Access Level 9, a player is granted the ability to assign a Commander to each ship. Commanders can learn a variety of useful skills that enhance the performance of the ship. Sometimes these are straight buffs to the vital statistics of a ship — such as faster turret traverse speed or more hit points — while others confer entirely new abilities or tools for the player to use in combat. A highly skilled commander is among the most powerful upgrades a ship can obtain in World of Warships, working together with installed upgrades, chosen consumables, and equipped signals to enhance the performance and capabilities of the ship.
- 1 About Commanders
- 2 Assigning a Commander to a ship
- 3 Commander Experience and Skill Points
- 3.1 Earning Commander Experience
- 3.2 Example Commander Experience Calculation
- 3.3 Accelerated Training
- 3.4 Spending Commander Experience
- 3.5 Elite Commander Experience
- 3.6 Example using both Elite Commander XP and Free XP
- 3.7 Converting Elite Commander XP to Free XP
- 4 Skills
- 5 Redistributing (Resetting) Skills Selections
- 6 Overview
- 7 Special Commanders
- 8 Commander Ranks
- 9 Notes
A commander is the personification of a ship's crew. Some crews are well-trained and trained in the specific features of the ship, and some are not so well trained. Training a crew is a long process that requires much repetition and a defined curriculum. The training level is represented by Skill Points, and the specializations by acquired Skills. Commander XP (CXP), earned in battle, is used to acquire skill points. See the Economy article.
Commanders have a commander level from 0 to 21 (= their number of skill points), a nation, a name, a portrait, and a rank. Some special commanders have a special voice.
A commander is either assigned to one ship of their nation, in reserve, or awaiting dismissal.
A commander is either trained for one ship of their nation or retraining to one tech-tree ship of their nation. (A tech-tree ship is a ship that is neither premium nor special.)
Assigning a Commander to a ship
A ship may enter battle without a commander. However, a skilled commander is worth his weight in gold-pressed latinum for improving ship capabilities. For a ship without a commander, one can be assigned from the nation's commanders in Reserve, or assigned from another ship. Or a new commander can be recruited.
To assign a different commander, in Port click on the Commander portrait in the Ship Specs panel. The Commander Skills screen will appear. (see below) Click the Change Commander button.
If there is no commander assigned to the ship, in Port there will be one or two buttons instead.
- Assign Commander to select a commander for the ship.
- Recall Commander - Hover shows the commander to be recalled; pressing the button recalls him. The previous commander assigned to the ship is recalled, not necessarily a commander specialized to it.
The Commander Skills Screen
This is the screen displayed by clicking on a commander portrait in Port. From here, all functions (except Recall and Assign when there is no commander — the buttons above) can be done.
[Also show the bottom? of a page with pending skill selections.]
For normal commanders, the portrait background is haze gray. For special commanders, the background is blue or gold.
Below the two columns of commanders on the Assign Commanders screen there is a Recruit button that brings up the interestingly named Commander Training dialog.
A new commander can be recruited with or without skill points.
Clicking the buttons below the commander's portrait in the recruitment window generates a new name or portrait for the commander. This can be repeated until the player is satisfied with the combination.
Recruiting is not the only way to obtain commanders. Certain missions, campaigns, and Scenarios award commanders. Experienced commanders can be hired in the Armory for Coal or Doubloons, or from the Premium Shop for real money. Awarded ships and some purchased ship bundles include experienced commanders.
When a ship is purchased from the tech tree, it can be with a newly recruited commander or without one. The latter option is useful when you intend to assign a commander from Reserve or from another ship.
A commander can be dismissed at any time (when he is not in battle). This will free up a reserve slot if he was in the reserve.
Commander XP can be recovered from a dismissed commander in the form of Elite Commander XP (ECXP):
The amount available for recovery is the total amount acquired by the commander over his career. For example, a 10 point commander with 500 CXP has 183,500 CXP available to recover as ECXP.
A commander dismissed without recovering his CXP can be recalled within 60 minutes (assuming a reserve slot is available). After that the dismissal is permanent. The dismissal of a commander that recovers CXP is immediate and permanent.
The Assign Commander screen shows all your commanders of the ship's nation and offers three functions: assign a commander from Reserve, assign one that is currently on another ship, or recruit a new commander, all replacing the currently assigned commander (if any) and sending him to reserve.
The left list shows the commanders in reserve and those awaiting dismissal, the right list shows those assigned to ships.
The sorting criteria for both lists are:
- First the commanders who are trained for that ship or retraining to that ship. Then those who are not.
- Descending commander level.
Commanders who would need retraining are marked with two orange arrows forming a circle.
Reserve slots hold unassigned commanders. Commanders held in reserve can be assigned to any ship of the same nation, subject to re-training costs. When reserve is full, actions that put a commander into reserve without taking one out are not available.
When you buy or earn a commander without a ship and reserve is full, you get a reserve slot to hold him. When you reset a branch of which you have ships with commanders and reserve is full, you get reserve slots to hold these commanders.
Each player starts with four (4) reserve slots. Additional reserve slots can be purchased with doubloons — normally four (4) slots for 100. The number of total and unoccupied reserve slots (for all nations) is shown above the Reserve (left) column of the Assign Commander page, with a button to purchase more.
Moving / Retraining
|Skill Points||E/CXP Required|
Once trained to a non-premium ship from the tech-tree, a commander's skills can be used only on that tech-tree ship. (They can be used on premium ships. See below.) Moving to a new tech tree ship requires the commander to retrain to that ship, which is usually accomplished by earning a certain amount of Commander XP in his new ship (see the table to the right). Normal commander training resumes once retraining has been accomplished.
Remember that while a Commander is re-training, skill effects are disabled.
When re-training is required, a commander is offered three options. He can spend:
CXP and ECXP cannot be combined to complete retraining.
Retraining a commander costs much less CXP than recruiting a level 0 commander and training him to the same level.
A commander can be assigned to a premium/special ship of the same nation without undergoing re-training. His skills will function at full strength on the premium/special ship. Commander XP earned while assigned to a premium/special ship counts toward re-training on his specialized ship. This makes premium/special ships a great way to re-train commanders while avoiding retraining penalties. The commander can be moved back to his specialized ship without penalty.
Because commanders have a separate set of skills for each ship type — battleship, cruiser, destroyer, aircraft carrier — they can reasonably be moved to any premium/special ship. A commander with unused skill points can select skills while assigned to a premium/special ship of that type. See below.
Note that while a new commander can be recruited to a premium/special ship, an existing commander can never be re-trained to one.
Commander Experience and Skill Points
|Skill Points||Total Commander XP Required|| CXP Required|
for Next Level
This section discusses earning Commander Experience (Commander XP or CXP) and the Skill Points that are acquired with it.
The table at right shows the experience requirements for a commander to get skill points.
Earning Commander Experience
Commanders earn commander experience (CXP) in the same way that ships do, starting with Base XP, to which CXP bonuses from 'For Personal Merit' global boosters, permanent ship booster packages, expendable bonuses, and 'For Clan Merit' global boosters are added. See the The Economics of Battle article for details. Players can view how much commander XP they earned in a given match on the 'Credits and XP' tab of the post-battle report.
In addition to CXP, ECXP may also earned in the battle. (Except see the warning above under Re-training.) Non-elite commanders earn 5% of CXP. Since elite commanders CXP earnings all go to the ECXP pool; no extra is earned.
Example Commander Experience Calculation
A player earns 2,233 base experience in a game (it was a good game). He has
- a Warships Premium account,
- a Level 1 'For Personal Merit' boost with +10 CXP,
- a permanent ship booster pack with a +50% CXP bonus,
- a green +200% CXP bonus mounted.
- He belongs to a clan with an Academy offering a 6% CXP bonus.
- 2,233 + [2,233 x 0.65 (for WoWs Premium)] = 3,684 modified base experience
- 3,684 + [3,684 x 0.1 (for Personal Merit)] + [3,684 x 0.5 (for the permaboost)] + [3,684 x 2.0 (for the expendable bonus)] + [3,684 x 0.06 (for Clan Merit)] = 9,801 Commander experience
- 5% of 9801 Commander experience yields 490 Elite Commander XP also earned.
Spending Commander Experience
Each commander displays his skill points overlaid on his portrait in Port as available/total. Thus a commander with 15 points, only 3 assigned, would show "12/15" on the lower right of his portrait.
Clicking on the commander's portrait brings up the Assign Commander screen where the display of available point is a little red icon at several points on this and subsequent screens.
Elite Commander Experience
Elite Commander Experience (ECXP) is to Commander XP as Free XP is to ship XP. A quantity of Commander XP is associated to a particular commander. ECXP accumulates in a common pool where it is available to all commanders on a player account.
The current ECXP balance is shown in the upper right corner of each of the commander screens.
In battle, ECXP equal to 5% of all Commander XP earned is contributed to the common pool.
A commander who earns twenty-one (21) Skill Points becomes an Elite Commander. Elite commanders continue to earn experience as do lower-ranked commanders. However, an elite commander no longer accumulates CXP; all his experience is earned as ECXP. Thus an elite commander earns far more ECXP per battle than not-yet-elite commanders.
Using Elite Commander XP
- Applied to any non-elite commander to gain additional skill points.
- Used to retrain any commander moved to a different, non-premium ship (instead of spending doubloons).
- Used to redistribute skill points (in lieu of using doubloons).
- Converted into Free XP for doubloons .
Spending Free XP on Commanders
After all ECXP is spent, Free XP can be used instead of Elite Commander XP .
For a single operation, Elite Commander XP and Free XP can be spent together, just as Ship XP and Free XP can be spent together researching ships and ship modules. When Elite Commander XP and Free XP are spent, the following rules apply:
- To retrain a commander, promote him to a new rank, or redistribute his skill points, the available ECXP and/or FXP must be sufficient to fully complete the operation (no partial operations).
- When an operation can be completed, Elite Commander XP is spent first then Free XP is used only if there is not enough ECXP.
Example using both Elite Commander XP and Free XP
A commander with 7 Skill Points and 100 CXP is assigned to a non-premium ship for which he is not trained. 5000 XP is required to fully re-train him. 8000 Elite Commander XP is available. The player completes re-training by spending 5000 ECXP. 3000 ECXP remains. (Note that CXP cannot be spent for re-training.)
Now the player chooses to promote this commander to the maximum attainable rank using all types of XP. He has 100 CXP, 3000 ECXP, and 40,000 Free XP.The cost of the next commander rank (8) is 30,000 XP. He already has 100 CXP so he only needs 29,900 XP. To reach that, he spends 3000 ECXP and 26,900 Free XP (total 29,900). To reach the next rank (9), 41,000 XP is required. Since he has no CXP or ECXP and only 13,100 Free XP remaining, he cannot promote this commander to rank (9).
Converting Elite Commander XP to Free XP
Elite Commander XP can be converted to Free XP in the same way as Elite (ship) XP — ( 25 + 1 => 25 ). Free XP cannot be converted to Elite Commander XP but it can be used instead of it when there is not enough Elite Commander XP.
The ultimate purpose of earning Commander XP and Skill Points is to acquire Skills. Skills provide bonuses to ship performance (but in some cases also penalties). Each skill has a mastering cost (level, skill point cost) from 1 (first row) to 4 (fourth row). Every commander can acquire five sets of skills, one for each ship type — battleship, cruiser, destroyer, aircraft carrier, and submarine. A commander's skill points can be spent on all five sets. For instance, a commander with 10 points can acquire 10 points worth of battleship skills and also 10 points worth of carrier skills, etc. The skills for each ship type are different. There are 24 skills per ship type (only 20 for submarines). Some skill effects are active only under certain conditions.
Some skills are only useful to ships with certain weapon systems. Skills that are not useful to the current ship are marked as such. They may still be selected. (If a skill is not useful on the current ship, it may become so when the commander is moved to a different ship.) However, considering the cost to train a highly skilled Commander, it is best to focus his skills on ones that are immediately useful. A complete list of skills, their point costs and effects, appear in the main article.
When selecting skills, a number of different skills can be selected and the effect on the Ship Specifications (panel to the right) observed. Once a set of acceptable skills is selected, you are asked to confirm their application. A set of skills is expensive to redistribute, so select carefully.
A skill in row 2-4 can only be mastered if a skill of the row above (of the same ship type) has been mastered. The symbol of a mastered skill is yellow. Skills with a yellow triangle in the lower right corner are recommended for the current ship.
Redistributing (Resetting) Skills Selections
Redistributing Commander skill points costs either 25 or 10,000 per spent skill point; players are not charged to redistribute unspent skill points. Upon confirming the redistribution, all currently trained Commander skills in the current set are cleared, the corresponding skill points are refunded, and players may begin assigning those skill points again as they see fit. Skill selections in the other three skill sets are not affected.
Note that if a commander has at most 7 skill points and they are all spent for a ship type, recruiting a level 0 commander and training him to the same commander level costs less XP than redistributing the skill points for that ship type.
|Commander status||Commander gets assigned to ship||Retraining|
|trained for ShipT or retraining to ShipT||ShipT or premium/special ship||not required|
|tech-tree ship except ShipT||required|
|Commander status||Commander level||Commander is on ship||Skills||Battle’s commander XP is added to||Percentage of battle’s commander XP added to ECXP||When enough XP has been earned|
|trained for ShipT||<21||ShipT or premium/special ship||active||commander’s XP||5%||Commander gets a skill point (commander level increases).|
|trained for ShipT||21||ShipT or premium/special ship||active||--||100%||--|
|retraining to ShipT||any||ShipT||inactive||commander’s retraining XP||0%||Commander becomes trained for ShipT.|
|retraining to ShipT||any||premium/special ship||active||commander’s retraining XP||0%||Commander becomes trained for ShipT.|
Special commanders (sometimes called "unique commanders") have unique talents or modified commander skills.
As Commanders gain levels, they are given rank titles based on their nation. These roughly correspond to the historical ranks awarded to officers of their nation's respective navies. The table below lists these ranks as they appear in game.
- Development Blog. 30 Nov 2020
- Development Blog Q&A. 16 Dec 2020.
- Commander Skills Update. News article 14 Jan 2021.
- See Update 0.10.0 for changes to ships related to the skills update. 18 Jan 2021.
LittleWhiteMouse's 'Angry YouTuber' skills reviews:
Lord_Zath's extensive, comprehensive review. Expand the description for notable timestamps.
- A very few commanders can be assigned to ships of more than one nation.
- Take care when re-specializing a commander to a new ship. Until he directs a battle there, Recall can pull him back to his old ship.
- If the Recruit button is disabled, check that there is at least one open Reserve Slot
- Commanders with talents do not allow themselves to be dismissed.
- Recruiting a commander to a ship with a commander, Assigning a commander from another ship to a ship with a commander, Sending a commander to reserve, Canceling the dismissal of a commander
- Commanders cannot be retrained to a premium ship.
- Free XP becomes available at Access Level 6. Commander operations and ECXP become available at Access Level 9. Since at that point the account will have no ECXP, accumulated FXP may be used in its place.