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Thoughts after my first 1000 games

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I'm not sure how long I've been playing, but maybe 2 months or so. I've logged over 1000 battles, but most on Co-op. I'm sharing my thoughts for those who are starting the game. Very long post, so please beware.


It's probably best to start with what this opening post is not.


1.) It is not advice for how to play PvP, though I'll have a few things to say about that where appropriate. Playing against people is a very different issue and there are metas that dominate different levels of play, and that evolve over time.


2.) This is not a post for advanced players. I'm only up to T5 ships and I'm still learning even in Co-op battles.


3.) It is not a post by a wallet warrior. As I do with most free games, I buy a little bit of currency to reward the developers for creating a game I play a lot. Those doubloons have come in handy when reassigning captain skills or purchasing new ports. I think I spent 15 dollars over a month ago and haven't come close to spending it all.


And 4.) I'm not a teen living in my mom's basement. I have a family, a mortgage, a lawn to mow, and all the joys that go with being a gainfully employed member of society. For the purposes of this post, letting you know this means I'm more concerned with practical advice that I wish I had in one place, rather than reading through 30-page posts that might contain some small bits of helpful information. Now on to the info.


T1 Co-ops - Matches at the lowest tiers, even against bots, are a blast. You don't have choices about ammo, most of the ships are zippy and fun, and best of all there are no torps or aircraft lurking behind every island. Light Cruisers (CLs) are the only type of ship available and there isn't a great deal of strategy. Crank up the engines, keep the fire button pressed, and go kill stuff without harming your teammates. T1 battles are also a great place to work off pink status (you turn pink when you kill a teammate and you must offer penance by playing 5ish games without damaging any allies). If you try to work off pink status at higher tiers, you're probably hurting your teammates by playing to cautiously or by not sticking with the team. Remember that T1 boats are free, so if you have room, you can keep a couple to work off your shame faster. Personally, I enjoy playing the Orlan and the Hermelin. I often have the Benny Hill theme playing in my head when I send the Orlan into battle.


T2-T5 Co-ops - You're going to start getting torped at this point. For me that was the biggest change in moving from T1 to later tiers. You'll get torped by Destroyers (DDs), Heavy/Armored Cruisers (CAs), Torp planes, some Battleships (BBs)... heck, don't be surprised if some pleb from one of those cute little island villages is trying to torp you from the dock. Start paying more attention to your minimap, use the right mouse button frequently to see what's around you, use the ALT button to see the player names and types/classes of ships nearby, and at minimum pay attention to chat in case someone is warning you about stray torpedoes and the like.


Cruisers - You've already played Cruisers at this point, so I'll start there. The primary responsibility of Cruisers in this game at these tiers is to destroy enemy DDs. Repeat that to yourself several times. If you're driving a St. Louis, Kolberg, Tenryu, or similar ship, your teammates will expect you to engage DDs. They will be unhappy if you leave a BB defenseless while you go try to take a distant cap. If you still choose to do something other than hunt DDs and protect BBs, at least tell everyone in chat so the BBs know they can't count on your help.


Most CAs (and CLs) at this level have lots of guns, fast turrets, and can spam HE rounds all day. These ships offer a great way to learn how to lead your shots, adjust to turns, and so on, because you can often just hold down the fire button and rain HE on your targets. As you advance, you'll start to enjoy HE spamming BBs as well (they are especially vulnerable to fire in terms of proportional damage). Some Cruisers have torpedoes, and you should know which classes do. There's nothing worse than closing with a Phoenix only to have it unleash a spread of torps into your side armor. Cruiser torps should be used only in very specific circumstances and the single most important thing to know about torps is that it is ALWAYS your fault if an ally gets damaged by one of your torps. If in doubt, don't fire your torps and use your guns instead. If you do make the mistake of firing in a dangerous area, please alert your teammate via chat ("loose torps!" usually does the trick) and hope they bother to read and can do something in time.


Cruisers are not Battleships. While you don't want to always turn tail in a battle, you may find it useful to loop in and out. Stay in your firing range, but don't stay still. Some players will complain at you about this, and that's usually a great indicator that they are not playing a cruiser. If in doubt, use HE rounds when playing a cruiser at these lower tiers. You may sometimes find it useful to switch to AP rounds when you can hit the side of an enemy cruiser, but HE is best overall. HE does less damage but it takes out modules. You'll often find it helpful to hit above the hull of the ship (e.g., superstructure, guns, torpedo launchers). Remember also that there are multiple places to start fires on ships, so if you light up one part of a ship, try to walk your HE shells to another part.


Destroyers (DDs) - DDs are probably the most decisive ship in a battle when played by a skilled driver. I'm not especially good at them yet and they require time to learn to use effectively. Remember that your speed can get you in trouble just as fast as it can get you out of trouble. DDs are especially good at sneaking up on baddies and sinking them with torps. They are extremely effective against sluggish BBs, just watch out for secondaries (the smaller-caliber weapons that fire automatically on many BBs), and many Destroyers are good at taking out other DDs with their guns. Cruisers probably give them the most trouble as they have enough speed to avoid torps and enough guns to keep you under fire. Some CAs at T5ish will also be able to see you in your smoke. There are a ton of guides out there about firing torps and sneaking about, so I'll leave that out of this post. But please heed the comments above about hitting your allies with torps.


If you elect to play a DD, just remember that they're not all the same. Most are fantastic for scouting ahead, stealing caps, ambushing enemies, and spotting for your team. Some are not though (e.g., Japanese DDs often have good range on their torps and probably shouldn't be in a knife fight) so don't get bullied by other players into doing something your ship is not effective at. But in general you probably should be ahead of your teammates, if only to minimize the risk of torping them. Though you don't have a citadel, showing your broadside will make you a bigger target.


When fighting against DDs, remember that smoke means that a DD is probably aiming a spread of torps at you. If you are targeted, it's usually best to get out of your periscope view, spot the torps, and then turn into the the torpedoes. If you do this well, you'll be able to fit in a gap between two torps, or limit your hits to only one or two. Until you get good at shooting in your BB, I probably wouldn't even bother using BB main guns to fire at a DD unless you have no other option. Better to save those rounds for something else. Remember, most ships firing torpedoes shoot them from their sides, so if you're being chased, try to keep on the nose of a DD or CA with torps.


Battleships (BBs) - Battleships are maybe the easiest type of ship to play. One challenge though is that you have to walk the fine line of avoiding showing your side armor to enemy BBs while still trying to get as many guns to bear on your target as possible. At lower tiers, I generally accept the possibility of a lucky hit to my side and favor getting as many guns as possible on the target. Beware... this tactic will get you dead in a hurry in PvP battles though. As you progress through the tiers against bots you're going to want to work on angling your BB to deflect enemy rounds. There are lots of guides on how to do this. BBs at these levels should avoid DDs, fire HE at most Cruisers, and in general take out enemy BBs and Cruisers. German BBs are especially good at killing enemy Cruisers.


Remember that Bot BBs like to fire at your team's Cruisers, so it's your job in part to protect them. Beware of groups of bot BBs b/c they will focus fire you and it really sucks.


You have to think about your guns when playing a BB. Start moving them in the direction, relative to your ship, that you intend to fire next while you move. For example, if I know I'm going to make a hard right and unleash a broadside to the North, I'm going to start moving my guns to the West as I start the turn. It is also sometimes useful to fire just one of your available guns at a distant target so that you can adjust before firing the rest. The wait can be 25-30 seconds between reloads, so you don't have the luxury of walking fire like you would with a Kolberg or St. Louis.


BBs can usually fire at longer ranges than other ships. This increases their already significant problems with dispersion. Because of this, get in the habit of firing only at your targeted enemy (the one with the white circle around it). Shooting at non-targeted enemies increases dispersion even more. You can target an untargeted ship by pressing X while putting your crosshair near the ship.


BBs are probably the first place you start to appreciate chat. A South Carolina is just too slow to adjust to a change in plans midstream. You could easily get isolated and focused by the bots, or you could just miss the entire battle. In general, BBs should either stick the mass of other ships in a single group or maybe two groups with proximal goals (i.e., taking A&B, not taking A&C). This helps to maximize firepower, protect one another, and combine AA capabilities.


When fighting against BBs, only use AP if you are also in a BB and you have a side shot. In all other situations you're probably better off using HE rounds. DDs can make quick work of BBs with flooding from torps and HE spammers excel at lighting BBs on fire. Do not show your broadsides to an enemy BB unless you like flirting with death.


Carriers (CVs) - I haven't played a CV yet, so I'll be brief. Most players are going to want you to concentrate on protecting them first, then attacking the enemy second. You protect your allies by scouting some, sending your fighters against enemy torpedo bombers, and sending your own bombers against incoming BBs. Carriers should stay out of range of most enemies and should always be on the lookout for enemy DDs (though the bots aren't nearly as good at pulling off the lone-wolf DD attack as enemy players are). If you're lucky enough to find and catch up with an enemy CV, you're probably going to want to start with HE rounds (and torps if you have them). A CV on fire cannot launch or receive aircraft.


Standard battles have a home flag area and an enemy flag area. Depending on the type of ship you have, it can be fun to seek out the enemy. But the surest path to a fun victory is to let the bots come to your flag, gang up on them with focus fire, then go out hunting for the stragglers. My advice to new players, don't cap the flag in Standard battles. You'll learn a lot more by sparring with other ships. Please note, always cap when you're close in PvP matches... winning is most important there.


Expect to see DDs scouting away from the flag or, if a CV is present, hunting down the carrier. BBs will often cruise side to side maximizing the number of guns they can target an enemy with. CAs should be looking for enemy destroyers and supporting everyone else.


Something that wasn't obvious to me as a starting player was that causing damage to every enemy capping an area will reset the cap (they'll have to start over and spend more time). This is true of any game mode that involves capturing an area. This is also one of the few situations in which you want to purposely spread your targets out rather than focusing on one.


Domination mode has three areas to capture. Ideally, you want to actively capture A or C, while covering/capping B. If you're very lucky, your teammates will respond in chat and you all will work together. I've never seen a game in which everyone participates in chat or follows a suggested plan. Invariably, a few ships on your team will choose to split (i.e., if most of the team goes to A+B, they'll go to C). When this happens, the splitters will either get an easy cap because all of the bot ships have gone to the other side and are ganging up on your teammates that followed the plan, or they will die quickly in a very satisfying manner. Enjoy their futile pleas for help when they choose to ignore the plan and don't bother to communicate with anyone prior to needing the "immediate" help. Though some will call you a lemming for sticking with your teammates, remember that bots do play more like a team and they're best defeated by humans that play as a team. If all of your team goes to A and the bots do too, kill them at A. If all of your team goes to A and the bots go to C, each side gets a cap and then you kill the bots at B. But if half your team goes to A and half goes to C, the bots stand a decent chance of killing one group before attacking the next with a numbers advantage.


A few additional notes on Domination. Despite the advantages to following a plan, some ships will benefit from going alone and this doesn't mean they are driven by bad players. DDs often have enough range and speed to quickly sneak a cap and then come help their allies. Some larger ships such as BBs may not join in the cap, but hopefully they are at least providing fire support for those that are. Cruisers and DDs should generally be the first in. Once the first area is captured (e.g., A), start moving to the next closest (B), then finally to the farthest ©. You'll want to clear the area of enemies before moving on, but resist the urge to form a large posse to chase that solitary BB to the farthest corners of the map. As with Standard Battles, you'll probably have more fun sinking as many enemy ships as possible rather than taking all the caps or winning on points.


Epicenter is still a relatively new mode and not everyone is a fan. Until I hear a fantastic reason otherwise, most ships need to actually be in the rings. This is about holding territory longer than the enemy and the most valuable territory is in the middle. Bots are not so good that you will lose most of these if your team cooperates. Longer range ships, especially BBs should probably hang out in the outer and middle rings, DDs and CAs can better exploit the inner and middle rings. The only type of vessel I would truly give a pass to is a Carrier. 


Etiquette - I'm going to finish this monstrously-long post with a few comments I've picked up on in-game etiquette.


Torpedoes. We've already mentioned the main rule here... it's ALWAYS your fault when you hit a teammate with a torpedo. Never fire torps from behind or through one of your allies, you're probably not that accurate. Ideally, fire torpedoes such that strays will hit wide open water, other enemies, or land. If in doubt, don't fire your torps. If you do damage someone with your torps or guns, you should probably just say you're sorry, admit that it was your fault, and move along. Your not gonna get much sympathy blaming the victim.


Right of Way. The consequences of colliding with a teammate are much less significant now, but right of way is determined by tonnage. Smaller ship gets out of the way. If tonnage is equal, I tend to assume the person in front has the right of way since I can see them while looking ahead.


Chat. Chat is a tool. It shouldn't be ignored, but you're going to drive people crazy testing out the pirate voice with every function key. It is helpful to let others know when you are detected. It is always appreciated when you alert people that you've fired torpedoes into an area (or that you're about to). I like knowing what the intentions of other players are and I tend to make mine known as well. Don't be an arrogant snot by demanding that everyone follow your plan, but if you're not going to follow a suggested plan, have the courtesy to respond what you're doing instead... even a "negative" helps. Once the game starts, tone will change because people don't have as much time to type. Assume that "take the CV" really means "please attack the CV if you're so inclined" and respond with Affirmative (F5) or Negative (F6).


Ninjas. So, you zigged, you zagged, you switched ammo types, and you worked that enemy BB all the way down to 5 HP, when out of nowhere a Chikuma ninjas your kill with a weak volley of mostly ineffective AP rounds. I guess some people get upset about this, but it's a part of the game. Everybody likes to get kills and when multiple targets are available, most will choose the one with the fewest HPs remaining. There isn't much advice to give on this except that nobody will appreciate if you do something stupid to ninja that kill. Though friendly fire is always the fault of the player pulling the trigger, most of us don't expect a fragile CL to go charging into a hailstorm of friendly torps and very-large BB rounds to steal a kill. I'll say I'm sorry for hitting you in that circumstance, but I won't mean it.


AFKs. "Away From Keyboard" ships are usually not the fault of the player, though it's possible that someone just walked away from a live game. It's tempting to give them a hard time, but if you happened to get disconnected at the start of a game, the last thing you want after rushing to get back in is to have a bunch of hate directed at you in chat. It is worth announcing AFKs to your team over chat though as a point of information.


Pinkies. As noted earlier, a ship appears pink on your map when it has recently killed a teammate, often in a previous game. Some players act like all pinkies are trolls that intentionally kill teammates or, at best, that they are bad players. But I think even very good players will tell you that pink happens. Please assume that a pinkie got that way as the result of an accident, and don't be the type of jerk that bumps them to force them to cause damage and stay pink. Best to give them a wide birth though so that they don't accidentally damage you and just in case they really are a poor player.


WASD Hack. Not really etiquette, but you should learn to adjust your speed and heading frequently. Human players will demolish you if you sail straight at a constant speed. Bots get better at this as you play higher tiers as well. As you advance, torp ranges will get longer, larger boats will be able to snipe you, and HE spammers will be able to spam you from farther away. Being an unpredictable target is a valuable skill.


Edited by pedrovWOW
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30 posts
3,539 battles

Thanks for moving mods.


Thoughts on ships I've played so far.


T1 Ships - All light Cruisers. My order of preference is the Orlan, Hermelin, Erie, and Hashidate. Orlan gets a lot of citadel pens, even with HE. Very maneuverable but the handling is sloppy. Hermelin is more precise, and still fun. I don't really remember the Erie or Hashidate, so hopefully others can chime in.


Japanese Ships:

T2 Chikuma (Cruiser) - Reasonably fun. Gun placement was reasonable, but not my favorite.

T3 Tenryu (Cruiser) - More fun. Guns are still lacking IMO, but you get torps to help out.

T2 Umikaze (Destroyer) - Not my fav, but a bit more range than some other nations' lines.

T3 Wakatake (Destroyer) - Better than Umikaze. Torp range is 7km and you can fire them closer to the nose than other DDs so far.


US Ships:

T2 Chester (Cruiser) - It's not bad, but the St. Louis is just so much better at the next tier.

T3 St. Louis (Cruiser) - For a new player, the St. Louis is a joy. More hitting power than a Kolberg, can use AP at times, but still an HE spammer masterpiece. This is one of the ships I play PvP without worrying too much. Great for killing enemy DDs.

T2 Sampson (Destroyer) - I didn't enjoy the Sampson, or the Wickes that follows. My view of US DDs at these early tiers is that they are in the middle between Japanese Destroyers with better torps and Russian Destroyers with better guns. They are pretty tough though.

T3 Wickes (Destroyer) - I wish I had stayed with the Wickes longer, it would have helped me with the Clemson. It's okay I guess. Usually middle-of-the-road US Destroyer at these tiers.

T4 Clemson (Destroyer) - Lots of people swear by the Clemson, but I'm still learning with it. It's not as stealthy or torpy as its Japanese counterparts, and it's not as gunboat as its Russian counterparts. It is more survivable though IMO. I tend to play it as more of a gunboat.

T3 South Carolina (Battleship) - Slow moving, slow aiming, slow to be destroyed. That's the South Carolina to me. You're best off sticking with your buddies, but it can brawl its way out of a difficult fight. Torps were made to kill South Carolinas though.

T4 Wyoming (Battleship) - Like the South Carolina, but many more guns and better range. AA defense is pretty decent for this level.


Russian Ships:

I researched the Novik, but haven't played it yet. Instead I moved to the Destroyer line.

T2 Storozhovoi (Destroyer) - I don't like it. It's reasonably quick but very fragile. It's guns aren't powerful enough to justify sticking your neck out. 4 km Torps also mean you're probably gonna get killed before you get a chance to fire. Get through this boat quickly.

T3 Derzki (Destroyer) - I'm really enjoying this destroyer. Maybe it's because the Storo was so crappy. Good gunboat, and you can unload four full torp spreads at a time. When you unload them all, it looks like 4 destroyers all fired together. It's very fun to play. It's still a gunboat IMO, but one that makes you stop from time to time and recognize opportunities to ambush and torp. I'm sure most will consider this heresy, but I like it better than the Clemson, probably because I'm not a good enough player to maximize the American Destroyer.


German Ships:

T2 Dresden (Cruiser) - Not a bad ship. Follows naturally from the T1 cruisers you start with. You'll like the Kolberg a lot more though I think.

T3 Kolberg (Cruiser) - Very fun. Extremely high arc on guns means you can HE spam over mountains and other obstacles. Fires more rapidly than the St. Louis, and feels more maneuverable, but takes forever to kill anything. Would be great with other "starting fires" buffs. Good at sinking DDs, good at setting BBs on fire, but you'll want help most of the time. In that regard, it's less independent than the STL.

T4 Karlsruhe (Cruiser) - This ship felt very fragile to me. It's nice that you have torpedoes, but the range on your guns is still limited and enemies really like targeting you. Torps are more for surprise than anything else and you shouldn't play this as a Destroyer.

T5 Konigsberg (Cruiser) - At first I didn't like it, but now it's one of my favorites. Great range, spotter plane, torps, and you can spot DDs in smoke. This is a fantastic HE spammer. With your spotter plane extending your range, you can fire like a St. Louis but at much farther ranges and with better protection. Excels at hunting DDs and smaller cruisers. Can give BBs a hard time but they will make your life miserable if you're not careful.

T3 Nassau (Battleship) - I really enjoyed the Nassau. I like it much more than the Kaiser that follows. The Nassau is a brawler. Keep the nose pointed to your enemy and take advantage of a nice gun placement that lets you fire generally forward with three turrets. I found myself starting wide in a Nassau, but then getting my nose pointed and slowing down to outpunch other BBs. Gun range is limited but secondaries help keep the smaller ships off of you. The Nassau is a fantastic cruiser killer.

T4 Kaiser (Battleship) - I haven't had it for too long, but I hate it. In part, I'm playing better competition in the Kaiser, but I do better in the Konigsberg which plays a tier higher. I'm not sure what it is. You don't really bully your way into a fight like the Nassau and you don't really outside snipe like the Konigsberg. You're just a BB that doesn't feel as tough as the Wyomings, New Yorks, Myogis, or Kongos that you're facing.


I'd love to hear the opinions of others on these ships and others up to Tier 5.


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