Quick Summary: A Battleship with excellent defense abilities, including good maneuverability, AAA, overall armour, secondary armament and unique cool-downs. Her offense is somewhat limited with her sluggish turret traverse and less overall firepower to ships of her tier.
Cost: On sale during Black Friday 2015 in bundles starting at $35.99 USD. Was once sold for doubloons through the in-game tech tree when Open Beta launched for 48 hours.
- 15″ guns with better AP and performance than any same-tier Battleship.
- Good HE performance and good chance of fire (34%) off of main battery.
- Good overall armour layout that allows you to bounce up to 14″ rifles when properly angled.
- Uses a cruiser’s damage control party (90s base cooldown, 60s with premium and 5s Immunity period) rather than a Battleship’s (120s cooldown, 80s with premium, immunity from 10s to 20s).
- Repair Party heals back more damage than on other Battleships.
- 14.2s rudder shift time and 550m turning circle. This is a smaller turning circle than some destroyers.
- 5km secondary battery, all firing HE.
- Good AAA for it’s tier.
- Decent concealment for a T6 Battleship at 14.2km.
- Turret rotation is agonizingly slow at 72s for 180′. Tied for worst in the game.
- Considerably less firepower than other Battleships of her tier.
- Armour is utterly insufficient against 16″ rifles, even when angled.
- Citadel is slightly over the waterline.
- Slowish at 23.5kts.
- Only modest range at 16.3km
The Full Review
The Warspite has been a bit of unicorn in the World of Warships NA community. Before Black Friday 2015, she had only been made available once through the UK tech tree for doubloons when Open Beta commenced for a 48 hour period. This sale wasn’t advertised. This meant only a very small number of the player base had access to her and she was, for a time, quite the rare sight. Early reviews of the Warspite were not entirely favourable, in part due to a lack of information. Compared to other Battleships during her initial inception, she seemed a little lack luster. But as changes were put in place to the class as a whole, the Warspite remained a bit of a dinosaur, grandfathering some of the traits Battleships used to have and creating a distinctly unique ship. This was combined with information regarding the unique use of it’s Repair Party (health regeneration) consumable which makes it one of the toughest Battleships, tier for tier.
The HMS Warspite is armed with four 381mm (15″) rifles in a standard two super firing forward, two super firing aft turret mounts. The first thing anyone will notice when playing her is that these turrets move agonizingly slow. With 72s needed to rotate them 180′, this is excruciatingly frustrating and will turn many off this ship from the onset. She is utterly incapable of tracking a target while turning the ship. Attempts to follow a fast vessel within 7km is nearly impossible, with your turrets unable to track quickly enough as they pass by your vessel. The temptation will come to use your rudder to help accelerate aiming, but this often just opens up the broadside of your ship to incoming fire and inevitable citadel penetrations.
This is made worse by the lack of firepower for her tier. Though her 381mm rifles favour comparably to the 356mm guns on the USN and IJN Battleships on an individual basis, she has eight to their twelve and this disparity in firepower weight has been telling in the overall statistics for the vessels for some time. Simply put, the alpha strike on the New Mexico and Fuso is potentially much larger. Range wise, she’s not bad at 16.3km but with her lower top speed, this can make your reach for her float-plane spotter to stretch the range up to (but not quite reaching) Fuso engagement range.
It’s not all bad news, however. Individually, her shells are very hard hitting with the highest AP alpha strike of their tier. Her HE performance is also very good. Though not quite as hard hitting as the 356mm IJN HE rounds, they are unlike the anemic HE performance of the German 15″ rifles on the Tirpitz. They also have a better chance of starting a fire than any other ship in her tier. Their accuracy and penetration values also appear to be very good for a Battleship caliber weapon. In short, well aimed shots will do significant damage and like with any battleship, it’s possible to rack up an impressive tally.
The comparison between the guns the Warspite normally faces breaks down as follows.
IJN 356mm/45 Type41 USN 14"/50 RN 381mm/42 (15") IJN 410mm/45 Type 3 USN 16"/45 (16") Found on: Fuso New Mexico Warspite Nagato Colorado AP Damage: 10,200 10,500 11,400 12,600 12,400 HE Damage: 5700 5000 5300 6500 5700 Fire Crit: 25% 30% 34% 30% 36% Max Range: 21.8km 14.9km 16.3km 20.5km 16.7km Dispersion: 11.06m/km 14.03m/km 13.43m/km 11.29m/km 13.59m/km
The secondary battery armament of the Warspite feels like a consolatory gesture to compensate for the difficulties using her primary armament. Indeed, the 5km range and modest firepower of her combined 102mm and 152mm batteries is more than respectable. Firing a homogeneous weight of high explosive rounds (as opposed to an AP/HE mix like IJN Battleships), they have a decent chance of setting targets on fire. These can act as a surprising deterrent to enemy vessels that stray within range. Like all secondaries, their accuracy are subject to the whims of RNG so counting on them to see off an enterprising destroyer are risky at best.
With upgrades, the Warspite’s secondary battery becomes more formidable. With both skills and module upgrades, her range increases first to 6.0km and then 7.2km with a comparable increase in firepower weight and accuracy each time. This can be a godsend for close range encounters and will assist in situational awareness with the audio cues of her guns firing when something sneaks up from an unexpected quarter. Again, the whims of RNG will sometimes dictate that these upgraded guns take no prisoners. At others, they will be nothing more than a celebratory fireworks display, welcoming the intruder as they launch their short ranged torpedoes.
The Warspite shows the age of her inception into World of Warships with her maneuverability. In Closed Beta, battleships lost a lot of their maneuverability with a blanket nerf that affected their rudder shift times or turning circles (or both). The Warspite retains the agility of Battleships from this era with a 550m turning circle and a 14.2s rudder shift time. This is unmatched in any of her contemporaries and puts her agility closer to cruiser levels. With proper preparation, the Warspite can easily slide her girth through torpedo channels battleships have no business being able to avoid.
The catch is, of course, that she’s still a Battleship. She doesn’t have the speed to make these turns feel as fast as they do. Though her 550m turning circle is smaller than some destroyers, destroyers with their higher top speed with complete a full 360′ rotation long before the Warspite. Her top speed is 23.5kts but she’ll struggle to keep anywhere close to this velocity if the rudder is touched. Very often you will see her making as little as 16 to 18kts at full speed in a turn which can be a mixed blessing when it comes to avoiding incoming fire.
Still, it’s hard to argue that her agility is one of her primary strengths. Only the Kawachi and South Carolina battleships compare way down at tier 3, which should say something right there.
Durability & Defense
There’s a lot to cover here.
Armour and Hit Points
The HMS Warspite has 53,800hp, a little more than the New Mexico but less than the Fuso. She shares more in common with the IJN Fuso than the New Mexico in terms of her armour layout. She abstains from an all-or-nothing armour scheme with an extended belt armour that reaches towards (but not quite covering) her prow and back towards her stern. There are also multiple layers to her decks, creating pockets and sandwiches of armour layers to help absorb shot away from her vitals. Her turrets are also well armoured, though not to the same degree as US Battleships. This spread out armour as opposed to a concentrated layout around her citadel means that she has good overall protection but not great.
In game terms, this means that when angled prow-on towards 14″ rifles or smaller, she will bounce an unbelievable number of AP shots. Do not be surprised if a point blank, full fourteen gun broadside from a Fuso or New Mexico aimed at her waterline shatters and ricochets off the angled nose of your ship for no damage. This ability isn’t without it’s costs, however.
Due to the layered elements of her armour, penetrating hull hits are more common than over-penetrations. There are more layers to stop a shell from traversing completely through the Warspite which leads to her taking more damage per shell than say, the New Mexico. Her citadel isn’t nearly as well defended as her US counterpart, so offering up her broadside will result in catastrophic damage. This is made all of the worse when the Warspite faces tier 7 and 8 opponents with their 15″ and 16″ rifles. The Warspite’s prow armour stops being quite so wonderful and you can (and will) take catastrophic amounts of damage through her angled prow or stern.
The armour isn’t so great at a distance either, with a large ‘hole’ between her hangar and #3 gun with painfully thin 6mm deck armour. This again invites a shower of penetrating hits to anything that lands amidships from not only AP rounds but high explosive rounds from the likes of the German or American light cruisers. She shares the same vulnerability of other Battleships with a weak superstructure to high explosive rounds.
Anti Aircraft Armament
The Warspite has an excellent AA rating for her tier with the lion’s share coming from 40mm batteries mounting 8 guns each @ 2.5km stock. This range is important — it’s within the distance that enemy attack craft normally circle when trying to catch the proper angle of attack. With one upgrade, the whole complement of her AA arsenal can reach out to this distance, allowing the Warspite to have the chance of thinning out incoming attack craft before they launch. This works well against same or lower tiered aircraft but she struggles against tier 7 and 8 attack planes.
Her best defense against torpedo planes is her agility, where here 550m turning circle and ability to shed speed quickly can throw off inexperienced carrier players.
Anti Torpedo Bulges
It was recently revealed by the Russian devs that the HMS Warspite’s torpedo bulges provide a 21.9% damage reduction to strikes hitting her amidship (this does nothing for hits to her bow or stern). The exact formula on how this reduction works out hasn’t been revealed. This the lowest amongst the tier 6 Battleships (the Fuso has 33.9% and the New Mexico has as much as 39.9%) and worse than the tier 5 ships like the New York and Kongo at 24.9%. Torpedoes being bad news for Battleships is nothing new, but it’s nice to have some empirical evidence to support just how bad.
A lot of players feel that the HMS Warspite catches fire more easily than other Battleships. That hasn’t been my experience but I do find that given her shorter range and predisposition for usually attacking enemies head on, some opponents that might otherwise use AP rounds switch to high explosive. The real issue is that we don’t presently know the math behind the chances of the Warspite catching fire. The formula released by Wargaming is presented as follows:
(“Ammo’s fire rate” + Pyromania perk) * (“Ship’s fire rate” * (1-(Modification from upgrade + Modification from perk))
The only ship where they’ve disclosed the “Ship’s fire rate” is the IJN Fuso, which when fully upgraded sits at 0.70. They also disclosed that tier 1 vessels have a value near to 1 while tier 10 vessels are close to 0.50. This hidden statistic could certainly be used by Wargaming as a balance mechanic and it’s entirely possible that the Warspite has a higher rating here than other Battleships of her tier. We simply don’t know.
The HMS Warspite has two unique relationships with her defensive cool-downs compared to other Battleships.
- Her Damage Control Party isn’t on the same reset timer as other Battleships. Normally after providing a brief immunity period of 10s to 20s (depending on the nation), the Damage Control Party has a reset timer of 120s for the standard consumable or 80s for the premium. The Warspite has a 90s reset timer for her standard and a 60s reset timer for the premium consumable. As with all other ships, these times can be modified with Captain Skills. She pays for this with a lower immunity period of only 5s.
- Her Repair Party is able to heal most damage without penalty, providing the maximum returns for health regeneration. Other Battleships receive diminishing returns when trying to regenerate penetrating or citadel hits. While other Battleships heal back only 50% of AP and HE damage, the Warspite heals back 60% — a number which can be further boosted by the Premium consumable and Signal Flags. This means she can heal back even citadel damage with huge returns, greatly increasing her survivability to damage done over time. It’s not uncommon for damage totals of up to 90,000hp being required to sink this 53,800hp vessel if it’s not done all at once.
How to Kill It
Given her health regenerating abilities, it’s important that when trying to sink the Warspite to do it quickly and not permit her the chance to continually repair back damage. She shares a vulnerability of all Battleships to torpedo hits, however her agility can make her quite the frustrating target for long range strikes from Destroyers and her AA complement can also help mitigate some air strikes. Her armour layout makes her best suited to close range fights against other dreadnoughts. Though flammable like other battleships, between her fast-resetting Damage Control Party and the use of her Repair Party, she can mitigate single or paired fires easily.
Focused damage in this way removes all of her durability advantages. Incidental attacks only play to her strengths, allowing her to endure and last to the end stages of a given match with surprising HP totals given the amount of punishment she may have already received during the course of the game.
I love the HMS Warspite.
She’s not a comfortable fit for some. Anytime you feel like you’re fighting with the controls of a ship will lead to feelings of frustration, and the Warspite has this in spades when you first acquire her. Her turret rotation is downright punitive. This cannot be stated firmly enough: her turret rotation is awful, frustrating and it will get you killed. I may be used to it after as many games as I have in her, but it’s still terrible. Taking skills and upgrades to mitigate this can make it bearable, but these are skill points and an upgrade slot that shouldn’t be needed to make a ship enjoyable.
As much as I do love the HMS Warspite, I’m not blinded to her flaws. She does not out perform the Fuso in terms of raw damage. Her range precludes her from being a good open-water Battleship, trading fire at a distance. The gap in her armour can be exploited. For all of the strengths of her AA compliment, she’s still very vulnerable to aircraft from a well played CV. A well played destroyer can and will sink her reliably.
She shines in a close in brawl, where her secondaries blaze and her armour means something. This exciting close quarter fighting, ducking between islands and fjords is where I enjoy her the most, even running the risk of encountering destroyers at point blank range. The HMS Warspite was my chariot of choice through the first brackets of the second season of Ranked Battles, managing a 10 vs 2 record. Unless caught out of position, her endurance allows her to easily outlast most opponents. A good use of island terrain and range will keep her in the fight longer than any other ship in that tier.
Would I recommend? For Battleship enthusiasts, she’s a must have. If you don’t like Battleship gameplay, the Warspite probably won’t sell you on it. Her turret rotation is just too much of a nuisance to win someone over that’s not a fan of the class. That said, she does offer even devout Battleship players a unique experience in regards to her durability.
By and large, the HMS Warspite doesn’t require any unusual upgrade choices.
- For her first slot, Main Battery Modification 1 is the only slot worth while.
- The second slot is more interesting. I would avoid trying to increase her AA range. Despite her poor turret rotation, I would avoid Main battery Modification 2 — the loss in rate of fire isn’t worth it when the 2pt Captain Skill will do the same thing without the penalty. This leaves two modifications worth considering, depending if you want to emphasize long range gunnery or close in brawling.Gun Fire Control System 1 reduces her gun dispersion by 7% to 12.51m/km from 13.43m/km.
Secondary Battery Modification 2 is needed for those looking to specialize their ship in this way and reach the 7.2km range.
- Your third slot is a simple matter. As a Battleship, it is unlikely for your steering gear or engine to be damaged, leaving Damage Control System Modification 1 as the only reasonable choice.
- Your fourth slot is something of a debate.The front-runner is Steering Gears Modification 2, which reduces her rudder shift time from 14.2s to 11.36s, aiding her in avoiding not only torpedoes but incoming fire and navigating in general.
Alternatively, Damage Control System Modification 2 reduces the amount of time a fire burns or a flood lasts on your ship. This latter upgrade is only worth while if you allow fires to burn for their full duration — something the Warspite can usually mitigate with her faster reset time on her Damage Control Party cooldown. This will reduce the fire duration from 60s to 51s, saving about 1453 damage per full-burn of a fire. This is best when coupled with the Basics of Survivability (Tier 1) Captain Skill.
Recommended Captain Skills:
The HMS Warpsite’s release predates that of the Royal Navy tech tree, which puts her in the unique position of having you run a dedicated Captain for your premium vessel (for the time being). The Warspite is, however, merely a Battleship and the choices for your Captain Skills won’t differ too much from other dreadnoughts.
- For Tier 1, Basic Fire Training is arguably the best first choice. This increases not only the potency of her secondary battery but it also improves AA efficiency by 10%. If you selected Damage Control System Modification 2 as your fourth upgrade slot, then Basics of Survivability may be your better first choice.
- For Tier 2, get Expert Marskman immediately. This will reduce her turret rotation from 72s for 180′ down to 56.3s. This is still very slow, but it’s manageable.
- For Tier 3, Superintendent is the best choice, increasing her Repair Party charges from 4 to 5, adding another potential 9,000hp to your vessel.
- For Tier 4, Advanced Fire Training is the best choice. This upgrades your secondary battery from 5km to 6km but also (and arguably more importantly) increases the range of your AA umbrella.
- Tier 5 skills are more of a debate. Jack of All Trades reduces the reset timer on Repair Party and Damage Control Party. Concealment Expert reduces her surface firing visibility from 14.2km down to 12.21km but only when she’s not firing her guns or AA batteries.
I will not likely be taking a tier 5 skill for my Warspite. Instead, I selected some advantageous skills throughout the lower tiers. Fire Prevention is of dubious merit. Despite it’s tooltip, when plugged into the formula used to calculate fire chance, this provides less than a 2% defense against fire. As my ship is specialized around the use of my secondary battery, I have the tier 4 skill Pyromaniac to increase the chances of fire off the HE they throw. Situational Awareness has proved to be a handy skill to have in my Warspite, especially given my love of fighting around islands. With the 14km detection range of the Warspite, this often lets me know when a Destroyer is lurking nearby, as cruisers will be spotted around the same time as they see me.