Quick Summary: A slow, squishy protected cruiser with a five 152mm gun broadside.
Cost: The Diana has not been sold yet on the North American server and has only been given away through promotions. She's a rare little ship.
Good broadside firepower for tier 2 with six 152mm rifles.
Good range for a low tier cruiser of 11.8km.
Enormous hit point pool with 22,100hp -- the most of any tier 2 cruiser.
Decent secondary armament.
Sees a maximum of tier 3 opponents.
Dreadfully slow at 19.0 knots.
Little to no armour anywhere.
Sluggish turret traverse of 5' per second.
Takes module damage very regularly.
Lobbing shell arcs.
Horribly outclassed by ships like the St.Louis and Bogatyr.
The Diana is armed with a total of eight 152mm naval rifles. One gun is mounted as a turret on the prow and a second on the stern with the rest being divided in starboard and port side batteries. This gives her effectively a five gun broadside. These are the same naval guns found on the tier 3 premium, the IRN Aurora (the other Pallada-class in the game), though the Diana at tier 2 has four guns less than her more readily available sister ship.
The Diana's rate of fire will feel sluggish under the faster barrages of other cruisers, but her guns are either larger or she has more of them, giving her a respectable alpha strike and DPM potential when competing with her contemporaries at tier 2. Against tier 3 opponents, though, she will feel horribly outclassed by the gunnery of the St.Louis, Aurora and Bogatyr. This is compounded by what feels to be poor AP performance. Due to the low shell velocity and high arcs, only at very close rang will the Diana's rifles stack citadel damage against an opponent, so it's hard to feel like you can outmatch these larger ships by simply aiming better.
Shell flight times, in seconds. Note the poor velocity of the AP rounds.
Like the Aurora, the Diana is modeled with a plethora of 75mm guns forming her secondary batteries. Unlike the Aurora, these secondaries are fully functional in the game. I know, I was surprised too! Off each side are six 75mm rifles, with a 2.5km range and a 15 round per minute rate of fire. The alpha strike off these is a modest 1400 damage with their high explosive shells and a 4% chance of fire. Their range doesn't look like much, but the maps on which the Diana is played are all notoriously claustrophobic. These will not prevent a destroyer from dropping torpedoes on your lap at point blank range, but they help buffer the slow rate of fire of your 152mm when you get in close with other cruisers.
The Pallada-class are some of the slowest ships in the game, traveling at a stately top speed of 19.0 knots. Thanks to her relatively long reach with her 152mm and the small sizes of the maps she usually finds herself upon, this isn't quite the weakness as it might be. Still, when it comes to maneuvering about the battlefield, she won't get anywhere fast. Unfortunately, this does make her especially weak against equally long ranged ships which have been subsequently added to the game, like the tier 3 Bogatyr with her 130mm rifles. The Bogatry not only can out range the Diana, but also keep her from closing the distance.
Her turning circle is small, but not as small as some low tier vessels. At 470m, you do have to worry about islands and the like, forcing you to adjust not only your heading but your speed as well when the collision alarm sounds. Her rudder shift is a modest 6.4s -- again, not great but not terrible either.
Durability and Defense
The Diana has a very healthy pool of 22,100hp which is more than any other tier 2 cruiser and only 400hp behind the Aurora at tier 3. This is sadly shackled to a hull with less than 10cm of armour just about anywhere except for the deck. You can and will receive citadel hits from high explosive fire and this large stack of hit points will melt away under the rapid fire guns that dominate these low tier matches. It's imperative that you use islands to break line of sight and find cover or you'll have your ship shot out from underneath you, especially in tier 3 games. Use the Aurora's range and the high shell arcs of her guns to lob projectiles over land masses to farm what damage you can without being spotted.
She has no AA armament to speak of, but she doesn't normally encounter aircraft.
The Diana is almost identical to the Aurora and a lot of what holds true for one ship holds true for the other. Both are slow, protected cruisers with very little armour but with a surprising amount of hit points -- relying more on requiring your opponent to fill you full of holes than to repulse any of the incoming fire. They're both armed with a large (for their tier) battery of 152mm rifles with very good range but a slower rate of fire when compared to contemporary ships.
The Diana will perhaps remind some of their initial forays into World of Warships where they sailed in lazy circles and dropped pew pews onto the decks of whatever came into range. There was no finesse, no elegance -- just a raw slug fest of traded fire, ships burning and someone eventually being sunk. Her game play is very relaxing and simplistic in this way.
The game has changed, though, since those early days for this player. With the German and Soviet cruisers now present, there are a lot more rapid fire cruisers to contend with. The Diana does not fair well against the St.Louis or Bogatyr, and I found it a little frustrating going up against a plethora of tier 3 Soviet Cruisers that could outstrip my range and play keep away. Still, the Diana is a fun if simple ship and her rarity makes her fun if only for the novelty.
Differences between the Diana and the Aurora
The Aurora has 400 more HP.
The Aurora has fourteen 152mm guns compared to the Diana's eight.
The Diana has twelve 75mm secondaries, the Aurora has none.
The Aurora has six 76.2mm machine guns for AA defense, the Diana has none.
The Aurora has a smaller turning circle of 400m vs 470m.
The Aurora has 10.3km surface detection range with camo compared to the Diana's 10.5km.
Would I recommend?
It's hard to recommend a ship that's so difficult to get a hold of. Really, the Diana and Aurora are almost identical, what with being sister-ships. The Aurora has more guns but no secondary guns, is a tier higher and is slightly tougher and more agile. If the Diana does become available later, watch the price. If you wouldn't spring for the Aurora at that cost, it's probably not worth grabbing the Diana. The game play will mirror each other, though the Diana does so a tier lower. She's valued presently at about 500 doubloons which seems a fair price to me and I'd happily pull the trigger for that amount. The catch will be if we ever see her at that cost.
For collectors, there's obviously a lot of appeal. She's a beautiful looking ship and very well modeled. Her handsome green hull really makes her stand out among the Russian and Soviet cruisers.
As a low tier, ship, there's not a lot of options for the Diana. For modules, you're limited to a single slot, so Main Battery Modification 1 should be the only one worth considering. For consumables, she only has access to a Damage Control Party. Though you will see a lot of fires being started and your engine and rudder will often be damaged, I would advise against purchasing the premium version of this consumable. Credit earning is already so low at this tier that you don't want to eat into what little credits you're earning, especially as some of these problems can be alleviated through Captain Skills.
When bringing a Captain over onto the Diana, you may find that gunship Captains, such as from the Kirov, work best with the Diana. Anything specializing in AA or to try and take advantage of increasing the range of low caliber weapons just doesn't show any synergy with this low tier cruiser.
For your first skill, take Situational Awareness. As ever, it's very important to know when you're spotted.
From tier 2, Last Stand is very handy. Your Damage Control Party is going to be used often and this way you can ignore engine and steering gear damage for the most part.
For your third skill, Vigilance is best. There are a lot of torpedoes thrown around in low tier matches, especially on very fast reload timers.
Arguably Demolition will serve you best at tier 4, increasing the performance of your respectable HE rounds.
None of the skills at tier 5 look worth it to me for the Diana -- at least not in a way that will appreciably change the meta on how she's played.
Other worthwhile skills include Expert Marksman at tier 2 to assist in her turret rotation speed. You could try and maximize her secondaries through Basic Fire Training and Advanced Fire Training but short of getting in very close, you'll not see much in the way of dividends for so heavy an expenditure. As some Soviet Destroyers and AA cruisers will be taking these skills, you can always experiment with them in the Diana and see if they pay off for you. Keep in mind, this will only extend their range to 3km.