Sharoma World of Warships: Legends

World of Warships: Legends

This is a basic guide to the game. I won't tell you how to conduct your ship, aim your guns or use the HUD. I won't tell you what to buy or how to deploy the seemingly endless requisite resources. This page began in 2020 simply as my own mental checklist before I entered any Standard Battle game in World of Warships: Legends. Don't leave it there though! Keep assessing the situation.

If you wish to engage in conversation regarding this game, you are encouraged to post in the Forum. You may also contact me directly with questions or if you want to 'division up'.

History

Naval history is a fascinating subject and forms an integral part of human culture and the English language. There are over one hundred words and phrases that are derived from the operation of ships at sea. Many such lists exist online. 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 Gift Horse (1952), 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. If like me you are an avid reader, then start with Hornblower. Yes, I know he's a reluctant character in the Age of Sail, but his patient nature when making calculations under duress sets a good example. Also by C.S. Forester is The Good Shepherd, in which the protagonist is captain of a Fletcher-class destroyer, as featured in the game. Greyhound was based on this book.

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. The following are hull classification codes for vessels featured in the game:

Battleship BB
Heavy Cruiser CA
Light Cruiser CL
Destroyer DD
Aircraft Carrier CV

Destroyers

"A destroyer captain's duty was to build as well as to destroy."
-The Good Shepherd (C.S. Forester)

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. For beginners, you should be firing High Explosive (HE) shells unless you are very close to a cruiser and its broadside is exposed. For around Tier VII and above, AP shells might be effective against broadside enemy destroyers and the superstructures of battleships. The optimal shell type can be fluid in a variety of situations. Destroyers firing AP can grind down battleships and rip into cruiser citadels. Start a fire or three, then hammer that AP home.

  1. Full speed ahead. Spot the enemy. Dive for the Cap if safe.
  2. Beware radar cruisers and long range destroyer sonar.
  3. Am I being supported?
    • Yes: Head for the Cap, throw out torpedoes, engine boost on (optional).
    • No: Withdraw unless it is safe.
  4. 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.
  5. Engage and destroy enemy destroyers.
  6. Keep spotting for your team. Are friendly battleships blind?
  7. Engage and destroy enemy cruisers.
  8. Engage and destroy enemy battleships.

"The old dreams of charging in upon a column of battleships for a torpedo attack had no place here."
-The Good Shepherd (C.S. Forester)

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 successful 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. 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.

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 well aimed salvo 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. At lower tiers, fire HE shells by default and switch to Armour Piercing (AP) when duelling with a poorly handled cruiser. For middle and higher tiers, AP can be lethal, especially with a suitable commander build.

  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.

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

This Happy Breed (1944)

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 may be forced to 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.

Aircraft Carriers

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. I think commanders should only be allowed to control the carrier itself, with the AI doing the bombing runs based on a priority target list. World of Warships: Legends doesn't feature submarines, unlike the PC version of the game. It would be interesting to be able to use depth charges, although most of the community think submarines should not be added to the game either. As for carriers, I can't give much advice because I rarely take one to sea. I do think they are a positive addition to the game, as they add a whole new dimension and shooting down planes is very rewarding (even though the AI does it for you).

Clear Skies

With the old carrier mechanics, if you shot down 20 enemy aircraft, you earned a Clear Skies medal. This is definitely one of the more rewarding medals. However, this medal can only be earned once per battle. 62 was my record prior to 2024, achieved in Småland. The updated 2024 carrier mechanics made it easier to shoot down planes. The medal requirement was therefore increased to 40. 66 is my record, achieved in Friesland.

Favourite Ships

My most played tiers are VII, VI, and VIII. If you want to make money, play Tier VII and Tier VI premium ships. Below are listed some of my favourites.

Z-44 (Tier VIII Premium DD)

The community is not fond of this ship since it has the appearance of a gunboat but lacks the powerful artillery. It also lacks sonar which is atypical for German destroyers. Nevertheless, I consistently score well in Z-44 with a torpdeo and concealment build. With a 5.0 km detection range and 62.1 seconds reload on the torpedoes, it can do serious damage from afar. The guns are plentiful enough that it is not completely defenceless in a knife fight. (NB: my detection range was still 5.1 km in the video sample.) Z-44 may have low range with its AA guns (3.0 km), but over time they are capable of dealing damage. In this game I almost scored a Clear Skies medal and shot down 38 enemy planes.

Cossack (Tier VI Premium DD)

Although this is also not a favourite within the community, I like this Tribal-class destroyer a lot. It has the usual British extended duration sonar and powerful guns. The four torpedoes have proven to be highly effective, and occasionally you will score a secondary battery hit; in a destroyer this is highly satisfying. It's also quite rare so your opponents may not know what they're up against. I hope to acquire the 1938 version of this ship at some point.

Lightning (Tier VII Tech Tree DD)

A lot of fun, especially since the guns sound so good. Excellent fire angling opportunities too. Three minute sonar and seven smokes keeps you safe.

Jutland (Tier VIII Tech Tree DD)

What can I say? I just love the British destroyers. They are unmatched in terms of defensive versatility. This Battle-class destroyer isn't the quickest in its class but it has powerful long-range guns, the usual three minute duration sonar and many smokes. The torpedoes aren't bad either! (Another example.)

Kidd (Tier VI Premium DD)

A Fletcher-class destroyer at Tier VI. What's not to love? With excellent AA, two heals, and rapid guns, this ship has gifted me many Krakens and even games with six kills.

Delny (Tier VIII Tech Tree DD)

Delny is tough, fast, and punches hard. Her armour is excellent and she is a very powerful ship. In one stunning game I charged a Minotaur and went on to score three more kills, one of which was another Minotaur.

How Delny deals with Lüshun

Lüshun players are predictable and play their ship like a one-trick pony. As soon as they make contact, they smoke up and activate their sonar. Delny lacks radar and sonar, but has strength. Be aggressively bold and use that strength: In this situation I charged and destroyed a complacent Lüshun player.

Hsienyang (Tier VII Tech Tree DD)

An amazing ship! It is nimble and can be fitted with 7.5 km radar, which I highly recommend. I also have a legendary torpedo reload booster fitted to this ship; they are deepwater torps but don't worry, they will eat battleships. In the right hands, this ship is lethal. Here is me scoring a Kraken in her, albeit before I swapped out the smoke generator for radar.

Chung Mu (Tier VIII Tech Tree DD)

This former Fletcher-class destroyer is an enhanced Hsienyang. You should also opt for the 7.5 km radar; it may be brief, but it never fails to surprise enemy destroyers hiding in smoke. She's also a fast ship with extremely quick and powerful deepwater torpedoes.

Småland (Tier VIII Tech Tree DD)

Småland is a great ship, especially since the 2024 aircraft carrier changes; it has excellent anti-aircraft capability, bolstered by an AA boost consumable which will tear through planes. It has three engine boosts, which although only one minute in duration, make her fly! They can get you out of trouble, or into it, if you're feeling aggressive. She also has the option for radar, which I always pick over smoke. Be aggressive, not defensive! Smoke clouds are just torpedo magnets and you should never dwell in them.

Asashio (Tier VI Premium DD)

Never underestimate the Imperial Japanese Navy! Asashio is quite a cumbersome ship with guns which traverse very slowly. However, it has smoke generators and a torpedo reload booster. When backed into a corner with superior forces closing in, I once managed to extricate myself with glory.

Yudachi (Tier VII Premium DD)

These days Yudachi is not the monster it once was, but it can still shine in the right hands. Check out this game as a textbook example of how to play a torpdeo boat.

Akizuki (Tier VII Tech Tree DD)

A highly powerful destroyer. It can punch and kite like a mini cruiser. A lot of fun once you get used to the handling characteristics. With a gunboat build this is a lot of fun to play.

Kitakaze (Tier VIII Tech Tree DD)

As you can see from the image shown above, Kitakaze is a ship which builds on Akizuki and features powerful quick-firing artillery. It is superior to Hayate, a premium destroyer at the same tier. My XP record is currently held by this ship (4,257).

Friesland (Tier VII Premium DD)

You can make a lot of money with this quick-firing gunboat. If I can give one bit of advice on how to operate Friesland, it is this: be circumspect! At first I used a full AA build, then I switched to a gunboat build because of the terrible dispersion. I once even earned a Devastating Strike medal against a Benson, which is difficult to achieve in a destroyer which lacks torpedoes. Since the 2024 updated carrier mechanics, I have reverted to a full AA build and enjoy taking this ship out simply to shoot down aircraft.

Loyang (Tier VII Premium DD)

Highly capable and nimble too. You'll have to be having a really bad day to let your team down in this ship. It is the Sonar King of Tier VII destroyers so watch out!

Others

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

  1. Gadjah Mada (Tier VI Tech Tree DD): Excellent firing angles and a 7.5 km radar.
  2. Okhotnik (Tier IV Premium DD): The aptly named 'Murder Canoe'!
  3. Anshan (Tier V Premium DD): I recommend you equip this with deep water torpedoes.
  4. Fiji (Tier VI Tech Tree Cruiser): First ship in which I unleashed the Kraken.
  5. Benham (Tier VI Premium DD): First ship in which I achieved Rank 1.

Undecided

F. Schultz (Tier VIII Tech Tree DD)

This destroyer is almost as devastating as Elbing when it comes to AP penetration. I was once questioned on which was the better ship; 'Schultz, or its premium cousin Elbing. I couldn't answer and I'm still not sure. What I do know is that I've had better luck with F. Schultz: Observe her taking down a cruiser with ease.

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. I may 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 Marlborough. 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 the guns sound great when fired in a single salvo; 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, melt its camouflage down to paint, or even sell it. I personally don't sell any ships, even unlucky ones.

Here is a list of ships prone to give me bad luck, or just ones which I consider trash:

  1. Marlborough: A massive target hulk painted in pretty colours.
  2. Minotaur: Weak with pathetic accuracy. Has only AP shells which often fail miserably.
  3. Mikasa: Worst ship in the game? Highly inaccurate guns.
  4. Elbing: Cursed for me. Despite me usually excelling in it, I find myself on the losing team.
  5. Drake: The guns reload as slowly as a battleship. Weak armour, poor manoeuvrability.
  6. F. Caracciolo: Usually fails to hit anything. Terrible with no saving graces.
  7. Hayate: Inferior to Kitakaze and almost guaranteed to put me on the losing team.
  8. Lüshun: On paper it is overpowered. For me, it is just a very unlucky ship.
  9. Zara & Amalfi: Yawn. Reload is too long.

Statistics

I'm told the average Standard Battle win rate is 48%, but I think that actually represents the lower range of average. It is not unusual to suffer ten defeats in a row with this game, that's just the nature of bad luck. I don't know if the match making system accounts for win rate and maybe matches good players with bad. 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 target win rate is 60%. As of June 2024, it is 58%.

This game has quite a few statistics but a lot more would go a long way into making such records more useful. For example, group stats and the ability to compare ships side by side. I would like to see displayed the ship with the highest winrate, most medals, best accuracy, most damage, etc. I am interested in every single metric that has been measured, from distance travelled to time spent at 3/4 speed.

10,000 Battles Milestone

Thankfully the February 2023 update saw improved access to stats, crowned with the summary page you see here. On March 6th of the same year, I played my 10,000th battle. It took me about two and a half years of 'on and off' play to reach this milestone. Check back soon to see how my stats look after 20,000 battles! (I've already increased my maximum damage and XP.)

Double and Triple Strikes

If you manage to destroy two enemy ships within ten seconds, you are awarded the much celebrated Double Strike medal. In Paolo Emilio, a ship designed to achieve such results with its hard-hitting torpedoes, I once achieved a Double Strike with its main battery guns.

If you should manage to destroy three enemy ships within ten seconds, there is no reward, despite this representing one third of the enemy team. A 'Triple Strike' is therefore unofficial but still highly sought after. Here are some examples I recorded:

  1. A Triple Strike with German Tier V destroyer T-61.
  2. A Triple Strike with British Tier II cruiser Caledon.

So close! Yet denied: In this example, French Tier VIII destroyer Mogador refuses to give up and comes tantalizing close to a Triple Strike-Kraken.

Hints & Tips

Blind Firing

Blind Firing is when you aim to score a hit on an enemy ship which isn't detected, either by vision, sonar, or radar. When an enemy commander is firing at you and you're hidden in smoke or spotted only on the minimap, take note. It means they know their business. After a while, firing at muzzle flashes and scoring hits is not only possible, it is relatively simple. An enemy commander who sits inside or behind a smokescreen and remains stationary, firing away, makes themselves a target not only for torpedoes but also blind fire. Since we are aiming at muzzle flashes, it's not true blind firing as we have some form of visual reference. In this example, I was detected by enemy sonar, could not see them, and still managed to successfully blind fire using muzzle flashes (whilst burning a Bismarck on the side).

Dead reckoning is the process of calculating the current position of a moving object by using a previously determined position. In this example, it was easy to work out where the enemy ship was likely to be after it disappeared inside a smokescreen.

True blind firing is when you have no visual reference at all. Sometimes it pays to fire blindly into smoke even when there are no muzzle flashes to aim at; just make sure you won't make yourself a target for other enemy ships if you're detected. In this example, the enemy commander practiced fire discipline to avoid detection, so I fired random patterns into the smoke and started a fire on their ship. Extremely rewarding! I've even seen examples of people scoring hits by firing into the distant, empty sea. That is the purest expression of blind firing and is one of the greatest achievements in the game.

It's Not Over Until It's Over

Never give up hope that the game can be swung in the final fraction of a second. In this example, the enemy is ahead on points as we enter the final second of the match...

The AI

Playing against bots is a great way to complete Bureau Projects because 99% of the time you are guaranteed a victory. I spent my first few months playing against the AI to learn the basic mechanics of the game. The developers state that AI is supposed to be the 'chill' mode. When you've suffered a run of defeats, it helps to play a few AI battles to let off steam and get back into a winning mode. 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. If you just want to sail your battleship forward and fire its guns for fun, play AI. Don't underestimate the Legendary level AI. They can take a battleship out in one salvo (this happened to me when I was stupid enough to sail my Marlborough close to a Yamato).

Interaction

Mute your microphone. I also suggest muting your team. In thousands of matches I've only had a handful of 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. I also disable the in-game music as I find this makes for a more atmospheric, realistic, and immersive experience.

Comments

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 feel pressured into paying for ships or premium time. There is easily enough free content in the game. I will admit that I have spent at least $200 Canadian on the game.

Squids

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. If I get four kills, it's a Fat Squid or a Baby Kraken: a Krakenlette. Six kills is a Chubby Kraken, Seven is a Fat one; Eight is Obese and Nine kills is the coveted Tumblr Kraken! Has it ever been done?

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.

Screw propeller animation

A minor detail: even when your ship is stationary before the battle commences you can still see the screws spinning happily away. They should alter the revolution speed with the actual engine setting.

Ribbons

If a battle is won and there is nothing to do but travel, why not total up all your ribbons in your head? It's a fun little game of addition I like to play. I would be interested to see Total Ribbons Earned as a statistic alongside the Medals page, and displayed for each ship.

Range Clock

Ever wondered what those clocks on older battleships are? They're Vickers range clocks and they were used to calculate the range of enemy ships and make it easily legible to ships in the battle line following behind. In practice they probably were of very little use and in this game they are useless.

Whale Rocks

Doesn't this scenery look like a whale?

Final Note

This is a very difficult game and it will take you at least a year 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: 19th July, 2024.