Jump to content
You need to play a total of 50 battles to post in this section.
Teekesselchen

How to get good at World of Warships - The Unicum Guide for Everything

9 comments in this topic

Recommended Posts

Players
138 posts
10,513 battles

The idea to write this has been developing over my entire way through WoWs, from potato to unicum. Thanks to World of Tanks experience I was able to start at least  with a 50% winrate, but it took a long time to get it into the super-unicum range and play for the top 10 in clan battles. However, keep in mind that not every player plays just to get the best results. Playing for fun is perfectly fine, in fact it may be strange to take WoWs so seriously, especially the random battles. But many players do have the ambition to do as well as they can, so this is for them.

 

The most fundamental difference I've observed in good vs bad players, including myself as a beginner vs now, is this difference in mentality:

 

  • Bad players think about opportunities.
  • Good players think about dangers.

 

So if you're not performing as well as you want to, let's have a look at how to get better by approaching the game from the right mindset.


 

Where bad players fall short

 

Bad players always imagine ways how they can succeed. That leads to all sorts of suicidal plays. From the very start they believe things like: "I will rush straight into this cap, win the fight there, conquer the cap, and that's how we will win this game!"

 

This usually just gets them killed and puts their team at a disadvantage. For the same reasons, bad players love torpedo rushes, try to ambush enemy ships from behind islands, and always push forwards. Whatever they do, they're certain its going to work. Until it doesn't and they're dead. And then they blame their team instead of themselves, thinking "it just failed because my team didn't support me properly".

 

Most people seem to believe that bad players are bad for the opposite reason: That they always camp in the back and never do anything. But surprisingly, those are much less bad to have. Far and away most games are decided by which team loses more players early. If a team merely takes the caps without getting a kill lead, they will often get impatient and push into the camping enemy, throwing their safe win away, because they have too many noobs who keep imagining how their rush is totally going to work. Make no mistake, camping in the back is still far from an actually good strategy, but its better than being dead.

 

You can observe the truth of this even in high skill matches. Very early in a T10 ranked season at rank 2-5, when there are virtually no players below about 58% global winrate, matchmake monitors will let you observe a very persistent trend: The players with the worst winrates are always the first to die, even when you would generally think they're safe and competent players with their 58%+ winrates. In true top tier clan battles it is a bit different, but even getting into hurricane league takes little more than just knowing how not to [edited]up.

 


 

How good players succeed

 

So what do good players think about if they don't think about what great play to make? They think about what plays *not* to make. They arrive at the best possible play by eliminating all the dangerous ones first. This is the priority list of what dangers to avoid:

  1. The danger to take too much damage. The most important counters to this are angling and using your concealment range. Good players rarely get closer to the enemy than the distance at which they can get undetected again once they stop shooting. Even if you are a BB, you want the opportunity to turn away in stealth, or to repair fires and wait out your damage control cooldown. Getting into a position that you cant escape from needs to be *very* well planned out. Your main tool to avoid this problem is to position properly relative to your team. In a DD you need allied cruisers and BBs to scare away enemy DDs or radars from rushing you. In a cruiser or a BB you need something in front of you to screen away enemy DDs from permaspotting you.
  2. The danger to get locked down in a position. If you aren't absolutely certain that the enemy is weaker on your flank, you want to have the opportunity to turn away savely and run before they get too close to you. This is why good players don't commit their ships early until they know more about the enemy positioning.
  3. The danger of torpedoes and airplanes. Overall fairly similar to the risks above - as long as you can turn freely, you're usually going to be fine. Torpedoes are easy to stay safe from since you can use allies to spot for you. With planes... well better pray you have some good AA cruisers on your team.
  4. The danger to deal no damage. Obviously just being safe doesn't win you the game, but a dead ship does not deal any damage either. If you followed the checklist to this point you are sure not to be dead, so you can  actually do something. In order to deal damage you need to stay in a position that (1) is close enough to the enemy, (2) where your guns are not stuck behind an island, and (3) from where you can quickly move on to the next battle once your current one is decided. Going around all the way at the flanks has a high risk of leaving you useless, which is why good players tend to play to more central positions.
  5. The danger to lose by score. Yes this is pretty damn far down. Ultimately the cap belongs to the last ship still afloat. It is better to get the cap a little later than to die for it, which by itself can be a 100 point swing to the enemy's favour.  Most importantly this danger means not to let the enemy get any free caps. If they take the cap, at least get an HP lead in return, so that you can bully the enemy away and retake the cap later. This is also where specialties like radars become important to deny the enemy from capping safely. In summary, you need to position around caps in a way that lets you defend them.

 

Because good players primarily think about dangers and possible mistakes, they rarely talk about great plays, but very often about mistakes. In their view games are decided by mistakes, not by heroic actions. Any successful push is only possible because the other team allowed it.

 


 

Why does such a passive approach work?

 

Because every game starts evenly. The enemy has to struggle as hard to get a lead as you do. If you do nothing and the enemy does nothing, you at least get a draw. Playing aggressive is generally a disadvantage. It means that you run into crossfires while the enemy can always angle against you. It means your shells need to lead further than theirs. It means that you run into enemy torps while your torps won't reach.

 

Therefore your first priority should be to play defensively and punish any enemies who overextend. This happens in nearly every random battle, but even in clan battles up to high typhoon league. Only think about more aggressive action if the enemy does not give you such free kills. But there is no need to be more aggressive than your enemy if you are evenly matched. Having a standoff at 15-20 km is nothing unusual and should not worry you. Why should you make a risky move if the enemy doesn't? Instead, just trade as effectively as you can and gain a lead that way, or look for another position where you can be more effective. This way you will soon open up spaces to take caps.

Caps are primarily a tool to force the enemy to push into you. You don't want to let the enemy take any caps, because having fewer caps means that you are forced to push. Your goal is to put the enemy into a spot where they are the ones who need to push.

 

Proper openings for aggressive plays are rare, unless the game is already decided one way or the other. The decision to make such a play should only be the result after you have evaluated all dangers. This is how you learn to see the highest % plays, the plays that are most likely to give you an advantage in the game. If you learn how to play save first, you will progressively see more and more openings where you can push for more damage and be a bigger frontline presence without taking real risks.

 


 

A rundown of how this works in reality

 

Let's say you stick to the whole checklist of dangers. How does a game pan out if the enemy fails at it?

 

  1. If the enemy fails at the first step, they overextend into your team's firepower giving you a lead in HP or ships. Then you can slowly push the enemy away from the caps win from there.
  2. If the enemy gets into a position where they can no longer retreat against a superior force, for example because they hugged an island too far up, you can slowly move up and pick them apart without having to take much of a risk.
  3. If they lose ships to torps or air strikes... well, easy win.
  4. and 5. if they aren't in a position to threaten you at the caps, take the caps and wait it out.

 

If they do not make any of these mistakes, you now have an even game. The caps are presumably covered by radar and/or nearby DDs. Some cruisers may hug islands to provide radar or AA, most of them are in the open water wth the BBs however and are free to pick their fights. Now its about coordinating the threat to take a cap, vision, and firepower support to get better trades on the enemy. You have a real game on your hands.

 


 

The screw-up hierarchy of clan battles

 

This concept came to my mind towards the end of Season 1 of clan battles, when the meta had settled and changes became more gardual. It is a pattern how most high-tier metas develop. In each stage of development, a different type of ship is the weak point that will likely get punished and lose the game.

 

  1. In the beginning games were decided by DD mistakes. Nobody knew yet how to secure caps, so the ability of DDs to decide how aggressive they could threaten caps was absolute key. Most games were decided because a team either lost their DD, or gave up a cap uncontested.
  2. When the DDs learned how to play solidly, the next point of weakness were the radar cruisers who were supposed to secure caps. Because they didn't know how to position properly and how to time their radar, they would either let the enemy get a free cap or die. These were the things they had to fix - whether they dealt any damage almost didn't matter.
  3. Once all of this had settled, the final step was about the open-water cruisers on the flanks. With everyone playing nice and safe at the caps and neither side getting a lead that way, it was up to the ships which could threaten to reach around the enemy's flanks to decide the game, by threatening the positions that enemy DDs and radar crusers used for cover. In Season 1 this was all about Zao, which was able to fight in open waters and had the concealment advantage to drive away bigger cruisers like Hindenburg and Moskva.

 

When we began with clan battles in season 1, I played all of these roles in exactly this order since I was our shotcaller and dictated our setups. Whenever something didn't work and I didn't understand why, I tried it out myself until it worked. I've developed a bit of a Zao fetish since then and played little else, although in season 3 that role was partially overtaken by Worcester. The meta has gotten a whole lot more varied since that time, as ships like Worcester, Minotaur, and Stalingrad have shaken it up a fair bit, but I still believe there is some truth in this model. If you're not in Hurricane yet, this may be helpful to you.

 


 

Evaluating how active or risky you should play

 

There is a simple way to tell whether your team is currently in a good or bad spot, and how badly you need to act if you are currently not fighting yourself: count how many ships of each team is currently effectively involved in battle.

 

  • If your team has more active ships, they are supposed to gain an advantage. In that case you have time to improve your position and only pick the best engagements. Its the enemy who now has to bring more ships to engage in battle.
  • If both teams are fighting evenly, play as normal.
  • If your team has fewer ships in battle, you likely need to make something happen. However, instead of pushing into the enemy you might want to consider to turn around and support your losing flank, since the enemy may push through there soon and make themselves vulnerable.

 

Keep this in mind to avoid making mistakes especially in clan battles. During our first clan battles we had a lot of cases of players dying and putting us into a difficult spot because they "felt like they were too useless in their position", even though we were already winning and they didn't need to do anything at all.

 

And then there is of course the factor of score. If a score loss approaches, there is obviously no point to prioritising one's own safety. At some point the danger list reverses its priorities, since your death is meaningless now. Don't assume this too quickly though. If your team is already behind, the enemy overextending into poor engagements is often your only chance of a comeback. Similarly, if you are on the winning side you can of course afford a little more aggression, but be cautious not to through it, it happens all too frequently.

 


 

Other notes on getting good

 

* In most games your team has a flank where they are stronger, and a flank where they are weaker. Don't hesitate to surrender the cap if you are on the weaker side. If you are on the stronger side, drive the enemy away from the cap until you can take it, and then think about your next move. Moving into the enemy half of the map is usually a mistake. Either you overextend into focus fire, or you don't deal enough damage because the enemy is kiting you, or it leads you away from the caps. After winning the battle for a cap, the right choice is almost always to stay on your half of the map and move towards the next cap.

 

* To get through the list of dangers, you need 1) map awareness, 2) the ability to predict map movements, and 3) decent knowledge of all ships in the game to evaluate when exactly you are in danger. You need to know what type of DPS to expect, torp and radar ranges, have a decent awareness of cooldowns, and so on.

 

* Never underestimate how long it may take you to kill an enemy. So many people die because they make this mistake and end up eating more damage or being spotted for longer than they thought. So do not overextend in order to chase a kill. Simply getting an HP advantage and forcing them to escape is usually all you need. Really being able to force a kill is not the norm.


* The best position to be is almost always where the enemy is going to push next, i.e. a defensive movement. But its easily possible to overextend in a defense, keep the right distance and stick with allies.

 

* Going solo can be an option if there is no CV, but it usually limits you to very careful play. You will likely have to wait until the enemy engages on your allies to open up fire savely. If an enemy group  is pushing through your half of the map, going wide towards the map borders to threaten their flank tends to be very powerful, making it very dangerous for them to advance. Even if they chase you down, if you just survive long enough your team will have a numbers advantage on the rest of the map and probably win.

 

* Your choices almost always rely on positioning relative to your teammates. But unless your allies respond to you in chat, do not assume that they will cooperate with you. Instead, arrange yourself so that they fit into your plans. Use them as meat shields if you have to.

 

* Not relying on your team includes to not get into any position from which your team has to bail you out again. Being able to escape when crap hits the fan is your responsibility alone - do not put your team into a position where they have to take a bad engagement to save you.

 


 

Lastly, keep in mind that your own gameplay is the only thing you can influence. WoWs is a  random team game, so other players may make mistakes and lose you games, but flaming them doesn't help you either, so let's try to stay civil. You yourself are the only variable you can change. I hope this helps anyone who wishes to improve.

 

This post was originally written for Reddit here.

  • Cool 23

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[TRUMP]
Players
127 posts
17,392 battles

Excellent guide. Thanks.

Yes, it deserves to be pinned.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Players
2,310 posts

Great thread and very true, however, whilst deciding where to go, and upon reaching the decision of where to go, how  you then deal with the the other team members howling 'WTF you doing.,' when you are trying out new tactics, situations like this give me no head nor tail of what to do, and makes me convinced WoW's is definitely a 'divisional,' game, all the better if you have voice comms and players who do not go silent in game.

 

 

Edited by NoobySkooby

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Players
1 post
2,826 battles

Thanks so much for putting this together! Over the last months I've actively taken a much harder look at my plays and I've observed that when things go wrong it's usually due to the mistakes you've outlined.

 

Hearing this from a much more experienced player gives me confidence that I'm on the right path to improve my game.

 

Tunnel vision is what gets me at moments. Anyone here who managed to overcome it? I'm trying to observe what situations send me into tunnel vision mode and I try to be conscious of when they happen next.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[TTT]
Players
490 posts
11,016 battles
On 11/9/2018 at 1:07 PM, Teekesselchen said:

 

Nice guide, even for long time players are a reminder. A great + for this.

 

On the other behalf why are you giving away confidential information to the folks on the bottom of the food chain? :Smile_trollface:

  • Funny 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[-AP-]
Players
69 posts
7,255 battles

I would like to have this guide when i strated playing WOWs, maybe i would not have to climb up from 45-ish winrate and learn all of that the hard way. Still, it was a good read even now, allowed me to put in order my own 'rules of engagement'

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
[AWG]
Players
203 posts
4,903 battles

Everyone should be forced to read this!. People in randoms really need help on how to play this game at the moment.. its very poor lately!. Great guide.. hope it helps people improve :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×