Alright, so here are a few tips and tricks to help the newbies. I'm not the greatest player ever, but I'm doing alright and maybe this post can help a few new players out there. I'll try to focus on some of the things that are not mentioned as often or that need repeating more and more.
Beware of doubloons traps. When in port, there are many ways for you to lose doubloons without even noticing. Make sure that when you equip camos and signals you leave the automatic repurchase box unticked. Another trap is the whole "getting a new ship in a line" process. You don't have to spend doubloons to move your captains around or to unmount upgrades on a ship. In both cases there are free, but more grindy alternatives.
Try out a few lines of ships before pushing past T5 and then again to T8 and above. In my experience, the gameplay varies quite a lot before and after these threshold. Take some time to enjoy the game and try wildly different ships. I strongly encourage that you grind at least a line of each kind to T7 before pushing one higher. Playing different ships is the best way to learn how other players will handle them when they play against you.
If you want to get good, there are 2 harsh truths that you must accept. The first is that getting good requires some time and effort. You will have to learn the rules of the game, look at replays of good players and so forth. It takes some time and energy and it's fair enough if it's not for you. But you wont git gud without it. The second harsh truth is that when you have a bad game, it's your fault, always. It takes a lot of emotional strength to not blame your teammates, some imagined cheats, or whatever and accept that you screwed up. From accepting your mistakes, you can learn from them.
Make the minimap great again. using the '+' and '-' key, you can change the size of the minimap. Make is as big as you can, then fiddle with the UI scale to make it bigger. From there, learn to read it and extract as much information as you can. Count the ships, check what DD has not been spotted, guess the enemy's move, use the little circle to aim your shots and so much more. Seriously, I've had a game with that bug where everything blacked out except for the UI and still won with 2 kills with just the minimap.
Balance the flanks. Ok, so there are some rare exceptions to this one but if you just blindly follow it, you will do the right thing 95% of the time. At the beginning of the match, when you start on the right side, you go to the right. When you start on the left side, you go to the left. When you start in mid, you go to the side where there is the least of your class of ship. You can also go mid, but it's usually a more complex position, especially when there are radars and CVs.
There is a lot more to positioning, but it's the right first step. Here is why : it's all about the ratio of forces. Each ship that goes to the wrong flank will give a small advantage to that flank while creating a greater disadvantage on the flank they left. The more ship that do it, the lesser the advantage and the greater the disadvantage for the next ship that makes the same mistake.
As an extreme example, say one team sends 6 ships on each flank while the other sends 11 to the right and 1 to the left. On one side, it's a 6 v 1, that lone ship is doomed and it will sink extremely quickly. On the other side of the map, it's an 11 v 6. Now, that will be a defeat for the 6 ships, but a much slower one. It gives a chance for the 6 ships that sank the lonely one to swing back in and pincer the big blob. This is one of the reasons you don't lemming train.
Dont use damage control for a single fire. Unless you know you wont be set on fire for the next minute. Again, there are exceptions, but 95% of the time, it's the best play. It's a classic, but seeing how much people screw it up, it's always worth repeating.
Good use of consumables is a critical skill. This one is often skipped over, but we've all seen radars and hydro being used at the worst possible time. Now, there is a lot to this one and there is no way I can get in the detail of all the possible situations. But here are a few rules that are generally good.
- use hydro when entering a cap
- show the range of your hydro and radar on the minimap
- wait for the enemy DD to smoke up before you radar him
- when you suspect a dd to be in radar range, trail your guns where you think he might be, then use your radar
- spotter plane is great to catch cruisers hiding behind islands
- spotter and fighter planes are great to check what's around a corner
- you are blind when you are in smoke, you can also blind your teammates, so make sure you'll have eyes if you want to shoot from smoke.
- when facing ships that have long torpedo reload, if you dodge a torp salvo, wait a minute to activate your hydro, you don't want it to run out before it can be useful.
There is a lot more to say, feel free to add some more in the comments.
EDIT : fixed the layout a bit
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