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Repair Party could not fix Duke of York either4/27/2018 8:53:42 AM
Published By: LittleWhiteMouse
 The following is a review of Duca degli Abruzzi, a ship kindly provided to me by Wargaming. This is the release version of the vessel and these stats are current as of April 27th, 2018.
 
 
The markings on her bow are caution stripes:  "Danger, contents under pressure and may explode if penetrated".
 
Quick Summary:  A fast but fragile light cruiser that lacks in hitting power.
Cost:  Undisclosed at the time of publishing.
Patch & Date Written:  0.7.2 to 0.7.4.  March 1st through April 27th, 2018.
 
 PROS:
  • Extended waterline belt armour of 30mm allows her to pull off some surprising close-range bounces.
  • Decent anti-torpedo protection for a cruiser.
  • Her torpedoes have excellent range of 12km.
  • Very fast with a top speed of 35 knots.
  • Good rate of turn of over 6.3º/s.
  • Decent stock 11.2km surface detection range.
  • Abruzzi has access to both Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive AA Fire at the same time.
  • Access to the Repair Party consumable (!).
CONS
  • Enormous, vulnerable citadel sitting high over the water's surface.  She eats citadels from battleships for days.



  • I actually have some live footage of Abruzzi gobbling up a bowl full of citadel hits.


  • Seriously, just when you think she couldn't possibly pack in another citadel hit, she goes and surprises you.



  • Small main battery for a tier VII cruiser with only ten 152mm rifles with mediocre DPM.
  • Low AP shell penetration values.
  • Poor fire chance on her HE shells making her incredibly dependent on a commander with at least 10 to 14 skill points to inflict reasonable amounts of damage.
  • Her torpedoes are very slow at 51 knots and she doesn't have enough of them.
  • Short of having access to Defensive Fire, her AA firepower and range are both terrible.
 
Overview
Skill Floor: Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling: Low / Moderate / High / Extreme
 
Welcome to Hell.  Duca degli Abruzzi is not a ship for inexperienced commanders.  Owing to her fragility and poor attack power, she's going to punish novices.  Veterans who know how to use and abuse concealment, cover and WASD hax can generate some decent numbers, but these tricks will only save you until a battleship casually swats you for all of your health.

While Abruzzi can perform, it's a lot of (unnecessary) work.
 
Her components break down as follows:
 

 - One of, if not the worst at its tier. This is a pronounced weakness.
 - Middle of the pack at its tier. Not terrible, but not terribly good either.
 - Has a significant advantage over her tier mates. A solid, competitive performer.
 - No other ship at its tier does this as well as this ship
 
Her guns under perform and so do her torpedoes.  She's vulnerable as all get out to sudden deletion if a battleship even looks at her.  Abruzzi's AA firepower is terrible, even with Defensive Fire.  Her only good points are her agility and her Repair Party consumable, but the latter is shackled to a citadel that explodes if you look at it funny.  She's fast and she has decent handling -- not the best at her tier, but one of the best overall.  Her concealment and vision control (Refrigerator) is okay but she's nowhere near the best at it within her tier.
 
Candy-cane striping won't save this ship.  
 
Options
One of the defining characteristics of the Italian cruisers is their consumables. Other cruisers are forced to choose between Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive Fire, if they're given a choice at all. Abruzzi and d'Aosta have access to both at the same time, giving them more flexibility, but at the cost of lacking any form of specialization, such as extra range on German Hydroacoustic Search or an extra charge of American Defensive Fire.  However, Abruzzi must choose between Defensive AA Fire and her Spotter Aircraft which is an uncomfortable choice.  Unlike most tier VII cruisers, she has access to Repair Party.
 
Overall, Abruzzi's options are "safe". They're convenient rather than competitive, differing from the game-winning combinations of Smoke Generator and Radar of Belfast, for example.
 
Consumables:   Abruzzi has access to four consumable slots.
  • Abruzzi's Damage Control Party is standard.
  • Hydroacoustic Search is also standard in her second slot.
  • or In her third slot, you must choose between Defensive Fire and a Spotter Aircraft.
  • Abruzzi rounds out her consumables with Repair Party.  This is a tier IX cruiser version of the consumable, healing back up to 14% of her maximum health over 28 seconds.  She can queue up 33% of damage to her citadel, 50% of any penetrating hits and 100% of flooding, fire, ram and over penetration damage.
Camouflage:  Abruzzi uses Type 10 Camouflage.  This provides 50% bonus experience gains, a 10% reduction to repair costs, 3% reduced surface detection range and increases dispersion of incoming fire by 4%
 
Upgrades:  Abruzzi has four upgrade slots with standard cruiser options.  There are no Special Upgrades worth considering for this ship.
  •   Take Main Armaments Modification 1 for your first slot.
  • or  or   Damage Control Modification 1 for your second slot.  Alternatively, Steering Gears Modification 1 is a good choice given how frequently her rudder breaks.  It's almost chronic with this ship.  If you have access to Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 and no better ship to put it on, it's not out of place here.
  • Aiming Systems Modification 1 is optimal for your third slot.  Don't bother with AA Guns Modification 2 -- you can't salvage her AA power.
  •   or   Steering Gears Modification 2 is arguably the best of the fourth-slot options.  Alternatively, if you want to improve her mitigation of fire damage for the sake of maximizing your Repair Party consumable, you may take Damage Control Modification 2.
 
Offense
Primary Battery:  Ten 152mm naval rifles in a 3-2-2-3, A-B-X-Y arrangement. 
Secondary Battery:  Eight 100mm guns in 4x2 turrets with one facing forward and the other backward on each side.
Torpedo Launchers:  Six tubes in 2x3 launchers with one to each side between the funnels.
 
 
Abruzzi's guns are terrible. 
  • Her AP shells have bad penetration performance.
  • Her HE shells are anemic with low damage and low fire chance.
  • She only has 10 guns compared to the 12 guns found on all other tier VII light cruisers.
  • She does not have an accelerated reload / normalization / autobounce angles to facilitate doing damage despite these disparities.
  • Her fire arcs are bad.
Generally speaking for mid-tier cruisers, 152mm guns are the best gun caliber in the game currently.  They sit in this wonderful spot where taking Inertial Fuse for HE Shells gives them tremendous damage output.  While this skill is considered mandatory, their high explosive (HE) shells benefit so much from it that the four point cost seems a bargain.  With the boosted penetration provided by this skill, they can spam HE against any targets they encounter and gradually tear them apart.  Though they pay for this bonus with a slight dip in fire-setting efficiency, the trade off is largely considered worthwhile to emphasize their enormous damage-per-minute (DPM) potential.
 
Would that Abruzzi also benefited.
 
 
Abruzzi's fire angles are almost amazing, but her X-Turret ruins everything.  She effectively turns Abruzzi into an 8-gun cruiser most of the time.
 
 Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (IFHE) should still be considered mandatory for Abruzzi.  And yes, she does enjoy the same spike in penetration power which lets her hammer tier VIII and IX cruisers and capital ships for damage with this skill.  However, she does not have the DPM of her contemporaries.  Abruzzi's damage per shell is comparable and so is her rate of fire but she has less guns.  Abruzzi's base fire chance per shell is also terrible and IFHE just makes it appalling. She sets less fires on average than the other tier VII cruisers which will light half again as many as Abruzzi will over time.  The damage-stack from these damage-over-time effects are critical for burning down larger enemies and Abruzzi is left wanting in this regard.
 
This might not be terrible if her AP shells were more reliable, but they're not.  They suck, frankly.  Unlike German cruisers which also suffer from anemic HE shells, Abruzzi does not have improved AP damage to compensate.  Abruzzi's AP rounds are run of the mill, comparable in damage to Belfast's shells but with even worse penetration. 

Seriously.
 
Abruzzi has the worst AP penetration of any of the 152mm light cruisers at tier VII+.  They're even worse than the penetration values on Duca d'Aosta's guns at tier VI.  For whatever reason, Abruzzi's AP shells have horrible shell drag and lower Krupp value than the other Italian premium cruiser.  You're going to have to rely on HE shells to do the heavy lifting.

Abruzzi is largely incapable of landing citadel damage against enemy cruisers at ranges at 9km and beyond.
Source: proships.ru/stat/ships/
 
 
Which brings us back to how awful her HE shells are.
 
There's nothing redeemable about these weapons at all.   Bad damage.  Bad rotation speed.  Bad fire setting.  You're going to need a 14pt commander (with Concealment Expert and IFHE) just to make her gunnery not be a painful sack of ass. The cardinal sin of Abruzzi's main battery armament, however, is their poor fire angles -- especially on X turret.  You're already in the hole when it comes to DPM races and the wonky arc of fire on X-turret is just the king pisser.  However, anytime you open fire with X-turret (or even with Y-turret), you open yourself up to taking massive amounts of damage in reprisals and this will quickly spell the end of your ship.
 
And don't think your torpedoes can save you...
 
 
 While Abruzzi's guns are objectively worse than Duca d'Aosta, at least they both share the same torpedo armament.  These are super long ranged (for a cruiser) and super slow (for anyone).  With only a pair of triple launchers, they don't hit especially hard and short of point blank launches, it's difficult to land more than a single hit on anything. In short, her torpedoes aren't going to save her damage output.  They reload reasonably fast, so drop them whenever you can safely.  You never know -- you might actually hit something at long range.
 
Summary:
  • ThoughAbruzzi is a 10-gun cruiser, she's effectively an 8-gun cruiser because of her poor fire arc on X-turret.
  • Given the poor performance of AP shells and bad arcs, she's functionally worse than Duca d'Aosta at tier VI most of the the time.
  • Her torpedoes are water mines.  Drop them regularly in the vague direction of the enemy and cross your fingers.  You may get lucky.
Evaluation:
What it would have needed to be My vote would be to give her 1/4 HE penetration.  This would free her up from being shackled to IFHE which would also give her an artificial boost to her fire chance.
 
Defense
Hit Points:  32,500
Maximum Citadel Protection: 30mm + 130mm
Minimum Bow, Deck & Stern Armour:  16mm
Torpedo Damage Reduction: 16%
 
Allow me to illustrate Abruzzi's single biggest issue in regards to her survivability:
 

At least she can't be citadelled by HE shells.  The entire thing is internal.
 
That's her citadel.  It runs half the length of the ship.  It sits high over the water line.  There's not enough armour to keep enemy AP shells out but more than enough to make sure that when they penetrate, they stay in.  Abruzzi's armour scheme is designed to foil AP shells from other cruisers and, to it's credit, it doesn't do a terrible job at this.  At close range, provided you can keep the ship angled, your machine spaces and magazines are proof against AP fire from just about any cruiser you may encounter. This is largely due to her extended waterline belt, which is 30mm thick and cannot be overmatched by anything a cruiser will throw at you.  In order to take advantage of this, though, Abruzzi needs to close the distance so that shell trajectories remain flat and attempts to citadel her must pass through this belt protection.
 
Of course, this all falls apart when there's a battleship somewhere on the map. And those Battleships will murder- Abruzzi so hard you'd think they were trying to manifest Slaanesh.
 
Now let's talk about her Repair Party.  Abruzzi has one!  Urra!  Normally this would be enough to propel a ship up the durability ranks.  However, it really doesn't do that much good here.  Abruzzi does not have any issues when facing destroyers and cruisers, which is largely where her Repair Party will prove functional.  In this regard, she feels very tanky, able to recover from small-caliber AP and HE penetrations and shrugging of fires like they were nothing. This is what elevated her from to , btw.  Abruzzi can be an annoying ship to take out if you can't citadel her.
 
In fact, she can be downright trollish in this regard, particularly against enemy cruisers and destroyers.  Fires are of little concern which eases the taxation of your Damage Control Party.  This is good given Abruzzi's unfortunate habit of losing her rudder.  To this end, Last Stand isn't a bad investment to keep it functional during its frequent breaks -- this will let your Damage Control Party be on hand to address blazes and floods where your Repair Party can top off any lost health.
 
The flip side of this is that her Repair Party all but guarantees Abruzzi will be at full health when a battleship does deign to bless you with the presence of their 283mm+ AP shells. Then her consumable avails you not as your innards get sprayed over the surface of the ocean in a thunderclap of 'sucks to be you'. 


Abruzzi hands this medal out a lot.
 
Evaluation:
What it would have needed to be :   Where to start?  Without her Repair Party consumable, I rate Abruzzi as being less durable than Atlanta and Flint -- two light cruisers with almost 5,000 less hit points.  Her biggest flaw is the height of her citadel.  Lowering that would help tremendously.  It needn't be submerged entirely, but Abruzzi is little more than an experience pinata for battleships at the moment and there's very little she can do about it.
 
 
Image courtesy of gamemodels3d.com, showing the extended, 30mm waterline belt of Abruzzi. This belt can frustrate battleship and cruiser attempts to citadel you at point blank range if you angle aggressively.  Good luck with that, though.
 
Agility
Top Speed: 35.0 knots
Turning Radius: 680m
Rudder Shift: 8.9s
Maximum Turn Rate: 6.3º/s at 4/4 speed
 
 Abruzzi's best characteristic is her speed and handling.  Still, she does not stand out in any one aspect of her agility.  She is not the fastest ship at tier VII -- Shchors is faster and Myoko is just as quick.  She does not have the smallest turning radius.  That distinction lies firmly with Atlanta and Flint.  Her Rudder Shift is on the slow side, but Indianapolis, Algérie and Belfast are worse.  She's right in the middle of the pack when it comes to bringing her bow about, with a rate of turn that sits comfortably in the middle.
 
Yet as an overall whole, she stands apart.  She combines straight line speed of the Soviet and Japanese cruisers with the American rates of turn.  This flexibility is welcome for such a fragile vessel.  Opponents will tend to underestimate the lead time necessary to catch Abruzzi when she's going flat out at range.  In addition, she can dodge with the best of them.  I have nothing but praise for Abruzzi's handling and only wish the rest of the ship was so comfortable.
 

Test run at 4/4 speed.  Nothing unexpected here.  Abruzzi's turning circle isn't abnormally large and she loses the usual 20% speed in a turn like most cruisers.
 
Evaluation:
What it would have needed to be :   Be British.  Fiji is remarkably agile, quick to accelerate and handles beautifully.  Fiji's speed in a turn is greater than Algérie's in a straight line.
 
Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers:
100mm / 37mm / 20mm
AA Umbrella Ranges:   4.0km / 3.5km / 2.0km
AA DPS per Aura:   26.4 / 46.4 / 18.2
 
Abruzzi's raw anti-aircraft firepower is terrible -- it's the worst of the cruisers at her tier by a large margin.  If Defensive Fire wasn't so good, I would pan her AA guns as all but useless and label this ship as fodder for CVs as much as she is battleships.  As it is, her anti-aircraft defense is for personal defense only and it cannot be relied upon the do anything other than bruise incoming aircraft squadrons.  They will drop ordnance.  Your consumable will merely scatter it.
 

There's nothing here really worth improving.  Save your skill points and upgrade slots.
 
Evaluation:
What it would have needed to be :   A whole lot of buffs to range and firepower, or some stupid gimmick.
 
Refrigerator
Base Surface Detection Range: 11.16km
Air Detection Range: 7.65km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 9.53km
Detection Range when Firing from Smoke: 5.16km
Main Battery Firing Range: 15.06km
 
 Abruzzi has decent concealment when fully specialized with a stealth build.  However, she does not have the tools or ability to dominate stealth.  Even at her own tier, she's bested by the British cruisers, Fiji and Belfast.  She also sits behind Atlanta and Flint.  This list grows longer when you look within her matchmaking spread, including more British cruisers and even some of the Japanese heavies like Atago.  Combined with her speed, stealth and Hydroacoustic Search consumable, on paper she makes a decent potential destroyer and light cruiser hunter.  She should also be able to dictate engagement ranges against most opponents.
 
However, Abruzzi cannot safely engage enemies while in the line of fire of enemy battleships.  She has two means of defense against fire from these large capital ships -- be behind hard cover, or be far enough away that she can avoid their shot.  Engaging battleships at the extent of her normal range does not give her enough time to realistically dodge.  While her torpedoes may be safely launched from stealth, they travel too slowly to have a realistic chance of delivering many hits without luck and experience.  This just leaves island humping, lobbing shells over hard cover as the only appreciable way for Abruzzi to engage battleships.  This is a good skill to learn as it will serve you well with higher tiered American cruisers. 
 
However, Abruzzi's fragility will make the pains of learning this lesson far more acute than it needs to be. 
 
Evaluation:
What it would have needed to be Abruzzi loses out big to three other premium ships that all have much better vision control -- Belfast, Flint and Atlanta.  Belfast reigns best overall with good concealment and her broken combination of consumables that allows her to utterly dominate stealth and detection at tier VII.  Behind her, Flint and Atlanta are also stealthier than Abruzzi and bring either smoke or radar respectively to the table.  I would even rate Fiji better than Abruzzi, even though the British tech tree cruiser has a larger surface detection range.  Smoke is invaluable and negates any range issues this ship may have had.
 
Duca, Duca, Goose
 Performance in Duca degli Abruzzi is heavily dependent on having a commander with enough skill points.  The two big hurdles are acquiring first 10 skill points and then your 14th skill point.  One could argue your 17th is equally important too.  Follow along and try out your own builds with ShipComrade's Captain Skill Calculator.
  • Start with Priority Target.  Don't skimp out on this one -- it's almost a must with this ship.  If it ever ticks over to "2" and there's a battleship in the vicinity, it's time to stop firing and hide.
  • You have a choice at tier 2.  Last Stand is helpful -- Abruzzi's steering gear in particular is prone to breaking.  If you feel brave enough to manage your Damage Control Party without it, then Adrenaline Rush should be your port of call as the optimal skill to pick at this tier.
  • Next up, Superintendent is the best skill at tier 3 to get you an extra charge of Repair Party (and everything else).
  • The order in which you spend your next eight points is irrelevant.  In either case, you'll spend four and then immediately wish you could spend four more.  Concealment Expert and Inertial Fuse for HE Shells are both defining skills for Abruzzi, with the former making play easier (but never forgiving) and the latter facilitating damage dealing (while never making her good at it).
  • Drop back down to tier 3 and pick up Demolition Expert for your 17th skill point.
  • And finally round out your selection with whichever skill you skipped at tier 2 the first time through or Expert Marksman to improve your gun traverse.


 
Final Evaluation

Mouse's Summary:
  • It's an uphill battle to tally a decent damage total.  It can be done, but man, you're going to have to work at it.
  • Abruzzi will make you think that she's a lot tougher than she is.  You might have a nice streak of games where your Repair Party lets you tank effectively.  But just as likely, you may have a not-so nice streak of games where you get deleted.
  • This ship really encourages passive play as a result.  You're doing small amounts of chip damage over time, skulking at the periphery and trying to be the least appetizing target you can be.

I don't like this ship.  Ship Jesus help me, I really tried to enjoy my time in her.

 I would like to imagine that I'm a patient player.  Abruzzi tested my limits.  I can stomach glass cannons -- Atlanta is one of my favourite ships in the game, for example.  Abruzzi has the 'glass' part down, but she's really lacking the cannon element.  I have already gone on at length about her firepower deficiencies.  With her X-turret being so badly positioned, Abruzzi is no better armed than Duca d'Aosta much of the time.  So she's stuck with tier VI firepower (and admittedly weak tier VI firepower) through much of her engagements.  This should indicate that she's meant to be a bit of a tank, but she's just a victim when facing anything other than cruisers or destroyers which makes me have a sad. 
 
Abruzzi isn't the first cruiser (or even the first premium cruiser) that gargles on battleship AP shells so expertly that dreadnoughts can't help but whip their guns out her way.  Testing Abruzzi has taught me that if I see her on the enemy roster while I'm in one of my battleships that I should make her a priority target -- not because she's a threat, but that because like Pensacola and the Omaha-sisters before her, I'm likely to be rewarded with a super-easy kill.  As knowledge of Abruzzi's citadel weakness become more widespread, this problem will prove chronic and I feel bad for those players who find this instant deletion frustrating.
 
 I will admit, in those situations where Abruzzi can engage cruisers and destroyers without battleship interference, she's a lot of fun to play.  However, those engagements aren't commonplace.  The first you'll often note about battleship attentions is losing most (if not all) of your health. 
 
 Suffice to say, Abruzzi and I were not a good fit for one another.  I am sure some people will enjoy her and even rack up some impressive games with her.  Performance wise, I was able to do the same, but the amount of work needed wasn't to my liking.  Abruzzi only really punishes you against battleships -- in most other respects, she's alright and certainly not broken.  It's just the passive game play needed to make her perform isn't competitive and I don't find it very fun.


A string of three good games in Abruzzi.  I was alarmed.  Thankfully the fourth game sets things straight as I got casually deleted by a battleship from 16km away before I could manage 14,000 damage.  Good games are possible, but terrible games will happen too no matter how skilled you are.
 

Would I Recommend?

At the time of writing, Duca d'Aosta is available across all servers both in the stores and within the tech tree for 4,700 doubloons.  Controversial as Duca d'Aosta is, she's a much better purchase than Abruzzi for someone looking for an Italian light cruiser.
  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?

Meh.  I want to say 'no', but she will probably be alright in scenarios.  Co-op will be hit or miss.  She will struggle to hit the top of the team lists -- she just doesn't output damage fast enough.

  • Random Battle Grinding:
    This includes training captains, collecting free experience, earning credits and collecting signal flags from achievements.

No, no, no, no, no.

  • For Competitive Gaming:
    Competitive Gaming includes Ranked Battles and other skill-based tournaments. This also includes stat-padding.

No, there are much better premiums you could bring for competitive game modes like Ranked Battles. 

  • For Collectors:
    If you enjoy ship history or possessing rare ships, this section is for you.

Yes.  She is gorgeous -- there's no denying that.  She was also built in steel and survived the war, so there's that going for her too.

  • For Fun Factor:
    Bottom line: Is the ship fun to play?

Blech.  No.

  • What's the Final Verdict?
    How would the ship rate on an Angry YouTuber scale of Garbage - Meh - Gud - Overpowered?
GARBAGE - The boat is unbalanced, not fun to play and weak. The ship desperately needs some buffs or some quality of life changes.
Mehbote - An average ship. Has strengths and weaknesses. Doesn't need buffs to be viable however she's not going to be considered optimal.
Gudbote - A powerful ship, often one of the best ships at a given role within its tier. Usually considered optimal for a given task.
OVERPOWERED - The boat is unbalanced and powerful. Typically she's either horrible to play against or she redefines the meta entirely.
 
 
 Conclusion
Two months I have been working on this review, on and off.  Most of it was written by mid-March but then word came down that the test-build for Abruzzi was going to be upgraded with a Repair Party consumable.  I held my breath hoping it would salvage this ship from a looming Garbage evaluation.  It did -- which says a lot about the power level of a Repair Party when it's not commonly available to most other ships.  It just didn't save this ship for me.  This is one of those ships I'm not likely going to want to come back to.

This is why it was so satisfying to animate blowing it up.
 
Thank you all for reading.  As this is being written, I am just shy of halfway through my updated Prinz Eugen review, crunching through Defense and AA graphics.  I suspect she may be pushed to the back-burner to get an evaluation of Z-39 done, but we'll see.  Maybe I can push through a miracle or two this weekend.   I do want to push out Prinz Eugen sooner rather than later in thanks to my supporters on Patreon.  Their patronage helps keep me fed and the lights on and I'm grateful to anyone that can help this way.
 
Until next time!
 
 
Someone suggested I market LWM Bobble Heads.  I dunno, they kinda freak me out.
 
 Appendix
A list of sites, programs and people I rely upon to create my reviews.

Research:

Artwork:

For Graphics:

Programs Used:

  • World of Warships (duh)
  • Notepad (seriously)
  • MS Paint (also, seriously)
  • iPhone Stopwatch App (yep)

Hardware:

Mouse toils away on an old i7-2600K 3.40GHz computer with 16GB RAM and an Nvidia 560Ti GPU running a 64bit OS.
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