Know Your Role

Knowing the role your ship class plays within a certain game is crucial to not only your own success but the success of the team. Each ship class has an overarching role that it fits into and often times, ships or lines within that class have niche roles of their own. In this article I will go over the individual classes and how they should fit within a game. I will also mention some of the niche play styles that certain lines (premiums excluded) hone in on as a way to highlight some of the differences. I’ll start with destroyers.

Continue reading “Know Your Role”

State of the Game

I will try to cover what I feel is the current state of the game based on not only my own observations but the observations of others. I will be covering balance issues, recent and pending changes to ships and mechanics as well as hopeful changes in the future. I will try and keep it as concise as possible. As always, I will discuss individual things as I see fit and give my conclusion at the end.

The current state of the game leaves room for desire no doubt. With the recent addition of the RN Battleship line, the smoke changes occurring at the publishing of this article and the exclusion of carriers in clan battles, we have a few things to talk about. So let’s start with the most recent changes, smoke.

Smoke Spotting

In the latest patch that went live today, the spotting mechanics while shooting within smoke have changed quite a bit. Now, instead of firing with impunity, a 0km spotting range, your ship class determines your spotting range. For a generalized overview of the spotting changes here are the base values: 2.5km for destroyers, 5.9km for cruisers, and 13.6km for battleships. If you wish to see the values for a specific ship, please visit http://wiki.wargaming.net/en/Ship:Update_0.6.12. Though this won’t realistically fix the issues of little fire starters spewing brimstone onto your ships, but it will help with the napalm throwers and surprise broadsides of a big battleship hiding in the mist.

Conqueror OP?

There have been numerous, and videos, discussing whether or not the Conqueror is over powered and whether or not and how it should be nerf. Flamu made a video that was more of a rant while demonstrating a particular game that went well for him and poorly for a Montana, a bad example in my opinion. While both Notser and NoZoup (vid 1 & vid 2) made far more constructive videos discussing the stats that have been release by WarGaming. By the numbers the Conqueror is averaging about 8,688 dmg per minute while the next highest damage dealer, the Montana, is averaging about 8,205 dmg per minute. For other comparison the Yamato comes in at 8,333 and the G.K. comes in at 8,104. The overall average is 8,332.5. The difference between the Conqueror’s mean and the overall mean would be considered significant. However, when you consider that a single salvo on a G.K., for instant, doing about 8,000 damage and causing 1 fire, when left to burn for 45 sec, that one fire has negated any damage difference (about 12,300 dmg in fire damage)  between the Conqueror and the next highest ship. In reality, if the Montana, for instance, were to fire HE, she would likely outperform the Conqueror in overall average damage as a result of her better accuracy balancing the fire chance difference (48% vs 36% base). Further, due to the damage farming capabilities for the Conqueror and her concealment, most players play her more passively. Though damaging ships is nice, it does relatively little to help in the win when most of that fire damage can been healed by all tier 10 battleships and cruisers. So in conclusion, she needs some tweaks, and what appears to be coming does seem reasonable but will just increase passive play. She is fairly balanced in my opinion compared to the others in raw gun damage; it’s that flame throwing that sets her aside from the rest. If that’s the gripe everyone has (and it is mine), I would make the 457mm guns more accurate and nerf their fire chance, making them more viable as a gun option, and further nerf the fire chance of the 419mm. The RN HE shells already get increased pen, the significantly increased chance of fire is the problem, not the heal or concealment.

Gimmicky Ships

WarGaming has started a habit of introducing more and more gimmicky ships while doing very little to existing ships and mechanics. The RN cruiser line had great heals, smoke and fast reloads while only shooting SAP ammo (labeled AP in game), the KM destroyers had fast reloading, though low damage torps with great guns and hydro, the KM battleships have turtleback armor, making them very hard to citadel at close range and the high tiers have hydro and finally the RN battleships have below-waterline citadels, high penetrating and fire chance HE shells and the top tiers have outstanding concealment and heals. Meanwhile, existing lines have been relatively untouched in how they fit into the meta or even their own niche. An example is the Montana and Iowa, both have best in class, at tier AA protection, but they can’t even effectively protect themselves against tier 9 or 10 CV attacks, relying on cruisers, or even destroyers to help them. This prevents them from performing their primary tasks, if they were to actually do so. If we were to stick with gimmicky, give them defensive AA as an example, let them protect themselves as well as other battleships, ships that are moving closer to them anyways. Further, the Yamato, though it has the monster guns that pen anything, buffing its secondaries to be better, at least in some aspects, than the G.K., would give it the boost that it needs or buffing either its reload or turret traverse. With its very vulnerable citadel, it stands little to no chance against other BB’s in close combat. Those are just 2 easy examples, but the tide of balance is slowly tipping away from the original ships and that is saddening.

Battleship AP vs. Destroyers

Lots of destroyer players complain about battleship AP and how is does so much damage to them when it actually sticks. My thoughts on this matter – good. A destroyer can get within 6km or less, launch torpedoes and a BB will have little chance to avoid them, especially if the BB is broadside. Early game, especially at higher tiers, this is inexcusable. However, late game, as a DD as worked its way around the flank and ships capable of spotting the BB’s are everywhere, it’s hard to determine if there is a sneaky DD sending death fish in your direction. So, since a battleship has far longer reloads than a cruiser (the ‘natural’ counter to a destroyer) more damage should be expected. Further, destroyers have no citadels and are so lightly armored that offering a broadside only equates to overpens and considering while broadside you can launch torpedoes, that’s not a bad trade off for them. As for the battleships, if a destroyer is gutsy enough to close to 8km or less, gets detected and gives you their bow or an angle, that’s the same as telling a BB not to sail in straight lines. Shame on them, don’t punish or even fault the battleship for defending itself.

Carrier Menace

Carriers, when they show up in game, are a huge force multiplier. In their current state – both strike power and learning curve, paired with the current meta , a good carrier player can and often does determine the outcome of any particular battle. A competent captain in a high tier carrier, for example, can outright devastate any ship in the battle with a single strike or strategically whittle them down with either flooding or fire and their target may have done nothing wrong except take a ship with low AA. This is a clear balance issue and is probably why they are not in clan battles. Is this unfair to the competent carrier players who play that class almost solely, sure, but for every good carrier player, there are probably 5 that they could wipe the floor with. With carriers further being as powerful as they are to begin with, that can make for a very one sided battle, as I so often see in randoms when one CV player is that much better than the other (usually the enemy being better than the friendly – so it seems). They need to continue to be reworked by either outright nerfing them, or finding a better and easier  way to play them in battle – even the playing field a bit more so to speak. Even in making them easier to play, there will always be those players who are better than others, but now it will be more of a knowledge measure as opposed to an outright capabilities measure.

Conclusion

In the games current state, there are certainly ships and mechanics that need to be tweaked and many for good reason. However, there are a number of issues that people find with the game that have everything to do with the current meta and or the play style of the individual players. As an example, I personally don’t do well in the Conqueror. I don’t like sitting back and farming damage but would rather get into the fray and make a difference. The result of this, due to the new nature of the ship and stigma as a very big threat, I quickly get focused being closer to the battle and thus removed. Though I do less damage than I should or would like (still doing slightly better than the server average however), I take out important ships, destroyers and cruisers and even get into caps. My aggressive play style tends to get me in trouble with other ships as well; the Conqueror is not special in that respect. Players will always take risks, sometimes poorly calculated ones, that will cause griping about a ship or other mechanic in the game but that is what it is. Radar and hydro as examples, they have been the counter to smoke and island camping and for the players that use them, love them, but they are not fun when you are on the receiving end. They are the balance to the destroyer’s concealment, particularly when CV’s are so few and smoke is so common. Overall, the game is in a good state, with nothing terrible broken but many aspects being far from perfect. Future development however, should stray away from gimmicky ships and keep the uniqueness of a ship, or line, within the confines of other same class ships. Sure, tweak guns, armor layout, ship speed/maneuverability and perhaps some aspects of a consumable, trading one part for another, but drastic differences need to stop. Stop the power creep and fix what’s bugged before adding new things. With all that said, the game has benchmarks for improvement and for development as well as things that should remain as is. Hopefully the developers can separate the wheat from the chafe when it comes it actual issues and just plain old whining and move the game in the right direction.

Absence and Updates

Good morning all,

My apologies for not having any new articles for you to read. Things have been very busy and I have not had the time to sit down and write anything new but I’m hoping to change that very soon. I plan on putting out more reviews and guides as I am able as well as opinions and editorials about the game and its current, upcoming and hopeful state. Any (constructive) suggestions from the community are welcomed and I’ll try my best to fulfill then. Finally, I’m considering moving forward and starting my own blog outside of this one. If, and when, I start to do so I will be double posting until I’m comfortable with the traffic flow as well as to keep the once great WoWReplays alive. Send feedback and suggestions for a site name if that’s where you’d like to see this go.

The Conqueror: Live Review

To preface this review, I apologize for have no recent content. Life has been very busy and has prevented me from releasing the type of content I wish to release at the standard that I hold myself to. So without further nonsense here we go!

With the latest patch, the new Royal Navy battleship line has arrived and is available to the rest of us. I have been hoarding my free XP for just this ship and am glad I did. She is a joy to play, but does have some issues and I will highlight those later on in my review. To start, I will go over the specifics of the ship.

Ship Overview

Armaments

The Conqueror has 2 main battery choices, a set of 12, 419mm guns with an AP alpha strike of 156,000 (12×13,000) and 8, 457mm[1] guns with an AP alpha strike of 119,200 (8×14,900)[2]. Her HE fire chance on the 419mm guns is 48% while the 457mm guns offer a 63% chance of setting fire. The shell velocity of both guns is relatively slow, with all below 800 m/s, making here shells the slowest overall compared to the other tier X battleships. However, similar to her German counterpart, her HE penetration is equal to one quarter the shell caliber, compared to the 1/6th that other battleships offer. This has been carried through the entire RN line. The secondaries on this ship are nothing to write home about and are the worst of the top tier battleships. On the other hand, the AA capabilities of this ship, while at full health, can rival that of the Montana, particularly at medium range (between 2.01 and 3.51km; 527.2 dps vs 318 dps).

Survivability

HMS Conqueror has the lowest health pool of all the tier 10 ships with 82,900 hit points and has the second lowest belt armor values at 406mm. However, the excellent heal that this ship gets more than makes up for. Capable of restoring 1,989 hp per second for 20 seconds, you could, in theory restore a total of 159,120 hp if all you sustained was fire damage (unlikely I know) if you ran with Superintendent, the India Delta flag and the premium repair party. Further, the low sitting citadel makes the ship hold up well in medium to close range engagements, particularly if you are caught off guard.

Concealment

This ship totes the best in class concealment at 11.1 km by sea and 12.1 km by air with camouflage, Concealment Expert and the Concealment module. This surpasses the detectability of even some cruisers allowing you to get the drop on them and unleash a full broadside into them as they attempt to scurry away.

Pros

  • Best detectability by far, allowing for excellent, cruiser level ninja attacks on unsuspecting Battleships and certain cruisers
  • An insane, almost OP level of repair. Though this is balanced will in my opinion by the armor level and low HP pool
  • Good maneuverability, even for a battleship
  • Excellent overall DPM. Likely the highest of all this ships since HE is strongly recommended when fires are included

Cons

  • Lowest [sensible][3] AP alpha strike.
  • Lack luster AP capabilities (the 419mm have been nerfed and their penetration, even against a broadside battleship is less than optimal in my opinion, and the 457mm are just barely too small to cross the overmatch threshold.)
  • Slow shell velocity means increased flight time and difficulty hitting faster targets at a distance
  • You’re a big target (especially right after release)

Loadout

The WoWs Wiki offers a decent configuration setup here (http://wiki.wargaming.net/en/Ship:Conqueror) but my current setup is as follows:

Upgrades

Slot 1: Main Armaments Modification 1
Slot 2: Aiming Systems Modification 1
Slot 3: Main Battery Modification 3
Slot 4: Damage Control System Modification 1
Slot 5: Steering Gears Modification 2
Slot 6: Concealment System Modification 1

If CV’s become more of an issue, I may swap out Slot 2 and 3 with the AA Gun Modifications but I don’t see that being a problem just yet.

Commander Skills

Tier 1: Priority Target and Expert Loader (Since HE is such a great option on this ship, switching ammo type quickly without giving your position away by firing is nice)
Tier 2: Expert Marksman, Adrenaline Rush, and Jack of All Trades (I might get rid of Jack of All Trades and Adrenaline Rush once the thrill killing has subsided and trade those 4 points for AFT to destroy planes)
Tier 3: Superintendent
Tier 4: Fire Prevention and Concealment Expert

Camouflage

Basically, make sure you always run it, especially if it offers both dispersion penalties to the enemy and concealment to you.

Final Thoughts

Overall, she is a very solid ship so far. Even though I don’t have too many games in her, I have yet to have a game where I’ve done less than 120k damage. However, I am not a fan of having two main armament choices where one is clearly better than the other. Though most of the advantages run with the 419mm guns, which I strongly recommend, the AP capabilities leave room for improvement. With the sigma nerf and normalization nerf, the use of the AP rounds on the 419mm guns is suffering. Nerfing both was a bit much in my opinion thus far and if they buff either back to the 6.10 release, I would probably be quite content. As for the 457mm guns, I have yet to play much with them. I’m still getting used to the 419mm with their slower shell velocity and maybe that will help with changing my opinions on their AP rounds but once I get a good handle with them I’ll try the 457mm guns for giggles. Just looking at the stats though, I’m not impressed with the 457mm guns and see no real reason to choose them over the 419mm at this point. We’ll see though, WG might see that they are not well liked and give them a buff of some kind, but I doubt it.


[1] 457mm guns are less than the 457.3mm necessary to overmatch 32mm of bow armor.

[2] Montana and G.K (with 420mm guns) are capable of a 162,000 damage alpha strike while the Yamato is capable of a 133,200 damage alpha strike.

[3] Though the 406mm guns of the Großer Kurfürst have a lower alpha strike, I find there to be no discernible advantage in the 406mm vs. the 420mm guns whereas for the Conqueror, the 419mm is the best choice so far.

Ranked Thoughts and Opinions

To start off bluntly, I’m not a huge fan of ranked. One of the simpler reasons is I do not have the time to put into climbing the ladder so before I go on keep that in mind. Further, for the last 3 seasons, I have made it to at least Rank 10 and stopped. With that said the other reasons are as follows.

Reason 2

The static meta that has been the last 2 seasons of ranked does not bode well to my style of play. I prefer to be aggressive and make plays towards the objectives of the match and do damage to the enemy team. This does not mean that I won’t play more passively if I feel that’s what needs to be done, but that I still get bored sitting around for a target to be spotted.

Reason 3

This is a team based game with a mode that is strongly depending on team play and communication. At the lower ranks, this is increasingly difficult to find. Many play for themselves and pay little attention to the needs of the rest of the team, such as the need for smoke or the need for spotting. Further, the inability for players to acknowledge the need focus targets that have been called out is exceedingly frustrating, particularly when it’s a low health destroyer. I would expect that this gets better as you move up the tiers, but due to the fact that I get easily frustrated by this, I stop progressing and go back to Randoms.

Reason 4

Many players, particularly in earlier ranks, do not have the skills necessary to be assets to their teams. The main reason behind this is the ship tier required for Ranked is easily obtainable by even a novice player in a short time, and further there are many premium tier 6 ships that can be purchased with no experience at all. Though I consider myself to be an above average player, it would be a feat for me to be able to carry a team in a ranked battle to victory. As a result, I still rely on other members of my team to provide support and carry their own weight. If, however, those players lack the skills and knowledge necessary to be effective in the ship that they are in, then they are more of a hindrance than an asset – torpedoing from behind allies is a prime example.

Reason 5

The rewards to effort ratio is just not equal or beneficial in my opinion. Sure, the accolades that come with achieving Rank 1, and certainly multiple times, are quite nice, but the time to achieve that does not equal its cost.

Final Remarks

As I tend to only play in the evening during the week and early mornings on weekends, if I play at all during the weekends, finding skilled teams is far more difficult. Many are ‘casual’ players who play to have fun or younger players. Though there is nothing inherently wrong with either they both come with issues. The casual players don’t put the efforts in to be competitive, something required for ranked, and the younger players tend to caustically spam chat. I can only deal with so many “Your mom…” jabs before I just get tired of it and run out of reports. Friendly banter is fine, spamming and raving are not.

As for the skill issues, I do understand that Wargaming wants to be more inclusive than exclusive, however, competitive gameplay requires competitive and SKILLED players. Personally, I think Ranked should be relegated to tiers 8 or 9. Tier 8 offers a better range of ships and certainly is less exclusive than tier 9, though it still has the issue of several purchasable premium ships, with no game time required. Tier 9 is far more exclusive with only one premium ship, the Missouri. Due to the ‘cost’ of that ship though, any player with one has at least a working knowledge of the game and its mechanics. Most of you are likely against having ranked be only tier 8 or 9, especially if you have yet to obtain one which is why I’ll mention Option 3. Wargaming should go back to the split tiers in ranked. For ranks up to rank 15, players can use Tier 5 or 6, and after rank 15, the only option is tier 8. This will help with the skill gap and help prevent players from riding on the backs of others to achieve the higher ranks.

Keep in mind, these are my opinions, if you share them great, if you don’t, that’s fine too. I know some will not have had the same experiences with ranked as I have, but I would assume most have had some of the same observations, though your conclusions may differ. So should you feel so inclined to comment, please keep it civil…

High Tier American Battleship Buffs: A Review

In patch 0.6.6, the high tier American battleships – Iowa, Missouri, and Montana, received a buff in the form of a lowered citadel. This reduced the volume of their citadels by ~27% and redistributed the HP to more evenly throughout the ship. Wargaming did this to “promote more active play and maneuver.”[1] But is that what it does and how has it affected these ships?

This patch has been out just over a month allowing me to get some play time in on the Montana and Missouri (I have a Missouri so I have no need for the Iowa). In so doing, this is what I have noticed with these ships:

  • Seemingly increased popularity within Random Battles
  • Significantly harder to citadel at ranges between 10-15km
  • More forgiving broadsides
  • More aggressive plays by players
  • Increased survivability amongst players in those ships

Having both played in and against those ships, these observations have their pros and cons, so here is my take.

Missouri & Iowa

The Missouri and Iowa most certainly needed buffs. The lack of armor and very high citadel (though historically accurate) made playing them aggressively very frustrating. Nearly any cruiser or battleship that you would see in battle was capable of penetrating and even citadeling your ship if a broadside was given. This promoted static bow in play or passive sniping from a distance. Though they were certainly very capable of the latter, you were far more at the mercy of RNG than if you were to close this distance to the enemy. When outfitted correctly, the Missouri and Iowa are the fastest battleships in game and fairly maneuverable for their size, however, not maneuverable enough to evade deletion during a turn. So for these two ships, a buff was warranted but I think the citadel volume reduction was a bit too much.

In playing against them I’ve noticed that it is significantly harder to citadel them at point blank ranges, frustratingly so actually. More than once I have had a newly buffed USN BB show me a broadside at under 10km away and I’ll be lucky if I manage 1 citadel. Pre patch 0.6.6 and that scenario would have led to at least 3 if not complete deletion. Sure RNG could hate me, but for that much hate, it’s hard to believe. Perhaps I just need to relearn where to aim for these ships with the new buffs – only time will tell.

Montana

One of my favorite ships in the game, she was also my first tier 10. It took me some time to truly get the hang of her but once I did I understood her strengths and weaknesses. She could be very tanky bow in and very squishy broadside. In my opinion, though the buff is nice, I don’t think it was truly necessary, certainly to the degree that is was applied. A good and experienced captain could do really well in her pre-buff. Though she did not have the durability of the other two tier 10 BB’s, she could certainly hold her own in the niche that she sat. With a very heavy broadside, excellent AA, and significantly more belt armor than her predecessor, she could afford angles that would have otherwise been a citadel in the Iowa. The lines of the ship also made here armor more effective and deceiving, leading to bounces from what seemed like a broadside volley.

In her current configuration, she is far more forgiving for newer players that show their broadside. Punishment is certainly expected, but not to the extent that it once was. Her immunity zone has been broadened, making deletions at all ranges except drive-bys far less common in my experience thus far. If you play her a lot and haven’t quite gotten the hang of more advanced techniques, this is a great thing for you. If, however, you’re like me and drooled when you saw any of the top tier USN battleships offering a perfect broadside at close range, those days of a guaranteed serving of multiple citadels have passed. Do they still happen, sure, but not as much in my experience so far.

Conclusion

All three of the top tier USN battleships were over buffed in my opinion to compensate for less experienced players. Even in their original configuration, good players could still use them to great effect, even against Yamato’s. We would expect that once a player reaches the higher tiers that they have learned the fundamentals of playing a battleship, which includes not showing your broadside to other battleships. Sadly though, that is not the case. A noticeable percentage of players in high tier games still break these cardinal rules and bring down not just the team, but the stats of an otherwise viable ship. It’s like back in grade school where they stopped helping the ‘average’ students and spent their efforts on the ‘below average’ ones. This is what Wargaming has done in my opinion with this particular buff, over compensated for the players that still have yet to learn the fundamentals and skew the stats. Maybe, with time, they’ll see that and ‘nerf’ these ships. But somehow, I don’t foresee that happening. Perhaps the British Batteships will offer a rebalancing? That too, I fear, is wishful thinking.

Let me know in the comments below what you think of the buffs to these ships. Are they good, unneeded, or overdone?

 


[1] http://wiki.wargaming.net/en/Ship:Update_0.6.6

Intermediate Guide to Becoming a Better Player

Forward

I plan on keeping this guide up to date as more information gets published and as I learn more. I am by no means a ‘pro’ but perform well enough that I feel comfortable passing along what I know. My plan for this guide is to add graphics and to get feed back from those that are better and know more than I do. Please feel free to provide feedback in the comments section and be warned, this is a lengthy guide if you have not already noticed.

 

Updates: Added IFHE, Damage Sautration, Free Looking (7/8/17)


 

At this point in your Warship career, you have already learned some of the basic principles of the game such as how to fire your guns, and torpedoes, what a citadel is, the basics of how to aim, how to switch ammo types, etc. You have also likely made some progression towards some of the end tier ships and are probably getting a bit more frustrated with the skill gap. While you might have only a few hundred games combine some of the players you have been facing will have that many battles in a single ship which is making that grind that much hard. This guide will hopefully help you narrow that gap and be more competitive against those more experienced players. Further, the focus of this guide will be on the tactics and ships most likely to be used and encountered in later tiers (7-10).

 

Know Your Ships

The most important part of becoming a better player is having a strong ‘working’ knowledge of the ship that you are sailing or will be sailing in and the ships you will be facing. For the former, knowing your ship, you should understand the ships strengths and weaknesses such as the weapon systems (high or low velocity rounds, turret traverse, reload time and fire chances[1] for main battery, range, detectability and speed for torpedoes, and range and DPM limits for both the AA and secondary guns), armor values, citadel location, maneuverability, and consumable choices. Knowledge of these stats will help increase your damage output and increase your survivability as well as perform the best role for that specific ship. Further, this knowledge will help in making the decisions that I will discuss below, both in battle and pre-battle.

Armor Layout

Understanding the armor layout of your ship is crucial to your survival. This can be done by selecting your ship while in port and selecting Armor Layout to the right, just below the Captain. From here, you can select or select certain areas of armor to see both internal and external values. Three of the most important things to take note of are the bow armor values, side armor values surrounding the citadel and the citadel itself. The citadel is a very important part of your ship to know and comes with extra pieces of information to be aware of such as whether or not it sits above the waterline, are there any angles to it, and whether or not it has a turtleback armor scheme.

Bow armor values are important because of the overmatch mechanic that exists in the game (I’ll talk more about that later). Knowing how thick your bow is and what shell calibers can overmatch it should help you determine if bow on will be safer than showing a bit more side or vice versa but also help you pick certain Captain Skills. This is typically more important for Battleships but can be just also be applicable to cruisers as well, particularly heavy cruisers.

Turtleback armor is typically found in the German Battleships and some of the cruisers. It is also far more effective in battleships due to the overall thickness and thus protection that it provides them. In close quarters engagements, especially while broadside, they are nearly impossible to citadel. This is what the turtleback armor is good for. The same can be said for cruisers that have it as well but it is usually only effective against other cruisers. Against battleships, it can actually provide just enough armor to arm the large caliber shell’s fuse, resulting in a citadel instead of an over penetration.

Positioning

Your positioning in battle, both geographically and against the enemy, is always something to consider. Further, it’s your ship and thus your knowledge of it, that helps make this determination. An example would be if you have thick bow armor, particularly for your tier, bow in to the enemy can be a great option. Add in the potential for good maneuverability and you can alter your speed and direction (forward and back) to help throw the enemy’s shots off. The capabilities of your guns will also play a factor. Both the American and Royal Navy cruisers and American Destroyers tend to have low velocity shells. This causes the shells to have a very high arc which will allow the player to ‘lob’ their shots over and behind islands. What this also means is you can maintain solid cover and still do damage, or hit targets who otherwise considered themselves safe from your teams fire.

More maneuverable ships, such as cruisers and destroyers should try to avoid static play, i.e. bow in and stay mobile as much as possible. Plan your route and exit strategies accordingly as well, this goes for battleships too. There will be times when you will be forced to show your broadside and doing so should have the shortest exposure time as possible. Use islands, or smoke whenever possible and if you can, watch the ships that are aiming at you. Many will try to anticipate your turn and fire accordingly. This is when you can either change direction, for cruisers and destroyers, or dump your speed quickly to throw their shots. Cover, whether solid or artificial, can be a great ally and utilizing it to its fullest potential is key to both doing damage, and receiving little.

Ammo Choice

Most ships have at least two different types of ammo and many have three; Armor piercing (AP), High Explosive (HE) and Torpedoes. Your choice of what to use and when you use will greatly increase your damage output and even survivability. Most cruisers, with the exception of the tech tree Royal Navy ships, tend to rely on their HE rounds for most circumstances and only switch to AP for the occasional broadside target. HE rounds are great for damaging low armor targets, damaging or destroying modules, damaging hard targets, such as a bow-in battleship and of course, setting fires. This is why so many players utilize their HE rounds most frequently as the damage over time, especially when fires have been set on multiple ships simultaneously, can add up quickly. The best way to take advantage of a good fire starter, such as the Chapayev or Zao, is to set a fire on one ship, and then to the next and repeat. Also, focusing on ships that have burned their damage control is crucial as the fire or fires will burn for their full duration. For this to be the most effective, team communication is important, though sometimes this may just be within a division.

Your Armor Piercing rounds are best suited for broadside targets. For most ships, aiming at the waterline, for the citadel, is the sweet spot for best damage potential. However, if a German battleship is your target, aim either at the superstructure or just below the deckline for best results. In a battleship AP tends to be the only round used. The reasons behind this are; they do the most damage and the reload time is long. Switching between AP and HE can be costly due to the long reload as situations where HE might have been more useful can quickly fade, especially when dealing with a cruiser or destroyer. AP can be very effective against softer targets, particularly if you are patient. For cruisers, waiting for the broadside is ideal while for destroyers, waiting for an angle between broadside and bow-in is the best. This increases you chance of getting full penetration damage as opposed to overpens.

The use of torpedoes, particularly for cruisers, is often very situational. This is largely due to the fact that your detectability exceeds that of your torpedo range. In short, you can’t launch torpedoes without being detected. Further, seeing as how you typically need to show your broadside in order to launch your fish, your game could come to an abrupt end if a battleship is your target. As a result, ambushing or defensive uses tend to be the most common instances in which cruisers use their torpedoes. However, they can still be used for area denial or against targets that are otherwise engaged by someone else and not paying attention to you.

The use of torpedoes with destroyers tends to be far less situational as their torpedoes have longer range and their ships have greater detectability. This allows them to use them more offensively and from concealment, particularly at higher tiers

Aiming

World of Warships offers two main types of aiming reticules to the player; static and dynamic. Further, the option for extra information, such as range to target and estimated flight time of your shell to the target can be enabled temporarily via the Alt button or all the time through the settings menu by selecting the ‘Alternative Interface Mode’ option under Controls and setting it to either Full or Adaptive[2]. I personally prefer to always see this information as it aids in aiming and distance estimation to points in smoke for torpedo use. As for choosing between static or dynamic crosshairs, that tends to be a personal preference so long as you understand the differences between the two.

The static crosshairs, which has the biggest variety, is tailored to ships that go 20 knots, such as early tier USN Battleships, at full zoom. Further, the distance between the gradients on them does not adjust dynamically to zooming in or out. This can make them somewhat difficult to use as most late tier ship exceed that by a factor of 1.5 or greater. However, I have learned how to use them to great effect and here is how.

Using the estimated time to target as a base line, I line the gradient markers on my reticule with the bow of the ship as follows. For most upper tier BB’s, with the exceptions of the Iowa and Missouri, I take the time to target, say 10 sec, add 2-3 sec and that’s the gradient marker on my reticule that I line up on the bow, so 12-13. For most cruisers and the fast BBs, I multiply that by 1.5 and then typically at 1, so about 15 or 16. Finally, for destroyers I tend to multiply by 2.5 if they are not running speed boost (look at the smoke, if it is dark gray, they are running normal, but if it is thick and black they are running speed boost) and 3 if they are running speed boost. If, however, they are a Russian DD, I may tack on an extra 1-2 ticks because they are so fast. There are still other exceptions to these tricks, such as the Yamato, which is on the slower side of the high tier battleships so I only add 1-2 ticks instead of the 2-3. A lot of what I’ve learned in using the static crosshairs is trial and error and lots of practice. It will take time, but I have had great luck and you can too.

Dynamic crosshairs are designed more towards ships that travel at 30 knots and dynamically adjust the distance between each gradient depending on zoom level. This makes them great for hitting close targets or fast moving targets. I personally have not had great luck with the dynamic crosshairs but I know others enjoy them, such as Notser. To my understanding however, for targets traveling about 30 knots, you use the estimated time to target as the baseline, say 10 sec, and line up the 10 mark on the reticule with the center of the ship. For ships that travel faster, the factor by which they are traveling faster than 30 is the multiplier you would use for the gradient. An example might be trying to hit a ship that you know travels 36 knots. That’s a factor of 1.2. So for a 10 sec travel time you would aim at the 12 mark.[3]

Torpedo aiming is, in its basic form, quite simple. Place the green directional marker within the white estimate cone. However, the key word there is estimate. The cone is only considering a ships current course and speed. In lower tiers, this was often sufficient. In upper tiers, on the other hand, players have (usually) learned to not sail in a straight line and to vary their speed. They have also learned which ships have torpedoes, know their ranges and typically know when a destroyer is nearby. What all this means is that, at medium to long ranges, that cone is not very useful. What you need to be able to do is predict a players course changes and account for those when you send your torpedoes. If they turn in towards you, you need to send them on the inside of the cone, and if they start turning out and away from you, you need to send to the outside of the cone. How much you do this depends on the ship you’re targeting and its maneuverability. Most of what I can say here is play and learn by trying. Many players tend to be habitual in what they do, so watch for patterns. When do they turn out versus turn in? Are they constantly adjusting their speeds? Are there other ships targeting them? Figuring these questions out will help with making sure your torpedoes hit their targets.

Load-Out

Knowledge of your ship and how it performs is the first step in deciding the ships load-out. Also, knowing your own play style[4] and how you would prefer to play the ship is just as important as well. If you prefer to play with a more gun focus, then picking modules that increase accuracy, or reload speed, or turret traverse and their durability are things to consider, similarly with a torpedo focus. However, if you prefer the close in battles, a secondary battery focus is something to pick while still considering what your main armament requires to be most efficient. The same can be said if you want more of an AA build, particularly those ships that inherently have strong AA, such as the USN battleships and cruisers. Also, consider a ship’s weaknesses as well. Flammable ships, like the German BBs, can benefit from Damage Control modules, while ships with slow or below average rudder shift can benefit from the Rudder modules.

I would always recommend running premium consumables if you can afford it. Not only does it give you one extra charge or usage but the cool-down tends to be shorter as well. Always try to run flags as well. As you are grinding up, I would recommend running flags that benefit ship XP, commander XP, free XP and of course credits. Anything after that should focus on the ship performance and how you prefer to play that ship.

Finally I would also always recommend running your ship with camo. The buff, minor though it may be, to concealment and or enemy dispersion can mean big things over the course of a single battle. Not to mention many of the premium camos offer increases in income or XP.

For more details on module load-outs for individual ships I would strongly recommend watching some of the YouTube videos that Notser puts up. He does an excellent job at the beginning of each of his videos outlining his load-out and captain skills

Captain Skills

Just as with load-out, knowledge of one’s ship and how you would like to play it based on its and your strengths and weaknesses is key in training your captain. Due to the MANY different options and combinations I will keep this section short and point you in the directions to make your selections easier. First, I would recommend that you captain have a bare minimum of 10 points for best success at higher tiers with the ideal minimum being 15. Of course, the best would be 18 or 19 but we have to start somewhere. The usage of Elite Commander Experience can come in handy in retraining or training up new captains quickly, however, chances are you don’t have any yet so I would recommend using a previous ship to help train up to the 10 points or a premium if you have them. A great resource for planning captain skills is Shipcomrade.com. Not only can you pick out skills before you have the points, but you can see all the benefits to each skill listed at the end. Further, you can also see what other players have saved and recommend for certain ships. Finally, as with Load-outs, a great resource is to watch videos that Notser has created about specific ships for more ideas.

Game Mechanics

The primary game mechanics that I will be covering in this section are Overmatch, Auto bounce, over penetration, concealment and spotting, damage saturation and RNG.

Overmatching occurs when the shells caliber meets or exceeds 14.3 times the thickness of the armor in which it will penetrate. Once this threshold has been met, ricochets and shell breakups will not occur on contact with that section of ship. As most upper tier battleships have 32mm of bow armor, the only ship capable over overmatching their bow armor is the Yamato as its 460mm shells are greater than 14.3 X 32.

Auto bounce occurs when first, overmatching is not met and second, the inside angle of the shell’s path in relation to the angle of the armor it will hit is equal to or less than 30°. This tends to happen often when shooting at a bow in or a heavily angled target. Further, and certainly worth noting, if a ship’s armor has an angle of between 30° and 45°, bounces may still occur.

Over penetration can be a very annoying mechanic, especially for ships with large caliber guns like battleships, particularly when a cruiser armed with torpedoes is presenting a broadside just before launch. Over penetrations occur when the fuse on an AP shell does not have time (has not passed through enough armor) to arm the fuse and cause it to explode will in the ship or citadel. According to the World of Warships Wiki, if your ship has 410mm guns, the shell needs to penetrate a minimum of 68mm of armor in order to detonate. This is a little deceiving however as this can be reduced with range and water. For battleship players who are shooting at a close range cruiser, this means that unless they are presenting an angle that is less than 90° but great but greater than 45° you can overpen and do minimal damage. So to counter this mechanic, you can wait until they are at an angle that is greater than 45° or if they are presenting a perfect broadside, aim just below the waterline (a few pixels).

Concealment and spotting mechanics have changed considerably since the game first launched. In the current version though, the mechanics are quite a bit simpler. First off, the concealment of a ship is broken down into 2 parts, surface and air, and affected by its base concealment plus modules, load-outs and captain skills with some ships having concealment below 6km. Concealment is then negatively affected by fires and firing of any armament except torpedoes. Line of sight plays a large part in concealment and spotting as well. If not ship has a direct line of site to yours, regardless of detectability, you will not be spotted, even when you fire. Islands will provide this kind of cover as well as smoke. However, the exception to this is proximity spotting, which occurs when an enemy ship is within a base of 2km, regardless of line of site. The 6th slot module, Target Acquisition, will extend this to 3km and hydro can extend it even further. Radar, on the other hand, is effective up to its maximum range, regardless of line of site.

Situational Awareness

Maintaining situational awareness while in battle is extraordinarily important to your survival. It will help you avoid torpedoes, islands, friendly ships and taking unnecessary damage. The two easiest tools to use to help achieve better situational awareness is the minimap. If it is too small or too big you can use the Ctrl and the plus or minus key to increase or decrease the size of it respectively. Further, by holding Ctrl and using the mouse to hit the Settings cog in the upper right corner of the minimap, you can adjust the overlays that are displayed on it as well as its opacity. The second of those tools is to avoid being zoomed in all the time. Using the shift button will immediately bring you out of zoom, regardless of zoom level so you can look around you. Further, using shift in conjunction with the right mouse button will allow you to look around without losing your point of aim.

Things to always watch for are smoke screens, friendly ships, incoming fire and torpedoes. First off, smoke screens typically mean there’s a destroyer in that area, which in turn means torpedoes. Keeping your head on a swivel will also help you spot already spotted torpedoes. They might not be close enough to sound the in-game torpedo alarms so spotting them earlier as opposed to later is always important. Further, knowing where friendly ships are prevents you from getting in their way, or vice versa or more importantly, running into their torpedoes or guns. Always assume that the friendly player isn’t paying attention, particularly when there are targets within torpedo range and they’re behind you. Finally, watching the horizon for incoming shells, especially if you are broadside to those shells, can help you avoid lots of damage but just adjusting course or speed. Though there is a captain skill to notify you of incoming fire, knowing where it’s actually coming from is more important.

Advanced Tactics & Skills

Up to this point, most of the skills necessary for your success has been either already learned or already discussed. In this section, I’ll go over some of the nuances that will better you as a player help eliminate the enemy in a more efficient manner.

Manual Targeting

Holding control and left clicking on an aircraft or squadron with increase the effectiveness of your ships AA. Further, if you are running the Manual AA captain skill, this will increase this even further. The same can be done on a ship too for your secondary batteries. Though there is a similar skill for your captain (Manual Secondaries) which greatly increased their accuracy, if you are running that skill secondaries will not fire unless a target has been selected. As a result, though the skill is very affective, I would recommend getting into the habit before using that skill.

Gun Locking

You can lock your guns to either a specific point in relations to the ship or to a sector using Ctrl + X and Shift + X respectively. Typically, these commands are useful when you are making a hard turn or planning ahead for where your guns need to be. I also use them when I need to have my guns ready for a specific area or target during a reload while I check my surroundings.

Free Looking

This is a particularly useful mechanic to utilize, particularly in rapid firing ships.  When you are zoomed in, pressing and holding the Right Mouse Button (RMB) will zoom you all the way out and allow you to free look around your ship. With this, you can check for other targets, incoming torpedoes or anything else that could be hazardous. This is a huge aspect of the situational awareness discussed earlier in the guide. Doing so also locks your guns on that particular spot (range and bearing) so you can reacquire your current target easily by just releasing the RMB.

Selecting and Deselecting Targets

Pressing the X key while your reticule is over a target will allow you to select a target more quickly than letting the auto-select kick in. I find it more useful by deselecting targets in two instances. The first is the wrong target is selecting when two or more targets are close together. The second instance is a way to fake an enemy out if they are using the Incoming Fire captain skill or are using Priority Target. Though this doesn’t work very well for players with good situational awareness, for those without you can have good luck, particularly if they are close. If they are at medium to long range this isn’t as useful as your dispersion can suffer significantly when a target is not selected.

Inertia Fused High Explosive

Though this is technically a captain skill, the mechanics of this skill places it here. Inertia Fused High Explosive or IFHE is the 4-point captain skill that increases the penetration of your HE rounds by 30% while reducing fire chance by 4%. As most ships follow a 1/6 caliber penetration rule for HE (German ships adhere to a 1/4 caliber rule), meaning the penetration is equal to that of 1/6 the caliber of the shell. So a 152mm has ~25mm of penetration. This is important because without IFHE you cannot penetrate 27mm bow armor that many lower tier ships have. However, with a 30% increase in penetration, you now have 32.5, which rounds to 33mm of penetration. Now you can penetrate the bow armor of every ship in the game. Keep in mind however, if you gun caliber is anything above 192mm (33×6) for all but the Germans – which is 132mm (33×4) – then it tends to be a waste of 4 captain points as you can already penetrate 32mm.

Damage Saturation

All ships are broken up into 4 zones – one bow, 2 mid, and one stern. As a ship takes damage to these zones, either through penetrating or over penetrating shots, their given HP pool gets depleted. When this happens, further damage gets reduced and can ultimately get negated by this mechanic. You can estimate a sections damage saturation by how dark that area has become – black bring complete saturation. Once that happens, any penetrating or over penetrating shots from either AP or HE rounds will do no damage. However, fires, flooding and hours to the citadel will still inflict their full damage potential.

Tools and Resources

Below you will find a list of link to tools, websites, YouTube playlists and anything else that I would consider useful to your learning experience.

  • http://wiki.wargaming.net/en/World_of_Warships – Wargaming’s resource for everything Warships. From ship data to mechanics, maps, consumables – it has it all.
  • http://shipcomrade.com/ – Another good resource for World of Warships information. Of note, is the Captain Skill Calculator which I highlighted earlier.
  • iChase – An excellent YouTuber and WoWs Community Contributor. Most notably for this guide, is his Captain’s Academy Playlist. A must watch for the visual learner
  • Notser – Another YouTuber with very informative content. Though he tends to lack some of that situational awareness, particularly when it comes to islands, his added details about his load-outs and captain skills are very useful for players new to a ship.
  • Jammin411 – Owner and operator of WoWReplays.com. He would often review popular replays that were uploaded and offer critique of the plays and choices made by the player highlighted.
  • Best World of Warship Replays – No commentary given, however, can be useful to watch to see how good games are played in a particular ship.

There are plenty of other YouTubers and streamers out there but these just those that I find to be the most helpful. A word of caution I would put towards the YouTuber and streamer Flamu however. Though he does offer some entertainment value and does include build and captain information at the end of his most recent videos, he tends to be caustic and ‘not very modest’ to put it nicely. In my opinion he is not a great example of a good player, both individually but more importantly, as a team player.

 


[1] Fire chances can be broken down in two main groups – Stock and upgraded. The upgraded group can vary quite a bit due to captain skills and flags.

[2] I use Full exclusively

[3] I am by no means an expert at using the Dynamic crosshairs so any corrections are welcome.

[4] See Playing to Your Strengths: A How to Guide for more information