There are four types of armor and two main types of ship-to-ship ammunition in the game. Both armor and ammo are easy to equip. They also go hand in hand with one another, in that your choice of ammo during a match should be dictated entirely by whether or not your target is mounting armor.
What it Is, and Where to Get It Edit
Armor is purchased through the store, and can be accessed by navigating through "ship support" -> "armor." Each piece of armor you buy works as a kind of self-contained module that you can load onto your ship in the same manner as equipment, by accessing the "ship info" tab. This tab will also update to show the total amount of armor hitpoints you've got in each category, after you load armor onto a ship. The four types of armor in the game each serve a different purpose, and are as follows:
- Belt - Protects the flanks of your ship from low-angle fire. This is what absorbs hits during close-range brawls.
- Deck - Protects the deck of your ship from high-angle, plunging fire. As a result, you'll usually only find shots hitting deck armor when fighting at maximum range.
- Bulge - Protects your ship from torpedo and mine damage.
- Bulkhead - The odd man out among armor types, bulkhead serves two purposes: it increases your defense level (and therefore, your overall damage mitigation), and also increases your hull's limit reliability, meaning you can take more damage before your ship begins to lose speed due to loss of structural integrity. Mount enough bulkhead and you will notice a difference in the tankiness of your ship; however, it is generally advised that you do not equip bulkhead on your ships. The credit cost and loss of speed involved in mounting enough bulkhead to provide the same amount of protection as the other types of armor is simply too great.
How it Works Edit
The amount of protection that a piece of armor provides to your ship is based on two things: the class of ship onto which you're mounting armor, and the tier of the armor that you purchased. The higher the tier of armor, the more it protects, though at a much greater credit cost. You can see how much protection piece of armor will provide you by mousing over it in the store.
As you might expect, armor also carries with it a speed penalty. The speed losses don't quite scale linearly with the different tiers of armor, but the ratio between protection and speed lost generally does improve, with tier V armor having the best protection and best ratio between protection and speed loss. The exact speed losses are:
- Belt - Tier I: -1.7%, Tier II: -2.1%, Tier III: -1.8%, Tier IV: -2%, Tier V: -1.8%
- Deck - Tier I: -1.5%, Tier II: -2.1%, Tier III: - 1.7%, Tier IV: -1.4%, Tier V: -1.8%
- Bulge - Tier I: -1.8%, Tier II: -2.2%, Tier III: -2%, Tier IV: -1.4%, Tier V: -1.8%
- Bulkhead - Tier I: -3.4%, Tier II: -2.5%, Tier III: -2%, Tier IV: -1.7%, Tier V: -1.3%
Those speed hit might not seem like much, but they add up quickly. For this reason, it's typically advised that you avoid armoring lighter ships such as DDs or CLs, since they rely on their speed for survival. Though a single stack of deck, belt, or bulge can be useful to these lower-class ships, especially at high tiers, the true armor-mounting is generally best reserved for CAs and BBs. CVs can also greatly benefit from a little bit of bulge to counter opportunistic DDs and subs.
The way armor functions is pretty straightforward: it essentially acts as an extra, non-repairable health pool for a particular portion of your ship. Again, the size of this health pool is based on the class of ship you're in, the tier of armor you're using, and how much of it you're mounting. For example, let's say I threw two stacks of tier I deck armor onto a BB of mine. I would then have 3,000 extra armor hitpoints (since each stack provides 1,500 for BBs) on my deck. But what exactly does this mean? This is where ammunition choices come into play.
What to Use Edit
There are two types of ammunition available to you: High Explosive (HE) and Armor Piercing (AP), which you can switch between by tapping Z. Certain smaller-caliber guns carry anti-aircraft (AA) shells as a secondary ammo type rather than AP, but this guide focuses solely on ship-to-ship combat, and therefore will mainly cover HE and AP.
You don't ever have to worry about purchasing or reloading ammo in the harbor -- it's always there on your ship automatically! However, you can and should change the ratio of your HE to AP (or AA) shells. Do this by accessing the "ship info" screen and selecting the "Weapon" tab. There, you will see your ship's armament, and every gunset you're carrying will have a slider beneath it which will allow you to adjust how much of what type of ammo you bring into battle. By default, this value will be set at 50% -- half HE and half AP. You'll always want the vast majority of your shells to be HE, since this is the type of ammo you will be firing about 90% of the time. However. the ideal ratio of HE to AP will vary based on the ship you're in, how much total ammo it can hold, what caliber of guns it carries, and whether those guns are in a single, dual, or triple configuration. Personally, I like to carry a ratio of 75% HE to 25% AP, or 70% HE to 30% AP, depending on the ship I'm in. At higher tiers, the secondary guns on CAs and BBs can hold ludicrous amounts of ammo (see the screenshot below), and so you can safely leave those at a 50/50 ratio.
When to Use It Edit
Once you're in battle, the type of ammo you should be firing is entirely dependent upon whether or not your target has any armor left in the areas where you're hitting them. As mentioned in the "armor" section above, armor essentially acts as a secondary, non-repairable health pool for a particular section of a ship. This armor must be eliminated before you can damage the ship's main health pool, or DP. HE shells will deal greatly reduced damage to armor and full damage to a ship's DP, while AP shells shred armor in an instant, but cause little damage to a ship's DP. Therefore, unless what you're shooting at has a lot of armor left, you should be firing HE!
To tell whether or not a ship is armored, pay attention to the damage numbers popping off when you score hits. These guys give you a lot more information than you might think. For example, they're actually color-coded to indicate a number of different types of hits: white numbers indicate that you've hit the enemy's deck, green indicates that you've hit them in the belt, and large, orange numbers indicate you've scored a critical hit.
In terms of selecting ammo, though, it's the size of these numbers that you should be paying attention to. Smaller, darker numbers indicate that you're hitting armor (as should the fact that you'll be doing a lot less damage, if you're firing HE). When you see this happening, that's the time to switch to AP shells for a few salvos until you see the larger, more vibrant numbers that indicate hits against an unarmored surface (again, the reduced damage should be another clue, as AP shells do very little damage against unarmored targets).
This is what a lot of your shots will look like when you're firing HE:
But when you see this, it's time to make that switch and strip their armor!