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Friday, May 13, 2016

Fleet Friday: Where to Aim Your Guns

One of the most difficult aspects of World of Warships to master is simply hitting your opponents. That sounds like such a derp thing to say, but it's true. In a game like World of Tanks, shell flight times are really short. In the vast majority of cases, all you have to do it place your cross hair on the enemy tank, pull the trigger and you hit them pretty much exactly where you aimed providing random dispersion doesn't go against you. Anyone who's played World of Warships knows that is not the case when engaging ships that are kilometers away. You have to lead a moving ship by the correct amount of distance to have any chance of hitting it. That's hard, and it only gets harder as you progress to higher tier ships that have longer ranges and move at faster speeds. But you don't have to guess where to aim. If you set up your game client correctly, it will tell you all you need to know in order to hit the ship you are focused on. Of course it's not as straight forward as that, but neither is it impossible to learn. In fact, once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature.

The first thing you need to do is turn on the Alternative Battle Interface Mode (ABI from now on) in your game client. You'll find the selection box in Settings on the Controls tab at the bottom center left. It warns that this may have an adverse impact on your system performance, so if you have a lower end system that already struggles to run World of Warships you should leave it off. There is another way to get the information you need. Just press the ALT at any time to temporarily display the ABI while the key is held down.

The ABI adds dynamic information to your graphical interface. The first thing you'll likely notice is are all the ships get displays above them indicating their ship type, player name and current hit points as a horizontal bar graph with numbers superimposed in the format total HP/current HP. Here is what it looks like in game.

But the display over the ship is not the most important part of the ABI. That is shown right at center of the reticule to the bottom left of the aim point. That number is the flight time of your shells to the currently selected target, in this case a New Mexico class battleship. That flight time when used with the static reticule you've always seen allows you to calculate the firing lead to that New Mexico. Here's how.

The reticule is designed so that each tick mark represents how far a ship moving 20 knots will travel in one second. To calculate your lead, you multiply the flight time of your shells by the ratio of the target speed divided by 20. In the case of this New Mexico it is essentially 1 to 1, so you simply lead the bow of the battleship by the same number of tick marks as seconds of flight time. In this case, that would be eight and a half (8.5) tick marks.

As I said before, it is not as simple as that. Most ships do not travel at 20 knots. Players can change their ship speed to throw this off (and do so often at higher tiers.) And the reticule is calibrated for battleship lengths. Destroyers are a lot shorter and need to be led a bit more because of that fact.  And I haven't even mentioned citadel placements. Fortunately iChase has done an excellent video explaining much of this. I encourage you to watch it. He not only explains all this, but provides in client examples!

Since I watched this several weeks ago, I have been trying to follow the formula - literally. It is not easy. You still need to take a great many things into account like ship angling. Not every ship presents you with a perfect broadside, especially at higher tiers. And then there is just knowing how fast any particular ship can go. There are 97 non-premium ship types in World of Warships, and that count is not getting any lower. It's ridiculous to expect anyone to remember the top speeds of all those ships. But hey, you don't have to!

Have I ever mentioned I used to play EVE Online? Have I ever mentioned that game's other name? They call it Spreadsheets in Space. But you know what, that's not a bad thing. Since I have used multiple monitors on my system for well over a decade, I quickly got used to having the current action on one screen and all my "spreadsheets" (really the readouts and displays of the game) on the other screen. This is a habit I keep to this day. I play the game on one monitor, and have handy information displayed on the other. And what could be more handy in World of Warships than a spreadsheet listing those 97 ships, their top speed, and a pre-calculated lead multiplier? The correct answer is nothing. So, as my gift to you, I give you the result in image format. I hope you find it useful!
This is a work in progress and I will keep it updated as new ships are added to the game or game dynamics change. All ship speeds are taken directly out of the Tech Tree in game and include no modifiers like the Sierra Mike signal. However, I will not pretend I am infallible and have not gotten something mixed up. If you see something, please let me know and I'll update the chart after verifying the correction. I plan on adding premium ships to this list in the near future. I just need to verify their top speeds as I do not own all of them. I have included the Tirpitz as it was easy to do so and the German tree looked so bare with just cruisers. It will eventually move to it's own table with the rest of the premiums. The real trick will be keeping it readable at a glance. Anyway, take care and let me know in the comments if this was valuable to you. Also, please feel free to share it around. I only ask you keep the credit line at the bottom as it is. Thank you and have fun!


  1. Must have missed this iChasegaming video. Never realized those tick marks were based on a 20 knot speed.
    Spent this weekend grinding cash for the pensacola and mahan since the US hulls were discounted. Still stock hull without upgrades so it's going to be a while before they will leave port and get actual use.


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