries are as an alarm-bell. When an enemy strays to within secondary range, the sound of her secondary batteries opening fire should alert the player to stop whatever it is they're doing and address the immediate threat.
Air Group: Single deployed spotter aircraft.
This gives the Warspite a temporary maximum range of 19.6km. This can help mitigate some of her range issues with her guns. Due to her accuracy, she has a very comfortable shell fall at this range and you can surprise many opponents with some early long range damage, including citadels against enemy Dreadnoughts. Note that short of someone mismanaging their module selection on an American Battleship or a stock Fuso, you will be out ranged by every other tier 6 Battleship when your Spotter Aircraft isn't active.
Top Speed: 23.5 knots.
Turning Radius: 550m
Rudder Shift: 14.2s
The Warspite is unique among current Battleships at her tier. With a 550m turning circle, the Warspite has one of the smallest turning radii in the game for a Battleship. To put this into perspective, this is rivaled only by the South Carolina (480m), the Nassau (510m), both at tier 3 and the Mikasa at tier 2 (450m). When you look at just tier 6 warships, she is tied for the smallest turning circle with the Mutsuki, the IJN Destroyer. If this makes you happy in your pants, it should. This is a holdover from a Closed Beta iteration of Battleship agility -- a trait which many ships shared but has since been lost when turning was rebalanced.
There's a couple of flies in the ointment, however. The first is that she has a glacial 14.2s rudder shift time. With modules, you can reduce this down to a more manageable 11.3s. Thankfully with her tight turning circle, she answers her rudder quickly, even to minor adjustments. This is invaluable due to the horrible rotation time of her turrets which often predicates you reaching for the rudder to adjust your aim with any alacrity. The last issue is that she doesn't have the best top speed of 23.5 knots. This puts her near the bottom for top speed among the tier 6 Battleships, only ahead of the two American bricks, the Arizona and New Mexico at 21.0 knots each. This makes it take quite a while to finish a 360' rotation as she doesn't sail particularly quick through her circle.
This top speed is worth noting when compared to her contemporaries. Though marginally faster than the USN Standard-type Battleships (Colorado, New Mexico and the Arizona), she's still slow enough that flexing from one section of the map to the next takes a long time. Her acceleration is downright terrible too, needing almost a full minute to reach top speed from a dead stop (20s to reach 10 knots). To complete a 90' turn at full speed, it takes her around 20s, including time to shift the rudder hard over.
Hit Points: 53,800
Citadel Protection: Up to 330mm.
Bow and Deck Armour: Listed as a minimum of 25mm.
Anti-Torpedo Bulge: 24% damage reduction
This has always been the section that's most important to the Warspite. Most of her specialties lie within this domain. In addition, the Warspite's model has received some updates which have changed some of her durability characteristics. Let me try and be thorough.
Armour & Torpedo Bulges
The Warspite, as a Queen Elizabeth-class Battleship, eschews the use of an All or Nothing armour scheme. She was designed in an era of the arm's race, where the largest caliber guns of her opponents were 13.5" and 14" rifles and combat was expected to happen and what World of Warships considers to be medium-to-close ranges (between 5km and 10km). This makes her the oldest Battleship at her tier and her armour reflects this. In game play terms, this means that her protection isn't as thick as her contemporaries and it's spread out further along the waterline. With a minimum of 25mm of bow and deck armour, this provides her with functional immunity when properly angled to AP rounds up to (and including) 356mm at medium to close ranges due to the over matching and ricochet mechanics. An opponent armed with such weapons has only three options, then: try and bulls-eye one of the thickly armoured turrets with a precise shot, settle for over penetration damage with hits to her superstructure or switch to high explosive fire.
As good as her armour sounds, it's far from perfect. With the large, slab-sided superstructure, the Warspite is an easy target for high explosive fire. Shots coming in at a range of greater than 12km to 14km will also plunge sufficiently to make a mockery of her deck, as it requires only a 150mm rifle to score penetrating high explosive damage against her 25mm decking. Additionally, if a warship gets her side, she has less overall armour protecting her citadel than other Battleships, particularly the Standard-type of the USN or the German Dreadnoughts like the Bayern. You can also forget her bow or deck armour being proof against 15" (380mm+) caliber weapons which will easily overmatch her bow, even when angled. This can (and will) result in occasional citadel penetrations, especially at range, as her transverse bulkheads are only a 102mm thick.
Lastly, for anti-torpedo protection, she's rather lacking. Though she has anti-torpedo bulges, they barely manage to strip a quarter of the damage from hits amidships compared to almost half by the USN Battleships at her tier.
Hit Points & Repair Party
At 53,800 hit points, the Warspite is on the lower side of average for her tier. But this is made up for by her Repair Party.
Nominally, a Repair Party consumable regenerates a maximum of 1/200th of a ship's total hit points every second for 28 seconds for a total of 14% of their maximum HP. This is the value for almost every single other Battleship in the game with only a couple of exceptions. We should expect to see the Warspite restore 269hp every second for a total of 7,532 hit points. Instead the value for this ship is 20% higher -- 322hp per second for a total of 9,038 hit points maximum. That's a flat bonus of 1,506hp which would be good enough in itself, but it doesn't stop there. When a Battleship takes a penetrating hit that does not damage her citadel, normally 50% of this damage may be recovered. So a Battleship taking 10,000 damage from these sources could heal back 5,000 of this. For the Warspite, this value is 60% -- 6,000 of the 10,000hp lost. Note that this bonus does not apply to damage done by fires, floods, over penetrations or attacks that strike her citadel. In summary it looks like the following:
Bonuses provided by the India Delta signal flag (adding 20% to the amount healed by her Repair Party) stack on top of these figures, allowing the Warspite to gain even more from the use of this signal than most other ships. With the signal, your heal jumps up from 9,038 hit points to 10,846hp. As the Warspite will be stacking more damage in the queue, this signal lets you gobble it all up so efficiently.
Damage Control Party
Once upon a time, all Battleships had the same Damage Control Party consumable. This was identical to the cruiser Damage Control Party -- it had a 90 second reset timer and was active for a 5 second duration during which all incoming criticals were automatically repaired. This was changed in the last days of Closed Beta. Based upon the nation of the Battleship, the immunity period was extended to a minimum of 10s (for IJN Battleships) all of the way up to 20s (for USN Battleships). Nations which came later, the Tirpitz for the Germans, the Dunkerque for the French and the Imperator Nikolai I for the Russians each got 15s worth of immunity, sitting right in the middle. To balance out the power of these extended immunity periods, the reset timer was extended to a full two minutes (120s).
Not so for the Warspite. She retains the old-style Damage Control Party for Battleships. She has a shorter immunity period, but by contrast, she has a much shorter reset timer. If a player equips the premium version of the consumable, this drops down to a mere 60s before the next time it can be used after the immunity period ends. This is incredibly powerful for a class long beleaguered by fire damage.
With the proper use of signals, captain skills and consumables, it's possible to reduce the total damage a fire does from 18% of a Battleship's total health down to 11.5% -- or a mere 35s of total burn time. Couple this with the Warspite's faster resetting Damage Control Party and her tremendous amount of healing done by her Repair Party and the Warspite can shrug off blazes like no other ship in the game.
Concealment & CamouflageSurface Detection Range: 14.2km
As far as stealth goes, the Warspite is rather average for a tier 6 Battleship. With camouflage applied, the 'average' tier 6 Battleships rank as follows: Arizona (14.0km), New Mexico & Warspite (13.8km), Bayern (13.4km). The outliers are the Dunkerque (16.4km) and the Fuso (18.3km) -- the latter of which is possibly visible from space.
AA Battery Calibers: 105mm / 40mm / 20mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 5.0km / 2.5km / 2.0km
AA DPS per Aura: 38 / 79 / 47
The first thing that should be stated, is that none of the tier 6 Battleships have good anti-aircraft firepower -- not even the New Mexico. They're all varied flavours of bad to average. These raw DPS numbers are also misleading. The Bayern has arguably better functional AA power with most of her damage being concentrated into her dual purpose 100mm guns that have great reach. The Warspite focuses most of her AA strength into her 2pdr 40mm 'Chicago Piano' 8-barrel mounts. These have a poor range of only 2.5km making them only suitable when under direct attack for self defense purposes.
It's not just you. I am not fond of the Warspite's premium camouflage.
Be very aware that I am horribly biased. This is my favourite ship in the game.
Outfitting your Warspite
Recommended Captain Skills
As a Battleship, a lot of the Warspite's skill choices will seem pretty standard.