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Disclaimer: This tutorial like all others is based solely on my personal experiences (about 10 years) of bnaving on Hard routes. Nothing here has been verified by the game developers, and is not guaranteed to work for everyone.
BNaving in general is a game of chess. You have your opener, your midgame tactics and your end-game (grappler). With Chess, you can play it everyday mindlessly and just make moves without considering how your opponent would react without ever making progression. But if you study how your opponent moves and make your moves to plan ahead, you will notice one thing: Your opponent has a limited set of moves every turn, and can easily be countered
Since I know most people are interested solely in how to get Ultimate & #1 Bnav, we'll start here first
Your Battle Navigation score is based on a combination of many factors, with each one weighted differently. I'm not sure how much weight each has, but from my understanding these are the factors
Hit vs Miss ratio - This is how many shots you're able to hit your opponent vs how many you miss (in a single battle). This is compared to your opponent and also compared to other Battle Navigators in your rank. Example - If in the course of a battle, you hit your opponent 7 times, and miss the ship 30 times. The opponent hits you 10 times and misses your ship 8 times. Your bnav will most likely go down
If you can hit the opponent 10 times, missing 15 and opponent hits you 1 and misses 30, you may either go up or retain rank
and if you hit your opponent 10 times, miss 3. Your opponent hits you 0 times and misses 30, theoretically you should go up in stat
Consecutive shot hits - Hitting a ship multiple times in a row, in my opinion counts as a combo. One shot = Single, 2 = double, 6 = Vegas etc, the standard combo. Missing inbetween doesn't exactly hurt your score in Bnav since most people can't hit too many consecutively, but having consecutive hits can play a huge role in your score, especially when you're Legendary/Ultimate going for #1. Now I'm not saying abuse this and I will most likely hate and make fun of you if you abuse the Bnav puzzle by using the following method, but this will most likely get you Ultimate
In order to take advantage of the consecutive shot-o-meter, people in the past would battle a ship and hit it a couple times. Once it's damaged and stopped moving, they would disengage the battle and re-engage it (Disengaging does not give you any score). This gives them a fresh battle with a ship that is already damaged. They stall a few turns and wait for it to run out of moves without shooting a single cannon, get behind the ship and shoot at it a lot. This allows them to hit it 10-15 times without missing a single thing, getting as much as a "vegas 10-vegas 15", then grapple and get a really high score
It is a barnaclety and the most illegitimate way you can achieve the ult/#1 bnav trophy, but if you're desperate enough to need to use it, go for it.
Other factors that affect your score
- Length of battle, though this only plays a small role,
Route difficulty/Ship configuration difficulty - This plays a huge role in determining how hard your opponent will be. The harder your opponent, the higher you score.
Having swabbies or lower stated/green named pirates aboard - This also plays a role in determining the opponent you receive. You spawn ships based on the people aboard your ship. If the game senses you have swabbies or lower statted people aboard, then it would spawn you a easy ship to match yours. Easy ships = Bad for bnav stat.
The more people you have aboard with higher Experience and higher standings, the harder your opponent will be and the higher your payout/bnav score will get.
The Battle navigation puzzle, when battling non-player ships, are divided into 3 phases - The Opener, The Midgame and the End-Game. If you have been on the board you may notice these 3 phases, depending on the route. The easier routes skip phase one and go straight to two, the medium routes combine phase one and two and the harder routes display all 3 phases
Phase 1: The Opener - This lasts usually the first 7 turns when applicable (some battles, it might be the first 10 turns, but rarely). This is when the bot has no intention on grappling you, all it wants to do is exchange shots. It will very rarely turn into your ship, and it will base its moves on the moves you have available (on the wild seas, it will base its moves on whatever you put in). It is rare for even the best battle navigators to engage the ship in this phase and be able to hit the ship cleanly without also taking damage. If you are like me and you pride yourself in rarely-never getting shot, you will probably notice I stay away from the ship for the first 7 turns. Yes it is possible to get some clean hits on the opponent, but you will most likely get shot sometime within those 7 turns. Advise: practice evading ships for this first phase. The phase is over when the ship throws out the first grapple attempt. If it throws one out in the first turn, you're now in phase two, if it waits till turn 11 to throw out its first random grapple, wait till turn 11 to start battling it.
Phase 2: The Mid-game - This is the fun part of the battle navigation puzzle. Here the boat will still attempt to shoot you at every point possible, but will try to grapple you. The boat is very vulnerable at this point and will take the shortest possible route to grapple your ship, including turning into rocks, and into your ship. Learn the possible moves the ship will take in common scenarios and take advantage of this. Avoid being too aggressive and allow the ship to come to you. ADVICE: IT IS BETTER TO TAKE YOUR TIME AND DO THE BATTLE RIGHT THE FIRST TIME, THAN WASTE JOBBERS TIME BEING OVERLY AGGRESSIVE AND HAVE TO RESTART THE BATTLE. So long as you keep your battles to under 20-turns people will be patient with you.
Part 3: The Endgame - This is when you're close to maxing the ship or it is already maxxed. The boat will likely run out of moves and put in 1 move every 3 turns. Most times, the opponent usually puts in just the forward moves when its out of moves, but be careful as it can turn at any point if you waste too much time. If you have taken too much damage, don't be afraid to disengage the boat (after giving your jobbers a heads up) and reattempt the battle. Avoid too many disengages however, as it shows incompetence. Your jobbers are your employees, treat them with respect and they will be patient with you, especially when they know you're learning.
Like I said earlier, none of this is verified, and i'm sure a lot of people have different opinions about how the puzzle works, but that's the fun of it. It is in no way extensive and it will require you to know something or two about pillaging before you can make use of it. If you have any questions, feel free to post below and hopefully someone has an answer to it.
My name is Stan, and I love to Pillage.
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