225 and big but soon to be forgotten moments

I’m up over 225 World of Warships battles now. I have come to the conclusion that so far I am relatively mediocre at it. The statistics in asia.warships.today agree with me, along with my win rate that is languishing at around 47%.

Failure can however be a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you find yourself doing well in a ship and positively contributing towards the team you tend to win more, giving you more experience points. This means you progress faster through all the upgrades and into the next ship tier. If you don’t do well in a ship and don’t contribute as much to the team, then you tend to lose more. That gives you much lower experience points, which means you have to do more battles in those poor performing ships to reach the next tier.

For example, it took 16 matches for me to research all the upgrades and the next ship in line with the Russian Tier 4 Cruiser Svietlana. I had a 62% win-rate with that ship, doing on average 22,180 points of damage and surviving 31% of the time. It took me 27 matches to fully research and move on from the US Tier 4 Cruiser Phoenix, with only a 32% win-rate, doing on average 16,436 points of damage and surviving only 21% of the time.

In my defence, 65% of my battles so far have been with Cruisers, which I have found in the lower tiers sit uneasy and less effectively between Battleships and Destroyers. I also tend to play – surprisingly, a bit more aggressively. I don’t just sit behind Islands or at the back of the map – I am always looking for ways forward, which means I tend to die earlier than more cautious players. Last of all I am playing a lot of different ships – instead of just focusing on one branch and one style of play.

I can see improvements in my game. I am getting much better at moving in and around islands to my benefit, the amount of damage I do on average is continuing to increase, and I am contributing in ways the game currently doesn’t always reward you for, such as deliberately positioning yourself to spot the enemy ships, or sacrificing yourself for the greater good – like holding off the enemy from an otherwise undefended base, giving time for others to get back in range.

I still do not however particularly feel like I am a master of my own destiny in the game. While my skill level obviously needs to improve, I can’t help but feel my results are just as much the result of the vagaries of the random battle match ups.  Take the Phoenix for example. Because it is quick you tend to run into the enemy vanguard first. In some battles I can throw the ship around like a Destroyer – twist and turn and circle and duck and weave until I break the enemies focused fire and, still reasonably healthy, can reposition myself to move forward again. In other battles however everyone is painfully accurate and I die within seconds of first being detected under withering fire.  I can not overstate the huge differences between the accuracy of the players you come up against.  One match you can avoid the raining shells of half a dozen opponents in open water, the next a Battleship on the opposite side of the map can two or three salvo you off the field as you deliberately twist and turn and try to avoid him in amongst islands.  Even my own accuracy seems to change dramatically between matches – in one I don’t seem to be able to miss, the very next match, same ship, same type of scenarios, I don’t seem to be able to hit the side of a barn.

I am however having great moments in World of Warships.

I recently had a battle in the Tier 4 Russian Cruiser Svietlana that stood out for me. It was in standard mode on the Big Race map. I started out in the south east heading north. I was joined by two other Cruisers and two Battleships. The enemy flotilla we ran into heading in the opposing direction consisted of two Cruisers and two Battleships.

One of the enemy Cruisers overextended himself – I expect in order to fire Torpedoes, allowing us all to focus fire on him. Their second Cruiser was overly cautious and broke contact and circled back too soon. This allowed us to dispatch the first ship without loss. As we rounded the north east of the map there was an old fashioned brawl which saw the remaining enemy Cruiser and two Battleships sunk, with the loss of our two other Cruisers. During this battle I had to dodge the attack of two flights of Torpedo bombers.

At this point we had glimpses of one of the enemy Carriers, so a race began with myself and the two Battleships trying to get to it before the main enemy fleet (we could see on the mini map) returned to save it.

While the Svietlana is not a particularly fast Cruiser, I was out in front spotting for the two slower Battleships behind me. A Tier 5 Japanese Furutaka Cruiser popped out from between some islands, but soon dove back into cover under our combined fire. I then again had to dodge the attacks of a couple flights of Torpedo bombers.

As I straighten out towards the last known position of the Carrier I noticed a blip of an enemy Destroyer on the mini-map, detected by a flight of fighters sent from one of our Carriers. He had literally 1 hit point left, and was making his way in the opposite direction to us at the extreme of my main gun range. It took a while for my guns to swing around in the right direction, by which time he was no longer visible again. I had been tracking his position in my mind and fired off one salvo, quickly moving my guns back towards where I knew the Furutaka would be waiting. As luck would have it a shell landed and I had a lucky Destroyer kill.

I had just got the enemy Carrier spotted when I came into view of the Furutaka again. While the Battleships went for the Carrier I was left with the enemy Cruiser, his torpedoes and another two flights of Torpedo bombers. While the cruiser was a tier higher and I had taken one Torpedo, he managed to ground himself and was outgunned. He was down to 86 hit points with my last Salvo about to land when the kill was taken by another person on my team, pushing up from the south.

I swung around to the carrier but it was dispatched as my guns came to bear. At this point the second carrier came into view – on the opposite side of the now arriving enemy fleet. I had the choice to turn and run, or to keep the carrier spotted for our encroaching and numerically superior fleet. I decided to fight it out – and was rewarded by spotting a very low health enemy Cruiser trying to escape. I fired one Salvo before having to take evasive action as an enemy Battleship rounded an island right in front of me. I frantically fired off Torpedoes and guns into the side of the Battleship under the crescendo of critical damage and fire messages and the noise of secondary battery fire. I just had time to register my second kill pop up – meaning my salvo on the Cruiser had been effective, before my Torpedoes stuck. In the space of seconds, I took the Battleship from three quarters health to almost zero. Just as I was about to fire one last salvo to claim the kill someone else on my team landed a hit and took the prize.

With only a sliver of health left and under the focused fire of the remaining enemy I literally fired a salvo off at the first ship my guns swung across before being sunk. As I sat there watching the battle finishing I suddenly had my third kill. My last salvo had started a fire on a ship, which had then been taken down to low health by a Battleship, with my burning fire then doing the last few points of damage. I had deserved three kills for that battle – just none of the ones I ended up with.

The nature of the game however is you tend to forget all these sorts of battles.  They just blur into one and another after a short period of time.

I see white ships

I am not particularly enamored by the Purity of the Throne event sites. They are obviously popular – more than 80% I warp in to are already being run. That means however I am flying through 8 to 10 Hi-Sec systems for each empty site. Given there is nothing particularly special about them I ended up using the market to sell and buy until I had collected the 9 skins I was interested in, still coming out with a profit. That moved me from 8 to 17 permanent skins applied – only a small fraction of skins available. I hadn’t realised I was being so discerning about my use of skins.

I am going to have to pay more attention though – I am going to lose an expensive ship one day to forgetting to turn on my repairers when moving through systems hunting for event sites.

I was worried to see that the EVE Fitting Tool (EFT) hasn’t been updated in four months now. Gripen has been slow to push out releases before, but it is a reminder about the risk CCP takes leaving necessary core game functionality to third party developers. I know they are meant to be working on an in-client version of EFT, but the skeptic in me thinks it might be like their in-client version of DOTLAN EVE maps.

I’ve now downloaded the latest version of the Python Fitting Assistant (Pyfa). I have never been entirely sold on Pyfa, but credit due for the continued and active updating.