World of Warships Destroyer Tips and Tricks by Kabukikitsune
Yes, I play destroyers pretty much exclusively. I’m not the best at it, but I’m pretty good, so I thought I’d share a few tips and tricks I’ve learned. I’m debating a video series, but honestly I doubt you’d want to watch someone who only really plays destroyers.
First off, a quick tip on what nation to play. If you are relatively new to the game and seeking to play a destroyer, AVOID the Soviet line at all costs. Due to the short torpedo range, and punishingly bad guns at lower tiers, you will simply get frustrated pretty darned quickly. If, however, after playing through several games in other nations, you think you’d like a challenge, then by all means head up the Soviet line.
For this tip and trick system, we’ll only be considering two nations. IJN, and US.
IJN destroyers really don’t stand out in the gun department, even up in the higher tiers when they get quick turning and reloading dual mount guns. For IJN, it’s all about the torpedoes. From the earliest tiers you have 6 and 7km ranges, relatively high speed, and a good damage potential.
US destroyers are stellar in the gun department, but their torpedo ranges suffer. 5km ranges are average, until higher tiers where you get up to 8 (with 10 being the longest I believe.) Your torpedoes are notably slower than IJN torpedoes, and do less damage. However up to tier V, you have more of them, just located in wing mounts as opposed to center line like IJN torpedoes.
Tip 1: Know your detection range, and exploit it.
The average detection range of a destroyer, without modifications or captain skills, is in the 6.0 to 6.5 km range. Meaning that if you’re 8km away from an enemy ship such as a cruiser, you can see him, but he can’t see you. This is very useful for planning your next course of action, as well as taking a breather from a battle. If you’re acting in the “screen” (basically scout) role for the team, then you want to keep yourself 1 to 1.5 km beyond your typical detection range. With this you should be able to keep tabs on the enemy fleet, without drawing fire to yourself.
Tip 2: Stagger fire your torpedoes for maximum effect.
Stagger fire is basically sequential firing, however it’s done in such a way to make your torpedoes take several angles to the target. For example, if you fire all three tubes (centerline IJN) at a target as soon as you have it sighted, then those torpedoes will all pretty much go the same way. Meaning that if the enemy can dodge one spread, they’ll likely dodge all of them.
To stagger your torpedoes, it will depend entirely on the ship type you’re fighting, but a good average is to put two seconds between each shot. This means that some of your torpedoes will be coming in at an angle, and in a perfect situation due to the way torpedoes spread to begin with, you create the dreaded X pattern where you have torps coming in at opposite angles. This X pattern is nearly impossible to avoid, which is why it’s so effective.
Tip 3: The closer you fire, the harder the torpedoes are to avoid.
Sure, while it’s possible for some ships (especially those at high tiers) to have torpedoes with a 10+ km range, firing at this long distance isn’t really effective. Travel time for your torpedoes is important, and you must always keep in mind that while yes, you CAN reach out and touch someone at a great distance, this really isn’t advisable. Many things can change during the time from which you fire the torpedoes, to the point they reach where the enemy ship is. The ship can turn, stop, or slow down. Meaning that your torpedoes will likely miss. What’s more, the further out you fire your torpedoes, the higher the chance that a friendly ship will blunder into your spread. Like it or not, regardless of how it happens, it’s always going to be your fault, since it was your decision to fire, and not an automatic system like with secondary guns.
Due to this, it’s advisable to, regardless of what your maximum range is, to fire your torpedoes closer. While there is no set range to say what distance is best, I’ve found that 5km seems to be a good round number. This also takes into account enemy ships taking evasive maneuvers, as well as other ships not directly targeted. Keep in mind, if you miss after firing at 5km with a 7km torpedo range, your torpedoes will still travel 2km beyond where you fired. So you might miss a cruiser you were targeting, but still manage to get a hit on a battleship which was behind the cruiser.
Tip 4: Avoid firing your guns, except when absolutely needed.
This one seems to go at odds to US destroyers, which have longer ranges with their guns, but the fact remains that every time you fire your guns, your detection range spikes. So, while you might be 8km away from a target and invisible to them at that time, upon firing your guns (or your AA for that matter) you will suddenly light up and appear. Each time you fire your guns, you lose any and all detection modifiers, and become a prime target. Remember, as a destroyer, you can single handedly take down even the largest battleships. You are marked from the moment people see you in the game, and they WILL be hunting for you. The longer you can remain undetected, the more damage potential you hold.
The only time you really should even bother with your guns, is if you’re already detected by surface ships. From that point, until you break detection, you’re really not hurting yourself any to plink away. Granted, your 5 inch guns aren’t going to do much overall damage to anything other than another destroyer, but your HE can start fires, and may be enough to cause a larger ship to seek a less annoying target.
Tip 5: There is nothing wrong in drawing fire. Sometimes, its the best thing you can do.
Now, I know I’ve said you really shouldn’t fire your guns unless you are already detected. However there is actually an exception to that rule. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in a situation where “big baddies” are making life hard on your team. Maybe it’s a cruiser that’s firing on your carrier, or a battleship that’s got a running battle going with friendlies. At this point, if you fire on the enemy and become detected, two things are going to happen. First, the enemy will quickly realize that they’ve got a threat nearby, and second, everyone with a brain will realize just how much trouble you potentially can cause; and thus they’ll want to be rid of you as fast as possible.
Every case is different here, but what usually happens is one or more of the enemy ships will suddenly target you. This is actually a good thing, since it means they’re no longer firing on your friendly ships, and in the case of battleships with their long reload, they make themselves sitting ducks for any fire that comes their way. While you might not survive such an engagement, you will draw heat off your allied ships, and they will thank you for it. Not verbally, but it will be appreciated.
Tip 6: TURN OFF YOUR AA.
Look, this can’t be stressed enough. Most DD’s are invisible to enemy air until the planes are within 3km of the ship. You’re not going to be clearing the sky with a destroyer, so recognize this and adapt. Just like the problem with firing your guns, when your AA opens up, you WILL be detected. Save yourself a good deal of headache and just push P at the start of battle. Besides, you’re not going to shoot anything down to begin with.
Tip 7: When you drop your smoke, cut your speed by half.
Ever notice that when moving at flank (full) speed, and you use your smoke, that you keep popping up as detected? Well the reason is you’re simply outrunning the smoke screen. The moment you drop smoke, if you cut your speed to half, this won’t happen. Furthermore, you can turn (ideally away from the enemy) and stay within your own smoke screen.
Tip 8: To turn faster, slow down.
This one isn’t widely known, and actually applies to all ships. In short, you have a tighter turning radius at half speed, as opposed to flank speed. The ships turn quicker, and more precise. So, if you need to suddenly avoid a spread of incoming torpedoes from that Japanese cruiser you just made mad, it’s easier to do so if you slow down and turn into the torpedoes, as opposed to away from them. If you time it right, it’s even possible to serpentine your way through the torpedoes, and avoid all the damage (while at the same time scaring the pants off anyone firing on you.)
Tip 9: Don’t blow your repair on your guns.
One of the simple facts of life when playing a destroyer, is at some point you WILL get hit. It is very rare that a hit will not do damage, with your guns likely being damaged at some point in time. Even with US destroyers, where the emphasis is on the guns, but also to a lesser extent on IJN destroyers, it’s tempting to quickly hit the damage control parties cool down the moment you see your gun go out. However, nine times out of ten, by doing this you will inadvertently cripple yourself, since if another shot hits you and sets you on fire, knocks out your engine, or steering, or takes out all of your torpedoes; you are screwed. You have to sit there and deal with whatever it is, until such time as your damage control is back up. In all probability, you WILL die from this. Ultimately, it’s just not worth it.
Instead, save the repair ability for major crippling things like Fire, Flooding, steering, or engines. Even if your torpedoes are hit, always remember that you still have other tubes, and it’s highly unlikely that one shot will take all of them out in a single go.
Tip 10: Speed boost should be used sparingly, to get you out of sticky situations.
One of the common things you will see in battle, is people using their engine boost (speed boost) at the start of a battle to quickly rush in and capture a point. While on the surface this seems to be a good idea, it means that the destroyer wastes something which they very likely will need later in the battle. Rather, the more experienced players will save that speed boost for a time when they need to quickly get out of whatever trouble they’ve found themselves in. For example, if the destroyer has taken torpedo damage from a ship they were targeting, or has managed to stumble right into the firing arc of several cruisers. Using the boost then, the destroyer can quickly get itself out of trouble, as long as the destroyer captain isn’t stupid and doesn’t think they can take on the world and come out on top. In short, when playing a destroyer, remember that discretion is the better part of valor, and there is no shame in running from a fight.Other World of Warships Articles
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