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Premium Ship Review Konig Albert8/30/2016 6:38:16 PM
Published By: LittleWhiteMouse

"Ant, meet boot."

Quick Summary:   A worse-than-stock tier 4 Kaiser-class Battleship squeezing in at tier 3.  She has powerful guns, good armour and excellent secondaries while being rather clumsy with her handling.
Cost:  Hasn't been made available yet.
Patch & Date Written:  0.5.10.1 - August 29th, 2016.
 
Closest in-Game Contemporary
Tier 4 German Battleship Kaiser
Degree of Similar
ity: Clone / Sister-Ship / Related Class / Similar Role / Unique

The König Albert is the fifth of the Kaiser-class battleships to be completed and shares many of the traits of her sister ships, including main battery and armour layout. There are differences however. Most notably, the König Albert does not share the rate of fire or longer range of her tier 4 sister.  For a full, direct comparison, please see the end of this review.
 
 

PROs:
  • Her armour layout makes her very difficult (if nigh impossible) to citadel.
  • The König Albert has the highest hit point pool at tier 3 of 41,300hp.
  • She has the highest firepower at tier 3 in the form of ten 305mm rifles.
  • Her AP shells are the hardest hitting of her tier at 8,300 alpha damage per citadel hit.
  • Very heavy secondary gun battery complement with a 4.0km base range.
  • Decent top speed of 21.0 knots.
  • She offers no-stress, fun Battleship game play when top tier.
  • The König Albert has very handsome premium camouflage with beautiful ship details.
CONs:
  • Her soft bow and rear sections lead to her taking many penetrating hits.
  • The König Albert does not have the faster reload that she's advertised as having.
  • When angled, the layout of her wing-turrets makes it difficult to bring more than 8 guns to bear on a target.
  • Slow turret traverse of 3 degrees per second.
  • Short ranged at 10.8km.
  • The fire arcs on her secondaries are restricted, making it difficult to bring them all to bear on a target at once.
  • Her AA complement is pathetic, managing only 7dps a 3km.
  • Poor anti-torpedo defense with only 19% damage reduction.
  • Clumsy handling for a low-tier Battleship with a 600m turning circle and 12.1s rudder shift time.

There are plenty of beautiful fine details on the König Albert, including a coat of arms on the the prow and a WII crest for Kaiser Wilhelm the 2nd on the stern.  The diagonal bars down her side are booms to support her anti torpedo nets.  The netting is rolled and stored along the sides of the vessel.  The colour scheme is a clean off-white which shows blackened damage quite starkly.
 
Hopefully this review won't catch anyone by surprise.  It was only a couple of days ago that the König Albert was dropped on my lap.  I was aware of her but the last i had heard she wasn't anywhere close to being ready for release.  Then in a storm of fluff and kafuffle (that's the technical term), I was told not only that I could play her but there would also be no embargo on content.  As fast as I could test her and get content ready, I could publish.  So in a rush, I reached out to both Lert and NoZoupForYou to see if they wanted to collaborate.
 
Zoup last joined me on the review of the Bismarck.  Some of you may be familiar with his YouTube channel.  For those of you faking literacy all of these years, worry not.  Zoup will be providing his dulcet tones to vocalize the summary of this review so you can pretend to be in the know.  Your secret is safe with us.  If you haven't checked it out yet, you should watching his Real Warship Genius series.  It's my favourite.
 
The Zoupcan
 
 
Lert is one of ShipComrade's newer staff writers.  He and I have collaborated many times before on previous Premium Ship Reviews.  These have been posted on the World of Warships official forums for the English speaking North American and European communities. I keep his contributions segregated in convenient "Lertboxes" scattered throughout.  His particular style of review will provide counterpoint to my own as he focuses on comparing the König Albert directly to her peers and ranking them.
 
The Lertbox
Hello faithful readers!

LittleWhiteMouse has again graciously allowed me some space in her own review, provided I stay within my own box. As a cat, this is something I'm perfectly fine with.

Until I'm not. 

This time we'll be discussing König Albert, a tier 3 German brick. One of five Kaiser class dreadnoughts built, and remarkable for being the only Kaiser not to fight at Jutland. I'll be comparing her to Nassau, South Carolina and Kawachi. It'll be interesting to see how she stacks up against the two older batleships (spoiler alert: very well) but especially her German cousin.

Options
There are no surprises when it comes to the König Albert's consumables.  

Consumables: Two slots
  • Damage Control Party
  • Repair Party

Module Upgrades: Two slots, standard German Battleship options.
Premium Camouflage: Tier 2 to 5 Standard, This provides 30% bonus experience gains, 3% reduction in surface detection and 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.


Firepower
Primary Battery: Ten 305mm guns with 5x2 turrets in an odd, A-P-Q-X-Y configuration.  P and Q turrets are offset wing mounts.
Secondary Battery:  Twelve 88mm rifles and fourteen 150mm rifles.
 
Ah, you have to love early Dreadnoughts and their weird designs.  The Kaiser-class is known for the odd layout of her gun turrets.  Though she has less guns overall than the Nassau-class, she has more broadside firepower.  Her A-turret is mounted on the bow.  The two wing mounts sit between the two funnels and masts.   P turret is mounted immediately behind the bridge on the starboard side in a forward firing position.  Q is mounted slightly aft of that on the port side facing the rear.   The off-set nature of these wing turrets gives each a very narrow field of fire to the opposite side but requires the gun to rotate 270' from it's starting position to find this gap.   X and Y are in a superfiring position on the stern.
 
It takes the turrets 60s to complete a 180' rotation (or 3 degrees per second) which makes their gun handling feel very slow for a German Battleship.  Players more accustomed to American turret agility will find this speed very familiar, being found on ships like the Wyoming, New York and New Mexico-class Battleships.  This unfortunately means that the König Albert can easily throw off the aim of her turrets with the use of her rudder.  It also makes adjusting fire from one side of the ship to the other very slow going, especially for guns P & Q.  I found it best to not bother to try and optimize the position of the wing turrets to shoot through the gap between them.  If they can fire, great.  Otherwise, I stopped trying to fight to bring all ten guns to bear and settled with eight most of the time.
 
It should be noted that the fire arcs of her A-battery have an excellent "over the shoulder" reach.  As a consequence, it's very easy for the König Albert to cycle all 10 guns at an enemy to her stern.  Fire six guns with one wing-turret and two rear turrets, then turn just enough to unmask your A turret and second wing-turret for the other four.  You can maintain a steady rate of fire while sailing away from danger this way.  The wiggle of your ship will throw off their aim and you'll be rather well angled much of the time.
 
Gun layout of the König Albert.  From left to right, Y-X-Q-P-A turrets.  Note the ability of P & Q turrets to rotate 270' and fire over the opposite broadside of the vessel.
 
 
Individually, her guns are incredibly hard hitting for their tier.  The König Albert boasts the best AP shells at tier 3 with 8,300 alpha strike per citadel penetration.  This is 200hp better than the South Carolina and 400hp better than the Kawachi.  This doesn't seem like a huge margin until you consider that she shares the same reload as these other Battleships and can bring as many (and occasionally more) guns to bear, putting her well ahead on DPM.
 
So what's the bad news?
 
About the only place she loses out to the old guard is her High Explosive damage.  German High Explosive shells are notoriously anemic and the König Albert is no exception.  Additionally, like the other starting battleships, she's not doing terribly well for range.  The König Albert's reach tops out at 10.8km, which is certainly better than most of her contemporary Battleships, but it's still rather wanting.  When she faces tier 4, she's easily out ranged by all of the cruisers which also have the speed to kite her.  Frustrating as this is, it's a small price to pay for her gunnery dominance when she's top tier for half of her games.
 
Once you move away from the main armament, it's almost nothing but sunshine and rainbows for the König Albert.  She has not only an enormous secondary gun complement but great functional range.  She boasts no less than fourteen 150mm rifles mounted in casemates.  This is backed up by four deck-mounted 88mm guns and an additional eight 88mm guns in another set of casemates.  With a 4.0km base range, this is excellent for tier 4.  This matches the reach of those found on the Nassau and outstrips those found on the South Carolina and Kawachi by a full kilometer. 
 
The only downside is a really minor one.  As is so often the case with casemate mounted weapon, her secondaries have restricted fields of fire.  Only two 150mm rifles and four 88mm rifles can engage targets just off the bow to either starboard or port.  A target needs to be directly alongside the König Albert for all seven 150mm guns to track onto a target and then you're unlikely to be able to fire more than two or three of the 88mm guns.  The up side to this is that no matter which directions enemies come at you, the König Albert has secondaries tracking them and peppering them with fire.
 
The Lertbox

Main Armament: 

Albert has the same guns that Kaiser at tier 4 has, in the same turret layout. This means two superfiring turrets aft, a single turret fore and two staggered wing turrets that can fire 'over the shoulder' to lend their barrels to either broadside. This requires showing your own broadside though, as the angle for shooting across the deck is very narrow.   Plus, the turrets being so slow means it takes a considerable time to switch from one broadside to another. The thing is though, even if you're angled and not using the 'over the shoulder' wing turret in a broadside, you're still equal to anything the other ships in this comparison can muster. Victory in this category goes to Albert. The only two things Kaiser has over Albert is better ROF and longer range.

Nassau is an interesting ship. The same turret layout as Kawachi, but with quick reloading 11" guns instead of the heavier hitting 12" of the other three ships in this comparison. She lags behind Albert in being only able to bring eight guns to a broadside under any condition, but the rate of fire and the way the guns behave helps elevate her above South Caroline and Kawachi, in my opinion.

South Carolina has four center line turrets and the best range out of the four in this comparison. Having her turrets all center line sounds like a benefit, no worrying about odd turret angles, but it also has a drawback: she can't do the 'Kawachi-wiggle' where you're driving towards someone and wiggle the ship left and right to get your wing turrets on target. Something Kawachi and Nassau can do. Still, despite this the range gives her the edge over Kawachi.

Kawachi loses this category because of her range, which is the shortest in tier and class. She's one of only two battleships in the game that can't shoot 10 km.

König Albert: 4 pts, Nassau: 3 pts, South Carolina: 2 pts, Kawachi: 1 pt

Secondary Battery:

Since its recent introduction Nassau has become known for having a very heavy secondary battery, but König Albert has her beat with two additional 150mm barrels, one per side. Both ships have a base range of 4 km with their secondaries. That leaves South Carolina and Kawachi. The American fighting lady is last with 20x 76mm, and Kawachi takes third place with 8x 120mm and 10x 152mm. Both Kawachi and South Carolina's secondaries have a 3 km base range.

König Albert: 4 pts, Nassau: 3 pts, South Carolina: 1 pt, Kawachi: 2 pts

 
Summary:
  • Hardest hitting AP shells at her tier along with the largest broadside at ten 305mm guns.
  • Slow turret traverse coupled with difficulties bringing P & Q turret on target when angled.
  • Rather short ranged main battery which makes facing faster tier 4 ships frustrating.
  • Excellent secondary battery with good range for her tier.


Rounding a headland, the König Albert ambushes a pair of St.Louis-class cruisers.  Between her 4.0km secondaries and ten 305mm rifles, both ships were sunk within 4 salvos of her main battery.  Yeah, her guns kinda rule.

Maneuverability
Top Speed: 21.0 knots
Turning Radius: 600m
Rudder Shift: 12.1s
 
I found the König Albert interesting where her maneuverability was concerned, and it speaks a lot to how traits are entirely relative to their tiers.  If you took her speed, turning radius and rudder shift and plugged it into a tier 5 or 6 Battleship, you might say she's a little slow but she handles well.  Down here at tier 3, her speed is rather good but she's on the larger side for her turning circle and her rudder shift is too. Funny that.
 
So she's a bit of a cow when it comes to agility, but she's a fast cow for a tier 3.  Doppler-Moo.
 
The Lertbox

I'm very tempted to just call it even here, since all four ships are your basic slow, sluggish bricks that don't like going around corners. That wouldn't be fair though.

  • König Albert manages 21 knots, has a 600 m turning circle and shifts her rudder in 12.1 seconds.
  • Nassau does 20 knots, needs 510 m to turn around and 11.2 seconds to shift her rudder.
  • South Carolina pulls 18 knots, requires 480 m to turn and throws her rudder hard over in 10.7 seconds.
  • Kawachi waddles along at 20 knots, turns in 560 m and shifts her rudder in 10.7 seconds.

So König Albert is the fastest but has the largest turning circle and slowest rudder shift. South Carolina is the slowest but has the smallest turning circle and the shortest rudder shift. Nassau is the second fastest, with the second smallest turning circle and second longest rudder shift. Kawachi is slower than Nassau but with a wider turning circle and faster rudder shift.

With her combination of decent top speed, decent turning circle and slightly sluggish rudder shift, I'm giving the win to Nassau. Kawachi comes second. König Albert is third in my opinion because her rudder shift and turning circle make dodging torpedoes very difficult, and her speed advantage isn't great enough to off-set this. Poor South Carolina is last, being just soo slow.

König Albert: 2 pts, Nassau: 4 pts, South Carolina: 1 pt, Kawachi: 3 pts

 
 
Durability
Hit Points: 41,300
Citadel Protection: 265mm + turtleback
Bow & Deck Armour: Minimum of 19mm each.
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 19%
 
The durability of the König Albert is a fun dichotomy.  She's incredibly difficult to citadel. I haven't taken a citadel hit in her and I was unable to reliably reproduce a citadel in the Training Rooms. Even blasting her with Yamato and Amagi-caliber guns into her broadside at various ranges didn't yield regular results.  So that's interesting, if not a little disturbing.
 
She's also got a ton of hit points, more than any other tier 3 battleship, yet her belt armour isn't tremendously thick.  She will take a lot of damage, particularly to her fore and aft ends from Battleship caliber guns.  Penetrating hits are very commonplace against her hide.  You can take sudden 8,000 to 10,000 broadsides from a Wyoming or Kawachi if you're not careful.  So that awesome hit point pool we were just celebrating can melt away rather quickly if you over extend.
 
You'll also find that your P & Q turrets take a lot of damage and get knocked out often.  Because of their arrangement on the hull, they're often caught in mid rotation by incoming rounds.  These will often strike their side or rear turret armour and penetrate.  Short of keeping all of your opponents to one vector, there's not much you can do about this.
 
For torpedo protection, the König Albert is severely lacking.  Not only is she less agile than other tier 3 Battleships, she only has 19% damage reduction with her anti-torpedo bulges.  It's a shame you couldn't deploy her anti-torpedo nets whenever she was stationary.  The booms and netting are modeled along the hull -- the booms are those diagonal bars.  You have to be very weary of hard-hitting destroyer torpedoes, like those launched from the Isokaze and Campbeltown.  They will ruin your day in a hurry.
 
About the only solid defense you have in the König Albert is to open up the range and angle yourself. You can bounce a lot if you adopt about a 30' attack angle, bow or stern towards the enemy and bait shots against your belt. If you angle more than this, your 19mm armour on the bow or stern will get overmatched by any Battleship caliber gun you face (including the 283mm from the Nassau). If you do less, then you need to start worrying about 305mm from the Kawachi and American Battleships punching through your belt. Keep your finger on your WASD and wiggle your tush to foil their aim. Keeping the range up will turn a lot of the wonky low-tier Battleship dispersion against your enemies, helping keep you alive longer. This will also help keep you safe from torpedoes. 
 
The Lertbox

It's a win for König Albert here. She inherits Kaiser's armor scheme and tough-to-nail citadel, plus has the highest hit points in tier. Just be aware that while her citadel is very well protected, her armor belt is not quite as thick as that of some other battleships, and thus you should be wary when exposing her broadside. The thing with Albert though is that while her armor belt is not quite as thick as that of South Carolina and Kawachi it's not that much thinner (265 vs 305mm).  Plus she has a turtleback protecting her citadel, not to mention the highest hit points in tier by a considerable margin. Just don't go wading into a group of battleships expecting to weather their firepower, even in Albert you're still better off limiting the amount of incoming fire.

How to call the other three, though? Will South Carolina and Kawachis 305 mm belt beat Nassau's 200mm with turtleback protection scheme? I don't know. South Carolina and Kawachi are tough in different ways than Nassau is. Unless properly angled Nassau can be nibbled by normal pens that hit for 33% damage, something Kawachi and South Carolina are more resistant against. Those two though are vulnerable to devastating broadside citadel hits in a manner that Nassau isn't. In the end it depends on the player: a smart player who understands his ship's armor scheme and knows how to angle will be able to make the most out of it. As such I'm going to consider the armor schemes basically equal and base the rest of my rating on hit points:

König Albert: 4 pts, Nassau: 2 pts, South Carolina: 1 pt, Kawachi: 3 pts

 

Outnumbered and outgunned by pursuing Kaiser-class and Nassau Battleships, a Wakatake-class Destroyer and a Kolberg-class cruiser, the König Albert tries to buy time by running.  With a little WASD action, she can fire all ten guns at her hunters, confident she won't take any citadel damage.  
 
Concealment & Camouflage
Surface Detection Range: 11.5km
Air Detection Range:  9.8 km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.59km
Concealment Penalty while Firing: +9.2km
 
The König Albert suffers from a larger surface detection radius than her gun range.  She's visible from further out than she can shoot.  Thankfully, this isn't a substantial range.  Once you plug in her premium camouflage, this drops to 11.2km, so a mere difference of 400m or so.  However, as mentioned earlier, if you're facing higher tiered ships that are intent on kiting you, they can safely keep you spotted while hammering shells down on you without fearing your reprisals.  You'll need to get 12km away before you can disappear again.
 
If you stick a 15pt Captain into the König Albert with Concealment Expert, things improve dramatically.  You're now only visible inside of your own gun range -- 9.59km in fact.  So unless there's planes or a destroyer lurking about, you can return fire to anything harassing you.
 
The Lertbox

König Albert rates 11.2km by 9.8km for detectability by sea and air respectively. Nassau 10.4 by 8.3km, South Carolina 13.9 by 7.5km and Kawachi 9.5 by 8.3 km. for this I'm going to value surface detection range higher than air detection range, since at the tier there are no carriers.

König Albert: 2 pts, Nassau: 3 pts, South Carolina: 1 pt, Kawachi: 4 pts

 

Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 88mm
AA Umbrella Ranges:  3.0km
AA DPS per Aura:  7
 
Well, she has some AA power which is more than can be said of some low tier Battleships.  It really won't ever do much, but hey, it's there.  At least you get the satisfaction of shooting back when a Langley or Hosho lines up a drop on your fat broadside.
 
The Lertbox

König Albert manages 7 dps at 3km. Nassau the same. Kawachi does even worse with 6 dps at 3km, but poor South Carolina has finally won a category, with 8 dps at 3km! Too bad it's the category that matters least, and her victory is so very meager as to be meaningless.

König Albert: 2 pts (draw with Nassau), Nassau: 2 pts (draw with Albert), South Carolina: 3 pts, Kawachi: 1 pt

 

This is probably the last thing you want to see while sailing in your König Albert:  An entire squadron of friendly aircraft being wiped out in the opening minutes of a tier 4 match.  Kiss your butt goodbye -- you're up against a veteran CV player and all you have to answer back is Hans up in the crow's nest shouting harsh language back at the enemy.

Overall Impressions

Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
 
Ships don't get much more forgiving than the König Albert.  So without fear of citadel hits, there's really only three things that prevents the König Albert from sailing in straight lines.  1.)  Terrain.  2.)  Torpedoes.  3.)  Airplanes.  And let's face it, when you're top tier, most destroyers you'll face can't stealth launch their fish and there are no aircraft carriers in tier 3 games.  That just leaves those pesky islands and map borders to contend with.  Yep, most of the time, life is pretty good for the König Albert.
 
Don't get me wrong, you can step up your game by trying to angle.  You can make the proper ammunition choices.   You can even keep an eye on the minimap and what have you.   But these are all still pretty basic as far as Battleship game play goes.  Man, this boat is going to encourage some really bad habits...
 
Mouse's Summary:
  • Well protected citadel but she ship takes a lot of penetrating hits unless you angle properly.
  • Great guns for her tier, nice and punchy but a little short ranged and slow turning.
  • She's fat.  She's got a lot of hit points and a slow wiggling tush.
  • Almost abusively powerful when top tier.  Struggles quite a bit against tier 4 until you unlock Concealment Expert.
 
The Lertbox
Let's tally up, shall we?
  • König Albert got 18 points
  • Nassau gathered 17 points
  • South Carolina scraped together 9 points
  • Kawachi managed 14 points

So, judging by this, König Albert is hilariously overpowered and South Carolina is a floating heap of worthless scrap metal?

... Pretty much, yeah.

South Carolina being crap has long since been a known issue, and I wish WG would finally buff the old girl. Kawachi is also hated, but strictly speaking she's not that bad a ship. Her speed, wing turret layout and better mobility certainly makes her more flexible than South Carolina. Nassau is the newest kid on the block. Sporting the same turret layout as Kawachi but being more dynamic and with better range, she has the potential to deliver some exemplary performance. A glance at the global tier 3 battleship statistics show the same dynamic as well with South Carolina lagging behind in last place and Nassau over performing to a hilarious level.

And König Albert? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but this is the closest you'll ever get to driving an Imperator Nikolai without driving an Imperator Nikolai. I'm not going to argue that Albert is as OP as Nikolai since Albert doesn't fight tier 4s as confidently as Nikolai tier 5s, but there's no denying Albert's power. When properly driven König Albert is ridiculously tough and has the most powerful primary as well as secondary suite at tier. Couple that with best speed in tier and class, and not even her slow turrets can keep her from being a Brick of Seal Clubbing +1. While some might argue that against tier 4s König Albert starts falling apart, that doesn't really make up for the fact that I'd still much rather drive an Albert against tier 4s than any of the other tier 3 battleships.

 
Is the König Albert overpowered?
 
My first couple of games seemed to indicate so.  I mean, netting 100,000 damage in a tier 3 ship isn't something to sneeze at.  The König Albert's guns just seemed ideally suited to clubbing baby seals.  She's also tough as old nails. 
 
Oh, she's not Imperator Nikolai I tough -- Let's be clear on that.  She doesn't bounce everything thrown at her and scoff at the pathetic babies trying to fight Stalinium mans-ship.  It actually surprised me to see how fast the König Albert hemorrhaged hit points under a constant barrage of fire.  But she can outlast many opponents one on one.  I'm sure the Imperator would approve.
 
I mean she's good, there's no doubt about that -- but overpowered?  She falls apart against tier 4 ships without a 15pt Captain.  The Imperator Nikolai I doesn't care if it was up tiered twice.  The König Albert can't do that reliably.  Her lack of range really hurts her when she's not on top.  She still has the hitting power to put the hurt on just about anything she hits (short of another German BB -- more on that later).  But setting up those shots is a lot more difficult against the speedier, longer ranged opposition she faces never mind navigating the larger maps.
 
So then it occurred to me.  Maybe the König Albert wasn't overpowered.  Maybe she's just fine and it's the other, older tier 3 Battleships -- the South Carolina and the Kawachi that are terrible...
 
I don't think this is a very hard case to sell, honestly.  The new Nassau-class is no slug.  She's just as tough, she has fast-firing guns and she has amazing secondaries.  If there was one opponent I dreaded facing in the König Albert, it was the Nassau.  She makes the Kawachi-class and South Carolina-class look almost useless by comparison.  She's also difficult to citadel and she can angle against shots while delivering back some rapid fire, 283mm shells.  When facing against her, I got the feeling that the Nassau might be the better boat -- being much more well suited to stacking fires against other German Dreadnoughts while still having the hitting power to punish cruisers.
 
But being slightly worse than the Nassau doesn't forgive the König Albert from being overpowered.  That is if she was indeed overpowered.
 
I called the Bismarck overpowered.  I'm still not taking that one back.  It cannot be understated just how powerful it is to have near immunity to citadel damage from enemy shell fire.  For this reason alone, the entire German Battleship line is really strong.  The balancing feature for this durability is reduced firepower.  The Nassau is a classic example of this, using 283mm rifles when every other nation is using 305mm.  If their guns make parity, they typically have less of them to ensure they're not good at both dealing damage and tanking it.
 
Yet, the König Albert has the ability to deliver ten 305mm gun broadsides at tier 3 with the hardest hitting shells of her tier.  That's more guns, with more hitting power than any other tier 3 Battleship.  And on top of that, she keeps the vaunted German durability.
 
Yeah, she's hella-OP.

Would I Recommend?
So, we don't know how the König Albert is going to be made available.  Will it be for sale?  Will you have to win it in a contest?  Will it be given away as a part of a buddy program to recruit new players?  Maybe it will the penultimate reward for some month-long event like Project R.  Maybe Wargaming will be giving them away at Christmas or their Anniversary.  Who knows?  No one tells me anything!  With this in mind, take our recommendations with a grain of salt.  We might say she's fun, but if Wargaming asks for a hundred Euros for her, you may want to re-evaluate your fun per moneys quotient.

  • For Random Battle Grinding:

Mouse:  Tier 3 ships are not good for grinding credits or earning tons of experience.  If you're like me, this goes especially so for Battleships.  They demand premium consumables.  It's hard for a girl to turn a significant profit when half of your credit earnings go back into paying off your fire prevention and healing potions.  It's also hard for a low-tier ship to earn over 1000 base experience in a match.  So I give her a pass here.

Lert:  If you must grind with a tier three battleship, this is your best choice.

  • For Competitive Gaming:

Mouse:  Well, if they ever opened up a competition that capped out at tier 3, then yes, the König Albert would be an amazing choice.  I can see it now:  Season Five of Ranked Battles, max tier 3!  Yeah, right.  Still, if you wanna use her to pad your stats, she'll do you some real favours here.

Lert:  Eeeehehehehehehe. Competitive gaming. At tier 3. Bwahahahahahaha.

  • For Collectors:

Mouse:  She's not one of the Jutland beauties (she was laid up in dry-dock at the time) but she's absolutely gorgeous so I totally forgive her.  Seriously, she's a beauty.  You'll want her just to admire her -- especially with the Kaiser being not-quite historical looking.

Lert:  Yes. This is an absolutely beautiful ship.

  • For Fun Factor:

Mouse:  I call her the Sandman.  She tells other tier 3 ships, "Hush now.  Only dreams," as she murders them.

Lert:  It's hilarious smacking seals around with what basically amounts to a slightly nerfed tier 4 battleship, so yes.

 
Differences between Kaiser and König Albert
As sister ships, one would expect the two vessels to be quite similar. The potential differences are rendered largely irrelevant by the ahistorical layout of the Kaiser in World of Warships.  Her build seems to be based around a fictional 1920s / 1930s refit.  None of the Kaiser-class ships survived past their scuttling in 1919. 

Here's a summary of the differences between the stock tier 4 ship and the tier 3 König Albert.
  The stock Kaiser is superior to the König Albert in the following:
  • She has 3% better torpedo protection.
  • She reloads 4s faster.
  • The Kaiser out-ranges the König Albert by 2.5km.
  • Her secondaries have 500m more range.
  • The Kaiser has more AA at a combined 24dps and at longer range of 3.5km.
  • She's 1.3 knots faster.

The König Albert is superior to the stock Kaiser in the following:

  • She has 400 more hit points.
  • She has 8 additional 88mm rifles.
  • Her rudder shift time is 6.2s faster.
  • The König Albert has better concealment; a 2.7km advantage.

The ships are otherwise identical in performance. Once you upgrade the Kaiser, the differences become even more pronounced, with more speed, more range, better gun performance, etc.


Outfitting your König Albert

Recommended Modules

You have all of two module options for the König Albert, and I don't really consider them to be difficult choices either.

  • For your first slot, Main Armaments Modification 1 is your best choice.  Though if you're the type that gnashes your teeth about every detonation and consider them a Fun and Engaging Mechanic™, then you may want to consider Magazine Modification 1

    If you don't take this and you're still blowing up, I don't want to hear about it.

  • For your second slot, Damage Control System Modification 1 is the best (and only worthwhile) choice.  This improves your torpedo damage reduction by 2% on top of the other useless goodies.

Recommended Consumables

You're sailing a Battleship.  I cannot recommend enough that you take a premium version of your Damage Control Party.  This will reduce your reset timer from 120s down to 80s.  Be warned that each premium consumable really eats into your earning potential at this tier.  I prefer taking a premium version of her Repair Party as well for the same reason.  I rarely use up all of the charges, but the quicker reset timer is a godsend, even if it hurts my wallet.

But then again, I don't usually play tier 3 ships to make bank.

Recommended Captain Skills

Your König Albert is best suited for training your low to mid tier German Battleship captains for the ships you kept.  Captains of the Dresden or Emden, particularly ones that specialized in maximizing her 105mm rifles will do exceptionally well in the König Albert as those skills echo the ones you'll want for the König Albert almost one for one (with a few exceptions).  Here's the optimal build I suggest:

  • From your first tier, you'll want both Basics of Survivability and Basic Fire Training.  Survivability should be your priority as there is a lot of high explosive shells being thrown about everywhere and fires happen constantly.  The latter will boost the firepower of your secondaries.

  • From your second tier, Expert Marksmans is your best choice.  This will increase your turret rotation from 60s to 48.6s for a 180' turn.

  • For your third slot, you have a choice of three good skills and this will be a matter of preference. 

    Vigilance will help you with spotting incoming torpedoes.  This is really helpful when facing the Campbeltown or Isokaze which can both fire from stealth. 
    High Alert will hasten the reset timer of your Damage Control Party from 120s/80s to 108s/72s which is invaluable with how much fire damage is thrown around at tier 3. 
    Superintendent will give you an extra charge of your Repair Party consumable.  If you're really good at tanking damage and surviving through a long game, the extra 5782hp this will net you is wonderful.

  • From your fourth slot, look no further than Advanced Fire Training.  This will boost your secondaries up to an impressive 4.8km (which is insane for tier 3).

  • Lastly, at tier 5, grab Concealment Expert.  This will reduce your surface detection range (with camouflage) down to 9.6km -- well inside your gun range.  This can and will save your life in late-stage tier 4 matches.
 
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