From: Somerset, U.K.
Having now had an opportunity to take a good look at the changes wrought to ASW-capable ships in the current version of Big Babes, I'm sorry to say that I have reservations about whether overall they are a Good Thing, as they stand.
I think I understand the argument that the later type of Japanese Escort-class vessels obtain an unwarranted advantage as a result of the way the game, statistically, deals with them mounting banks of 12 or 16 Type 3 depth charge launchers. In Scenario 1, the upgraded Ukurus either fired a bank of 14 d/cs, or they fired nothing at all. In the case of the C- and D-gata CDs, a bank of 12 launchers fired – or didn't. If you agree that it is unrealistic to make an ASW run an 'all or nothing affair, then the Babes Team's approach of breaking the d/c launcher bank into a number of separate slots makes excellent sense.
I also follow the argument that "2x 4-chance packages is still not quite as good as 1x 6-chance package (it's a math thing ), but adding in the additional chance to NOT fire the second package…" However, this is where I start to get uneasy about the Babes Team's approach.
The fact is that the Japanese escort-class ships DID mount a larger bank of d/c launchers than their nearest Allied equivalent, the various DE classes. Take a look at the layout of the Evarts, Buckley, etc classes and you will see a common arrangement of four K-guns on each side and a double set of rails at the stern. So, the fact is that the Japanese vessels DID have the capability to fire six weapons per side to every four the Allied DEs could launch. To me, it seems to follow that if you halve the number of side-throwing launchers per slot on the Japanese ships, as in the current iteration of Big Babes, you deny them whatever historical advantage they gained from being able to put more weapons in the water than their Allied equivalent. Unless, that is, you make a corresponding adjustment to the d/c throwers fitted to Allied DEs. The implication of this would be that, if the 6 throwers per side for the Japanese escort ships is to be represented by 3 weapons per slot per side (as in the current version of Babes), the Allied DE fit would need to be correspondingly adjusted from 4 to 2 weapons per slot per side if opposing ships are to be dealt with in a consistent way.
In fact, no such adjustment has been made to the Allied DEs in the current version. Indeed, the Babes data actually enhances some DEs' capability by increasing the ammunition load. In Scenario 1, for example, the Buckleys in slot 729 carry 4 ammunition units per K-gun slot whilst in Big Babes this is increased to 6 per slot. Likewise the ammunition allotment for the rear d/c rails has gone from 6 units in scen. 1 to 12 in Big Babes. So, total d/c stowage for the Buckleys has gone from 44 in scen. 1 to 72 in Big Babes.
Contrast this with the progressive emasculation of the d/c fit for the Japanese D-gata CD in slot 1322. In scen. 1 this starts out with a single 12-thrower centreline slot having 9 ammunition units and a single stern rail with 12 units – total 120 units. In an earlier version of Big Babes the 12-thrower slot had been reduced to a 6-thrower unit again with 9 units, and stern rail with 12 units as before – a total of 66 d/c units. In the latest Babes iteration, the stern rail has been suppressed and the vessel is equipped with 2 3-thrower slots, each with 10 rather than 9 ammunition units – so that total d/c stowage has been further reduced to 60 units.
What I see, therefore, is a progressive enhancement of Allied DE capabilities as one traces the changes made from stock scenario 1 to the latest version of Big Babes, whilst on the Japanese side I see a progressive reduction in their capabilities. I have difficulty in seeing how that can be reconciled with the claim that "The number and arrangement of launchers becomes a 'quasi stonk' thing and may be adapted, so long as the total of launchers x ammo is consistent across nationalities".
I am well aware of the frequently voiced complaint that the Japanese E-class ships are overpowered. Insofar as this is the product of a statistical quirk in the way that the game evaluates the effect of a large number of 'tubes-per-slot' then the Babes' approach of breaking down the big weapon banks into smaller units, some of which may not fire, is a very acceptable solution. However, the application of these changes to one side but not the other seems to me inappropriate, unless some other justification is advanced for such an inconsistency in approach. I suspect that we may not have heard the Babes Team's full reasoning that led them to make these changes only to Japanese ship classes and not to Allied DEs as well. If so, I hope JWE will expand upon why the team went further than just breaking down the few big weapon slots into smaller units, since it appears to me that this change by itself might have achieved the effect desired.
One further point: if ships that mount a slot containing a large number of tubes obtain a disproportionate advantage through the vagaries of statistics, then one Allied ship class that really does need a second look is the Tacoma/Colony class frigate at slot 764. If there is a case for reducing the Japanese bank of 6 centreline throwers to two banks of 3, one on each side, then surely it's a case that applies with even greater force to the 8 centreline throwers on the Tacomas.
I also have doubts about some timings of the radar upgrades to the Japanese Escort-class ships. However, no doubt the points I've made above will by themselves cause a big enough storm of protest to fall upon me, so for the time being enough said!