How to Not Suck as a Destroyer Captain in WOWS

Why destroyers? you may ask…why not cut straight to the chase with Cruisers and Aircraft Carriers if you’re going to do a “how not to suck…” piece? Well, the reasons are multiple: first of all, destroyers belong to the smallest ship-class in the game and one has to start somewhere…more importantly though, this is the class with which one is most liable to suck big time, and when I say big time, I mean suck in a “teammates want to tar and feather you” sort of way. Playing with destroyers and not turning oneself into an absolute donkey, requires finesse, patience and nerves of steel, attributes which are frankly in rather short supply among gamers of all types and preferences.
As said above, destroyers are the smallest and thus the least capable to absorb damage. They counter this vulnerability through speed, nimbleness and capabilities which – when properly put to use – can turn these little dinghies into potent weapons of war, well capable of sending the mightiest battleship or aircraft carrier to a watery grave.
Another massively important attribute of destroyers is the fact that they’re difficult to notice. It is this combination of speed, stealth, agility and potent weapons (all destroyers come equipped with torpedoes) which makes this class a contender well capable of punching above its weight. With that in mind, the first thing a beginner needs to heed is not to give any of those advantages up. By that, I mean a destroyer captain should NEVER fire his guns at a target before he releases his torpedoes, nor should he fire upon his target immediately after the torpedoes are launched. Unlike the torpedoes, the guns aren’t likely to do a lot of damage and by alerting the target ship to their presence, they essentially enable it to evade the torpedo broadside.

As you can see, not sucking as a destroyer captain mostly comes down to things you should NOT do. Since torpedoes in the game damage allies as well as opponents, one should never-ever fire a spread ahead of any allied ship. This rule should be spelled out in capitals and pasted above your computer screen, that’s how important it is. Team-kills are never cool and in this game, there’s an extremely low tolerance towards this sort of thing, given how bad destroyer captains commit this mistake time and time again.
Turning off one’s anti-aircraft and secondary batteries is also important at the very start of the battle. These weapons will only give your location away when it hurts you the most and they squarely deny your ability to sneak close to your larger opponents to perform your devious deeds as planned.
There are two types of destroyers: US and Japanese in the game and there are some fundamental differences between them. As a general rule – although this isn’t always valid to a T, especially when one climbs higher on the tech-tree – US destroyers are great with their guns while their torpedoes are bad. Japanese destroyers on the other hand are great with their torpedoes and quite awful with their guns. The bottom line in this respect is that beginners will like Japanese destroyers better because the range of their torpedoes exceeds the range at which they can be detected. Those taking US destroyers into battle will be forced to use various tricks (which are mostly about taking advantage of terrain-features like islands) to overcome the disadvantage they’re plagued by in this respect, since they will be detected before they get the opposition within range of their torpedoes otherwise.
Given how sneaking close is essential for US destroyers, players using such ships have to get handy with the smoke-screen too, another interesting feature that destroyers possess. There are three smoke-screens available by default, but this number can be tweaked to five by unlocking a commander special ability.
One final thing that will help you suck less: try to remember the range on your torpedoes, but if you can’t, here’s what you can do: switch to your torpedoes, zoom in, hold down Alt and move the range out, until the indicated range becomes red. That’s where the limit of your torpedo-range is.
Put this small but important pointers to use and remember: to be successful as a destroyer captain, you have to be adept at stalking your opponents and using the terrain to your advantage. Stealth is your best friend: cherish it and you shall be fine.
Peter Wassenberg has been a contributor to the world’s top eSports news destination, Gosugamers, for more than a decade now.