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Old Sailing by COMPASS

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  #1  
Old 01-02-2009, 10:34 AM
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Sailing by COMPASS

This guide is meant as a supplement to the utterly fantastic Ship and Sailing Guide. Specifically, it is about the COMPASS.


In every way, the compass is the most important part of the game, Pirates of the Caribbean Online. A casual observation of game play, will result in the obvious conclusion that version zero, was the compass only. The 3-D stuff was all added later, yet the game servers still "see" or "know" only about the compass view (with only nominal numeric characteristics of each "dot" on the compass.)

Many areas of the game are affected by "lag" or slowness, but rarely are updates to the compass similarly affected...even then, only when a great deal of cheating is going on. What you see in the compass, is what the game server sees. What you see rendered in 3-D is usually an after-the-fact animation of an event or action.

But this guide is a quick and easy overview, of SAILING only, using the compass only. Some people will still prefer to use the right mouse button to confound their view of enemy targets, but hopefully they will also gain some insight, from this.



Importance

Tia Dalma gave you the compass when you were level 1, instantly making your notoriety jump to level 2. Despite the "casting of claws" and prophesies about "destiny" the compass still is downplayed. But Tia doesn't tell you just how essential it is to good sailing in POTCO.

You are told that townspeople are green, enemies are red and allies are blue. You are told that rectangles are magical portals and maybe that yellow dots are probable quest objectives. The insipid yellow arrow leads your way on the ground and on the compass at first, thankfully going away after the first few quest items are done.

But all the drama around the prelude, barely touches on the importance of the compass. In normal sailing, it is best to use only what is reported by the compass. The visual rendering of a phantom's bearing and direction are flawed, but the compass view is never in error in that regard.

The compass appears in the top 130x140 pixels of your screen. One crucial aspect that Tia does not teach you about, it the bottom left corner of the compass. There are two circles, "-" and "+" that when clicked, zoom the compass in or out. Pressing "-" or "_" on the keyboard, or "-" on the numeric keypad will also zoom out. Pressing "=" or "+" on the keyboard or "+" on the numeric keypad will also zoom in.

Also note that the area of POTCO you are in, or the island you are on, or the building you are inside, appears at the bottom of the compass.

Another thing Tia doesn't tell you, is that when your chat window goes nuts, you can type "C" to make the compass come back. You can also click on your sea chest to bring it back.



Journal


When you are on a quest for a specific ship, the JOURNAL is your worst enemy. With tracking on, the enemy ship will display as a single yellow dot, making it essentially impossible to battle that enemy ship by compass. Type J to open journal, then click TRACK to turn it off. Now instead of one useless yellow dot, you have two red dots, the front one being a little bit triangular.



Aiming Broadsides


When sailing, if you picture this imaginary red line across the middle of your compass, you fire your broadsides when enemy red dots touch that line. The second image with the yellow lines, shows my approximation of what the "spray" angular range is, for most ship's broadsides. The third picture shows a ship I sunk with broadsides, right before firing (at the very top of the angular range of the light galleon I was driving at the time.)

Note that sloops aim their broadsides about 5 degrees "forward", galleons about 5 degrees "aft." The larger ship classes have slightly (negligible) more angular range, but the basic theory remains the same. Shoot broadsides when enemy dots are on the imaginary line.




Gunners

I recieve many compliments on my driving in ship vs. ship (SvS.) This is because I gear my driving towards giving my gunners a clean shot. It makes everything more fun, for everyone on board. When driving a frigate (of any class,) I essentially ignore the negligible front guns, most of the time. Less than 1/3rd of the guns on a frigate face forward - that means 2/3rds of the crew on board get very bored very quickly if you over-emphasize the front guns. The front guns themselves have absolutely pathetic angular range. So, keeping battles to the sides of the ship, more gunners get to shoot at targets, therefore more people have fun. The side guns on a frigate have comparable angular range to sloops and galleons.


Pictured here, is my approximation of the range my gunners have (no matter what boat class or size.) The little triangle thingy in the orange circle, is what I use, to line up on. If ahead of that triangle, most gunners will not be able to hit it (so turn, fool!) Again, this is true for sloops, galleons and frigates.

Note that gunners have no real range limitations. Round shot can hit targets 1.5 to 2 compass widths away from your ship's blue dots. Thunderbolt can hit enemies that are fully three compass widths away, since the ammo itself does aiming correction (voodoo lightning magic?) Chain shot, grapple hooks and explosive can reach enemies up to 1/2 a compass width away. Grape shot and grenades can reach enemies 1/4 a compass width away from you.



Broadsides Distance


The first two miss, the third one hits. Light class ships have less broadside range than regular class; regular class has less range than war class. But the difference is negligible, most of the time. If the enemy red dots are touching the edge, they are out of range. If they have one imaginary red dot of space between the edge, then you can hit.

Distance estimates are very important in regular plunder sailing. Most of the time, you do not want to come near the enemy ship. The closer to the edge of the compass you keep them, the more they have to chase you, therefore the less you get hit (if at all.) When you give your gunners a clean shot, they will "call" the enemy ships straight to you, so you can get your broadsides in. But keeping your crew happy, means you sink many more ships and get much more gold (especially with the captain's bonus.) With a happy crew, they will keep coming back to your ship (getting you to maximum gold faster than you can image.)



Mouse

If you need to pan the camera view with the right-mouse button, press the up arrow (or "W" if using WASD) to re-orient the compass. In sailing, that starts you forward again, so you may need to keyboard-mash the down arrow to stop. Remember to spin the mouse wheel out when you first take the wheel to see a larger area. Remember to spin the mouse wheel in, when getting lag-bombed in SvS (usually doesn't help, but 2 times out of 10, does.)

Note carefully, that when you pan the camera view, you completely botch the compass along with it. You no longer can use the four triangles to estimate if your gunners can still hit, until you reset the view properly by pressing the up arrow key.


Bad Driving

Ever go out to level up your cannons, by boarding a public ship? Too often, you will find the captain is a "jouster" who drives his ship straight at an enemy, then does a drive-by broadsides shot. Why they open their ship to public, is a mystery...they obviously don't want company, or are afraid their cannoneers will steal rep. Maybe, they aren't trying to be mean and are clueless, but the end result is the same - get off their boat as fast as you can.


Fun

While it could maybe be better, sailing is still the best part of POTCO. Enjoy it. The more, the merrier. The new PUBLIC boarding helps, but a million times better, is CREW MATCHING. When you crew up with randoms, you tend to get more people your level, fewer people who are clueless or malicious. So, open your friends list by typing "F", then set it to CREW, then in crew options click RECRUIT. Keep the enemy ships close to the edge of your compass and watch them sink, one after the other. Then pass the rum around and have a good time, with lots of gold and lots of reputation points for everyone.
  #2  
Old 01-02-2009, 12:24 PM
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Nice Edward. I've always sailed by compass only.
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  #3  
Old 01-02-2009, 01:29 PM
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Nice guide!
Thanks Edward !!
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  #4  
Old 01-02-2009, 03:43 PM
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Quote:
Note carefully, that when you pan the camera view, you completely botch the compass along with it. You no longer can use the four triangles to estimate if your gunners can still hit, until you reset the view properly by pressing the up arrow key.
I admit that I do mouse look all of the time when sailing but doing so doesn't ruin (at least not for me) using the compass to aim at targets. You just need to re-orient your brain and spin the imaginary lines around. Using the dots in the corners of the compass (look like mounting points e.g. bolts?) does help find the edges of where you can be assured firing range, but it's possible to find the same angles based on how your ship's icon is oriented. The theory should stay the same, it's just that the ships (including yours) spin with it. I never really seem to have a problem using the compass to aim or orient the ship for gunners.

I do agree, though, that only using what you see in 3D isn't a smart way to sail. The compass acts as a radar and when navigating in any game that offers one, it's essential to proper strategy and knowing/predicting your enemies' whereabouts and intentions.
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Old 01-02-2009, 04:21 PM
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Edward - this is a superb guide to compass sailing! Although I, too, have always sailed by compass I'd never really gotten a handle on the full spray effect of the broadsides, so I'll remember your yellow "x" whenever I play now.

Thank you!

  #6  
Old 01-02-2009, 06:46 PM
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Wow! Thank you for all the positive feedback. Wasn't quite sure how it would be received. <<<sighs with relief>>>

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sven Niscadae View Post
I admit that I do mouse look all of the time when sailing but doing so doesn't ruin (at least not for me) using the compass to aim at targets. You just need to re-orient your brain and spin the imaginary lines around. Using the dots in the corners of the compass (look like mounting points e.g. bolts?) does help find the edges of where you can be assured firing range, but it's possible to find the same angles based on how your ship's icon is oriented. The theory should stay the same, it's just that the ships (including yours) spin with it. I never really seem to have a problem using the compass to aim or orient the ship for gunners.

I do agree, though, that only using what you see in 3D isn't a smart way to sail. The compass acts as a radar and when navigating in any game that offers one, it's essential to proper strategy and knowing/predicting your enemies' whereabouts and intentions.
The one point I'd like to add, is that when you pan the camera, your brain now how to work overtime to estimate those angles - you no longer get the "bolts" as gunner reference points - you have to estimate instead. Sven, I've seen you drive very expertly, so I know that you have figured out some way of doing just that - but my feeble little brain needs every crutch it can get...like having the bolts as exact measurements for my gunner's aim.

The "radar" concept is also very important. For that reason, when being chased in SvS, I will often pan the camera around to see who is following. That way, I can see behind me, up to twice as far as what the compass reports. But if I forget to reset my view, I invariably run into an obstruction, such as Devil's Anvil, Isla Tormenta or Isla Perdida. So I've found it to me more important, to reset the view very frequently.
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:22 PM
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I myself use the mouse to look around my ship to see whats around me (red dots just dont quite cut it). However, when in battle, I definately use the compass to track my opponents, and to time my approaches, positioning, and broadsides accordingly.

Good guide Edward. Thanks.
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Old 01-02-2009, 07:55 PM
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Great job Edward...although I don't like the camera thingey meself...You have given me some pointers that this pirate could definitely use in the future. Since I usually sail by meself, it helps to know about the "X" for cannoners. And the journall tracking will be useful for me second pirate. Thanks again!
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Old 01-02-2009, 11:21 PM
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Maybe I was a little harsh on the TRACKING thing in JOURNAL. When you are a brand new pirate, the tracking can help, sometimes. But for most sea battles, it is more of a hindrance, if not an outright liability.

Thanks for the kind words all. Next up, my "Cannon Aiming Tutorial" but that won't be something I can knock off in just a day. Might take a couple weeks, actually, since aiming in SvS is so different and so much harder than aiming at NPCs. (Maybe I'll get lucky and someone will beat me to it.)

Thanks again to Ironhawk for inspiring this, from his Ship and Sailing Guide & Reputation Chart.
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Old 01-03-2009, 12:06 AM
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Good guide.
I don't use the compass for sailing to other islands but I use it when attacking enemy ships. It always comes in handy when there are two enemy ships attacking me.
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Old 01-03-2009, 01:59 AM
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I use the compass when I to see how I line up only: while I didn't really explain it to myself, I'd use it to make sure I'm either in line directly behind, directly in front of (both the prior for a Frigate and the front cannons) or directly perpendicular to a ship (each ship being a line that splits down the middle, the perpendicular forming an imaginary cross).

I think that the broadsides to some extent aim at ships: that is, to any certain reasonable range and angle, they'll head at that ship.

Good guide though, especially for those who have a slow 3D scape.
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Old 01-03-2009, 02:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by League View Post
I think that the broadsides to some extent aim at ships: that is, to any certain reasonable range and angle, they'll head at that ship.
I chose the images in the AIMING BROADSIDES section very carefully, to demonstrate exactly that. I shot the masts off a navy greyhound then moved my ship around to demonstrate different aspects. The third picture in AIMING BROADSIDES was right before I accidentally sunk that greyhound when I pressed "1." (I had meant to turn my ship around and capture the mirror image first.) Since POTCO itself crashed at that point, I couldn't log back in to get more images (last night's "BAD ID OR PASSWORD" thing.)

I might revisit this later, to show more clearly, the difference in angles for galleons (swept aft,) sloops (swept forward,) and frigates. But all three will hit targets exactly on the imaginary line, so maybe it isn't worth the effort.
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Old 01-03-2009, 04:41 PM
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That guide is awesome, Edward Great job
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Old 01-03-2009, 07:39 PM
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Since we are on the subject of the Compass wasn't one of the past Disney updates supposed to correct the problem of the compass continually have to be reset every time your at sea?

I for one like my compass on the very lowest (closest setting) however I have to monkey with it every time while at sea now in order to get it just right and for the longest time it was always perfect?

Am I the only one to notice this?

As for using it in SVS I use the compass to locate potential enemy but not for aiming unless I am concentrating on one ship while still wanting to optimize my broadsides on any passer by enemy ships.

Since I use a track ball for gaming and not a mouse panning around to get a look at my surroundings is second nature and is so fast with a trackball it has zero negative results.
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Old 01-03-2009, 07:48 PM
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AFAIK, the bug they fixed was the compass ZOOM (i.e. after boarding a flagship and defeating the enemies there.)

EDIT: Actually, now that you mention it, one annoying thing when on a flagship, is that the zoom is wrong; it is all the way out instead of all the way in. When the officers on the colossus glitch under the back deck, the only easy way to find them is to zoom the compass all the way in (as it should be, when on the flagship.)

I use compass zoom a great deal in the boss battle; not to aim at targets (since broadsides have very little effect on most bridges) but to check crew readiness/positioning. When it is time for Goliath, compass has to be zoomed all the way out, to see if I went far enough out before turning left.

In SvS, when first boarding any ship, immediately zoom compass in all the way, then out all the way, or else nearby enemies will appear blue instead of red. (I type "===---" first thing, every time, to work-around that glitch.)

Note that in SvS as a gunner, when being lag-bombed, you often have to aim your cannon by compass only (a tricky feat, that!)

Again, panning the camera view when driving, means that your compass is not oriented towards the front of the boat, so you cannot benefit from the "bolts" as reference points (but you can guess-timate with practice.) Guessing, seems like the much harder way to do it, to me.

Last edited by Edward Edgemenace; 01-03-2009 at 07:55 PM.. Reason: added other points
 

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