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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Stay Together and Win or Die Alone

Evening play sessions have not been very kind to me so far this week. Last night I fought three battles in a New York class battleship without a victory. One game I was the next to last ship standing, and high scorer in a game that was otherwise a completely dismal showing. And having the high score was certainly nothing to crow about. It wasn't even over a thousand points.

The night before last I fought seven battles and all of them were defeats. I was top scorer or number two in four of them. There was only one in which I would say the enemy won the game, rather than my team losing the game. The last game of the evening had so much lag, it was better to charge into the midst of the enemy fleet and die rather than put up with the stuttering of dropped frames and an inability to steer or aim with any precision.

It's odd when your victories to battle percentage goes down, but your kill to death ratio improves. I know it sounds like I'm whining, but that's not why I'm talking about this. I find it interesting that at night I'm having all these defeats, but during lunch I do better. I was able to fight in three battles at lunch yesterday with two victories and one very well fought defeat.

The lunch time crowd frankly seems to be better captains. The fleets talk more. They coordinate. They concentrate their fire. The fleets that do poorly seem to have a lot of solo captains. They scatter in all directions and face opponents singly. That's the fastest way I know to get sunk. Even if the majority of the fleet turns the same direction, the cruisers outpace the battleships, the destroyers are nowhere to be seen, and the same thing happens. We end up facing a combined enemy fleet single or in pairs rather than slow down and stay together.

And that's the point I want to make. There are players who think they can gain glory by being the captain who sinks an enemy ship by themselves before the combined enemy fleet sends them to the bottom. What they really end up doing is depriving their fleet of a valuable asset - another ship. Ships work best when they support each other and are mixed. Destroyers screen. Cruisers counter screen and shoot down torpedo bombers. Battleships blow things up - sorry cruisers. Aircraft carriers do too, right after they scout where the enemy is going and provide combat air patrol to fend off enemy torpedo bombers.

One thing I've hardly ever seen in World of Warships is this:
US Navy photo #: 80-G-470275 Third Fleet Warships En route to the Philippines, circa January 1945. USS Stephen Potter (DD-538) is in the right center, closest to the camera. Aircraft carrier at left is USS Enterprise (CV-6). Photographed from USS New Jersey (BB-62) by Lieutenant Commander Charles Fenno Jacobs, USNR.
This picture was taken from the deck of a battleship. In close proximity we see destroyers and carriers. I'm certain there is a cruiser nearby. Point is, fleets that stay together win, and those that don't die. It's not a hard concept to grasp. I just wish other players understood the concept better.

Perhaps I just wish I'd end up on teams where players did grasp the concept. In the 10 defeats I've mentioned, two of the battles had a division of three Cleveland class cruisers with captains who knew how to use them. They were victorious. They were terrifying. They were awesome. They would concentrate their fire and rain hell down on anything that got too close - and 15 kilometers was too close. Out own torpedo bombers couldn't get close enough to sink them. Kudos to those Cleveland captains. You guys rocked!

Divisioned Clevelands #1
Divisioned Clevelands #2
You know, if I ever land in a battle with a three Cleveland division, and I'm in my Cleveland, I'll be sticking with them. I'll follow their every lead. I'll shoot the ships they shoot. We'll shoot down enemy bombers by the score. And we'll win. Teamwork trumps individual skill every time. That's why lions hunt in a pride. That's why it's a wolf pack, not a wolf single. And sure, tigers and jaguars hunt alone. But they have the jungle for cover. Ever try sailing your ship through a jungle? Seriously though, you will eventually be seen, and if you press on alone against a fleet you will die. And you will die alone.

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