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  1. Since I've been pestered by many people in World of Tanks to do a review of World of Warships, here it is. However, due to the unique way that Wargaming is run (does his best Jeremy Clarkson impersonation), I am not allowed to post this in the World of Tanks forum. That being said, it did have 21k players on the second day of its opening (on the Asia server alone). Where do I start? What you know about World of Tanks, throw it all out the window. World of Warships comprises of 4 classes (so far): Destroyer (DD), Cruiser (CA, or CL), Battleship (BB) and Aircraft Carrier (CV). The destroyers have access to torpedoes, and speed, but no armour. The battleships are hulking masses; heavily armoured, heavily armed, packing firepower that would still shock and awe in this day and age. Cruisers are a mix between DDs and BBs (multi-purpose; can do anything to anything). Some cruisers may even contain torpedoes (mostly Japanese, but I digress). In case you missed it, here is the trailer: One thing to take away from the trailer is that it likes to play up the fact that ship-to-ship interactions are basically a rock-paper-scissors (lizard Spock?) relationship: Note that this is not an ironclad rule; this is merely a guideline. Do not, for instance, be surprised if a destroyer manages to kill your cruiser. One of the key things about WoT was that if you want to win, you need to destroy the enemy that are in the way of your win. To destroy the enemy, you have to do damage. This has not changed much in World of Warships. You do this by either cannons or torpedoes. Torpedoes are fairly self-explanatory. The cannons are basically artillery pieces (which makes us all arty fa...cigarettes), but the feel is very different compared to World of Tanks. The amount of lag in the form of shell travel time is much greater than anything experienced in World of Tanks, and a player has to learn and master gunnery in order to do damage. Do you want to win? Do you know that little aspect called teamwork that you ignored in WoT? Embrace it. Teamwork is much more integral compared to WoT in this game. The DPS style of play in WoT? Forget it. Lone wolves will be punished for it, very severely. A symbiotic relationship exists between the ship classes; battleships are vulnerable to aircraft (owing to lousy AA systems). Cruisers have good AA systems, and can form a protective screen for the battleship to protect it from enemy aircraft. That is one of several symbioses that are present in the game. Simply put, always stay together. No matter what. If everyone is going one way, go with them. Otherwise, you could will end up like this poor fellow. Personally, I like World of Warships. It is a great game, slower than World of Tanks and very much more teamwork-oriented. It is a welcome and refreshing change to World of Tanks, and brings out the engineering geek in me. Right now, the newbies are out in force; that is to be expected considering that it was just opened to the public. This allows for a lot of easy grinding and easy kills, but once the community figures out how to play, it should be great!
  2. Since I have been bugged about this more times than I care to remember about this very topic, I’m going to now reveal what it is that sets the ones who win more often than they lose apart from the ones who do not: influence; how, when and where to wield it to give you the victory in a game. What is this influence that I am talking about? It is, basically, the ability to control a game, dictating the tempo and thus giving your team (and you) the victory. The strategy of such a philosophy is to get the match to a stage that favours your team and keep it there until a decisive advantage can be exploited, giving you the victory. This means getting your team to timings where they can win, and keeping your enemy away from timings where they can win. Examples include getting your opponents to fight when they don't want to, slowing down their advance by forcing them to take the long way around, applying your firepower at a vulnerable position in the enemy’s line, and so on. People have heard this term being used many times in different games, across different genres: Magic: The Gathering, Defence of the Ancients, League of Legends, football. The list goes on. World of Warships and World of Tanks, perhaps due to their core nature of being team games, is to a surprising degree a game about timings. Every ship has an ability to shape the tempo of the match, although not every ship can affect every part of the game equally. It is convenient, even simplistic, to think of just damage being what this influence is. This is understandable; after all, if your team can destroy the enemy team faster than they can, you curtail the enemy’s ability to influence the game and win, thus increasing your own chances to win. However, such slogging matches rarely end up being decisive victories. Set-piece battles require tactics to succeed, something that is generally up to the individual player instead of the team as a whole, and perhaps is not necessarily the best and most efficient way to win a game. What most people do not realise, however, is that damage is not the be-all-and-end-all. Just because you did 100,000 points in damage to the enemy does not mean that you will win. What matters more, in my opinion, is movement and decisiveness. The ability to identify and strike at the critical point in the battlefield is indispensable. Sometimes, this requires you to not do damage and instead requires you to move, stealthily, to a flanking position for you to pump shells into the sides of the enemy. This means, perhaps, stealth-capturing the enemy’s base. The list goes on. Most players do not have this ability, missing their timing and will never have the effect on the game that they could have had. Games where, had the player just done X instead of Y, or if the player had not missed that one shot, the outcome would have been different. Good players making good decisions come out on the right side of those situations more often than bad players making bad ones. The very best players are able to take this and transmute it into an art; players like Trumz on World of Tanks, who are able to read the game effortlessly and know when and where to apply themselves to win them the game to such a high level that it is breathtaking to watch them in action. Players who are able to see the situation, determine where the enemy is weakest, get themselves there and smash the critical point in the enemy's line. As a guideline, battleships and carriers wield the greatest influence early-game with their ability to destroy enemy ships in one fell swoop if used properly. Mid-game, when the sides have committed and are busily slugging it out, cruisers, with their balanced package of firepower, speed and manoeuvrability, wield the greatest influence. Destroyers are late-game specialists with their concealment abilities if they last long enough to get to that stage. Note, though, that this is not a rule: there are players out there who are equally adept at reading the game and applying themselves in stage in the game, and as such transcend such guidelines, be it defensive or offensive, regardless of the ship class that they are playing, just as there are players who do not have the insight to see this. I would like to end the article with this: dictating the tempo is something that is open to manipulation. The various timings at play in a particular game is an extremely rich framework with which to understand what is going on and why one team is winning and the other losing and how likely (or unlikely) this is going to change. Keen players will probably have the easiest time of understanding what to do, although I use the term "easiest" very sparingly. Not every player has the mentality to do it, but it can at least be taught so that it can be manipulated and wielded to a competent degree. What is for certain, though, is that the player who unloaded the most, who dealt damage, who got the most kills is not necessarily going to emerge victorious.