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Alrighty...well this guide was made up way way way back around February or March 2004 (can't remember when exactly) cuz i was bored....so some of this stuff maybe outdated, i just haven't had the time to update it myself so it would be perfect...but this is my gunnery guide that helps me stay on ultimate. I just fixed up some minor things here and there, but mostly 99% of all this was originally from my experience only.
This guide was originally intended to help my fellow crewmate officers achieve better standings in gunnery...and since i feel everybody knows these strategies are posted all over the forums already, i might as well post this old guide for the hell of it...and well, to help the y!pp community out too :P
The stuff in **EDIT** is minor tweaks and tips i added in after briefly skimming over the old stuff....
ok, this is a bit late in the game to talk about how to gunnery, since everybody's legendary/ultimate already...
but everybody knows i love to load cannons super fast...so i decided to give some help to this crew cuz i love this puzzle so much :)
This guide is how to become an ultimate in gunnery. I use these same tactics to give our boats (or whatever boat i'm on as gunner) seemingly infinite ammo :)
My idea of fast loading is a good 4 cannons in less than 1 min. i've done it several times, and if ye sailed with me as gunner, you know i'm quick. with a cutter or larger (which has more than 4 cannons), you will only need me as 1 gunner cuz i can load quick enough that the rest of the cannons would still be idle and loaded...
**EDIT** well, now with the new 8 shooting guns capacity for warbrigs and up, you'll still need a backup gunner :)
To me, if you can load at a rate of 1 or 1.5 cannons in 1 seabattlenav turn, then yer already set for being a speed loader. (this is only after ye have the 4 cannon loop set up along with a good puzzle)
On with the tips...
1) Pieces will always move clockwise when it hits an obstacle or it will move in the direction of the arrow placed in its path.
2) LOOP = a circular path that the pieces move about the board. (try keeping the loop in a clockwise path as well)
For starters, try to loop 2 unloaded cannons at least using ONLY Zero/One/Two arrows. any more arrows required to make a loop is useless, restart the puzzle if its really that hard to see it.
For example, try for the bottom 2 cannons, or the top 2, or sometimes even the 2 on the left side/right side.
3) when you feel comfortable with topics (1) and (2), then you could try looping all 4. HOWEVER, you would only REALLY need to loop all 4 if you were gonna try to speedload during seabattle. that's the only reason you'd need to loop all 4. (unless of course you get really lucky in seeing it quickly, and can load them that quick, whichever works in yer favor :) )
This picture above is an example of a loop....sure, i used 2 arrows, but thats usually what i'm used to....i could have used only the top left arrow, but being used to putting 2 arrows for a loop creates a mindset...anyway, this is how a loop should be designed for basic measures. use the 3rd arrow to load 1 cannon at a time...shoving in the water to clean it out, move arrow back to continue the path of the loop, then shove a red powderbag when it comes by, turn it back to continue the loop, ....etc for wad and ball.
When you are finished that 1 cannon, refresh the arrows that makes up your loop and then start shoving pieces into the next cannon that needs filling.
*Please note...you SHOULD NOT switch cannons to load even if the pieces are right there for the taking....doing so usually results in booching a cannon, or forgetting to turn the arrow back to continue the loop path, or having to wait for the pieces to line up cuz the arrow placed down interrupted the loop... Only reason i say this is cuz when you get to my speed....pieces move super fast....so working on 1 cannon at a time is essential to this strategy.
**EDIT** If you can load other guns, go right ahead...the timer's ticking :) its up to you as gunner to load them as fast and efficiently as possible.
4) Dead Ends - this is when a cannon cannot be looped... usually, if i'm out of seabattle, i'll avoid these cannons at all costs....restarting the puzzle to have it able to loop. it just wastes time and thinking processes trying to decide how to set up these....but if you really want to know how i take care of them (like when i'm out of seabattle), i'll try explaining 2 types of dead ends....
4a) Dead Ends where pieces move past the cannon, and create its own locked in loop.
(Please imagine this puzzle without arrows first...the top left is the dead end i'm talking about for this section)
These i avoid the MOST...they take up too many arrows to swap around...so good luck on these, cuz you are on yer own :) The amount of time spent for loading these is not very efficient unless you know the procedure right away, or if the pieces are already lined up (then its just a timing issue)...
My Solution: Restart the puzzle after loading the easy ones...
4b) Dead Ends where pieces move past the cannon, but backtrack back out across the cannon again.
(green boxed arrow is the one i use for tweaking between loop and cannon)
**EDIT** ok, i think i goofed this topic up and went in a different direction...anyway, what i meant to say was dead ends that lead over the cannon, but backtrack out will most likely reverse the order of the pieces if you lead it up into the dead end (ignore the already-placed arrows in this picture). instead of cannonball-wad orderedpair in a path, you could just shoot up them up this topic4b path, fix the highlightedingreen arrow to continue its course, and the cannonball-wad pair will become a wad-cannonball pair...which makes a nice ordering for loading, since you just need a cannon with powder already loaded to direct this pair into the cannon.
The picture above really demonstrates how i solve topic4a&b cannons on the topleft or bottomright. the topright cannon and the bottomleft cannons are usually the ones i would restart the puzzle if i couldn't get a good loop around them.
I just create a loop just before the cannon's deadend path...place an arrow that is directed into shoving the cannon, refresh the loop, and tweak the loop's path using the greenboxed arrow to lead into the cannon with the alreadyplaced arrow and stuff happens... (haha)
Though when the pieces are moving super fast, its really hard to tweak the loop arrow to make the pieces go when you want to move them.
As you can see, the way i do it is the click-drag method. there's another method that people use that for having a trackball with a scroll button, but since i have a mouse, its easier for me.
5a) Click-drag method:
If you have a mouse (with or without a scroll button), you would most likely use this method...
When you want to place an arrow down, hold the left mouse button where you want to drop the arrow, and drag in the direction you want the arrow placed, and release the left mouse button. this places an arrow...(duh).
Now the advanced parts of this...while you are clicking the left mouse button down, and you want to CANCEL the arrow placement, rightclick. this helps a lot when your mouse is acting up or if you just decided on a better place for an arrow...you can cancel and continue on with whatever you were doing.
5b) scroll mouse/trackball:
I don't have a trackball, but its worth mentioning...if you have a scroll mouse/trackball, you can set the direction of the arrow instead of click-dragging it. Scrolling upwards and downwards makes them turn a certain direction. I believe that the cancel button could also be used here too since you can hold down, scroll, the rightclick to cancel...
Also, using the "W, S, A, and D" keyboard keys can change the arrow directions up,down,left,right respectively.
6) Barrel stuff:
***EDIT*** i think the pieces are more randomized coming out of the barrel instead of specific pieces coming out of each side, so this section may not even apply anymore
The barrel ejects certain pieces from certain directions of the barrel. what i would usually do at the start of a puzzle would be to place a left arrow right under the barrel, to start with an easy powder/wad trail to the top-left cannon. Theoretically, if you can make a loop going with this, you could easily fill powder/wad into all 4 cannons as long as the barrel doesn't move or the arrow still exists below the barrel. There's complications that lead in with this method of loading, but its fun if the loop doesn't require extra arrows at the start...
This method is ok for the first 1 or 2 cannons, but after that, you'd still need to make a loop...so either way is up to you.
6a) Stopping the barrel:
**EDIT** I'm pretty sure the devs know about this already...but i'm sure soon enough, they'll put a stop to this...so use it at yer own discretion
There's also a way to stop the barrel from rolling around in seabattle nav! Normally, i wouldn't tell anybody about this cuz its really a cheat in the game (and the developers hasn't fixed it yet)....but i've told my most trusted friends about it....I'd rather still not tell anybody how to do this yet cuz most people already know, and I really don't want to devs to fix this. So please don't let this information leak outside of this crew....otherwise the devs will find out and the game will be ruined! (well, if you already are good with gunnery, it shouldn't have been a problem in the first place :) )
Its actually pretty funny how to do it....During seabattle nav, you know the barrel is gonna move when the boat makes a turn to the left/right or when its in a whirlpool. (**EDIT** some people thought the barrel rolls randomly...lol) Well, just before the timer runs out on the seabattle nav timer...pause the game by hitting the 'ESC' key or the key for chatting...and just wait till the boat is finished making its turns left/right and is idle again, then hit 'ESC' again to return to the puzzle. The barrel will not move cuz you were busy chatting... :)
This effect also has its advantages overall....when you're in the puzzle, you can pause the game, and click the arrow you want placed with having the pieces not move at all...like if you don't want to wait forever for the waterbucket to come, but its just about to pass the cannon, pause the game, place the arrow (the game will automatically resume) and the waterbucket will flush the cannon.
**EDIT** i've noticed a bit of complications arising from this...so placing an arrow while in chat may not work anymore, but halting the pieces still works :)
7) Restarting the puzzle:
If you can't get a good loop going, or the puzzle is just too difficult to find a loop, exit the puzzle, and restart! i've seen a lot of gunners just sit at the same crappy puzzle all the time and 1 cannon would be loaded every 5 turns or so...its quite an annoyance to the navigator who's lining up shots, but shooting blanks....
You'll prolly find better things listed for how scoring is rated, but what i've found on a separate forum post:
9) Speed of the pieces:
The movement speed of the pieces is dependent on how well you your standing vs the ocean/arch. At able standing, it moves slow as a snail, but if you are ultimate, the gunnery pieces will initially (when ye start the puzzle) move a lot faster, which is advantageous if you know what yer doing, and allows you to load the cannons fastest.
If you stay in a puzzle during seabattle, and the guns you have loaded are fired, you can increase the speed by fully reloading those guns just fired. i remember i had loaded about 40 cannons in one puzzle, and the pieces were going ludicrous speed! feels so great when its going that fast too its like "Need for Speed" racing in gunnery!
**EDIT** i think the ludicrous speed has been nerfed down...but i've heard people say that if you become part of the top 10 in gunnery, the pieces move at ludicrous speed like it usually did before...
However, if you exit the puzzle you were working on, the speed slows down to whatever your currentstanding in gunnery is, and you would have to regain the increased speed you had from the previous puzzle all over again. If your standing in gunnery goes up, then the initial speed of the pieces will go up.
Each time the pieces' speed is increased, that's an indication you are doing well.
If you booch a cannon, the pieces will slow down a tad...but can be easily remedied after fully loading a cannon.
**EDIT** Another miscellaneous tip I'm adding is that if you are a designated gunner for seabattles, you could sit at the gunnery station and idle till the guns are shot so ye can load them...OR you could search for a good 4cannonloop puzzle by exiting and restarting the gunnery puzzle until you find a good configuration for you to load them faster. in the beginning of the seabattle, this method isn't too bad since you don't get a message saying that you aren't abandoning a duty station. However, just be warned, after the first shots have been fired from the boat you are on, you'll get a message in chat that everybody can see...that you are abandoning the gunnery duty station. it gets quite annoying seeing you spam the boat crew that yer looking for a good puzzle, so just try to hold off the spam. Spamming the boat may result in lesser or no booty share since its an annoyance, so be respectful to yer shipmates.
Hrmm...i think that's about it for gunnery....with all these tips, you just need practice in shoving the right pieces into the cannon when they are lined up with pieces that you don't want.
Again, this is only a guide. if something else works better for you, share it. :) This guide is not an absolute guarantee for ultimate, but it has given much improvement for my crew members.
Let me know if this guide has helped ya...
"When I gun, pigs fly....what???"
Kylroes "Killer O's" of Infernal Infidels
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