How Not to Suck at WOWS – Cruisers

Having covered the destroyers in our previous piece, we now take a look at a much “safer” class of ships for beginners and advanced players alike: the cruiser. When we say “safer” here, we obviously do not mean that these ships are actually easier to play, or more difficult to destroy than others (although when compared with destroyers, both of those statements are actually true), what we mean is that it’s a lot more difficult to completely mess up with a cruiser, drawing the ire of teammates and opponents alike. As such, the cruiser is a great class for beginners: gunnery skills are called upon here, and the class does possess greater firepower and better armor than destroyers. This class is not about stealth and surprise strikes: it’s a much more straightforward tool in the game, without any caveats for those sailing such ships. Thus, to avoid sucking with a cruiser, you need to focus exclusively on what you SHOULD do and how you should do it and not on what you should avoid doing.
A jack of all trades of sorts, the cruiser is more maneuverable than battleships and due to its peculiarities, it does in fact match up well against this class too. One of the biggest strengths of the cruiser class comes to bear against carriers though. Cruisers excel at anti-air armaments, so much so in fact that when the defensive fire cool-down ability comes into the picture, they are in fact able to turn their main guns on air targets for a limited amount of time (for this, dual-purpose armaments have to be installed though). The power of the defensive fire cool-down ability cannot be overstated: besides boosting the flak output of the armament, it also has a demoralizing effect on enemy pilots, causing torpedo bombers to drop their torpedoes with a huge spread, thus decreasing their effectiveness, and forcing dive-bombers to miss completely. Smart carrier captains loathe cruisers and they will go to great lengths to avoid them. One last-resort measure they can employ is to send their fighters ahead of the bombers to soak up the flak, in which case a good cruiser captain will simply hold down Ctrl and click on the bomber squadron he actually wishes to target.
Just like with the destroyers, there are certain differences between US and Japanese cruisers. US cruisers generally pack a better anti-air punch than their Japanese peers, but the Japanese ships come with a nasty surprise in their tails: torpedoes. What this means is that if you’re engaged in battle with a Japanese cruiser, and you see it turning, it’s probably just looking to fire its torpedoes at you and not run away.
With all the above in mind, here are a few ways you can maximize the potential of your cruiser: you can escort battleships and provide them with AA cover, you can do the same with your carriers, you can also tag along with your destroyers, see what they rouse up and give them a helping hand from behind. Destroyer captains hate cruisers, because they come with the sort of fast-reloading guns that can also switch between HE and AP rounds quickly, thus making life hell for all sneaky torpedo-jockeys, whether they hide behind a smoke-screen or not.
Peter Wassenberg works for the world’s top Overwatch VOD destination,