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Ever since its repositioning, WW2 themed online seaborne shooter World of Warships has been going from strength to strength - and getting bigger and bigger. With the German, Japanese, British, American and Russian navies already represented in game, along with a French cruiser line, the latest ships to join the game are a little bit different - the Pan Asian destroyers. Unique in that every ship in this tree originally came from a different country to the flag it sails under in game, we sat down with the developers over at Wargaming to talk about how they put the tree together, and the surprising features that make these ships stand out.
The Pan Asian destroyer tree looks set to be one of the most unusual trees in the game, as it's a real mish-mash of ships from different countries. With none of the ships being built by the countries they're now sailing under, how do you go about choosing which ships to include, and bringing together several different navies, and styles of ship building, into a tree that makes sense?
As having large differences in play style is not ideal, we had to choose ships that would be at least remotely similar despite being from different paths of life. Since the top tiers were quite naturally former US destroyers with their all-rounder armament and good guns, we wanted the rest of the line to reflect that. Large parts of the line are [therefore] large destroyer classes (for their time), or even on tier V belong to the "Destroyer Leader" category.
One of the questions I think a lot of people will have is, as this is a tree made out of ships that were essentially "passed on" to other nations, as the original navies perhaps didn't want them anymore, or they'd reached the end of their service life, is that going to make them any less able in game?
Definitely not! They are pretty good all-round gunboats and they are also put in appropriate tiers - for example the Tier IV, Shenyang, is a tier lower than her sister ships already in game (Minekaze class) because of her slightly less capable armament. On the other hand for example the Fletcher class destroyer Chung Mu is on the same tier as USS Fletcher in the American branch, because she was passed to her new owners basically in the same 1945 armament configuration. The same applies for example to former Soviet destroyer Fushun, which is on the same tier as her sister Gnevny in the Russian tech tree.
Much has been made of the fact that these destroyers will feature deep water torpedoes, which run lower than a normal torpedo, meaning they'll slot below other destroyers, but will be harder to spot, making them devastating against battleships. Can you tell us a little more about the trade-offs involved with these?
The basic trade-off with the deep-water torpedoes is that they are unable to hit certain ships - in this case other destroyers. We have tested a few concepts, including making the deep water torpedoes draft-specific (in which case smaller cruisers might also get away scot-free) but this added an additional layer of complexity while not really concerning too many ships (as above tier IV - V most cruisers, light or heavy, were already big enough to get hit anyway). On the other hand, the torpedoes are harder to spot (and to dodge).
Will these be the only destroyers in the game that have deep water torpedoes? Or even the only ships in the game that can use them?
For now, the only destroyers. We are already testing Deep Water torpedoes as one of alternatives for the German aircraft carrier Graf Zeppelin's armament.
In the future we will see how the concept works - we have already mentioned that this might be an interesting addition to for example Japanese destroyers.
What's the most surprising thing people will notice about the Pan Asian destroyers?
Their main trait - the deep water torpedoes. In high tier battles there is also another surprise waiting for you - the top three destroyers can choose between equipping a smoke screen or radar, which can give them a significant advantage in cap contests and should balance the fact that their torpedoes cannot hit other destroyers.
With the game drawing so heavily from history, are there any interesting stories you can tell us about the ships in the Pan Asian destroyer tree?
Not only the ships themselves - we have looked also into their namesakes (at least the most notable ones) and you can find their stories here: https://worldofwarships.eu/en/news/common/postcards-from-asia/ .
For the ships themselves, there is for example the Phra Ruang. Her original name was HMS Radiant, a World War I British destroyer that got recognition for the daring rescue of survivors from three other ships lost in a minefield. In 1920 the Royal Prince Admiral Abhakara Kiartivongse travelled to Britain to purchase a new destroyer for the Royal Thai navy and personally took command of the ship on her way to her new homeland.
Another British design, HMS Nonpareil of the N-class was turned over while still in construction to the Royal Dutch Navy and she served throughout the world War II as Tjerk Hiddes both in the Atlantic, escorting convoys, and in the Pacific. She was then sold to Indonesia in 1951.
All three top tier destroyers also saw pretty standard service for US Navy ships, including battles in the Pacific, and took part either in the Korean or Vietnam war, or both, before being sold to their new owners.
Out of the line up, which ship would you say is the stand out star (or your personal favourite), and why?
I probably like the Tier VII Gadjah Mada best - she is similar to the Polish Blyskawica in the general concept of large fleet destroyer with powerful gun and torpedo armament and, as mentioned, also of British origin. Her six guns can present a pretty strong broadside and you can manoeuvre pretty effectively with her, because the second and third mount rotate through a full 360°. This combined with the characteristics of her smoke screen made her a great skirmisher in the tests on the live server.
To try the new Pan Asian Destroyer tree out for yourself, and engage in some naval based WW2 warfare, download World of Warships now, and play for free!