Rock, paper…torpedo!

11.07.13, Mikhail Merzlutin, QA Lead of Game Logic Group
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Author: Mikhail Merzlutin, Automation QA Engineer

Rock-paper-scissors is a well-known game: the rock beats the scissors, but loses with the paper, which in contrary is “weaker” than the scissors. These very simple rules are the base of ship balance system in World of Warships – believe it or not, it is quite realistic… well, at least at first glance. So how are these principles reflected in our game? Cruisers beat destroyers, however, lose with battleships, battleships beat cruisers, but lose with destroyers, destroyers beat battleships, but lose with cruisers. Aircraft carriers… hold on, what about the R-P-S principles? These ships can beat any other, however, at the same time they can be beaten by any other ship. These rules can be shown in a form of a pyramid:

Picture 1 EN

Let’s have a closer look at it.


Picture 2. DD US destroyers and smoke screen
US destroyers putting out a smoke screen 

In short – nimble, have low draught characteristics, carry torpedoes, are lacking decent armor and artillery weapons,  Several hits allow destroyers to send any ship in the game to the bottom and at a time launch a whole round of torpedoes (though their number is limited). In addition, destroyers are capable of putting out a smoke screen, which can be compared to a “mobile bush” or a cloud, which can be used as a cover.

When a destroyer is around then battleships (especially the slow ones) and aircraft carriers shall fear the most – these are vessels that destroyers are hunting for. Of course other destroyers are part of this group. Destroyers generally avoid confrontations with cruisers, as they “swallow” them without putting a lot of efforts; however, if destroyers are supported by other ships, then it may happen that they attack the enemy cruiser.


“Jack of all traits, master of none”

Picture 3 CA JP mogami_as_cruiser
Light cruiser Mogami belonging to the Imperial Japanese Navy 

Artillery weapons, armor and speed of cruisers are rather average. However, it doesn’t mean that it’s something bad – they are faster than battleships and at the same time more powerful than destroyers. They ”beat” destroyers, aircraft carriers and similar class ships. Aircraft carriers – be careful with them. As a cruiser you should force the air group attack back, avoid torpedoes launched by destroyers and knock down some of these vessels, catch a light cruiser and destroy her. However, watch out for the battleships. Even though, cruisers can catch up with battleships, it’s pretty difficult to send them to bottom. Better focus on easy targets.


“Fear God and dread nought”

Picture 4 BB JP Yamato03
Yamato on a sea trial

Battleships are impressive, equipped with a great number of various weapons and have the best armor. Many battleships, due to their size, could carry hydroplanes. In addition, they have good speed and manoeuvrability, sometimes even beat some cruisers, though still they cannot catch up with the destroyers. This ship is the lord of the seas born to withstand the fire of the enemy ships and dominate on the battlefield. However, battleships are big targets, which can be easily destroyed by aircraft carriers and destroyers equipped with torpedoes. It’s difficult to destroy a battleship without the previously mentioned ships or when they’re reloading their guns.

For battleships it’s pretty difficult to fight against destroyers: it’s difficult to hit them; however, if you try to do so switch to HE shells (even though you would usually stick to AP only). What do you get in return?You’re being attacked by torpedoes, though you can always rely on the anti-torpedo defence guns.

Aircraft carriers

Picture 5 CV US Uss_lexington_cv2
USS Lexington

The tactics are: staying away and carrying out extensive attacks from the distance… anything else? Nope. Well, actually, you may also have some AA guns and universal anti aircraft armament (some aircraft carriers even have armor and cruiser caliber guns on board).  Aircraft carriers are dangerous, however, if their deck or hangar gets badly damaged – the ship partially loses her threatening power, well,until she is repaired.

No one is insuperable: group of ships with anti-aircraft guns can easily destroy improperly directed attack of an air group, thus significantly decreasing the influence of aircraft carrier in the battle. However, if your enemy is alone then he can only rely on his manoeuvrability.


We can sum it up as follows:

Battleships lose with destroyers, if the latter ones manage to launch torpedoes. In case of a successful attack conducted by an aircraft carrier big troubles are to be expected (sometimes even complete flooding). The aircraft carriers are like forbidden fruit: generally they try to stay away from the enemies and keep the distance. However, battleships’ beloved target – “crunchy” cruisers can be easily destroyed by the main battery.

Aircraft carriers are scared of cruisers with their AA guns and don’t like destroyers – it is difficult to hit them, especially when they are hiding behind the smoke screen.They simply do not like cruisers: they have AA guns, their caliber and fire range can cause troubles; such ships are difficult to hit. At the same time, aircraft carriers don’t mind attacking other aircraft carriers (preferably with damaged parts, engine units and AA guns).

Cruisers avoid enemy battleships as well as try to keep the enemy aircraft and destroyers away from allied battleships.

Destroyers avoid cruisers; they try to cover allies with a smoke screen; they always attempt to approach and attack enemy ships, which are left behind the main group of warships.

…and spice

And here’s where the fun begins! Same class ships may be really different from each other.

Cruisers, which theoretically suffer from battleships, can attack battleships and even send them to the bottom. They can do this not only with the help of torpedoes, which some cruisers carry on board, but the AA guns, e.g. in a close attack. In such case they are capable of piercing battleships. This may result in an explosion of ammunition magazines or turning all parts of the ship, apart from the armored box, into scrap. Some cruisers can do it even when alone and without any support.

Destroyers can easily change the setting of the enemy formations making every ship moving a lot in order to avoid the torpedoes. Well, not always! Some cruisers can also put out a smoke screen covering ally battleships…as well as by reaching the full speed (I’m looking forward to the introduction of French tech tree, some destroyers could reach the speed of 45 knots) go to another direction, where a small breach in the enemy formation was noticed. They can even launch some torpedoes – try to figure out what’s the plan of those ships!

Aircraft carriers: don’t panic when you’re spotted by a destroyer.  Instead, try to play the “catch me if you can” game – try to take the enemy from the base. It is also a bit dangerous, because during manoeuvres there’s a high possibility that the aircraft carriers will be hit at the deck and hangar. However, taking such risk sometimes helps with fighting against the cruisers – especially if you are USS Lexington with 4*2*203mm guns or an armored Shinano.

If one still wants to compare…

Is has been said several times “warships are not tanks”. What are they then ? Warships = a group of players helping each other.

Cruisers fire at the battleship with their major caliber guns and even if they cannot pierce her, at least they destroy some parts of it – AA and torpedo-defence guns . Some cruisers, especially Japanese, have torpedoes on board and sometimes ”pretend” to be  destroyers, often quite successfully.

Destroyers act in the same way, however, with less effect: they launch torpedoes at the weakest targets, finish off the damaged battleships and try to destroy the formation of the enemy ships. At the same time, they are covering allies with a smoke screen and supporting with the AA guns. Small, nimble, with weak armor and heavy fire damage, their torpedo waves can sink anyone – does it ring a bell to you? They are Bat.-Chatillon of World of Warships. A very cheerful class that sometimes reminds me of the tanks

Aircraft carriers are responsible for the reconnaissance and knocking down enemy aircraft. For me personally, aircraft carrier is a good old moonkin, i.e. support damage dealer: debuff the enemy, buff the allies; it’s difficult to catch her, and if you give her more freedom and enemy misses the attack, she can send anyone to the bottom. But it is clear that you must fight in a group in order to win.

Only battleships seem to be able to cope with everyone on their own.   Though it would be great if you support them by sending out fighter aircraft, putting out a smoke screen etc.– only in this way you may teach the enemy a lesson!

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  1. Ah. Interesting article. Seems like I can feel that cruisers are more of my type xD
    Team work will be painful to get around as not everyone would want to work as a team… Is it even possible for lets say 2-3 battleships carry the team… We will never know >.<

    • I share your opinion about players working as a “team”, taking example from WoT. Perhaps with some specified game play players may actually try to work as a team but who knows :/

    • I see what you mean. (Cruisers) You could swoop in on a heavily damaged battleship, and–BOOM! You’ve got him!

  2. This article is by far expains the concept of the pros and cons of each ship class and how each one working together would be able to crush the enemy. Granted some may be able to take on fire alone i.e. the battleships but however should not try to be the hero ship and fight solely alone. Looking forward to fighting as a team to overcome the other side.


    • nice to know there is a method to this madness unlike the previous games this is the first one to feature a janken style of play as opposed to a pay/play/ and a bit of skill to win.

  3. hmm It will be interesting to see what the “Curve balls” like Torpedo cruisers and some of the Battle cruisers and up doing to that map…

  4. thanks for the article Catstallker cruisers are going to be a very interesting branch in this game.

  5. Sure makes you excited :3
    I will stick mostly to Destroyers and Carriers after launch from the sounds of it.

    • I’m Sorry, but I was glancing through and saw that “by the end of may (Hopefully)”, and realized the year of that post was 2014 and not 2015, and began to laugh. Dude, I wish. We all wish. If It comes out by the end of May 2016, I’m going to be surprised.

  6. Looking forward to carriers. I’m a bit of a arty player in WoT so I’m hopping for the added variety of different planes and being able to shot around pesky hills. :-D

  7. sounds cool really looking forward to destroyers sounds like the can really turn the tide if deployed right

  8. If you think about it subs can’t fit in the gameplay because if they put subs in it would be un fare. Subs would dominate under water but when they come up they die instently.

  9. So the carriers are like the spgs in world of tanks the cruisers are the medium tanks the battleships are heavy tanks and the destroyers are like a d
    Tank destroyer and light tank mashed up together

  10. Quit a good gaming system..
    However it really differs from what I know in history. If battle ships should lose to destroyers…what do you make of their secondary guns? These cruiser sized guns or large caliber AA shells can easily hit and disable a destroyer. Also one 14″ ap shell is enough to disable a destroyer as what happened so often in the pacific war. In old times before reader were on ships -1942 , destroyer can kill BBs or CA with torps during night time, but if you say BBs can’t hit destroyer…. Did you make all secondary caliber guns disabled?
    Well again, I d say pretty good game design, seems we’ve found a balance between gaming and reality simulator. Awesome!

  11. I wish they would add subs it would be cool to be deep under the sea and you can see the ships

  12. “especially if you are USS Lexington with 4*2*203mm guns” Will this be moddled in the game? A aircraft Carrier with 8 8 inch guns seems like the only thing that could actually attack it without taking considerable damage or effort would be a battleship, and while it would be awesome to have them and use them, im just wondering if people would just call it OP cause it’s a carrier that can only be sunk by a battleship.

    • The Lexington had her Eight inch gun turrets swapped out for dual purpose 5 inch cannons in the same arrangement, and had her AA defense boosted during a single refit. 1942 or 1943 I think. People will have to choose, especially at that high tier, whether aircraft or ships are the greater threat. Without those dual purpose Five inchers, I wouldn’t put money on a Lexington surviving a dedicated air attack. But, on the same token, without those Eight inchers, cruisers and destroyers will have a much easier time of it.

  13. The part that said “especially if you are USS Lexington with 4*2*203mm guns” is just rubbing it in my face that I don’t have access to this game D:

  14. I really am looking forward to the aircraft carrier. By the way when is the game going to finally be released, It is really annoying?

  15. I am really looking forward to playing World of Warships. From what i ve seen in the videos its going to be a lot of fun

  16. realy i want to play the game anyone know how to get to the plase where you click play and start

  17. I think you guys have done a outstanding job with this game… I can’t wait to be involved!!!

  18. For the guys who typed at the beginning of the conversation. I really think there is no chance of having any teamwork in any game of the wargaming games (wows, wot, wowp), unless it is in a higher level of gaming (i.e. world of tank’s tank companies, clan activities, or team battles). As I’ve been told before, when in random battles you have to assume you’re alone at all times. However, that is not to say that all teammates in random battles are useless, on the contrary, some teammates actually understand that helping your teammates helps you win the game. But, as all wargaming players should know, the chances off this happening are very slim. So, to wrap up, good luck, have fun, and please try to help your teammates out every once in a while.

  19. Gives everyone a good idea about the ships and thoughts behind the game play. Like some of the rest of you, am waiting for the opportunity to join the closed beta. Will be interesting to see how fast everyone develops the teamwork aspect needed to be successful for the game.

  20. if you are on premium account in WoT and WoWP will premium accout carry to WoWS ??

  21. i’m not quite sure what i want to play. if there was subs, i’d know for sure ;)
    As it stands, i’ve been watching twitch, and destroyer players routinely get 1 shot. If it wasn’t for that i’d be destroyers all the way. I’m mixed between destroyers and cruisers. My good friend will be playing a battleship. So i guess a cruiser would be the best bet to cover him, right?

    aka. cruiser best duo with a battleship?

  22. Nice Article guys,I liked that you got real photos of all the ships that were taken during World War II.

  23. 遊戲呈現建議兩點:
    Game presented two suggestions:
    1. When the ship ran aground and has recommended that the stranded ship water damage, better overall perfection!
    2. The proposal has a big storm waves map showing!

  24. 戰艦世界刺激性相對戰車世界微弱許多(如能比照戰車世界刺激作法),建議納入更小型船艦,以快速機動性增加遊戲刺激性,若能在海上放置觸發性水雷,更能展現遊戲細膩度!!
    World of Warcraft World irritating relatively weak in many chariots (cf. chariot world if they can stimulate the practice), recommendations into smaller vessels to rapidly increase mobility irritating game, if triggered mines placed in the sea, more delicate game show degrees !!

  25. 以上僅共作為開發者參考!!

    The above is for reference as a developer !!

  26. I am really enjoying the beta, much more enjoyable than wow or wot was for me also, there are 8 other clan members playing that all feel the same way. Amazing graphics lots of different toys for everyone’s different play style. Find players who use a voice chat program it adds a lot to the game in my opinion. Sorry i cant be more specific w/ details about the ships but that is part of beta rules. If you like warship games this one is a must try see you in game.

  27. So far this has been a great game but I did notice two glairing omissions from the U. S. Cruiser Tech Tree. One of which was a very important class of Cruiser. That being the BROOKLYN Class Light Cruiser, this Class of ship was developed as a direct result of the Japanese construction of the Mogami class Cruiser. The Brooklyn’s had a main battery of 15 six inch guns, in five turrets of three guns each. Three turrets forward of the bridge and two turrets aft. I feel this ship deserves to be in the U. S. Cruiser Tech Tree. As it was a very important development of the between the wars light cruiser and showed that even between world wars I and World War II the forward thinking navel commanders in the United States navy were considering the Japanese as the threat to the United States.
    Second omission The Alaska Class Very Heavy or Battle Cruiser, three turrets of three each 12 inch guns main battery. There were to be 6 of these ships built however only two were completed the others dropped in lieu of concentration on the building of aircraft carriers. Only the USS Alaska and the USS Hawaii were ever to see action. Both ships participated in the War in the Pacific. The other ships of this class were to be the USS Porto Rico, USS Philippines, USS Guam, and USS Virgin Islands.
    I feel both of these classes of Cruiser deserve to be included in the U.S. Cruiser Tech Tree. And I add a question Will the designed and keel laid down but never finished of the 5 Montana Class Super Battleships be included in the U.S. Battleship Tech Tree? Because this class of Battleship was designed to directly counter the Japanese Yamato Class Super Battleship.

  28. I cant wait to play as a destroyer, I’ve been waiting for a good warship game to come out for awhile, my naval game would have an Arleigh Burke class Destroyer, but this game has the Omaha and….lets not forget, the Iowa….

  29. It seems so much more balanced than World of Tanks, from what I’ve seen in videos of it. The idea that, destroyers, cruisers, battleships and Aircraft carriers are all equally viable options to win is awesome.

  30. Torpedoes > Everything
    Doesn’t matter what ship you’re in, a few torpedoes will kill you.

  31. I noticed a problem with the game this evening (5/7/16 at 2030hrs) When i entered a battle I had 9,663,780 in cash. When I exited the next battle I had 9.578,116 cash. As you see I am losing money. Next battle I my total was 9,505,996.
    The 3rd battle it was 9,440,777. On one of the battles it showed I had received over 150,000. Is anyone else having this problem? Does the powers to be read these forums? If so will they answer these problems? If you want to contact me my email address is

  32. Antes que nada saludarle y felicitarle por toda esta reconstruccion que implican los escenarios belicos maritimos , solo me resta sobre este tema de la guerra naval una batalla epica que siginifico casi la perdida del control naval por parte de el imperio britanico (el hundimiento del bismarck) , este episodio naval podria ser motivo de un mapa (escenario) en el que un equipo completo vallan en busqueda-persecusion-ubicacion-batalla y hundimiento de ese colosal bruto , el bismarck puede ser un bot que enfrenta a toda la flota britanica incluyendo al barco insignia de la real armada en esa epoca .

    ahora el tema que me movio a buscar una manera de contactarme con uds. es sugerir un par de cosillas al juego de sus tutorias ” world of tank ” , tras observar por horas y horas de juego se me ocurrio que podrian agregar un mercadillo para vender y comprar las piezas faltantes no en la manera en que lo hacen ahora , si no que agregar la opcion de un mercadillo de pulgas en el que el usuario pueda vender a otros usuarios lo que ya no use o considere que no le sirve de esa manera habria un plus que incrementaria la interactividad entre jugadores tal como lo hacen en este momento algunos juegos de futball , que le permiten al jugador comprar mejorar y levelear jugadores de renombre internacional que en este caso son virtuales y ofrecerlos en el mercadeo para ir de club en club deportivo defendiendo esos colores , aca se puede hacer algo similar con los insignes tankes de la historia y sus suministros para empezar y probar , y una ultima sugerencia seria sobre un tanke en especifico que por sus caracteristicas solo lo castiga el juego de cañones que le asignaron me refiero al “amx elc bis” este tankesito es rapido de bajo perfil pero como su torreta es fija y sus cañones son lentos para las recargas no lo acompañan en esa tarea , mas bien tiene prestaciones como cazatankes y se le podria agregar un juego de ametralladoras cal.792 o algo similar no para darle mas poder de fuego si no que maximizar su desempeño como un caza y scout de lo que tiene mas que ofrecer.
    Y sobre una propuesta de mapa para world of tank , este seria sobre 2 ideas basicas que se usaron en la vida real y que no se han tenido en cuenta , la 1 fue la tactica usada por los tankes aliados en contra de los afrikacorps en el desierto las cargas a toda maquina de lso tankes britanicos en contra de los tankes alemanes , esto se hacia con el objeto de que los cañones alemanes no les dieran de lleno por que eran de mejor calidad precision y mayor alcance que los aliados cuya ventaja era su velocidad dado el bajo nivel de blindaje que estos tenian .
    2 las incursiones de unidades blindadas en las selvas semitropicales de las islas del pacifico en las capturadas por el imperio japones , lugares que vieron batallas rapidas y encarnisadas entre infanterias con el apoyo de los blindados y artillerias desde los barcos en las costas de estas .
    Un ultimo punto que podria significar algo se refiere a ser un tester , hace algun tiempo atras me inscribi para ello pero me llamo la atencion el hecho de que cuando pregunte si se recibia algun pago o algo parecido para costear dicha actividad se me dijo que no que era por amor al arte , eso me gusta pero hay que ser realista todo pc o unidad que se use para jugar usa electricidad se desgastan sus partes por el uso se arruinan los mouse o keyborads y ello significa desenbolsar de tiempo en tiempo alguna cantidad de dinero para solucionar dichos destrozos, dicho esto seria esa mi inquietud .
    Espero con estas letras no importunarles mas bien mi intencion a sido la de colaborarles desde mi vision y jugabilidad sin otro particular su seguro servidor .Solcar1

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