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.


Destroyers are probably the most versatile class in the game so far as overall abilities. They are also some of the most diverse starting from little ninja torpedo assassins and going all the way to flame throwing speed demons. They can be broken down into 3 separate groups, which are a testament to their capabilities – gun boat, torpedo boat, hybrid. Some of the highlights of the roles that they should be fulfilling include:

  1. Spotting
  2. Capping
  3. Smoke clearing
  4. Area denial (with torpedoes)
  5. Finishing off low health ships
  6. Setting fires/causing floods

Japanese Destroyers – Torpedo Boat[1]

  • Torpedo and stealth specialties – good for area denial, spotting, flooding and ninja attacks
  • Some of the fastest – great for contesting and taking caps

American Destroyers – Hybrids (particularly late tiers)

  • Good concealment and great guns – great for hunting IJN DD’s, smoke clearing, settings fires and finishing off low health ships
  • Decent torpedoes – lower tiers are most apt for defensive or surprise torpedo attacks; high tiers more offensive and long range attacks
  • Higher tiers can have defensive AA – good for protecting self and nearby ships from CV strikes

Russian/Soviet Destroyers – Gun Boats

  • Fastest in class – great for getting into an area first but should be helped by another nation’s DD due to high detectability
  • Excellent guns – Great for setting fires and harassing anything, especially other destroyers

German Destroyers – Hybrids

  • Fastest torpedo reload – Great for area denial in a cap or choke point
  • Excellent guns plus hydro at high tiers – Perfect for hunting other destroyers, especially in smoke
  • Great first line defense against torpedoes for your team as a result of hydro


Cruisers fill more specific roles than destroyers and can be broken down into two categories – Heavy Cruisers and Light Cruisers (CA’s and CL’s). While many cruisers have torpedoes, they are usually for self defense or surprise attack situations due to the limited range of cruiser torpedoes in relationship to their detectability. However, the uniqueness of cruisers tends to lie in their consumables which are typically some combination of smoke, hydro, radar and defensive AA. As a result of their consumable choices, a player’s choice in specialization can depend on their load out. Here are some of the roles that a cruiser can play in the course of a battle as well as nation specific role suggestions:

  1. Air Defense platform
  2. Destroyer Hunter
  3. Capital Vessel support
  4. High DPM with guns and fires
  5. Harassment of battleships

Japanese Cruisers

  • Great fire starters
  • Heavy broadsides with AP for cruisers
  • Strong torpedoes, though poor angles and short range
  • Very stealthy, even for Heavy cruisers

American Cruisers

  • Good fire starters – low tiers have lower chance but higher fire rate while higher tiers get high chance but lower fire rate
  • Dangerous broadsides to both battleships and cruisers in close quarters battles – low shell velocity makes AP a bad choice for long range
  • High shell arcs make them excellent for using islands as cover
  • Radar at higher tiers – Decent range but long duration
  • Some of the best AA platforms in the game tier for tier, especially when paired with Defensive AA

German Cruisers

  • Some of the best AP of all the cruisers
  • Excellent AA capabilities at higher tiers
  • Has the best cruiser hydro in the game
  • Has turtleback armor scheme – great against cruisers, not so much for battleships
  • All tiers have torpedoes

Russian/Soviet Cruisers

  • High velocity AP makes them great for long range broadsides
  • The longest range radar in the game at high tiers
  • HE in all tiers has good chance of fire
  • All but tier X Moskva are equipped with torpedoes

British Cruisers – Light Cruisers

  • Only line that has smoke
  • SAP/AP only firing guns
  • High rate of fire
  • Unique, single fire torpedoes
  • Equipped with hydro for enemy torpedo detection while in smoke
  • Good to excellent AA platforms


Battleships are the heavy hitters of the lot. They are capable of removing ANY other ship from the battle in a single salvo – albeit usually at close range. Though they are the biggest ships in the game with the largest hit point pools, they tend to be the most vulnerable due to their size, lack of maneuverability and slow fire rate. This does not make them defenseless however. As a direct result of their size, they tend to have formidable secondary guns, capable of doing significant damage if you stray within range. Though they all have big guns, some specialize in an area more than others. Below are their general roles as well as their specialties by nation.

  1. Tanking damage for your team
  2. Supporting a push by destroyers and cruisers
  3. Dealing high damage or outright deleting broadside cruisers or other battleships

Japanese Battleships

  • Tier for tier tend to have the largest caliber guns
  • Excellent secondaries, particularly at higher tiers
  • Tend to have the longest range tier for tier
  • Some of the fastest battleships tier for tier
  • Best long range shooters due to their vertical dispersion
  • Yamato can overmatch the armor of ANY ship in the game – bow in will not help you

American Battleships

  • Have the best AA in their class
  • Lower tiers are very well armored and can be difficult to citadel but slow
  • Higher tiers are significantly faster with lowered citadels – save for the North Carolina
  • Have access to the unique dispersion module that decrease dispersion by 11% at tiers 9 and 10
  • Are great brawlers due to their excellent guns and turret traverse


  • Are the best rounded battleships of the bunch – can have comparable AA to American or secondaries compared to the Japanese
  • Have turtleback armor scheme making them the best brawlers, particularly with a secondary build – citadels are nearly impossible to hit at close range
  • Have some of the best turret traverse speeds
  • K. broadside is tied (with Montana) for the heaviest in the game


Carriers are the funny bunch among the classes (in my opinion). Of all the ships, they have the highest potential to be a great asset and force multiplier for a team. Due to their high skill cap however, the breadth of abilities of carrier captains is quite large. As a result, am excellent captain can make all the difference in a game. That aside, the class’s pure potential allows them to spot and scout for a team much faster than any destroyer, do massive amounts of damage to just about any ship and counter the capabilities of nearly every ship in a game. At high tiers, they have the capability to not only dominate the seas, but the air as well. Though it goes without saying, here are their recommended roles and strengths.

  1. Scouting/Spotting – even without radar, they tend to force destroyers to pop smoke, giving away their position
  2. Damage Dealing – be it alpha or over time
  3. Smoke Clearing – with manual drop torpedoes, a CV can clear out smoke


  • The best alpha strike capabilities of the two carrier lines
  • Excellent damage over time capabilities
  • Largest overall squadron group count


  • The best air superiority capabilities
  • Good damage over time capabilities
  • The fastest planes in the game
  • Well armored at higher tiers – armored decks can bounce low to medium caliber AP shells



Hopefully, this little guide will help you better understand what your ship class is best suited for. It is well worth mentioning that these are generalizations, especially for the destroyers and cruisers and the World of Warships Wiki does provide some good information about recommended setups for individual ships. The best resource though, is often the community when questioning how to play an individual ship as opposed to a certain line. It is also worth noting that your overall play style can affect the role selection of a ship but sticking to these guidelines makes you most useful to the team. Your role within your ship can be crucial in the outcome of a battle, but this is a team game and it takes a team to win. Do your part and hopefully the other players understand their individual roles and can fill those positions successfully and correctly. Should that happen, you will likely have a good game. Though this would guarantee a win, this will likely prevent you from being stomped.

[1] The second branch of the IJN DD’s are closer to hybrids with more a focus on guns

Author: SnipeySnipes

A technical and analytic writer for the blog - I focus on nuances and details where I can that are often ignored or over looked by other World of Warships community contributors. With a background in the social sciences and statistics I aim to answer questions about the game and player population as a whole, backing my findings with numbers as proof. I play World of Warships as often as I can but by no means am a "professional." Though I would say I perform better then the average player, I still screw up and die often! Hit me up for questions, comments or suggestions. Snide remarks or toxic comments will be forwarded to my complaints department for disposal.

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