WoWS – Avoiding being a Priority

I fell out of the habit of playing World of Warships.

I prefer sailing Cruisers, but once I hit Tier 5 I found them especially frustrating. I’ve already remarked on how I had changed my style of play. I couldn’t be too aggressive as I died too quickly, I couldn’t be too defensive as while I might live longer, I would not do enough damage to have an impact on the game. I got better at using islands for cover, maneuvering to make myself harder to hit, angling my ship against incoming fire, thinking where my route through the islands would leave me positioned many turns ahead, being very mindful of the alignment of my guns and so on. I tried to remember the basic strength and weaknesses of the ships I was opposed to, I looked at the alignment of their guns through binoculars, I tried to logically think ahead about their likely course and behaviour. I watched YouTube video after video, and captained Battleships against Cruisers to better understand what tactics worked and what did not, and made a real effort to improve my play.

The outcome was failure.

Any time I made the slightest of mistakes I always seemed to be punished severely for it. Two Battleship volleys was all it took to take me out of the game. Bang, 100 to 50% health, bang, 50 to 0% health. Multiple times I’ve been sunk on the very first volley of the match – despite taking evasive action the moment I was detected. I would have had to move directly into the path of initially errant shots.

Maybe it was because I always seemed to be bottom tier in my matches? Maybe I needed to push through to higher tier Cruisers? I looked at the stats of Tier 6 and 7 ships and they didn’t actually look that much better. Sometimes on paper they looked worse. (Subsequently I’ve realised the upgrade slots is what lets them shine.)

Maybe it was because I did not have any maximised Captains? Maybe some of those top tier skills make all the difference?

Maybe it is because I don’t use any mods?

This is not just a short run of bad luck – I’ve been playing for 5 months, and over 300 of my 600 matches have been in Cruisers. I had to put up my hand and admit – with embarrassment, that despite my efforts I was frankly just no good at the game. It wasn’t a deliberate decision to stop playing, but I had.

I logged back into the game when update 0.6.0 was released, some 11 days ago.  I still had premium time on the account so I thought I would have a look around.  There has been a lot of displeasure about some aspects of this update, but without a deep investment in the game none of it really worried me.

After updating Captain Skills, I grabbed a few cruisers and took them out for a spin.


Obviously, I have taken this screen capture at a nice point in time and I expect things to return to their normal pair shape, but I’ve had 80+ matches since the update and it has been like a different game for me.

In reality, there is often only one person, or a small division of 2 or 3 people who actually decide each match and carry the rest of their team. I am not that person. I see them at the top of the result boards on each win. Since this last update however I have been close to the top of the results board, behind those people who carry the game, providing a useful contribution. When that person is not in my team and we lose, then I am finding myself in the top couple of the losers. I am not skilled enough to carry the team, but usually get something out of the game.


There have been a couple mechanical reasons for the change.

Because of my Graphic Card upgrade I am now playing the game in full window mode at 3832×2085. There are aspects of the UI I wish I could upscale, but the full screen view seems to help with immersion, improving my situational awareness and allowed an extra level of finesse to my control inputs.

I have also moved away from firing by math (where you mentally calculate the lead based on time to target, estimated speed, direction of travel and what not), and moved back more to firing by feel. “That feels about right”. It is easier to do this with Cruisers as you can fire single spotting rounds, then walk the main salvo in on the target. Once zeroed in like that, you tend to be able to constantly rain shells down on them without over thinking.

Both these have made a difference. The biggest impact by far however has been the one point “Priority Target” skill.


I have found it invaluable in a Destroyer or Cruiser. In the past evasive manoeuvring started as soon as you were detected, then ramped up when you saw shells coming your way. Such manoeuvring slows you down, throws your guns off the optimal bearings, takes you off your planned route, and often delays your arrival behind cover.

Now if you are spotted but no one is aiming at you, you can continue (torpedo awareness aside) towards your waypoint. If you know that one opponent aiming at you is that Battleship, you have 20+ seconds between each salvo were evasion doesn’t have to be your highest priority. If you have only one opponent aiming and you know it must be a Destroyer, you can respond differently than if you have Five opponents aiming at you. I still get one shot of the map at times, but I have found it far easier to place my ship more optimally, am staying alive longer on average, and having more of an impact on the game.

It is not perfect. I’ve already noticed that people can salvo you without the target indicator showing. I expect from the map that they were tracking another target in the same direction and switched over to me without specifically keying the UI to update. Once they fire however the indicator tends to come on soon after.

I expect this short flurry of win’s will die away as others work out the best offensive and defensive use of Targeting Priority, but in the meanwhile I’ve felt unusually almost competent, which has made the game much more enjoyable.

Who needs procrastination

In hindsight, maybe Friday the 13th was not the ideal day to be doing hardware updates.

I finished up on my PC after midnight, everything seemingly sorted and working well. The last thing I did before shutting down was run my backups, but oddly they had problems reading one of the file systems. During the install of the new Graphic Cards I had noticed a SMART warning on one of my Hard drives as having too many errors reported. I would not have known about it if I wasn’t looking into the GPU temperature sensors as Windows hadn’t warned me in any notification. I had flagged to look at it the following day, so just ran a highlighter over my post-it-note so I would not forget.

I was back at my PC at 3:30am – having been woken up by a nasty headache. I figured I would look at the hard drive issue while waiting for my painkillers to knock the edge off the discomfort.

The only problem was that the PC would not boot. It got past the BIOS but was stuck in the early stages of windows starting.

I went and had a shower to help with my head, and in hope of Windows fixing itself while I was gone. I had no such luck and came back to the same issue. After a couple reboots I was given the option to rebuild Windows or go back to a previous restore point. That happened to be Friday morning after some Window Updates had been automatically installed. (What is Microsoft doing pushing updates on Friday the 13th?)

With the rollback done my PC now went to a black screen in the early stages of boot and stayed there. I turned everything off and went back to bed at 4:30am, but didn’t get back to sleep until after 6.

I was back at my PC at 7:30am after having to get up to get the kids breakfast. Since only one screen was initialising before going blank, I once again removed the new Graphic Cards. The PC was able to boot ok. Looking through the logs and after some testing I found one of my Hard Drives was dead. It started having problems during the process of getting the new Graphic Cards installed. I expect it was already unhealthy, and lots of power up and downs, and a few boots on its side were enough to kill it. No more Seagate drives for me – ever.

I reinstalled the NVIDIA drivers (lost in the restore point rollback) and gingerly plugged the new Graphic Cards back in again. The system started up ok, and has continued to do so multiple times since.

I suspect the problem with windows booting related to NVIDIA’s XTREME Gaming Engine, which was the last thing I had installed to turn off the Graphic Card’s lights. It might have some conflict with the older chipset or the like.

Now I need to buy a new Hard Drive, recover my lost data, and hope the PC remains stable.  On the bright side my headache seems to have cleared.

I might get back to the EVE Client settings tomorrow..

The not so hot upgrade

Preparing for war, I was reminded that I had been really slack in keeping my EVE client settings up to date, particularly on my Alts and over on my Laptop. Today I decided to rectify that.

I logged in my Main and Main Alt side by side, opened up the Escape Menu and clicked on Display & Graphics. I was going to go through every setting, read the tool tip, experiment if need be, and ensure both accounts were in the end set up the same.

But then I was immediately distracted.

If you have multiple Graphic Cards, you can configure which one you want each EVE client to run on.


It seems to be a dynamic setting – it moves the client across to the selected GPU once you hit apply, without a restart.

Unlike most of the EVE client settings however, this particular one doesn’t seem to be saved per account. If you change the setting for one account, the next account you log in with gets the same setting. For this reason – having to manually adjust them every time you play, I haven’t bothered with it.

I’ve had some issues for a while now with my old dual GeForce GTX 680’s. The first is performance – I can get stuttering when dual boxing on the non-active EVE client, and I’ve had to lower settings in DDO and World of Warships to get them to run more smoothly. The second are temperatures – particularly with summer in full swing down here in Australia. If my Study is cool the main GPU tends to run between 83 and 85 Degrees (Celsius) when under load. That is however starting to head towards 90 if the Study starts to get warm – forcing me to turn on the Air-Con earlier than when I might personally have needed it.

So instead of going through all the Client settings, I got stuck on playing around with this Display Adapter selection option.

I did some unscientific testing.

Idle: GPU0 49-52 Degrees, GPU1 49-52 Degrees
One EVE Client: GPU0 82-83 Degrees, GPU1 50-52 Degrees
Two EVE Clients same GPU: GPU0 85 Degrees, GPU1 52-54 Degrees
Two EVE Clients separate GPU: GPU0 82-84 Degrees, GPU1 82-84 Degrees

I could see both GPU were being used just by the temperature readings, but I couldn’t say either client was particularly more responsive.  While I did not notice any stuttering, I don’t notice that all the time anyway.  I now had two GPU running hot instead of one with otherwise inconclusive results.

At this point my wife came into my Study and asked if we could take the kids up into the hills to try out some new gourmet milkshakes, so my EVE Client setting updates were delayed by a couple hours.

When I got back to my Study I was immediately distracted again by researching new Graphic card options. A couple hours later and a trip out in heavy rain, I was back in my study with two new Gigabyte GeForce GTX 1060 G1 Gaming 6GB graphics cards.

They reviewed well for their performance verse price, ran on game mode at 1594 Mhz / 1809 MHz boost (against 1006 / 1058 MHz on the 860s) and had 6GB GDDR5 memory (against 4GB). They did not however support SLI, were on paper a fair bit behind the 1070 and 1080’s, and if it wasn’t for needing a certain mix of connections for my 4-screen setup (and wanting options to expand or upgrade it down the track), I might have otherwise gone for one higher spec card instead.

I removed the old 680 Graphic cards, plugged in the new 1060’s, and booted. Well – I tried too, but the Motherboard got stuck on a non-descriptive error code.

I had my suspicions on what the issue was, so out came the new Graphics Cards and I booted up ok using the on-board graphics and one of my monitors. Given the age of my Desktop, I started by updating the Motherboard BIOS.

I then rebooted and the motherboard was stuck on another non-descriptive error code, suggesting an issue with the new BIOS. I then did a hard reboot (should have done that the first time) and thankfully the desktop started correctly.

One of the new Graphic Cards was then reinstalled and the Desktop booted. The boot performance however was very slow and there were NVIDIA related errors.

I then spent a while mucking around with the NVIDIA software, which wouldn’t upgrade, uninstall or install properly. After manually removing services, registry entries and some DLL files, I finally managed to clear out the old software and configuration, and start afresh with a new install. That seemed to resolve the issue and the boot performance.

The second new Graphic Card was reinstalled, and aside arranging the four-screen layout correctly, all now worked.

I was finally able to log back into EVE.

I repeated my unscientific testing.


Idle: GPU0 46-49 Degrees, GPU1 46-49 Degrees
One EVE Client: GPU0 60-64 Degrees, GPU1 46-52 Degrees
Two EVE Clients same GPU: GPU0 65-67 Degrees, GPU1 52-53 Degrees
Two EVE Clients separate GPU: GPU0 65-67 Degrees, GPU1 53-56 Degrees


Running the EVE clients on separate GPU no longer appears to make any meaningful difference, so I will go back to ignoring that setting.  While the EVE clients seem to be running smoother, it will take more than an hour of running about to confirm that.  Mostly I am just really pleased with how much cooler the GPU operate.  The temperatures can get into the low 70’s when docked in stations and zoomed in on your ship, but overall the improvement was unexpectedly good.

Success of sorts.


A curse sitting in station as I test out performance / temps.

Now it is too late in the evening to go back to try to organise my EVE Client settings.  Maybe tomorrow – if I don’t find something else to procrastinate on.


I’ve had a handful of times over the years where someone has offered to buy my Player Owned Custom Offices, including the Corporation who declared war the other day.

Logically I should have sold them. I haven’t used them for some time and am not likely too in the near future, I earn minimal ISK from them and I can’t defend them. I should have taken the money and ran.

What has stopped me is that a small collection of individuals and corporations have been given access to use my POCO for 0% tax. I didn’t know if they still use them as I see no journal entries, or even if they still play, but I presume there are people out there who have PI set ups and routines that include the assumption of access to my cheap POCO.

I know it probably seems stupid, but it doesn’t sit right with my personal integrity to sell out on them. I expect few would have that expectation or care, but it is just how I feel.

When the latest approach came about the POCO I immediately checked my Custom Office journal entries and sent an Alt over to the system to eyeball the locals for a while. As luck would have it I noticed pilots with blue standings still living in the area.

I felt a little sorry for the Corporation that declared war. They seemed to have young and keen pilots, and where playing a sort of optimistic, plant your flag type of game. It is a game that would make you a target.  In my initial investigations, I could see they had anchored at least the smaller Raitaru and mid-spec Azbel engineering complexes, along with an Astrahus Citadel. I could also see their Killboard was mostly a sea of red and that they had been mauled previously by some of the usual Hi-Sec wolves. Taking my POCO would add to their collection of structures and provide them with a needed morale boost from an easy win.

What they were not to know is that I had on occasion thought about what a solo player like me could do against a medium sized Hi-Sec industrial corporation like them. I’ve read plenty of blogs and stories about the escapades of others, and gone as far as finding likely candidates. I had no idea if I’d be able to do anything effective, and I wasn’t sure I’d get much enjoyment out of it, but it was an area of game play worth looking at. The problem was that I have never been able to bring myself to War Dec the sort of Corporation I might be able to have an impact against. Now I would have the opportunity without the initial moral discomfort.

Because I was out of the house and on the road soon after the War Declaration came through, I wasn’t able to do the preparations I had wanted too. I did manage to spend several billion ISK Plexing my main Alt account, grabbing a Freighter, and moving in a stockpile of PVP hulls into the area. I even finished off some investigations on boosters and brought in a supply of suitable ones. I had planned to continue the War Dec well beyond the loss of my POCO, and look into the disruption I could cause, hunting their local miners and mission runners, camping trade routes and hubs for their haulers, theory crafting the ship set ups to oppose what they commonly flew, identifying their traps and all the sorts of intelligence gathering I might try to effect. What about hiring help, how much would it cost, what might I target?

I expect I would make a complete hash of it or simply not enjoyed myself, but you never know if you never try.

Not long after the War went live I watched cloaked on and off from various vantage points as the Corporation put two of four POCO into reinforced mode. It took them around an hour and 14 minutes for each. On the third the fleet dispersed and there was only one Rokh left on the POCO. They might have got tired or been trying to bait me. I unfortunately was running around the house sorting food for a New Year’s EVE party, wrangling children, and packing to visit my family for a couple of days. Just as I was about to log off I made a run on the lone Rokh – locking and shooting it with some of the new fireworks. Unfortunately and oddly I didn’t see any pretty lights from this endeavor, and I logged off with the idea of starting my campaign in a few days’ time.

A couple of sleeps later I was sitting in my parent’s kitchen, chatting to my Mum as she prepared food. I logged into my laptop to check email and quickly look at what was happening in EVE. Oddly there were no messages about destroyed POCO but instead an offer to retract the war. The attackers had another round of war declarations in bound that they were ill-equipped to handle and were reevaluating the location of their home system. What oddly fortuitous timing.

I accepted and advised I wouldn’t undertake any hostile action in the remaining 24 hours. As I said in my last post, there was no malice in the process.

While this means I won’t be following through with my plans, I will leave some combat ships and jump clones in the area so that if someone else chases the POCO, it won’t be such a scramble to be able to provide some sort of response.

The story doesn’t quite end here though. When I logged in the following day I had a message from one of those groups who had free access to my POCO. It was one of those groups I had friendly interactions with in the past but not spoken to in some time. It was one of those groups I declined to sell my POCO to others because it might have been troublesome for them. It turned out I wasn’t the only one who looked out for old allies.

Even as a Hermit, you can still experience the coolness that connections can provide within EVE.