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Empire: Total War - Naval Battles
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Empire: Total War Heaven » Forums » Empire: Total War - Naval Battles » So many chevrons... so little clue what they do.
Topic Subject:So many chevrons... so little clue what they do.
posted 09-30-11 11:54 AM EDT (US)         
What exactly is the affect of experience for naval units? With land units I know it affects morale, etc. but I don't see any change in stats with naval units.

Life was much easier before I developed a sense of ethics.
(id: p90pro)
posted 10-01-11 11:03 PM EDT (US)     1 / 10       
I imagine it does more for the crew. Morale (good for boarding and long battles), speedier at reloading and putting out fires.

Perhaps they rig sail quicker as veterans.

Sir, I have not yet begun to defile myself.
Swallow my pride? No thank you, Im too full of myself.
I bring you nothing but love and a shopping bag full of sexual depravity.
I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me.
Tied with Meteora (****er) for Best Sig Award.
posted 10-02-11 04:22 AM EDT (US)     2 / 10       
I'm playing a short Swedish campaign at the moment, and my primary naval forces consist of lone 5th rates on long deep strike patrols, with pairs of 6ths as port blockade support.

The nature of my current wars is such that my main opponents are flotillas of indiamen, 4 or 5 at a time, or pairs of pirate galleons.

Standard tactics, use the wind, speed and manouverability, and demast with chain at long range, crossing and recrossing the T, string them out, all parked up with no masts, then pound em hard in the transom with ball and grape at close range till they strike colours.

I havn't built a single trade ship myself. I control 90% of the world spice trade, and 80% of the ivory trade.

As a result of this, my strike frigates have picked up a serious abount of battle experience (for this early in the campaign, 1720's) and I've noticed a slight improvement in handling, and sail setting, and a significant improvement in gunnery speed and accuracy.

At first, it might take 3 or 4 salvos of fire as your guns bear, to take out a mast, now, first salvo, down goes the mainmast, sometimes the foremast as well.

In an online 2vs2 minimum budget naval skirmish I played a couple of weeks ago, one of our opponents, with a naval dlc pack built his fleet around 3 copies of the Victory, plus supporting ships, and you could easily work out he spent nothing on experience upgrades. My teamy went for 1sts with supports, again no exp upgrades.

I went for 3 admirals 3rds, 74's, exp to the max.

The lead Vic, with his admiral was broadside to brouadside at close range in a roundshot slugfest, when my line crossed his stern at medium range, with chain, first 74 took his main and mizzen masts out, killed his admiral, seconds stripped the foremast, third switched to roundshot and punched a salvo through the picture windows on the captains cabin and straight down the main gun deck, enfillade fire. The Vics status changed from confident winning slightly to shaken concerned casualties/dismasted.

My line swung to port, sweeping past his unengaged starboard side at medium range. Lead 74 pounded him with a ripple salvo on autofire. He tried using manual broadside to frag my lead, but mistimed it and missed. Seconds 74 pounded him too, Vics status wavering. His gunners managed to reload in time for the third 74, but zero maoral bonus, wavering and suffering from the first two 74's salvos, it was badly depleted, more than a little ragged, and half of them missed, the third 74 replied and the Victory's status went from wavering to routing, very very slowly.

As my line swung to port across his bows at close range heading for the rest of his ships, the Victory surrendered...

His reaction on the chat window said it all...

"What the hell..."

Experience makes a BIG difference in naval combat.

Seems the CA guys took some serious note of historical engagements like that between the USS Chesapeke and HMS Shannon, during the war of 1812, when coding this part of the game.

Chesapeke was one of those new state of the art Boston built long-wheelbase super 44's, like the Constitution, Shannon was a 38, but, her captain had spent large amounts of his own money (gentleman of independant means an all that) on extra powder n ball for bonus gunnery drill, and his crew fired faster, and more accurately.

The battle took place in the waters just outside Boston harbour, a formal challenge to a ship to ship duel. Most of Boston's sNob Hill elite turned out with picnic lunches to watch from the shore, some even came out in small pleasure craft and parked up out of the firing line for a better view.

One of them later wrote in his journal that the battle lasted less than 10 minutes, from opening salvo to Royal Marines raising the flag over the shattered mastless hulk...

The Shannon's Captain Philip Broke went on to found the Royal Naval Gunnery School...

Oh, and for those of you who didn't know, the Chesapeke's captain, Laurence is the source of the ETW loading screen quote "Don't give up the ship"

[This message has been edited by AestheticDemon (edited 10-02-2011 @ 05:25 AM).]

posted 10-04-11 05:30 PM EDT (US)     3 / 10       
Okay thanks for that. I guess I have only rarely been able to get a ship up past 2 or 3 chevrons so I wasn't sure what affect it was really having.

Life was much easier before I developed a sense of ethics.
(id: Daelon)
posted 11-29-11 03:33 PM EDT (US)     4 / 10       
Hi guppy.

I have a few warships that have chevrons.. However, they don't display any better statistics when looking at the unit card for some reason.

Good to still see you around.

[This message has been edited by Daelon (edited 11-29-2011 @ 03:34 PM).]

Francis Marion
posted 03-05-12 02:52 PM EDT (US)     5 / 10       
After some in-depth analysis, I believe I have some answers to this question which has had me guessing for quite some time.

I have found that naval technology upgrades and levels of experience will not change naval unit stats when viewed on the campaign map. However, the story changes when the same naval unit stats are viewed on the battle map. Whether the unit stats are viewed while in the deployment phase or the battle royale makes no difference. When unit stats are viewed while on the battle map, tech upgrades and experience levels are indeed reflected in the unit statistics.

I have found that for every chevron of experience, a ship gains +2 to accuracy and, more notably, +5 to reloading skill. Firepower levels remain unchanged, as does hull strength, which makes sense. Unit speed is unaffected by experience levels, but can be affected through technology upgrades. An example would be the naval technology of "Coppering", which is listed as increasing naval unit topspeed by 10%. In a recent campaign I completed research on the Coppering tech and immediately checked my naval unit stats on the campaign map...my 5th Rates still possessed a standard unit speed of 17, while my Brigs possessed a unit speed of 22. However, in my next naval clash with the Barbary States, I checked the unit stats of the same 5th Rate and Brig while in the deployment phase; my 5th Rate possessed a unit speed of 18, and my Brig possessed a unit speed of 24. This indicates that the 10% increase in unit speed afforded me by the Coppering tech was factored in to the unit stats of my ships while on the battle map.

On a side-note, in my example above you will notice that the 10% increase in ship speed due to Coppering appears to round down to the nearest whole number...my 5th Rate stood to gain a 1.7 increase in unit speed but only moved from 17 to 18, while my Brig stood to gain 2.2 in unit speed and moved from 22 to 24. Either the percentage rounds down to the nearest whole number, or the unit stats are only capable of listing whole numbers and the units actually hold a speed of 18.7 and 22.2, repectively. This could perhaps be proven out by doing the math on additional naval unit technologies which grant speed increases and determining which is the case.

At any rate, please check your ship stats in your next naval encounter. For those of you who enjoy the micro-management and strategic aspects of Empire, this discovery adds an additional layer of interest and complexity to each and every naval battle. Since discovering that naval experience and tech upgrades are tangibly listed for my units in battle and do not merely give my units with experience some form of intangible "advantage", I find myself making important naval strategy decisions based on these factors. For example, after obtaining the Coppering tech, I would feel much more comfortable engaging an enemy sloop with one of my brigs, since in a running battle of chain shot, my brig will hold a speed advantage over the enemy sloop. In another example, a 5th rate with two chevrons of experience will possess a +4 in accuracy and a +10 in reloading skill over an enemy 5th rate which has no experience.

I have found that an understanding of these seemingly minute details have the potential of having a profound impact on strategic decisions on the campaign map and battle map alike. I trust that these findings will be as useful to those reading this as they were to me. Full Sail!

[This message has been edited by Francis Marion (edited 03-12-2012 @ 11:53 AM).]

posted 03-06-12 07:14 PM EDT (US)     6 / 10       
Those are excellent notes. Thank you for posting them. In my most recent game, I have been recruiting more new sloops at my main naval base than I have in the past. I've noticed the difference a single chevron yields. I now have a strong motivation to develop more naval bases than I used to, so I can construct new light combatants with experienced crews.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
Francis Marion
posted 03-12-12 01:17 PM EDT (US)     7 / 10       
You are most welcome! You can only imagine my delight upon discovering that experience and technology do indeed bestow quantitative upgrades to the fighting ability of ships' crews.

Since this discovery, I have been following a similar recruitment strategy to the one you mentioned, Webstral. I have found that the first chevron of experience is far easier to earn than the second and beyond. If at my top-level Navy installations in the mid game I can recruit sloops, brigs, and sixth rates with crews which already possess two chevrons of experience, I should be able to pick up that first chevron of "earned" experience with relative ease. By mid to late game I figure I should be able to boast auxiliary squadrons of sloops, brigs, and 6th rates with three chevrons per ship. These ships will then have a +6 accuracy and a +15 reloading skill advantage over similar ships with no experience.

Discovering that the effects of experience and technology have been quantitatively defined, albeit difficult to view, has finally made battle strategy as engaging as campaign strategy in ETW for me personally. Formerly I felt that the battles and battlefield strategy (particulary sieges) were not quite on a par with past titles such as RTW and MTWII, although the strategic options on the campaign map have been much improved.
posted 03-12-12 05:42 PM EDT (US)     8 / 10       
I just faced off against the first carronade frigate ever and the first two-chevron sloop Iíve ever seen. That two-chevron sloop was a real performer. I had three sloops on-hand because the Spanish squadron appeared in the transit box off the Guyanas; I keep one sloop on station guarding the approaches to each of the ports in Dutch Guyana and French Guyana, and I had just completed a new sloop for other duties that turn. Ordinarily, Iíd undertake a fight against one enemy frigate and one enemy sloop with a single sloop. I decided to take everything I had on-hand because I was feeling conservative. Am I glad I made that decision! The frigate was no problem. The sloop, however, out-sailed my own sloops in terms of speed and turning. I have copper bottoms, so Iíll have to go back and see whether Spain has top mast gallants. Anyway, the enemyís sloop out-turned and out-shot my sloops. Fortunately, I was in a position to double-team the enemyís sloop while my third sloop used grape shot to finish off the enemyís frigate. I kept the sloop with the experienced crew. (Why does the experience go with the captured ship? It goes against common sense, but Iíll exploit the game mechanics where I can.)

The fact that Spain produced them troubles me a bit, but I knew Spain had the lead over me (Great Britain) in naval technology. Interestingly, this is part of an overall trend. VH/VH is getting harder. In the past, Iíve gotten to 1740 without my enemies ever producing carronade frigates, naval hospitals, or advanced artillery. Iíve never seen the Maratha Confederacy construct a shipyard, much less a drydock or a frigate from the shipyard. This is not my first game as Great Britain by any means. Iíve seen things Iíve not seen in a half-dozen games as Great Britain. The Maratha Confederacy finished off the Mughal Empire in about 20 turns. Prussia took a long time finding her footingólonger than Iíve ever seen. Spain waited until the mid-1730ís to declare war on me for the first time in the game. Usually, Iím at war with Spain by 1720. The Knights of St. John have captured two trade zones, despite the fact that they canít do anything with the product from those zones. Austria was crushed by 1725. The United Provinces was conquered by Spain once (typical), freed herself, and then was conquered a second time by Spain. Commodities prices are out of line with my experience. Fur is slightly higher than normal for this point in the game (11 v 10), as are sugar (16 v 15 or even 14) and spices (18 v 17). These higher prices are not that significant, and they may change the next time more product hits the market. Coffee is quite high for the supply (13 v 10), as is cotton (20 v 18 or even 17). Ivory is very high (25 v 22), and Iím at a loss to explain it. At this point in previous games, I typically have complete control over the supply. I ship out just enough to keep the price at $22/unit. In this game, Sweden owns one of the trade zones in the Straits of Madagascar and is working it hard; yet the price is still quite high. Tea is low at 14, though the Maratha Confederacy is to blame for this. Tobacco is about right. It has been a very new game in many ways for me.

The musket is for fixing and softening the enemy. The bayonet is for destroying him.
Francis Marion
posted 03-13-12 08:48 AM EDT (US)     9 / 10       
A most interesting report. You say there was a noticeable difference in the sailing ability of the two-chevron Spanish sloop as compared to your own sloops. Did you check to see, as you mentioned, whether Spain did possess the top-gallant tech? If not, the effects of experience on ship battle speed may bear further research. In my testing I did not find increased ship speeds in relation to experience, only in relation to technology upgrades. However, that's not to say that there are some form of non-measureable sailing characteristics, such as rigging sail or turning radius, which are not defined on the unit card with a value. One would think the game creators would have lumped any increases to sailing ability in with the unit speed value, but perhaps not.

On another note, I must confess that I was unaware that a captured ship retains its experience when commandeered into your navy. This does seem rather odd, but 'tis an enlightening point all the same and one I trust will prove useful to me in future.
posted 03-23-12 08:50 PM EDT (US)     10 / 10       
One possible explanation to the crew experience transferring on capture might be impressment being factored in. Press gangs were run while in port and at sea impressment happened as well. What is even more interesting (and for which I have no historical explanation) is that, in addition to a ship retaining it's experience (presumably a crew attribute), it also retains... it's captain.

I noticed this a long time ago but assumed it was common knowledge but perhaps it isn't. I have seen a ship with the same captain name prior to and following a battle wherein the ship is captured. Perhaps this is also a reflection in the retained experience, though historically captains weren't impressed like ordinary seamen.

Life was much easier before I developed a sense of ethics.
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