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WOWS Enjoyment - Matching YOU to Ships/Captains Skills/Module Upgrades - Pt. 2 - Maneuvering (with a Purpose could save your life)

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hangglide42    274

Hi All!  Hanglide42 again with the 4th in the series to get more enjoyment from World of Warships.  This one deals with Maneuvering your ship.  "Wait a Minute!  This is silly, I know how to move and turn my ships...I even avoid islands (sometimes)...what else is there to know?".  If you've ever found yourself in or seen the following situations in the game, you may be interested in this posting:

- Why am I always getting targeted (and deleted so quickly) - everyone seems to shoot at me?

- I hate that initial encounter - I'm always...

   o ...running into the map edge... or islands

   o ...getting surprised by more ships than I thought and once I fire, 4 ships in stealth fire back at me and kill me

   o ...getting stuck once the shooting starts and they kill me quickly

- Once we meet the enemy, I can't turn around...

- Those BBs on my team are so far back, my guns can't reach, but when I move closer to get in range, I get  targeted and killed first

- How do my (relatively) puny CL/CA guns or pew-pew DD guns kill BBs w/o them one-shotting me?

- Why do some players play certain ships well, but I can't seem to?


If you've ever asked these questions and more, this article makes some suggestions that might help you develop your techniques and maneuvering tactics to better survive, help you deal more damage  In short, there is a big tactical difference between knowing how to steer and understanding some of the strategies wrt Maneuver and how they can improve your survival and raise your XP and damage done. 


Captains Skills:

Priority Target - Informs you of how many enemy are currently targeting you.

This skill is useful as a primary or secondary Tier I Captains Skill since it lets you know when an enemy ship is actively targeting you.  This gives you time to execute a maneuver (or stop one if your maneuver  would have resulted in showing your broadside) before the enemy starts shooting (i.e. if the enemy sees you maneuvering, he may often switch targets and you may avoid the shot altogether).  Also, in certain situations, this may reveal the presence of a hidden DD (i.e. if PT indicates more ships targeting you than are in range on the mini-map).  I trade off this and Preventative Maintenance on my ships.

Incoming Fire Alert - informs you of when an enemy has shot at you.

This skill superseded by Priority Target as that skill gives you more pro-active actionable information.

Expert Marksman - Increases the speed of your turret traverse

This skill is useful if you have ships w/ slow turret traverse (e.g. IJN CAs or BBs) or as, possibly, a second Tier II skill.   DDs need Last Stand for their 1st pass thru the Captains Skill tree, but this is also a possibility for DDs w/ slow turning turrets like Russian DDs.  Why this is in the maneuver section is because  "how slow are your turrets relative to your ships maneuvering capability (i.e. rudder shift)" may determine whether you need this skill for your ship or not.

Last Stand - Allows movement and steering at a reduced rate with a knocked out engine/steering

This is an essential for all DDs as a 1st pass Tier II skill - if you lose your engine or steering when you get hit, you are dead without this skill. You can even use this in situations to maneuver out of trouble w/o using your repair party if you're still being engaged.  This prevents the "hit-fix-hit again-die" problem if you use your repair while still under fire.   Larger ships  generally don't need this skill (e.g. other steering/propulsion upgrades generally are good enough to cover the rare occasion your steering/propulsion gets crippled in larger  ships.

Smoke Screen Expert - Increases Smoke Screen Radius by 20%

This Capt. Skill is possibly useful for DDs who smoke up their teams (more advanced play) or British CLs.   Since this is a Tier II Captains skill that competes w/ Last Stand, I don't use this on DDs, but do take this on the British CLs and the Kutuzov.   The reasoning is that the smoke screens for the larger ships are smaller relative to the ship sizes and a larger smoke helps you to maneuver within the smoke to avoid torpedoes or blind fire hits.  You may also want to consider if your play style includes sharing your smoke w/ your teammates, this permits more opportunities for your teammates to scavenge your smoke.

Vigilance - Increases torpedo detection range by 25%

Useful for giving you more time to maneuver out of the way of incoming torpedoes,  especially for slow maneuvering ships like BBs.   Unfortunately, other higher priority skills compete with this Tier III skill (e.g. BFT, Superintendent, Demo Expert, Faster Torp Reload) so I do not use this skill & have to rely on my tactical awareness to guard against torpedo launches.

Superintendent - Adds +1 to number of consumables

Why this is included with the maneuvering section is that the increased number of consumables (e.g. Smoke, Hydro, Radar, etc) determines how aggressively you can maneuver your ship (e.g. attacking that DD or CL  hiding in smoke, enter a DD infested area w/ ample warning from torpedo attacks, etc.).  The rule of thumb here is that if your ship has usable consumables such as those mentioned, having more of these is preferable.

The alternative (i.e. more expensive) is you can use premium consumables and not take this skill.  This does have the advantage of shortening your cooldown while giving you the same number of consumables but at an increased resupply cost (either in silver - usually 22500 or gold per consumable).  For most  DDs where you care about the Smoke and don't usually use all your speed boost, this may be a viable  "cost of running your ship tradeoff". If you run a Premium account, Premium Ship or are a very good player,  you might also want to consider not taking this skill and using the 1st pass Tier III skill on something else.

Concealment - Reduces detection by 10% (DDs), 12% (CL/CAs), 14% (BBs), 16% (CVs)

This is a must have priority for me for all but my KM & IJN BBs (this is because those ships have very long ranged secondaries and the 2nd Tier IV skill is more productive for me if I use a secondary build).   I usually have this skill with my 10 pt. Capt. Concealment is a critical tool in maneuver since it allows  you to "choose your engagement/disengagement" opportunities and allows you to maneuver into position for first strike, stealth fire, flanking fire or to just "get the hell out of there & come back to fight  another day".


Module Upgrades:

Main Battery Modification 2 (Tier V+) - Increases Traverse Speed 15%, Decreases Reload 5%

Why is a seeming shooting upgrade in w/ the Maneuvering upgrades?   This upgrade is relevant because your effectiveness in the game is predicated on the following "can you bring your guns to bear to fire as fast as you can while maneuvering for survival".  You need to gauge how much you rely on shooting while maneuvering an on a ship-by-ship basis, "can your guns turn fast enough to keep up w/ your rudder shift when you maneuver?".  With ships such as US DDs which have turret traverse speeds that easily keep up with any maneuvers you do, this won't be necessary.  I do, however, need it for my Russian DDs, the Blyskawica & my ARP Myokos to help my guns  reasonably keep up some of my maneuvers (even then, you heed to be pre-aiming your guns  as much as possible).

Steering Gear Mod 1 (Tier VI+) - Decreased Repair Time 20%, Decreased Chance of Incapacitation 20%

I generally take the Damage Control Mod in this slot for everything except for ships that have a tendency to have their rudders knocked out (e.g. ARP Myoko clones)

Propulsion Mod 1 (Tier VI+) - Decreased Repair Time 20%, Decreased Chance of Incapacitation 20%

I take the Damage Control mod in this slot for most ships and take this Upgrade for my DDs.  The reason is that w/ DDs, movement is life so taking the Last Stand coupled with this Upgrade is a must for DDs

Steering Gear Mod 2 (Tier VII+) - Reduces Rudder Shift 20%

I take this Upgrade on practically all my ships because I rely heavily on turning maneuverability and decreased rudder shift time (e.g. I prefer a 3 sec rudder shift on my DDs, and a 5-8 sec rudder shift on my CL/CAs which helps in kiting,  avoidance maneuvers and flank delaying tactics.   You may want to evaluate this in context of the improved Damage Control Mod 2 Upgrade as to what is more useful for you in this slot.

Propulsion Mod 2 (Tier VII+) - Increases Ship Acceleration by 50%

I chose the Steering Gear Mod vs this option because steering is used 100% of the time in my game play versus this upgrade being most useful if you are playing a ship that uses smoke (i.e. Kutuzov, British CLs and DDs) to help accelerate when your smoke runs out, or use speed changes more than rudder shifts to dodge shells.   This competes with the Damage Control Upgrade as well so you may want to evaluate which of the 3 enhances your survival more.

Steering Gear Mod 3 (Tier VIII+) - Reduces Rudder Shift 40%, Decreased Repair Time 80%

I am constantly grappling with this relatively recent addition to the upgrade capabilities.  This gives CAs fantastic rudder shifts on the order of 5 sec or less, but you need to trade it off with the Concealment upgrade.  I've tried both in this slot and come to the conclusion that a 7-8 sec rudder shift is "good enough" for my cruisers and have taken Concealment as a more generally useful Upgrade.

Concealment Mod 1(Tier VIII+)  Decreased Detection Range 10%

This was a tough tradeoff w/ Steering Gear Mod 3, but in my playstyle, the Steering Gear Mod 2 rudder shift improvement is "good enough", coupled with the Concealment Upgrade, this gives you more tactical maneuver advantages wrt getting off salvos, stealth fire and maneuvering for initiating engagement and disengaging at your choosing.

Target Acquisition System (Tier VIII+) - Increases Spotting Range 20%, Torpedo Acquisition Range 20%, Increases

Acquisition Range of Enemy Ships 50%.  This is a "spotting upgrade" that I find mostly useful for torpedo detection - I've tried it vs. the Concealment Upgrade and found Concealment more generally useful.


Steering your ship vs. Maneuvering your ship

There is a big difference between understanding the basic mechanics of steering and Maneuvering your ship (aka WASD hacks).  By the time you move from Co-op Battles and start Random Battles at Tier I or II, you feel pretty  familiar w/ the steering controls (i.e. WASD) - the higher you move up, however, a bit more familiarity w/what is required of you in a game to be more successful will help you (what I am calling Maneuvering).  Note that all the tactics below, when used to the appropriate degree can help your game.  The one thing to be aware of is that personal success is not necessarily team success if these tactics are used only to preserve yourself in the game, while neglecting the team goals.


2 Things - Speed & WASD Hacks

When many players first start, the tendency is to control one variable at a time - as a result, many beginning players use their WASD keys, but generally sail their ships at their maximum speed unless an island or another ship requires them to slow down.  If not sailing at maximum speed, beginners tend to sail at a constant speed which also helps the enemy target you. Moreover, once you focus a target in binocular view, you tend to ignore steering and hold your course while shooting at an enemy.

When an enemy shoots at you, their shells are in the air (typically) for at least 5 seconds (unless in a really close brawl), more often 10 or more.   This means that from the time they have targeted you and the shots have left their guns, they are counting on you not deviating from a predicted course for 10 sec or more.  So the key trick is one of simple math and here are the simplest rules of thumb of maneuver to give you the best chance of avoiding an enemy salvo:


- [Beginner ] Never sail in a straight line broadside to an enemy - always maintain at least  some angle

Why this is the number one rule is that targeting is all about predictability.  Once a player knows how to use their aiming reticle, they can hit a predictable target. The more you can do to make the player have to "guess" or predict you future path, the more survivable you become.  If you are angled, RNG has to come into play to give them a good damaging hit (since your armor angles now help  you); much more than if you simplify things by giving them a flat surface broadside to hit.


- [ Intermediate ] Get in the practice of using slight left to right swings while maintaining your base course

This is done w/ slight rudder shifts using your A & D keys (i.e. < 1/4 rudder) - do not go hard over in these turns (results in too much speed loss for your ship), but it gives an enemy targeting problem since you are effectively constantly changing your course so they have to guess at the lead they have to give you and your base course.  Also, if a DD is targeting you, their aiming indicator will constantly be moving and never show a steady course so they will have to be more experienced at predicting a lead to hit you (i.e. can't just aim at the grey bar). 

DDs and CL/CAs can do this pretty effectively w/ minimal speed tradeoffs if they feather their rudder as described. 

With BBs, you need to keep this in mind, but make the granularity of the timing your course adjustments a bit larger since BBs lose a lot of speed if you constantly maneuver (just change your course randomly within 10-15 sec or so).  With BBs, you REALLY want to minimize rudder traverse due to the long rudder shift time before changing direction (remember, your rudder is still turning you in a direction until it recenters so start recentering your rudder before you come to your new course or you'll oversteer) - take a page from the historical ships which used a technique referred to as "zig-zagging" to avoid actual torpedo attacks in WWII.

An anecdotal in-game situation which highlights the effectiveness of just turning is - if you've ever played DDs and had your steering knocked out (forcing you just to keep turning in a circle), while a lot of enemy are shooting at you - you'll find that you live longer than you think, because the rapid circling makes you a much harder target to hit.

Note too, that these maneuvers are general tactics prior to and during engagements.  Once you  know the composition of the enemy and what's shooting at you, more significant tactics such as armor angling, using cover, etc. also come into play.


- [ More Advanced ] Incorporate speed changes into your base course


Once the A-D hack becomes second nature, also include the W-S hack by varying your speed on your base course.  You'd be surprised how many initial salvos will miss if you're just sailing at 3/4 speed and not Full.   This is not necessarily a huge change in your speed either - what I do in my initial engagements, is once I reach the general area that I expect to start seeing enemy ships, I'll cut my speed to 3/4 or even 1/2 - when the ships are spotted and I start to react, I just move my throttle between full & 3/4 every 5 sec or so.  Due to the acceleration characteristics of most ships, this actually dramatically changes your speed predictability profile (even a momentary throttle change results in slowdowns that take you speed down quite quickly - the exception to this is the British CLs, which do not lose speed quickly in a typical fashion in turns or w/ quick throttle changes)

If you've ever seen a player who seems stationary but his smokestacks are lit and when you fire at them they easily move a little and dodge your shots from 15 km out?  This is an example of a player who is using his almost zero speed to bait you into firing a full salvo, then knowing he can move out of the way in time in 15 sec to avoid your shot (they may have the Acceleration Boost Upgrade Module installed for this) - By the way, if you know the player is doing this, just chain fire along his path - you'll get some hits.


Ship characteristics

It's important to get a feel for a given ships performance characteristics in the areas listed below to help you execute your maneuvers successfully.

- Rudder Shift Time

One of the most important characteristics that determine the maneuverability of you ship is your rudder shift.  Here  are a couple of rules of thumb I use when trying to configure my ships w/ their Upgrades and Capt. Skils.  I find the following help me get a reasonable level of maneuverability in my ships to allow for tactics like kiting and delaying an enemy on a flank while outnumbered & maneuvering.  Keep the rudder shift numbers in mind when you're configuring your upgrades - as always, evaluate your playstyle but this is what I use.

o DDs (Ideally 2-3 sec, 4-5 sec you'll find this kinda slow but I do have good DDs w/ the slower shift speeds)

o CLs/CAs (Ideally 5-6 sec, 7-8 sec OK, up to 9 secs is still OK but starts getting slow)

Side note, 2 of my ships that I do well in are the Hipper & Graf Spee and their rudder shift times are >8)

o BBs (Ideally 11-13 sec, 13-15 sec still good but take what you can get)

As you get up in Tiers, the BB turning radius and rudder shift times becomes pretty large (tho surprisingly some Russian CLs have similar turning radius' so I didn't find it that bad)

o When you use your rudder, try to use the minimal rudder needed to execute your turn.  If you "hard over"  your rudder to maximum deflection (especially in a BB), you'll find that you pay a bad penalty in speed loss and you're committed to that turn direction until your rudder can recenter and reverse which can be an eternity if a DD is hunting you.  So keep your fingers off of the Q & E key.

o Get a feel of the turning characteristics of each ship.  Be aware that a ship's performance will change with 2 of the upgrades in the upgrade tree for most ships.  The propulsion upgrade (if present) will affect maneuverability and one of either the Hull(B)/Hull© options (if present) will usually contain a rudder shift     improvement which will greatly enhance your maneuverability.   Why getting a feel for your ship is important is because as you  try to maneuver to dodge shells, you want to know how little rudder is needed to get where you want to go so you can reverse your direction quickly - an essential skill if you want to "kite" or "hold a      front while retreating & dodging".

- Acceleration Characteristics

Get a feel for how your ships accelerates and decelerates - this will be different on every ship and its upgrade change this characteristics for most ships.  Most ships will exhibit the following characteristics:

o You will lose speed, the more rudder deflection you use.  The experienced player will know how to use this to enhance their maneuvering capability.   It's usually a bad idea to maximize your rudder deflection since it commits you to turning in that direction until the rudder can recenter.   The better player will know the minimum rudder deflection they can use to best swing their ship from left to right while maximizing their turn options and maintaining most of their speed.

o Your ships will relatively rapidly decelerate, but be very slow accelerating.  You must be  aware of this if you are using your throttle to adjust your speed.  You will find that going from Full to 3/4 speed will have a dramatic effect in slowing your ship and it will take a while to regain your full speed.  Again a better player will take advantage of this by dropping their speed, then very quickly going back up in speed.  Just that quick change will have a effect of varying your speed by a number of knots that will help you dodge shots.

o British CLs are the exception to this rule - they don't lose much speed even in hard over turns and are very hard to decelerate.

If you are used to your turns dropping your speed when you are maneuvering in most of your ships, you'll find that British CLs do not lose their speed in a turn.  This can be useful when you are trying to get away from an enemy shooting at you, but not so much if you're counting on your turn as a tactic to vary your speed.    Also, British CLs are slow to decelerate when you throttle down so you have to be careful that you are already at half  speed or less and decelerating when you try    popping your 2 puff smoke in a British CL or you'll sail right out of it.


- Turning Radius

You need to be aware of your ship's turning radius as this affects how far in advance you have to plan your maneuver.  Some Russian CLs have as large a turning radius as a number of BBs so be aware of this parameter.   When you're maneuvering hard, it's essential to refer to the mini-map (make it larger if needed) to be aware of what island obstacles might be in your wary.  Nothing kills you faster than if you inadvertently ground on an island while trying to maneuver evasively while   under fire.

If you miscalculated and find yourself not able to avoid an island, resist the urge to slow and try to make a turn you're not going to be able to complete anyway.  Instead, maximize your speed so you hit the island as quickly as possible (the island will decelerate you to 0 the quickest).   You can then start reversing and correcting your grounding much faster than if you tried to slow the ship first, but grounded anyway.


- Turret Rotation vs. Maneuver

One important element that determines your Upgrade Modules and Captain Skills are your turret rotation speed vs. your ship's ability to maneuver.  This is very important in certain tactical situations when you are trying to dodge shots actively (e.g. Kiting or Defensive Delay Tactics).   Your turrets have to be able to reasonably track targets when you need to maneuver relatively hard to avoid one or more ships firing at you. 

If this is not the case, you'll find yourself maneuvering the ship to bring your guns to bear.  An example of this is the IJN CA line, particularly the Myoko.  Even with the necessary Upgrades and Skills, the turrets can't turn as fast as you can maneuver that ship so even in a defensive situation where you are maneuvering a lot, I find myself having to turn the ship to help bring the guns to bear (to those unfamiliar with the ship, what  looks like the player "chain firing" while frantically maneuvering their ship is just me using the ship's turn to help bring guns to bear and firing as soon as the reticle aligns).  This is not a problem w US DDs or other cruisers like the KM Nurnberg.


Planning - Mini Map & Tactical Awareness

One of the key elements that are overlooked is assessing the game team matchups and mini-map to evaluate their tactical contingencies.  One of the overlooked aspect of WOWS is the game rewards a tactical understanding of what the enemy's moves are likely to be so you can counter them by maneuvering.  The key things better players are evaluating before/at the beginning of the game are:

- What is the composition of the enemy team?

Understanding the makeup of the enemy team also helps you understand what the enemy is likely to try to do and help you pro-actively maneuver against that possibility and set up an ambush for them when they appear.

o What are the DDs and their torp ranges (especially important for BBs and DDs)

The importance of this for BBs is pretty clear, but DDs also need to be aware of their counterparts and their spotting distances.  Also, when DDs smoke up, you need to know when an enemy DD may be a threat of launching torps into your smoke.

o Which enemy have hydro or radar and what are their ranges?

Especially important for DDs in Domination Mode.  This factor greatly influences how you want to maneuver and position yourself (for escape) should one of these ships with the ability to peer into smoke appear - you need to know what your safety margin is where you can stay in cap or in smoke before the enemy CL or BB can hydro/radar you and kill you.

o Which ships in general are the largest threats you want to focus down first? 

Though many beginner players may think the BBs are the biggest threat and in somw cases taking out the Yamato or GK as a focus is never a bad idea, more experienced players will want to take out the enemy DDs first (a huge advantage in later game stages if one team has DDs, the other doesn't), Radar ships (helps your DDs secure Caps or stealth fire) or DD killing ships (e.g. Chapy, British CLs, Atlanta), Fire Ships (Kutuzov's love spamming IFHE at BBs - they can make life miserable for 3 BB formations by rotating fire among the approaching BBs and keeping the damage ticking).

- On the given map, what are the likely initial engagement points and how do I want  to maneuver to get in position?

On any given map, there are "Initial Engagement Zones and Avenues of Approach".  Once  you play a map a couple of times, it's pretty obvious what they are but in general they're in or around the caps (Domination) or on each flank around the central islands in standard battle.  Avenues of approaches are the likely areas ships are going to emerge based on available cover or general features of the map.  Having a good understanding of this and positioning your ship properly, can greatly increase your survival odds, damage inflicted and contribution to your team.

Knowing this, you need to evaluate how you're going to approach this engagement zone, having your maneuver plan for the phases of engagement using the tactics below,  contingencies for escape if things go pear shaped and a evasion/delay strategy if you get overrun.


Initial Engagement Approach:

When I evaluate a map for the initial encounter, I try to have the following maneuver plans:

- How can I maximize my ship's armor to minimize the damage when the shooting starts?

- What cover can I use to limit the number of ships shooting at me at one time?

- What is my plan if the enemy reacts so we can push?

- What is my plan if the enemy pushes and overwhelms us so I can escape?

- What is my plan to turn and reengage for another run?

- How can I position my ship to keep fire on the enemy as constantly as possible.


Here's what I go through mentally in planning my maneuvers as I spawn in:


- I check the team compositions and note the DDs (enemy team and my own) and evaluate what the matchups are  in a DD vs DD gunfight (the key issue when contesting cap).

o Which are Gunships that are problems for any DDs contesting cap (e.g. Russian DDs, US DDs, Blys).  Especially if I'm a CL like a Kutuzov or Chapy, I'm prioritizing the DDs if I see them in cap

o Which DDs have long range torps or high stealth characteristics - aka IJN DDs - this can be the largest problem for our BBs so if you see them, kill them, but also if your team has gunship DDs, they should be able take down most IJN DDs in a straight up fight.

- If I'm in a CL, I generally try to Fire Spam the BBs, prioritizing the Highest Tier ship or the BB on lowest health.

A general rule of thumb I use is "unless someone is intentionally withholding their fire just to get a kill, there is no such thing as kill stealing, just kill securing because it's paramount that you remove enemy guns from the game ASAP".  I've seen CAs w/ < 10 HP survive to affect the survival of my team later in the game because they  weren't taken out opportunistically. Unless the game is such a runaway that you want someone to get their courtesy Kraken, I usually trying to remove any ship from the game as quickly as possible. 

There is also a corollary to this rule regarding the "No Cap Kill All" mindset which can cost teams a win.  I've seen teams lose a game they had locked up because a lone DD snuck into cap and won it (I personally got a "Solo Warrior" by doing this once) so my philosophy is "Win First - Farm damage in your next game".

- After viewing my spawn and what the team decides to do or how the ships are distributing, I'll pick my initial engagement location.  Again a couple rules of thumb:

o Teams milling about and delaying their movement too long (especially DDs) or BBs which look like they only want to hang out at 20km and take long range shots is usually not a terribly good sign.  It usually indicates a less experienced team that may be reluctant to engage, their BBs may be afraid to close in and tank damage for their team,etc.  It could, however, also, mean there are players also trying to evaluate what the team is doing and make their  plans accordingly.

o When teams lemming train, this is often not a good thing because it starts a cap race.  For it to be successful, you have to be really good/fast at securing the caps and steamroll everything, because if the enemy is coming around the other way, he'll literally have no opposition.  A lot of times, lemming trains result in a 1:3 cap deficit in Domination because your push was held up by a few enemy ships, while the enemy is now in your spawn cap behind you and you have problems on 2 fronts.

o If my team is going to split evenly (like on 2 Brothers), I will generally go to the side which balances the forces best.  (on other maps that are more symmetric, teams will usually do a AB or BC strategy - in this case, I will plan to position between the 2 caps somewhat unless I'm the capping DD).

- Once the initial engagement area has been selected I move to my prepositioning location (i.e. where I expect to start the engagement) as fast as possible slightly angled, with my team (this might be 3/4 speed so you move with your other ships).   Why I'm slightly angled even in the prepositioning move is that a enemy North Carolina with a 10 pt captain can now stealth approach to 12+ km before firing at you.  Even as you are moving to the  prepositioning area, you need to have an maneuver plan ready if shots start coming your way.

- While on the move I evaluate what cover is available for the engagement zone and plan my initial approach, evaluate cover (a.k.a. islands or if DDs are likely to lay smoke) and contingency maneuvers depending on how the battle unfolds.

- The prepositioning location is the spot from which I can turn highly angled bow-in to the enemy in good range for my guns to maximize my armor protection), keep constant fire on the enemy and move toward the enemy in the direction of the cover.     The cover gives me the option to turn: either to push if the enemy retreats, seek additional cover if we're being overrun, or turn for another pass as the engagement continues.  Note, while I say bow-in, this is not the same as the BB tactic of "bow tanking".  In general, no matter whether you're a CA/CL or BB, a bow-in (or bow-away) highly angled ship maximizes your protection and survival chances (and preserves precious HP). If you're a DD, well, you have to try to maneuver to avoid the shot as best as possible if you're detected.

- Once the engagement starts:

o I will move slowly towards the enemy force towards the cover using it to partially mask me from part of the enemy force (note, I start many km from the cover, not up against it).  During this time I will be actively shooting but wiggling my ship from left/right and throttling between 3/4 & 1/4 and everything in between.  This makes targeting you difficult for the enemy and also maximizes the time you have in the bow-on angling to put fire into the enemy.

o If opportunity presents, I will try to bring my rear turrets to bear, but if the enemy is returning heavy fire, you'd do better to just use your front guns using your rear guns exposes even a hint of your sides for too long.

o As I get close to the cover (but far enough to execute a maneuver, I decide based on how the battle is developing whether I'm going to turn and keep engaging, break off and disengage or start a push.


The maneuver tactics in the sections below, outline what happens next:


Using Cover:

Cover is a very important element of improving your survival chances.  Having said this, a lot of times, cover is overused or misused.   I try to follow the following rule:  Cover should be used to minimize the number of ships that can shoot at you at once while keeping your own rate of fire on the enemy as high, constant and uninterrupted as possible.   If you watch any of the Unicum youtube videos, why they have such high damage numbers is that their guns/torps are always firing.  They are actively seeking out continuous target opportunities while making good use of cover, but not "hiding from engagement".

Many players either don't make sufficient use of cover (i.e. so their ships are really exposed to gunfire from multiple enemy simultaneously), maneuver without regard to their own protection (BBs that try to fire all their guns showing their broadside) or overuse cover to the detriment of their team (the high TIer BB hiding behind the island w/o firing on anything syndrome, then sometimes criticizing teammates for dying early, when they did nothing to tank damage for the team).

For newer players - here are some of the characteristics of what happens with cover:

- If you have hard cover (i.e. an island) between you and any enemy ship that can spot you, and you can see and fire on the enemy (because a friendly or an aircraft is spotting the enemy), you can fire on him and he can't see/fire on you.

- If you think the previous is the case, but you're detected anyway and there is no visible ship or enemy aircraft that could be detecting you, then there is a hidden  enemy (DD most likely) so that you're in his line-of-sight.

- Soft Cover (i.e. smoke) works similarly, however, there are certain differences when you are "in smoke" versus behind smoke.   If you are behind smoke, any enemy w/ LOS on you within your detection range will spot you and the enemy can still shoot at you from the other side.  This is not the case if you're "in smoke".

- Cover is important because it keeps you fighting longer, is a good protection mechanism for you citadels and serves as a escape route or convenient location to turn your ship while not exposed to enemy fire.

- More experienced DD players will lay smoke screens during contested battles for their heavier units for this reason - to shield them from enemy fire while they spot an allow their own ships to fire.  Similarly, more experienced BB/CA/CL players know this and are always ready to "scavenge smoke" for protection.

- Hydro & Radar - do not behave with real-world mechnics - When you are in "cover" you can still be detected if the enemy has Hydroacoustic or Radar.   Radars have ranges in the 8-9ish km range, while hydro has a 4ish km range  (depends on which country's ship you're in.  Also, hard cover does not help you avoid these 2 detection devices as they work thru solid land masses and will detect you for any ships that may have shots at you.

- Proximity Detection - when a ship gets close to you, even if they are outside of your smoke or behind an island, you will be able to detect each other within about 3 km.  This happens for all ships without regard to a consummable.

- Cover is not the same as hiding behind an island - if you have to wait a while for a ship to get in your sights and not firing your guns much, you aren't helping your team.  You may want to also consider this if you are maneuvering around islands - you want to keep the time where the island blocks your shots as short as possible so you can deal the maximum damage.  If you simply wait in ambush behind island cover for an enemy to happen by, you are probably not optimally maneuvering to help your team.

- Be careful if you're a BB and decide to saddle up to an island for cover and stop.  Any DD or CV will be licking their chops at this situation so be aware of what's  around you if you stay stationary behind cover.


Putting it together, a good example of using cover appropriately is the following:

You're in a Tirpitz and there are 4 enemy ships trying to fire on you.  You use a convenient island next you you to prevent 2 of the ships from firing on you (and anyone shooting you from one whole flank), while you point bow on at the other 2 ships and engage them.  This would be a good example of proper use of cover because:

1) you're protecting your flanks and preserving your HP

2) you're constantly pouring fire into 2 other ships and dealing constant damage

3) you're using your "tanky" armor to increase your damage inflicted potential by engaging using advantageous angling. (note: in this scenario, it's better to use just the front guns on your BB and preserve your HP than to try to use all your guns even against both BBs and take much more damage as a result)

4) if those 2 ships are firing at you where you have the armor to take it, that's so many fewer shells that are being aimed at your teammates, keeping them in the game longer.


Flanking Fire:

One important characteristic of ships WOWS is that your main batteries can pretty much only fire in one direction at a time.  The exception to this being secondaries and the case where your guns are transitioning direction and you have a convenient target along the line of turret traverse allowing you to fire your rear turrets at a target while your front turrets are already tracking another target a in a totally different direction.

This fact, however, leads to one of the safest ways to engage the enemy - when he is engaged with his guns pointed in another direction.  If you can learn to anticipate the enemy's engagement direction and maneuver to provide flanking fire from a different angle.  You can greatly help your team if you develop this skill - this is especially true if you are in a less armored ship such as a CA/CL/DD against a BB.

While you should always look for opportunities to provide flanking fire by checking where BB's guns are pointed - if you examine the mini-map and gain experience re: reading where the enemy is going and engaging your team, you can actually move to a better flanking position and increase your opportunities for safely doing damage using this tactic.  Just be aware of staying out of a BB's secondary range (particularly if it's a Tier VII or higher KM or IJN BB), especially if you're a DD on low health.


Kiting and Damage Avoidance:

This is the bane of BB players everywhere - it's the Cruiser that spams HE and kills you slowly while you're chasing him.  This is a must-know tactic for those playing CL/CAs that have good HE capabilities (e.g. IJN CAs, Russian CLs).  The principle is to kill an enemy using HE while engaging in a retreating fight with him.  This tactic is very useful when:

- Engaging multiple enemy BBs coming around a flank

- Engaging a chasing enemy ship that is your equivalent or greater w more HP, or more powerful than you.

- Engaging in a defensive delaying effort (e.g. your team lemminged the other way and only 2 ships are trying to protect the other flank against half the enemy team.

- In a normal initial engagement, after you've successfully turned around from your initial bow-in config and are now highly angled & retreating, it's essentially a kiting strategy when you continue to fire on the enemy.  Turning around to continue the engagement from there just requires you to know your detection range and drop from detection, turn and repeat the bow-in initial strategy.

Here are some recommendations:

- If you are a 152/155 mm gun CL, it helps if you have the IFHE Captains skill, and Demo Expert if possible and your turret traverse and maneuver capabilities are matched.

- If you are a 203 mm gun CA, it helps if you have Demo Expert and your turret traverse & maneuver capabilities are matched.


How to do it:

When you see the ship(s) coming around the flanks or the ship start to chase you:

1) Turn away from the ships and move away at a slight angle so that you can maintain a distance that is at the longer effective range of your guns (but not the longest range).  The trick is to give you more  time to maneuver and dodge incoming salvos, while still having a reasonable hit probability with your own shots to do your damage.

2) Keeping the slight angle is important because you want the enemy to have to guess at the lead, both laterally and distance-wise.  If you travel straight away, it's a much easier shot and if he hits you along the length of your ship, really bad damage can happen.  Also make sure you use minimum rudder when maneuvering so you can change directions quickly

3)  You have the advantage if a ship is chasing you, versus the enemy.   This is because you are moving away, making the shell flight relatively longer for him, while your shell flight is relatively shorter, making him easier to hit.

4) Primarily fire your rear guns on him, as fast as they reload.  If you are comfortable enough w/ your maneuvering, you can try to time bringing your forward guns to bear to fire all your guns  (especially if he's a slow firing BB), but don't risk any of you side to do this.  Just one mistimed try can result in you losing more HP that you'd prefer.

5) If you are guarding a flank against multiple BBs, try to move from BB to BB as you l light a fire on one.  Most BBs  will not put out a single fire and so you will get continuous fire damage on the BB - if the BB does put out a single fire, after 20 seconds, light him up again and this fire will stick.   If you happen to light 2 fires on a BB, wait til he puts it out, then light him up again. He won't be able to put the new fire out until his cooldown is over giving you a lot of DOT damage on him.

6) When he fires, jink in an unpredictable manner. I usually straighten the ship which gives him a slimmer profile, because if he was drawing lead, the shots should primarily land to one side.  The distance should give you significant time to avoid most of the shells.

7) Once the shells hit the ocean or will miss, go back to your angling and shooting.

8) It's important to make your course changes unpredictable, return to the same angle, but next time increase your angle back toward the pursuer (increasing the lateral separation of where he's aiming the shells) - if he's getting clever and predicting you're straightening out, this maneuver does 3 things:  1) helps you change    your direction, if you're getting hear the map border for example 2) allows you to bring your forward guns to bear 3) he should miss comfortably behind you.


With this technique it's possible to do a lot of damage to multiple BBs, kill a single BB, kill a pursuing ship w/ more HP.


Escape Routes - Rules of Thumb tor Turning Around:

When you enter into an engagement, you should have an escape route, to allow you to either:

1) turn around to continue the engagement

2) your team is doing well so you can push

3) your team is getting overrun so you can retreat.

The key is basically preventing yourself from giving the enemy a citadel to hit while you are making the turn.  The easiest time to shoot a player is when they're in a turn since they have to give a broadside and they are moving relatively the slowest.  Many players (not just beginners) get "stuck" being unable to  turn w/o exposing themselves to fire that takes half their health.   The key  factors to be aware of is:

1)  Plan your movement so you have full or at least partial cover for your turn.  This is why I described my initial engagement strategy as using a convenient island as  an turning point to provide cover.

2)  Plan your turn when no-one is targeting you - if you have the Priority Target skill,  pick a time when no-one is aiming at you (or a ship that can inflict minimal damage is targeting you).  If you have this skill tho, if, as you start your turn, the number targeting you spikes, I would reevaluate your choice to turn at that time.

3)  Turn, when higher priority targets are being shot at in front of you.  This is not to say use your teammates a shields, but in an initial engagement, there are likely to be some ships drawing the attention of the enemy  so use that opportunityto try to turn in a "safe window" while the enemy is reloading.  Remember, this window opens as soon as the enemy shoots, so don't wait until you see the shots land before starting your maneuver.

4)  Turn behind some of your own ships.  In a pinch, because of the targeting quirks in WOWS, the targeting reticle sometimes get confused when 2 ships are aligned  in the enemy's sights.   The targeting system sometimes jumps between ships, and winds up largely missing shots on either ship

5)  Turn behind DD smoke if you think you're not spotted.  This is actually quite common during initial engagements in domination mode.

6)  Turn when you're partially obscured by an island - again due to a sometimes targeting quirk in WOWS, islands sometime interfere w/ aim and the shells will impact on the island, and not your ship behind it.


When Getting Shot at is a Good Thing....:

Are you kidding?  When is getting shot good?   Well getting shot and dying is not good, but getting shot (and the enemy missing) is very useful in a number of situations and the maneuvering techniques (particularly Kiting) are key to successfully achieving these strategic goals:

1)  Your team has lemminged one way and only two of you are holding back half the enemy team charging the other flank.  Your job in this case is 3-fold:

     - Buy your own team enough time to exploit their 10-6 ship advantage on the other flank to get a cap advantage or cap the enemy base.

     - Inflict some damage on the enemy to keep their interest & ingore turning back if your team is near the enemy cap.

     - Survive & put yourself in a position to reset the cap when the enemy gets into it, again to buy your team more time.

2)  Your team has capped and you're winning on points but not in ships so you want to hope the enemy has "buck fever" or a "no cap kill all" mentality and you want to draw them away from the caps. Nothing is more frustrating when a third of your team is chasing 1 ship to the map edge while the enemy retakes all your hard won caps.

3)  You are a BB that can take the hits and those shots won't be aimed at the rest of your team.  Note: this is the blind spot of some BB players who get mad at their team since they got kills while sniping from 20km & taking no damage.  They don't realize the part they played in their team's loss because for the team to succeed, they needed to tank some damage to prevent the lighter armed ships on their team from absorbing all of it.


In general, the game tries to reward the team aspect of the game (e.g. your XP doubles if you win a game so it helps everyone on the team if your primary goal is winning a game for your team rather than padding your personal stats) - this got better when the XP reward system was updated a number of patches ago.  If you found your XP scores had stayed the same or rose after that patch change, you probably are playing with team goals in mind and were getting rewarded for it - if you found your XP dropped, you were/are playing w/ damage stats primarily in mind and not necessarily doing all the things needed to help your team in the game.

This is by no means a complete list of what you can do in terms of maneuvering tactics in the game - I would also make a suggestion.  If you happen to die in a game, use the free camera view to follow a member of your team who appears to be doing very well.  Follow that player and see what techniques that player is using in maneuvering their ship.  Also be aware that success is relative - I'm not advocating following a player that is a BB that is hiding in the back and sniping and though they have 1-2 kills, is not tanking any damage playing a BB for his team - if you do have a teammate that is successfully taking on the enemy team in brawls, or seems to be doing a disproportionate amount of damage for your team - watch them to evaluate what tactics you can incorporate into your own game.


Hope this helps!  Good luck with your new Maneuvering Skills!


A complete list of Forum Articles in the links below can be found in WOWS Enjoyment - List of Forum Articles & Guides.



Edited by hangglide42
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Moondoggie52    24

Great guide.


While I'm certainly no expert, I've been playing 1.5 yrs and picked up quite a few tips from this that will help me be a better (Scharnhorst) player!

Thanks very much for taking the time to post this!!!

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