Various Methods for Port Battle Engagements:
How You Can Win With a Group That?s Practically Famous for Not Wanting to Work Together
These ideas are not necessarily ?what is the ideal strategy? but ?what is the ideal strategy for a group of random people who probably don?t care a lot for large scale coordination, as evidenced by the fact that they rolled up Pirates and not Naval Officers.? How can we bring individual, independent captain skills to bear and best minimize the well coordinated movements of practiced Naval Officers? That?s the goal of these attack methods.
This is what the nationals generally want to do. Line battles are going to tend to come down to simply counting up the cannons and adding up the captain levels to determine who is going to win. There?s some room for player skill in terms of covering each other, coordinating fire on a target, etc, but 90% of it comes down to firepower and levels and how you were ordered to attack.
Pirates will rarely find themselves in a position to win in this type of engagement unless they?ve stolen a particularly large number of 4th rates. Pirates, therefore, should not engage in line battles if they can avoid it.
Single Line Abreast Charge
This is where you line up side by side and charge the enemy all together. This is effective because it gives the enemy no single particularly good target to focus on. They can pick a target to sink but it won?t do anything to stop the other 23 targets that are approaching just as fast and from the same distance.
For this to work, there are some requirements for the Pirates:
* You must be charging downwind in solid short-range combat ships (4th rates and Oliphants are good choices)
* You should be running Crew Focus: Maneuvering, Defense 2, Wolf Pack and Cut Lines and have enough time to get back up to 75+ morale before you get into firing range of the enemy line.
* You must have Too Mean to Die and you must be ready to hit it the instant you realize that you are the focus fire target. (Do not run any ability that drops you under 75 morale. You may not have time to turn it off, recharge morale and hit Too Mean to Die before you blow up ? you need to have it ready for instant access.)
If you have the choice, charge the portion of the enemy line that is upwind from the rest of their line. This will prevent the downwind part of their line from easily turning around to help the upwind part.
Once you get in close, you start the ?brawl? ? messy short range combat with constant movement. You still want to focus fire as much as possible but instead of a leader calling targets, it?s largely up to individual captains to eyeball what?s going on in their section of the chaos to pick a good target. Total team amassed firepower is always important but individual captain skill is far more important here. If you can?t fire on the target you want, just fire on someone. Let no cannon on your deck get a moment?s rest if you can help it! If your target is healthy, eyeball others nearby to look for a weaker one or just try to look for an enemy that other people are shooting at and join in on that action.
As long as you?ve got health, stay aggressive, especially if you still haven?t used Too Mean to Die. If you?ve been pummeled or if you?ve used your Too Mean to Die, try to fall out of the fray a bit and shoot into it from the outside. The people trying to kill you may lose sight of you and decide to pick a closer target that they still have line of sight to hit.
Good brawling ships include Oliphants (Heavy or Mastercraft) and 4th Rates but could also potentially include things like the Capricieux Mastercraft. Deliverance Heavies are not recommended because a bunch of ships with high armor probably isn?t as handy as a bunch of ships that can actually do damage and sink things.
Double Line Abreast Charge
You?re still charging the enemy head on, but 2 groups are designated to fully charge the enemy ? right into them to mix it up. The other 2 groups are designated to turn broadside without passing through the enemy group. This is meant to help ensure a better mix-up for the ?brawl?. With all 24 people charging you risk having both teams charge more or less past each other and you end up in a short range line battle on opposite sides from where you started. If half charge past and half stop short, you should be able to force a general mix-up; it will be much harder for the enemy to get clear enough to form a good battle line because the engagement starts with them basically surrounded.
Scout Frigates: Death by Harassment
This one is theoretical. (A plan so crazy, it just might work!) It would be best employed during a port defense when the enemy has the wind advantage. For this plan to be most effective, everyone needs to do it, which is why I haven?t tried it yet. You can?t really ?try it out? with some people doing this plan and some people doing another plan.
* SOLs and Oliphants are most dangerous from short range, where their small, inaccurate, fast reloading upper decks are most effective.
* When a bunch of SOLs and Oliphants are allowed to focus fire on a single target at short range, that target has about 5-10 seconds to live regardless of how awesome its armor is.
* Scout Frigates such as the Tigre MC and Hercules function best from 300-500 yards as they gain little by closing on the target.
The plan here is a team of Pirates in ?Scout? class frigates with good medium/long range punch such as the Tigre MC and Hercules. Deliverance Heavies are ?okay? but they don?t turn overly well and their DPS is lacking. Capricieux type ships are not recommended because their firepower is short range, not long range.
The concept is that you will charge the enemy (or allow the enemy to charge you) but instead of charging straight in, you?ll begin a series of maneuvers at about 450 yards. A target is called and you will turn to broadside it with one side of your ship, then turn the other way and hit it with your other broadside and repeat. Use nimble sails and Crew Focus: Maneuvers. If the enemy is too far away, you will rotate by turning your nose towards them. If the enemy is too close, you will rotate by turning your tail towards them. The bulk of the enemy force should be kept at 300 yards or more away. Do not get too close! Maximize your defense!
This minimizes the effectiveness of the lighter enemy cannons (like the topdecks of those 4th rates) while still giving you a high hit rate.
Further, the sheer chaos of 24 ships maneuvering like this means it?s hard for the enemy to pick a target and stick with it as ships keep passing in front of each other, blocking shots. You?ll be constantly switching broadside facings, which means you?re putting your full armor to better use, and it?s much harder for the enemy to say, ?attack the 4th ship on the right? in Vent because of the constantly shifting formation. There will, no doubt, be a lot of running into each other but since you?re all in Scout frigates with good turning and acceleration, it won?t be a big deal (versus ramming each other in 4th rates which can put you both at a dead stop for the next 30 seconds?).
Initial trials may feel frustrating but just remember that it?s not the end of the world if you have to hold your turn for a couple seconds or slow down to let someone pass in front of you. That?s all part of the chaos.
Some video evidence:
Here we started out with the pirates in a line on a near parallel course with the British line. Once the time looked right, we all turned 90 degrees and did a line abreast charge (well, more or less) and hit the back of the enemy line. The front of their line formed up but now they?re downwind from us, they?ve already lost several big ships, some of them got separated and they?re getting surrounded. We ended up sinking about half of them with the other half retreating to the fort and I think we Pirates lost 1 ship.
These charges are meant to get the enemy disorganized and keep them harassed so that they can?t easily get a chance to form up a nice pretty firing line as they so like to do.
This video starts right as we engaged a British fleet of 24 ships with only 18 Pirates. We were short handed for the port battle but decided to engage anyway (cause that?s just how we roll). It?s a pretty good example of brawling and despite being outnumbered we sunk 10 enemies and had several pirates escape, so not too shabby. If we?d had a full 24 Pirates I think this engagement would have ended differently.