Reading a lot of guides to the game, I’ve noticed a lot of premise being on either the first few minutes of the game, or on late-game content. There is very little involved in a person’s first week or two getting into the game, and strategies therein.
So, consider this a guide for a person who has completed the tutorial, and perhaps first chapter, is probably running mostly common-grade equipment, and is looking to have an idea of what to do, and some strategies to make clearing and farming the second through fourth chapters, and slowly grind to the loadouts that the late game guides cover.
Part 1: Side activities.
While I’m sure other guides might cover this to some degree, it cannot be stressed enough, that completing Daily Missions, Commissions, and running Exercises will contribute greatly to your progress through the game – for the effort involved, Daily Missions and Commissions give you far more resources than grinding chapter missions, and are something that should never be skipped if so possible. Exercises meanwhile, offer you a considerable amount of XP at 0 oil cost, and give you secondary currency as well. They also can give you some more information of how your current “maximized” formation does against other players of similar overall fleet power and game progress.
Part 2: Purchasing strategy.
Early game, you’re tempted to buy… basically everything – constantly build ships, buy all the equipment boxes, etc. However, you can build a competent fleet composition just by grinding story missions, and equipment boxes come with time – the main thing that you want to focus your gold on is skill books, it cannot be stated enough that skill stacking, and skill ranks, matters more in this game than the raw stats of your ships.
- It is worth opening some gold chests early on so you actually have some decent equips. Gear gap in this game is huge. Going from the blue/white gear ships come with to meta purple/gold gear is something along the lines of double damage without even taking upgrades into account.
- Upgrades are crazy too adding somewhere around 15~20% stats of the equip per upgrade. Naturally you want to be upgrading the good stuff, though chances are you will upgrade some throwaway equips early on anyway.
- Gold boxes also drop toolboxes which are easily the single most broken equip in the game. Yes, you can farm them from 3-4, but it takes a LONG time to farm one.
- Skill stacking is important, but only on good ships (refer to a tier list). Generally speaking if you reasonably balance your skill upgrading you won’t need to buy more than the occasional red or yellow book. That being said I don’t remember if gold rarity books can be purchased that early on in the game.
Part 3: The equipment boxes.
Another trap of this game is definitely the equipment boxes. The T1 and T2 boxes are both traps – The former as they only contain white (common) equipment you’ll gather en masse scrapping ships you collect while grinding missions, and the latter because they only have a 20% chance of giving you a blue item (the remainder being the aforementioned trash)…. or a one in five chance… when it takes five of them to make a purple box, which not only guarantees a blue, but gives you again a 1-in-5 chance of a purple item. So just save up those boxes till purple before you open them, to save yourself from equipment misery.
Part 4: Building ships.
While skill books should occupy most of your gold spending, it doesn’t hurt to build a few ships – however this should mostly be used to fill in gaps in your fleet composition, or get somewhat more ideal ships for certain tasks. For most ships, this merely makes you able to acquire them sooner than you could grind them, but there are some exceptions.
Generally speaking, you will want to roll on the special or heavy banner, unless you’re specifically looking for a light cruiser or destroyer, as the rate of commons vs rares is worse on the light banner than the other two. Furthermore, I’d recommend keeping a supply of a couple dozen wisdom cubes on you after you’ve established a decent fleet, for any future event banners that come our way.
Part 5: How to set up your fleets (An exercise in not running out of oil)
Your primary fleet is going to be one centered around killing bosses – this means focusing your limit breaking, high rarity ships on it. This fleet will be more concerned with burst damage, so a vanguard of torpedo based heavy cruisers or destroyers will do best.
Your secondary fleet, meanwhile, is your fuel-efficient trash-sweeping fleet. You will not want to limit break these, however they will be the focus of your skill training to maximize their potential within their cost. As you will want consistent DPS for large numbers of weak enemies, gunboat cruisers of low rarity is probably the most viable option, at least until you get the equipment to run a thatcher fleet. Light cruisers outshine heavy cruisers here as well, due to their substantially wider gun arcs making auto-farming a bit faster. Generally speaking, you should try to limit the fuel expenditure of this fleet to 15, 20 at most, 10 is ideal, but not really doable until you’ve got the equipment and levels.
Part 6: Specific suggestions for fleets with guaranteed units.
Chapters 1 and 2 are mostly doable with most any fleet, but once you start grinding chapter 3 hard, whether that be 3-2 for equipment or 3-4 in the never ending fox mine, you’ll save yourself a lot of effort building a team around each other’s strengths.
Keep in mind, the following are fleet setups with only ships available as drops before these nodes, there will be other ships that will do better you can get out of the ship builder, but as such relies on luck, I’m providing a bit of strategy if you happen to be the unlucky sort – or just want to challenge yourself and save all of your wisdom cubes for limited time events.
Vanguard Units- For this, you’ve essentially got three good options: 1. A starter-centric fleet, working best with Ayanami if you’re willing to grind to unlock her, but working with any of the three starters as well. You back whichever of the four above up with two supporting destroyers that add to your torpedo power and buff one another.
The best support units for this setup will be Foxhound and Gridley – Foxhound for her reload command skill, is available at 1-2 througn 4, 2-1, and 2-4 (as well as 3-2, 3-4, and many later missions)
And Gridley, for her torpedo command skill and higher stats than Comet, whom she shares the skill with, is available at 2-2 and 2-3 (and later)
Your second good option would be a maximized Fletcher Fleet – Fletcher, Thatcher, and Charles Ausburne, limit broken and leveled, will do fairly well – Fletcher and thatcher can be grabbed at 2-3, and an Aulick can stand in until you get Charles grinding 3-2, who is quite worth while for her 31-Knot Burke ability.
Finally, there’s the torpedo cruiser team. For this, I’m going to recommend a royal navy trio of London, Arethusa, and Kent. With a firepower, reload, and damage buff respectively. London and Arethusa can be farmed together at 2-1, and Kent can be picked up at 2-4.
Boss Main fleet:
Here we get into fairly subjective territory – if you’re using the Fletcher fleet, I would suggest picking up an Arizona from 2-2, but for any of the other fleet comps, it will largely be subjective. Lexington, from 2-4, will be one of the best picks for any fleet you can get, as is her sister Saratoga – if you decide to spend money on this game at this point. Their high damage, both with planes and their occasional barrages is not to be overlooked – in fact their barrages deal enough damage, when skill points are invested in them, can destroy any non-boss non-battleship enemy you run across in chapter 3. Soryuu and Hiryuu, from 3-1 through 3-3, if you pick them up while farming or clearing, are also quite powerful when paired together. In my opinion, the best combination, given only grinding drops, would be to grind for Lexington, then use Bogue and Long Island until you’ve gotten both Soryuu and Hiryuu, then replace your escort carriers with the pair of rabbits for your farming needs, until you can replace them with success in the fox mine.
This is a little bit more straightforward. Here we’re trying to keep within an oil budget, and without some decent equipment to back it up, and assuming for these fights you’re wanting to auto while doing other things, my suggestion is fairly concrete until you’ve got a fletcher fleet built for the purpose.
This interim / beginner fleet is going to be made up of Brooklyn (2-2) for her artillery command skill, Pensacola (can also be picked up at 2-2, as well as elsewhere, but you may as well pick her up while grinding for Brooklyn) for her Reload Order skill, and Kent for Raid order (Acquired at 2-4). Your backline is best served with Shouhou for healing, and a Bogue to soak up some suicide boat hits as well as provide a bit more anti-air.
Later on, I would swap out Kent for Cleveland, whether you get her on 4-4 or if you build her, as A: she’s a straight upgrade in most respects, and B: Cleveland is awesome, and essentially SSR tier without being an SSR. But otherwise this setup remains viable and in some ways still better than a Fletcher fleet, especially if you’re running auto combat, if you can afford the oil for it, which is still within the aforementioned limit of 15 – only 5 or 6 more than a Fletcher fleet – substantial enough to be noticed, but still low enough to be viable for the job at hand.
Part 7: Beyond the fox mine, in conclusion:
This game is honestly quite expansive, and once you have the basic equipment down, you can do well (up to a point) on most nodes of the map with whichever your favorite ships are. Whether you go for waifus, efficiency, or simply want to experiment with other setups, you should play the game however you see fit. Take my words with a grain of salt – I’ve only had a short amount of time with this game myself, after all, but I hope that these tips can at least give new players some assistance in establishing themselves in game without making some of the mistakes I made early on.
This truly is an amazing game, and I hope that it continues to grow, both as a game and a community. Happy sailing.