Sink or Slash? - Skyway Schematics 101

Here you are again - in the italicized world of Destiny's intros, sitting on the docks of Santo Pollo, your legs dangling and spurs reflecting the sunrise two days after your encounter with a bit of RDR's log. Somewhere behind you, the sounds of tinkling jewelry and a chicken babbling about sugar arise, along with Santo Pollo. The morning is quieter than usual, especially with no word or appearance from El Toro. 
However, amongst the slight chatter and roosters crowing, a startling bang and rush of wind draw your attention to the skies, where in the distance a billowing cloud of smoke starts splashing grey on the pink mural-like skies, and it looks downright displeasing. Growling a few words in old Krokotopian dialect, you unbottle the abomination of your raft - a small dingy; a basin with a sail. It would do nicely for a bit of behind-the-scenes work. As you get closer, a flag protruding from the smoke becomes more and more familiar - where have you seen this before? As the smoke starts stringing your eyes a bit, a spur nearly meets your face.
"You again!?" On the deck of a Banditoad skiff, the Swashbuckler from two days before glares at you, and whatever it is you're apparently sailing on. You don't understand how the swordswoman and her crew survived through the smoke, until you notice a dangling Hoodoo pendant. 
"Figures," You cough when she throws you one.
"Get your guns." She says dryly and darts away.

Today's topic is fighting afloat - what to do, how to do it, and which strategy would work best in certain situations!

Progression through Cool Ranch (solo!) is pretty tough for a swashbuckler three levels under average, let me tell you! Because of  Boochitis's hit, I have a friend count of ZERO and never see anybody around in Santo Pollo. However, "you" seem to have stumbled upon my burning galleon; ehm, hop aboard? "You" can tell that "I" have boarded the enemy's skiff and have prompted you to join me in battle. Knowing me, I probably would have handled it differently if my ship wasn't burning to a crisp.
In the case of a less flammable ship (I blame Juan Costa), the Banditoads would be hanging on to their masts, trying to stay afloat; because of the blasts from my ship.

Don't look at me like that, what do you mean "that did not make any sense"?

When battling in the skyways, there are two ways to get things done; Sinking or Slashing - Battle of the boats or of the pirates lurking on their decks? Once you engage in battle with an enemy ship, a fast strategy is to use your ship parts well and to blast your opponent until the ship runs out of "health" and ultimately sinks itself in the sky. The other way is to duke it out until either you or your opponent is at a certain fraction of their health (called "Yellow health", where "Green/Blue health" is good to go and "Red health" is definitely not) and can be boarded by their opponent. When either ship boards, both sides engage in battleboard-style combat, just like the kind on land. The winning ship does NOT sink and gets to return to its normal activity.


Sinking - To sink another ship without boarding it, make sure that you have a cannon equipped to your ship and hopefully a healing (wheel) part as well. In a nutshell, choose an enemy ship away from the others (to avoid being outnumbered) and fire at will! Use you time wisely and heal whenever the option rises - even if you don't think you need it! Hold down a few keys so your ship circles its enemy and makes it unable to move (or maybe it just doesn't). Keep hitting your opponent until their ship is considered defeated, and you are free to roam without getting attacked for a certain period of time.

Slashing - Basically, do the same procedure as you would to sink until an "X-box", as I like to call it (go ahead, laugh) comes up offering for you to board the enemy ship. Either that, or the enemy boarding your weak ship (in which case you are forced to slash). Once you board/are boarded, battle continues on like on land, battleboard and all - just watch out for fires, they will do damage to you and your crew. You can put them out by attacking them. Do this wisely, because fires can hurt your opponents as well. 


Very funny, you guys; ask Destiny the tactics question. That is not the way you pay someone for Yum.
However, many factors apply to the decision of sinking or slashing; here are a few to open your mind up.
  • Companions - how are they working? Are you level 20 with a level 8 Subodai? (Shame, shame!) If you are worried about your efficiency in battle, then it's a good idea to attempt a sink. 
  • Time - cello lesson in twenty minutes, then an hour's break for lunch and frozen yogurt before swim tryouts? Sinking is known to be a bit faster, especially when the enemies are "yellow enemies" or higher (Meaning at your level or harder). However, sometimes I can call it safer (especially when auto-clicking my raft and not thinking) to battle. 
  • General Efficiency - still recovering from Boochitis? It's really your choice. You should play it safe until you can find a time to test things out and find out how they work. This, in my mind, means a lot of slashing, but it depends on the person. 
  • Enemies - Have you faced them before? How easy are they to defeat?
Knowing the "stats" and difficulty of your battles will save a lot of time as well.
On another note, my facts will never really prove one strategy or another, because of the complications in "when". I myself am an efficient battler (for not seeing another soul in a week) and can take out a yellow enemy in two turns. However, someone else may have a top-of-the-line galleon, and take damage to the ship out of the question! Really, there is no right or wrong answer, nothing better than what you experiment in and find to your liking. 

"There," The swashbuckler swipes her daggers a few times and the last Banditoad slumps to the ground. "Tell me that makes any sense in yer little mind." You nod, and she chuckles a bit. 
"Ye aren't a bad musketeer, are ye?" She sheathes her weapons and leads you to her skiff, putting out fires as she walks past them. "Why not stay for some Yum? Then next time, I'll show ye a real sinker!" 
You shrug; as long as this pirate kept it cold, Yum was Yum and you wouldn't resist it. The swashbuckler takes a key from a pocket and opens a door. 
"Call me Destiny, by the way." She thoughtfully adds, closing the door behind her with a satisfying click.

Keep Traveling!