It took me nine days to earn enough experience to research the tier VI Cleveland class cruiser. I fought 55 battles in my trusty Omaha class cruiser. My ship survived only 17 battles, but we were victorious in 32 of them. I sank 37 enemy ships and downed 65 of their aircraft. I had really good showings, and really bad showings. It was not easy in the beginning. But once it was fully upgraded, I became quite fond of the Omaha class cruiser. It is quick. It is nimble. It can rain steel on target with the best of them. It's a ship I plan to keep for a while.
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My time in the Omaha class cruiser saw an uptick in my performance measurements. My victories per battle percentage crept up from 45.45% to 49.23%, and my kill/death ratio improved and entire tenth of a point. Overall I am not victorious more often than not, but in the Omaha I was.
And the Omaha is the only reason for those increases. I also earned my way into the Wyoming class battleship earlier in the week. When I had a particularly bad showing in the Omaha, I went back to port and fought a round in the Wyoming class. It did me no favors. I've fought 12 battles in the Wyoming class and had victories in only three of them - a whopping 25% victory statistic. I have however survived half the battles I've fought in, so it did help with that overall statistic.
In the Cleveland class cruiser we've been victorious in half of my battles; I've fought four. I have survived none of them. I've only sank two ships. Targeting has been the main issue. In the Omaha I had a 28% main battery hit ration. In the Cleveland that's dropped to 20%. Only one in five shells have landed.
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I've thought about it, and I think the issue are the turrets. The Omaha has two turrets of two guns fore and aft. The other six main guns are individual hull mount guns. Not all of them can come to bear on a target even in the best of circumstances, but it is a lot easier to walk shells into your target if your lead is wrong when you fire continuously, which I tend to do at closer ranges.
The Cleveland has 12 guns, but they are in four turrets. This means they can all come to bear on the target in most circumstances, but they fire in groups of three. If you miss, all three typically miss. Aiming well becomes much more of a requirement in fighting the Cleveland than in previous cruiser classes. This makes it more like fighting a battleship than previous cruisers were, and it's a change to which I'll have to adjust. I've been sloppy in my aiming until now, making up for imprecision with volume of fire. That has not stood me well in the battleships and it will not do well with the Cleveland. That is my first lesson of this cruiser class.
I've learned a few other general fighting rules over the last week as well. The first is angles, angles, angles. In the days of the square-rigged man-o-war, delivering broadsides was the only game in town. Running broadside to another cruiser, or heaven forbid a battleship, will get you detonated with more modern ships. For those that might not know, that's a shell penetration of your ship's magazine - where all the ammunition is stored. A magazine detonation is what sank HMS Hood in 1941. Here's what a magazine explosion looks like for real.
Devastating is an understatement. Don't run broadside to your opponent.
The next piece of advice I've taken to heart is juking. If you look up the definition of that word, it'll say to zig-zag. This is not precisely what you need to do. Not only do you zig-zag, you also need to speed up and slow down. You need to do it randomly, or at least not with any predictable pattern. And you need to be able to do it while firing at your opponent all the while. On a real ship, you have individual sailors to carry out your orders and do this for you. In World of Warships, you're on your own, but at least the controls are a lot less complicated. ;-) And while you get the hang of it, just don't run in a straight line for too long, especially when you're zoomed in on another ship while firing at it. It's easy to forget to maneuver in the heat of battle. And while you're at it, get closer unless your opponent is in a group. You never want to be alone out there unless he is too. It's moments like that when you should charge - but don't forget to juke! Never forget there is a destroyer behind every island and they all want you to run straight so they can hit you with a narrow spread of torpedoes. :o
And speaking of islands, on Sunday I'll have a post on the maps of Worlds of Warships discussing where you should fight, and where you should not, so swing by again in the afternoon to have a look at what I've learned about those maps.
Until then, what I need to practice is accuracy, angles and juking. With accuracy you can hit the enemy first and unnerve him. Keeping a proper angle minimizes the risk to you. There is nothing quite so disheartening as constantly missing your foe, so make that happen to your opponent. And lastly, don't make yourself an easy target. There will be plenty of times that enemy battleship will get in a good shot, and you'll explode like HMS Barnum. Just don't make it easy for them. Battle on!