Pressing the map key reveals a large map which players use to issue orders and to observe the battlefield. This is known as the Tactical Map, Map Screen, or simply "TacMap". Unlike Midway, Pacific does not immediately show the health of targets - it only shows the health of the unit you are currently in. However, putting your cursor over any unit on the battlefield will show its current status. For ships, this also shows which emergencies the ship is suffering from - water, fire, etc.
The map can be zoomed into different levels, each level giving more details at the expense of the bigger picture. At the outermost zoom, only warships that are formation leaders will be displayed, as well as aircraft squadron leaders. At maximum zoom, it is possible to observe individual gun emplacements, planes, and even torpedoes as they sail toward their targets.
Be aware that the ships on the map are not drawn to scale, and as such it can seem sometimes that torpedoes pass under ships. This is not a glitch, but rather how the map shows an extremely near miss.
As mentioned in the walkthrough section, there are three kinds of objectives. Objectives in the objectives panel change to denote their current status. Green objectives indicate the objective has been completed. White objectives indicate they are currently in progress, and red objectives are failed objectives.
- Primary Objectives must be completed, or you will fail the mission.
- Secondary Objectives make the game easier or harder, depending on what the objective in question is asking for. Completing both primary and secondary objectives yields a silver medal.
- Hidden Objectives do not appear in the objectives panel and as such are truly hidden. During the mission briefing screen, you can select the hidden objective and read its description to get a hint as to what it involves. Completing primary, secondary, and hidden objectives yields a gold medal. Completing only the primary and hidden objectives yields a silver medal.
Unlike Midway, the gold medals can unlock new equipment. For example, once the Iowa-class battleship is unlocked, players can choose, at the beginning of the map, to have all (or most) South Dakota battleships replaced with Iowas.
All objectives except hidden ones can be reviewed by pressing the show objectives button with the TacMap active.
Detection in Pacific consists of four layers on your tactical map. The outermost layer is the shroud, which represents areas which are not seen by anything - sonar, radar, visual sight, etc. Enemy units can lurk in here and not be seen at all. While in Midway it was possible to visually observe units from a far distance with binoculars, it is no longer possible to do this.
The second layer, which is slightly brighter, is a radar detection range. Enemy units show up here as unknown blips. Nothing about them can be determined, aside from the fact they are there and whether they are a ship or a plane.
The brightest layer represents how far your ship's observers can see - at this range, everything about a unit is known, such as its health, what emergencies it is suffering from, etc. Obviously, it can also detect planes.
The green layer is your ship's sonar coverage. Sonar is the only way to detect submerged submarines. Be aware, however, that sonar cannot spot aircraft, nor can it spot submarines at crush depth.
Orders can be issued through the map, just like any good RTS game. It allows players to give split-second commands to their units. Players can open the TacMap, select a unit, then close it, and you will be in immediate control of that unit.
As aforementioned, orders can be issued through the TacMap. The move-to control (for PCs, this is the right mouse button) will prompt the ship, plane, or sub you selected to move to the designated point. Enemies it encounters along the way are determined by its standing orders, also known in other games as its "stance" or "AI". These are covered in greater detail in the Ship Tactics page.
Ordering a ship to move to a waypoint will draw a large blue arrow to the target, indicating that the ship is on the move. Ordering a ship to move on top of an enemy ship will prompt it to attack that target. Ordering a unit to move to a position when it is already on the move will queue a waypoint. It is possible to queue up to eight waypoints, plus a ninth attack command (which is optional).
Clicking and holding the move to button with the cursor placed on a friendly unit will result in one of two actions. If the selected unit is a ship (and you own the ship the cursor is above) the two units will join in a formation; the selected ship will follow the selected one. Because of how formations work, it is impossible to create a formation with allied units (units not under your direct control).
If the selected unit is a plane, however, the plane will circle the target in a CAP (Combat Air Patrol). It will automatically engage any enemy aircraft within three kilometres of the target. This can be applied to either allied ships or your own ships.
Orders can be cancelled at any time with the cancel last command key (Spacebar for PC).
The Support Manager is how players spawn units. It can be opened by pressing the Support Manager key (see the controls) and navigated like a menu. The support manager consists of a series of numbered bases. The icon in the middle demonstrates whether the base contains a shipyard, an airfield, or (in this case) both. In some multiplayer maps, especially the Duel mode, there are no bases - instead, there are simple respawn points which appear as coastline. Listed beneath the support manager is the amount of Command Points - or CP - allocated to each team. This only appears in the Island Capture mode. In single player, there is a specific number of units that can be spawned and there is no way of receiving more. The current number of each unit type is listed instead of CP. Each player receives a portion of the total amount of command points (for example, 1200 CP will be divided amongst four players).
Once a player selects a base to spawn a unit from, you can then choose which unit to spawn. This is also how you determine secondary weapons, if any - such as bombs, torpedoes, and depth charges. This can be altered at any time using the select weapons button.
When the support manager is opened, a map of the entire area will appear and show you where your base is located. The red dot indicates where the base you are deploying from is. It also shows where the unit you selected is. The left rung of the support manager shows all units currently in action - pressing the Jump In button will automatically warp you to the selected unit.
Mastery of the support manager is key to winning battles. While most multiplayer game modes (in fact, all of them except island capture) won't make considerable use of this, you will need to access the support manager in the event you die. Also be aware that it is possible to spawn in different locations - use this to your advantage, and possibly attack an opponent from multiple directions to throw him or her off. This is particularly important in escort and siege maps, where certain targets must be destroyed. It can also prove effective in some competitive maps, as choosing a spawn location far away from your opponents can give you more enemies to work with - and a higher score.
Naval Supplies operate in a similar manner - see its dedicated page for additional information.