WOWS Enjoyment – Accelerating Captains Training Strategies

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Hi All – Hangglide42 again with some suggestions for newer players re: strategies to train up your commanders faster.   I started this game as a “Freemium Player” in that I did not have a Premium Account or Premium ships and had the original 9 port slots.   If you enjoy this game and play  for any length of time, you may find (as I did) that you’ll get an increasing number of port slots (thru missions, campaigns, containers, santas crates) and the ships in your port are going to increase.

In my case, I passed a point where I decided that WG deserved some compensation for my enjoyment (in the early vid game days, a game that gave you 100 hrs of enjoyment that you paid $49.95 for was considered a fair deal) – as a result I eventually bought Premium Time and a few Premium Ships (though I have more Premiums from Santa’s crates & Campaigns/Missions than I’ve purchased).   This also made my Captain’s Crunch (forgive the pun) more acute as my port now has 76 ships with the accompanying need for trained captains.

Hence this posting….

Why care about trained captains?

As you play the game, you’ll find that there are certain “Tiers” of Captains Skill Levels that are almost essential if you are going to get the maximal enjoyment out of the ship you play.  This is not to say you can’t play the ship if you don’t have this, but to get the most out of the ship, you’re going to want to have a set of Captain’s skill of these tiers that will give you certain capabilities that represent needed characteristics of your ship.  Examples of these are:

DDs – 3 pts. – Last Stand – necessary for survival for DDs if your engine gets knocked out (very frequent) in engagements

DDs – 6 pts. – Superintendent – gives you an extra smoke charge for hiding

DDs – 10 pts – Concealment – minimizing your detection is key to DD survivial

CA/CLs (& some BBs) – 10 pts Concealment

DDs – 14 pts – AFT – Gunboat DDs like the Russian DDs w/ flat shell arcs rely on gunfire from a greater distance

CLs – 6 pts – Demo Expert (if not taking Superintendent)

CL/CAs – 10 pts – Concealment – Useful for most Cruisers for disengaging from bigger threats

BBs (Brawlers) – 14 pts – Manual Secondaries – for German BBs in particular who are good brawlers extend range of secondaries (w/ flags) out to 10.6 km

BBs (Stealthy) – 10 pts – Concealment – allows a NC or Iowa to sneak up to 12 km & change before unleashing initial salvo at unsuspecting targets

Typically, as you move up as a initial Fremium Player – you’re moving your captain up w/ you as you go.  But as I moved to Tier 5 and beyond, I increasingly found ships I loved to play and wanted to keep – and these needed new captains that had to be trained quickly.  You’ll also find that line splits (as happened w/ the Russian and IJN DD lines) – suddenly add ships to your port with a number of untrained captains.

3 Keys to the Strategy

The 3 mechanisms in this game to accelerate Captains training are:

Use Flags, Signals and Cammos

There are a number of Signals, Flags and Cammos that can be used to boost Commanders XP.  These should be “stacked” (i.e. used in conjunction w/ other Commander XP boosting signals,flags/cammos) to multiply the amount of Captains XP that you can earn in a given battle:

Military Month Contributor Flag – 5% Commander XP Boost

Zulu Hotel – 50% Commander XP Boost – Earned for Confederate or Purchasable

Dragon Flag – 333% Commander XP Boost – in Xmas Containers or special offerings

Red Dragon Flag – 100% Commander XP Boost (+ others) – Bismarck Campaign Containers or Purchasable

Hydra Flag – 150% Commander XP Boost (+ others) – Bismarck Campaign Containers or Purchasable)

Many Cammos – ref: to WOWS wiki for list

Premium Ships

Despite the obvious “buy a premium” payment option, the game will offer you various opportunities to obtain Premium ships by executing various missions, campaigns or goals w/o a cash payment.  Examples of these are the Missouri which is attainable w/ a 750K free XP payment or the Graf Spee, Shinonome, Kamikaze R which were attainable through a campaign or event (Clash of Fire) – these ships can be earned by your efforts in-game at no cost to you other than game time involvement.  Other ships in my port such as the Emden, Indianapolis, Blyskawica were obtained thru Santas Crates – this is a Xmas promo by WG where you essentially can buy or gift presents for a nominal cost of $1/$3/$5 per box.  The boxes are “guaranteed” to include items that are list priced by WG greater than the cost of the boxes, but as in my case, a few gift boxes yielded a number of new Premium ships (the 3 ships I mentioned were in $3 gift boxes and there were actually 2 more Emdens that were dups so WG compensated me instead giving me a duplicate of the ship).

Premium ships have the 2 characteristics that are key to accelerating the training of your commander –  they award more Commander XP than tech tree ships (50% more) and you can freely move any commanders in that Nations ship lines (tech tree or Premium) into your premium ship for retraining.  Thus, if you need a particular tech tree ship Captain trained, you play the tech tree ship, move the Captain into the Premium and take advantage of the daily win bonus in both ships to increase the speed of your Captains training.

Two things to be aware of when getting Premium Ships (especially if you’re buying them for training purposes):

1)  Ship Captains are Nation-aligned – this means that you can only move Captains along nation boundaries (i.e. you can’t use a IJN Captain in a KM ship) – so isolated ships like the Blyskawica, Anshan and Perth that do not have a full national line associated with it are not useful as training vessels

2) Training a captain for a DD or CV is very different from a BB/CL/CA.  When you are considering getting a Premium, take into account which ship types you’re most likely use the Premium to train Captains for.   If you’re playing mainly BB/CL/CAs in a national line – a BB or CL/CA Premium would be most productive.   If you’re playing a DD or CV, you probably should get a DD or CV respectively.  Though this is a consideration, there are cases where you can “get away with” training a DD captain in a CL for example – I’ve done this w/ my Mikhail Kutuzov (training a russian DD captain) – but this is not a preferred match and I could do this because the Kutuzov is somewhat OP and the DD skills actually didn’t adversely affect its performance too badly).

Free Commanders XP

The primary goal is to reach a 19 point Captain ASAP so you can start unlocking freely movable Free Commanders XP.  Free Commander XP is a nice, relatively recent, addition to WOWS that allows you to use any Commander XP earned once you get a 19 pt captain on another Captain of your choice.

Yes, I recognize that accumulating the 1708000 Captains XP needed to get a 19 pt Captain is not easy, but the idea here is to get ONE.  Once this happens and it’s properly aligned, you can leverage this Captain to cascade further maxed out captains a lot quicker – in other words if you have a choice of advancing one captain exclusively or many captains simultaneously it is more advantageous for you to get that 1st 19 pointer because it makes getting upgrades to all your captains a lot quicker,

Thus the most efficient strategy to get a multiplicative effect on increasing your Commander’s skill levels quickest is to:

– Get a Premium (or more than one) ship in a national line that you play a lot

– Get a 19 point Captain in that National ship line suitable for training also on that Premium(s)

– Once one 19 point Captain is achieved, take advantage of the daily bonuses & play that same Captain along your National line Premiums

What it looks like in practice – I recently got my 1st 19 point Captain in the German BB line so if I wanted to maximize my Captains training I have the following ship play strategies aligned for my own Free Commander XP generation strategy:

FDG/Tirpitz/Scharnhorst/Graf Spee – Advancing Tech Tree to get GK, TIrpitz has 100% free XP Bonus, 3 Premiums w/ 50% Commanders XP & Daily Win Bonuses

Montana/Missouri/Indianapolis – Missouri is a credit earning monster, 2 Premiums w/ 50% Commanders XP & Daily Win Bonuses

Yamato/Mutsu/Ishizuchi – 2 Premiums w/ 50% Commanders XP & Daily Win Bonuses

Yugumo/Shinonome/Kamikaze R – 2 Premiums w/ 50% Commanders XP & Daily Win Bonuses (Shima is already unlocked & Captained at a lower skill level)

Donskoi/Kutuzov – Advancing Tech Tree to get Moskva, 1 Premium w/ 50% Commanders XP & Daily Win Bonuses

ARP Kongo – Getting 19 pt. Captain in this ship allows farming on 3 other ARP BBs for Commanders XP & Daily Win Bonuses (less optimally, can use same Capt as Myokos)

ARP Myoko – Getting 19 pt. Captain in this ship allows farming on 4 other ARP CAs (including Takao) for Commanders XP and Daily Win Bonuses (less optimally, can use same Capt as Kongos)

The basic principle is, for the minimum number of actual 19 pt. Captains you have, you can maximize the number of Free Commander’s XP you can farm because you can play these captains on many other ships. In the above list, just six 19 pt. Captains can be farming Free Commander’s XP on 24 ships in your port.

I currently have 1 19 pt Captain in the FDG, but am farming 40+K free Commanders XP from just playing the German line of ships – but with this strategy should have 2 additional 19 point Captains for the Montana & Yamato within a week and the remainder within a month.  I’ve actually purchased only 4 Premiums in this list of 24 ships (Tirpitz/Scharn/Mutsu/Kutuzov – on sale) – the ARP ships, Graf Spee, Shinonome, Kami R and Missouri (13 ships) are Mission/Campaign-earned ships and the Indianapolis and Ishizuchi are Santa’s Crates ships so this strategy does not necessarily require a huge expenditure in ship purchases (i.e. you work within your time/budget constraints).  With the list above, if all the purchased ships were removed, this would still be 5 19 pt. Captains out of 19 total ships that were entirely in-game tech tree/earned via missions or campaigns/santa’s crates ships.

With this math, my goal is to unlock the single 19 point captain in each of the groups (5 more assuming all ARP ships can use the same Capt.) which will allow up to (if generating Commanders XP were my sole play goal) 300+K of Free Commander XP daily which can quickly train up a lot of ship captains to their critical skill levels and eventually to their own 19 pt range.

Hope this gives you some insight into the Captain’s skill mechanics and good luck training your new skippers!

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Additional Guide Tips Welcomed!