What is a Team Player? This can be an easy question to answer but very difficult to define – numerically at least. So for starters, I’ll begin by stating how I would define a team player.
A team player will player for the team and the win and not necessarily themselves. What this boils down to is making plays that benefit the team but not the individual player, at least directly. This includes, taking and defending capture points, spotting without doing damage (with guns), smoking up teammates and not themselves, using consumables for the team, tanking damage or drawing fire from other teammates and sometimes even self sacrifice. Each class of ship has their own niche in what they are capable of doing and using those to both the players advantage and the teams advantage can often mean the difference between a win and a loss, or at the very least, a close game.
So since that defines a good team player, it would stand to reason that doing the opposite would define a bad team player. However, there are a couple other criteria that I would like to point out. The first kill stealing.
Kill Secure vs. Kill Steal
There is a fine line between a kill steal and a kill secure, so let me draw it for you. A kill secure, as many of the community contributors like to call it, would be killing an enemy vessel on low health where the bulk of the damage was done by someone else. What sets this aside from a kill steal is a player’s intention. If you want to make sure that a ship is removed as soon as possible, so you help focus a target but just happen to get shells off when the enemy is low, that’s a kill secure. However, if you wait until the player is low enough to have a high chance at getting the kill, that’s a steal. This is bad form in my opinion and if I am sure this is what I player has done, I try to report them.
Use of Consumables
Poor or individual use of consumables is another defining factor of a bad team player. They will choose to use their radar, hydro, defensive AA, and smoke to primarily benefit only them. Sometimes it can benefit other team members, which can make their intention less obvious, but where they are in relation to the fleet, too far ahead or separate from them, can often indicate a bad team player. The new destroyer meta helps promote this sadly, though it is still a conscious choice of the player to decide whether or not to let that dictate their use of smoke. When it comes to radar or hydro, I try to let my teammates know when I’ll be using it so they can be ready to focus a target or be extra vigilant of torpedoes. This also prevents other players from using and wasting their own when it might not be necessary. Sure, every player, at one point or another will find themselves having to using their consumables for themselves, and some ships almost require it, such as the British cruisers. This doesn’t typically qualify them as a bad team player, depending on the circumstances, but it is something to consider.
A player who communicates with the team in a constructive manner is typically a good team player. Usually this is something as simple as requesting a priority target or a cap or acknowledging the another player requires assistance. As noted previously, I like to let my teammates know when I’m going to use my consumables, but I also like to know what the strategy is at the beginning of the match. How a teammate responds to or reacts to this can also be an indicator of a team player. We all have seen some of these players – the ones that go in the opposite direction that the rest of the team has agreed upon. They usually tend to be destroyers in my experience, but I have seen both cruisers and battleships do this as well, but by in large they are destroyers. Communication is key in a team based game. Failure to communicate or heed requests of the team tends to lead to a short and or frustrating game so let the team know your intentions, particularly if you are in a place help.
Playing Your Class
Each ship class has a niche that it fits into. As I plan on going into more depth on this in a future article, I’ll keep this section short. If you have played more than 300-400 battles you’ve probably figured out what each ship class is supposed to do. If not, here’s a quick rundown. Destroyers use their speed and detectability to take caps and spot the enemy. Their torpedoes are used for sneak attacks and area denial and guns to harass, do chip damage and start fires. Cruisers provide extended range harassment, anti-aircraft, extra detection capabilities with hydro and radar and destroyer hunting capabilities. Battleships supply damage tanking and high damage strikes with the longest range capabilities for primary armament. Carriers provide spotting, air cover from enemy carriers and harassment of enemy ships, ideally the fast and maneuverable ships like destroyers or those that are isolated. Know what your ship is good at and what it can do for the team and perform that task the best that you are capable of.
Measuring a Team Player
Defining what makes a team player is easy but as I said at the very beginning of this article, measuring it is difficult, particularly with the information available. We can certainly use information such as spotting and kill stealers, but whether or not they use their consumables for the team or themselves is very difficult. In the future, the possibility of some of these is becoming higher with the introduction of MxStats and hopefully the decryption of the replay files. For now, I would recommend that players use the report or compliment feature in game to help the larger community.
The criteria I have noted above are what I use to both objectively and subjectively to identify a good or bad team player. As things move forward with the game and access to more information from replays our hope is to create a formula so you can see a value rating for a team player. Until such time however, use your best judgment and act accordingly, but most importantly, try to be the team player that everyone wants on their team.
Please feel free to comment on any of my articles. Only constructive comments will be kept. I’m open to suggestions and will answer any questions you might have.
 It was brought to my intention that I should clarify this statement. “I tend to only report for blatant and habitual kill stealing…But I do use judgment when I dish out reports and make sure a player is intentionally stealing kills as opposed to assisting.”