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Procrastes

Taking a Bullet for Your Team

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World of warships is, at heart, a tactical game of finite resources. Those finite resources are the ships' hit points. When they run out, the game is over.

The equation is more subtle than that, however. Since a ship suffers no gradual loss of fighting power from losing hit points, but retains its full capabilities up to the point where the last hit point is gone, it is preferable that the team's loss of hit points should be distributed as evenly as possible, on a relative scale, among the various ships. It is far better to have all ships afloat but with half their hit points remaining, than to have half the ships left with full hit points.

 

The abovesaid, in conjunction with the fact that damage to a ship doesn't carry over into the real world*, illustrates why it is not a good tactic to avoid damage to one's own ship at all costs. Unnecessary damage is bad, but damage taken so that an ally might survive and fight on, is generally good. In other words, deliberately sailing in harm's way - a quotation from naval history that is often made on this forum, by the way - is very often a winning tactic.

 

Taking a bullet for your buddy is of course the most gainful when it enables both you and your team mate to fight on. But in some cases, you have to make a choice of which ship to save. The natural instinct, namely to stay in the game yourself, is hard to find fault with - but in a purely tactical sense, it might be wrong.

 

For example, yesterday I was in my Scharnhorst, fighting a rather even battle with one carrier on each side. Then the enemy pushed, and at least five of their ships made a rush on our carrier. I decided that our one carrier was probably more useful to the team than my battleship, and I promptly charged the oncoming line. There was no way I would get out of there, but our carrier did - and this may have helped our team secure the win. (Incidentally giving me more experience points in the end, so I guess good deeds do not always go unrewarded?)

 

Another example is that in a battle today, the enemy Minekaze started capping the A point before we got there, and sat in his smoke, hoping for the best. I came driving up in my Duguay-Trouin, and rather than just sailing to and fro and wait for the smoke to clear, I thought, the hell with it - so I activated my sonar and rushed the smoke. With sonar pinging I easily dodged his torpedoes, found the little bugger parked with his nose up against the cliff, and sunk him forthwith. Then I went down under a massive hail of heavy ordinance from at least half a dozen cruisers and battleships that had come sailing up to support their destroyer - but we won the cap, and killed one of their destroyers to boot. We lost the battle, but I think we might have won on points if the carriers had been a little more evasive in the endgame. You might argue that I would have been of more use afloat than sunk so early on, and I like to think that you'd be right - but my point is, mine was not a useless sacrifice. It served a purpose, by enabling my allies to take that capture point early on in the game.

 

We all play this game, I believe, in order to have fun. And getting sunk earlier than you'd need to is certainly not "fun", as such - but in the right circumstances, it might serve a purpose in the game.

 

Yes, you guessed it already - this is a post about game tactics and team play! :Smile_Default:

I invite those of you who have had similar experiences to regale us with those, and maybe open a discussion on related game tactics and such! What do you think?

 

 

*This statement should by rights be a generally accepted truth. And yet sadly, my observations of the Brotherhood of Borderhuggers would suggest otherwise.

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It's only ever useful to let yourself be killed/sunk, if you can guarantee that your action results in at least 2 enemy ships being taken out. The number of ships would then be offset by 1. But is that 1 enough to guarantee victory? So you'd need to take out no less than 3.

 

One situation is where you can use your very low health ship to take a torpedo for someone, if it looks like you're about to die from any 1 hit anyway.

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19 minutes ago, SmartassNoob said:

It's only ever useful to let yourself be killed/sunk, if you can guarantee that your action results in at least 2 enemy ships being taken out. The number of ships would then be offset by 1. But is that 1 enough to guarantee victory? So you'd need to take out no less than 3.

 

I once accomplished the so-called 'Tirpitz manoeuver', by sailing between two enemy battleships and taking them both out at point blank range with a combination of guns and torpedoes. We all sunk at roughly the same time; me cackling wildly like a madman all the way down to the bottom. By doing this - the sinking, that is; the cackling was incidental - I eliminated twice mine own fire power from the enemy team. I'd say that was totally worth it, by any standard! :cap_rambo:

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Sometimes it's worth it even if it's a one-to-one trade. Not all ships are equal. Once, on Trap, I went around the island in the middle of B and rushed a Baltimore, which got me killed, but not before I got the torpedo salvo off to net myself a It's Just a Flesh Wound. Thing is, I was in the Yorck, which is two tiers lower, and I had less health to begin with. That gave us the cap he blocked, as well as the safety of our destroyers with one enemy radar gone. Team didn't screw up, and we won.

 

The "team screwing up" bit is why I usually try to avoid trading, even if it's two to one. No matter how confident you may be that your team should win, the Gambler's Rule of Luck says you just used up your team's luck, which means you're promptly going to lose.

 

 

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iJoby   
3 hours ago, Procrastes said:

World of warships is, at heart, a tactical game of finite resources

You really need to write more articles, I was hooked, and then disappointed at the end, when there wasn't, "And they all lived happily ever after".

Excellent stuff, OP. :Smile_honoring:

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lameoll   

in random battles its never a good idea to sacrifice yourself. as you do not know what you ally would do. he might just suicide in with you.

i would only ever do it if i am sure that the one im saving has the know how to carry the game.  your cv example for instance if your cv is bad. he is more of a use in target practice for those 5 ships he is taking out of the game by them following him. sounds harsh but that would be the better play then.

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Gnirf   

The taking 1vs 1 etc is situational if you are ahead it is mostly a good thing and vice verca, if you save your cv or so, there is no clear rule, especially late game your sacrifice can be very good if it negates enemy DD f.e. in a domination game or if enemy caps or something like that.

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Good points all, and thanks for those kind words, iJoby!

 

I agree that it is not simply a question of mathematics, and that the situation at hand as well as the ships and players involved, factor in on the tactical decisions. Not that I usually have the kind of combat awareness that lets me make informed decisions on the fly - unlike some proliferate youtubers I could mention - but I try to analyse my battles afterwards and figure out what went wrong and right, and what I could have done better.

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Kandly   

Great post OP - thank you for your well written topic and your team-focused approach! I agree with many of the things you've said, especially since you consider all the variables that go into "doing your job" in a battle and you wish to start a conversation around this. It's true that tactical decisions should involve more than one aspect - so I applaud your attitude and the fact that you analyze your choices after the battle is finished. We always discover possible areas of improvement when doing so! :)

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Wasting my smoke to give a badly damaged ally a chance to retreat is something I know longer do, after seeing most of those allies not using the smoke to retreat, but to sail through it towards the enemy, guns blazing, into their doom.

 

But when I have the chance to go into knife fight range with my BB vs. two enemy BBs I do it gladly... usually I manage to sink one and damage the second enough, that any supporting allies can easily... oh.. wait... supporting allies? Uhm... hey, why are you suddenly 15 km away???

 

So no, there aren't many situations in which giving your "life" for a "teammate" or the "team" makes sense and ends with an advantage... usually it's better to stay alive and play as hard as possible.

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The Teutonic Hare

 

I once played this somewhat unusual battle in my Bayern.

 

While most of our team went southeast, I and an allied cruiser had been going up on the northern flank to investigate some reports of naval activity in the area. And we found some such, all right - four enemy battleships and at least as many cruisers had taken the scenic route, and were bearing down on our home base.

 

I could have turned away at the first sighting, but old 'KW' - I call him that, it's short for 'Kaiser Wilhelm' - would never have let me hear the end of it. So I pressed on, and as a cheeky Furutaka cleared an island ahead of his friends and bounced some shells off my superior German armour, I opened up and sank him with a single salvo. Then I turned hard to port, since even in a Bayern I would have been hard pressed to fight off the gathered might of half the entire enemy fleet.

 

The loss of his faithful scout cruiser seems to have ticked the enemy flag admiral off somewhat, as he ordered a full attack. In any other battleship I would probably have been the worse for wear, but the magnificent speed of the Bayern allowed me to outdistance most of the capital ships that pursued me. The cruisers set some fires, which I put out and repaired in due course, but the only enemy ship that managed to do any real damage to me was the flagship, another Bayern, that I obviously could neither outrun nor outright sink. We traded shots for the better part of four hours minutes, during the course of which he sank my allied cruiser and completely wrecked the paint job on my aft turrets. The chase ended when we reached our home base, by which time his proud flotilla was strung out like ducks on a row. They provided good target practise for my returning fleet comrades, who had been so good as to do an about turn when I made casual mention of the ongoing action in my daily dispatches. I had the satisfaction of putting the last shot into the enemy Bayern, who went down as a Bayern should - surrounded and at close quarters with an overwhelming force. I raise a toast for my worthy opponent!

 

* * *

 

The moral of the story? In this context, that while I didn't really expect to actually survive that merry chase, I was more than confident that I could distract the incoming enemy ships long enough to set them up for an ambush from my team members. That last part, I should add, was unusually well executed for a random battle with random team mates. Even now I think back fondly on that day.

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Aotearas   

Whilst everything you wrote is entirely correct, my experience with randoms says that taking one for the team at essentially any point of the game is plain russian roulette.

 

I'll spare the plethora of "randoms are bad, mkay" anecdotes, suffice it to say that I wouldn't trust the average randoms I'm seeing to break out of a wet cardboard box if I gave them industrial cardboard box openers and written instructions on how to use them.

 

Putting myself in unnecessary danger to help those people is (as arrogant as that sounds) quite possibly lowering the team's chances at victory proportional to the amount of damage I'm taking and the typical potato level of the random who got himself in a position where I'd need to take some punches to the chin in order to help him.

 

 

 

Now, I'm not saying "screw teamwork". I actually tend to plug the gaps in team positioning if at at feasible (read: not suicidal) if needs be, but I do that mostly because I feel confident in my chances. With divisionmates I feel confident holding a flank just by our threesome against half or so of the entire enemy team. With randoms? Hell no, I'd be turning around and kiting the moment I see any number of enemy ships that I can't handle all by myself unless those randoms filled me with confidence in their skills which is pretty hard to do these days ... essentially reserved for forumites or by association with competent clans (if say a [TTT] fellow decides to take a stand I'd back him up, otherwise I'd nope right the hell outta there).

 

In an optimal environment I'd have no reservation in agreeing with the TO, alas however ...

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Gnirf   
58 minutes ago, Aotearas said:

Whilst everything you wrote is entirely correct, my experience with randoms says that taking one for the team at essentially any point of the game is plain russian roulette.

 

I'll spare the plethora of "randoms are bad, mkay" anecdotes, suffice it to say that I wouldn't trust the average randoms I'm seeing to break out of a wet cardboard box if I gave them industrial cardboard box openers and written instructions on how to use them.

 

Putting myself in unnecessary danger to help those people is (as arrogant as that sounds) quite possibly lowering the team's chances at victory proportional to the amount of damage I'm taking and the typical potato level of the random who got himself in a position where I'd need to take some punches to the chin in order to help him.

 

 

 

Now, I'm not saying "screw teamwork". I actually tend to plug the gaps in team positioning if at at feasible (read: not suicidal) if needs be, but I do that mostly because I feel confident in my chances. With divisionmates I feel confident holding a flank just by our threesome against half or so of the entire enemy team. With randoms? Hell no, I'd be turning around and kiting the moment I see any number of enemy ships that I can't handle all by myself unless those randoms filled me with confidence in their skills which is pretty hard to do these days ... essentially reserved for forumites or by association with competent clans (if say a [TTT] fellow decides to take a stand I'd back him up, otherwise I'd nope right the hell outta there).

 

In an optimal environment I'd have no reservation in agreeing with the TO, alas however ...

Problem is if you drive that a step to far only helping players of certain clans or well known players. I try to do my best if they seems to follow some logical sound plan. Otherwise it is easy to become part of the problem yourself i.e. not teamplaying. It is a balance that is not always so easy. I am an optimistic person even if it turns bad sometimes, but I will not usually fail due to lack of effort. However it is also to balance that with the ship you have at your disposal. Meaningless death is worse as it loses points. Somegames you knew in the first minutes are lost but some that are on the tipping point may succeed if you believe in your team. And if newcomers should learn teamplay who are they going to learn it from if not the older players. Well it sounds better than it is in reality in WOWS but I think the game is more fun with a little optimism instead of just ranting in forums in various threads about bad teamplay and useless players, they are plenty but most are average with some sort of understanding at least. Some games they do well others not so well. Today I played (have not counted) say 30 games, 5-8 or so were good 3 bad rest middle of the road. 

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Aotearas   
42 minutes ago, Gnirf said:

Problem is if you drive that a step to far only helping players of certain clans or well known players. I try to do my best if they seems to follow some logical sound plan. Otherwise it is easy to become part of the problem yourself i.e. not teamplaying. It is a balance that is not always so easy. I am an optimistic person even if it turns bad sometimes, but I will not usually fail due to lack of effort. However it is also to balance that with the ship you have at your disposal. Meaningless death is worse as it loses points. Somegames you knew in the first minutes are lost but some that are on the tipping point may succeed if you believe in your team. And if newcomers should learn teamplay who are they going to learn it from if not the older players. Well it sounds better than it is in reality in WOWS but I think the game is more fun with a little optimism instead of just ranting in forums in various threads about bad teamplay and useless players, they are plenty but most are average with some sort of understanding at least. Some games they do well others not so well. Today I played (have not counted) say 30 games, 5-8 or so were good 3 bad rest middle of the road. 

 

You didn't seem to understand what I wrote.

 

I'm not eschewing teamplay. I'm just not going out of my way to butter up randoms unless it is absolutely necessary to win the match. And that's the ultimate line in the sand for me. I play to win because that's what I enjoy, I like winning (as long as it isn't a boring curbstomp game that's over in four minutes ...).

If that means I have to throw myself against half the enemy team whilst the remaining majority of mine is happily lemmingtraining around at a snails pace, then I'll throw myself at the enemy team and play speedbump for as long as I possibly can to have a chance at winning.

If that isn't necessary, then I'll make sure that I keep the team's best ressource as long as I can and as far as I'm concerned. If that means letting someone sink if even if I could risk helping him, then I'll err on the side of caution and preserve that team asset that I know is doing its best to win (me).

 

I also didn't say I'm only helping certain clans or well known players. I said those are the only ones that I'd back up even in case of doubt because I can reasonably expect them to know what they're doing. I do believe I also said that in the (unlikely) event that some random player is filling me with confidence. So if I see someone trying to coordinate in team chat ("will support DDs in cap X if I can get a smoke" or "going to spot that DD, please focus fire"), I'll back them up as long as it doesn't seem reckless.

 

That is plenty enough teamwork as far as I'm concerned and about as effective as I can reasonably ask for in terms of results.

Anyone wants more from me, I'll ask for a higher standard of teamplay from everyone else that fills me with enough confidence that I'm not wasting me time and putting my ship at unnecessary risks.

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It doesn't even need to be about survival and sacrificing yourself, ideally ships with repair party want to be cycling in and out of the front lines to draw fire and distribute it amongst themselves rather than risking ships that have spare consumables left over. A ship that dies with only using a single repair party has much less effective health than one that manages to make the most of 3-4 of them. This is also why I don't mind seeing BBs with 40% health retreating temporarily to regroup and repair provided they turn around to reengage after a couple of minutes - they are simply making the most of their consumables to maximise team effective health while also contributing long-range fire.

 

Often times it also isn't even about kills as a simple metric, like the OPs point about saving the team's sole aircraft carrier - the same principle can be applied to sacrificing yourself to take out the enemy team's sole DD for example. Not all ships are equal in a given match, any ship that offers unique traits that are in high demand in the team will always be more important and influential than just yet another ship of the line. This goes double if the special ships are also high tier, a T8 sacrificing himself to sink a T10 is a win for the T8 even assuming no special traits, but this effect is magnified if the T10 is also a keystone on it's team.

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2 hours ago, Aotearas said:

I'll spare the plethora of "randoms are bad, mkay" anecdotes, suffice it to say that I wouldn't trust the average randoms I'm seeing to break out of a wet cardboard box if I gave them industrial cardboard box openers and written instructions on how to use them.

 

That's because you forgot to read the line that said, "For professional use only."

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No in Ranked and No in Random Battles.

 

From someone who has got R1 three times and desperately tried to get there in a BB (sold out and did it in Premium DDs and an Atago) , the only single way of ensuring you win a battle is by surviving and doing it yourself.

 

Dying 1 for 1 is a failure unless you are on red HP and have taken a full HP higher tier ship with you.

 

Even then you have no real way of knowing if you just took out a potato or their unicum carry.

 

Killing two, three or even four+ enemies is simply not enough as your team can still drag you down to a defeat.

 

If you've fallen to 0 HP you can no longer influence the game, you really trust others to carry you if you take an early trip to port?

 

There are a few exceptions to this, one example I can think of is playing a Minotaur game with radar, going into a cap and radar spotting all their DDs so they die along with you. Your team will likely win that game as the rest of the enemy team will retire to the borders as they've got no lolbotes protecting their fat armoured hulls...

 

 

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robihr   

i often took one for the team and from my experience it just leaves bunch of morons in your team with less chance to win. often did it when needed to finish off last enemy dd in situations where we would have dd advantage, or to kill last enemy radar ca or smth similar when we have ship advantage and often my team didnt fail to dissapoint.

 

taking one for the team even if your team has advantage is bad, cause it just leaves one less capable player in your team.

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10 hours ago, Procrastes said:

For example, yesterday I was in my Scharnhorst, fighting a rather even battle with one carrier on each side. Then the enemy pushed, and at least five of their ships made a rush on our carrier. I decided that our one carrier was probably more useful to the team than my battleship, and I promptly charged the oncoming line. There was no way I would get out of there, but our carrier did - and this may have helped our team secure the win. (Incidentally giving me more experience points in the end, so I guess good deeds do not always go unrewarded?)

 

Another example is that in a battle today, the enemy Minekaze started capping the A point before we got there, and sat in his smoke, hoping for the best. I came driving up in my Duguay-Trouin, and rather than just sailing to and fro and wait for the smoke to clear, I thought, the hell with it - so I activated my sonar and rushed the smoke. With sonar pinging I easily dodged his torpedoes, found the little bugger parked with his nose up against the cliff, and sunk him forthwith. Then I went down under a massive hail of heavy ordinance from at least half a dozen cruisers and battleships that had come sailing up to support their destroyer - but we won the cap, and killed one of their destroyers to boot. We lost the battle, but I think we might have won on points if the carriers had been a little more evasive in the endgame. You might argue that I would have been of more use afloat than sunk so early on, and I like to think that you'd be right - but my point is, mine was not a useless sacrifice. It served a purpose, by enabling my allies to take that capture point early on in the game.

 

I like you, I serious do. And I'm all for it.

but your point  largely depends of huge leaps of faith on your team and all the other problems within, like communication, coordination, etc.

But then, you speak of points, such thing doesn't cross my mind when I'm in the middle of it, specially when I'm in the thick of it trying to hold the flank trying to not be outflanked, or defend base.

Here, one of my best, and that's only because the all team did outstanding well. (a rare thing).

cleveland.thumb.png.f479b59805ad23ae481743ac4db22033.png

 

See, I'm all for it.

But the usual it's a complete different story.

dying alone, dying young, etc.

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, SmartassNoob said:

It's only ever useful to let yourself be killed/sunk, if you can guarantee that your action results in at least 2 enemy ships being taken out. The number of ships would then be offset by 1. But is that 1 enough to guarantee victory? So you'd need to take out no less than 3.

I disagree here. While 1 for 3 trade would almost always be beneficial, even 1 for 1 trades can be winning, depending on circumstances. The most common targets to be eliminated even if it means throwing your own ship away (assuming you can, indeed eliminate your target) are usually:

 - the last remaining enemy DD

 - enemy CV (especially if your team has DD advantage and/or your own CV is dead or has no fighters left to contest air superiority)

 - the last enemy BB

 - enemy strategically placed Radar cruiser

And then there are special situations where doing 400 damage can be worth losing a full hp ship (or, hell, a couple of them) - Standard Battles sometimes end up in a capping race and a suicidal ride against enemy fleet can be the action that directly guarantees victory by allowing your team to cap first.

 

So, while 1 for 3 is almost always worth it, tactical situation can dictate the strangest trades to be viable, sometimes more than just viable.

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lafeel   

It certainly can be usefull. Now knowing when it is is one of the trickiest skills to master in this game.

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7 hours ago, eliastion said:

So, while 1 for 3 is almost always worth it, tactical situation can dictate the strangest trades to be viable, sometimes more than just viable.

 

More importantly, taking on three ships on your own and coming out ahead is more fun.

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Lord_WC   

 

8 hours ago, eliastion said:

While 1 for 3 trade would almost always be beneficial,

Wholeheartedly disagree. The better you are the more important your life is. 3 BBs camping line A doesn't worth a DD doing objectives, not even close. Like it or not almost every match is about 1 player or 1 division, the rest of the people are interference only. Removing them would not change the outcome of the match the least bit - therefore sacrificing your life if you are the important one for 3 ships that are worthless is not a good trade.

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14 hours ago, Deckeru_Maiku said:

But when I have the chance to go into knife fight range with my BB vs. two enemy BBs I do it gladly... usually I manage to sink one and damage the second enough, that any supporting allies can easily... oh.. wait... supporting allies? Uhm... hey, why are you suddenly 15 km away???

This.  Running a flank with 3 cruisers and a battleship supporting, sighting a BB and opening fire only to see the support peel off in all directions ignoring the obvious. :Smile_facepalm:  The joys of WoWs :Smile_izmena: 

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