After seeing the numerous decisions in game that have led to early deaths or just wasted precious resources, I felt it was time to make a thread that addressed the importance of consumables. Players need to understand that you do not have infinite resources, and when you waste a consumable, you are putting your ship and your teammates ships at risk! I for one, hate losing, but too many players seem hell-bent on making a loss a reality no matter how hard other players try to carry them. Therefor, this thread is for those of you who have ships with consumables but may need some guidance on how and when to use them. This thread will not be explaining how the consumables work, there is already a wargaming wiki for that.
What is the most important resource in the game of World of Warships? For me there is only one logical answer. That is time. The moment your battle starts, the clock is ticking and no matter what, after 20 minutes, the game will end. You have no control over it, no matter what you do, time is going to tick by. That leaves you with the next most important resource; information. Here is where you can start to have a personal impact on the game. Information is vital to the success of any game because without it, you will never know where the enemy is. A hidden enemy fleet is very difficult to kill. Information can be obtained in many ways, one of these ways is through the smart use of your consumables. Outside of information, consumables have a wide variety of other utilitarian uses. Health, repair, etc.
Consumables cannot kill anything. They are however, key enablers that make your ship unique and offer you advantages perhaps not available on near peer ships. I think that consumables give you an edge, that doesn’t normally exist for ships of that type, line, etc. If you go to lower tier play you will quickly appreciate what I am trying to convey, as Heals don’t exist for cruisers, and Planes of any kind are rarities. But, consumables in many ways can effect a battle in your favor, whether through providing information or allowing you to remain in the fight (or escape it). These little bonuses are so important, yet many players seem to overlook what consumables to equip, when to use them, and fail to understand what the desired impact for using their consumable is. If you do not understand how to prosecute and adversary using your consumables, you might as well just leave them back at port!
Types of Consumables:
Damage Control Party – While this is more of a hybrid consumable, because it does have infinite uses (on almost all ships), you still need to manage the game and understand when and when not to use it. The biggest fouls on the use of this consumable seem to be with full health battleships at the mid-tier. They take an early fire and immediately put it out. Seconds later, they are covered with two to three new fires and are burning uncontrollably. I recommend playing by the two-fire rule, unless you are no longer engaged and/or do not anticipate seeing HE spam in the next 60 seconds. If you meet those requirements, then there is no need to take unnecessary damage. Needless to say, a full health BB with a single fire is not going to sink.
Defensive AA Fire – The enemy CV is sending his planes your way, you get excited for the moment that you can wreck all his planes. He hits the edge of your AA and you immediately press the defensive fire button. The CV was feigning, trying to draw out your defensive AA, he pulls his planes back. You shoot down one or two bombers. 40 seconds later…you get torpedo and bomb dev struck and are sent back to port. Do not want it to end this way? Make him commit to an attack. Lets say you have AA out to 6km and Defensive Fire available. Let his planes get to within 4.5km before lighting them up. This ensures that even if he makes the decision to withdraw and not drop, that his planes are going to be in your window of death for some time. He is going to lose a lot more than he wanted to in a strike. DDs with defensive fire get caught in this quite a bit. Cruiser captains overly eager to farm planes are also taken by this CV tactic…and the consumable is often wasted with little benefit other than costing the CV about 30 to 45 seconds.
Hydroacoustic Search – There was a DD last seen on the mini-map within 8km of your position. You turn a corner, eat torpedoes and die. You had the consumable available, you chose not to use it. If you have the resource and a DD was within 6-10km of your position, there is nothing wrong with popping it and letting it run for the duration. However, using it at the 19:00 minute mark in a match is also a waste, especially at high tier. Most DDs have a 90 second to 120 second re-arm cycle. At one minute into the game, their torpedoes are not even ready, much more, in the water. A cruiser in front of the BBs by about 2-4km and using hydro can effectively reduce the chance of torpedo hits significantly. Don’t sail behind or with your BBs, they cannot turn on a dime, and if you are with them, yes you will often avoid, but their rudder shift just isn’t enough to dodge in time from a torp detected 3 to 5km out.
Catapult Fighter – This consumable is often underutilized. Many players avoid launching this plane when there is no CV in the match. Worse, others use them way to early. The catapult fighter can detect torpedoes, spot over islands, and when in a CV match, save your ship. When a CV sends planes, too often I see the fighter go up, when the planes are already within 2km of your ship. By then it is way too late to be effective, and you will get pummeled. I have found that the best time for ships to launch their planes in a CV match is when the attack group is 10km out for cruisers and 8km out for BBs. This gives the plane enough time to get in the air and take a defensive position to intercept the attack groups. The range is shorter for BBs because the fighter has a much shorter duration in the air as compared to a cruiser. In non-CV matches, launching your fighter in the first 2 minutes of the game is a waste of a consumable and then puts it on cool down when you might want it around the 17:30 to 16:00 minute mark, when torpedoes are in the water. I generally launch my fighter from the cruiser around the 18:00 minute mark unless one of the above requirements are met, such as a DD being within 10km of my position.
Spotting Aircraft – Much the same as above, except that firing from maximum range the whole match and not tanking seem to be a common trend with battleships. At that range your dispersion is so horrendous you will fail to achieve real damage results and be less beneficial to your team. However, cruisers in smoke, destroyers in smoke, …well just about anything firing from smoke, this consumable is dynamite. Go to a training room and practice with a buddy…and learn how to waste smoke firing ships. Just to re-emphasize; launching your spotter plane in the first minute of the game is a waste of a consumable and then puts it on cool down when you might want it around the 17:30 to 16:00 minute mark.
Surveillance Radar – Soap box time. Be a team player. You may not have a shot on a DD behind and island or in smoke. BUT, you do have the tool to remove the threat. Don’t be selfish, have map awareness, and help allies out. I see it all the time, Atlanta’s, Des Moines, Baltimore Captains either inattentive to the mini-map/battle or just being selfish and not providing radar support to quell a KNOWN threat. If someone has a shot, coordinate and make it happen. Get the DD dead and move on to the next target you can farm. That said, don’t prematurely pop your radar. Radar on a DD moving away at near maximum range is almost always a waste. Let him get comfortable…then annihilate him in his smoke.
Repair Party – As a battleship driver, you need to be a clock watcher. The game lasts 20 minutes. If you think about it, you have X number of repairs. Take them, and then divide them in to the number of minutes into a game. So, on average, you should be using one repair every 4 to 5 minutes (depending on if you have Superintendent). (This applies to cruisers as well). If you are at the 11-minute mark, have all of your repairs and could heal 20k damage, you are doing yourself a disservice and risking your ship. Many will argue they like the benefits to adrenaline rush. I would argue that I would prefer that health in case I get into a scrap turning a corner. I often use heals while burning and help keep the health pool as high as possible, so I can get into a brawl and get out of it. So, be mindful of the clock, be liberal with your heals, especially if you have five of them, its what they are there for. Tanking and keeping you sustained in the fight.
Smoke Generator – Premature smoke happens way too often. Change the command keys. Also, Destroyer captains, if you are not detected DON’T USE YOUR SMOKE (save a few key instances outlined below). Too often a DD charges into a cap, sets a small smokescreen, and waits for death from torpedoes. Your smoke screen will become a torpedo magnet. Don’t be caught broadside early in a cap with a torpedo. Also, don’t sit in your smoke, or if you do at least be moving and angled for a quick exit. The early smoke, when not spotted does not benefit your team. It blinds them and you to information and puts your entire push on that objective in jeopardy. Now, if not detected and leading a cruiser flotilla up against enemy BBs…lay that smoke screen. Save the citadel! You spot, they hide and shoot, and the BBs get torched.
Engine Boost – There are few instances where this consumable needs to be used in the first minute of the game. Take your time, let the game develop, unless it is a DD heavy game and you are trying to set the edge. Your engine boost should be used to get you out of a fight. Or in the case of the Russians/French, give you that extra few knots to make you a harder target to hit. It can also be used to get to an area of crisis. But, the first two minutes of the game, should not be an area of crisis…no one is even firing yet.
Torpedo Reload Booster – This is a dirty tool. In the right hands it can be devastating. I often see panic torps from spotted destroyers with this consumable. This should be used in a cunning and calculated way as to ensure maximum torpedo hits. Some torps are for area denial. The reload booster is meant for saturation and maximum destruction of enemy combatants. You want these torps to run their full course and you want them to be effective. Make sure you are setting up a solid strike, because it will be three minutes before you get to have the wall of skill at your fingertips again.
Mounting Consumables on Ships: Bottom line, players need to be smart when mounting consumables on their ships. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Its like seeing a tier X battleship with Survivability Expert. It just makes you cringe when they are on your team…you rarely have to wonder about their skill level. A Cleveland is best with Defensive Fire, while a Roon might be best with the German Hydro. Obviously, there are reasons to switch to the non-conventional consumable, but in most instances, you want to play to your ships strengths, not its weaknesses. Looking at high tier DD play, I almost always take defensive fire…too many chances to see a CV…spreading those torps and bombs has saved my ship too many times to count. If you are confused about what is best for your ship, consider the environment. Is it a Sunday afternoon where CVs are more prevalent? Or a Tuesday evening where BBs seem more commonplace? Go with the consumable that will get you the most. You may not always be right, but at the end of the day, at least you made the most calculated and intelligent decision. When in doubt ask a team or clan mate and get their input. Many great players have learned not because of individual skill and merit, but from others…who knew what they were doing.
Optimizing Consumable Usage:
Smoke Generator Modification I – Perth, Huang He, and Pan Asian Destroyers seem to have benefited most from this modification. The rolling smoke gets a 30% boost and that allows you to have one helluva long party.
Surveillance Radar Modification I – Mounted on the Des Moines, Baltimore, Donskoi or Moskva, this consumable seems to have found a nice niche. The Des Moines can go almost a minute, few DDs can survive the withering fire for that long. Especially if you pop it, while moving towards them, when they are at 7km or so.
Spotting Aircraft Modification I – I have yet to see how this mod is useful and would be open to others providing examples on this one. I have yet to use it on a ship.
Hydroacoustic Search Modification I – Well, this can be dirty on the right ships. These ships would be German DDs with hydro. So nasty, you can literally sit at the edge of your and your enemies smoke and pelt them to death. Too many good DD captains have become irate from this mechanic. Z-52 and this modification are a nightmare together.
Engine Boost Modification I – French cruisers? Russian DDs? Yes, I love shooting an enemy for four minutes while moving at ungodly speeds. Who wouldn’t?
Being Efficient with Consumables:
Pay attention to your mini-map. This cannot be stressed enough. As noted above, time of use and when to use are paramount to a team win. Your guns will get you damage, for sure, but your consumables will get you tactical advantages to maximize what your team’s guns can accomplish. Be self-aware and team aware. You can greatly benefit your team. Know when your ally could end a pesky DD and understand how to communicate your intentions.
One of the first things you can do to enhance consumables is to buy premium versions of consumables. Many players, especially cash strapped novices, often forgo this procedure, and often to their own demise. Too many times, they wish they still had a heal charge available. Or that cruiser that wishes they had one more defensive fire as the CVs aircraft circle overhead. Or that destroyer who is being ruthlessly hunted…regretting the shortage of that ever so critical extra smoke charge. I always recommend getting those premium consumables. The shorter duration between uses and extra charges almost always translates to longer game life. This can lead to more wins for your team.
There are also Captain Skills to help enhance your consumables and these can be vital to mission success for the above reasons. There are Direction Center for Catapult Fighters a One Point Skill, Jack of All Trades a Two Point Skill, and Superintendent a Three Point Skill. Each impacts consumables in a unique way, by giving extra charges, shortening duration of using the consumable or doubling the fighters you can put in the air.
Lastly, the Signal Flag November Foxtrot can reduce consumable time by 5 percent. Take defensive fire on a Cleveland for example, that 120 second premium version reload is now down to 114 seconds. Or, if using the normal version, that 180 seconds is now down to 171 seconds. This may not seem like much, but when considering a plane’s return to a CV, and reload period, those six seconds might be the difference between protecting your battleships and watching them head back to port. Combined with Jack of All Trades…well now you are cooking with gas.
Avoiding the Fat Finger:
We’ve all seen it. That premature smoke from a destroyer. Then for the next three minutes, that DD is near useless and extremely vulnerable. He can no longer contest caps…and is often gobbled up by savvy CV players who know he has absolutely no where to hide. My friends, do not be alarmed, for there is a solution to this problem. You simply go to your Settings in game, then click the Controls tab. Once there, go into the controls section and manually change your consumables to how you like to see them. This will save you and your team a lot of heart ache, and will help to ensure you hit the speed boost and not the smoke charge!
The Odd Duck:
Oktober Revolution – The Russian Tier V Battleship, Oktober Revolution does not get infinite Damage Control Party. I could see this as a staple of the Russian BB line. You must consider carefully when to use this consumable as it works much the same way a heal would. I would not be surprised if we see some sort of gimmick in the future related to Damage Control Party much the way we have seen it done for other consumables, being a trade off for some other benefit.
In conclusion, I hope folks can find this a little helpful. I know other threads have been made in the past with similar comments concerning consumables, but I felt it was time to have an updated version. Take my rant and advice as you will, and good luck on the high seas fellow captains. I hope you enjoyed consuming the insights I have picked up in over 12,000 battles on this server.
Note: If you are interested in learning more about consumables, the cool down periods, usage, etc. please visit the Warships, wiki page link at the following; http://wiki.wargaming.net/en/Ship:Consumables.