World of Warships Beginner’s Guide

World of Warships Beginner’s Guide by Dirty_Deeds

First Encounter

When you log in to WoWS for the first time, you might find yourself in a tutorial battle with your new Erie class cruiser.  Called “First Encounter”, this tutorial will walk you through killing your first destroyer, then a cruiser, then capturing a base, then dealing with two ships under motion and finally facing the big boy of them all, the battleship. Just relax and enjoy the introduction.  It’s almost impossible to die so play with the controls, read the on screen prompts and learn a bit about your new game.


This is the central location when you are not in battle. On the Port screen, you will see all the ships you currently own at the bottom. On the top of the Port screen you will have the following options (left to right)

  • Options screen (to access game options, select servers and exit a game)
  • Player Menu  (Here you will find your profile page with service history, summary page and medals of achievement)
  • Server Name
  • Server Population
  • Create Division (Allows you to form tactical units with 1 or 2 other players)
  • Battle (Press to enter a queue for the next battle)
  • Game Mode (Select the type of game mode you wish)
  • Doubloons Balance (AKA “Gold” – used to buy Premium time, convert combat XP to FreeXP, demount modules and train captains) Below is the option to purchase Doubloons
  • Credit Balance (The in game currency to purchase ships and modules) Below is the Exchange Credits option (coverts Doubloons into Credits)
  • FreeXP balance (which can be used on any vehicle) Below is the convert FreeXP option (Use Doubloons to convert combat XP into FreeXP)

On the right side of the screen you will have the summary of your currently selected ship, showing the name, tier and type of ship, the ship XP and a breakdown of the various aspects from that ship.  Also, when you reach the proper account level, you can access the Captain Skills page here as well.

TIP:  When in Port, you can expand the summary items on the right and have the camera move to each item you want by clicking the little camera icon. For example, want to see where the secondary guns are on your ship?  Click the icon beside their name and the camera will zoom into the closest battery. Click it again to go to each of the separate locations they are located.  At this time, this function is only working in the Port screen.

Account Levels

When you first start the game, you will only be able to access Co-op games which are battles where a group of human players fight against a group of AI Bots controlled by the server.  As you gain combat XP, you will start to unlock higher Account Levels and that will open up more options for you to use.

Currently there are 8 account levels.

  • 1. Allows player to fight in Co-Op battles (PvE)
  • 2. Allows players to access Random Battles (PvP) and a 25,000 credit bonus
  • 3. Unlocks Daily Missions
  • 4. Unlocks the use of Free Experience and a 3000 freeXP bonus
  • 5. Unlocks Ship Commanders Training and 50,000 credit bonus
  • 6. Unlocks Upgrades for your ships and a 75,000 credit bonus
  • 7. Unlocks Signals and 1 day of Premium Time bonus.
  • 8. Unlocks Camouflages and 2,000,000 credit bonus.

TIP: When playing Co-Op, you will earn less XP and Credits then a regular PvP game.  I highly recommend that new players spend time in Co-Op with all their new ships until they gain basic skills and feel comfortable in full out PvP battle.

Researching and Advancement

In addition to the Account Levels above, you also have a standard Tech Tree of ships that you need to gain experience on to research new ships and modules and advance through the tiers of each Nation you decide to play.

When you have a ship selected, click your Modules tab and you will find the main interface for researching upgraded modules and new ships.  To advance to the next tier of the current class of ship you have selected, you will need to earn XP in battles and then spend them on either modules or new ships via this menu. First you research the module with XP, then you buy it with credits and mount it on your ship. When you mouse over the different modules available, you can see what effect they have on your ship and some modules are mandatory to upgrade before you can go to the next tier ship.  If you don’t have enough normal combat XP for a module, you might still be able to buy it using freeXP.  The game will always use regular XP first and only draw on your freeXP if you don’t have enough regular XP.

TIP: When you research and purchase a new module, the old module will go into your depot.  Some modules can be reused on new ship types.  Also, on Carriers, your modules control what type of aircraft you are using so you have to select which module you want before each battle.

TIP: Each day and during special events, the amount of XP you earn for your first win in each ship will be higher by a set amount.  Often referred to as the “Daily Double” this amount of XP bonus may be anywhere from 1.5X to as high as 5X the normal XP and is a good way to accelerate your advance through the tech trees.  You can see if there is a bonus active by looking at the lower left corner of your ship Icon while in port.


At Account Level 6 you unlock the ability to purchase upgrades for your ships.  You can find the upgrades under the Modules tab.  The amount of upgrades you can purchase depends on the tier of the ship and they can be purchased for credits and then mounted on the desired ship.  The higher tier upgrades can be quite expensive.  For example a tier 1 upgrade only costs 125,000 credits while a tier 10 upgrade costs 3,000,000 credits!  When you sell your ship, you have the option of demounting the upgrade for Doubloons, making it available for use on another ship later or you can sell the module at 50% of it’s purchase price. Using gold doubloons may be more economical in the long run as the cost in doubloons to remove a module is currently set at 25,  no matter what tier.  That is much cheaper then buying credits using the Exchange Credits feature currently.


At Account Level 7 you unlock the use of Signals which are consumables in the form of a banner you can fly on your ship masts.  Signals last for one battle and you can load up to 8 different ones at a time.  They are similar to the consumables in World of tanks like Coffee and Chocolate however, at this time, there is no way to buy these Signals.  Instead you earn them in battles when you get Achievements like First Strike or Dreadnaught. However, you can only earn Signals once every 24 hours per Achievement. So while you can get Achievements multiple times in a day (even in a match) you will only “win” the Signal Flags once for that 24 hour period.  There is an Auto-Resupply option that if you click to enable, will automatically apply the chosen Signals for each match, as long as you still have some available.

To use Signals, select the Exterior tab on your Port screen and then chose the ones you want.


At account level 8, you unlock the ability to apply camouflage to your ships.  It can be accessed from the EXTERIOR tab after you reach level 8. Camouflage is a consumable that you can purchase for credits and must be reapplied after each battle.  Use the Auto-Resupply function if you want this to happen automatically.  Currently there are only two types of camo for each ship, a 12,000 credit version that gives you -4% to enemy accuracy when they fire on you and an 8,000 credit version that gives you -3% to your detectability. Based on other WG titles, i suspect that we will eventually buy permanent camo for Doubloons.

Battle Types

There’s three basic types of battles currently in WoWS but this may change as the game develops.  In each type there are circular zones marked on the map and in the water with buoys that are called capture zones.  To “capture” these zones, you need to move your ship inside the circle.  That will start a capture that takes a variable time depending on the ratio of ships in the circle.  You need to have more ships of your team to capture.  For example – if there’s one of each team in the area, nothing will happen. However, if 2 players of one team are there and only one defender, then the capture will slowly advance.  Damaging a ship in the capture zone will also “roll back” the capture a small amount.


Each team has a single capture area. Green is yours and red is the enemies.   You can win this map by either capturing their area or killing all their ships. Of course, you need to defend your own area from capture as well.


There will be several neutral capture areas between the two teams.  This can be anywhere from 3 to 5 different zones and the goal is to capture and hold more zones then the enemy.   Every 4 seconds, each team will get points for each zone they either hold or have in transition.  Killing enemy ships will also take points away from their total and add points to your total. You can win this type of battle in any one of three ways… either kill all the enemy ships, get to 1000 points or decrease the enemy points to 0. This is important to know since you can win very quick by just capturing a couple of zones and killing a few ships.


In this mode, there is a single large capture area that either team can capture.  Like a standard battle, you win by either making a full capture or killing all of the other team.

TIP:  All game modes have time limits and if you fail to achieve a win before the timer runs out, then you end up in a draw which basically means both teams have lost.  As well, domination battles can be over very quick if one team doesn’t try and take as many zones as they can right at the beginning.  Work together and be aggressive on those type of maps!

TIP:  The speed at which you can capture a zone will only be increased by two ships.  Any more then two ships will not increase the speed at all, but everyone in a zone will still accumulate capture points (Standard and Encounter modes only)

Ship Types


The Cruiser is the workhorse of the navy.  They do almost all jobs well while not being overpowering in any one thing.  They are fast but have some armor.  They have good main guns but not as many as a battleship.  They provide excellent anti-aircraft fire for battleships and carriers and some of them even have their own torpedoes.

The destroyer is the hunter of your navy.  Able to sink any ship in the game with torpedoes, it relies on it’s superior speed and stealth to stay alive as it is lightly armored.  A destroyer can quickly move into position, then deploy smoke to hide it’s position and unleash a devastating salvo of torpedoes upon the enemy.  It takes a skilled player to use this ship effectively and also stay alive long.  It’s also the most effective ship you have for making captures.


Do you like playing artillery in World of Tanks?  Then the carrier might just be for you.  A carrier can deploy squadrons of aircraft that can travel anywhere on the map and either engage other enemy fighters or attack ships with torpedoes and bombs. A good carrier captain can control the air over his teams ships and it takes a lot of skill to both control your ship as well as manage several squadrons of aircraft.


The BIG ship.  This is the punisher that can destroy a lesser ship in a single salvo of it’s massive guns or pound the enemy from dozens of km’s away. Massively armored to survive intense battles, this ship requires careful thought and actions as the guns have a long reload time and the turrets rotate very slowly.  They work best when together with a cruiser or two to provide AA support and defense against fast moving destroyers.

TIP: If you are new to ships, you may be confused to see in chat people using terms like “DD” or “BB”.  What they are referring to is the code that the US Navy developed to classify different ship types so they don’t have to write out the full name all the time.  You can read up on the Hull Classification System… HERE  In WoWs, there are just four simple codes – CA for Cruiser Armored, DD for Destroyer, CV for Fleet Aircraft Carrier and BB for Battleship

Basic Controls

When you finally get into your first battle, do not panic if you can’t remember everything.  Hit F1 and you can bring up the command screen that shows you everything you need to know about your new toy.

Now lets take a look at the basic Battle Screen.

Starting at the top, you have frame rate and ping information on the left.  In the middle is a pictorial representation of your two teams with colored icons representing the various ships.  Green is your team, red the enemy team.  On the right is the match time clock.  On each side of the screen are the team lists. In the center is your aiming reticule.  On the bottom left is the chat window and below that is your ship display showing health, damage, compass direction, gun and torpedo launcher positions, engine speeds and the auto-pilot icon.  In the bottom middle is your main battle options for the type of ship you have.  Cruisers generally only have 2 ammo types for the guns and a repair function.  Right above that is the status indicators for each individual gun.  When a gun is ready to fire it will be full green.  On the bottom right, you have the mini-map.

You control your ship movement with the WASD keys like most games.  W will increase engine power forward and Swill decrease it to STOP then into full reverse.  Remember, these are ships and not tanks.  Everything takes time and the bigger you are, the slower you will make changes.  A and D will move your rudder left and right respectively while you hold them and the keys Q and E will lock them in those directions if you want to stay in a turn while doing something else.

Hotkeys are as follows:

  • 1. Main Battery HE shells*
  • 2. Main Battery AP shells*
  • 3. Torpedoes (if equipped)
  • 4-9. reserved for Carrier squadrons
  • R.  Activate repair crew.
  • T. Is either Smoke in destroyers, scout/fighter aircraft for some cruisers and battleships, Hydroacoustic Search or repair ship health for your battleship.
  • Y. Is Boost Speed for Destroyers or on Battleships where T is already in use, then Y will repair the ship’s health.

*NOTE: on Carriers, there are no controllable guns so the 1 key selects the ship and keys 2-9 are for the various squadrons

There’s other more advanced controls but these are the basics and all you need to get started.  Look through the Controls options in the Settings menus for a look at all commands and to change the key bindings if you like.

TIP:  Some controls are not listed in any official documentation (like the option to designate a target) so be sure to look through the Controls part of the Settings to see what is available to use.

Tactical Map

When in battle, hitting the “M” key will bring up a tactical map.  Your ship will be in white and clicking anywhere on the map with the LMB will set a way-point and activate the autopilot.  Then using SHIFT-LMB, you can add successive way-points up to a total of 5.  Very handy on large maps with slow ships and for Carriers where you have to pay attention to the aircraft squads.  Just remember that the ship may not follow the path exactly as it still needs time to accelerate and decelerate and doesn’t turn on a dime. You can use the A and S keys to accelerate or decelerate while in autopilot but moving your at any time will cancel the autopilot.

Aiming your Guns

This game uses true ballistic trajectories for your main guns.  That means that the further away an enemy ship is, the longer a shell will take to travel to them and the higher an arc it will go.  So to aim properly, you need to “lead” targets that are moving and anticipate to an extent which direction they will turn.  Hitting the SHIFT key will bring up binocular mode and then using the MOUSE WHEEL will allow you to zoom in and out to assist firing. Use the HUD display markers and as you get more experienced, you will start to intuitively know where to aim to hit a moving target several km’s away.

For example, in the screen shot below, I am firing on a cruiser that is 8.2 km away and moving Northwest.  As you can see, I am leading him about 1 ship length and I also raised the gun up from the waterline to about his middle, since he is traveling away from me on a NW heading.

Click LMB once to fire only one battery at a time, Double-Click LMB to fire all your batteries or hold LMB down to fire all batteries in succession. Also, to change ammo types, hit the selection twice and you will reload.

Alternate Battle Interface (ALT key)

Hitting the ALT key when you are in battle will display a lot more detailed information such as distances to other ships, the distance to your cursor and the shell travel times to the point you are aiming. Learn how to use this information to make very accurate calculations on how to lead your targets and hit them more often.

TIP: Use the CTRL button and then LMB click on a target to make it the priority for your secondary armament and/or AA. (planes or ships)

TIP: When you want maximum effect from a battleship, direct all main turrets to one side of the ship and fire a salvo in unison upon a single target.  This requires you to orientate the ship with the side towards the enemy and is called “broadsiding”.

TIP: Just because there’s an island between you and your target doesn’t mean you can’t hit him. Try this… lock onto his ship with “X” then in binocular mode, try zooming in with your mousewheel and if the trajectory of your shells is high enough to go over the island, then your camera will move forward and up so you can see the enemy ship and be able to adjust your aim. Even if you can’t get a good view, your shells may still be able to arc over the island and hit them. Just make sure they are selected as your target.

Using Torpedoes

At tier II you get to try your first destroyers.  Destroyers also have small main guns and they operate exactly the same as above but the real weapon of this ship is, of course, it’s torpedoes.

The first thing you have to know is the configuration of your torpedo launchers.  Some destroyers have launchers that can rotate and fire on either side of the ship while others have banks on port and starboard that can only fire in arc on that side.  This is important to know because you have to be aware of the need to wait for a full reload or the possibility of firing all torps on one side then swinging your ship around and firing the torps on the other side.

Selecting “3” will switch you to torpedo mode and you will see a green arc showing on both sides of your ship.  This is the permissible area of use for your torpedoes and it’s usually limited to the sides of your ship so you have to turn to be able to fire on the enemy.  Notice also that the green band will have a line close to the ship which shows the minimum distance for a torpedo to arm so you can’t just fire right into a ship that is basically bumping hulls with you.

Once you’ve selected torpedoes, you then have to target the enemy you wish to kill.  Normally, the targeting system will select the target you look at but if it’s crazy and you are maneuvering all over, you can mouse over the enemy ship and hit X to lock target on them.  Your launch cone is a smaller band that is either green (ready to fire) or yellow (still loading) and shows where your torpedoes will go.  Hitting the 3 key will change the width of this cone to either concentrate all torps in a narrow band or spread them out. This is called the spread.  Very handy if you need to blast a close enemy with all torps or send a salvo off to discourage ships from entering a certain area of ocean you are defending.

The other thing that comes up when you target an enemy with X is a grey targeting cone similar to the launch one.  This is very important because it is the suggested area to aim your torpedoes based on the targeting computer.  So what that means is, that you need to try and line up your green firing cone on the grey one until they overlap then fire your torpedoes.  If the enemy ship makes no adjustments to their speed or heading after you fire, then it’s pretty much a guaranteed hit. Of course, we know they will be dodging so you have to anticipate which way they may turn and lead or lag the torps as needed.  One really good tactic if you have multiple firing launchers is to send a spread just forward and another spread just behind the grey arc to cover the enemy going in either direction.  As you gain experience, you will intuitively know where to set the cones for maximum effect and accuracy.


One extra bonus destroyers get is the ability to lay down a smoke screen to hide themselves and their allies from enemy detection.  Use the “T” key to start a smoke screen while you circle an area of ocean and you will create a dense fog of smoke where you can remain hidden while firing torps out of. It is also very useful to help you escape once you are detected.

TIP: Turn off your anti-aircraft defenses using the “P” key when you are trying to hide in smoke to help keep you from revealing your location.

TIP: When hunting a sub that has hidden in a smoke screen, use the Hydroacoustic search ability which, for a short time, will boost the range that you can detect ships and torpedoes, even when hidden by smoke.

Aircraft Carriers

Aircraft Carriers are almost a game within a game since you have to manage not only your own ship but also several squadrons of aircraft that can attack anywhere on the map. It’s a fairly complicated class to play and you won’t be able to get your first one until tier 4 so I won’t be covering them in this beginner’s guide.

I recommend reading How to Carrier by Carrier_Furious

Essential Game Skills

Dealing with damage

When you take enemy fire, you can have several things happen.  You might just lose health in the form of HP’s which are indicated by the green on your ship’s icon or you can take damage to various modules on your ship and even catch fire or start to flood.  All of these situations are bad but you do have a means to fight them.

All ships have a repair crew which are activated by using the “R” key.  When activated, repair crews will repair any damage modules, put out any fire or stop any flooding that is happening when you activate them.  They will not recover HP’s though… only stop the damage from continuing.  After they have been used, there is a cool down period before you can use them again, so it’s very important that you use them wisely.  The cool down period can be reduced with certain captain skills and also some consumables such as Signals.  As well, when you have an active emergency, you can hit the “ALT” key and over top the damage icon at the bottom of the screen you will see the time remaining before that damage fixes itself.  For example, in the pic below, the propulsion system will be offline for 1:56 more and the fire will burn for another 53 seconds.  This is important to know when deciding if you need to use your repair crew.

Battleships also get a bonus feature where they can actually repair damage to their ships and recover some HP’s.  This option is usually controlled with the “T” or “Y” key.  It can only be used a set number of times though and has a long cool down period.  And like the repair crew, the cool down can also be shortened with captain skills and signals.

TIP: Sometimes it’s wiser to wait before you use your Repair Crew.  For example, if you get a fire on board but there’s still enemy fire coming at you, then it might be better to wait and lose a few HP to the fire until you know you won’t take anymore serious damage from the rest of the enemy stuff coming at you.  It really sucks when you just repair then the very next shot takes out your rudder and you are dead in the water for a full minute or more waiting for the refresh to happen.

Avoiding Torpedoes

When there are torpedoes coming near your ship, you will start to hear a pinging noise.  When you hear this, immediately look around until you spot them. Enemy torps will have red icons above them while team torps will have white icons.  Either ones can sink you so always be aware!  The best way to avoid torpedo hits is to either turn into the torps or turn away from them and let them pass harmlessly by on either side of you. For enemy torpedo bombers, always try and turn into them as they approach you and before they drop their torpedoes.


As you gain tiers you will eventually start facing the dreaded carrier in your matches.  These ships can launch fighter, torpedo bombers or dive bombers and you need to be constantly aware of the map and where these aircraft are flying.  Fighters are no danger to ships but they can be used to spot you for the enemy and your AA defenses are put to good use if you can get under them close enough.  Dive bombers drop a spread of bombs in an oval pattern and the best defense against them is to zig zag as they approach.  Often times, they will miss with several of their bombs,  They don’t do a lot of damage but they can start annoying and dangerous fires.  Torpedo bombers are the greatest threat to your ships.  When you see them approaching, the best tactic is to turn into their approach which gives you the best chance of dodging the spread.  Of course skilled CV drivers will come at you from two different directions and it takes a lot of skill to position your ship to avoid them.  And don’t forget you little scout planes.  Many cruisers and battleships get a scout later in the game and when you launch them they will randomly maneuver around the map and spot any enemies within their viewing range as well as increase the range that you can target and hit enemy ships.

Commander Skills

Upon reaching Account Level 5, you unlock the ability to select, move around and train your individual Captains with special skills that enhance your battle performance.  Similar to the crew training in World of Tanks but, as of right now, limited only for the Captain of each ship. The Commander Skills page appears on the ship summary in the upper right hand side of the Port screen after you have reached level 5. Click on it to open the full skills tree.  It is here that you can assign commanders to new ships, recruit new commanders, dismiss ones you don’t want to keep and also send them to the reserves which is like the Barracks in World of Tanks.

There are 23 new skills that cover 5 main categories (Artillery, Secondary Armament, Ship Survivability, Concealment and Acquisition, Aircraft and Special Skills) and five point tiers.  As you go up in tiers, the experience cost for each new skill becomes higher and higher.  For example, the 9th skill point costs 25,000xp and the 10th jumps to 37,000xp so be careful which skills you choose.  If you find that you want to change your skills down the road, there is an option to reassign them for a price in gold doubloons, depending on how many skill points you have currently.


Expert Loader (1 point)

-30% reload time when shell type is switch

Aiming Expert (2 points)

+2.5 deg/sec to aiming speed of guns with caliber of up to 155mm

+0.7 deg/sec to aiming speed of guns with caliber above 155mm

Demolition Expert (4 points)

+3% chance of a fire on target caused by a shell or a bomb

Last Chance (5 points)

-9% to reload time of all armament if ship’s HP is less then 20%

Secondary Armament:

Basic Firing Training (1 point)

-10% to reload time of guns with caliber of up to 155mm

+10% to AA efficiency

Torpedo Armament Expertise (2 points)

-10% to reloading of torpedo tubes

-10% to servicing of torpedo bombers

Advanced Firing Training (4 points)

+20% to firing range of guns with caliber up to 155mm

+20% to AA defense firing range

Ship Survivability:

Basics of Survivability (1 point)

-15% to time of repair, fire extinguishing and recovery from flooding

Fire Prevention (2 points)

-7% to chance of fire

High Alert (3 points)

-10% to reload time of the damage control party consumable

Last Stand (4 points)

The ship remains able to move and maneuver with the engine or steering gears critically damaged

Preventative Maintenance (5 points)

-34% chance to incapacitation of modules.

Concealment and Acquisition:

Situation Awareness (1 point)

An indicator is displayed when your ship is spotted by an enemy ship or aircraft.

Incoming Fire Alert (2 points)

Indicator of long range incoming artillery fire (shell travel time more then 6 secs)

Vigilance (3 points)

+20% to acquisition range of torpedoes

Concealment Expert (5 points)

-10% to detectability of destroyers

-12% to detectability of cruisers

-14% to detectability of battleships

-16% to detectability of aircraft carriers


Expert Rear Gunner (1 point)

+10% efficiency to self defense armament for aircraft with rear gunners

Dogfighting Expert (3 points)

Improves the combat fighting performance of your fighters if their cruise speed is lowers then the enemies fighters.

Aircraft Servicing Expert (4 points)

+5% to aircraft survivability

+10% to servicing time for all aircraft

Air Supremacy (5 points)

+1 fighter

+1 bomber

Special Skills:

Superintendent (3 points)

+1 additional charge to all consumables mounted to a ship

Jack of all Trades (5 points)

-10% to reload time of all mounted consumables

As you gain combat XP for that Captain, you can select various skills to improve your ship’s performance and abilities. Some abilities are specific to one ship type, such as the ones that help you with aircraft but other abilities may be good for any ship type.  The trick is in finding the right combination that you want for each specific type of ship that you will use that particular Captain on.  As you level up the ships, you then have the option to move that captain to the new ship and retrain him for that specific type.  Much like in WoT but the big difference with WoWS is that any captain of a specific nation can be put in command of any type of shipof the same nation.  When you do move a captain to a new ship, you then have the following three options for retraining…

  • 1. Use 500 gold to fully retrain him with no penalties
  • 2. Spend 200,000 credits to retrain him to 50% of fully trained. While he is working on the other 50%, all his skills are also limited to 50% effectiveness
  • 3. Free retraining but you have to grind out the full amount of experience from 0 and while doing that you earn no new extra XP and your skills are also limited to 50% effectiveness.

So, as you can see, there is quite a lot of micromanagement of your ships that you can still accomplish in this game.  Good crew management is essential at the higher tiers when new skills are worth many thousands of XP points.

TIP: Use premium ships to help you train your Commanders!  Any Captain of the same nation can be put in a premium ship without penalty so you can use the daily bonuses to rapidly advance your skills!

=== END of Guide ===

I hope you enjoyed this guide.

I made it because when i first started the Closed Beta Test, I really had no idea how to play this game and the current guides seemed to be all specific to one tactic, type of ship or more advanced topics.  It took be about 30 mins just from asking around to find out why i couldn’t see any crew skills pages

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1 Response

  1. Stever555 says:

    How do I sell a ship?

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