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Perspectives on driving CLs in open water?

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I'm starting to get a handle on using CLs near islands, but sometimes there is no island near where the team needs me. 

 

So far, the things I've tried all involve me going back to port very soon after opening fire.

 

Does anyone have any perspective on what to do in a CL when forced to fight  in an open water part of a map?

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If I can, I usually ask if any DDs have smoke to give me some cover. It also helps if your teammates are willing to draw fire, though most opponents will always choose the juicy CL over anything else.

All else failing, I've found that kiting at close to max range, focusing on dodging shells over getting shots out each reload, is the best way to mitigate damage if you're forced to fight in open water.

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Lots of movement.  You'll have to bait their shots, and kite.  I usually show enough side to fire my bow guns.  When I see thier muzzles flash, I chop the throttle, and cut hard over to put my stern directly at them.  Then you pray to RNGesus that they don't hit your deck, and pen your citadel through your deck armor.  Sacrifice a rabbit or goat or something, it may or may not help.  The jury is still out there.  The chance of getting overpenned on a plunging deck hit is just about nil, it's straight to the citadel.  Throttle back up when you get straight, you need to be moving as fast as possible to make quick, jerky moves.

By all means, use your stealth if you can.  When they start swinging their guns to you, stop shooting.  Stealth up.  Change course while stealthed to avoid the risk of being blind fired at where you were going to be before you cloaked.  It's not sexy, but you are effectively tanking his damage if he holds fire waiting for you to unstealth.  You are straight up, reducing his DPM.  If he gets bored, and swings his guns to someone else, light him up again and get under his skin.  Manage his reload.  After he shoots, you can nearly always fire one salvo for free and restealth before a BB can shoot at you.  Playing the stealth game doesn't run up your DPM but it gets under BB drivers skin.  They get annoyed to no end by it, and if you can annoy them, they make mistakes.

Avoid being in a group of ships if possible.  You want those BBs to point their guns at other people.  If that other person is right next to you, he can re-target you quickly, and that's bad business.  Other people around also lead to collisions.  Nothing sucks more than running into some derpy battleship while you are dodging shots, and you're left sitting still for the enemy BB to shoot at.

Edited by crzyhawk
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23 minutes ago, crzyhawk said:

Lots of movement.  You'll have to bait their shots, and kite.  I usually show enough side to fire my bow guns.  When I see thier muzzles flash, I chop the throttle, and cut hard over to put my stern directly at them.  Then you pray to RNGesus that they don't hit your deck, and pen your citadel through your deck armor.  Sacrifice a rabbit or goat or something, it may or may not help.  The jury is still out there.  The chance of getting overpenned on a plunging deck hit is just about nil, it's straight to the citadel.  Throttle back up when you get straight, you need to be moving as fast as possible to make quick, jerky moves.

By all means, use your stealth if you can.  When they start swinging their guns to you, stop shooting.  Stealth up.  Change course while stealthed to avoid the risk of being blind fired at where you were going to be before you cloaked.  It's not sexy, but you are effectively tanking his damage if he holds fire waiting for you to unstealth.  You are straight up, reducing his DPM.  If he gets bored, and swings his guns to someone else, light him up again and get under his skin.  Manage his reload.  After he shoots, you can nearly always fire one salvo for free and restealth before a BB can shoot at you.  Playing the stealth game doesn't run up your DPM but it gets under BB drivers skin.  They get annoyed to no end by it, and if you can annoy them, they make mistakes.

Avoid being in a group of ships if possible.  You want those BBs to point their guns at other people.  If that other person is right next to you, he can re-target you quickly, and that's bad business.  Other people around also lead to collisions.  Nothing sucks more than running into some derpy battleship while you are dodging shots, and you're left sitting still for the enemy BB to shoot at.

This says it all...

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Besides that excellent advice, there's one more thing:

Use your torpedoes.

 

RN CLs and IJN CAs (which have CL-class armor) both come with good torps, French less so.  But flip to them regularly, for two reasons:

  1. See where your opponent is going. It helps with aim, as well as knowing which direction to kite
  2. It puts a BIG brake on chasers, as they never know when you've actually have launched them, so they have to slow down to watch.

And, yes, DO put them in the water. Regularly. Particularly the IJN ones, as they're hard-hitting and a serious threat.  And they're rear-ward facing, so it's easy to use them while kiting.  Shoot them off after you stealth up, not while you're spotted.

I can't count the number of pursuing BBs that have eaten a torp or two from my Mogami, Myoko, or Ibuki.  It's very satisfying, and a big F-U to cocky chasers.

 

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I'd say for USN light cruisers, using islands for cover is basically a must. They don't have the shell arcs to be effective in open water and overall they're fragile. Even when you use islands you better count on your team distracting enemy ships on both flanks so you can spam shells from behind the island. When you have support, you can still get away with fighting in open water in Dallas / Helena / Boise but Cleveland and up I'm not sure because I don't play high tier.

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As an addendum to what @crzyhawk was saying:  Even when you are kiting like a mad man and avoiding shots like a pro, there will be times when you simply have no choice but to change directions.  For example, continuing on your present course may cause you to run out of map and get pinned against the map border.  In such cases, you will need to figure out when it is best to turn.

  • If you can and you are far enough from any opponents, stop firing enough ahead of time that you drop out of detection range once your gun bloom shrinks, then make the turn.
  • If you cannot do it while unseen, try to time the bulk of your turn between your opponent's reloads.
  • Try to make the turn in a way that it limits the number of guns he can keep on you (e.g., his rear guns are on his left, turn to his right if you can).
  • Just because you are in open water does not mean your opponent is.   If he is near an island, make your turn so that the island cuts off his line of sight and/or line of fire during the turn.
  • Along a similar line of reasoning, you may be behind an island, but you need to move out into open water.  Time it so that the island is blocking line of sight/line of fire while you are in the middle of the turn so that you are properly angled when you come out from behind it.  Don't wait until you clear the island to make the turn if you can avoid it.
  • Use Priority Target if you have it.  It is not perfect because someone who can shoot at you may not currently have you targeted, but it is definitely better to make a turn when only 1 person is targeting you than when 5 or more are.
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This is such a great thread !, as im going back to the basics after a 2 week losing streak......    im really starting to like the french cruiser line with the 152's ,, and from every video i can find they all do not island hump,, but try to get get ppl to follow them in open water...  i never really thought about using priority target because trying to get ifhe and demolition, costs so much if you dont ave a 19 point capt.. but now i think i will try to figure out a way to get it...    thank you all for this thread ,, its very good..

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I would add, if you aren't detected, let somebody else on your team open up first on the opposition.  That is, get the opponent(s) attention off you then open fire.  This works particularly well if you have maximized your concealment and you are using a good gun cruiser.  You can get multiple salvos on say a battleship before the driver can manage to get turned and turrets on you in return.  A bit of luck has him burning end to end.

Also, don't bunch up with other ships when undetected.  That slows the opposition's engagement rate on you if they are already occupied with somebody else.

Also, always pay close attention to which way your opponent's turrets are faced.  If you surprise them when you open fire and their turrets are turned away from you, you have time before they can retaliate.  In some cases, you can maneuver to make it harder for them to get their guns on target as well.

Unlike with DD's a gun cruiser can hang back further to maintain stealthiness.  Cruisers using torpedoes can't play open water very well unless you have very long ranged torpedoes.  You have to rely on guns and use your WASD judiciously to confuse return fire when it comes.

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I open fire in open water all the time with my ATL. Usually is when they charge forward while I do an angled retreat.

Just dont show broads sides and shot at the charging ship.

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Plan ahead.  If you can see that you’re going to have to engage in open water fighting, start opening up the distance.  Plan where you want to sail, so you keep working your way in that direction.  This may mean you need to show a little more side than you would like, and maybe shoot a bit less.  But it’s better than sailing into a corner and having to give full broadside.

Your objective in this situation is to draw the fight out as long as possible.  Distract as many ships as possible so the rest of your team can overwhelm the rest of their team and come to your rescue.

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