Thursday, December 26, 2013

Team Battle Strats : Himmelsdorf

 2/3 line heavy push

Initial Setup for a 2/3 line push depending on what tanks you bring.

Main Force (3) : They go down the 3 line and either stop at the D / G entrance to the middle or continue down to J / B cap route. You have to time this and act accordingly because when the action goes down you want it to happen on your terms and not being sniped from far down the 3 line. There are a lot of places to duck into while pushing and depending on enemy locations you could go down the 4 line instead.

Flankers(1~2): Tanks like 50 100's, 30 90's, and the like I send to the 2 line and they play the outside, if they meet resistance they can duck into the buildings between the 2 and 3 line for some protection.

TD Support (0~1) : At the beginning I'd put em on the end of the 3 line and hold him there, when it is time to push I move him to the 2 line with the scout / 50 100 / whatever to push the outside with.

Tier 1's (1~2) : One goes hill while the other goes tank alley, if you are missing one then send your only T1 to tank alley to check if there are tanks on that line as tanks on hill will generally be ignored / base race.

Basic Strat

You can flip the positioning of the main and flanking tanks

Main Force (3~4) : They sit on tank alley and wait for enemy movements. Depending on how things go I'll either send them down tank alley or have them go support the tanks on the 3 line if they push that way.

Flankers(1~2) : Because of the greater options for maneuverability I like to place my flankers on the 3 line because they can duck into the different allies if I push them up, also if they get pushed I'd pull them back after a shot or two and flank the enemy through the middle or from your base while the heavies move up and hold them at the corner.

TD Support (0~1) : I'd probably set them at the end of the 3 line with a clear view down and a 50 100 or IS-3 to stop him from being pushed easily. Sadly I just thought of that

Tier 1's (1~2) : One goes hill while the other goes the outside of the 1 line, if you only have 1 then send him to the 1 line. The biggest reason is that if they go hill your main force doesn't care because they can't be hit but if they are pushing 2/3 line the light will give you that information.

Team Battle Strats : Cliff

Where I generally place tanks based on tank type.

Main Force (3-4) : Moves to the 6~ line and hugs the hill, they can poke around the rocks at E/F 5~6, for both spawns the ramp to get to the lighthouse offers a good spot to do a quick light to see where their tanks are going and if we have opportunities to poke and peek them down.

Tier 1's (1-2) : One goes to the 8 line and the other goes to the 2 line to watch for a push on cap or a flank on the main forces. Depending on enemy locations either could push to cap to provide pressure. The more important T1 is the 8 line on here if you have just 1.

Specialty TD (0-1) : Both spots are push deterrents, if the enemy force pushes any location the TD has almost instant shots on them when they reach your side of the map while being far enough back to avoid being lit.

Speciality Flankers / Auto Loaders (1-2) : I generally send them to the 3 line, my favorite for the fast ones is down the 2 line and up the path to the 3 line as it offers a very fast and direct path so you can get early spots and shots. From here they have a lot of shots on the F and E lines, and further back along with 1 line poke shots. For the south spawn a great thing is hitting tanks at C5 before they finish going up the hill and past the rock because you get side and ass shots.

Specialty Arty(0-0.5) : For the lols, these are just suggested spots for them and they rely on what your opponent has but they can definitely annoy your enemies main forces by spreading shots out so no one on their team is at full health.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

World of Tanks: Team Battles

So team battles is a recent addition to World of Tanks and it introduces the pro format seen in the leagues and tournaments into regular play. It is a skill based matchmaking where teams of generally equal abilities will face off against each other in a 10 minute match. At the time of writing this the skill based matchmaking is currently still in the testing phase so I've had the pleasure of fighting a wide range of unprepared teams punctuated by the occasional high skill level players. For those teams that aren't doing as well or those who want to know more about this game time I thought this would be the perfect time to write up an article about it.


To join first choose your selected tanks, when using auto join or if a commander is picky you'll only be selected if they want the specific tanks you want to play in, so if you only wanted to play with your AMX 50 100 and not your IS-3 you can have just that one tank selected. However I don't generally suggest using the Auto Join option.

Instead I'd say just use the Search for Teams option and pick what team you want to join instead so you can select the team based on the skill level of the players. I'd suggest going for the same or slightly higher than your own skill level.


To choose your tank you don't actually use the garage carousel but a separate pop up menu from the vehicle (Select Vehicles if none are selected) next to your name. After you selected your desired tank and it has a crew you can hit the ready up button on the bottom of the team battle menu.

If you are a leader and you have less than 7 players, make sure you lock your 6th and 7th slot if they are empty so that you can instantly (or close to it) join a battle, if you do not then you'll sit in the lobby for about  3~5 minutes before actually being added to the pool of teams who are ready to fight.

Pro Format

The pro format (WG / 7-42 / etc) involves five tier 8's and two tier 1's as scouts. It blends a great compact core of five fighting tanks so a single brawl determines the outcome of the match instead of what flank loses first. As a side note if you do not have all 7 players you are limited to just 41 tier points.

 The main setup of the Tier 8's consist of 2~3 auto loaders and 2~3 single shot tanks. The auto loaders go into battle and unload their clips while the single shot tanks continuously apply pressure and when the auto-loaders are reloading the single fire tanks can keep the enemies force from having free kills on the defenseless auto-loaders. Too many auto-loaders means that as soon as everyone fires their shots and unless your team was good enough to stagger the reloads you'll all be defenseless when the enemy charges in to kill as many tanks as possible before your done reloading. Too many single shot tanks and you'll lose the chances where a burst fire gun could kill a tank before it gets into cover.

The use of the two tier 1's is to gain a greater map control by knowing enemy movements away from your main force and to apply pressure to the cap or delaying the enemy from capping by popping out of a well concealed bush to unload a clip into an enemies track to reset it. Generally any tier 1 can do but a good tier 1 is a fast one which is the T1 Cunningham.

Suggested Tanks

It is suggested that you bring 5 tier 8's and 2 tier 1's, however the tier 1's are not required they do make the game easier to play. I've seen teams with setups involving mostly tier 5's and 6's. Even though you'll get more tanks above tier 1, in most cases they should never be able to beat a team of 5 tier 8's. Please Tier 8 or 7 only as the main core, you're only doing your team a disservice if you go lower with your main core.

IS-3 / T32 = Bounce-able armor with continues shots so you always present a threat unlike the long reload times of the auto loaders, the T32 is map situational.

KV-5 / KV-4 / IS-6 = Alternatives to the above, situational.

AMX 50 100 / T69 = Having the burst damage to take out most of a tanks health very quickly can be very powerful on the battlefield. Their weakness is the reload time so when you notice one or more auto loaders reloading on the other team, it is time to push. AMX is generally preferred due to APCR vs HEAT

AMX 13 90 = A fast moving semi scout semi flanker. If you dedicate your forces to the middle or their side of the map this tank can swing around, pop some shots into an enemies side, and then run back to base to reset it without the base being capped out like if a slower tank was to return to base.

T1 Cunningham = Generally chosen as the best T1 due to its ability to clip out any other tier 1's and are the fastest tier 1's so they can apply cap pressure, reset a base, or even deal damage to lightly armored tanks you might see like AMX 13 90's / T71's, Hellcats. Their big use is spotting lanes, killing T1's, and capping.

Tier 8 Tips

  • Move in a group, this could be compact (same lane in a town) or loose (split into two) however they should not be far enough away that any Tier 8 can't reach their allied tier 8's when it hits the fan. 
  • A good example is 5 line push with heavies while a T69 and 1390 goes to the little town on Ruinburg while a bad example is sending two T69's to the 2 line while everyone else goes the 9 line.
  • F7 (Affirmative) when spotted and when in an auto-loader F8 (reloading) are great methods of keeping your allies on track on what is going on with your tank, also T'ing up (Request fire) on the tank you are shooting at helps improve focus fire.
  • Focus fire, 5 tanks shooting 1 tank will kill it faster and remove one more gun from shooting you then everyone shooting randomly. If it takes an extra second to shoot a lower health tank (and you won't die while waiting that extra second) then take that shot instead of the full health tank next to him
  • AMX 50 100's have 45~50 seconds reload (6 shots), T69's have 22~25 (4 shots), AMX 13 90's around 38~42 (6 shots). Counting them can tell you when you can run in and get free shots on them without being hit back.

Tier 1 Tips

  • When watching base, find a bush far enough away that a tank sitting on it should not spot you without you moving / firing but you can see all of the cap. 
  • Camo net, vents, and binocs are suggested equipment along with a paint job, 6th sense, and camo crew skills.
  • Auto loaders are preferred like the T1's Hispano because it can single clip another tier 1 tank from full health and the reload is not very long.
  • If the enemy is capping the base and you are watching it, wait until the 50% mark before shooting their tracks so that your team has more time to return to base before you die. (if you shoot a T8 capping, they will shoot back and you will die with only giving your team 2 extra seconds instead of 30)
  • You are important, suiciding is not very useful and when you can try to stay alive so you can start capping the enemy base and force at least one tank to deal with you and before they reset the base everyone on that team will be at least partially distracted. 
  • Sometimes suicide is useful if it means all your T8's have enough time to focus fire an enemy T8 to death. Being up a T8 can give your team enough of an edge to win.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

World of Tanks: Ammunition

So after some changes to how your ammo works in world of tanks and through playing about 6,000 more battles since I wrote the Gold rounds and You! post, I've decided to rewrite my post about ammo.

Please note that using gold rounds is not cheating or being cheap. They've been part of the game for a long while and since APCR and HEAT has recently been nerfed a bit. I can't see why people would complain about someone using gold, to me it's as silly as someone complaining about someone using a repair kit or a fire extinguisher.

Types of Rounds

  • AP is the standard ammo and has a normalization of 5 degrees. Normalization by the way means that angling is just that bit less effective.
  • APCR is generally a premium ammo that has a normalization of 3 degrees. It has a greater penetration value of AP however it loses more penetration the further it flies. You'll only really notice this with across the map shots or when that piece of armor you hit is really angled.
  • HE is a standard ammo that explodes when its penetration value hits zero causing splash damage. It is most useful for artillery, resetting a base when you need to not bounce (aim for tracks), and dealing that last 1% of a tanks health that is hard to penetrate. (hull down T34)
  • HEAT is a premium ammo that has greater penetration then AP but automatically bounces off 80 degree or greater and has no normalization. It also loses a lot of penetration when it hits spaced armor so in certain cases it is more advantageous to use AP shells due to armor layouts.

General Ammo Layout

Standard Tanks

For my standard tanks I generally go with 60~80% AP, 20~40% Gold, and 0~2% HE. Some times I'm very lazy or a tank has a low penetration value for its tier so I equip more gold shells to better support it vs +2 tiering or those tanks I can't penetrate otherwise if I can't get along side them. Depending on how many rounds my tank carries I'll have a handful of HE shells loaded for last second base resets or dealing that last 20/1500 health on a tank I can't easily pen without exposing myself to too much enemy fire. As an example I carry about 10% gold in my ISU-152 just for some awkward shots vs Tier 10's and 2 HE shells because I never run out of AP and I might need them for a side scraping E-100 that is capping.


For those tank guns that uses only HE and HEAT shells like the KV-2's short barrel the standard loadout is about 50/50 HE and HEAT. In most cases vs lower tier tanks HE is enough to deal respectable damage but it falls very short vs same or higher tier tanks. Lets say your potential damage is 300 HEAT and 400 HE. You'll probably do 600 damage in 2 shots with HEAT while you'll probably only do 200~350 damage with HE for those two shots. This is mostly why I never play derp tanks anymore, and for the fact that my ISU-152's tier 10 gun is much more satisfying with AP.


  For artillery I generally load 70~90% HE and 30~10% Gold HE / HEAT and 0~3 shells of AP. For artillery AP and HEAT shells are rarely worth the chances of bounces / misses. Gold HE is great for when you have a lot of tanks clumped together so you are more likely to deal decent damage to all of them but your bread and butter is always HE.

Very small guns

And we can't forget them little tanks like a T-50 in a tier 9 match, pretty much you're not trying to shoot tanks unless they're other scouts but a good idea is enough AP / APCR to deal with other scouts and to harrass big tanks in the bum or some HE to peck at cappers / maybe dealing 0.1% of a big tanks health but generally I find myself equipping more HE then usual on these small tanks because what else can you do with them but tickle with those little guns.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

World of Tanks: Where to shoot

Now this is pretty standard but a lot of people tend to have issues with damaging tanks. Now a lot of times if you're using a low pen gun or firing against a higher tier vehicle there isn't too much you can do even with gold rounds. However there are the general locations to shoot. For constancy sake I refer to angles based on if the protractor below was laid against the hull of a tank so a 90 degree angle would be a straight on hit.

Generally you'll want to shoot at things that have a green penetration notice (center of cross-hair changes colors). If you are loading HE you might be able to still deal damage even if it is red, however the amount of damage you'll do will really drop if you hit a red patch compared to a green patch at the same angle.
  1. Top/Bottom of the chassis
  2. Rear of the chassis
  3. Sides of the chassis
  4. Lower Glacis (the bottom part of a tanks front)
  5. Commander Hatches (Those things on the tops of turrets where a tank crew can poke their heads out of) 
  6. Driver port / machine gun port in the chassis
Now you'll notice a lot of times you'll hit something that shows green (penetrable) however you'll bounce or fail to penetrate the armor. This is because armor becomes more effective when it is angled. Armor at a 60 degree angle has about double the effectiveness so 100mm becomes around 200mm. There is also spaced armor that will cut down your rounds penetration effectiveness by a lot because of how shells work in the dead space.

Now for this area I'll go into a few different tanks on specific spots and the kind of gun needed to deal damage. This is based on shooting the tanks front which is generally what direction they'll be pointing towards you.
  • Super Pershing (the hatch under the two barrels on the top of the turret)(top half of the hull with gold IS-3) 
  • KV-5 (the R2D2 which is the larger cylinder that is poking out of the chassis)
  • Maus / E-100 (Gold rounds to the turret's from when they are looking directly at you with an IS-3+)(Lower glacies, the maus is harder because it is very small between the track's space armor)
  • T-95 (Pretty dangerous, only those hatches at the top are reliable since the tracks can cover up a lot of that lower plate)
  • IS-6 (For anything as weak as an IS-6's pen, shoot the top of the turret, the chance of bouncing on the chassis is too high)
  • IS-3 (The very top of the turret there is a bolted on plate between the hatches and the gun which is extremely weak)
  • T28 Prot (Gold rounds in the IS-6 can penetrate the center of the chassis where the clan tag is

And finally some spots to not shoot or be careful of shooting
  • The T69 has a very bouncy turret if you use a low pen gun
  • Anything sitting on the sides of tanks like gas tanks or the two things poking out of a T29's turret has no damage boxes so you'll be just shooting dead air.

Friday, June 14, 2013

World of Tanks: Getting started on World of Tanks

Welcome tankers to the wonderful world of tanks! Most of you are probably new to the game, while some of you are extremely new. Through my experiences in battle I've learned a lot of things about tanks and tanking that a lot of newer players should know.

Go for a KV-1 with the 85-mm
My first advice is to go for the KV-1, it is only around 20,000 exp to get from tier 1 and with an average of about 500 experience a battle you'll get it researched in around 40 games. The reason why is that it is arguably one of the very best tanks at tier 5 and you'll be able to learn a lot of key things in this tank. The first being how to angle your armor to minimize damage taken along with how to brawl. You'll see where the heavies normally go every time in maps, join them and play along with the others, and if you aren't in the top tier then hang back behind them and wait / move around to get damaging shots.

Also this is a good time to talk about equipment and consumables on your tanks. Get yourself Ventilation (+5% to crew effectiveness), Rammer (+10% to reload), Toolbox (+25% repair). This is so your can shoot faster and when you get tracked you can repair it faster and get back into the battle. For consumables ALWAYS First aid kit (4,4 to heal driver), repair kit (5,5 to repair tracks), fire extinguisher (reassign to the space bar or an unused mouse button). 3,000 credits might look like a lot but the amount of experience and credits you could get that match can pay for it so many times over.
Your crews are very important, never run a tank above tier 3 with a crew below 75%. That 20,000 credits per crew member means so much I can't describe how useful that 25% training is, that 23,000 experience needed to get from 50% to 75% means your crew could have been 86%. That little bit faster reload rate, turn speed, acceleration, accuracy, etc means the difference from having an average game to a good or great game. Imagine all of the scenarios where if that one shot hit or you reloaded half a second faster and killed that guy capping / killing you.

Also when you get 100% on a crew go for Brothers in Arms on every single crew member (it only works if all crew members has Brothers in Arms trained to 100%) or go for all camouflage (scouts / tank destroyers). For your second skill if you don't have Brothers in arms already I suggest all repair. The number of times I've had to waste a repair kit on my tracks so I wouldn't be instantly killed by half the enemy team and the number of times I've lost a brawl because I couldn't turn my turret fast enough when tracked is too numerous to count in those 9,000+ battles. Also don't sell any crew that is above 75%, just move them to the next tank or keep them in the barracks for another tank.

Now it doesn't matter so much in lower tiers but once you get to around tier 4 where armor values start to matter your general ammo layout should be 50~90% AP, 10~50% Gold, 0~0.5% HE rounds. Tanks with HE rounds as their primary (artillery and derps) are special cases and can be covered later, just remember that.
  • AP rounds are your bread and butter, aim for weak spots sides, ass, lower plate on chassis, driver and machine gun ports, and hatches on the top of the turret. Also if you get a good shot at the roof of the tank chassis that is generally has a very low armor value.
  • Gold (HEAT / APCR) always buy for credits and live within your means, these are just for those tanks you can't damage with regular AP in your current situation or for those tanks that need to die and you can't risk non-damaging shots.
  • HE reserve it for those shots where you need to reset the cap by shooting someone where it can splash their tracks.

 Those invisible tanks
So because of the spotting and camouflage mechanics you'll encounter situations where you can't see the tanks that shoot you. This is either because their really camo'ed up or so far away you can't spot them. If you can't spot them and they are shooting you, just pull back behind some cover and reposition. And remember that you have to be behind bushes for them to really take effect, not inside. Also all bushes in 15 meters (when they go from see through to not see through) will stop providing you camo bonus when you fire.

Join a Clan
One of the best things you can do is join a clan, that way you'll have people to platoon with and learn with like -JLA-. World of tanks is a team game, so get some friends and platoon or tank company with them. So many of the people who has joined my clan has told me how much better their win rate and efficiency (a generic metric that says about how well a player is) because of the tips they've learned by playing with and learning from each other.

Always Strive for Better
Besides setting goals like get X tank you should set more interesting goals for yourself that don't require just sitting at spawn in every battle without firing a shot. Generally I shoot for damage and experience. Currently my average damage per battle in tier 8 is around 2,000 so my goal is about 3,000 for me to call it a great game. Another good metric to go by is average experience (my current is around 700 but I've been shooting for about 1,000+ every game).

Generally try to do your health worth in damage every game, so if you have 1,500 health and you do about 300 damage a shot try to get a minimum of 5 damaging shots in every battle (not including kill shots where the tank only had 50ish health). If you do that, you'll find yourself in the top half of your teams score almost every game.

Going down the lines
So after you've played enough battles in your KV-1 to get some experience under your belt and you've read guides, wiki, forum, and stuff to learn about spotting, camo, angling, etc where should you go from here unless you want to only play a KV-1 for the rest of your tanking career. My advice is to play different tank lines like a tank destroyer, artillery, medium, and light and see what kind of play style you like most. I do say focus on only three separate lines of tanks at a time. Generally I'd say something like two heavies and one medium line (IS-3, T110E5, T-62A or M48 Patton) but it really depends on you after you get a grip of how the game plays. Just don't try to grind 5+ tank lines at once, you'll always be strapped for credits due to all the tanks you'll be buying

Using Gold
So lets say you get your hands on some gold from maybe a promotion, an event, or you just bought a few dollars worth of it. If it is your first gold I suggest getting about 2~10 tank slots (so you can have more tanks to play with and you don't have to give up tanks you love to continue grinding). I also suggest getting some premium days whenever they go on sale or a premium tank like an IS-6 or T-127. It really depends on you but never use gold for anything but tank slots, convertible exp, or premium days.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

World of Tanks: Arty Safe

So being 4:20 am I decided that I wanted to write another post right now about my views on being safe from artillery. I'll be expanding this post and working on some of the others later with pictures, but for now enjoy. While playing tanks you'll probably have gotten smacked by an artillery shell or two at an ill conceived time and you've problem sat up next to a building or mountain to block the rain. This simple act is what I like to call cowering next to some arty cover. Being "Arty Safe" is more then just sitting next to a tall object.

My definition of arty safe expands out quite a bit from just sitting next to a tall rock and gets into the lines of not so safe, but safe enough. Remember the key is to keep your presence in the battle and not just hide. You're doing no good for your team if you can't deal damage until your allies are dead and they come to mop you up.

High Cover
This includes mountains, houses destructible or not, cliffs, and pretty much anything that provides at least cover from 40 to 80 degree of angle protection (0 being a straight line to your face and 90 being dropped direction down on top of you). No matter what artillery can do they can only hope to splash you but offers zero or 1/100 chance of a direct hit. This is the easiest cover to spot and use such as the bridges on port to the houses in the city on Ruinberg. It is good to use, but keep in mind that you want to still have presence in the battle. You won't have access to this at all times, if you notice most of the heavy's brawling areas are centered around locations with high cover because it negates most of the artillery interference, especially when they sit relatively still (in the same spot) to wiggle.

Low Cover
This is generally barriers that offer a lot of protection from 0~10 degree attacks (tank to tank) but leaves your roof relatively open such as the walls in the city on Mines or being hull down in a dip in terrain. The cover you're receiving is mostly from the front of your tank and if the artillery lobs it short they'll likely do no damage. This is very bad cover from artillery shots but a lot of times you'll be more threatened by the other tanks and will require you to be where you can reliably trade shots then trying to peek-a-boom around a corner at a much slower pace. Generally your goal if artillery is on your mind is to not be the easiest target nor the juiciest.

No Cover
So there is no artillery cover, to better protect yourself you have to make shooting your tank a lower priority to the artillery by making it harder for them to hit you. If you are moving back and forth artillery is more likely to shoot the guy sitting still then you, likewise if you are on the far side of a hill from the artillery they'll have a harder time getting splash damage and will also be less likely to hurt you. However I'll go into those things as well later.

Not being spotted
And I think I should put this in as well that unless a more skilled artillery player is paying attention to tanks that are not lit on the field and purposely trying to kill you, you really don't have to worry. I've killed a few tanks by following tracers, and a few more artillery doing the same thing but it is not as common while easier targets abound.

Things you can do besides using cover!
So besides hiding behind a rock which can get you killed a lot more often then you think, mostly by flanking enemies that will either hit you in the bum, or force you to move out of arty cover to be safe from them. I've killed a good number of tanks that where being arty safe, until they pulled back a few meters because they didn't want to get shot by an allied tank.

Hitting a moving target is quite a bit harder then hitting a stationary one, especially when they are moving sideways to the arty's position and not just toward or away from them (it sucks having a target move outside of your arch and you have to turn the tank to continue following them). Now moving in a straight line at the same speed isn't that much harder to hit, especially if an allied tank doesn't track the bugger before my round lands but there are a lot more near misses from being a half second too soon / late on firing. The best way to use movement to avoid being hit is to weave a bit, turn slightly left / right and if you want to get fancy slow down or speed up. that 5 degree turn at full speed with a shell travel time of 2 seconds means my direct hit splashes no where near your tank.

Besides cover, the best kind of terrain is being on the back / far side of a hill. A good example is the dunes on Sand River. Because of the angle of the terrain an artillery has to directly hit your tank to deal damage because a meter or two short or long means that shell is exploding at the top or bottom of that hill which is no where near your tank on the middle. Likewise if your tank is on the near side of a hill, that artillery shell cannot land anywhere further away then a meter (nice splash damage range) due to it falling short or long.

Being less juicy
You really need to play some rounds in an artillery to know about this which is pretty much priority and ease of hitting. If artillery is already looking at you, they'll be more likely to continue shooting at you then the easier guy to hit on the other side of the map because of the hassle of turning the tank and re-aiming. If you are sitting behind a rock and they have nothing really easy to hit but are already looking at your direction, expect a shell to come flying in if you decide to peek around the corner to shoot someone. It is hard to describe target priority based on all the factors but I'll just make a little list of things to help you base on how likely you'll be getting shot at. Many times I've seen artillery shells fall around me to the point of laughing because I was one of the few guys lit up, probably under the least amount of cover, and even though I was dancing they just wanted me to die already!
  •  Is anything blocking my accuracy ring?
  • Are they already in my firing arch? 
  • How likely are they to move before I hit them?
  • Are they about to stop to take the time to zoom in to shoot?
  • How much damage can I get off that shot?
  • Do I need to kill them?
  • Just die already!!!
  • Free Kill!
I don't so like the last section, but it can sit for now while I go to bed and think about it some more. However that is enough to get started with.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

World of Tanks: Tank Companies

Since non-premium accounts can create tank companies in the upcoming 0.8.5 patch I think it would be a good idea to talk a bit about the basics of creating and operating a tank company. To start out you'll have four choices of tank companies to run, Junior at tier 4, Medium at tier 6, Champion at tier 8, and Absolute at tier 10. Currently most tank companies that are running are mediums, however when the patch comes out we'll probably see a lot more junior and champion tank companies popping up. Now before I get started I'd like to state that I'll be focusing on medium tank companies the most with this post since I know them the best.

Starting A Tank Company
To start a tank company you need two things. The first one is players which you either get from clan and friend invites or from random players joining while the tank company is open. The second thing you need is a caller who directs your troops into battle. Without these two things you'll be losing a whole lot more then you'll be winning. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is forming a tank company without either yourself or a friend / clan mate being the caller as tank companies need organization with the smaller number of tanks and more organized teams out there. Tank companies are not random battle and if everyone goes off and does their own thing then you'll be grossly outmatched.This is why I say you should NEVER form a tank company unless you are going to call the battle plan. Also if you are going to call you'll need a microphone since typing in orders will be too slow.

Besides having a caller and getting people you'll need to fill up your point limit (60 for mediums). To start it out lets go with your 10 heavies and then subtract from that to fill in the different types of tanks that will benefit the callers and the tankers play styles the most. You can run with just 10 KV-1S's however you'll be handicapping yourself a lot unless your team can make up for the one sided approach and lack of synergy.
Besides your main force you'll want some sort of flankers or reactionary force such as two or three hellcats. Their tank destroyer benefits to camouflage along with their more poke you in the side attitude works well with a KV-1S blob. The can be passive scouts behind bushes or sit to the side and hit targets in their rear.

Another thing you'll want depending on the layout is some artillery and a scout to not only light up targets but to have that constant added pressure. Generally you'd sacrifice two heavies for a pair of artillery and a scout. The artillery can reach out and touch someone by providing needed damage to a target while the scout keeps the team updated on enemy movements and lets them take a lot more shots then they could before.

However you decide to build your tank company figure out what roles you need and pick the tanks based on that such as an artillery to hit those dug in tanks or maybe a T-50 if you losing because your tanks never have anything to shoot at.

While in battle and your calling the match with your microphone remember to ping the map with ctrl + click to better show people where to go. Seeing G5 light up while you tell the heavies to go there makes it easier for them to know what you're talking about. Your job as a caller is to get tanks where they need to be when they need to be, if the drivers can't kill their target then its their fault but if they don't have a target or are in the wrong place, it is solely your fault. Lets say you have your whole tank force push the valley on Lakeville while leaving the city and center open and a T-50 gets into the base and kills the artillery, it is your fault for not stationing some defense there. However if the whole team gets stopped by a single tank destroyer and completely fails to push through the valley even though you're telling them too, it is their fault. However instead of just being a single tank destroyer but a heavily entrenched force that stopped and massacred your push, then it was your fault for not calling that properly by ordering it, or not reacting to it properly.

The goals to winning is map presence and awareness along with the application of force. Knowing where the enemy tanks are lets you position your tanks to counteract what they are doing. For me the biggest thing while calling is having a better application of force by having more guns pointed in the same direction then the other guy. Lets take an example with assault on Sand River. If you place all of your tanks on that dune while attacking so you can see the enemy cap and you send your scout to get lights (which hopefully he'll be smart and light up 1 or 2 tanks and book it to safety instead of driving onto the cap and dying) You'll have all of those tanks and artillery ready to fire on the one or two tanks that are spotted / ready to fire back. If that one or two volley of shells kills or injures a few tanks and your team barely gets touched, then you're ahead. Now lets say half their team went up the hills and towards the 8/9 line of the map to defend from there. If you push all your tanks along the 1/2 line and have all those guns pointed at the small number of defending tanks on that side of the map chances are you'll wipe them out before the rest of the team can get enough barrels on your troops.

Anyway I hope some of this has helped some of you, and for those of who who don't want to read it all...
  • If you start a tank company without already having someone as a caller, you better be calling yourself or you should not have started a tank company.
  • Have a microphone for calling.
  • When calling remember to have map presence / awareness and use a greater application of force then the other guy, aka more putting your tanks in positions where they're fighting 2 on 1, or even better 5 on 1.
  • If you join a tank company and the leader says "Okay who's calling" leave.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

World of Tanks: Maneuvering

As requested by a clan mate, I'm going to write a little post about moving around the map, especially in related too moving your little tank butt in relation to other tanks on your team. Now this might seem silly to devote a whole post too but way too many people don't seem to grasp how close is too close to an allied tank and will start hampering mobility. Generally in relation to team mates I follow two simple rules. The first is that you don't hamper back and forth movement by being directly behind a tank so they can retreat after taking a shot or pulling forward so they can take a shot. The second is to give enough side to side room so they can wiggle their tank.

Rule 1: Never be directly behind someone!
This is very important and covers a lot of situations, the first being is that if you are on a corner and three enemy tanks start pulling around it and you take your shot, you'll be backing up as fast as you can so they can't hit you back or lure them into your teams range of fire. If a tank is blocking you from pulling back then you're stuck with bullet holes in the side of your tank. Worst of all for the guy behind you is that if your tank isn't blocking the shot, your body pushing against theirs will sure make them more likely to miss making the damage you're about to take all the more pointless.

Another situation is you're driving to a position and the tank in front is going the same way, for whatever reason he decides to stop such as taking a shot or because he was hit by artillery the last place you'll want to be is sniffing his tail pipe. For one if he's lining up a shot you'll ruin his aim, and for two anyone shooting him has perfect shots on your stationary tank. (Also artillery is less likely to miss two targets)

Rule 2: Give tanks wiggle room!
I'm sure we've all been there where someone parked so close to your side that when you moved to angle your armor you've been blocked by doing so, or even when you turned your hull a little before pulling back and being stopped because your new angle caused you to grind up against the tank next to you. This is a bad situation to be in since you can't protect yourself as usefully as you'd want due to all the reasons listed in the last section, but also because side hugging an ally means that artillery will have an even easier time to hit one of you, and also the entire time you grind you'll be ruining accuracy. Generally I give about half a T-50's width or more depending on the tanks.

Taking that corner
Now with those two rules out of the way lets go into different situations and how to best move in them. To start that out lets talk about swinging around a corner to shoot someone or to push on them. Most tanks can just pull straight out, shoot, and then pull back but doing so will expose your weak side armor at a horrible angle meaning they'll more then likely deal damage to you or even track you in that very vulnerable state. This is why you always want to take a corner at an angle along the lines of 30~50 degrees so that more of your front is exposed then your side. This is especially true for tank destroyers, you want your barrel facing them as soon as possible so they should take a wider turn to compensate for not having a turret. (when you poke out you're barrel will be closer to the target compared to hugging the corner and turning after you expose yourself)

Driving past the Enemy
A lot of times when I am in a close up battle I tend to drive past the guy I'm brawling unless I can easily win in a face to face match. This is because not only do they have to turn their turret to hit me but unless they want to give me an easy shot into their side or rear armor they'll start angling their tank so their aim will be as disrupted as mine. Also if you have allies following your push either you or them will have beautiful shots on the side / rear of their tank or turret since they'll have to choose who to shoot at.

Being circled
Besides backing up to some wall / cover if a tank is moving fast around you, you'll probably have to turn your tank along with your turret to hit them. The best way to get their tank in front of your barrel if they insist on circling you is to imagine their path as a circle and your goal is to make that circle as big as possible so they have to travel a longer distance. If they are driving past me I go forward and turn so they have to make a sharper turn to get away from my gun while. Mix it up with whatever makes your barrel turn toward them the fastest like standing still or moving forward / backwards. Just make sure your barrel is NEVER rotating in the opposite direction of your tank, it will crawl slowly and take way longer then it should. A hellcat turning left and rotating its barrel right will actually make the gun slowly turn left because the turn speed is faster then the turret rotation speed.

If artillery can see you
First of all, do not sit still unless you have enough vertical cover to block artillery shots, like a 100 story mountain or hugging a 3 story house. The next thing is to move and don't do it in a straight line. As an artillery player the only thing easier to hit then a stationary target is one that is moving in a straight line. All I have to do is guess where your tank will be in 1~2 seconds (based on range) and BOOM splash or direct hit most of the time. If you veer slightly to the left then right, then right again artillery is much more likely to miss since just a few degrees of a turn can mean you're a whole tank length away from where the artillery is aimed at. Also being on the opposite side of a hill is good since there is less are for the artillery shell to splash near you since a little bit low means its hitting the top of the hill while a little bit high means it is hitting the bottom of the hill and no where near your tank on the middle of the slope.

  • Give people room to back up
  • Give people room to rotate their tank
  • If you think you're spotted, don't stand still and don't move in a straight line
  • Use hills for cover and to make it harder for artillery to splash you
  • Turn your tank while something is circling you
  • Drive forward / backwards to try and make the tank circling you take longer
  • Don't turn your barrel and your tank in different directions.
  • Finally, don't touch allied tanks, especially if the are shooting something.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

World of Tanks: Artillery Explained

After being fed up with how often I see people complain about artillery I think I should explain more about their dynamics beyond the perception people get that they are just 1 shot killing machines. Artillery may not require as much "skill" in certain aspects of the game but to be truly effective you'll have to master a very frustrating skill, relying on your team. Artillery by itself unless it knows where you're coming from and can funnel you in front of its barrel will almost always lose a 1 on 1 engagement. Artillery has to be an ambush tank when facing off in head to head matches because of their extremely low accuracy unless you are too close to miss. Most people see artillery as free kills when they are spotted because generally they are.

Where artillery really shines is shooting long range thanks to their arched trajectory and the strategic map. However this comes at a price because of the ranges involved and the reliance on team mates to not only spot targets, but having them spot the targets you can hit and where you need to hit. Because of the lower muzzle velocity of the artillery shells they'll arrive slower meaning that the tank you just shot at normally has over a second to move, and that is generally how long it takes for your shot to completely miss. To better go on about this without adding lots of bias and long winded paragraphs, I'll try to break it up into aspects of the artillery and say the good and bad of them in a sentence or two.

Shell Trajectory
Good : It can hit tanks behind obstacles that block direct fire.
Bad : If a tank moves backwards or forwards your shot will miss a lot more often unless you compensate for it because you are aiming at a location, not a direction.

High Damage
Good : You can generally deal more damage then other tanks your tier per shot
Bad : This is balanced by long reload and aim times meaning you'll generally do less damage in the long term unless you're given the time and the targets to make each of your rounds count.

Splash Damage
Good : Even if you missed which 50% of the time you'll probably do, you'll at least do some damage and hopefully track the tank you're shooting or even hitting multiple tanks. This is very nice since it helps balance out the inaccuracies of trying to hit a tank by picking a spot on the ground to shoot.
Bad : Because of the bad accuracy at range, the splash will generally see a lose in vital damage you need to deal. And if a friendly tank happens to get too close to your target you could end up paying for his or hers repair bill.

Long Range Support
Good : Due to the mechanics you can sit far away from the battle and contribute to the war effort along with being able to shift your support across most of the battle field in under half a minute.
Bad : Because of the mechanics and the range, you'll see your shots increasingly miss due to accuracy, the target moving, or even your team killing them in the two seconds it takes your shell to hit the ground.

Close Encounters
Good : You can set up a trap and whamp someone when they run in front of your barrel
Bad : Unless you can pull off a 1 hit kill or you have team support, you're dead.

In Game : SU-26 is tier 3, grille is tier 4, and an S-51 is a tier 6 artillery.
Actual : Due to special matchmaking these artillery are actually tiers 4, 6, and 8 respectively. So when you see a Tier 5 artillery, think of it as a tier 6~7 instead.

Anyway is artillery overpowered? Yes when viewed in a bubble however an artillery in the game has very little power to influence how a battle can turn out unless it can take out those key tanks at the key moments. So now I'm going to go onto a short list of general artillery tips to hopefully make yourself better at it.
  • Use the X button, it will save you a lot of potential damage since that hair breath of a degree can mean the difference between your reticule blooming out and you getting that shot on a tank.
  • Learn how to lead targets with positioning of your tank's hull and crosshair. The best way is to pick a spot where the target will be and zoom in there instead of following the tank.
  • Reposition often, especially when there are more then two artillery a side. The chance of someone counter-artying and finding an artillery's tracer is drastically increased. Also due to your low health they generally just have to land that shell near you instead of directly on top of you. You only have to move a few meters at a time.
  • Focus on damage over kills, this is side tracked by those tanks you need to kill because they'll tear up your team.
  • Check the minimap often! if you see that scout coming for you prepare for him, he'll probably spot you and shoot you before your team can even hit them. A lot of times you'll get enough time to at least throw a shot at their face before they wrap behind you and kill you.
  • T up your target before you shoot it, (the "I'm shooting this guy key") hopefully your team mates will keep that guy lit / not instantly kill him so your long long reload is ruined.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

World of Tanks: 1 on 1

To best explain the every day one on one engagements I'd like to first boil down an average battle into the different parts that brings us to these engagements. A better title wound be something like 1 on 2 since the only two tanks you'll ever be actively worrying about on a second by second basis is the tank you are actively engaging against (shooting at) and the next tank that will hit you. However I must hold this train of thought for a moment to get down to those two crucial targets.

The Flanks
At the heart of every battle there exists three flanks that all tanks who leave the base / deployment zone go which is either the left, right, or center flank. A few examples include Enks where there is the city (left), Rails (center), and Field (right) while Himmelsdorf has Rails (left), Courtyard / Tank Alley (center), and hill (right). Now from watching you might think certain maps, especially some encounter ones don't have flanks because of the positions of the spawns like steppes but they do (1/2 line, field, cap). Also please keep in mind that certain flanks like the mountain pass in Lakeville where you're between the mountain and the lake is a valid flank, but due to survivability it is seldom used for more then two or three tanks total.

Now out of the 15 tanks on your team lets say three are artillery meaning we're bringing down the total count of tanks that can be on your side of the map down to 12. Out of these we can safely guess (based on map) that about three tanks will head to the center flank, these are generally faster scouter tanks since they want to get early lights (detections) and stop the other scouts from an early base rush to kill artillery. So knocking down another two tanks brings us to a possible 10 which we'll balance between the two exterior flanks (right and left). So lets say your current engagement will be a thrilling five on five (or 8 on 8 if you include artillery)!

Micro Engagements
Even though the current engagement is 5 on 5 due to cover (buildings, terrain, bad gun depression) and reload rates that 5 on 5 can realistically be broken down to 2 on 1 or 1 on 1 micro engagements with just a few seconds between each encounter as another tank reloads or pulls out of cover to take another shot.

So after boiling the battle down to the moment by moment action lets go into the finer details of going through the motions of your tank against theirs. The main thing is keeping your tank from being hurt followed by dealing damage. The longer you live the more you can do so positioning your tank will be your utmost priority, this involves getting into cover, angling your tank, and moving to get a shot.

1 on 1
 The easiest way to die is to have your weak spots shot such as a commanders hatch and the back of your tank. To best protect these and stay alive you'll need focus on the position of your tank in relation to the tank that's shooting you. One of the easiest ways is to use the environment to cover your tank such as being behind a building or rock, or even being on the part of a hill where the enemy tank's gun depression can't reach.

However you'll always be put into the position where your tank will be hit, and in order to minimize the chance of being damage you'll have to angle it. In general my goal while angling is to have the round bounce which generally happens when they hit a piece of armor too thick for their penetration or angled enough that the round actually skips off the side of the tank like a pebble. Besides having this lucky scenario happen my other goal is to have them hit my tracks so that the kinetic energy disperses through my tracks enough that it can't penetrate the side armor. In general this means about a ten degree angle facing slightly away from the enemy tank.

In situations where the enemy tank is behind me however trying to get my front to face them might not be the most viable tactic since they'll get a perfect shot on my side where there are no angles steep enough to induce a bounce. When this happens I try to angle my tanks butt as best as I can so that hopefully they either bounce off my side or disperse in my tracks, it doesn't always work but it is way better then a 100% chance of taking damage if they have a full side shot.

Also remember, always move aka wiggling. The only time to sit still is when everyone that can shoot you can't due to cover or their reloading, otherwise you'll want to continually shift forward / backwards and side to side since if you are sitting still they can aim at your weak spots a lot easier. If you've ever tried hitting the commander hatch on a Super Pershing while it is rocking back and forth from 100m away compared to when it is sitting still you'll see the difference.

So besides using cover (terrain and tanks), angling, and wiggling to protect your tank lets talk about damaging their tank, this will be a bit shorter since the finer points of fighting one on one battles exists in staying alive over dealing damage. Besides sitting in front of the tank and trading blows one of the easiest ways of dealing damage is to just rush past them to get side / ass shots. Of course they'll turn around and shoot you in the side as well if they aren't reloading when you get to that point but especially if you have back up to take advantage of their inability to angle against two directions at once. I do this a LOT against tanks like Super Pershings with my IS-6 since in general it is easier to damage them in the side and I can generally get away with it since they'll focus on getting shots on my side so I can re angle while their busy either focusing on shooting me or re angling themselves.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

World of Tanks : Simple Basics and Tips

So there are some basic tips and information that some newer people would definitely benefit from learning. Hopefully I can contain myself without delving too much into the what and how so people won't get confused by too much techno-babble.

These include things like ammunition, repair kits, fire extinguishers, and chocolate. They are one time use items that you have to either manually purchase or set up to automatically reload after you have use them on your tank (My suggestion is to always turn on automatic resupply). In essence for ammunition I suggest a split of 60~90% regular (default), 10~30% gold (switch it to "buy with credits"), and 0~5 rounds of HE (if it isn't the default).

For the other fancy consumables (4,5,6 keys) I suggest the first aid kit (4), repair kit (5), and a fire extinguisher(6) on every single tank. Believe me that this load out is worth it even on a tier one. The amount of exp and credits you'll lose compared to that 3,000 credit cost for an extinguisher is silly. The first aid on the 4 key to fix your driver fast is great for fast tanks where mobility is life, and the repair kit on the 5 key to fix your tracks fast is also a life saver.

Please note to always turn on automatic resupply, you don't want to enter battle with just 1 HE round loaded.

Your First Gold
So my recommendations on how to use it...
  1. Get about 5~10 tank slots to start with (you'll use them all up fast) 
  2. Get a premium tank
  3. Train a crew to 100% on a tank you use a LOT (preferably one you won't sell for a long while and is higher tier like 4~6)
Converting gold to exterior effects like camo or converting gold to exp / credits is not worth it when you are new. The tank slots will be used and since you can hold more tanks you can grind more different lines while keeping your favorites. For a premium tank it all depends on what you are willing to put into it. A T-127 is a good tier 3 premium since it can bounce pretty much anything auto-loader it will see.If you want something larger an IS-6 or a T34 are great tier 8's while a Ram II is a decent Tier 5. Anyway the reason I say you should get a premium tank is that due to having a credit bonus and cheaper repair costs you will be able to make a lot more credits then with a regular tank. As a note tier 8's generally see 40,000 to 80,000 credit profit per battle with a premium account (50% bonus to credits and exp if your account is premium)

Staying Alive
So you want to stay alive longer so you can deal more damage and earn more exp and credits. My biggest advice is hang back for the first minute or two of the game. Don't just hide in a corner but slightly back from the front lines with a place to hide behind so you can deal damage to enemy tanks while you figure out where to go to deal more damage safely. Never rush straight at the enemy without an advantage like across the field on Malinovka.

One of the easiest ways to stay alive is to not be seen in the first place. If you are shooting in some bushes please remember that all bushes within 15 meters will not hide your tank when you shoot. So if you want to snipe at someone without them seeing you the bush in front of you has to be 100% non-see through. So as long as you can't see through the bush, it will pretty much always grant you a cover / camouflage bonus.

Also when you are spotted and there isn't much physical cover such as buildings you'll probably want to start moving. Unless you know you are not spotted constantly moving is one of the best ways of making sure you don't suffer the shell end of an artillery. I can't count the times I see people just stand still to shoot a tank 2~5 times giving my artillery enough time to zoom all the way in for that perfect shot on their engine block. Rocking back and forth a bit, maybe turning a little to the side as you rock so you're not going into the exact same place every time and keep in mind that artillery might be focusing on you can keep you alive a lot longer.

Angling your tank
Since you have the most armor on the front of your tank you'll want that end facing the guy shooting you. You'll want your tank facing almost directly at the guy shooting you, not directly facing since a 5 to 10 degree angle will increase your effective armor making you slightly harder to kill. If they have a good angle on your rear / side your best bet is to move as you rotate since they'll have to turn their turret as they aim at you giving you a little bit more wiggle room since they'll be just that much more likely to miss.

Some one off tips
  • If someone is moving around you fast, remember that you can turn your tank and your turret at the same time.
  • Remap the fire extinguisher to an easy to reach button like on the mouse so when you are set on fire you can put it out FAST
  • Remap your shift button to an easier one, you'll use to zoom in/out feature a lot and scroll lock sucks.
  • Never run anything under a 75% major qualification crew, the performance difference is just too large.
  • Equipment (vents, rammer, etc) is worth the few million credits, especially on tanks tier 6 and up since you'll be keeping them longer then an hour.
  • If you are camping, do it where you can get shots in. It isn't worth sitting somewhere that won't see action until the battle is over.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

World of Tanks: XVM explained

XVM stands for eXtended Visualization Mod which is a fairly large modification for World of Tanks. Because it is generally bundled with a lot of accessories it can be hard to distinguish what is just XVM and what is not. In my book XVM is solely the part of the mod that tells you about a players Efficiency and Win Rate in battle. Besides the core of XVM and the settings for displaying player stats there are other things attached to XVM which can be handy. These include the ability to modify what is displayed over a tank (I only count the player lists, tab list, and loading battle list by default), an advanced capture timer, and an improved player statistics. Also completely ignore the chance to win numbers while loading into battle, it will only hurt your chances of winning if you lose hope due to a low chance of winning or you don't take the game seriously because you have a very high chance to win.

EFF and WN6
To start it out I'm going to have to talk about the general metric used to gauge a players competence called Efficiency and WN6. These two metrics use the different things you earn each battle like kills and damages and determines how effective you've been in helping your team to victory. I'm not going to explain the formulas since the only thing that matters is if you play naturally and deal / spot more damage then a top tier heavy or two you're doing good. The rule of thumb that I see it as is based on is the worst a player's efficiency is the more likely they are to rush shots, exposing their weaknesses more often, and all those other little things that makes them easier to kill like not using a fire extinguisher. Please note that this is just a personal view based off in game experiences so this list of about how I rate people should be taken generally.
  • 0~400 Easy to kill
  • 400~700 Can put up some fight
  • 700~900 Below average, take seriously
  • 900~1200 Can kill if your drunk.
  • 1200+ Don't be stupid, they know what they're doing
Base Capture Timer
My favorite part of the XVM package is the base capture timer redesign. It shows you how long you have until the base is captured in seconds. It also shows you how many people are on cap such as 1, 2 or 3+ since the capture speed does not increase past 3 people. This can be extremely handy since knowing how long you have until a base is captured can completely change how you play. If you know you have 9 seconds and your reload is 10 you know you can't afford to rush your shot. Likewise if there is still two minutes and a half until the base is captured you can take your time killing the guy near you before returning to base. Also for those who don't keep track on how fast bases capture across the different maps and game types knowing for sure that 2 are capping then you know where two of the last three enemy tanks are.

Modifying XVM
For those of you who want to modify the different things XVM can display like showing a players efficiency next to their name above their tank then I suggest going to this XVM Editor, opening the xvmconfig file from inside your mod folder (res_mods/0.0.0/gui/flash) and saving your modifications to that (I keep a copy of a working version handy encase I really mess some stuff up). In general the only things I really touch there is the above tanks icons (Markers), and the Tab / Loading / Player Panel sections to show WN6 or Efficiency based on your preference. Some suggestions I have for what to keep for these four spots are...
  • Battles, Winrate and some efficiency calculation (even if it is just colorizing the players name) for the tab and loading sections.
  • Show a players efficiency over the tank when you press alt, this is where you can place all the fun information like tank tier, player name, tank type, etc that would just clutter up the default.
  • Be minimalistic for above tank markers except in tab mode, just showing a player name (ally) or tank name (enemy)  and their health bar is generally enough.
  • Play low tiers after you edit your XVM to see if you like the changes in battle, you don't want to be in a Tier 10 game with something that makes it harder to play.
Installing XVM
The first thing you want to do is install the Dokan Library and restart your computer, if you have Windows 8 use compatibility mode. XVM uses this to display user statistics like Efficiency and Win Rate in battle. After you have that installed download XVM and place your xvm-stats.exe and xvm-stats.exe.config files in the World_of_tanks folder. The world_of_tanks folder should be in your C:\Games\ folder (get to it by going to My Computer -> C Drive -> Games -> World_of_tanks). The next thing you should do is go to your res_mods\0.0.0\gui\flash folder and paste your xvmconfig file here where 0.0.0 is the current patch number for wot (currently 0.8.4). After that all you'll have to do is make a shortcut to your xvm-stats.exe and run World of Tanks from that file (I have it pinned to my start menu) and XVM should be working.

Why XVM can be good or bad

Have you ever seen people who say that the chances of winning is bad so they kill themselves at the start of the game? This is because of XVM and them giving up before they even tried because based on the tanks and tankers driving them stats it says that they have a bad chance. However time and time again I've seen teams with a 5% chance to win decimate another team. This is because the application of one teams forces may not be appropriately placed to take advantage of the other teams positions.

Using XVM as a loose gauge instead of a set rule can be beneficial by helping with target priority and anticipating actions. When I see a red player (low efficiency) I know that they'll probably pull out of cover too far so I can have a nice shot on their side before they can return fire or pull back. Likewise if I see a unicum (highly skilled player) I know he'll probably be in a position where he can deal / spot the most damage while taking the least amount. The unicum might go somewhere and just get blasted before he can do anything or the red guy may be in a spot where he can just blast people in the side.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

World of Tanks: Gold rounds and you

So we've all know that gold rounds can be purchased for tanks with credits making them widely available to the masses. However there seems to be people who don't understand gold rounds based on the complaints I see thrown out in battle and the lack of them during competitive play. The first is that using gold rounds is not cheating. You can use only gold rounds in your tanks and get all the penetrations you couldn't before so aiming becomes less of an issue, however due to the cost you'll probably be losing credits.

You can also decide to use no gold rounds at all, however when facing a heavily armored tank and not being able to penetrate it can cost you valuable experience due to the lack of damage because of missing weak spots.It is a balance since too much gold rounds will lose you credits, and not enough can see you facing up against opponents you can't hurt easily enough when you have to hurt them. However I can not go into just gold rounds without talking about the other kinds of ammunition.

AP / Standard Ammo
So the standard ammo for your tank which is usually AP though some tanks have APCR (T71) is your bread and butter ammo. (Artillery's is HE) You'll want to load most of your rounds in this ammo type, probably about 65% depending on how much ammo your tank holds. (swings from 50% to 80%) The reason why you want to have it loaded the most is that it costs the least amount of credits and is generally up for the job vs most of the tanks you'll fight against. For tanks you can't hurt easily we'll be getting into what ammo to use for those later.

High explosive rounds are best used on Artillery and Derps. A Derp gun is an artillery gun on a tank like the KV-2's 152 mm M-10 which does 910 damage with 86 pen on the HE rounds. For most tanks out there HE is worthless to bring except for a small handful of rounds if you are not using an artillery gun. This is primarily for making sure you deal some damage (even if it is just track damage) to someone who is on cap. You'll probably never use them, but hey they are there in case you have troubles dealing damage to a guy capping who is angled.

Gold rounds (Anything round you can buy with gold)
For normal tanks I generally run with about 30% gold shells (APCR or HEAT). A lot of times I won't need them like in a KV-1S in a Medium tank company however when I meet up with something that is harder to pen I like to switch over to gold rounds. My best example is my IS-6 vs another IS-6, I can pen him if I try but due to angling, wiggling, and the low pen of the gun I'd prefer just to switch to gold rounds and hit him on the flattest surface. (IS-6's armor can still easily bounce another IS-6's gold rounds) Now for artillery since they are so different then normal tanks I'm going to talk about their gold rounds separately.

  • HE : Increases splash range which is very sexy and will probably be your main gold rounds in artillery. This is because you're more likely to deal higher damage through a splash hit vs your regular He rounds because of the way splash damage is calculated.
  • HEAT : Great for low tier high accuracy artillery like the SU-26, it has no splash damage so you need to hit hull to deal damage (sometimes you get those annoying track only hits) however compare the damage between an SU-26's HE and HEAT rounds on a KV-1S (20 and 200 respectfully) you can see the merits of it. For my SU-26 I load about 50% gold or 75% gold depending on if I'm playing Pubs, Medium Tank Companies, or Junior Tank Companies.
  • AP : Your regular AP round but with crazy pen and damage. It is mostly only useful with high accuracy artillery like HEAT since it does not splash. I load a few (4ish) in my Obj.212 since I have shell room while I don't load any in my S-51 because of its very limited shell count and accuracy. However when those hit you're pretty much killing anything in 1 to 2 shots.

  1. About a 66% standard, 33% gold, and 1% HE is a very effective split.
  2. HE or Gold rounds should be used to reset base. You do not want to lose because of a bounce. on that 99% captured base
  3. Gold rounds have different tracers
  4. Only load gold rounds in tournaments, I bet you the other team will have them loaded.
  5. Even though they are expensive, you don't have to use them. But having them will definitely help you.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

World of Tanks: General mods everyone should use

So World of Tanks allows you to modify how pretty much everything in the game is displayed. You can change textures, models, and the gui (graphical user interface) which is your hud. Just press V while in a battle to see what the game is like without it and you'll instantly know what a gui is.

This is however not cheating except modifying tracers (only think I know of that is frowned upon by war gaming). This is because s all the "if you hit and is that guy visible" calculations are done server side. So even if you changed a tanks model you'll still only hit it if the server says you do.

The three mods I suggest most of all before getting into the optional ones are the following...

Jimbo's crosshair mod (or any other ones). You'll know exactly how long it takes to reload in seconds (like 2.40) instead of guessing based on that bar filling up. Another nice feature includes things like about how long an artillery shells takes to travel and your health in % encase you forget to check, which I do. It is also fun to watch your reload speed drop as your crew levels up.

Accurate Damage Indicator is a mod that changes the visuals for when you are hit so instead of a vague area you'll see exactly what direction you where hit from. This is nice because when you line the indicator to the top of your screen, the guy who shot you was directly forward (it doesn't tell you vertical position) so with a good guess, you can hit them back without even seeing them!

Damage Panel.
This is more preference and harder to pin down but it offers some HUGE features that makes your survivability a lot greater.
  • When you are set on fire, the "YOU'RE ON FIRE" message can be moved and enhanced so that you'll notice right when you are hit (I have it right below my cross-hairs and large enough that I can't miss it)
  • It will record the damage you suffer from each impact so you can see if you are getting hurt badly or not (When you die in a single second and you're wondering WTF hit me and you see 6 different impacts, you'll know half their team just wiped you off the face of the earth.)
  • Module repair speed in seconds (oh hey my tracks will be fixed in 2 seconds exactly, I have time before that guy reloads)
Finally a Mini-map mod that have a few select options. For me there are certain aspects that makes it extremely handy for artillery and getting into range of certain things.
  • Artillery range Circle which shows you the maximum range your artillery can hit on a level plain.
  • Max Draw Distance Circle, which shows you how far you can actually see an enemy tank.
  • Max View Range Circle (445 or something) which shows how far view range will calculate up to.
  • Tank direction line which shows a line that points from the front of your tank, mostly for angling.
  • Look direction line which used with the accurate damage indicator can show you an exact line between you and that guy somewhere along it that hit you. It is also good to help with angling in sniper mode
  • Gun Traverse lines. This is nice for artillery and TD's as you can line up your tank so you can hit an enemy easier by showing you where they'll be outside of your firing arc.
Beyond these three mods there are many different types that can be helpful such as making dead tanks white so living tanks don't blend in with them as much, removing the black borders while zoomed in, and xvm. All of these can be helpful but they do not influence the game as much as the above four do however I will talk about XVM before I wrap up this post.

XVM is a mod for the game that tells you about how effective people are in world of tanks and allows you to view information about them and their tanks differently in battle. One of the neatest features in xvm that seems to be bundled with it is a cap timer display that shows you how many seconds is left until the enemy or you captures the cap. The thing to keep in mind is a players Efficiency is just a gauge and will not show you how badly one player could be and how good another can be in this match. This is one of the bad things about XVM is that it can make you over or under confident and more likely to lose because you wouldn't be playing the best you can.

I wouldn't recommend XVM to everyone mostly because it is not needed and will hinder them more then it will help them until they understand the game and how to use XVM as a gauge instead of law. I've seen XVM rate teams with only a 5% chance of winning and we've rolled the other team with only losing two to three tanks, and I've also seen people drown themselves because it was a 5% chance of winning. I'll probably be writing up a post solely about XVM shortly to help explain about its finer points and why I love it.

World of Tanks: Crew Skills

For many who are new to World of Tanks you'll probably not know a lot about how crew skills work and what ones to get for your tanks. Hopefully this guide will help educate most of you on what the different skills actually do for your tank and help you prioritize the order you want to achieve those skills. So without wasting any more time let me start. Some small single sentence things before I do though. Use gold to drop skills, the battles it takes to catch up isn't really worth it. Also when you drop a skill it will reset all of your skills so you can switch their order around or pick completely different skills to take their place. This is good to train perks when you have more then 2 crew skills since you can use a normal skill up to 100% and then switch it out with a perk so you're not wasting those thousands of battles.

Types of Crew Skills
The first thing I should talk about is the different types of crew skills, which there are three. The first type of crew skill is a skill which take effect when you have at least 1% training. So if you have a skill that increases your guns accuracy by 10% when it is fully learned, at 25% training your guns accuracy will be 2.5% better. The second type are called perks and they only come into effect when they reach 100%, so if you have a perk that makes you reload 10% faster and the perk has only been trained to 99%, you'll reload speed will still be the same until you reach that last percent. The final crew skill is Brothers In Arms, it is defined as a perk in the game however due to special rules I classify it as its own type. BIA only takes effect when every crew member has it trained to 100%, so even if a single crew member has only 50% BIA it will NOT WORK.

How long does it take!
The second thing to consider is how long it takes to get each skill. If you get on average 700 experience for each battle it will take you 300 battles to max out your first crew skill, 600 more battles for your second skill, and 1,200 more battles for your third skill. So reflectively to get 100% on four crew skills you'll need about 4,500 battles at 700 average experience (not including the battles it takes to finish your Major Training to even pick your first crew skill). Technically you can get every single perk and skill your crew member can learn 100%, however the amount of battles it will take is makes that goal unrealistic to most crews so the best idea is to plan for your first three / four crew skills. I'd also never train a perk that I wanted from 0 to 100% unless it was one of my first two crew skills.

Default Layouts
These will go up to the 3rd skill since beyond that is mostly situational.

  1. Brothers in Arms
  2. Repair
  3. Smooth Ride / Off Road, Snap Shot, Sixth Sense / Jack of all Trades
  4. Camouflauge / Fire Fighting
Your goal is to increase effectiveness of moving and shooting, most of the time you wont have the luxury to take aim while wiggling your hull or peek-a-booming around a corner. Because being tracked in the open can mean a death sentence for you since most of the action you'll be facing involves having multiple tanks within spitting distance. A single tracking can allow a tank to get behind you or allowing multiple tanks to hit you while your exposed (mostly because you poked out of a corner to get a shot before backing up to reload). For me I usually save repair for my 3rd skill and my commander / driver train something different.

Snipers (TD's)
  1. Camouflage + Sixth Sense / Brothers in Arms
  2. Camouflage + Sixth Sense / Brothers in Arms
  3. Clutch Breaking, Designated Target, Repair
  4. Off Road, Smooth Ride, Snap Shot, Dead eye
Your goal is to stay hidden and increase your accuracy and damage. Since you'll mostly be sitting behind the front lines and with tank destroyers camo bonus you'll want to take full advantage of it. A TD in the woods is a scary thing to face since you'll have to be practically be on top of them before they are spotted. For the 3rd and 4th skills you'll be focusing on things like dealing damage and turret-less weakness, not having a turret. Off Road and Clutch breaking on TD's since you'll want to turn as fast as you can to shoot that guy circling you in the ass. Dead eye and Designated Target are also nice editions since you'll be able to keep that guy who was spotted lit two seconds longer and that 3% better chance of dealing critical damage is especially nice when considering that is per each module your shell hits, which can be more then one!


  1. Brothers in Arms
  2. Camouflage + Sixth Sense
  3. Clutch Breaking / Off Road, Repair
  4. Off Road / Clutch Breaking
So besides that sexy increase for Reload and Zooming in from BIA you'll want to increase vehicle rotation rate / movement. Everything else is kinda moot as you'll probably die in the first shot anyway. Turning the tank faster though means you can start zooming in at a new location faster. I might say smooth ride and snap shot would be interesting too, especially with an SU-26. Just remember that things like Dead-eye and Designated Target do not work in Strategic mode.

  1. Camo + Sixth Sense / BIA
  2. BIA / Camo + Sixth Sense
  3. Repair, Recon + Situational Awareness, Designated Target
  4. Off road, Call for Vengeance
You want to spot and know when you've been spotted. To this end anything to help you keep spotting is great! I say camo fast because light tanks keep their camo while moving so with a 100% camo crew they'll be able to spot a lot more often without being shot at. Call for Vengeance and Designated Target are just little bonus things to help prolong spotting since those two extra seconds can mean the difference between an artillery / sniper getting a shot or not. Sixth Sense is a god send since knowing when you're spotting means you can turn your ass down that cliff, get an idea where tanks are even if you didn't spot, and if you are seen while passively spotting behind a bush with binocs means the difference between being killed and living long enough to help your team even longer.

Situational / Other
  • Preventative Maintenance if you get tired of being set on fire.
  • Safe Stowage and Adrenaline Rush are both decent loader skills, I don't list them as they are more a preference but I do have one or both on most of my brawlers in the 2nd slot.
  • Eagle Eye is just a waste of time since it doesn't add as much benefit as most of the stuff a commander can get. It can be cool to use to see if someone's ammo rack or turret is busted so you know you have more time to work with between him shooting you, but it is just a gimmick really.
  • Recon and other signal and sight boosting things unless on a scout doesn't really need it unless their signal or sight is naturally too low for you. Boosting your snipers view range can make you hit people sooner or when you normally can't see them, but it is more of a 4th / 5th skill.
  • I think Intuition is pretty rubbish since I don't want to try switching a round and losing my loaded one in the process. It might be worth it in an auto loader if it reloaded all the shells in a clip at once from a half empty one but other then that...
  • Controlled Impact, Sexy on a KV-5 but the conditions are kind of obtuse.

Too Long; Didn't Read
  1. Plan for your first three / four crew skills, everything after that is unrealistic on most skills.
  2. Perks only work when they are 100% trained while skills work the second they are 1% trained.
  3. Pretty much the holy grail is BIA, repair, camo
  4. Sixth Sense is amazing, and Jack of all Trades is my next favorite for a commander
  5. Snap shot and Dead eye are my defaults for my gunner if I don't use repair first
  6. For my driver usually Smooth Ride and Off road, controlled and clutch breaking usually takes second place to camo and repair for me.
  7. Radio guy gets situational and that is about it, generally I don't care about radio range since I'm brawling most of the time and I'm close enough most of the time.
  8. For my loaders I just pop on safe stowage just to drop that chance of being one shot and then go straight for repair and camo and fire fighting before bothering with a 2nd loader only skill.
  9. I'm going to be adding more to this post later.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

World of Tanks: Equipment

So some of you might be asking yourself, "Gee I wish I was as tank savvy as Serge is and has his amazing alcohol to blood ratio!" Well yo are in luck since I shall treat you to a completely different statement, "Gee Willickers I have no idea what equipment to put on my tank, woe is me."

Please note that this is mainly based on your needs, pick the stuff based on what you decide is most important.

Default Scout
  • Suspension (less chance of being tracked for T-50 mostly)
  • Coated Optics (Spot things further and faster)
  • Toolbox / Binoculars (Repair tracks faster / spot more no matter if you are moving or sitting)

Passive Scout
  • Binoculars (you're sitting in a bush just close enough to spot)
  • Camouflage net (Don't want to be seen)
  • Optics (While driving to the bush, you can see if someone might spot you)

  • Rammer (More damage)
  • Vents (More Damage and Accuracy)
  • Vertical / Toolbox (Easier to hit crap / Less being tracked)

  • Rammer (More Damage)
  • Vents (More Damage and Accuracy)
  • Camonet / Binocs (Don't get shot / Spot tanks for yourself while sitting behind yer bush)

  • Rammer (My devil the reload speed bonus is AMAZING)
  • Gun laying (My god that aim time reduction)
  • Camo net / Spall liner (half a second safer from scouts / less likely to be killed due to country arty splash)
  • BONUS: If your artillery can get vents, get it! (Obj. 212 as an example)

 Breakdown of each module
Image Name Role Modules Why
Net Sniper / Passive Scout / SPG 3rd +25% for camo rating while stationary, best on TD and snipers supporting behind a bush.
Binocs Scouts / Campers 3rd The biggest disadvantage is that you have to stay still to get the view range bonus. In heavies and meds you'll be moving too often to be useful.
Toolbox All but SPG's 3rd +25% repair is AMAZING on all tanks and until you need the 3rd module this is highly recommended just because that 25% could be the difference between a fatal blow to your side and backing up behind that building.
Spall Liner Big Ass Tanks and SPG's 3rd Decrease (counter) arty damage from splash / Derp protection / decrease ram damage for those silly buggers.
Wet Ammo Certain Tanks 3rd If your tank gets ammo racked and blows up a lot and you have not learned safe stowage then you'll want this.
Engine Filter Certain Tanks 3rd +50% engine health so it helps stop it from being set on fire or killed as often.
Fuel CO2 Certain Tanks 4rd +50% fuel tank health, Same as the engine one, get if the fuel tank gets set on fire a lot.
Suspension Scouts and certain tanks 1th / 3rd Suspension can mean the life or death of scouts, and certain tanks like a Churchill where your tracks are very far out there can benefit greatly from this.
Gun Rammer Anyone Shooting 1st -10% reload rate will boost your damage, experience, kills, and survivability a great deal. That 1~10 seconds boost to reload is a blessing.
Enhanced Aiming SPGs 2nd SPG's LOVE it with their 30 second aim times. It can be put on other tanks but should be the 3rd module as a lot of tanks can use something better.
Vertical Stabilizer Brawlers 2nd If you do any kind of moving and shooting get this if you can, that 20% less movement penalty will mean you are incredibly more accurate when moving like during a peek-a-boo
Coated Optics Scouts and 3rd module 2nd / 3rd Amazing for scouts and those that decide to use their 3rd module slot for spotting the enemy that small amount further.
Grousers Certain Tanks 4th So you have better traction, maybe good on the artillery but meh.
Ventilation All Tanks 2nd +5 crew efficiency means everything is better. This includes Mentor.