World of Warships may be a free-to-play game, but it’s one with incredible depth. It definitely caught us by surprise, and took several hours of trial and error to really figure out what we were doing, and what we should be focusing on.
We’d like to help you to avoid some of the rookie mistakes that we made, helping you unlock the ships that you love and jump right into the action. We’ll cover just about everything that you can find on the Port screen, as well as walk you through what needs to happen when you start clicking around.
Navigating the Home Screen
Once you’re logged into World of Warships, take a few moments to browse through the options and see what you can and can’t do.
Options: In the top left corner you’ll see an icon of a gear. This is where you’ll want to tinker with your video settings to match your PC’s abilities, and where you’ll almost certainly want to dial back the sound.
Port: Below the gear icon in the top left corner of the screen you’ll see another of an anchor. If you click on this icon, you can choose which port you want to see for your home screen. Personally, we’re a fan of New York, but you can set whatever speaks to you the most.
Navigation Menu: Near the top of the screen you’ll see some menu options near the middle. These are Port, Module, Tech Tree and Profile. We’ll get into a couple of these more in-depth, but for now you can click through and see what each has to offer. Port is the screen you’re on now, and Profile will give you some details of your time in-game. The other two, Module and Tech Tree, we’ll speak about specifically.
Contacts and Channels: If you turn your attention to the bottom left portion of the screen you’ll see an icon with three dots. Clicking on this is where you can search for and add players to your contact list, allowing you to team up with them in the game’s various modes.
Create Division: Near the top of the screen, close to the big button that says Battle, is the Create Division option. This is basically your squad function, allowing you to team up with people who are in your contact list to form a team. Each time you launch a game, everyone in your division will be on the same team.
Slots: At the bottom of the screen you will see some slots that ships are in, as well as a listing for how many additional slots you have. You can even buy more, but it’s not really necessary for your average player. Essentially, you can only have so many ships active at one time. As you start to unlock new, better versions of your favorite vessels, right click on the older ships that you don’t use and dismiss them.
Random and Co-Op Battles: To the right of the Battle button at the top is the option to choose if you want a Co-Op Battle (yourself and human teammates against AI), or if you’d rather go into a Random Battle, with a random game mode. We’d suggest playing a few rounds of the former to get the feel for things, but switch to the Random Battles as soon as you can. You won’t reach your potential playing against AI.
Tech Tree - Choosing the Right Fleet
It’s not just about choosing the right ship, but also the right country. When you first launch the game, take a look at the Tech Tree near the top. When you open it, you can choose which country’s fleet you want to browse through. Do this and you’ll quickly realize that Japan and the U.S.A. have the most options, with the U.S.S.R. and Germany lagging way behind.
Our suggestion to new players would be to focus on playing as either the American or Japanese factions, giving yourself the opportunity to unlock more ships. At the time this article was posted there weren’t even any Battleships or Aircraft Carriers for the U.S.S.R. or Germany, which might be a big deterrent for players who wish to try those roles.
Tech Tree - How to Unlock New Ships
Take a look at the Tech Tree, focusing on the U.S.A. You’ll see that your starting ship is going to be the Erie (a Cruiser), and the only ship you can unlock from there is the Chester (another Cruiser). Once you get the Chester, you can choose which direction to go. You can continue on with the Cruisers and unlock the St. Louis, then your first Battleship, the South Carolina. However, you could also head into the Destroyer class, unlocking the Sampson.
If you hover over the next ship you want to unlock, you’ll see that it has two values. One is a Research Price and the other is a Purchase Price. The first is unlocked using Ship XP. If you want to see how much of that you have, look at your current unlocked ship in that Tech Tree. Once you have the XP you can research your next ship, and then use your Exchange Credits to unlock it. If you’re confused about which ships you can unlock and in what order, look for the arrows that connect one ship to another. It’s a pretty simple and straightforward system.
Modules - Customizing Your Ship
If you open up the Modules section from your Port screen you’ll see your currently equipped ship and the different customization options for it. Like unlocking a new ship, each of these requires that you meet the Research Price and the Purchase Price, which once again use Ship XP and Exchange Credits.
It's not really worth it to buy upgrades for the ships you are using when you first start playing the game. Instead, wait until you get a ship that you really enjoy, with better statistics, and then work on ranking that up. If you find that you really love Destroyers, find one or two that you keep returning to and put your hard earned rewards into making it better.
When you’re ready and you’ve got everything sorted out on the home (Port) screen, jump into a battle by yourself, or with your friends. The matchmaking in World of Warships is actually fantastic, so you’ll have no trouble finding a good game with equally skilled (or unskilled) players.