The Complete Guide to Graphics Settings
Have you looked at the graphic settings & wondered what each one does? Maybe you want the best balance between visuals & FPS. Look no further here is my updated in-depth graphics guide to everything you would need to know about the WOWS graphics settings.
Vertical Synchronization: Limits your FPS to your screen refresh rate at the expense of some FPS to prevent screen tearing, useless if you’re below 60 FPS & will only harm your FPS for no visual quality gain.
Triple Buffering: Only used in conjunction with VSync, does nothing by itself. This option can partially negate the FPS impact of VSync.
Reduce GUI Refresh Rate: Don’t touch this! Leave it off & if the game turned it on, turn it off immediately. This cuts your GUI refresh rate by around half or more resulting in a much more choppy & unresponsive GUI than what you would normally experience for barely if any performance gains. In fact turning this option on might make you think you took a performance hit instead as the minimap blinks ships from one spot to another & your aiming cursor has trouble keeping up with you.
Animate Small Objects: Want to see plane squad sizes so you can dodge drops? Want to see AA firing? Turn this option on.
Increase GUI Contrast: Personal preference as this makes the GUI less transparent.
Reduced Fire Effect: Changes the fire border to the pre-patch style, personal preference setting.
Antialiasing FXAA: Antialiasing or AA is a technique used to reduce or eliminate “jaggies” from your screen which can be seen on a multiple of objects like the wires & railings on your ship. Aliasing is the step like effect on the edges on objects & the broken up dots on wires that are supposed to represent objects when they’re too small in geometry, hence jaggies. FXAA is one of the fastest if not fastest methods to help reduce the effects of aliasing but sadly that comes with a price for efficiency. It does nothing to eliminate geometry jaggies & will give your screen the Vaseline smeared look rather than crisp outlines of objects as this is a post processing effect. The settings are simply the intensity of the effect you want to see from FXAA.
FPS Impact: Light to Moderate, you will see a few frames of improvement with this off.
Graphics Quality: At a first glance you may think it only changes the setting presets of what you can see on the screen but it does a lot more under the hood. Setting this option to low will disable menu transparency when you hit escape & turn off all miscellaneous objects strewn on your ship even if you manually max everything later. Selecting medium or above fixes the issues.
Texture Quality: This only affects the loaded texture resolution, decreasing this setting will lower the sharpness of textures.
FPS Impact: None to minimal, most graphic cards that are not from a decade ago or longer will have no issues handling WOWS texture resolutions. I recommend leaving this setting on High unless you’re running off something like motherboard graphics.
Texture Filtering: Various texture filtering options are provided here starting from the lowest (Point) to the highest option (Anisotropic 16x). Texture filtering improves the clarity of textures when viewed at oblique angles & far distances that causes them to blur or produce unwanted lines. Simply put this is Antialiasing for textures rather than geometry so they retain their color accuracy.
FPS Impact: Same as Texture Quality, unlike geometry Antialiasing, Texture Filtering is now a standard procedure for any graphics card & you will see none to minimal FPS impact from changing these settings unless you have that decade old card. I recommend Anisotropic 8x but feel free to go to 16x if you want maximum texture clarity.
Off – Shadows are disabled & light will bleed through objects to the other side.
Low – Enabled shadows at 1k shadow resolutions (very blurry) and only drawn a minimum distance, large ships will find shadows disappearing on their bow & stern ends.
Medium – Shadows reach farther than low & will properly apply shadows to cover the entirety of the ship besides the longest ones in the game. This setting is strictly for personal shadows only & far off shadows will not be seen.
High – Shadows are now drawn significantly farther & can be seen from other ships & objects. The shadow resolutions have also been upgraded to 1.5k & are now less blurry.
Very High – 2k shadow resolutions (the sharpest option) & are drawn even farther out.
FPS Impact: Large, generally speaking every step is a large FPS impact so set it to what you’re most comfortable with seeing.
Off – No reflections can be seen on the water, well actually you can see something but that’s not the sky it’s the map lighting.
Low – Enables sky & player reflections, reflections are drawn at their lowest resolution & closest distance.
Medium – Reflections are drawn further out, land reflections + effects are now shown & the resolution is increased.
High – All reflection effects are enabled, including buildings & trees. Reflection resolutions increased to the maximum & reflections are drawn significantly farther out than medium.
Very High – Now shows reflections on all other ships & a longer draw distance for reflections.
FPS Impact: One of the biggest possible hits to your FPS, if you need frames then this is the setting to knock down.
Sea Rendering Quality:
Very Low – Doesn’t look like water & disables reflections, this is simply a flat surface with barely any movement whatsoever.
Low – The water upgrades from cardboard to mercury, there’s now some semblance to liquid dynamics & reflections can be enabled again.
Medium – Water physics are now enabled for ships (wake) & is now starting to resemble water. I would recommend this setting minimum if you want your ship to look like it’s actually sailing instead of gliding on mercury.
High – Wave details are added to produce an ocean like effect + more waves.
Very High – Fine detail waves are now added to adhere to the most realistic wave motions possible + more waves.
FPS Impact: Another huge impact on your FPS almost on par with Reflections, knock it down accordingly if you need frames.
Off – No trees.
Low – The closet trees can be seen at their lowest geometry settings.
Medium – Trees are drawn further out with improved geometry.
High – Tree shadows are now enabled & trees are drawn further out with increased geometry.
Very High – Trees drawn at maximum draw distance with the highest geometry settings.
FPS Impact: Moderate, set to whatever your tree comfort zone is & FPS you’re willing to take.
Signal Flags: No discernable differentiation between any of the settings in neither resolution nor physics, leave it at low if you need FPS or high if you want to feel maxed out. It might be a bit more wavy on high but the effect is so negligible that it’s not worth it.
FPS Impact: Can’t see or feel anything personally.
Effects Preset: Hard to test this one honestly but if you want the best particle effects possible leave it at high.
FPS Impact: As stated before I can’t test this.
Effects Quality: Determines particle resolutions & clarity like fires for example.
Low -Very blurry.
Medium – Less blurry.
High – Full resolution.
FPS Impact: Hard to say but low to medium is a safe range.
Sky and Clouds Quality: This option does nothing, I wish I was joking but I’m seriously not. It has done nothing since I started playing & still doesn’t do anything. Leave it on or off & you will still see no difference in the sky.
FPS Impact: As this option does nothing, well basically none. It’s safe to leave it off without hurting visual quality.
Draw Distance: I’m hesitant to call this one a “does nothing” option too but from my testing that’s what keeps coming up. No matter what setting you place it on all islands are always drawn & ship draw distance is not graphic setting dependent.
FPS Impact: None from what I’ve been able to test, leaving it on near is pretty much the same as far.
Object LOD: Now this setting does what it says it does, finer ship & object detail levels are displayed at various distances according to your setting and drawn accordingly. NOTE: This option cannot be seen in port as all LOD is maxed regardless of setting on your ship & will only take effect in battles.
Low – All your ship details (like all the miscellaneous small objects littered across the ship) will disappear from just zooming out of a destroyer.
Medium – About 1/3 to half your ship details will disappear when zooming out of large ships.
High – All ship details will stay active on your ship except the farthest points of your largest ships.
FPS Impact: Low.
Low – Enables color correction, I recommend setting this as the minimum so you get more vibrant colors.
Medium to High – No changes & I’m not joking either.
Very High – Enables light shafts, lens flare, & various other post processing effects related to the sun.
FPS Impact: Minimal to low, I recommend using only the settings “low” & “very high” as everything in between does nothing.
Soft Particles: Enables particle alpha blending so you don’t get particle tearing. This can be seen in carrier view on destroyer smoke if this option is disabled.
FPS Impact: Low
Multisample Antialiasing: True antialiasing, this is the industry standard of geometry antialiasing which reduces geometry jaggies that FXAA simply can’t do as a post processing effect. Your resolution will still be at the maximum and MSAA doesn’t produce a smear like effect like FXAA however this visual clarity has some downsides most notably in the performance category.
Off – No MSAA
2x – 2x Multisampling, fastest option for MSAA.
4x – 4x Multisampling, more x’s means more pixel sampling which translates into less jaggies.
8x – 8x Multisampling, for those with great graphic cards. Seriously don’t use this unless you have a good graphics card or if you don’t mind dipping framerates.
FPS Impact: High, as you go up to settings you will find more clear visual rendering at a significant cost of FPS. Don’t use this unless you have a beefy card or set it to 2x to have some MSAA in effect without too large of a performance impact.
Other Info: For those who are into the graphic scene, WOWS MSAA implementation does not eliminate edge gamma antialasing & still leaves more jaggies than Nvidia Inspector’s Spare Grid Supersampling option for lower resolutions. If you require the absolute top notch graphics for AA try forcing AA via the inspector. Just make sure you use 0x404012C1 for the antialiasing compatibility section to enable AA options from your driver (don’t forget to override application setting too).
EDITS: Medium reflection description fixed & some grammar elsewhere. Added MSAA.