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Too much pudding thats her problem5/2/2018 11:12:49 PM
Published By: LittleWhiteMouse
This review is brought to you by my patrons on Patreon. Their support helps bring you reviews just like this, allowing me to spend more time twirling ships, mapping shell falls and writing about the game. They voted on which old review I should update next and Prinz Eugen was the clear winner.

My sincerest thanks to all of you who help with these projects.


Building a better butter-based brawler
 
Quick Summary:  Prinz Eugen is the slower-firing, tankier sister-ship to Admiral Hipper.  She's a large escort-cruiser with good performance out of her small artillery battery and her short ranged torpedoes.
Cost:  Sold with a port slot for $48.99 USD.
Patch & Date Written:  0.7.3 to 0.7.4, April 16th, 2018.
 
PROS
  • Massive hit point pool for a tier VIII cruiser at 45,000hp and access to a Repair Party consumable (!)
  • Trollish armour scheme, especially at medium to close range.  Immune to overmatch from 380mm guns or smaller.
  • Good 17.5km range on her artillery with excellent ballistic arcs and high muzzle velocity.
  • Excellent AP shell performance including extra damage and good penetration over distance.
  • Increased penetration on her HE shells, capable of besting up to 50mm of armour.
  • Heavy torpedo armament with two triple launchers per side and good fire arcs.
  • Decent anti-aircraft suite.
  • Access to German Hydroacoustic Search consumable with increased range and duration.

  • Base camouflage comes with improved commander training bonuses. (!)
  • Access to the Adler camouflage with even further improved economic bonuses. (!!)

CONS

  • Her armour scheme falls apart under long distance fire, leading to many citadel hits.
  • Small main battery of only eight 203mm guns combined with a long reload.
  • Terrible HE shells and the worst fire-starting cruiser at her tier.
  • Torpedoes are painfully short ranged at 6.0km.
  • Slow, fat and cumbersome.  She manages a maximum of 32 knots and she does not turn quickly.
  • Enormous surface detection and aerial ranges of 14.94km and 9.36km respectively.

  • Adler camouflage is not included in her price.  You must pay an additional 3,000 doubloons to access it.  The only difference between it and her usual camo (other than cosmetic) is a 10% increase to credit earning.

Overview
Skill Floor:
Simple / Casual / Challenging / Difficult
Skill Ceiling:
Low / Moderate / High / Extreme

Prinz Eugen is not a ship for novices. While most high tier cruisers have an added bit of challenge to their performance, Prinz Eugen compounds this with temperamental artillery. She lacks a universal round, making dynamic shell choice important. The bar was lowered somewhat with the addition of her Repair Party consumable and improved armour protection.

For Veterans, Prinz Eugen will enable you only so far. She's impossible to hide in open water and the flat arcs of her shells makes using hard cover difficult which limits her tactical options. She's just too inflexible between her low-speed and high surface detection. While other cruisers enable a certain amount of finesse, Prinz Eugen is as unsubtle as swinging a brick in a tube sock: As a weapon system, she's not practical, she's awkward and she often looks silly. However, when everything works right in her favour, worlds end.

Let's look at how she compares to the other cruisers at her tier:
 
 
- 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.
 On the surface, Prinz Eugen doesn't look too exciting.
  • Her firepower barely ekes out a  evaluation.  She just as easily could have warranted a  one.  It's only grace of her AP performance and the presence of her torpedoes that she's rated as she is, pulling ahead of the American cruiser, Baltimore.
  • With the inclusion of her Repair Party consumable, Prinz Eugen has earned the  spot for Defense among the tier VIII cruisers.  She was overshadowed by Atago earlier which has been nudged out of the top rank.  While she is helped along by her enormous hit point pool but her armour is no slouch either.
  • All of Prinz Eugen's agility woes lie at the feet of her lower top speed.
  • Her anti aircraft firepower can be formidable, but only with a deep build between skills, consumables and upgrades.  She is not in contention for one of the  evaluations at her tier with there being now two American cruisers at tier VIII and the Soviet Kutuzov.
  • It should be no surprise that Prinz Eugen's pudding affliction has kept her too well padded to have anything but a  concealment value.  While she can use a phenomenal German Hydroacoustic Search, her tendency to stress AA power over detection keeps this rating at garbage levels.

While the sum of her parts is unexciting, this belies the potential of this vessel. The overall whole meshes well together and makes for a ship that's far more competitive than she has any right to be.  Let's examine why:

Options
Prinz Eugen spoils you for choice, and perhaps not in a good way.  There are a lot of decisions to be made here and while the flexibility is welcome, it also means it can be difficult for a player to find the right fit for their play style.  There are two main styles of Prinz Eugen build:
  1. AA Support Ship:  Prinz Eugen's anti-aircraft firepower is good, but like all high tier cruisers, it's reliant upon taking consumables, skills and upgrades to accentuate its merits.  If you wish to go this route, go in deep or not at all.  This starts by taking her Defensive Fire consumable.
  2. Close Support:  If your intention is to get up on the front lines when opportunities arise, then you'll want to build for durability and emphasize the range of her Hydroacoustic Search consumable.

Consumables: Prinz Eugen has four consumable slots.

  • Her Damage Control Party is standard.
  •   or This is, perhaps, one of the biggest decisions you need to make for this ship.  Prinz Eugen's German Hydroacoustic Search consumable is excellent, with improved duration and ranges.  It lasts 118 seconds with a 3.84km torpedo detection range and a 5.58km ship detection range.  The standard version lasts 96 seconds with 3.12km and 4.44km torpedo and ship acquisition respectively.

    Alternatively, you can take the Defensive AA Fire consumable.  Prinz Eugen has a good base AA power which upgrades very well with the right modules and skills.
  • Prinz Eugen has a Catapult Fighter in her third slot, providing 60dps with 1,590 hit points. 
  •   The most recent addition to Prinz Eugen's arsenal is her Repair Party.  This is the equivalent of a tier IX cruiser version of the consumable, healing back up to 14% of Prinz Eugen's maximum hit points (a total of 6,300hp) per charge.  This will queue 33% of citadel damage taken.

Upgrades: Five slots, standard cruiser upgrades.

  • In your first slot, take Main Armaments Modification 1. Your guns and torpedoes take a lot of abuse in Prinz Eugen, especially if you take her into a brawl.  Yeah, a brawling cruiser.  Who'd have thought?
  •   or   or or  If you have access to the special upgrades, Defensive AA Fire Modification 1 or Hydroacoustic Search Modification 1 are the best choice for this slot depending on your consumable preference.  If you're new to Prinz Eugen, I would suggest playing her a little while before deciding on which of these two to use.  Until then, Damage Control Modification 1 or Propulsion Modification 1 are good choices.
  • or  If you're intending to play Prinz Eugen as a support vessel, then AA Guns Modification 2 is preferred here, especially if you intend to pair this with Defensive AA Fire as your consumable choice.  Aiming Systems Modification 1 should be considered the indecisive standby if you can't make up your mind to commit to AA power.
  •   or   Little Miss Pudding Thighs doesn't handle well, so Steering Gear Modification 2 helps alleviate some of her turning woes.  Alternatively, if you want to make her even tankier against fire damage, then Damage Control System Modification 2 is ideal.  With the right skills and consumable choices, she can absorb up to three fires before reaching for a single charge of her Repair Party which is hilarious.
  •   The only upgrade worth taking here is Concealment Modification 1.  This will drop your surface detection range with camouflage down to 13.04km.

 
Camouflage:  Prinz Eugen has two premium camouflage patterns, neither of which are the normal standards for a premium ship and come with improved economic bonuses.
  •   When you purchase the ship, you will have access to Type 30 Camouflage.  Like Type 10 camo, this provides a 10% reduction to repair costs, a 50% bonus to your experience gains, a 3% reduction in surface detection and a 4% reduction in enemy accuracy.  As an added bonus, it includes +50% commander experience.
  •   You have the option of purchasing Prinz Eugen's Adler Camouflage.  This is available in port for 3,000 doubloons -- the same cost as permanent camouflage for a tier VIII ship.  This has the same bonuses as the Type 30 Camouflage mentioned above but with 10% increased credit earning

    Yep, that's it.  For those of you concerned with the profit margins of the Adler camouflage, the economic outlook isn't good. This isn't a replacement for Missouri. Adler Camouflage will add between 20,000 and 50,000 credits for a typical game (depending on premium account). The conversion rate for doubloons directly into credits is 1:1500, meaning that you're looking in excess of 100 games before the camouflage pays for itself.

As you can see, there's a lot of choices to be made with Prinz Eugen.  Some of them are easier than others, thankfully (like deciding if the Adler camouflage is worth it from anything other than an aesthetic perspective -- it's not).  Making the big choice on whether to emphasize Hydroacousic Search or Defensive AA Fire facilitates all other choices, so I stress with starting there.

Firepower
Main Battery:  Eight 203mm rifles in 4x2 turrets in an A-B-X-Y superfiring configuration.
Secondary Battery:  Twelve 105mm rifles in 6x2 turrets with three to each side.
Torpedoes:  Twelve tubes in 4x3 launchers with two to each side fore and aft of the funnel.


Not necessarily suicidal or even a bad idea.
 
Let's start with the irrelevant.
 
Secondaries

Prinz Eugen's secondaries are forgettable. They have a nice 5.0km range (this was buffed from 4.5km in 0.6.8) and a solid rate of fire with their 3.35s reload which would lend itself to a nice broadside weight. However, they are let down by their small-caliber. At 105mm, her shells do little damage, are poor fire starters and they don't have sufficient penetration to hurt anything but the superstructure of most ships she faces, including tier VIII+ destroyers. At best, you can hope them to start a blaze or two, but beyond that, they are easily dismissed. It would be a mistake to invest any modules, skills or consumables with a specific intent to upgrade these weapons.

Moving on.
 
Main Battery
 

Success with Prinz Eugen's artillery focuses entirely on proper ammunition choice. While other ships perform best based on correct shell use, there is a lot less forgiveness with Prinz Eugen's main battery than with other vessels due to several flaws hard-baked into Prinz Eugen's guns. A deep understanding of their weaknesses can help mitigate these drawbacks and ensure steady performance.

Prinz Eugen's 203mm L/60s are primarily armour-piercing (AP) slug throwers. On a per-shell basis, her AP rounds deal significantly more damage than her high explosive (HE). Even with the risk of ricochets, it's often more worthwhile damage-wise to attempt a speculative shot with AP shells than it is to reach for her HE. HE shells are a necessary stopgap but only for as long as needed and not a moment more. Prinz Eugen's AP reliance has a lot to do with her low broadside weight. Prinz Eugen is a bit of a dinosaur in regards to her rate of fire. All tier VIII heavy cruisers originally had longer reload times before patch 0.6.1 (February 2017). Things went kinda pear shaped after this. Over the next year, New Orleans was (understandably) buffed and Charles Martel was introduced. With patch 0.7.4, two further changes to Admiral Hipper and the American cruiser line left Prinz Eugen as a forgotten fossil in regards to her rate of fire. They now stand as follows:




Note that cruiser representing the United States Navy changed at tier VIII.  The reduction in reload time is still comparable though as they are both 9-gun cruisers without torpedoes.  There is no longer a direct correlation between the number of guns available and the reload time of the weapons.

Prinz Eugen simply cannot put out as many rounds per minute (rpm) as most of the other heavy cruisers. The justification here is likely that with her Repair Party consumable, Prinz Eugen is likely to survive longer to make up for any damage output disparity in a similar manner to Atago. On the short-term, it appears Prinz Eugen's firepower does not trade favourably with most of her contemporaries.  However, this  isn't always the case. Ammunition selection allows Prinz Eugen to dominate exchanges when she has the opportunity to use her phenomenal AP shells.


At least they're consistent.  Prinz Eugen's fire angles aren't great but they're not terrible. Ideally, I would like to see a 300º fire angle forward so that she could maintain a well angled aspect while still being able to shoot all of her guns.  As it is, if you wish to keep yourself safe, make sure that your rear guns are unable to fire at the enemy in order to bow-tank up to 381mm shells. 
 
Prinz Eugen's AP shells are powerful, but they are not a universal shell. They have a two advantages -- high damage and high penetration. Other than that, they hold no other benefit over other 203mm AP shells from other nations. At 5,900 damage, Prinz Eugen's AP delivers a larger broadside alpha strike than any of the other heavy cruisers at her tier. Despite Prinz Eugen's disadvantage in gun number, she can still compete (and even best) other cruisers provided she gets a chance to exercise these munitions.
 
As good as her AP penetration values are, they cannot contend with battleship belt armour except at point-blank ranges inside of 7km -- and even then you need the flat broadside as any angling will likely cause the shells to shatter. Similarly, they cannot overmatch anything higher than 14mm. Bow-in targets, including destroyers, are all but immune to her AP shells and will stay safe at up to 60º angles and retain the ability to cause some to ricochet at up to 45º. Firing at long-range into the superstructure of enemy ships can mitigate this somewhat, allowing you to stack some hurt on enemies.
 
Whatever gains Prinz Eugen makes with her AP damage, she loses out with her anemic HE shells. Short of starting fires, when Prinz Eugen must rely upon HE, she loses more than half of her potential DPM. Her HE shells compare so poorly to those of other nations that they're more closely compared to 150mm to 155mm caliber guns than 203mm. In fact, they do 100hp less damage than Mogami's 155mm and a mere 300hp more than Cleveland's 152mm. Their fire chance is similarly poor for a shell of their size. The only salve to this is the artificially high penetration of Prinz Eugen's HE shells. They all but guarantee she can scrape together some damage when she hits a target, even if it is at a horribly throttled rate.
 
Overall, Prinz Eugen's gun performance is, at best, mediocre, and regularly devolving to  ratings, especially when she's made reliant on her HE performance.  However, her torpedoes save her.
 
 Torpedoes
 

If you're looking for criticism, Prinz Eugen's torpedoes are far too short ranged and their warheads are small for a high-tier weapon. However, she has four banks of torpedo launchers, each putting three fish into the water. These have excellent fire arcs, making them easy to use once you're in range. Quantity has a quality all of its own -- Prinz Eugen can and will maul just about any ship fool enough to get close to her, even the largest capital ship. Only a full health high-tier battleship is likely to survive taking all six torpedoes off a broadside. Anything smaller just cannot cope with that kind of alpha strike.

Putting these torpedoes to use is difficult, though. Brawling opportunities outside of PVE environments are generally rare and restricted to encounters late into an engagement. Like battleship Tirpitz, attempts to race ahead and brawl too early will get Prinz Eugen killed. Even still, she must pick her targets with care. Prinz Eugen's armour will only hold up against battleship targets when properly angled and at very close ranges, and only then against select gun calibers.
 
Of course, when you pull off this the level of bad-assery it makes a great clip for the highlight reel. When you screw it up, you'll look like an idiot that threw their ship away. The question really becomes, are you clever and audacious enough to pull it off with any regularity?
 
Conclusions
Prinz Eugen lives in a binary state in regards to its weapon performance, either terrible or amazing. Each individual system behaves and performs exactly as advertised with glaring weaknesses undermining modest strengths. Given her poor output most of the time, she is often underestimated. When the stars align, Prinz Eugen's damage output spikes in terrifying ways, making her no less of a threat than any of her contemporaries. However, there can be long spells of middling performance.
 
With her improved survivability, the chances to exercise her firepower have only increased. She can fish for those opportunities to make her weapon systems sing far longer than other cruisers.
 
 Summary: 
  • Great AP, poor HE, slow reload.
  • Her torpedoes are individually poor, but she gets a lot of them.
  • Exercise patience, wait for your opportunity -- Prinz Eugen will reward you.

Evaluation:
What it would have needed to be :  With only eight guns, it's going to take a lot to nudge Prinz Eugen up the ratings list.  She's barely holding onto her evaluation as is.  To warrant an upgrade, we're talking about improving her rate of fire down to a minimum of a 10 second reload AND increasing her torpedo range / striking power.

 Defense
Hit Points: 45,000hp
Maximum Citadel Protection:  13mm anti-torpedo bulge + 80mm belt armour + 40mm turtleback +  20mm citadel wall.
Minimum Extremities & Deck Armour: 27mm
Torpedo Damage Reduction:  10%
 
Extremities

Bow protection for the tier VIII cruisers including the WiP Baltimore and WiP Cleveland.
25mm worth of bow protection prevents 356mm and smaller AP shells from overmatching. 27mm prevents 381mm guns or smaller from doing the same. The 40mm strips on Admiral Hipper and her sister, Prinz Eugen, can prevent overmatching by even Yamato's 460mm AP shells should they strike at an acute angle. However, this is only ever likely to happen at point blank ranges.
 
When it comes to keeping shells out, Prinz Eugen is one of the best protected cruisers at her tier.  Much of this is owing to her reinforced, 27mm deck, hull and extremities armour -- a value shared with Admiral Hipper and Baltimore.  This has three prime benefits:
  • High Explosive shells smaller than 127mm are incapable of dealing direct damage to Prinz Eugen except on her superstructure, even with the Inertial Fuse for HE Shells skill.
  • Any HE shell of 165mm or smaller are incapable of dealing direct damage to Prinz Eugen unless they have Inertial Fuse for HE Shells (or have the improved 1/4 HE penetration found on select German vessels) or they strike her superstructure.
  • She cannot be overmatched by 381mm/380mm AP shells or smaller from battleship guns. 

It's perhaps this latter point for which the 27mm bows are most famous.  Prinz Eugen, when aggressively angled, is fully capable of bouncing a full volley of 380mm AP shells from the like of the French Battleship, Alsace, without taking any damage.  This is infuriating for battleship commanders with their long reload and it makes Prinz Eugen a very real danger in a close range brawl with enemy super-dreadnoughts.  Without Inertial Fuse for HE Shells, most of their secondary gun fire will splash harmlessly across her hull.

 Where Prinz Eugen bests Baltimore in this regard is a further 40mm belt which extends almost to the tip of her bow.  This added protection gives Prinz Eugen the chance (and only a chance) of deflecting up to 460mm AP shells from Musashi and Yamato. To be clear, this only works if the shells strike precisely along that plate when she's bow on against them -- nominally when a battleship gets greedy and attempts to citadel her through the snout at close range.  Her sister ship, Admiral Hipper also has this belt, but it reaches right to the very front of the ship, giving her a slight edge in this regard.
 
Overall, her 27mm worth of hull plating isn't going to foil much.  It's more trollish than it is truly effective -- allowing you to counter a poorly planned shot, but it cannot be relied upon to keep Prinz Eugen truly safe.
 
Citadel Protection
 
Evaluation of raw armour thickness protecting a ship's magazine and/or machine spaces.  Note this refers only to the maximum thickness of armour protecting these areas, and not the effective armour which varies considerably based on factors including angling and citadel height.
 

Prinz Eugen has an undeserved reputation for being difficult to citadel.

Prinz Eugen's belt armour is among the thinnest at her tier at a mere 80mm, but the obstacles a shell must pass to strike her citadel are many. The thinnest route, available only through long-distance plunging fire from large-caliber battleship shells, would be by over-matching her upper hull and dropping through her turtleback directly into her citadel. At most, this path would meet 87mm of combined armour and as little as 67mm. Lateral fire runs a gauntlet of her torpedo bulge, belt, turtleback and citadel wall for a minimum total of 153mm. The slope of her turtleback effectively makes this much thicker. Angling further exaggerates this effect, deflecting shells up and out of the ship and resulting in over penetrations.

In addition, Prinz Eugen's citadel is very thin. Unlike ships like Baltimore, where the citadel abuts against the exterior of the vessel, Prinz Eugen's citadel is quite slender. The sandwiched layers of armour make it less likely that a shell will arrest perfectly inside the citadel when it detonates, turning a potential citadel hit into a penetration or over penetration instead. The low height of Prinz Eugen's citadel also makes it harder to hit, unlike the high water citadels of ships like Chapayev, Atago and Charles Martel.
The result is that Prinz Eugen may take citadel hits, but she's unlikely to. Most hits occur at very long ranges from battleship caliber shells. While it is possible that she may receive citadel hits at brawling ranges, a bit of angling and even a touch of imperfect aim will make this very uncommon. She is much more survivable than ships like Edinburgh, Mogami and Mikhail Kutuzov which seem to gargle and guzzle citadel hits the moment they're on offer. Even AP bombs from American and German aircraft carriers struggle to land anything more than over penetrations against her.

This all said: the grim reality to which most cruiser players are painfully aware is that it's nigh impossible to keep their ship from being penetrated by enemy fire. Prinz Eugen is no different here. Damage is commonplace for these ships and it stacks up fast, even when the ship angles perfectly. At least in Prinz Eugen's case, this accumulation is far less spiky and often more slow given the penchant for battleships to over penetrate her.



Repair Party


Comparison of raw hit point totals of tier VIII cruisers, including healing potential with Superintendent and a premium Repair Party consumable.

Prinz Eugen was given access to a Repair Party with patch 0.7.4. Ships with this bonus are better than their peers when it comes to apparent durability. Edinburgh, Prinz Eugen and Atago may seem to be the toughest of the tier VIII cruisers, with Edinburgh being able to print out a new version of herself over the course of several charges of her consumable. This hinges on Edinburgh being able to survive the burst damage thrown at her, however. As we've discussed, Prinz Eugen is far less likely to explode suddenly than other tier VIII cruisers. This, in turn, makes her Repair Party consumable far more valuable as she is likely to survive long enough to get to use each charge available.

For a ship that struggles to do damage quickly, this survivability boost is welcome. It artificially gives her the ability to contest the damage output of more well armed ships grace of simply staying in the fight longer.
 
Summary:
  • Unlikely to take citadel hits except at very long ranges or when presenting the perfect, flat broadside.
  • Her armour protection is trollish, leading to a lot of over penetrations and the occasional bounce when angled properly.
  • Barring eating a wall of torpedoes, Prinz Eugen is very likely to be able to survive incremental damage long enough to use each and every available charge of her Repair Party.  This is something that Atago and Edinburgh can't readily boast with their poor citadel protection.
Evaluation:
What would have to happen to DOWNGRADE to Wargaming would need to introduce a battlecruiser at tier VIII to rival Prinz Eugen's current standing.  This isn't beyond the realm of possibility, bear in mind.  Kronshtadt and Stalingrad at tiers IX and X and the experiment with Duke of York at tier VII show that this is likely to be an inevitability.
 
 Agility
Top Speed: 32.0 knots
Turning Radius: 770m
Rudder Shift Time: 10.9s
Maximum Rate of Turn: 5.3º/s
 
Prinz Eugen handles better than you might expect for a ship of her size. However, when compared to the other tier VIII cruisers, she doesn't come out that well. She's tied for the slowest cruiser at her tier with her sister, Admiral Hipper but she handles more poorly. She has the worst rudder shift time among the tier VIII cruisers. She's not the worst at coming about -- she has a faster rate of turn than Chapayev, but that's the only member of contemporaries that she bests. There was one surprise, though -- her turning radius appears to be marginally better than stated in port at 750m and not 770m, but that's nothing to get too excited about given all of her other wants.
 
Overall, Prinz Eugen is a large, predictable target.
 
Evaluation:
What it would have needed to be : Speed, speed and more speed.


Like all cruisers, Prinz Eugen's survivability greatly improves through making use of island cover.  Her agility is reasonable and she handles better than her stats in port may suggest but not enough to compete with her peers.
 
 
 Anti-Aircraft Defense
AA Battery Calibers: 105mm / 40mm / 20mm
AA Umbrella Ranges: 4.5km / 3.5km / 2.0km
AA DPS per Aura: 99.6 / 135 / 44.4
Float Plane Fighter DPS: 60
 

Maximum AA Power is calculated with all applicable DPS  and rangebonuses, including Defensive Fire.   This is then multiplied by the range of the mount less 1km in order to properly weight the influence of a given weapon.  Hipper, Eugen and Cleveland are all very close in effective performance.
 
The quality of anti-aircraft firepower among the tier VIII cruisers divides into two tiers -- those with powerful anti-aircraft firepower and those who aircraft carriers will pee on with impunity. Prinz Eugen thankfully finds herself in the former group, though she's near the bottom of this top cluster.
 
The flaw which holds Prinz Eugen's AA Power back is the relative short-range of her 105mm guns. Their 4.5km reach can only be extended out to just shy of 6.5km with Advanced Fire Training and AA Guns Modification 2. Prinz Eugen and Admiral Hipper are less effective as support ships as they can't extend their Defensive Fire's disruption effect far enough to easily cover friendly vessels. Combined with Prinz Eugen's enormous aerial detection range of nearly 9.4km, enemy aircraft are unlikely to accidentally stumble into her AA auras.
 
The choice between taking Defensive Fire or a German Hydroacoustic Search consumable is a difficult one for Prinz Eugen commanders. One option is to rely on Prinz Eugen's Catapult Fighter to provide the disruption effect to keep her safe from enemy air attack, but even with two planes from Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft, high tiered aircraft carriers can simply swarm and out-muscle her personal fighter screen. Without Defensive Fire, Prinz Eugen will only bruise enemy attack squadrons and will be unable to prevent a drop. With it, she becomes a formidable threat that most CVs will be unwilling to contest.
 

Almost half of Prinz Eugen's AA firepower is found in her 40mm medium caliber AA mounts.  While these are individually fragile, she does have a lot of them scattered across the fore and aft ends of the ship. 
 
Evaluation:
What it would have needed to be :  In order to compete with the big three (Kutuzov, Cleveland, Baltimore), Prinz Eugen first needs to upgrade the range of her large caliber guns.  This could be done by swapping her 105mm with 128mm rifles found on Gneisenau but this would hurt her DPS.  To combat this, her single 40mm guns should be swapped for the improved performance found on German 37mm AA guns.
 
Refrigerator
Surface Detection Range: 14.94 km
Air Detection Range: 9.36 km
Minimum Surface Detection Range: 11.48km
Concealment when Firing in Smoke: 9.13km 
 
Prinz Eugen is huge. She has the worst detection range of any of the tier VIII cruisers and she's out spotted by battleships like Monarch and Roma. Yes, it's that bad. The only salve to this wound is that some of the higher-tiered cruisers are worse and not by much. This isn't a ship you can hide -- not from air and not by sea. Her one saving grace is her access to the German Hydroacoustic Search consumable which picks up enemy ships up to 5.5km away and torpedoes at 3.8km. When facing unsupported cruisers or destroyers in smoke, Prinz Eugen can charge them with impunity.
 
Otherwise, Prinz Eugen is too chubby to be any good here.
 
Evaluation:
What it would have needed to be :  I'd actually be inclined to bump up my evaluation of her here if she could get access to Hydroacoustic Search and Defensive Fire at the same time -- German Hydro is just that good for Vision Control.  As it is, she's forced to choose between them.
 
History of BuffsPrinz Eugen was released with patch 0.5.11.1 back in late September of 2016.  She has received a steady series of small buffs over time since my initial review.
  • November 2016, Patch 0.5.14 - Rear armour section on turrets A and Y buffed from 60mm to 90mm.
  • December 2016, Patch 0.5.16 - Credit earning coefficient improved by 3%.
  • April 2017, Patch 0.6.4 - Increased the armour thickness of her bow and stern from 25mm to 27mm.
  • June 2017, Patch 0.6.6 - Increased HE penetration of her main battery from 34mm to 51mm.
  • July 2017, Patch 0.6.8 - Secondary range increased from 4.5km to 5.0km.
  • April 2018, Patch 0.7.4 - Received a Repair Party consumable.

It was the changes to her bow armour, HE penetration and the addition of her Repair Party that should be seen as the most direct impact to her performance.  

 
Eating Pudding with Prinz Eugen
You've got a lot of choice when it comes to skills with Prinz Eugen. I highly recommend trying out a few builds on ShipComrade's Captain Skill Calculator to find the one that's right for you. The following is a safe, generalist build, not specialized for any particular task but able to do it all reasonably well:
  • Start with Priority Target. This skill is a life saver for cruisers, not only warning you of pending shots from battleships but also advising you when a destroyer switches from guns to torpedoes. If you're feeling confident about your ability to dodge incoming shells, then Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft is optimal.
  • Next up, get Adrenaline Rush at tier two. Your DPM needs all the help it can get.
  • With your excellent heal, you'll want Superintendent at tier three to maximize this bonus.
  • And finally, you're still a cruiser, so Vision Control is important. Take Concealment Expert at tier four to give you the option of dropping back into stealth when firing at long-range.

The skills Advanced Fire Training, Vigilance and Expert Marksman will round out Prinz Eugen's performance nicely, allowing you to make good use of both of her Hydroacoustic Search or Defensive Fire consumables depending on which you choose. You can freely swap between the two without being penalized based on commander skills.

 
 
Prinz Eugen does take a specialized AA build well, though this will hurt her concealment value.   In this case, take Basic Fire Training instead of Vigilance and Manual Fire Control for AA Guns instead of Concealment Expert.  Make sure you take Direction Center for Catapult Aircraft as your tier one skill.
 
Other useful (but not optimal) skills include:  Basics of Survivability, Last Stand, and Radio Location.
 
Final Evaluation

Mouse's Summary:
  • Tougher than any tier VIII cruiser has any right to be.
  • Her firepower is all kinds of meh unless your opponent is an idiot.  Then it's hilarious.
  • Prinz Eugen is a great support cruiser.  It's a shame that support doesn't pay the bills in World of Warships.
Prinz Eugen is tough. That's the extent to which she's remarkable.
 
I've always liked Prinz Eugen -- I could never really pin down why, though. I do enjoy my lame-duck premiums, but only those that come about it honestly (Puke of Dork, you're still on notice). And I suppose this is the reason I've enjoyed Prinz Eugen -- she didn't rely on gimmicks. This aspect is really changing with her new Repair Party.
  1. She's not durable enough to ever be considered a forgiving vessel for novice players.
  2. She's not very flexible which limits her carry potential (unless your opponents are idiots).
Let's linger on point #2 for a moment -- Prinz Eugen gets underestimated a lot.
  • Her guns don't hit especially hard.
  • She's a cruiser so people think she's squishy.
  • Her AA power is rather short ranged.
  • She's big.
  • She's fat.
  • She's slow.
Yet, contrary to these points, she can put out an enormous amount of damage very quickly if underestimated with AP shell and torpedoes. She has a habit of shrugging off battleship broadsides that would end most other tier VIII cruisers. Her AA power is surprisingly formidable. For all her problems with concealment, her Hydroacoustic Search consumable makes destroyers and British cruisers fear letting her get in close. This is a cruiser that can brawl for crying out loud. And this is where Prinz Eugen's success often lies -- by what fantastic moments she's capable of when enemies underestimate her.
 
There's a danger in touting said moments as a highlight of the vessel because they give the illusion of greater competency than really exists (either in the ship or my own ability to play her). These are rare and memorable moments and not regular events. Prinz Eugen is a mediocre offering all told, even with her Repair Party. Every now and then she will surprise both you and your opponents.
If you can keep that reasonable expectation in your head, then she's a great ship.
 
Rivals:  Admiral Hipper

Well now, hang on a minute!  Why should you shell out $50 USD for Prinz Eugen when you could just get her equivalent in the German tech tree at tier VIII?  This is a really good question and prior to patch 0.7.4, it was a pertinent one.  The differences between the two ships are now more pronounced to make Admiral Hipper quite distinct from her chubby little sister.
  • Prinz Eugen has a Repair Party and 1,200 more hit points.
  • Prinz Eugen's turtleback is 10mm thicker.
  • Admiral Hipper's belt extends right to her bow.
  • Admiral Hipper's guns reload 1.5 seconds faster.
  • Admiral Hipper's AA firepower is slightly better with additional 20mm gun mounts.
  • Admiral Hipper's has better rudder shift, a smaller turning circle and a faster rate of turn.
  • Admiral Hipper is stealthier by 700m.

Overall, Prinz Eugen is tougher but Admiral Hipper has better soft stats across the board.

 
Would I Recommend?

It's worth mentioning again, while I will generally recommend Prinz Eugen to anyone looking for a solid (if challenging) ship to command, I would advise against picking up the Adler camouflage for any other reason except for cosmetic appeal.  In terms of economic gain, you would be better served with Kii with the Makoto Kobayashi camouflage or grabbing Musashi instead if you were looking for a top tier credit earner.  Of course, if you already have Missouri, you're never starved for credits anyway.

  • PVE Battles
    How well does the ship maintain profitability in Co-Op modes and how does she fare against bots?

Yes, absolutely, yes!  Prinz Eugen is an absolute monster in PVE battles.  This babe can BRAWL and Co-Op battles are saturated with brawling opportunities.  The short-range of many engagements emphasizes the strengths of her AP shells against all targets as well as her protection scheme.  In addition, should the opportunity arise to use her in Scenarios, her Repair Party will make her one of the top cruisers for these missions.  I cannot recommend her strongly enough here.

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

Yes.  Prinz Eugen does well in random battles, farming Dreadnought medals quite regularly.  Her additional 50% commander training above and beyond most premiums is also welcome.   So long as you don't over-extend, she has the endurance to make her weak firepower pay off in the long run. 

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

No.  Prinz Eugen is too big, too slow and she doesn't hit hard enough to make her a good candidate for Ranked Battles or tournament play.  You can make her work thanks to her durability, but those other aspects are going to hold you way back.

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

Very yes.  It's Prinz Eugen -- she fought at the Battle of the Denmark Strait alongside Bismarck against Hood and Prince of Wales.  She survived the war despite several combat actions only to be used as a target at the atomic test of Operation Crossroads.

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

Yes.  Prinz Eugen, for all of her faults, is very comfortable and rewarding to play.  She's a challenge to do well in, but it's a fair challenge.  Her gunnery, AA power and torpedoes are all very satisfying to use.

  • 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.

 
In Closing
 Thank you for reading.  It was fun to have an excuse  to play Prinz Eugen again, though I admit I spent a little too much time derping around in Co-Op after I discovered how well she could brawl.  The next review I'll be publishing will be for the new German Destroyer, Z-39.  Please look forward to it. 

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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