I've tried to translate my own personal experience into advice that other players may benefit from.
I am by no means a great player, although I think I am still improving, but I would like to help promote more team work and help people to understand the dynamics of the game and how the four classes of ships work.
World of Warships is, first and foremost, a team based game, from Coop and Random to Team and Ranked battles.
If you disagree with what I'm saying, fine, but as rules of thumb, these probably goes a long way, although in certain conditions, most or all of these rules probably become fluid.
If you feel you know better, don't just say so, explain why.
Do feel free to add your own tips, and like suggestions from other players, both to encourage more people to post their advice, and to make it easier for me to spot them and add them to this post, so we may all do better together!
I would especially like someone to do a guide to carriers for people who suck at carriers (like yours truly, as I freely admit).
The importance of team work
Lately it seems as if, for some reason, everyone is not only insistent on doing their own thing, but also on doing that thing as far away from support as possible.
This is not helpful.
Even if you are still in range of the rest of the team, even battleships can't do consistent damage at long range.
More often than not, half our team gets creamed, leaving the rest to struggle to try and make up for it.
Another recurring theme is that people often don't play their role, despite the obvious advantages for the team, themselves included.
One important thing to remember is that this game is trying to be rock-paper-scissors, every ship type has its strengths and weaknesses, try to play according to your strengths and account for your own weaknesses.
Whichever class you play, you can perform some roles that another class won't be able to perform, or only at a cost/with severe drawbacks.
If you don't play the role your class is meant to perform, someone else will have to try that, and will most likely struggle to do so.
See below for an outline of what each class is meant to do, according to the way the game is set up, and what is smart to do, in order to help your team.
Destroyers hunt everything, but should cap and scout for the fleet as well. On maps with multiple cap zones, capping takes priority, but make sure you have support, and air cover if need be. Gun destroyers should focus on taking out enemy destroyers first, but beware of enemy ships that have radar. After that, the priority is carriers (but don't abandon your team and go off on a wild goose chase). Gun destroyers are more easily spotted, but that does not mean they should ignore capping, just that they should be smart about it, and keep an eye on support at all times. Torpedo destroyers should usually only fire their guns as a last resort, or together with an ally, and then often only against enemy DDs. They should probably focus on capping first, but always within range of cruiser / gun destroyers for support.Their priority is: carriers (when nearby), battleships, cruisers, but also destroyers if near/threatened. For both types it should be obvious that you do not go off on your own, well beyond help from your team, unless there are no enemy DDs and no enemy CVs, or you absolutely have to in order to cap/reposition.
Pro-tips: don't smoke up immediately upon spotting something and being spotted, if you're the one spotting, no one will be able to shoot at the newly discovered target. Especially enemy DDs are hard to spot, so YOU need to do that! Make sure we get some shots in first, using WASD hacks to avoid enemy fire, THEN smoke. If we can take out the enemy DDs early, you will have free play, wouldn't you like that? Sure you would! And don't sit still in the smoke right where you were spotted, the enemy will either shoot or torpedo your position, and either sink you or damage you so much you will be mostly useless for the rest of the game. If challenged, retreat, unless you have a clear advantage, and/or you are in the final stages of the game. If you make one little mistake, your team is down a DD. Once your team loses their DDs, they are handicapped, more than they realize.
Important information for non-destroyer players: destroyers are NOT invisibre, they do not magically appear and disappear. They are also INCREDIBLY vulnerable, they have paper thin armor (so don't use AP against them, it will overpenetrate and do negligible damage) so protect those on your team, and prioritize those on the enemy team. They are incredibly useful. DDs on your team: good. DDs on their team: bad. Take out enemy destroyers swiftly, it may be your only chance, and it may save you or an ally. A few hits is all it takes.
Cruisers / CAs
Cruisers, especially light cruisers, should prioritize enemy destroyers over everything else, carriers over everything but destroyers, cruisers over battleships, and battleships absolutely dead last. For heavy cruisers this still goes, as your rate of fire is still better than a BB and a destroyer has to reveal its position to shoot.
Pro-tips: don't EVER broadside a battleship while spotted AND at least keep turning if you can't avoid it, no matter what the range is. Yama has over 25 km range, and even in lesser battleships I've citadelled cruisers from (almost) max range and just plain deleted them, sometimes with my very first salvo of the game, the moment they were spotted. One citadel is half your HP, 2 is death. That is all it takes, so don't risk it, ever. Work with the other cruisers and focus fire a target, it will die swiftly, but stick to the target priority listed above. If you die getting a BB within an inch of its life, it is most likely useless. The BB will repair and be at half or full HP the next time it is spotted. The no broadsiding rule goes for enemy cruisers and destroyers too. They will delete you almost as easily, especially if you're in torpedo range. Using only half your guns is fine, as you also risk only half the damage you would sustain otherwise. Try to focus fire, together with your allies. When unspotted, get into the best possible position (preferably non broadsiding or ready to turn) and THEN fire.
Important information for non-cruiser players: cruisers are almost as vulnerable as destroyers, they have a bit more HP, but are also MUCH more visible, while with exception of Kutuzov they have no smoke to hide in. Their rate of fire, especially for light cruisers, is often phenomenal. They can start fires like they are blasting The Prodigy 24/7. Some of them, especially at higher tiers, have radar, which is a deadly tool, while others have sonar. Protect them and they will protect you, if they do their job right.
Battleships should target carriers, cruisers, battleships, in that order, but at least target their secondaries on any incoming DD. The occasional potshot with the main guns on a DD should not be neglected, especially if that DD is moving in a straight line and under 15 km away, and/or threatening an ally. Just don't forget to lead even more than for a cruiser. Better safe than sorry.
Pro tips: turn your bow towards a threat, especially a destroyer/torpedoes/torpedo bombers, and try to avoid showing your broadside to anyone. Plan ahead, because you are slow to move, slow to turn, and if you get caught turning, they will target you and hit you where it hurts the most (the citadel). You may feel invulnerable and can heal mad amounts of HP, but if you get hit enough, you won't have time for that. Don't EVER go off alone, especially not with DDs/CVs about. Don't stay at max range, you may occasionally hit something, even citadel stuff, but you will do far less damage than at closer range. Try to find the sweet spot. Near enough to the enemy, near enough to your allies, but not close enough to be in immediate danger. Try to fire at the proper distance ahead, so you can citadel a BB or CA. Try to focus fire, together with your allies. Fire AP, even against destroyers. Target nearby enemies with secondaries, and pay attention to enemy squadrons, select those as well, especially if you have the Manual Fire Control (MFT) skill.
Important information for non-battleship players: while they may seem invulnerable, and many of them feel that they are, they are most certainly not, not even Yama-san. Scout to detect DDs well ahead of time, so BBs can keep clear, and keep an eye out for TBs for the same reason, and don't let them wander off alone, or they will be pwned. When you engage them, finish them if you can do so at a reasonable expense, or all will be for naught. But don't get tunnel vision and lose track of everything else and certainly don't target them alone, unless you must, or if they are showing you their delicious broadside. Battleships are relatively slow, so don't keep them guessing on where they should be. If they have to move halfway across the map to be useful, they are useless for the time being, and the game can be lost before they are in a position to do something. despite their enormous hitting power/damage potential. Scout for them and point out juicy targets to attract their attention, so they can adjust in a timely fashion.
Carriers hunt everything and can cover the whole map. They should use that ability to scout, even ahead of friendly DDs, so they don't get ambushed, and so that the team gets an early picture of where the enemy is and can adjust accordingly. Aircraft spotting a DD, but out of ammo? Who cares! Keep it there, wait for the team to take it out, or the DD to use smoke, unless it is so far away no one can shoot it. Don't pull it out the second the enemy DD is spotted! The DD won't return the favor, it will gladly torpedo you from beyond visual range, or start so many fires on your deck that your pilots plunge into the ocean in despair.
Pro-tips: stick at least somewhat near your team and don't stay on an unprotected flank. Preferably, keep moving, especially if you were already spotted. The enemy WILL remember and will be coming for you ASAP. Also, keep an eye out for an enemy sneak attack, from carrier planes or otherwise. Don't EVER be AFK. A team without their CV is pretty much doomed.
Important information for non-carrier players: Playing a CV is DIFFICULT. To play it right is even more difficult. So don't complain that they do it wrong, they are probably doing their best. One cruiser offering them AA support at the start, to guard against sneak attacks, can seem like an thankless job, but it may help your team a lot.
-Work together. Pay attention to team chat and decide on a strategy together. Even if you heartily disagree, stick with the team, help them do their thing. A lemming train is often still better (concentration of force) than going off on your own, getting jumped, and sinking without accomplishing anything.
-Never, EVER, torpedo from behind. No exceptions.
-Don't ignore the caps, or even the very last enemy may still survive and allow the enemy to win by caps.
-Don't leave it up to someone else to do the obvious thing, that you could do yourself (cap/take out that DD). They won't and your team will suffer for it.
-If you go to A or C, don't go to the other side of the map, stay between B and A/C if you can. That way you will be nearer B and able to support your team elsewhere, or able to re-position more easily.
-Don't shoot the forts in bastion mode if they are white (neutral) and we have a chance to cap them.
-Keep your eye on the map and don't run into an island or the map border, it usually is instant death, or will result you being out of position.
-Wait for the target to be focused, then fire, or you'll be off by a mile.
-Don't accuse others of cheating even if they shoot way better than you.
-Check your torpedo range and torp accordingly, don't waste your torps on a target that they are never going to hit.
-Don't fire/torp at max range, unless you have no other targets and won't have them for at least 30 seconds.
-Support your DDs and carriers first, but don't let battleships and cruisers run into enemy torps because you didn't scout.
-Prioritize weak enemies first. A weak enemy is still a threat, a sunk enemy won't hurt anyone (except with ordnance, or a fire/flooding, already underway). Priority is still the same as stated for your class, unless the enemy is one shot away from being sunk. Kill stealing does not exist. If the enemy uses (HP) repair at the last second, he may go on and sink half your team, especially a DD or CV.
-When in trouble, turn your bow towards the nearest enemies, scream for help, and hope for the best.
-Help a friendly if you can. Take some of the pressure of him, target the ship that is its biggest threat, help your ally to survive, and he may be able to help you (or the team) out at a later stage. A sunk ally is a useless ally.
-Stay out of the channel on Two Brothers, especially early on. You will be spotted and a cruiser, DD or TB squadron will take you out as soon as you exit the channel on the other side, or even earlier. if you know the position of the entire enemy team and they are nowhere near, plus the enemy capped the base on the other side and we need the points, then, maybe then, use the channel as a shortcut.
TLDR summary: please work together, as a team. This is not a free for all. Support your team, and play your role. Cap if you can, but don't take needless risk. If you don't cap, support those who do, and those who scout. Don't get tunnel vision, keep checking around you and the overall situation.
Edited in order to be eligible to be stickied, plus a few minor changes. I will add some of the many helpful suggestions below ASAP.
Edited by TheCinC, 29 August 2016 - 08:06 PM.