This guide will focus on a non-linear manner of the early/mid game.
This guide does not have to be read in its entirety. Think of it as a reference. However, you will only benefit from reading the guide, and I promise it won’t take as long as the page numbers tell you.
Press View -> Show Document Outline to bring up the pseudo table of contents for this guide. I’ll be labeling each section pretty clearly.
Even if you don’t read the guide at all, please take away these few things:
- This is a game, play it like a game.
- There is arguably no bad ships, each ship has a niche to fill, thus it is extremely hard to quantify each ship’s “tier”. There are however better ships for certain roles.
- Enjoy the game. I made the mistake of trying to clear through everything ASAP, actually follow the story. Mess around for your first few days before you start hard grinding.
- Bind your account to facebook/twitter, you don’t want to lose your hard earned progress because of some unfortunate accident.
- San Diego is absolute garbage.
- Ok to be fair I just don’t like her that much, after retrofit she is pretty insane.
Then without further ado, I present you with SerenitydotCS’ Comprehensive Azur Lane Guide!
Tap Akashi () twice a day until she stops giving you things. You can start the questline to obtaining Akashi by tapping her 30 times. I advise you do this immediately.
If you are a whale, you do you.
If you are not, good for you too.
Either way I advise you spend your gems in these priorities:
- Extra dorm slots
- Rings/Dock Space (Rings if you don’t care about collecting everyone).
- Third Slot in Academy
Do not spend gems on Gold/Gems/Quick Finishers—these can be obtained readily. With proper management it should really be unnecessary to waste resources here anyways.
Press the bottom left again will take you to the Supplies shop, including essentially a gold/gem shop and a munitions shop.
Rules of Thumb for the Supply Shop:
- Buy any gold boxes (tier 4) with coins you see until your commander is level 50.
- Eagle Union boxes are good due to the fact that they have SG Radars, something that is pretty hard to farm. And mostly everything in the American box is worth using.
- Royal boxes notably drop the Barracuda (Bannannnnaa), it’s agreed to be the best torpedo bomber in the game.
- After level 50, it is really up to you, but I would only buy discounted gold boxes if you see them, as you have many other places to spend gold on, and you should really only be using merit at this point to buy equipment boxes.
- Buying purple food, cubes, and T3 skill books are worthwhile when having an excess of gold.
- Begin saving your merit points for South Dakota immediately.
- Once you get South Dakota, save for Eldridge.
- Buy Golden Bulins afterwards.
- It’s up to you whether you want to hoard points, but Gold Boxes and Cubes are worth buying depending on your progress.
This is where you’ll see all your ships!
You can equip your ship girls here with equipment.
This is also where you level, enhance and retrofit your ships.
What are retrofits?
They are essentially a “remodel of ships” usually they provide a healthy boost in stats and a new skill. And in special cases will change the hull type of the ship. I cover retrofits in my ships section.
What are limit breaks?
- Allow for you to break the level cap of 70.
- Gives your ship a boost in stats and power (such as extra torpedos, guns, high gun efficiency, etc.).
- Increase oil cost (more on this later in the guide).
What are enhancement?
These just increase the stats of your ships. Throw all the commons you don’t use into the enhancement tab for the ships you use whenever you can. Never use blue+ ships for enhancement, only white ships should be used because of retiring (more on this later).
What gear should I equip?
Scroll down to the equipment section (or use the document outline!)
This is where you can browse your items, gear, and designs.
You can think of designs as fragmented gear:
- 5 blue (R) designs are needed to create a single blue gear.
- 10 purple (SR) designs are needed to create a single purple gear.
- 15 gold (SSR) designs are needed to create a single gold gear.
What does gear do?
It’s basically equipment for you shipgirls. It boosts their stats, though different shipgirls will have different efficiency for each type of weapon.
How do you get gear?
Through obtaining blueprints—drops from clearing maps, or opening boxes.
After early game, where you are very gear starved, only gold, purple, and specific blue gears will be used.
So…What do this mean?
- Never ever open white (tier 1) or blue (tier 2) boxes, this is because they both drop white gear. Which is positively useless to you.
- Instead, you can combine 5 lower tier boxes to make a higher tiered box all the way up to purple boxes (tier 3). It is strongly advised you only open purple (tier 3), gold (tier 4), or red (tier 5) boxes.
- This also means it’s safe to recycle white gear.
Where do you get boxes?
You can obtain tier 4 and below boxes from simply clearing maps and doing missions. While tier 5 boxes are exclusively 3-star clear rewards for high leveled maps, we’ll touch more on that later.
Your canteen generates oil passively, while your merchant generates gold passively. Upgrade both to their level cap whenever you are able to.
The tactical classroom is what is really important.
Your ships level up their skills in the classroom. This is a vital part as most skills get a large boost in power between level 1 and level 10.
Rules of Thumb for the Academy:
- Use the corresponding skill book to skill type. Meaning use blue (defensive) books on defensive skills. This is because correctly matched skills will get 150% exp.
- Combine T1 skill books into T2 when you have them in excess. Prioritize using higher tiered skill books when you don’t have the time to log on every so often to refresh your training.
- It doesn’t matter what order you level it, some ships should have priority. But you end goal should be to level all the ships you want to level 9, as you experience diminishing marginal returns at level 10. The fastest way to achieve this is by using the corresponding skill book type and getting the most exp.
Your dorm allows for your ship girls to passively gain exp and affection.
You should prioritize spending your gems to get more dorm slots.
Having 5 dorm slots will allow your girls (at commander level 0) to gain 332 exp more per hour than 2 dorm slots. At level 70, you would get 1494 exp more per hour!
Rules of Thumb for the Dorm:
- Always buy Naval Curry when buying food. This is because it provides +5% bonus exp. All other foods that provide this exp costs gems.
- Start saving your house points for purchasing expansions.
- Purchase limited time furniture after all expansions are purchased.
- Then you can spend it on whatever you want.
Collect mission rewards here, do your dailies everyday. Nuff’ said.
There are four tabs, build orders, exchanges, and retire.
I recommend new player build constantly for their first week of the game.
You should prioritize: Limited > Heavy > Special > Light
- Limited is just as it sounds. It’s usually for an limited event. Ask around on the discord server to get an idea of whether the ships are good and worth pulling for.
- Heavy is built for only one reason: Hood. HMS Hood is a broken ship that everyone should have. See more on Hood in my ships section.
- Special is built for only one reason: Enterprise. USS Enterprise is a broken shit* that…yeah you get it just go check the ships section for more info.
- Light is not prefered in my opinion as most of the good ships in the light categories can be farmed in maps. However, it is always helpful to get ships like Helena early on, as you’ll level her eventually.
Use quick finishers however you want to, don’t use them on your daily builds though. I usually reserve them for satisfying mass event pulls on each events launch date to get the ships I want in order to start leveling earlier.
Rules of Thumb for the Exchange Shop:
- Retire any purple/blue ships safe to retire for medals. Keep at least one copy of every other ship.
- Keep at least 80 medals of honor at all time in order to exchange for the SSR on rotation.
- Always buy the gold bulin that pops up in the shop.
- It is up to you whether you have the medals to spare for retrofit blueprints. Keep in mind most people will have a destroyer blueprint shortage, as there is just too many good damn destroyers to retrofit.
This shit is absolutely useless for the foreseeable future. You’re on discord anyways, so complain about pulling Sandy over there.
This is your top right.
(If anyone on Sandy wants to add me, my UID is 202252828)
It shows your data and allows for you to change your secretary.
Your secretary will passively gain affection for you until affection 90. Meaning switch off between waifus after each one reaches 90 (or just keep your favorite waifu, no one really cares about this one.)
You get rewards for collecting waifus!
Notable Collection Rewards (the only useful ones):
- Pearl’s Tears
- Beaver Squad Tag
- Golden Torpedo
Allows for you to edit your fleet formations.
For those like me that didn’t discover this till halfway through the campaign, you can press details, then the character to access their equipment page instead of navigating all the way to dock.
Oh, and you can also drag and drop characters to change their positions (I know, I was real smart).
I touch on good fleet formations later in the guide.
I will cover general mechanics of the game here. But if there is any take away here, it would be—USE YOUR OIL EFFICIENTLY.
Your first clear on every map should be to clear every single node/ship that spawns on the map before hitting the boss.
Do not walk into any mystery nodes on your first clear, as a ship carrying gold may spawn, messing up your ammo amount on many maps for a full clear.
After that, you will enter what is known as the “farming phase” to either:
- Get that 3 star.
- Get drops from the map.
Rules of Thumb for Farming Phase:
- Rush the boss node, this is because SSRs and most of the drops will be dropped in the boss node. The boss node also guarantees a ship drop.
- Always get an S-Rank, as you are guaranteed drops by an S-rank.
- Fighting at 4+ ammo gives you extra damage, while farming at 0 ammo will cut your damage in half.
- You cannot be ambushed/airstruck over sunken ship or friendly fleet nodes, use this to your advantage.
- It is better to exit a battle than to lose a battle. You’ll be partially refunded oil if you quit. Getting miniscule exp is not worth the oil cost.
Rules of Thumb for Hard Mode:
- You get 6 hard mode tries per day.
- There will be required hull types.
- Only one hull type requirement per backline/frontline per fleet is needed to be fulfilled.
- Each hard mode node will spawn drop different retrofit blueprints:
- X-1 drops destroyer.
- X-2 drops cruiser.
- X-3 drops battleship.
- X-4 drops carrier.
- You should try to use all 6 tries a day, as this will quickly become your only source of retrofit blueprints.
Rules of Thumb for Daily:
- Do the highest level daily you can do everyday for 3 times.
- On sundays, do all of them 3 times.
Rules of Thumb for Commissions:
- You should always have 4 commissions active at any given time.
- The high oil cost commission should be used to passively level ships you do not currently use.
- Prioritize commissions with better rewards over exp.
SerenitydotCS, How do I level?
Let’s get a few basic leveling mechanics out of the way first:
- You will get reduced exp for fighting ships that are too low in level.
- Your commander exp depends on the number of ships in your fleet, the level of your enemies, and the rating you get. The more ships per battle, the more exp you recieve.
- Your leveling efficiency highly depends on oil. Smaller ships use less oil. Usually Battleships > Battlecruisers > Carriers > Light Carriers/Heavy Cruisers > Light Cruisers > Destroyers.
- Limit breaking a ship will increase its oil cost.
Why should I level my commander level you say? Because at commander level 70, you unlock the highest level daily event, which gives tier 3 skill books and tier 4 tech boxes. This will be your major source of progression in these areas. So it should be in your best interest to reach commander level 70.
Strategy for farming commander levels:
- Farm a map within 20 levels of your player level (For which maps to farm check out my maps guide below).
- Using a full fleet is a big no no (unless it’s fletcher’s fleet).
- Use a 1:1, usually a cruiser (notably Phoenix) in combination with a battleship/battlecruiser (notably Hood).
- Add 2 limit break 0 white (common) destroyers (Cassin and Downes are highly recommended) to your fleet.
- The two destroyer will only use 1 oil each, while increasing commander exp gained by 18 exp. That’s 9 exp per oil. Which is highly efficient.
Why should I level my ships you say? Because that’s the entire fucking point of the game sweetheart. You want those strong, cuddly, waifu-like botegirls—alright I’ll get to the point.
- Each time you clear a map, you will receive a base EXP value, we’ll give that value the constant “x”.
- Ships with >120 morale will earn a 20% bonus.
- The flagship (middle backline) will earn 1.25x exp.
- The MVP will earn 2x exp.
So what do I do with all this information? You could process it and come up with a leveling plan yourself.
Strategy for farming ship levels:
- Have a single backline ship that you made sure can tank the damage on the map you’re farming (or kill wipe the map fast enough). Rule of thumb would be ship level at around level 50. Take the world number, subtract 4 and you’ll get your recommended limit break level.
- Have a single higher level ship. This will be your MVP ship.
- Have another ship that’s low leveled, this will be your freerider.
Essentially, your backline will always receive the 1.25x exp from flagship, your MVP ship will always get MVP, and your freerider just gets free exp.
Once your MVP is high enough level, swap her with your freerider, and begin leveling a new freerider.
Once your Flagship is high enough level, swap her with another flagship.
However, new players should not use this strategy. It is much more important to level enough ships for two fleets. And commander level is much more important until level 50, where ship levels will be higher valued.
Anti-Air in this game is one of the most complicated things. So let’s do this in a concise, straightforward manner.
You have 3 parameters in Anti-Air:
- Rate of Fire
Average of all equipped AA gun range stats.
Rate of Fire:
Average of all equipped AA gun rate of fire + 0.5.
Calculated like any other girl. Base damage along with ship girl’s AA stats and efficiency.
These three parameter will show up during battle in the form of a circle. Only planes with their shadow in the circle will be fire upon, even by your backline.
What does this mean? It means that high range and damage is prefered in auto farming. Because there is an extra 0.5s delay added to all rate of fire, while it takes the aircraft around 4 seconds to cross the map to your backline. Add that to your AI’s tendency to not want to shoot down aircraft, you get the most consistent result with high range and damage in auto farming.
AA is almost useless in PvP (exercises), as in PvP most aircraft simply have too much health.
- Not increase oil cost.
- Increase overall stats.
- Increase weapon efficiency.
- Add a new skill (usually).
- Give you much better artwork (just go look at Exeter).
You can check the materials needed for each ship retrofit specifically here.
But in general:
- White Ships take around 13x white blueprints and 18x blue blueprints.
- Blue Ships take around 17x white blueprints, 14x blue blueprints, and 1x gold blueprint.
- Purple Ships take around 13x white blueprints, 13x blue blueprints, and 10x gold blueprints.
- San Diego takes 20 Tier 3 Blueprints.
This is the order in which you should retrofit on the EN server:
Laffey/Z23 > Ayanami > Shouhou > Fortune
Notable future retrofits include: Portland, Ning Hai, Ping Hai, Jintsuu (unreleased), Saratoga,and unfortunately San Diego is really damn good.
A notable exception to Retrofitting would be Fusou and Yamashiro. They trade their high damage and ability to kill suicide ships for a low damage airstrike. It is better to retrofit them up to modernization and just not completely retrofit them.
Map and Equipment Recommendations
Reduced exp at level 41.
Reduced exp at level 47.
- Purple Steam Catapults
- Purple Single 127mm (Mk 30)
- Purple SB2C Helldiver
- Charles Ausburne (needed for Beaver Squad Badge)
Reduced exp at level 52.
Reduced exp at level 55.
Reduced exp at level 59.
Reduced exp at level 61.
- Purple Fire Control Radar
- Purple Twin 203mm (SKC/34)
- Purple Twin 152mm (BL 6” Mk XXII)
- Erebus and Terror
Reduced exp at level 65.
Reduced exp at level 68.
Reduced exp at level 71.
Reduced exp at level 77.
Reduced exp at level 80.
Reduced exp at level 86.
- Purple Autoloader
- Purple Triple 406mm (16”/45 caliber Mark 6)
- Purple Twin 410mm (3rd Year Type)
- Fusou and Yamashiro
Reduced exp at level 89.
Reduced exp at level 94.
Reduced exp at level 97.
Reduced exp at level 99.
Reduced exp at level 106.
- Maya (best girl)
Reduced exp at level 112
I try not to include event equipment.
HE – High Explosive
AP – Armor Penetration
- Gold Twin 127mm (Mark 12)—HE shells withs 4 shots that easily sets ships on fire. Slow reload, high damage. Best used for DD with bad barrages. Best general use BB gun.
- Purple Twin 120mm (QF Mark XII)—Regular ammo. Solid performance and high accessible. Slow reload, high damage. Best secondaries for CLs.
- Purple Single 127mm (Mk 30)—HE shells. High damage. Inaccurate as fuck. But that inaccuracy doesn’t really matter, as the angle of spread is still within the hitbox of most enemies. However, do not use on BBs.
- Gold Twin 100mm (Type 98)—Fast reload, regular shells. Good for ships that need to reload a lot to proc barrages.
- Blue Single 76mm (3″/50 caliber gun)—Use only on Yuudachi.
- Purple Twin 150mm (TbtsK C/36)—Best general use AP CL gun. Never go wrong with it.
- Gold Triple 155mm (3rd Year Type)—The HE version of Twin 150mm. Twin 150mm are just so much more accessible. Use these on Belfast.
- Purple Twin 152mm (BL 6” Mk XXII)—Underrated gun. Good substitute for TbtsKs if you don’t have them yet.
- Gold Twin 203mm (SKC/34)—Unconditionally the best AP CA gun in most cases.
- Purple Twin 203mm (SKC/34)—If you don’t have the Gold version.
- Purple Twin 203mm (3rd Year Type)—Best HE CA gun. Use on Atago class.
- Purple Triple 406mm (16”/45 caliber Mark 6)—Best HE BB gun in PVE and just general use.
- Purple Twin 410mm (3rd Year Type)—A seriously underrated gun. Very much on par with the Mark 6. Perhaps even better than the Mark 6 for boss fights.
- Gold 533mm Quintuple Torpedo Mount—Throw this on anyone, best in it’s slot for auto farming.
- Gold 610mm Quadruple Torpedo Mount—Best torpedos for manual farming.
- Gold 533mm Quadruple Homing Torpedo Mount—Magnetic torps suck in general.
- Gold F6F Hellcat—Best in it’s slot.
- Supermarine Seafang—A slightly worse hellcat in terms of AA and HP, higher DPS. You won’t see a difference in practice though.
- Gold A6M5 Zero—Fast takeoff. Weak compared to other planes otherwise.
- Purple F4U Corsair—Best purple fighter until you get the Gold F6F Hellcat.
- Purple SB2C Helldiver—So easily accessible you shouldn’t be using any other dive bomber as it is unconditionally best in its slot.
- Gold Comet—Arguably better than the Helldiver on Ark Royal, that’s about it.
- Any Rarity Fairey Barracuda—This plane is just silly OP.
- Gold Twin 113mm BD RP10 Mk—High base damage and high range. Use on any ship. Best on ships with high AA stats.
- Gold Quadruple 40mm L60 Mk2 Bofors—Highest DPS in game. Fast reload and damage. Low range. Use on ships with high AA stat.
- Gold Twin 105mm SK C/33—Good in all aspects. Put on basically any ship. Best on High AA stat ships.
- Gold and Purple Steam Catapult—CV accessory staple. Every CV in your fleet should have one or two.
- Purple Drop Tank—Replace a Gold Steam Catapult with one of these in PvP. Still better than Purple Steam Catapults in all situations.
- Any Rarity SG Radar—Very useful in avoiding ambushes. Also useful in having the shots you take NOT be avoided.
- Purple Repair Toolkit—Great for auto battling.
- Purple Autoloader—You can never get enough of these. Increases the DPS of any ship you put it on (torpedoes as well). However, they are not fantastic on battleships in practice as most battles don’t last long enough for the extra reload to equate to an extra volley.
- Blue Fire Extinguisher—DO NOT TRASH THIS. Extremely useful anti-HE solution in auto mode. Mostly used on CLs running a 1:1 fleet.
- Gold Ship Maintenance Crane—Keep two for Akashi and Vestal. Recycle the rest.
- Little Beaver Squadron Tag—Increases movement speed of all ships by 20%, gives highest evasion stat in the game. Do I need to say more?