We share some hard-won World of Tanks wisdom on being a better tank commander. Are you up to the challenge?
So there I was, cruising along in my lovely Tiger I tank, and it occurred to me “Man, there are some really basic tactics that, if everyone in my World of Tanks team followed them, we could really pwn.” And it occurred to me “Whoa, David – you write for a games site – make it so!” And why not – I play a lot of World of Tanks, am bit of a general warnerd, and really, and really don’t like losing because some folks on my team don’t understand the basics of fire and movement.
Time to fix that.
I don’t promise to be the last word on busting some armour in World of Tanks, but I really do think if a few more people followed these simple tips and tactics, the game would be a much better experience for everyone. And that can’t be a bad thing, right? So, without further ado...
1. Work as an armoured team. Okay, it sounds obvious, but there’s a number of important differences between WoT and other shooters that it’s easy to forget, but that have a serious impact on how the game should be played. Chief amongst these, in my opinion, is the nature of support. The Wargaming.net folks call WoT CounterStrike with tanks, and with good reason, but in CounterStrike you don’t have such detailed hit and damage mechanics. In particular, you don’t have pesky engines which are susceptible to catching fire when hit from the rear. With that in mind, be careful of getting too far ahead of your team-mates and getting surrounded. Even in a tank that is Tiers above the enemies you are taking on singlehandedly, you can be swamped pretty much zerged by faster, more agile tanks. Watch what your teammates are doing and manoeuvre appropriately. If you do want to rush out, communicate with your team and see if anyone’s going to support you – don’t just rush, die (in a fire) and then complain that no-one had your back.
2. Practice tight fire control. Picking the right target for your tank is essential. With the varying Tiers of tanks in any given match, you could find yourself top of the heap or bottom of the ladder in any given match up – shoot appropriately. By that, we mean target the enemies you can most affect, not just the biggest threat. Even an up-gunned Hetzer will be wasting most of its shots at a Lowe or Tiger II, but the mediums supporting it are another matter. If you do find yourself firing at a target that simply bounces every shot you throw at it, be selective with your fire – aim at tracks to immobilise (or ‘track’) it, engines to possibly cause a damaging fire, or similar. Tracking a tank is supremely useful, as that immobile target is easier for artillery to hit, and it will have its aim thrown off as it slews to a halt, and that player will be forced to possibly use up a vital Repair Kit just to keep moving.
3. Study the ground. By this, we mean not just the general layout, choke points and pathways of any given map, but the actual ground. No surface is flat in any of World of Tanks’ maps, and knowing how those folds and rises can mask or expose your vehicle – and your enemy’s – is essential to victory. For instance, if rolling down a gentle slope towards the enemy, you need to be aware that they may be able to fire directly into your engine deck. Similarly, you should be watching for opportunities like that yourself. Even the gentlest of rises can block the fire of a low-chassis tank destroyer (especially German makes), while that same ground provides excellent hull-down cover for turreted vehicles.
4. Hug cover like a lover. This may seem obvious, but it can’t be overstated, especially in regards to buildings and walls. If you’re not charging the enemy outright, it’s far better to nudge in and out of the cover of a building corner as you fire and reload – you offer a smaller target when firing, and are out of danger at least half the time. However, this is even more important when facing artillery. By staying the shadow of a building wall that faces away from likely enemy artillery positions, you effectively block their plunging fire. However, be aware that while you’re doing this, so will others around you – DO NOT BLOCK THEM. Work around them, give them room to move and especially give them room to retreat. There is literally nothing worse than poking around a corner, spotting an IS-4 about to brew you up, and being unable to retreat because some dim tanker behind you has not given you room to do so. And if that tanker should then happen to complain that you’re in his way, I give you permission to set their dog on fire. However...
5. GLHF. Gaming already has enough jerks who will call you a ‘fag noob’ – don’t add to this odious population. These four letters are a popular way to greet a new game, and stand for ‘Good luck; have fun’. Take that mantra into your life; no, I mean this seriously. Do not blame your team when you lose (they may deserve, but maybe the enemy is just having a better day), do not rage quit, do not get angry at your artillery support, do not collect $200... wait, wrong game. But you get the idea. This is a magical game where tanks are the only functioning lifeforms and vehicles from the 30s to the 50s all fight happily together. It is the Valhalla of tanks, and is ultimately a very silly (though very good) game. Don’t treat it like life or death, don't set anyone's dog on fire. Good luck; have fun.
Ah... there. I feel like my karma meter just ticked up a billion points. I also now want to ditch work and go put some of that advice into practice. But I’ll be good.
So what’s your essential World of Tanks advice, Atomic?