Sharoma World of Warships: Legends

World of Warships: Legends

This is a very basic guide to the game. I won't tell you how to conduct your ship, aim your guns or use the HUD. This is simply my own mental checklist before I enter any Standard Battle game in World of Warships: Legends. Don't leave it there though! Keep assessing the situation.

History

Naval history is a fascinating subject and forms an integral part of human culture and the English language. There are over one hundreds words and phrases that are derived from the operation of ships at sea. If you have a keen understanding of naval warfare then you will have an advantage when playing this game. If you can't be bothered to read the thousands of free articles on Wikipedia, then shame on you. However, watching a few films will definitely help. For old ones, I suggest The Cruel Sea (1953), In Which We Serve (1942) and Sink the Bismarck! (1960). For modern, I recommend Greyound (2020) and Midway (2019), the latter more for the spectacle. The 2005 Japanese film Yamato is also worth a watch to illustrate how useless battleships can be against sustained air assault.

What to Expect

Defeat-Defeat-Defeat. Get used to it. Get accustomed to being slapped around hard. Feel the punishment and endure being a massive loser. That's what this game will require of you. You will lose battle after battle. You must still expose your ship to danger and continue to handle it under fire.

Defeat Brings Understanding

(Yamato, 2005)

First to Fire

Be the first to fire. At Jutland, the British spotted the Germans first but it was the Germans who scored the first hits. If you can spot for your team and allow them to get the opening salvo (and hopefully First Blood), then that is an important psychological victory. Also, even though your ship may not be able to do much damage against an enemy, sometimes you should open fire to give the enemy another target to consider or to draw fire away from a struggling ally. Only do this if you are confident you can evade incoming fire and escape intact.

Ship Types

Each class of ships has a certain role. Think of it a bit like rock, paper, scissors, but not totally: battleships kill cruisers, cruisers kill destroyers and destroyers (can) kill battleships but that doesn't mean that's their primary goal, because it isn't. Before each game study the order of battle.

Destroyers

Your job is to spot the enemy ships for your team. Destroyers can get closer than other classes of ship without being seen. Battleships in particular rely on you to spot for them. Destroyers should also capture and defend the objective zones. Do not abandon your battleships. They can be blind and defenceless without you. You should be firing High Explosive (HE) shells unless you are very close to a cruiser and its broadside is exposed. Don't bother to fire at battleships unless there are no other targets and you can't be spotted.

  1. Full speed ahead. Spot the enemy. Dive for the Cap.
  2. Am I being supported?
    • Yes: Head for the Cap, throw out torpedoes, engine boost on (optional).
    • No: Withdraw unless it is safe.
  3. Did you capture the zone?
    • Yes: Defend it, use smokescreen to hide and conceal friendly support.
    • Yes: If it was a flank Cap, go for the centre Cap.
    • No: Regroup. Harass enemy Cap with torpedoes.
  4. Engage and destroy enemy destroyers.
  5. Keep spotting for your team. Are friendly battleships blind?
  6. Engage and destroy enemy cruisers.
  7. Engage and destroy enemy battleships.

What NOT to do

Sail to the opposite end of the map simply to try and sink an enemy capital ship (battleship or aircraft carrier). This is literally the most wasteful use of a destroyer's capabilities. It is not your job to attack battleships, you can do very little damage to them. Do not try and suicide strike them either. A destroyer is more valuable than a battleship so even if you manage to unleash a succesful close range torpedo strike, chances are you'll now be dead or horrendously out of position. Do not get yourself killed or fire madly at every target that presents itself. You should always be aware of who can potentially spot you. Fire discipline is necessary. Only fire if you know you can get away with it.

Early 2023 Update

I suggest being more cautious. Nearly every destroyer battle I play is now futile. If you go for the Cap you find yourself unsupported. If you sail away, you can't get anything done. Try and balance an aggressive approach, which is necessary to be a successful destroyer commander, with the utmost caution. Look for escape routes. Work out which ships have radar. Keep an eye on your team. It's sad to say, but if they aren't going to support you gaining the Cap, you may as well accept the game is lost and try and blow up some battleships. What a shoddy feedback loop!

Random Story

Once I was playing as a Legendary Tier destroyer and was forward enough to be spotting for my team, but far enough back that I was unsighted. I had nothing in particular to do in that moment but observe. I watched as two Yamatos were going hard at each other. Our Yamato managed to land a perfectly aimed broadside which took out half the enemy battleship's health: "Wow!" I exclaimed. This was fun to watch and made me reflect on the fact that this game isn't always about constantly shooting and sailing all around the map in madness. Sometimes you have time to pause, reflect and at your leisure observe how other people play the game. Plus, since I was the one spotting, I earned a lot of XP from that brutal broadside. After a minute or so it was time to put my binoculars away and sail on toward the enemy Cap.

Cruisers

Your job is to hunt down and kill enemy destroyers. If your team has no destroyers (left) then you should cautiously take on the role of one. Going head to head with other cruisers is also a good move, especially if you can hit them in the citadel. Battleships will make short work of you if you are too close or expose your broadside. Fire HE shells by default and switch to Armour Piercing (AP) when duelling with a poorly handled cruiser.

  1. Am I being supported?
    • Yes: Pick optimum direction and target, fire broadside before turning away fast, armour angled against return fire.
    • No: Align ship away from enemy, cautiously close battle lines, scout for exposed BBs. Try and regroup team.
  2. Lure out enemy ships by engaging and withdrawing. Never expose your broadside to the enemy!
  3. Hunt and destroy enemy destroyers.
  4. Defend Caps.
  5. Hunt and destroy enemy cruisers.
  6. Engage battleships.

Battleships

DO NOT REVERSE as soon as the battle begins. Everyone will see you are cowardly and inept. Your job is to absorb damage for your team and dispense heavy damage to destroyers and cruisers. Cruisers and destroyers should not be absorbing damage whilst you sit out of range. A battleship is an asset to be used up, not held in reserve. If you are at full health when a losing battle is drawing to a close, then you have failed everyone on your team. Only engage enemy battleships when there are no other viable targets. If you have the choice between hitting a swerving destroyer or targeting a cruiser's exposed citadel, it is your call - I would choose an exposed cruiser citadel but destroyers must always be your priority, even if you have AP shells loaded. Always keep AP loaded for when citadel strikes present themselves. If the enemy team has only destroyers remaining then of course switch to HE. If I see a battleship reversing behind me, I sail away to achieve a more realistic objective because they are showing early on they have no interest in supporting you or winning the game.

  1. Am I being supported?
    • Yes: Support them back! Advance.
    • No: Set course away from enemy toward friendly destroyers or cruisers.
  2. Learn and employ 'armour-angling'. Map awareness is key! Who can hit you and from what angle?
  3. Maintain battlelines, don't stray out of position early on.
  4. Pick targets: DDs, Cruisers then BBs. DD is priority!
  5. Absorb fire for your weaker teammates, but only if you are supported.
  6. Lead final charge, hunt lone hiding destroyers with HE and secondary armaments.
  7. Close on the enemy. Don't be a coward! Or, as Nelson said, "Never mind the manoeuvres, just go straight at 'em!"

If you hide behind an island you are ruining the game for yourself, your teammates and the enemy. There is no point playing. Once I was fighting alongside a cruiser in a Cap and got blown up along with my teammate. We made a good account of ourselves but against three battleships stood no chance. I look at the map and in the area of our Cap, yet safely behind a big island, are three battleships in full health, all in a division. Since their supporting destroyer and cruiser have been lost (they themselves couldn't absorb any hits nor return effective fire), they then got outflanked and blown up very easily. Such people are the biggest detriment to this game, and they are known as a Backline Betty. It really does ruin the game - imagine the thrill if everyone actually pushed instead of hiding back. As of late 2022, nearly every single game I'm entered in consists of all the battleships (and now cruisers too!) hiding behind islands. Such a waste! This is why I am primarily a destroyer commander.

"Yeah. I've been transferred from a cruiser to a destroyer."
"Do you like that?"
"You bet I do!"

This Happy Breed (1944)

Aircraft Carriers

Don't bother with them. They're the worst addition to the game, they don't belong here and they're very little fun to play as. When you play as a carrier, you're mostly playing a flying game and controlling planes - you may as well go and play World of Warplanes. Why didn't they work on adding submarines before carriers? It would be fun to add depth charge use to the game, although I don't think submarines should be added to the game either.

(Clearly I am bitter about carriers! If you enjoy them fair enough.)

Miscellaneous

Interaction

Mute your microphone! I also suggest muting your team. In thousands of matches I've only had two games where a teammate dispensed useful advice. It's usually people playing music, yelling in frustration or offering abuse to their team. Make sure you can't hear such things as they are distractions. Also, set the options on your console so random people cannot message you. After a losing game, losers tend to send abusive messages to the members of their team they deem deserving of it. Make sure this cannot happen or it will further put you off the game and its playerbase.

Win Rate

I'm told the average Standard Battle win rate is 48%, but I think that actually represents the lower range of average. After 4000 Standard Battles my win rate was 56%, up from 55% where it had been for a while. It fluctuates between these two values and can easily drop if I get a run of defeats. It is not unusual to suffer ten defeats in a row with this game. I don't know if the match making system accounts for win rate and maybe matches good players with bad. As I've improved at the game, my win rate hasn't increased, leading me to think that the game likes to match like with like. To better enjoy the game, check your stats only periodically. Don't pay much attention to them. If you actively try and increase your win rate rather than just enjoy playing a good game, you'll only increase your frustration. My win rate is of course 'middling' - the best players have around 65%. Partly this is my relative lack of experience and partly because I enjoy 'free to play', not 'play to win'. I could blame it on the fact that I mostly play as a destroyer and rarely get support from my team, but you will all be suffering from that handicap.

Break

The value of a break cannot be overestimated. I tend to play this game in spurts. I'll play it daily for one to two months and then fatigue and frustration will make me step away from it for maybe the same amount of time. If you aren't enjoying a game, then stop. If you keep getting defeated and find yourself stressing out, then stop. This game has so many resources to keep track of. The makers also designed it with a great deal of deviousness to keep you hooked. Don't let them beat you. Play it on your own terms and don't keep paying for ships or premium time. There is easily enough free content in the game.

Squid

Five kills in a Standard Battle is officially known as Unleashing the Kraken, or more informally, a 'Kraken'. Unofficially, when I achieve three kills in a Standard Battle, I call it a Squid.

Clear Skies

If you shoot down 20 enemy aircraft, you earn a Clear Skies medal. However, as this screenshot shows, this medal can only be earned once per battle. 49 is my record.

Trigger Fault?

I play on PS5. Every so often when my guns are fully loaded the trigger simply will not fire them, even on numerous attempts. It takes a few seconds for this fault to rectify itself. It is very frustrating especially when you miss vital shots.

Stats

This game has some statistics but a lot more would go a long way into making such records more useful. For example, I'd like to see the number of battles I've played as each ship and individual win rates for ship, type and class.

Cursed Ships

Some ships deserve to be damned. When I have repeated 'bad luck' with a ship, such as experiencing miserable defeat after defeat, I consider it cursed and so I 'damn' it. I remove its boosters and flags, if it had any, take away its commander and assign it a test commander. From then on it is only allowed to play the AI, but beyond Tier VII that is also pointless because it costs more money to service the ship than you can get in rewards. An example is the recent campaign reward ship, Marlborough. This is without doubt the worst ship I've played in the game. Its AP guns can't hit anything at a slight angle and other battleships will knock it around and blow it up within a couple of minutes (actually Yamato or Musashi can take it out in one well-aimed salvo). It looks good with its green and purple camo scheme, but it's a useless lumbering pile of steel, like many of the battleships. Its only saving grace is apparently superior HE shell performance, but why bother? Use a cruiser if you want that. Its guns at least sound great when fired; maybe the best sounding in the game. If you want to further distance yourself from an unlucky ship, you could strip it of upgrades too, or even sell it. I personally don't sell any ships, even unlucky ones.

Here is a pointless and hopefully humourous list of ships prone to give me bad luck:

  1. Marlborough
  2. Minotaur

Here is an equally ridiculous list of ships that have been exceptionally good to me, even during defeats:

  1. Gaede
  2. Okhotnik
  3. Gadjah Mada
  4. Devonshire
  5. Edinburgh
  6. Friesland
  7. Skåne
  8. Anshan

Favourite Ship

Friesland! I may not have a very good win ratio in it, but I usually make a lot of money and have a lot of fun with this fine quick-firing gunboat. The latter is the most important aspect: it's always fun to play as! However, it's impossible to get any Devastating Strike medals with this ship since it lacks torpedoes or powerful enough main armament.

Ribbons

If a battle is won and there is nothing to but travel, why not total up all your ribbons? It's a fun little game of addition I like to play.

The AI

Of course, take all this in jest. I spent my first few weeks on this game mostly playing the AI so I could learn all the basics. I use AI battles to end a run of bad luck. I've had ten defeats in a row with the same ship simply to complete a Bureau Project task. One battle with the AI, and in two minutes it's done. Sometimes it makes more sense to just play the AI, especially in a ship you don't even like. One of the most unfair aspects of this game is how Legendary Tier is designed to bankrupt you. Since you make even less money playing the AI, it makes sense to only play Standard Battles, especially at Tiers VIII and Legendary. Right? Wrong. These days Legedary Tier is a sick joke and not worth playing. All you'll see is a procession of Backline Betties in their advanced behemoths, hiding behind mountains because they're scared of taking any damage whatsoever. As a destroyer player, this is a waste of my time. There is no guarantee we will win or that I will get support and since the battle might take the full 15 minutes, I could end up losing more money than if I'd just played the AI. Lately I tested this. I tried seven Standard Battles in Legendary Tier and seven against the AI. I lost 6/7 in Standard and lost money overall, about 150,000. Against the AI I won all seven (thus completing the Premium Ships task) and only lost about 50,000. The AI games also took about 20 minutes in total, so I had more time to make money elsewhere. Another reason why Legendary Tier is better against the AI is the sad fact that the AI make better players than humans, at least at this level. You can have much more fun in a faster paced battle and do lots more damage because the AI push. Not just the enemy but on your team too, since most Legendary Tier AI battles makes some of your own team AI as well. You can always rely on AI destroyers to push to the Cap. You can rely on their cruisers and battleships to do it too! This means you can all advance together, guns blazing. As for humans, forget it.

Notes

This is a very difficult game and it will take you a few months to master. Expect many frustrating battles where you get blown up instantly or your entire team dies because they don't know what they're doing. Stay calm and play the cards you were dealt. Good Luck, Commander.

Last updated: February 1st, 2023.