WoWS Submarines: How to Play

Source: Portal

Everyone can join the testing of submarines on the Public Test 0.9.4 server!

But, before doing so, be sure to carefully read this article. It will inform you about the basics of submarine controls, the new mechanics created especially for this ship type, and of course—the methods of countering the “silent hunters,” that will prevent you from being caught off guard.

Note: all information provided in this article is preliminary and subject to change during testing.

Following the Public Test, submarines will be added to the game client as a separate battle type (as we had for Arms Race, Savage Battles, or Space Battles). This will enable us to make final touches and adjust the balance of the new ship type on the live server. Only when we’re done with all these steps will we be able to decide on the final fate of submarines.


Submarines offer unique gameplay that sets them apart from the other ship types.

They are fragile but stealthy hunters, capable of traveling not only horizontally, but also diving into the depths. The exact depth to which a submarine dives affects her detectability, viewing range, and interaction with other ship types and submarines. Master their maneuverability skills, choose the most suitable depth, escape from your enemies, and surprise them with stealth attacks from the flanks.

Keep in mind that submarines have a small HP pool, so stick to the flanks and attack your enemy from a distance or while submerged.

The main armament carried by submarines is torpedoes with acoustic guidance. You can launch an attack from any level, and submarine-specific mechanics—sonar pings—will help you increase the potential effectiveness of your torpedo salvos. Tag the bow and stern of an enemy ship with your sonar pings to help guide torpedoes to the target and deal more damage.

Watch your battery power and emit sonar pings carefully. Torpedoes can ascend from the depths and hit an enemy only with the help of an active effect from a sonar ping. If you run out of battery power, reduce your speed to 1/4 or ascend to the surface level to recharge it.

Emitting sonar pings increases your detectability. Be sure to consider this when you prepare an attack.

Keep an eye on enemy destroyers and cruisers.  All destroyers, and such cruisers as VI Dallas, VI Budyonny, VI Leander, and VI Perth, carry depth charges. These weapons can hit submarines that are hiding underwater. Try to not stay in the same location for too long, and in case of danger, seek support from your allies.

Playing Submarines

Key points

  • You can control horizontal movement with the help of the W, A, S, and D keys.
  • Submarines can now only move between two operational levels: the surface and underwater (starting at 6 meters).
  • Press the F key to ascend or the C key to dive to the required depth. Ctrl+F and Ctrl+C lock the horizontal rudders.
    • The closer a sub is to the surface, the higher her detectability becomes—but her viewing range also improves.
    • Your depth affects interactions with other submarines, as well as the ascent time of torpedoes.
  • A sub can fire torpedoes and emit sonar pings from any position. When in the underwater position, a sonar ping can be emitted in any direction, even at targets above or below the sub.

Surface level

  • A submarine is most vulnerable to incoming enemy shells and has increased detectability compared to her specs when submerged.
  • Capturing Key Areas is possible only in this position.
  • Emitting sonar pings significantly increases the visibility of a sub.

This level is ideally suited for reconnaissance and maneuvering: take up a position, pick your targets, and then submerge to emit sonar pings without significantly increasing your detectability.

Underwater level

  • At a depth from 6 to 30 meters—the detectability of a sub is reduced twofold compared to the surface level, and its viewing radius becomes equal to its torpedo range. At greater depths the sub is invisible, but can still be detected by other submarines and ships equipped with the Hydroacoustic Search consumable.
  • A submarine can detect ships only within a certain radius, and only those located directly in her line of sight. At depths greater than 30 meters, subs don’t receive data on the location of enemy ships from allies and can’t detect aircraft.
  • Your speed is significantly reduced compared to the speed at surface level.
  • Emitting a sonar ping increases the sub’s detectability, but to a lesser extent than while at the surface level.

Battery Power

Battery power is an in-game mechanic for submarines. It’s consumed when you emit sonar pings and sail at speeds higher than 1/4.

  • To restore battery power, ascend to the surface level or reduce your speed to 1/4.
  • You won’t be able to emit sonar pings if your submarine’s battery power level reaches 0%, but you’ll still be able to sail at any speed.

Using Sonar Pings:

  • The mechanics of sonar pings work in a similar manner to firing weapons—you need to first take a lead on your target, then click the left mouse button to emit a ping.
  • Assess the situation and distance to the target in order to decide what to use first: sonar pings or torpedoes.
    • When attacking targets from greater distances, it’s better to launch torpedoes first, and then emit sonar pings so that their effect doesn’t cease while the torpedoes are still rushing towards the target.
  • To switch to launching torpedoes, press the 2 key. To return to sonar pings, press the 1 key.
  • You can choose between two sonar ping options: wide and slow, or narrow and fast.
  • After selecting sonar pings, you’ll see two indicators appear at the bow and stern of the target ship.
  • Aim for these indicators, take a lead on the target, and click the left mouse button.
  • A successful hit to one of a ship’s two indicators will make the torpedo home in on the target.
  • If you hit the second indicator on the same ship, the torpedoes will transition to the optimal depth to impact its vulnerable points, thus causing greater damage.
  • The duration of a successful sonar ping effect is limited and lasts around 30 seconds. Torpedo guidance works only when the sonar ping effect is active.
  • Hitting a target with another sonar ping while the effect of the previous hit is still active will reset its action time.
  • Sonar pings affect all of your launched salvos of torpedoes, not just the last one.

Remember that guiding your torpedo to a target with the help of sonar pings doesn’t guarantee a hit.

  • Torpedoes have very poor maneuverability that prevents them from catching up to agile opponents.
  • Torpedoes lose speed when maneuvering.
  • A torpedo’s range means the distance it can travel after being launched, not the radius of its action area. For example, if a torpedo maneuvers, the maximum distance it can travel will be less than its maximum range.
  • When approaching its target to a distance of approximately 1 km, the guidance gets disabled and the torpedo travels straight forward. If the enemy changes speed or course during this time, your torpedo might miss it.

Your primary targets should be sluggish ships. It will be difficult to hit agile enemies that make anti-torpedo maneuvers.

A submarine’s main torpedo armament is installed at the bow. Always think of exit strategies: submarines have quite slow reverse speeds and the enemy can easily catch up to your sub when reversing. Some submarines have additional torpedo tubes mounted at their sterns.

Playing Against Submarines

Low detectability, guided torpedoes that inflict serious damage, the ability to hide from everyone underwater—all these aspects make it seem like there’s no chance to counter submarines.

But that’s not true. Despite all of their advantages, submarines also have their shortcomings. The main thing is to understand these and use them against them in battle.

What do you need to know to effectively counter a submarine?

  • Watch their depth carefully! A submarine can be hit at depths down to 6 meters.
  • Sonar pings are a double-edged weapon for subs. On one hand, if a ping scores a successful hit, torpedoes become more effective, while on the other hand, it comes at the cost of increased detectability.
  • If you catch up to a submarine, attack it with high-explosive shells. Your secondary battery is also quite effective and can help you do away with any submarine that’s reckless enough to find herself in its area of effect.
  • If you fail to overtake a sub, constantly change course and try to keep your bow or aft pointed towards it. This will make it more difficult for them to hit the second point on your ship’s hull with a sonar ping.
  • If a submarine is detected with the help of the Fighter or Spotting Aircraft consumables, the planes will start to follow it. They will circle over its last spotted location if the submarine dives.
  • If any torpedoes are about to hit you, try to turn your bow or aft towards them. Because of the peculiarities of hit point distribution across the hull, a torpedo will inflict much less damage with a hit like this, as compared to a citadel hit.

Destroyers and light cruisers are equipped with depth charges. These can strike a submerged submarine and inflict considerable damage to her.

  • Ships carrying depth charges are equipped with an active Hydrophone that can track a submarine’s movement within a particular radius of the ship.
  • Pay close attention to the battle interface. A special indicator will let you know if a sub appears within a range of 4–5 km.
  • The hydrophone displays three ranges: long, medium, and short. Each of the ranges takes a submarine’s bearing at a certain period of time, and the submarine’s probable location will be indicated with a special marker. The closer the ship is to a submarine, the more frequently the incoming information will be updated.
  • Approach the location of the submarine and release the depth charges using the G key.
  • You’ll have several charges at your disposal that can be activated consecutively. Keep in mind, however, that depth charges take time to reload, and you won’t be able to hit a submerged submarine if you’ve used up all your charges.

Don’t forget to stay on the lookout for other enemy ships near the submarine and consider all the risks before starting a pursuit. Otherwise, your destroyer can quickly become the hunted instead of the hunter.

2 thoughts on “WoWS Submarines: How to Play

  1. Waiting on when you can use the gun they came equipped with WG…

  2. Oh, great. Another thing to slow down the gameplay and turn it into more hide and seek.
    I’ve recently started playing this game, but this seems like a nice incentive to ditch it.

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