***WORLD OF WARSHIPS CRASH COURSE***
There are four ship classes:
Small stealthy ships with fragile health, poor armor, high speed and highly maneuverable.
Attacks with either deadly torpedos or not-so-deadly low calibre guns
Use their stealth to spot location of enemy fleet so friendly vessels can see them and shoot them up
Love killing battleships with their torpedoes
In between a destroyer and battleship. Jack of all trades, master of none.
Sometimes has torpedos, sometimes does not. Has medium calibre guns.
Can engage all ship classes effectively but isn't a specialised killer of any particular ship class.
Helps to keep enemy destroyers away from friendly battleships.
Can have very powerful anti-aircraft (AA) armament to shield friendly vessels from attack by aircraft carriers.
Huge stick-out-like-a-sore-thumb warships with large health pools, high armor, low-to-medium speed and maneuver like a pig stuck in mud.
Biggest calibre guns in the game. Hit like a truck, however take forever to reload so it's important to make every shot count.
Love killing other battleships. Can instantly blow up cruisers if they hit them the right way, but it's very tough. Destroyers are normally too quick and nimble for the battleship to target.
Launch dive bombers and torpedo bombers at enemy ships. Torpedo bombers in particular are deadly.
Plays more like a real time strategy game. All other ships are controlled live from the ship's bridge, whereas the aircraft carrier and her squadrons are controlled from a top down map view like in a science fiction movie.
There are different countries whose vessels you can play. Each nation adds their own particular twist to the ship classes:
Japanese (my favourite!)
Destroyers: Best torpedos in the game and they can fire from stealth. Stealthiest destroyers in the game. Crappy AA. Crappy guns which means destroyers of other nations eat Japanese destroyers for breakfast if you let yourself get spotted.
Cruisers: Stealthy cruisers. Fragile armor. Have deadly torpedoes. Crappy AA. Biggest cruiser guns in the game with a very high chance of setting enemy on fire.
Battleships: Biggest guns in the game. Guns have longest range in the game. Lower armor. High speed.
Destroyers: Crappy torpedoes. Great guns which can be used to harass other vessels when they're not looking (they're still small calibre so you need to shoot many shells to do major damage).
Cruisers: Best AA in the game. Great guns. No torpedoes.
Battleships: Highly armored. Very slow. Guns have crap range. (Recipe for frustrating gameplay if you're constantly chasing the front line to get where the action is!)
Destroyers: Not very stealthy at all and be seen very easily. Very fast. Big guns for a destroyer, good for harassing other ships. Really crappy torpedoes.
Cruisers: Glass cannons that can deal a lot of damage but can be killed quickly if hit. Big guns, long range. Mediocre maneuverability.
Battleship: Smaller calibre battleship guns with a faster reload, great for killing cruisers but struggles against other battleships. Awesome secondary guns which annihilate anything that gets too close. One of the few battleships which have torpedoes. Amazing turtle back armor scheme which makes them highly resilient in close quarter combat.
Cruisers: Are lightly armored but have access to the smoke consumable which they can use to hide their location and shoot the enemy from (like a destroyer). Can only use armor piercing ammunication. Cannot use high explosive ammunition.
Poland (only has one vessel and you have to pay money to get it)
Destroyers: Have special "deep water" torpedoes. These torpedoes are more powerful than the torps of other nations but they can only hit cruisers and battleships. They will sail harmlessly beneath the bow of enemy destroyers.
Cruisers: Very very very fast. Highly manoeuvrable. Thin armor. Need to do a lot of dancing to survive.
Italy (only has one vessel and you have to pay money to get it)
Commonwealth (only has one vessel and you have to pay money to get it)
It's really important to be pragmatic, rather than patriotic, when choosing which nations vessels to play. This is because each nation has a very particular play style and if it doesn't match your play style preference, your patriotism won't exceed your misery. You can play all vessels and all nations in the game, in fact the game is setup for you to do exactly that. The problem is that it takes a lot of time and energy to unlock the vessels available for each nation so it's not something you can do on a whim.
My personal favourite is the Japanese line and that's also where I'd recommend most other players start too, unless reading those descriptions they can see another play style which really speaks to them.
Each nation/vessel combination starts are Tier 1 and ends at Tier 10 (e.g. Jap destroyers go from Tier 1 - Tier 10, Jap cruisers go from Tier 1 - 10, etc). In my humble opinion however, generally each nations vessels don't really take on their proper flavour until Tier 5 and beyond. Tier 5 is where I personally believe the game really starts. Everything else is grind.
Basic gameplay concepts:
This is a big one. All ships have what is called a "concealment value". All ships. For some ships like destroyers this is very important because their concealment value is small. For example if a destroyer has a concealment value of 6.5km, it means the ship is completely invisible to the enemy unless another enemy vessel breaches its 6.5km perimeter. How could this happen? First scenario: Destroyer captain isn't paying attention and wanders too close to an enemy vessel. Second scenario: our destroyer's 6.5km perimeter was breached by another destroyer with an EVEN LOWER concealment value (e.g. 6km)... in this scenario, we'd be spotted and visible to the enemy but we wouldn't be able to see the enemy destroyer which is spotting us.... not unless that destroyer got to close e.g. 5.9km and allowed us to see them back!
What happens if you get spotted? If you want to get unspotted, the solution is to run away from the enemy until no enemy vessel is within your concealment range. On the other hand, if you've just ambushed an enemy vessel from behind an island.... you're probably pretty happy about the fact they can see you because you're about to hit them hard and they didn't see it coming (or maybe they did and you're about to get sucker punched!).
When you fire your guns, you blow your concealment. All enemy vessels within the firing range of your guns will see you for 30 seconds (unless they're behind an island). The only way to become concealed again is to stop firing for 30 seconds + make sure no enemy vessel has breached your concealment range. (e.g. my destroyer has a range of 12km with its guns and it's concealment value is 6.5km. If I fire at an enemy vessel 10km away, I will suddenly be visible to them and will continue to do so until 30 seconds has elapsed since the LAST time I fired my guns and no enemy is closer than 6.5km to me. Obviously if I keep firing my guns, I'll be perpetually visible to the enemy)
Battleships don't really care about concealment generally. Yes they have a concealment value but it's so damn high it's often pointless. (I'm speaking in generalities here)
Cruisers: Like destroyers, a good cruiser captain needs to memorise their concealment value. They need to sail around the map whilst invisible and shoot the enemy when they're at an advantage. Cruiser captains who don't respect their concealment are the ones whose vessel first appears to the enemy fleet and is mercilessly gang bashed by the entire enemy fleet in the first few minutes of the game. This is also true of destroyer captains too. So what should a cruiser captain do? Ideally wait until someone else blows their concealment first and then hammer them. This happens when someone else has blown their concealment or when the enemy is busy targeting a friendly battleship which is too big to remain invisible.
Rudder shift and turning arcs
All ships move in an arc. The bigger the ship, the bigger the radius your ship turns in. There is nothing you can do to change the turning arc of your vessel, you've just got to work with it. By contrast, rudder shift is how long it takes your vessel's rudder to shift from the extreme left to the extreme right. Battleships have a large turning arc and a slow rudder shift, which is why they manoeuvre like pigs and get torpedoed quite easily. Destroyers have a small turning arc and a short rudder shift.
Armor Piercing & High Explosive ammunition
Armor Piercing (AP) ammo: This ammo is good at hitting the citadel of enemy ships. Not as easy as it sounds. Assuming your aim is good and your guns calibre are big enough for the target you're shooting at, you'll get a citadel hit and either instantly kill or deal a mega-ton of damage to the enemy vessel. If you don't hit a citadel, your shell may either harmlessly bounce off the enemy ship's armor or deal 1/3 of its normal value to the enemy ship's HP. But what happens if you shoot AP ammo at a lightly armored target? You get an over penetration and only minimal damage. For example if a battleship fired it's huge AP ammo at a destroyer, the shells would fly straight through the hull and do minimal damage. But if the battleship fired HE ammo at the destroyer and they all hit.... the destroyer would be dead or near dead. If a cruiser did the same thing with HE ammo, the destroyer would be badly hurt but not as badly as the battleship example.
High Explosive (HE) ammo: Deals less damage than AP but almost always deals damage, even if the target is highly armored or highly angled. Has a chance to start a fire, which is a devastating damage-over-time mechanic which eats away at the health of the enemy vessel. This is how Russian and American destroyers would take down an enemy battleship.... if they fired AP, their shells would bounce harmlessly as their guns are too small. But if those destroyers HE spammed the enemy battleship with HE ammo, there is a chance they've start multiple fires on the enemy battleship which will bleed his HP extremely fast.
What's a citadel? Basically the engine room and ammo rooms under each turret on your ship. These citadel areas are highly armored. If an AP shell successfully hits your citadel and has a high enough calibre to penetrate it, your vessel will suffer major damage. Possibly even instant destruction. If the calibre of the shell hitting you is too small, then nothing will happen. Battleship's have heavily armored citadels, cruisers are in the middle in terms of citadel armor and destroyers don't have any because they're floating tin boats with an engine on the back. What does this mean? A battleship can pierce the citadel of another battleship or cruiser with AP ammo...... but a cruiser cannot pierce the citadel of a battleship unless it is at extremely close range.
Armor, Armor angling & Citadels
Different ships have different levels of armor. Different ships have different calibre guns. Depending upon the calibre of your gun and what you're shooting at, you may be forced to use HE or AP ammo as previously explained. The worst position to find yourself is broadside to the enemy (i.e. your side is perfectly perpendicular to the enemy's guns at a 90 degree angle). When you're broadside two things happen:
First: You're extremely easy to hit because all the enemy has to do is horizontally lead his shot. He doesn't need to make any kind of vertical adjustment to his aim. This is the easiest and most accurate shot in the game.
Second: All your armor values are purely as they are on paper and your citadels will be penetrated unless the enemy couldn't aim or was unlucky with RNGesus. Your armor hasn't been magnified by the effect of angling. Angling is what gives you a chance of protecting your citadels against AP ammo.
What is angling? If your ship is angled roughly 45 degrees to the trajectory of the enemy's shells, your armor values are magnified. Why? If a piece of metal is 10cm thick, that's the armor value when broadside. But if I angle that piece of metal at a 45 degree angle, your shell now maybe has to travel through 13.5cm of armor to get through the same plate. That's angling. And proper use of angling will enable your battleship to deflect enemy AP shells or take reduced damage. If you angle your ship properly, the enemy shells will all automatically bounce harmlessly.
So does this mean a destroyer or cruiser can use angling to bounce battleship shells? No, they can't. There is mechanic called the "over power" mechanic. If the enemy ships' gun calibre is a certain percentage higher than your ship's armor, the AP shell will "over power" your armor and penetrate your ship. Makes sense. Otherwise a cruiser could be shot in the face by a battleship and bounce the shells.
Tactical implications of armor angling? You'll see ships adopt an angled or bladed profile towards the enemy when not under concealment....... this is to minimise their silhouette to make it harder for you to hit them and lead your shots... but also to make sure that any shells which land will have their damage minimised by armor angling. Then once the enemy has seen that you've fired your guns and you're on reload cool down, they'll open their profile and undo their armor angling to bring both their forward and rear turrets to bear on your vessel.... they'll fired all guns at you and then rotate back to the angled position.
Consumables. Some ships have consumables. Different ships and different nations have different consumables.
Repair Crew: Fixes any fires caused by HE ammo or floods caused by torpedoes. Has a cool down of several minutes.
Damage control party: Often battleships have this. Enables them to heal their HP.
Smoke: Often destroyers have this. Hides destroyer from view so they become invisible in the smoke cloud and can keep shooting or torp'ing enemies.
Hydro/Radar: Deadly. Especially radar. It's a massive in game cheat. From Tier 7 onwards, radar enables a lucky vessel to see ALL ships within a 10km radius. Even if they're behind an island or hidden in smoke. It's insane. Hydro is the same thing except the range is much much shorter. Thank god it only exists at Tier 7 onwards.
Speed boost: Destroyers often have this. Boosts speed temporarily.
MODS - Aslain Mod Pack
Highly recommended. Helps especially with aiming. I find the default cross hairs in the game aren't well suited for aiming. For me anyway.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST: TORPEDO BEATS
If you get nothing else from this post, watch this video for some hilarious torpedo beats! (It's a WOWS meme to skillfully dodge torps to the tune of your favourite Euro Beat music!)