After more than 1,800 battles in World of Warships I finally got my first Tier X Ship – the Japanese Cruiser Zao.

As I have remarked before, I generally only use a Ship until I get its first win of the day, then I move on to a different ship. This approach has slowed down my climb up the Tiers – levelling most of the hulls at the same time.

(It is also one of several reasons why my win-rate is poor. The primary reason is I am not particularly good at the game – but my approach means I play the ships I am poorer in more often than the ships I contribute better in.)

I hit a real hole at Tier VIII.

This is the best I can hope for – a mix of Tier VIII, IX and X 

I find myself – far more often than not – stuck playing in Tier X battles.

At first glance Tier VIII, IX and X ships can look relatively similar, but there are some key differences that make being in a Tier VIII ship against a higher Tier very uncomfortable.

If I compare the Tier VIII Japanese Cruiser Mogami against the Tier IX Ibuki and Tier X Zao.

The Mogami had 39,100 HP, the Ibuki 39,000, and the X Zao has 40,800. It would appear they basically are the same – but the Tier IX and X ships both have Repair Party Consumables, meaning they have the chance to restore some of their damage. They also both have progressively lower and better protected Citadels. It doesn’t matter how I angle my Mogami, bow or stern on citadel strikes are as common as flank citadels.

All three Japanese Cruisers use 203mm Main batteries. Again, it appears they are basically the same – but the range increases once configured for each tier from 15.8, to 19.2, to 21.3 km. The Zao also has 12 barrels against 10 at Tier VIII and IX and does better damage. The much more fragile Mogami has to be much closer to do less damage than the Zao.

The Ibuki and Zao also have the important sixth Upgrade slot over the Mogami’s five.

The Mogami and Ibuki have 4×4 Torpedo launcher tubes, with a range of 10km. The Ibuki’s Torpedoes are a little faster and do a bit more damage. The Zao has 4×5 Torpedo launcher tubes which do a bit more damage again and have an option for fast 76 knot Torpedoes with an 8km range, or slower 67 Knot Torpedoes with a 12km range that can be fired from stealth.

The biggest difference however is that your Tier X opponent’s rain down either more shells, or bigger shells on you. The ability to survive some knocks is vital. The Tier X Battleships are particularly ruinous. One straddle from a Battleship Salvo and my Mogami was often left with a sliver of health – dead the next time I risked showing myself. The Ibuki in part, the Zao more so, are easier and more forgiving to play than the Mogami in Top Tier Battles.

It got so demoralising I resorted to playing Tier V matches. It ended up being quicker and more enjoyable to pay a proportion of the Tier IX and X upgrades with Free XP instead of grinding through them at level.

My next Tier X ship will likely be the French Cruiser Henri IV.  That is my Tier IX Saint-Louis above, in which I am a fair way into grinding the required XP for its upgrade.

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