A very important choice in World of Warships is deciding which warship line is right for you and will give you the most enjoyment out of the game. In World of Warships each line is focused on a specific class of warships that usually focus towards a specific type of play and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Destroyers(DD) are small, frail, highly mobile, and reliant upon torpedoes/allies. Light cruisers(CL) and medium cruisers(CA) are the “jack of all trades” class that fit between destroyers and battleships. Usually cruisers(especially after tier 4) have very good anti-aircraft capabilities, which become very important each tier you progress. Battleships(BB) are usually slow, heavily armored, and have a huge amount of firepower to offset being the largest target for the enemy team. Finally, carrier vessels(CV) carry torpedo bombers, dive bombers, and fighter aircraft that function as long range support for your team while sacrificing most short range defenses.
Below each nation as well as warship line will be gone over to go over the general strengths and weaknesses each warship possesses. This will give you a good idea which line is right for you and will save you the hassle of researching a line only to find out you do not enjoy the warships you are unlocking. Currently since World of Warships is in a closed beta this guide will be updated as the game ages to include more specific information about each ship instead of the general characteristics of a specific line.
Cruiser Line (Tier 1 Erie -> Tier 10 Des Moines)
The U.S. Navy cruiser line starts out with poor anti-aircraft defenses but from tier 1 to tier 3 the cruisers have very good firepower with their top configurations. The St. Louis especially has a plethora of main cannons capable of shredding apart even the toughest ships it faces. After the St. Louis the U.S. Navy cruiser line starts to shift towards being more well rounded ships with excellent anti-aircraft defenses. As you get into the higher tiers you will also notice that U.S. Navy cruisers focus less and less on torpedoes when compared to Japanese cruisers in favor of having better main guns and anti-aircraft defense. This plays well with helping to defend and disrupt enemy carrier vessel torpedo bombers and to support other ships on your team. Compared to Japanese cruisers the U.S. cruisers perform very well at longer ranges and also with being a support ship. U.S. cruisers are also excellent at peppering enemies with a ton of rounds quickly since their main guns often have very short reload times and are great at getting a ton of shells down range quickly overwhelming enemies with many shells.
Destroyer Line (Tier 2 Sampson -> Tier 10 Gearing)
U.S. Navy destroyers are easier to detect than Japanese destroyers and also focus more on anti-aircraft defenses and their main guns rather then torpedo capabilities. From tier 2 to tier 5 your destroyers have above average but low range torpedoes and it is viable to focus on using them frequently. However, once you pass tier 5 and reach the Farragut the U.S. destroyers switch to a more anti-aircraft and main gun oriented platform. Torpedoes are still useful but aren’t practical until you reach tier 9 and tier 10. One downside is that although the U.S. destroyers have on paper better main guns than Japanese destroyers the low shell velocity and high arc limit their effectiveness past 8 km.
Carrier Vessel Line (Tier 4 Langley -> Tier 10 Midway)
The United States Navy carriers start off very poorly with the Langley and Bogue but pick up thereafter. Compared to their Japanese counterparts the American carriers focus more on fighter capability and dive bombers which somewhat hampers their ship killing ability. Torpedo bomber configurations are still available but generally are not heavily used since you sacrifice fighter protection. U.S. carriers also have 6 planes per squadron compared to the 4 the Japanese have.
Battleship Line (Tier 3 South Carolina -> Tier 10 Montana)
The United States Navy battleship line starts off slow like the Japanese battleship line with the South Carolina which is very slow and feels outmatched by cruisers and destroyers. Once past it you enter the “true” battleship line starting with the Wyoming. From the Wyoming to the Colorado you are playing the “slow” American battleship line where you are in 20 knot battleships. As you move up in the tiers your anti-aircraft defenses increase substantially and this becomes a huge strength of American battleships at the New Mexico/Colorado. Compared to Japanese battleships, U.S. battleships have much shorter firing ranges on their main turrets and also weaker secondary guns up to the Colorado. Armor protection is better on American battleships in general than Japanese battleships up to the Colorado as well.
Once past the Colorado you move into the fast battleship part of the line with the North Carolina, Iowa, and Montana. Armor protection remains great but does fall short of the Izumo and Yamato on the Japanese line. In return American battleships finally get a boost to their main turret firing ranges, anti-aircraft defenses increase even more which is a huge deterrent against enemy carriers attacking you. Compared to their Japanese peers the American battleships are more well rounded and are better at fighting every type of ship. This is at the cost of being slightly worse when fighting enemy battleships due to slightly worse armor protection against high tier battleship shells, and Japanese tier 9/10 battleship armor protection being very difficult to damage.
Japanese Imperial Navy
Cruiser Line (Tier 1 Katori -> Tier 10 Zao)
Compared to U.S. Navy cruisers the Japanese cruisers focus more on torpedoes than anti-aircraft defense capabilities. While Japanese cruisers do have decent AA defenses they won’t have the overwhelming amounts that some of the mid to high tier U.S. Navy cruisers wield. Japanese cruisers with their great torpedo armaments however can inflict a massive amount of damage to any class of warship they come across. Japanese cruisers tend to play a little more like pocket battleships at the mid to upper tiers due to their size, larger main guns, and torpedoes. Compared to U.S. cruisers the Japanese cruisers have a lot more damage potential and a touch more survivability at the cost of flexibility and anti-aircraft defenses.
Destroyer Line (Tier 2 Umikaze -> Tier 10 Shimakaze)
Japanese destroyers focus more on torpedoes and being hard to detect when compared to U.S. Navy destroyers. Often times Japanese destroyers have a huge advantage on not only the amount of torpedoes but also the maximum range of their torpedoes compared to U.S. Navy destroyers. Japanese destroyers are masters at fighting in open water due to their concealment and long range torpedoes. The downside of the Japanese destroyer line is poor anti-aircraft defenses and also poor main guns(turret rotation and damage potential).
Carrier Vessel Line (Tier 4 Hosho -> Tier 10 Hakuryu)
Compared to U.S. Navy carriers the Japanese carrier line is more torpedo bomber focused and in some cases fighter focused depending on the ship. Japanese carriers do carry dive bombers but generally their bread and butter are having multiple torpedo bomber squadrons in the air. Although they only have 4 planes per squadron Japanese carriers field more squadrons than American carriers to offset this disadvantage. Overall Japanese carriers offer a wider choice of options for configurations and especially at lower/mid tiers have a higher ship killing capability than U.S. carriers.
Battleship Line (Tier 3 Kawachi -> Tier 10 Yamato)
The Japanese battleship line compared to the United States Navy battleship line focuses more on raw speed, better secondaries, and longer ranges on their main turrets. The exception being the first battleship Kawachi which plays at very close ranges and is very poor in the mobility department. The Myogi, Kongo, Nagato, and Amagi all are fast for battleships and combining that with good armor protection and large firing ranges on their main guns and you have a deadly platform. The Fuso, Izumo, and Yamato are not at mobile as other Japanese battleships but see buffs to armor protection and firepower in return for the loss of mobility.
U.S.S.R. / Imperial Russian Navy
Destroyer Line (Tier 1 Orlan -> Tier 10 Khabarovsk)
Currently in World of Warships the only Russian warship line consists of destroyers besides the tier 1 cruiser Orlan. Russian destroyer’s bread and butter is their superior speed and firepower compared to other nation’s destroyers currently in World of Warships. Their torpedoes have shorter ranges than United States Navy and Japanese destroyers although they are still very deadly since they are often capable of firing a large amount of them in one pass. Russian destroyers use their superior speed, maneuverability, and guns to rack up damage without relying on torpedoes. Higher tiers are capable of firing without being spotted with the right equipment and captain skills all the while not having a very long shell travel time like USN destroyers.
German Navy / Bundesmarine
Cruiser Line (Tier 1 Hermelin -> Tier 10 Hindenburg)
German cruisers are well rounded and are most comparable to USN cruisers except that they focus less on AA defense and in return receive torpedoes plus slightly stronger citadel protection. Lower tier German cruisers have a plethora of firepower but aren’t always as mobile when compared to other nation’s lower tier cruisers. Higher tier German cruisers are dangerous for any ship to come across since their guns are accurate and their AP rounds perform slightly better compared to USN/IJN cruisers. Almost all German cruisers have two layers of armor protecting at least the powder magazines that help stop some citadel damage from happening. There is the thicker outer hull layer and then an angled inner layer that protects the powder magazines. This added protection doesn’t help against battleships but it can provide protection against other cruisers.