WoWS – Top of the losers

I’ve got into my second Tier X Hull in World of Warships – the French Cruiser Henri IV.

I recently also moved into the Tier IX DM Donskoi, so my next Tier X Hull will likely be on the Russian Cruiser tree.

This little flurry of moving into higher tier ships however has left me broke. I am going to have to do some serious credit grinding before I can afford to do much else. That raises the question – what is the best way to grind credits in World of Warships?  (Aside from being a good player – that option is out.)

I must admit I am not particularly enjoying the Tier X games – even in Tier X ships. In part it is because I am not as familiar with the new hulls I am using, or the newer maps I am playing on. Mostly however I am not enjoying them as much because they can play like well grinded set acts. Your opponents seem to know the optimum camping spots, the optimum tactics, and the key strengths and weaknesses of everything on the field. It is hard to feel your way around and learn because your mistakes are punished so quickly and harshly.

It is obvious to say the opponent are generally of a higher caliber – and they are – but it doesn’t feel as simple as just that. Sometimes the battles can seem less about what people do to win, and more about what mistakes people make to lose.

Currently I’m still playing a mix of ships – from Tier V to X.

The following sums up my World of Warships experiences in the lower tiers for the last week:

While holding our own on the West flank of the map, I noticed the East flank had collapsed and our base was open. I returned to help defend it – finding myself trying to use islands and angling against enemy ships shooting at me from both the North and the East, while also dodging Torpedo Salvos.

It was one of those battles where you keep close watch on where your enemies’ guns are pointed, what caliber they are, and when they last fired, and maneuver based on that. I managed to force a couple battleships to turn away, sink two cruisers, and have a third kill sniped at the last second.

While I made a couple mistakes with being too slow to change ammo types – and I missed one or two salvos I probably shouldn’t have, I was happy with how I played under pressure.

During this game I had someone on my team bagging me out in chat for how poorly I was playing. It is not all that often I am singled out for negative comment– but when it does happen, it is often when I am feeling like I am playing reasonably well. I guess the longer you tend to stay alive, the more you are likely to be singled out for their attention.

In this losing match I was also bagged out – for my choice of using a premium Marblehead when it was just a useless painted Omaha.

And another loss.

And another loss – yet again where I was criticised in chat. The Chapayev is paper thin when up against Tier X ships, so you have no choice but to use Islands for cover. I start most matches in this Cruiser by pushing up close behind our Destroyers, using Radar and the ships good guns to force off enemy Destroyers. If I live through that, I then must settle back into a more cautious game, burning Battleships from behind Islands and making life difficult for any enemy Destroyers trying to contest capture points. Here someone took umbrage to me running behind an island instead of derping into an open capture zone in front of three enemy Battleships.

And another loss.

And another loss.

I have more screen captures just like this – but you get the idea. I’ve been towards the top of the losers over and over. I feel like I am playing the mid-tier Cruisers more reasonably and reliably well – but still not well enough to carry a team.

The in-game chat is an odd thing.

You get the obligatory canned messages – such as good luck. It is also somewhat common for people to make tactical suggestions – although just as often as not, they are dubious. Occasionally someone will appropriately suggest team mates report an AFK player or call out some particularly bad play. Very rarely – maybe as little as once in every 400 or 500 battles, I will notice someone offer a critique that is of value.

If there is someone actively chatting, they tend to be slagging off. I like to take note of their names if they are particularly bad. I like to see where the game ranks them at the end of the battle. Often, they have died early without making any real positive contribution to the match. Funny that.

X

After more than 1,800 battles in World of Warships I finally got my first Tier X Ship – the Japanese Cruiser Zao.

As I have remarked before, I generally only use a Ship until I get its first win of the day, then I move on to a different ship. This approach has slowed down my climb up the Tiers – levelling most of the hulls at the same time.

(It is also one of several reasons why my win-rate is poor. The primary reason is I am not particularly good at the game – but my approach means I play the ships I am poorer in more often than the ships I contribute better in.)

I hit a real hole at Tier VIII.

This is the best I can hope for – a mix of Tier VIII, IX and X 

I find myself – far more often than not – stuck playing in Tier X battles.

At first glance Tier VIII, IX and X ships can look relatively similar, but there are some key differences that make being in a Tier VIII ship against a higher Tier very uncomfortable.

If I compare the Tier VIII Japanese Cruiser Mogami against the Tier IX Ibuki and Tier X Zao.

The Mogami had 39,100 HP, the Ibuki 39,000, and the X Zao has 40,800. It would appear they basically are the same – but the Tier IX and X ships both have Repair Party Consumables, meaning they have the chance to restore some of their damage. They also both have progressively lower and better protected Citadels. It doesn’t matter how I angle my Mogami, bow or stern on citadel strikes are as common as flank citadels.

All three Japanese Cruisers use 203mm Main batteries. Again, it appears they are basically the same – but the range increases once configured for each tier from 15.8, to 19.2, to 21.3 km. The Zao also has 12 barrels against 10 at Tier VIII and IX and does better damage. The much more fragile Mogami has to be much closer to do less damage than the Zao.

The Ibuki and Zao also have the important sixth Upgrade slot over the Mogami’s five.

The Mogami and Ibuki have 4×4 Torpedo launcher tubes, with a range of 10km. The Ibuki’s Torpedoes are a little faster and do a bit more damage. The Zao has 4×5 Torpedo launcher tubes which do a bit more damage again and have an option for fast 76 knot Torpedoes with an 8km range, or slower 67 Knot Torpedoes with a 12km range that can be fired from stealth.

The biggest difference however is that your Tier X opponent’s rain down either more shells, or bigger shells on you. The ability to survive some knocks is vital. The Tier X Battleships are particularly ruinous. One straddle from a Battleship Salvo and my Mogami was often left with a sliver of health – dead the next time I risked showing myself. The Ibuki in part, the Zao more so, are easier and more forgiving to play than the Mogami in Top Tier Battles.

It got so demoralising I resorted to playing Tier V matches. It ended up being quicker and more enjoyable to pay a proportion of the Tier IX and X upgrades with Free XP instead of grinding through them at level.

My next Tier X ship will likely be the French Cruiser Henri IV.  That is my Tier IX Saint-Louis above, in which I am a fair way into grinding the required XP for its upgrade.

A new record maybe

(Version 2 of this post)

It has been over five weeks since I had posted – possibly an inauspicious new record. I hadn’t noticed.

I’m still logging into EVE once a week or so but doing little other than playing the skin collecting game. I have on several occasions really wanted – needed – to be able to do some mindless mining. The reality is however you need to pay attention when mining now, and that defeats the purpose of using it to relax.

I noticed that someone has picked up the EVEMon project and moved it off the old API. I haven’t tried it – but it is available here if anyone wants to give it a go:

(Edit.. changed link from current version on GitHub to the EVE Forum post that gets updated to the latest version as it is released:)

https://forums.eveonline.com/t/evemon-4-0-7-beta-esi-edition/75953

I am sporadically playing World of Warships. I tend to play a ship until I win its first battle of the day – which gives an XP bonus, then move onto the next ship. A consequence of that is I tend to end up with a large collection of ship lines all at the same Tier. At the moment that tier is VIII. I have been stuck at this point for a very long time – generally only around half way to Tier IX. To make matters worse – I find myself in Tier X matches more often than not, and even when I play at my very best, I have very little impact on the finally result.

I am only getting to Dungeon and Dragon’s Online once a month or less. I am meant to have Wednesday Night off to play, but my wife scheduled an activity for my Daughter on that evening.

Most of my gaming now is a session or two a day of Hay Day and SimCity on the iPad.

The main reason for this lack of free time is that I spend the vast majority of my days and evenings as a taxi service for my two kids.

EVE – even if I could find something new and interesting to do – just can’t get a look in.

Time Flies out the door

Aside a couple sessions working on T3 fittings, I’ve spent very little time playing EVE over the last few weeks. I have been reading about the current and approaching wars, but it all tends to come across as the same old story, just a different day. The style of propaganda probably doesn’t help much there. I think the August release is arriving today. I looked at the patch notes but not much stood out. There is a new event starting called Lucky Clash, a new Standings UI, and some updates to the map and scanning interfaces I’ll have to look at. One nice change is that scan results no longer clear on session changes.

I have been playing a bit of World of Warships, and try to fit in a couple battles each day. I actually feel like I am playing ok – not brilliantly, but regularly being in the top 3 or 4 experience earners in my team. This is not however reflected in my stats. My win rate for the last 3 months is sitting at around 40% from 215+ battles. I know it shouldn’t matter, but it does. It doesn’t make it a particularly satisfying game.

I am sailing a lot of Tier VII and VIII Cruisers at the moment, and often find myself bottom tier up against Tier IX and X ships. The Battleships just chew through you – the majority of your strikes just shatter, but every time one of their shells land, boom, 30 to 40% of your hits are gone. It only takes one or two salvos and you are out of the game. I say the same thing over and over – but it pretty much sums up my experience.

Recently I resorted to running a few Tier III/IV matches, up against a generally lower level of player. I am finding I am normally effective, sometimes enough to carry a match. It was a confidence boost I needed. The above battle was particularly memorable with the Murmansk captain well and truly outclassing everyone. I am pretty sure he came out with around half his hit points still. I did a lot of spotting and had many torpedo hits in that game – being untimely robbed of several kills. I cemented the win by soloing a Battleship parked in one of the Capture points, and then choosing not to engage the Murmansk and focus on ensuring a strategic point win. I have seen a lot of games lost by players focused just on drawing blood. It is an easily exploited tactic used in EVE.

I am still doing a DDO Session every week or so with friends. They use the one night I join them to do loot runs, primarily in EPIC level quests. They all have characters with many reincarnations and highly optimised set ups and equipment. They run these quests solo, and in groups they move mindlessly at breakneck speeds. There is no such thing as stopping to smell the roses. Often, I spend the entire session running to catch up, struggling to even just target opponents before they are swiftly killed by the others. It doesn’t tend to be fun. I had to put aside all but one of my highest-level characters as they just fell too far behind. I am down to just using my original Cleric now, and while I often pull my weight in the kill count, it is just a handful of crowd control tactics used over and over and over again. I just don’t have the time – or the inclination – to spend the months required to partially catch up. The reality is I should stop playing.

Speaking of stopping, I’ve pretty much stopped playing all my iPad games – with just the occasional glance at them with weeks or months between. Interesting how none of them have really been able to hold my interest like EVE had.

All told my gaming time has dropped by more than 50% over the last year. I should have a bit of spare time on my hands, maybe to tackle something new. Real life however energetically vacuums any of that time up. Mostly it sees me taxiing kids around to their silly number of activities and events. I am struggling a bit with the lack of escapist downtime.

I have written various more personal blog entries that I never posted. I might throw one or two of them up for the other middle-aged gamers with kids to nodded their heads at and mumble yep.

WoWS – Numbers

In a recent World of Warships battle I found myself on the wrong side of the numbers game. My spawn location dictated what capture point I moved towards in my battleship, and I was joined by only three others, a Destroyer, a Cruiser and another Battleship. The remaining eight ships in our fleet went to another capture point. As our enemy showed themselves it became apparent our squad of four would be up against eight, and our squad of eight would be up against four. This sort of split is common, as is my ability to be on the wrong side of the numbers. I resigned myself to an unpleasant early demise.

I didn’t pay much thought to the rest of the fleet, instead concentrating on my closest allies as we began a fairly hectic battle. Our enemy kept passing behind large islands which afforded us cover from their shells and meant our return fire tended to be more focused on those fewer ships in the open. When I took a breath and looked up from my gun sights, our squad had captured the point with the loss of the Destroyer and Cruiser, sunk six of the enemy, and forced the remaining two into retreat.

I had a momentary thought that the battle was in the bag when I stopped to wonder at the status bar across the top of the screen. Our second squad of eight was down to one, having only sunk one ship in return. Our three remaining ships – two badly damaged, were spread out. The enemies five ships were all together, steaming through the capture points, and focusing fire.

I still had my unpleasant demise, it just took longer than expected.

If not on the wrong side of the numbers, I keep finding my Tier VI and VII Cruisers are ending up bottom tier in most of their battles, up against Tier VIII and IX. In one battle my poor La Galissonniere landed 50 main shell hits with her 152mm guns, and did a grand total of just over 500 points damage. Yes – I changed targets, where I was aiming, and shell type, but everything shattered or bounced against the primarily Tier IX opponents. The ship was put out of its misery by just two shell strikes, taking off 90% of its hit points.

In another battle I was impressed to see half our fleet were in the same division and obviously knew each other. They then proceeded to yolo troll the chat channel, shoot each other down to 1/2 health, then suicided themselves into the enemy.

I am still intrigued by the game, but the reoccurring theme over and over is just how random the battles seem to work out. I am just as likely to come out of a battle with a win when I am ineffective and sunk within minutes, as I am to lose a battle when I play a (rare) faultless game and do everything right.  I assume it plays a little nicer if you are top tier.

Show me the Money

I realised the other day that I have spent more on World of Warships in 7 months than I have spent in EVE in over 3 years.

Both games can be played for free. In EVE you are restricted to a relatively small subset of skills, ships and fittings on a free account. In WoWS I think you can basically do everything on a Free account that you can do on a Premium account, the only difference is the premium account earns 50% more XP and Credits.

The grind in WoWS is real, especially if you are silly like me and tend to train all Destroyer, Cruiser and Battleship trees for all Nations all at the same time. Premium makes sense.

A year of premium time in WoWS is around 20% cheaper than a year’s subscription in EVE, but I have never paid that full price. I picked up 7 or 8 months on specials with reasonable discounts, plus more recently another 12 months at 50% off.

I have purchased extra port slots in WoWS – also on reasonable specials. This was required as I train so many ship lines, plus I have a tendency to keep my favourite hulls even after I stop using them. I have however picked up enough free slots from containers and the like that I now actually have too many.

I have picked up extra reserve slots for Captains – again on special – and again I have since picked up enough free slots from containers and the like that I also have too many.

I have purchased Credits and Doubloons – again always on special. The Credits get used on Ship upgrades – freeing me up from some of the grind. The Doubloons have been used to purchase some permanent camouflage, but mostly they get used for converting earnt XP from Elite and Premium ships into Free XP.

I have purchased flags packages, again always on special, and primarily for those focused on standard and Captain XP boots.

I also purchased some of the Christmas containers.

Mostly however I have purchased Premium ships – yet again, always on special. Some of these are kind of pay to win – the Murmansk, Belfast and Scharnhorst are particularly effective. Most however tend to be harder to play than standard ships. They might have a party trick or two, but they require more skill than average to make the most of them. I have purchased more of these Premium ships than I had any need too as I simply like trying many of them out. I might also have been caught up on occasion by the collect-ability / rarity of some of these hulls that might only turn up once a year.

I wonder how much more money CCP would make selling special edition collectable ships for limited periods of time from its store, instead of just the skins. They would have to be balanced very carefully. Probably won’t be worth the player upheaval, but Wargaming has been able to extract a lot more of my money than CCP has been able to.

EVE and WoWS – Charge

The Total Net Worth indicator has been added to the EVE client:

https://forums.eveonline.com/default.aspx?g=posts&t=513617

I’m worth about 167B ISK apparently.

 

CCP have given an overview of how the Upwell Refineries / moon mining might work going forward.

https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/introducing-upwell-refineries/

There is plenty to like about it, but again, nothing really for solo players.  You can’t even Ninja mine the Moon chunk asteroid belts without the Refinery Owners getting a detailed log about what you were up to – or likely being able to shoot you in the Belt from the Refinery.

CCP did a second Structure blog which was more self-congratulatory than informative, but there were some statistics and a link to a survey worth looking at.

https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/the-advancing-world-of-upwell-structures/

 

Unless you are hiding under a rock, you would be aware PLEX changes are inbound.  I’m not going to talk about the mechanics, but I think it is a good idea to get rid of Aurum.  I’m not sure why CCP made so obvious miss steps in their initial Dev Blog.  The first and follow up Dev Blogs are below:

https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/plex-changes-on-the-way/

https://community.eveonline.com/news/dev-blogs/plex-rework-follow-up/

 

The CSM 12 elections are in full swing (or at least I assume they are).  This year I think my vote will have slightly more value in not being used, so I will be skipping it.  CCPs and the CSMs version of “all play styles” has been proven for many years now to be too limited in scope.

 

I haven’t looked at the new scanning UI changes – most of my MMO time has still been spent in World of Warships.  I continue my fascination / dislike of the game.  After finally reaching the heights of a sad 50% odd success rating I then lost something like 10 out of 12 battles.  This happened immediately after I purchased a year of premium time – sort of like karma laughing at me.  There were some obvious reasons for this – I was finding matches more difficult again as people came back from ranked battles, people adjusted their play to the new skill options, plus I moved into some new Tier VII ships and onto new maps I’ve never played before.  Despite my wining streak coming to an end, I am finding if I am not sunk in the very first push forward that I often rank towards the top in many of my battles.  I’ve found a particular liking for the US Tier VI Battleship New Mexico.  The tri-turrets seem to work better for how I aim, and it is so slow that it is more difficult to overextend.  Actually – by the time I reach battles it will often be at stalled flanks, and I’ve been able to push my side forward by moving past them in my own version of a charge.  The New Mexico can take a pounding and seems particularly deadly in closer combat.  I’m sure some of these lessons would help me in EVE PVP.