World of Warships Destroyer Newbie Guide

World of Warships Destroyer Newbie Guide by Yukaze06

This guide is to help alleviate some of the common questions new destroyer captains may have.

Note: I am most familiar with IJN (Japanese) Destroyers so if any seasoned USN (United States Navy) or Gremyashchy captains want to give some input it is most welcomed.

What’s so great about Destroyers?

What’s not to love about being a ninja ship blowing up inattentive ships that are bigger than you? Destroyers have what I would say one of the higher learning curves but also I would say the highest skill ceiling. An exceptional Destroyer captain can carry a team more than most other classes.

So I want to play a destroyer after playing some cruisers, (or other class) now what?

Well, first things first if you are used to playing a cruiser, they are definitely not a cruiser. Though they may share some characteristics, Destroyers (DD’s from now on) are very much their own class and as such have their own strengths and weaknesses.

I’m an IJN Light Cruiser, I’m basically a DD too!

No. Beat it.


Speed and Maneuverability. You are the fastest and most agile of the fleet. You will use this to for offensive purposes as well as defense. Offensively you can use it to quickly close the gap and ambush targets, for YOLO Torpedo runs (more on this later), sneak into an capture points as well as squiggle away from incoming fire when things go bad. You will also get a speed boost ability that increases your top speed by about 8%.

Torpedus. AKA Torpedoes, Torps, #$%^ DD’s are OP! your most deadly armament. These will vary in range and speed but there is little that a full salvo of Torps cannot sink. Japanese DD’s have generally better Torps than USN for most of the earlier tiers.

Stealth. DD’s have a very small detection range. Generally about 6km. Staying undetected is your greatest defense. If you haven’t been seen, you can’t be shot at. This also allows you to get close and use your Torps, especially for IJN DD’s as well as ninja cap points.

Smokescreen. This can be used offensively, defensively, for you, or your team. Just as the name implies it sets a smokescreen to hide you or your allies from enemy sight. Now it won’t help you if they are close enough to throw a rock at you but will keep more distant enemies from being able to see you.


Armor and Hitpoints. You don’t have much of it. A well placed salvo from a Battleship or Heavy Cruiser will be enough to get you a meet and greet with Davy Jones. Stay out of sight and only get into fights on your terms whenever possible.

Guns. Your guns are generally not very good, especially for IJN DD’s. You do not want to go toe to toe with a heavy cruiser (CA) or battleship (BB). You will lose. USN DD’s do have better guns than IJN and are more suited to fighting other DD’s and weaker light cruisers (CL). Anti-Air fire is also not great.

Should I play a U.S. Destroyer or Japanese? What’s the difference?

This is entirely up to you and your preferred playstyle. USN Destroyers have better artillery and will be primarily focused on anti-DD operations, especially against IJN DD’s since their guns cannot match yours. Be wary of their torps though. IJN Destroyers will try to remain hidden and sink lone enemy battleships/carriers with their long range torpedoes.

Anything I need to know before I jump into battle?

Oh yes. At the port screen you want to find out four things: -Surface Detectability Range. This is the most important. This is how close you can get to another ship before you are seen. IJN average is about 6km while USN is about 7-7.5km. -Air Detectability Range. This is how close an airplane can get before you are spotted. -Artillery range. Mostly for USN DD’s. How far your main guns shoot. -Torpedo Range. How far your Torpedoes will go before fizzling out. This will generally be better for IJN DD’s than USN until higher tiers.

Early Battle

Who the hell is General Quarters? Match started what do I do?

One thing you need to be aware of more than anything is that you are morevaluable to the team the longer you survive. A good DD captain can turn the tide of the game when it would otherwise be hopeless with many other ships. So don’t go shaking your broadside at the nearest cruiser first chance you get.

One of the first things I do in a match is press ‘p’. This turns off your secondary Anti-Aircraft guns. The reason for this is your AA guns will fire at aircraft outside of that range that you would normally be spotted at and give your position away earlier than necessary. You only want to turn them back on when shooting down planes will not get you fired upon by enemy ships. For example if you are capturing a point and the only thing nearby is some air squadrons circling you.

In Domination mode I will generally head to the nearest cap at full speed. If possible I will try to solo cap. This will accomplish two things. First you will spot enemy fleet movement in that direction. Possibly take down an enemy DD (if he is not supported and you can do so safely) or cruiser if you are supported. Second it may get you a few extra points. Do not be afraid to retreat if you are heavily outnumbered or the fight is not going in your favor even if it means giving up the cap.

In other game modes I will scout the closest side sticking to cover. General Quarters is in charge of action stations, I think.

Alright I didn’t get blown up in my first encounter, now what do I do?

Now you take a survey of how the battle is shaping, I will give some ideas but at this point you will have to play by what will help the team the most and not get you killed. Where is the bulk of the enemy fleet? Where is the rest of my team? As a USN Destroyer you will want to look for a cap taken over by the enemy that you see is “empty” or being taken over by another DD. As an IJN Destroyer you will want to see if there are any easily ambushed BB’s or loners you can put some Torps into, then the same as above.


I shot my torpedoes at the enemy but it stopped before getting to them, what happened?

Remember how I said you want to know how far the range is? Well they were outside of that range. Just because they will cross that line at the same time does not mean you will hit them. If the enemy is at the edge of your range and headed slightly away from you, you won’t hit them. Same thing if they are headed directly away from you and you’re a bit closer.

Um, I shot my torps but hit my teammate and now he’s pissed, he wasn’t there when I shot!

Is there a friendly between you and your target? Is that friendly headed towards you, or turning in that direction? Don’t fire. But the enemy is right there and I- Don’t fire. But- No. It sucks, but it happens. You and your team are much better off with you not taking that shot that had a slight chance to hit your friendly. If you shot anyway and took out your friendly, apologise and learn from it. I did tell you no. With a great peni- torpedus comes great responsibility. You can’t just go sticking it anywhere.

Sometimes there will be Capt. Derpy that will do everything in his power to accidentally find his way into your torps. He deserved it though.

So how do I aim these things? I can’t hit the broadside of… well a battleship

When you get into range, point your cursor at the enemy you want to target and press ‘x’. This will track that target and give it a crosshair on the name of the enemy. A gray line should appear. This line will show you where to aim if your target is Capt. Tunnelvision or Adm. Norudder. Assuming no course corrections and they are not going to be out of your range, you will hit if you line up with it. This is where skill and meta gaming will start to matter. You can aim ahead or behind this marker based on what you think the target captain will do for an evasive maneuver. Some will fire directly for the first shot, and the second shot will go where you expect the maneuver to go.

Narrow or wide? What’s the difference?

This is entirely situational. I will use narrow when I am pretty sure I will hit my target so I can get as many hits as possible. Beached opponent, I’m very close, I’m pretty sure the opponent won’t evade, or coming around an island. I will also fire a narrow salvo at an enemy who is charging directly at me to force them to turn and possibly slow them down. I will go wide when firing at another DD or cruiser, or other enemy I expect to evade. Almost never on an enemy headed directly at or away from me as it will make wide berths that only require slight adjustments to evade.

Should I fire down all these narrow channels?

No and yes. If you are absolutely sure you will not take out an unsuspecting friendly, and you are not likely to run into enemies before your cooldown is up, go for it. If there is a large fleet movement behind a couple of islands passing by, blind fire may not be a bad idea. If you see Commander Braindamage in his BB trying to cut through some islands, fire your swimmers like it’s your first day with internet porn.

What was that hobo torpedo run you were talking about earlier?

We’ll talk about that when you’re older.


You don’t need to tell me about guns! pewpewpew

Whoa, slow down there turbo. There are a few things you need to know about guns. More specifically when to use them. With both nations firing your guns will dramatically increase your detection range. Keep this in mind as you will generally want to keep hidden.

For IJN DDs you will want to stay hidden as much as possible. On top of that your main guns are not as effective as your USN counterpart. Because of this I rarely fire my main guns unless I’m in direct conflict with another DD or chasing down a CV and trying to light his deck on fire. There are other situations where I use them, but it comes down to a risk/reward judgement. As far as ammo type I will almost exclusively use HE.

USN DD’s are a bit different. Your guns are more effective and so AP rounds are a bit more useful against other DD’s and light cruisers. You may also want to use your guns to harass and light some battleships on fire with HE rounds. Again, be aware of your situation and if firing will get you focused by nearby enemy ships.

Vaping! Er smokescreens.

So I hit this button and disappear right?

Kind of. Smokescreens are neutral. They will hide everything. You and your allies from your enemies and your enemies from you and your allies. Be aware that you can keep an ally from killing their target by placing a smokescreen between the two because his target will disappear.

Also when you drop a smokescreen you will paint a big “HAY DESTROYER HERE!” sign on the map. Sometimes this will attract some blind fire or enemy ships to come check it out.

When placing a smokescreen try to slow down a bit and possibly even circle back on yourself. Ever wonder why you’re still getting shot at while laying one down? It’s because you will flicker in and out of detection because you’re moving just a bit faster than the smokescreen.

Mid-Late Game

I’m still alive! I think I know where the CV is should I go get him?

Under a few conditions. You can do it without getting yourself killed, there is no support nearby that can come to his aid quickly, and there isn’t something better you should be doing. If someone else is already on it, don’t go rushing over just for a ribbon. This also doesn’t mean that a CV is a free kill. You can still have dive bombers blow out your engine and get nailed by torpedo bombers if you aren’t paying attention.

I’ve been spotted and everyone is shooting at me! What do I do?

Run you fool! Also zig and zag. Bob and weave. Burt and Ernie. You will get hit far less than if you head straight away. Pop your smokescreen if you have it. If you make it to safety reassess the situation and get back to work.

The game is almost over, now what?

Depends on what will help your team the most. If there are caps that need cappin, get to it. That or help your team take out the remaining ships.

Commander Skills

So what commander skills should I get?

I would say a few are required, and some are up to you. I’ll give my opinion on what the best ones are as they are debatable.

Tier 1 Situation Awareness is a must have. It gives you a visual indicator of when you have been spotted by either enemy ships or airplanes. This way you know without a doubt if you are concealed or not.

Tier 2 Tier 2 is not as clear cut as tier 1 with regards to what skill to choose. It depends more on if you are playing IJN or USN. For IJN I choose to go with Torpedo Armament Expertise for 10% faster Torp reload. As USN I would go with Aiming Expert for faster turret traverse time. IJN may want to as well since but I go with what I use more often.

Tier 3 I like to go with Superintendent. One extra smokescreen and speed boost each are nice things to have if not life saving at the right time.

Tier 4 Last Stand is a great skill at tier 4. An immobile DD is as good as sunk. This skill allows your engine and rudder to keep functioning but with a penalty when you take a critical hit. If you have been hit anywhere near the stern recently you know how often this happens.

Tier 5 Tier 5 has the most options of any tier, but I like to go with Concealment Expert for 10% bonus to my detectability range. The closer you get the easier it is to hit with Torpedus. Some may want to go with Last Chance, Preventative Maintenance, or Jack of All Trades, but again it’s up to you.


WTF. Everything was going great until it Mutsuki’d!

The Minekaze was great wasn’t it? You were like the ninja of the sea, putting your Torpedoes in all the BBooty you could find. Now you’re on the Mutsuki and your world has come crashing down. What gives? I call this the mid-class crisis of the IJN DD. You are no longer that spry teenager shaking your rudder at people behind their backs. Now your decisions matter. You’re becoming an adult DD.

It’s a big shock to people coming from Tier V to Tier VI because you come from 3×2 10 km torps with a 47s reload time. In the Mutsuki your stock torps have a 6km range (which is at or just inside your detection range) and are 2×3 with a 1m13s reload time. The upgraded torps give you 10km range with 1m16s reload time. This will bring you closer to where you were but your reload time is still massively higher than it was. Though the ships will get better, the play style will be similar from here on out.

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