Tier I

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1) Expert Loader– 50% to reload time when the shell type is switched. Guns must be fully loaded for this to take effect.

  • This skill will be useless to most players. Some long range cruisers and destroyers captains will find use for it, but it goes with a very specific play style.

2) Basic Firing Training-10% to reload time of primary guns with a caliber of up to 139 mm. -10% to reload time of secondary guns of any caliber. +10% to AA efficiency (accuracy).

  • Nice DPS boost for the gunboats DDs, very good for AA oriented Cruisers, must-have for secondaries-oriented Heavy Cruisers/Battleships.

3) Basics of Survivability-15% to passive repair time, firefighting, and recovery from flooding.

  • This one is mostly for BBs to help them not burn to a crisp. It helps a lot for cruisers as well and makes them much more forgiving regarding the misuse of the Damage Control Party Consumable.

4) Situation AwarenessAn indicator is displayed when your ship is detected by an enemy ship or aircraft. It remains until you are no longer detected.

  • Knowing when the enemy can see you? Yes please! Not only this tells you if the enemy will shoot at you, it also “detects” DDs in your surroundings. Detected with no enemy in sight? There’s a DD roaming around! A must have for DDs, CL, CV, very helpful still for CA and BBs.

5) Expert Rear Gunner+10% to efficiency (accuracy) of self-defense armament for aircraft with rear gunners (TBs and DBs).

  • This is supposed to be for CVs but the perf to planes is so weak that most people use Situation Awareness.

Tier II

1) Expert Marksman+2.5 deg/s to the traverse speed of guns with a caliber of up to 139 mm. +0.7 deg/s to the traverse speed of guns with a caliber above 139 mm.

  • Brilliant skill for all slow turning turrets, even with the recent nerf. It looks small but it adds up. On BBs, it shaves between 7 and 10 seconds of turret rotation time. Count 7 seconds in your head. Yeah, that’s the amount of time you couldn’t shoot at the enemy because your guns were not there. Pretty irrelevant on DDs that have fast turret turn though.

2) Torpedo Armament Expertise-10% to reloading time of torpedo tubes. -20% to servicing time of torpedo bombers. Check the torpedo reload time, or the “Time required to prepare for takeoff” for TBs, before getting this skill.

  • Must have for CVs, must have for Torpedos DDs. Anyone else can skip it.

3) Fire Prevention-7% to the risk of fire.

  • It is pretty underwhelming and worth ignoring altogether.

4) Incoming Fire AlertAn indicator is displayed when shells are fired at your ship that have a travel time greater than six seconds. Think of this as a “turn now!” warning.

  • This will help you improve your dodging skills by warning you of incoming fire, preferably on cruisers or long range DDs. Not a must pick but a bit of help to you survivabliity.

5) Last StandThe ship remains able to partially move and maneuver while the engine or steering gears are incapacitated.

  • This is an excellent perk for ships that tend to take often crippling shots, DDs and CLs. It allows you to keep a bit of maoeuverability if your Damage Control Party Consumable is on cooldown. Far less useful on BBs or CAs, even CVs.

Tier III

1) Torpedo Acceleration+5 knots to torpedo speed. -20% to torpedo range. Unfortunately this is always active rather than something that can be toggled (like spread width).

  • This is a brand new skill. I have not used it and haven’t read enough feedback about it to make an accurate description. To me the trade-off is weird, better used on mid-range torpedoes engagements, but I’m not sure the +5 knots is worth a 3 points skill. Quite useful for CVs.

2) High Alert-10% to reload time of the Damage Control Party consumable. Normally 6 seconds for destroyers, 9 for cruisers and carriers, and 12 for battleships. Less for a gold Damage Control Party.

  • Pretty good all-round skill to have for any ship. Not much else to say, it boosts by quite a lot your survivability.

3) Vigilance+25% to the detection range of torpedoes. This does not refer to your ship’s detection range, but rather the detection range assigned to each torpedo type. See Torpedoes for examples.

  • Being able to see torpedoes coming from further away. To be used if you’re sick of getting torpedoed by stealth DDs all day long. Not a must-have though, this is still a 3 points skill.

4) Dogfighting Expert+10% to combat performance of fighters for each tier of difference between them. No benefit if the player’s fighters are of equal or higher tier.

  • Another skill aimed at CVs captains that is very underwhelming. The boost is not only weak, but also very situational.

5) Superintendent+1 additional charge to all consumables mounted on a ship.

  • One more smoke screen, fighter launch, etc. Useful if you’re pro at staying alive for quite some time. Helpful on BBs with one more healing kit, or with AA specs Cruisers, or gunboats DDs. It loses a bit in helpfulness if you use premium consumables.

Tier IV

1) Demolition Expert+3% to chance of fire on target caused by a shell or bomb.

  • Even if the percentage looks lower than Fire Prevention, the math behind it makes this skill pretty good on gunboat DDs and on Cruisers.

2) Advanced Firing Training+20% to firing range of primary guns with caliber of up to 139 mm. +20% to firing range of secondary guns of any caliber. +20% to AA defense firing range.

  • Good to Excellent on almost any ship, besides CVs. Can’t go wrong with that one.

3) Survivability Expert+400 HP per ship tier. So for example: +2000 HP for a tier V ship.

  • Another new Perk. I don’t have enough feedback to tell if it is worth the 4 points or not. Would mostly be used on DDs since the health increase would be more significant.

4) Aircraft Servicing Expert+5% to survivability of carrier-based aircraft. -10% to servicing time of carrier-based aircraft.

  • Must have for CVs, and that is it.

5) Manual Fire Control for AA Armament+100% efficiency (accuracy) to AA guns exceeding 85 mm against a designated target. This doesn’t mean manual aim. It improves the accuracy of AA guns larger than 85 mm, but requires the player to manually select a target by holding down Cntrl and left-clicking on it. With this skill, AA larger than 85 mm will not fire at all without manual target selection. AA of 85 mm or less will operate normally, and without this accuracy bonus. In practice this means the player controls the dual-purpose guns.

  • For AA specs only, and a must have. Cruisers will most benefit from it, although US BBs can use it if they go brawling.

Tier V (disclaimer, I don’t have any captain with a Tier V skill, yes I know, noob. Those comments are my own understanding and will quite certainly be heavily modified by comments below)

1) Last Chance-30% to reload time of all types of armament if the ship’s HP is less than 10%.

  • This seems very situational, too much so to be a valid 5 points skill.

2) Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament – *-15% to the maximum dispersion of secondary armament for ships of tier I-VI. -60% to the maximum dispersion of secondary armament for ships of tier VII-X. This doesn’t mean manual aim. It improves the accuracy of the secondary battery, but requires the player to manually select a target by holding down Ctrl and left-clicking on it. With this skill, the secondaries will not fire at all without manual target selection. *

  • This is a new perk that made a lot of people excited. The results from the Test Server showed that BBs and some CA with secondaries specs are a valid choice. Use it only if you aim to brawl hard.

3) Preventative Maintenance-50% to the risk of incapacitation of modules.

  • This seems like a good defensive ability, but with the others defensive abilities available for less than points, it seems a bit overkill and expensive. Might be useful for US and Russians DDs that chose not to try and stealth fire.

4) Concealment Expert-10% to detectability of destroyers. -12% to detectability of cruisers. -14% to detectability of battleships. -16% to detectability of aircraft carriers.

  • This is a must have on several ships which you want to use the stealth fire ability. A very good all-round perk for DDs overall, CLs. (This is the skill I’m less sure about)

5) Air Supremacy+1 fighter +1 bomber Increases the number of aircraft in each fighter and dive bomber squadron by 1. Does not affect TB squadrons. The number of reserve aircraft is not increased.

  • Must have for CVs. Can be used by Cruisers to have 2 fighters in the air as far as I know, but is not quite as useful as the other AA skills, even going full AA.

6) Jack of All Trades-15% to reload time of all consumables.

  • Can’t see where it would be used to be honest. At this point you should be using Premium consumables that will reduce even further the usefulness of this skill.

Detailed Skill Choices Guide by Kurbain

Since a lot of people have been asking about how to distribute the captain skill points now that 0.5.3 is out and a lot of new skills have been introduced as well as old ones moved, I decided to write this quick guide so you don’t have to worry about wasting your free reset.

Please keep in mind that
A) your mileage may vary as skill choices can depend on your playstyle. These distributions are merely recommendations and not the ultimate choice to beat all others.
B) Apart from the Light Cruisers, These distributions are done assuming you keep moving your captain along to the next ship once you unlock it until you reach T10. If you would like specific recommendations for mid-tier ships, ask and I will provide one.

Here is some useful, hidden info about skills before delving into any builds:

1. Expert Loader only works if all gun barrels are currently loaded.
2. Incoming Fire Alert only works for shots that require at least 4 seconds to arrive.
3. Survivability Expert does not increase your repair costs, but will increase fire/flooding damage, which are percentage-based.
4. Torpedo Acceleration increases the arming distance for CV-dropped torpedoes.
5. The 100% damage bonus for Manual Control of the AA guns does not multiply with the defensive AA barrage. If your AA DPS is 100 and you have both, your DPS will be 400. (100 + 100% + 300%).

Light cruisers:

1. Situation Awareness/ Basics of Survivability. I prefer Situation Awareness to know when a DD is nearby and because the cooldown of the repair is relatively low, allowing you to put out fires pretty often. Nevertheless Basics of Survivability is a very good choice because you may burn often due to the low fire resistance of mid-tier cruisers.
2. Expert Marksman/Incoming Fire Alert/Last Stand. Expert Marksman is not as useful anymore, but still a very good choice because light cruisers are very agile. Incoming Fire Alert is a solid option if you prefer focusing your attention on other things than incoming shells. Last Stand is surprisingly useful for Light cruisers, especially the Omaha-variants and Germans, because they lose their rudder/propulsion reasonably often.
3. Vigilance/High Alert. Vigilance is a great skill because mid-tier torpedoes are spotted relatively late. High Alert is very useful because it allows you to extinguish fires more often.
4. Demolition Expert/Survivability Expert. Demolition Expert is an obvious choice now that AFT doesn’t extend range anymore and light cruisers tend to spam HE. Survivability Expert is a reasonable option since cruiser HP is a bit low at the mid-tiers. If you are playing Cleveland, Manual AA Fire Control is a valid choice as most of its DPS now comes from AA guns with a caliber larger than 85. However, this skill is wasted on other light cruisers as the Cleveland and Mogami are the only light cruisers which possess AA guns with a caliber of at least 85mm.
5. Concealment Expert or a second T4 skill that you haven’t taken yet.

Regular IJN DD:

1. Situational Awareness.
2. Torpedo Armament Expertise/Last Stand/Expert Marksman. Last Stand is the primary option here. Torpedo Armament Expertise can be taken if you are confident in your abilities to stay undetected and use premium repair. Expert Marksman is a great choice because the turret rotation of the IJN is very bad.
3. Torpedo Acceleration/Superintendent. Superintendent is a great choice, but not quite as important as for RU and US DDs because you will only use your smoke defensively and won’t need speed boost quite as much because you have plenty of time during torpedo reloads to get into position. Torpedo Acceleration is a good choice for an IJN DD starting at T6 due to their long ranges, which means you can easily afford losing +20% range assuming you are not relying on hitting second-line targets.
4. Survivability Expert/Advanced Firing Training. Survivability Expert would be my preferred choice as IJN DDs have the least HP of all ships. Advanced Firing Training is a reasonable choice even in the non-gunboat variant due to the low range of IJN DD guns.
5. Concealment Expert.
6. Take Torpedo Armament Expertise or Last Stand depending on what you didn’t choose at 2). Then get Basic Firing Training.

Gunboat IJN DD:

1. Situational Awareness.
2. Torpedo Armament Expertise/Last Stand/Expert Marksman. Last Stand is an even more important choice in this case as you will get into more gunfights. However, Torpedo Armament Expertise is still a solid option because IJN are torpedo-centered. As a gunboat turret traverse is even more important and I would rate Expert Marksman higher than TAE, but still lower than Last Stand.
3. Torpedo Acceleration/Superintendent. Superintendent gains more importance in this build, because you are going to use your smoke offensively and the speed boost helps to dodge and get out of danger if you choose the wrong place to fight. Torpedo Acceleration is a still a great choice, though.
4. Survivability Expert/Advanced Firing Training. Survivability Expert is an excellent choice still because of the large HP increase, which really helps in gunfights, but if you play as a gunboat I would personally recommend Advanced Firing Training. IJN DDs got a very good shell arc and can make excellent use of the long range. The extra range makes stealth-firing a lot easier and allows you to fight USN DDs at ranges where they are not comfortable.
5. Concealment Expert.
6. Take Torpedo Armament Expertise or Expert Marksman depending on your preferences, then get Basic Firing Training.

American DDs:

1. Situational Awareness.
2. Torpedo Armament Expertise/Last Stand. Last Stand is the much preferred choice since they have to fight at close ranges to be effective and possess higher DPS guns. Torpedo Armament Expertise is a solid choice for any US DD from T7 onwards, though, since they can stealth-torp.
3. Torpedo Acceleration/Superintendent/Vigilance. I would personally prefer Superintendent because American DDs got by far the best smoke in-game and it is important to use your smokes offensively to do damage since it is difficult to hit as an American DD at longer ranges. Torpedo Acceleration is an absolutely fine choice as well, though, if you are at least at the Mahan and especially if you prefer the stealth-torpedo lifestyle. Vigilance is also an option since you tend to be close to enemy DDs, especially in ranked play.
4. Survivability Expert/Demolition Expert. Demolition Expert is an excellent choice for American DDs due to their high fire-rate and low fire chance, but Survivability Expert is also very viable if you prefer to survivability over damage.
5. Concealment Expert.
6. Torpedo Armament Expertise or Last Stand, depending on what you didn’t pick.

Russian DDs:

1. Situational Awareness.
2. Last Stand/Expert Marksman(Torpedo Expertise). Last Stand is a great choice because torpedoes aren’t as important on Russian DDs as they are mainly gunboats and they tend to get shot at more than the DDs of other nations.  However, Torpedo Expertise is viable at the higher tiers if you use Premium Repair. Expert Marksman is a good choice because the Russian DDs have relatively bad turret rotation until T9.
At T9 it becomes less important because turret rotation goes down to 9 secs, however the best 3 Mil module for the Russians is the one that decreases turret rotation by 17% and increases firing speed. To counteract the rotation speed decrease due to the Module Expert Marksman is a viable option.
3. Superintendent/(Vigilance). Superintendent is the best choice as offensive smoke is incredibly important for Russian DDs due to their bad concealment. Vigilance is an option because of the bad rudder shift times of Russian DDs, but since you will be fighting at longer ranges most of the time rather than knifefighting DDs it has limited importance.
I don’t recommend Torpedo Acceleration because of the short torpedo range of the Russians even at T10 and their decreased importance.
4. Advanced Firing Training/Survivability Expert/ Demolition Expert. Advanced Firing Training is the best choice. Especially at T9/T10 Russian DDs have shell trajectories that allow you to easily hit enemies past 12 KM and due to their bad concealment it is important for Russian DDs to fight at longer ranges. Survivability Expert is not a bad choice either because Russian DDs get shot at often, but they do have the highest DD HP to make up for it. Demolition Expert is a great choice to boost damage, but I recommend taking AFT first.
5. Concealment Expert/Survivability Expert/Demolition Expert. Concealment Expert is a good choice due to the high detectability of Russian DDs, however taking Demolition Expert or Survivability Expert may be a better investment. Russian DDs usually fight at long ranges, in which case Concealment Expert has limited importance. CE is most useful for hunting DDs, but it is a difficult endeavour for Russian DDs due to their bad concealment even with CE and the speed+high alpha damage of the Shimakaze.
6. Take Basic Firing Training.

US/IJN Cruisers:

1. Situation Awareness/ Basics of Survivability. I much prefer Situation Awareness to know when a DD is nearby and because the cooldown of the repair is relatively low, allowing you to put out fires pretty often. Nevertheless Basics of Survivability is an option.
2. Expert Marksman/Incoming Fire Alert. Expert Marksman is the best choice. Cruisers have to dodge a lot in order to survive, especially at the high-tiers, and it is difficult to stay on target in those situations without a good turret traverse. Incoming Fire Alert is also a solid choice in case you don’t want to spend your time regularly checking enemy BB turret positions and can save you from BB salvos fired at long ranges which you are not expecting. Keep in mind it only works for shots that have a travel time of at least 4 seconds.
3. Superintendent/Vigilance. Superintendent is an excellent choice because T9/T10 cruisers can heal and the Defensive AA barrage is limited these days. Vigilance is a very good choice as well now that premium heal gives you an extra charge and we are entering the World of Destroyers stage.
4. Demolition Expert/Manual Fire Control for AA Armament/Advanced Firing Training. Demolition Expert is an obvious choice to help fight BBs. If you do not intend to get Demolition Expert, Manual Fire Control and AFT are equally viable. I recommend Manual Fire Control for the Zao, which receives 40% of its AA DPS from 85mm+ caliber guns.
The Des Moines on the other hand receives most of its DPS from guns with a caliber below 85mm and are more often used for BB support. Take AFT for that one.
5. Concealment Expert or a second T4 skill 
6. Vigilance/Demolition Expert/ Manual Fire Control

German Cruisers:

1. Situation Awareness/ Basics of Survivability. I much prefer Situation Awareness to know when a DD is nearby and because the cooldown of the repair is relatively low, allowing you to put out fires pretty often. Nevertheless Basics of Survivability is an option, especially because the concealment is not very good on German cruisers, making the info you gain from SA slightly less useful.
2. Expert Marksman/Incoming Fire Alert. Expert Marksman is the best choice. Cruisers have to dodge a lot in order to survive, especially at the high-tiers, and it is difficult to stay on target in those situations without a good turret traverse. Incoming Fire Alert is especially useful for German cruisers due to their fragility and a solid choice in case you don’t want to spend your time regularly checking enemy BB turret positions and can save you from BB salvos fired at long ranges which you are not expecting. Keep in mind it only works for shots that have a travel time of at least 4 seconds.
3. Superintendent/Vigilance. Superintendent is an excellent choice because T9/T10 cruisers can heal and the Defensive AA barrage is limited these days. Vigilance is a great choice for German cruisers also since they have the worst rudder shift time and DDs are more common than ever at high-tiers. The missing heal can be gained with the premium consumable.
4. Demolition Expert/Advanced Firing Training/Survivability Expert. Demolition Expert is a good choice to fight BBs, but not as important for the Germans as it is for the other nations because of the weak HE. AFT is an excellent choice because high-tier German AA is very strong. Survivability Expert is an alternate option due to their weak armor.
5. Concealment Expert or a second T4 skill 
6. Vigilance/Demolition Expert/ Manual Fire Control

Regular Battleship:

1.  Basics of Survivability. Obvious choice. Situation Awareness can be a decent choice, but with a concealment of 17 to 18 KM, it is best that you always expect to be spotted. Do not take Expert Loader, because it only works if all your guns are loaded.
2. Expert Marksman. Obvious choice.
3. High Alert/Vigilance/(Superintendent). Very versatile level. High Alert allows you to put out fires/flooding 8/12 seconds quicker, which can potentially save a lot of HP. Vigilance is more important than ever because of the high amount of DDs. Superintendent is good for the extra heal, but I highly recommend getting the premium heal instead because it also reduces healing cooldown.
4. Advanced Firing Training/Manual Fire Control for Secondary Armament. AFT is the better choice for IJN battleships since it boosts the secondary range. For American BBs it is viable to choose Manual Fire Control instead because their 85+ caliber AA guns are stronger and their secondaries are less useful.
5. Manual Secondary Control/Jack of all trades or a second T4 Skill. Manual Fire Control greatly boosts the effectiveness of your secondary armament.Highly recommended for IJN BBs. Jack of all Trades is a great choice to reduce repair cooldown further if you don’t like getting into ranges where the secondaries start firing or prefer deleting DDs with your primary armament.
6. Vigilance/High Alert.

Sneaky Battleship:

1. Basics of Survivability/Situation Awareness.  Basics of survivability is always a good choice, but as a sneaky BB Situation Awareness can be incredibly useful because in a lot of situations you are not going to be spotted and its important to know when that is the case.
2. Expert Marksman. Still a no-brainer.
3. Vigilance. Vigilance is the best option because you are not going to take the Target Acquisition Module and you will encounter more torpedoes which are not meant for you because you are closer to the enemy than usual.
4. Advanced Firing Training. Same as a regular BB.
5. Concealment Expert/Manual Fire Control/Jack of all Trades. If you want to be truly sneaky, Concealment Expert is the way to go. However, even without CE you can get decent 15 KM concealment and as a sneaky BB Manual Fire Control and Jack of all Trades are also highly important.
6. Basics of Survivability/Situation Awareness. Whatever you don’t have yet.
7. High Alert/Superintendent.

Aircraft Carriers:

1. Expert Rear Gunner/Situation Awareness. Expert Rear Gunner is a solid choice because it helps your bombers defend themselves, but it is not nearly as important anymore as it was in the past because most of the time your bombers will get killed by strafing runs. Situation Awareness is surprisingly useful at the high-tiers due to the very long range that all ships have at that point.
Also excellent to know whether a DD may hunt you.
2. Torpedo Armament Expertise. Got buffed from 10% to 20%. Obvious choice.
3. Torpedo Acceleration/Vigilance. Torpedo Acceleration is a good choice as the range decrease is no issue and torpedo speed of CVs is quite low these days. However, keep in mind that it is a double-edged sword because torpedo activation is based on time, meaning the torpedoes will cover a larger distance before activating and have to be dropped further away. Vigilance is a solid choice to dodge any long-range torpedoes that happen to be coming your way, whether intentional or not. I don’t recommend Dogfighting Expert because you should not be picking fights with higher tier CVs and 4 CV-games are pretty rare at the high-tiers. Not sure if it buffs strafing.
4. Aircraft Servicing Expert/Advanced Firing Training/Manual AA Control. Aircraft Servicing Expert is alway a valid choice. The two skills that buff AA are solid choices as well because of the high amount of carrier sniping at the higher tiers.
If you are not going for Aircraft Servicing Expert, I recommend taking Advanced Firing Training as an American to boost secondaries and because most of their AA is still short-to-medium range.
Take Manual AA Control as the IJN. They have better concealment and don’t have as many engagements with enemy DDs and they gain a larger part of their DPS from long-range armament than the Americans do.
5. Air Supremacy/Concealment Expert. Air Supremacy is the obvious choice to boost your amount of fighters and dive bombers in the air. Especially important for Americans, which now rely less on torpedo bombers and may have to deal with 4/2/2 Hakuryus.
Concealment Expert is nevertheless a valid choice because getting detected at the high-tiers where even the cruisers can have 18+ KM range can be serious trouble. Less important for IJN, which have decent concealment without upgrades.

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Additional Guide Tips Welcomed!