After taking a break from Warships, I’ve come back and thought that it was time to share some thoughts with some of the newer (and maybe more mature) battleship captains out there.
I’m Kelorn and I play mainly Battleships on the NA server. My specialty is in doing damage, and lots of it. I average over 68k damage per match. Today I’m going to share some of the secrets I use to get high damage in slow clumsy battleships.
Topic 1: Armor Angling
While it might seem odd to talk about Armor Angling when the point of this post is about damage, but the fact is that if you don’t understand armor angling, then you’ll never live long enough in battles to do lots of damage. But what do I mean when I say Armor Angling, you ask?
The concept is simple, which doesn’t keep it from being difficult to put into action. Showing your broadside to your opponent gives them flat armor to shoot at, which is the easiest to penetrate. To increase your EFFECTIVE armor, you angle the plate away from the incoming shells. The higher the angle, the more likely a shell is to bounce off your armor.
To see more information about angling your armor, watch this excellent video by iChase: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRIQlK23kyg
TL;DR: Don’t show your broadside to your enemy.
Topic 2: Aiming
Aiming your shots in World of Warships is a tricky business. We are all aware of the massive part RNG can play when it comes to landing your shots. That said, there are some things that you can do to increase your chances of landing all important citadel hits.
First, I highly recommend that you investigate using one of the player-modified sights, available through Aslain’s mudpack, which can be found here: http://aslain.com/index.php?/forum/28-downloads/
The primary reasons for using modified sights are that they tend to have prominent aiming numbers, and extend across the entire width of the screen. This is important, particularly for long range shots, and the stock sight can be insufficient to lead fast moving, long range targets. In particular, I recommend the Mobius v1 sight, which you can see me explain the mechanics of in the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l2zn3jXk42g Second, follow some basic rules when shooting at targets with a Battleship:
- Shoot AP at Cruisers, Battleships, and Carriers, even if they’re angled to you
- Shoot HE at destroyers, IF you have the time to reload. If you have rounds of AP loaded and the DD is close, shoot the AP, then load HE
- Shoot at the waterline of your targets
- This applies in general to battleship shooting, as your HE shells will do massive damage to unarmored DDs if you hit the hull
- The overwhelming majority of citadel areas on the larger ships (CL/CA/BB/CV’s) are near the waterline and are vulnerable to your AP rounds if they are penetrated
- Lead your targets:
- Use a huge lead for DD’s (2x the shell travel time, as shown in the video)
- Use a moderate lead for Cruisers (1x the shell travel time)
- Use a small to moderate lead for BB’s (0.5 to 0.75x shell travel time)
- (Note that for the stock sight the lead times are: “For the stock crosshair the tick marks coincide to 1 second of shell travel time against a target moving at 20 knots. DDs you should lead 1.7x the travel time, Cruisers 1.5x, BB 1.3x ~ 1.0x.”)
- Use the minimap to discern if targets are coming toward you or traveling away, and adjust your aim to account for their movement.
I realize this was an overwhelming complicated set of rules to take into consideration, but that brings me to my last point, you need to practice these, over and over, to get the snap judgment necessary to make these calculations quickly. There will be times where you want to take a shot quickly and turn away before they return fire.
Topic 3: Tactics
Which brings us to the final topic of this discussion, tactics. You see posts all the time talking about battleships who hang out in the back of the map the whole game. You also see the inverse, battleships who charge their enemies at the beginning and die in a blaze of glory, usually without killing anything.
The fact is that reality needs to be somewhere in between these two extremes. In the current meta of the game, we have two complete battleship lines (excluding the Warspite and Tirpitz for the moment). Each line has a slightly different playstyle, with some internal exceptions.
The Japanese battleship line, by and large, emphasizes long range shooting, combined with heavy hitting guns, on a faster but slightly less armored (to their American tier counterpart) hull. Their upgrades and modifications increase gun accuracy over range, and in general they have turrets that can rotate to shoot “over the shoulder” relatively well. More on that in a minute.
The American battleship line emphasizes heavy armor with close range shooting. Their upgrades focus on their meager initial range, combined with a slower hull that turns in a tighter space. Their turrets, have slightly more trouble shooting “over the shoulder” than their Japanese counterparts, but make up for it with an increased ability to take damage.
So how does the gameplay differ between these two types? My answer is that they largely play the same. I tend to make very similar decisions, regardless of what nation I’m playing. If anything, the major differences are in the early game stages. In my Japanese battleships I tend to stand off for the first 5 minutes and determine the enemy intentions while I go for some early damage at range. My American battleships I’ll close to my maximum range, then do the same thing. We combine the Armor Angling and Aiming that were talked about earlier to drive the decisions we make in game play.
Which brings us to what I consider to be the most important point of battleships, BB’s are there to destroy CRUISERS FIRST.
What do I mean by that? Consider this. Every game starts off with 12v12 (or 7v7 in ranked). Cruisers are susceptible to one shot kills into their citadels by skilled battleship captains. Even less skilled BB captains can kill a cruiser in several broadsides of coordinated fire. Compare this to the prolonged effort it can take to kill an enemy battleship. By targeting the cruisers first, you’re taking guns and hulls away from the enemy team. Fewer guns means your team takes less damage, fewer hulls means the enemy has less chances to cap control points. Once the BB’s are stripped of their cruisers, your team can concentrate your fire on the now isolated BB’s.
Are we done yet, Kelorn?
Not quite, there are a few more points to make. Let’s get back to the suicidal and sniper BB’s I mentioned earlier. Battleships are the tanks, the heavy damage, and the battering ram of your team. They’re not suited to scouting enemy intentions or diversionary tactics. They’re not there to absorb all of the incoming damage from the enemy team, as this will quickly sink them. Battleships are the ships that exploit your enemy’s weak points. Use your DD’s and cruisers to scout and skirmish, then the BB’s should drive through the weakest part of the enemy line. Enough generalities, let’s give a few tips for Battleship tactics.
- Turn your guns so you fire as far “over the shoulder” as possible. For instance, if an enemy is in front of you, put your bow toward them and turn your rear turrets as far to the front as possible. When they’re loaded, open your broadside JUST enough to fire your rear guns. While they’re loading, turn back to show only your bow.
- This has a couple of benefits, it makes you a more difficult target to hit with gunfire, but it also makes your course vary enough to mess up long range stealth destroyer torpedo volleys. This is especially true when you combine it with speed variations
- One thing to note, however, is that some of the mid-tier American BB’s (Wyoming, Arkansas, and New York) have ‘center’ turrets that do not aim as far over the shoulder as their IJN counterparts. On these ships, I will often only turn far enough to should all but one of my turrets. (ie on the New York only engage with Turrets 1, 2, 4, and 5.) The last turret often requires you to be fully broadside on to your target and is rarely worth the extra damage.
- On a side note, this is a major strength for IJN BB’s and allows them to engage USN BB’s at close range with more guns, but with steep armor angling. In fact, this is what makes the Amagi one of the best Ranked Ships at T8.
- As noted above, don’t sail in straight lines. DD’s are out there trying to torp you from stealth. Get a feel for where they hang out on certain maps, and vary your course and speed before sailing through narrow gaps between islands. This will also mess up targeting for guns from long range.
- Don’t be afraid to charge into a cap point in mid to late game when the enemy is weak at that point. Leading a charge in the early game is suicidal, leading a charge in the late game can reward you with lots of benefits. Learn to judge the enemy teams intentions and leanings. If they start running, charge them down (while being mindful of people torping you).
- Try and coordinate with your team. Groups of ships together make difficult targets, even just 2 or 3. Single ships alone are easily focused and destroyed. Having cruisers around to shoot at DD’s is often the difference between a live BB and a dead one.
- Turn into torpedoes. This applies to air dropped and DD torpedoes, turning away from them gives them additional time to hit, turning into them you may take one or two, but you’ll rarely take 5+. Note that slowing down can also help as BB’s tend to decelerate quickly. For torpedo bombers, you can turn into them while they’re coming at you, to lessen the chance they hit. This is even more doable in the American BB’s with their smaller turn radii.
This turned out a lot longer than I expected, but I hope that it contains some information people find useful!
Godspeed and fair sailing!