In Pillars of Eternity 2 Deadfire, confrontations with other ships are called ship combat. You initiate it by sailing close to a vessel. Then, you have to choose one of the options to attack. Of course, you can also be attacked, e.g. by pirates. Win naval battles to get a lot of loot, to increase your crew's morale and to level up sailor experience for those who participated in a fight.
The window above allows you to start a ship battle. The game offers two ways of attacking: a turn-based ship battle (the first option) and a board (the second option).
Boarding a ship is about getting really close to an enemy vessel and getting on their deck. This is a regular fight during which you can control your party - the rules are the same as in other locations so we recommend visiting "Combat" page if you need tips on how to win battles. During board you only control your characters who are currently in the party. However, other members of your crew will also participate in that fight.
Note - every time you board an enemy ship, they will always shoot at you with their cannons. Your ship and crew always receive a little bit of damage.
Things are different if you don't decide to board an enemy ship - in this case you will see the screen above. A ship battle is divided into rounds and each round has turns - a new round starts when neither of the ships gets destroyed or escapes. During each turn you can give only one order.
Description of the interface
The interface is described in the numerical order presented in the picture above:
-  This is where you give orders - you can decide to get closer to an enemy, stop your ships, turn it towards a pointed direction, shoot from your cannons (if your ship is facing the right direction), order your crew to change posts, brace for impact (collision with another ship deals damage, this order allows you to decrease them) and to surrender.
-  Here, you can see the turns - orders appear in the empty slots. Yours are on the left, and your enemy's are on the right. The first turn belongs to a captain with a higher sailor level.
-  The icon depicting your ship and the distance from an enemy ship expressed in meters. Pay attention to the distance when you decide to use your cannons.
-  The icon of an enemy ship - important during every naval battle. It informs you about a position of an enemy ship in relation to yours. Its position changes always when you or your enemy give an order to face a different direction. Always keep an eye on the icon and base your orders on its position.
-  Resources - yours are on the left, enemy's on the right. Here, you can see ammunition, hull's and sails' durability and number of crew. These are also important factors - each shot from cannons reduces ammo and each damage received from enemies reduces your hull's and sails' durability. It can even lead to death of one of your crew members. Note - your ship will sink when the hull reaches zero durability.
How to win a ship battle?
There isn't one perfect way of doing that. However, you can follow the tips listed below:
- You should prepare yourself before you start fighting - better hulls, sails and cannons can be bought in ports. Another good idea is to buy a completely new ship. The starting ship is a good way of transportation and it can deal with weaker enemy vessels but there can be situations where winning a battle with a better ship is impossible. Crew is equally important - invest in experienced sailors. More information can be found on "Managing your ship and crew" page.
- It is very important to keep an eye on a position of an enemy ship towards yours (the icon number 4 in the picture depicting the interface). Your ship needs to be in the right position towards an enemy to be able to shoot its cannons - your enemy needs to be on the side where your cannons are placed (usually, the biggest number of cannons is on the left and on the right side of a ship but there are ships with cannons located in the front and in the back).
- Remember that you can switch sailors between posts - this can be done by using "Report to..." order. This is a very useful option, especially when a character on important post dies due to enemy fire. For example - if your cannoneer dies then you should send someone else to that post. Otherwise, you won't be able to shoot from that cannon.
- Remember that you can go from a turn-based naval battle to boarding that ship. Try to get as close as possible to your enemy if you have more crew members ("Full speed ahead!" order) and end that fight on their deck. This allows you to make up for weaker cannons. This also works the other way around - try to slowly distance yourself from an enemy and shoot with your cannons if they have more crew members than you.
- Try to avoid ship battles if your crew is injured and the ship damaged. Here, it is better to avoid any battles (if possible). Wait for your crew and ship to be fully operational again. You will need medicaments and repair tools - all of this can be bought in ports.