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  1. How to get into a top tier clan

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon A lot of people wonder: how can I get into that top clan? I have a little experience, but I wanted to see how other people got into their good clans too. I'm not interested in what people say to do to get into a good clan, I'm interested in what they actually did. People often give the advice of "get good and then good clans will want you", but there are so few people that actually do it that way! WHAT IS "TOP-TIER"? My definition for "top-tier" or "good" is: Clan is frequently holding land in Clan Wars, receiving gold income Clan wins Clan Wars campaigns and the resulting premium tanks from them (note: this may change in the future as Wargaming is moving to a system of play more = more points in the campaigns, thus the clans that win tanks will probably just be spamming battles and not actually winning any of them) BUT CLAN X IS JUST A BUNCH OF SCRUBS! THEY AREN'T GOOD! The North American server has around 30K players online at any given time. I'm spit-balling, but that would mean there are probably 1 million active users on the North American server. How many clans win the campaigns or are on the global map at any given time? 30-40 clans, 100 players per clan: 3-4 thousand players. So out of a population of 1 million players, 3-4 thousand players actually get the prizes. That's 0.3% of the population. So bash that "scrub" clan that's barely holding onto land in the great arctic all you want: statistically, they are still part of very elite company. OVERVIEW I asked the community at WoTLabs about how they got into their clans, and if you want to read the entire stories people had, go for it: they are great reads. Inspirational. I apologize to those who submitted their stories, but I have to edit for space. Each snippet will include a link back to the full story the player shared, and there are more great reads in that thread that people should check out. Also, these aren't just elite players posting how they got into top clans. There are many that have merely good stats. You don't have to be purple to get into one of these clans, but green is probably a requirement. GETTING INTO A TOP CLAN DOESN'T ALWAYS START OFF WELL... Some think that the lives of others are charmed and that success comes naturally to everyone around them. That's rarely the case! Nearly everyone starts at the bottom. Joined my first clan L501R by baddie in-game spam message, top tier tank was an m41(tier 5 arty). It was so bad a clan that it wasn't even good enough to fail in Africa, it was the clan that fought and lost landing battles in Europe with half teams... - Meirzin[REL_3] I started as one hell of a scrub player, so full of myself, that I did not understand how terrible I was until I reached about 6-7K games. (at which point I had a winrate of about 47% and a WN7 of 700 or 800). - blackzaru[TYR] I started out playing with my son as a horrible, horrible 45%er or worse. Discovered at some point around the same time and /r/worldoftanks. Joined RDDT6 (social clan) and started platooning. - Dlur[RELIC] I was about an average pub (~50% winrate) with about 6-8k battles that was playing for the grind and didn't care much for stats. My first CW experience was being raped in a stock tier 9 T34 by an E-100 on Westfield in a clan that obviously didn't have much business on the map. - tomego[HAVOK] DOING TOURNAMENTS TO GET NOTICED One of the interesting things that came out a lot: people gained connections, exposure, and increased their skill through tournament play before going into clan wars. A deliberate decision to get into a gud-clan while simultaneously breaking into the WoT tournament scene got me first into a 'training' sub-clan (NOVAC), then a 'tournament' sub-clan (SNRK), and finally a main clan (SIMP), though I suspect the last step was in error since I happened to be in a chat channel with some of the guys they really wanted to recruit. - kilpanic[SIMP] PLATOONING ON UP "Networking" is one of those words that confuses most: how does one "network"? Really, it's just a buzzword that means "talking to people". Everyone you've enjoyed platooning with: add them to your friend list and invite them to platoons later. As your friend list grows, so does your network. Started off in a social clan from an invite spammer in game. Figured it would be fun to meet some guys and toon up after 2-3k solo games. Met several guys I consider friends and moved clans a few times together. I had almost 1500 efficiency, but only 47% WR and realized I had been losing alot due to the people I played with. I found 2 buddies at 53% that didn't mind playing with my 47% ass. Worked my way up to 53%. - Driftin[SIMP] So i just soloed my way for quite a while, then hopped in the WotLabs in-game channel when it got created and soloed/platooned my way through the game for another while. Then one afternoon i tooned with jostie and cryo (a officer in UNICA). Cryo ... offered me to move to a clam a friend of his was creating. I trusted him and so transferred to PUR3. And i'm pretty happy about it. - SWG112[PUR3] IT'S WHO YOU KNOW, NOT WHAT YOU KNOW I had seen Allurai playing his T49 in some YouTube video's, and had got into a few platoon's with him. At this point, I had a 51% wr, and ok stats. That influential friend I had made, turned out to be Allurai, who got me into TMPRL's... - ArrogantWorms[REL_3] As the medium/champion TCs were starting at that time, I started running with Badfish1080 in TCs, and he invited me to join Likely to Rage, which was just getting started. [...] Badfish went off and started ELVIS, which I subsequently joined. [...] Shortly after leaving ELVIS, PBKAC invited me in, as I had played with some notables in pubs and TCs previously. I had also been posting on the forums, and PBKAC has always been a forum warrior clan. Nisae was instrumental in bringing me to PBKAC. - sr360[PBKAC] SUB-CLAN SUCCESS Many clans have sub-clans that are made specifically for developing players for the main clan or working towards clan wars themselves one day. There is always churning: players leave the clan or game constantly and need to be replaced. Find a sub-clan, and work your way up. Go solopub for a while, make post on clan recruitment, overall was 1300ish and 53% WR, AntiVibe recruits me into REL-A (RBS: a clan wars training sub-clan). I get pulled up (RBS:to REL_2) with a T110E5 because I had 100% attendance for 60 days. - Migizikody[REL_2] SELF IMPROVEMENT Truthfully, you're going to have to have develop some skill at left-clicking on pixel tanks to get into the best clans. After 7k games I got into a semi-casual clan with some really good players that inspired me to become better. [...] Stayed there for a month or two, left because my ambitions got greater. [...] Built my stats for a while until they got up to 1750 WN7, which was the "minimum" to join my next clan, EXN0M. Now I effectively have enough tier 10s and stats to join any clan I want. - Oneechan[SAKI] Its basically the same formula for me for any multiplayer game ... Decide you want to be competitive. Practice and learn from others. I still suck, but much less than before. - Sarzan[D-O-S] I was like fuck, I'm gonna get better at this and join them one day. Got better - joined EFE-X - got even better - was transferred to EFE. Now field commanding cw. - Moukka[EFE] Keep in mind when I was an aspiring unicum I always wanted to be in a clan like G, Enjoy, PBKAC, or Havok. I had always wanted to be in a clan that made tons of gold per day and surround myself with insanely good players. I knew in order to join a top clan I had to show what I was made of. I had to take the game seriously and improve my stats to show that I was worthy of being in a top clan. - Aquavolt[PBKAC] ADD VALUE TO THE CLAN OTHER THAN JUST FIGHTING Shooting is only part of the battle. Diplomacy, recruiting, battle calling, and funds management all take a lot of time. Sometimes the best players don't always want to be the best diplomats or recruiters. There's opportunity there. Started battle calling in nightly Medium and Champion TCs by being nominated randomly, sought to improve myself after the thrill of winning (luckily) my first ever TC battle that I called. It all started there with pred being the 73%er Spiritual Leader and his one and only battle caller (myself lol) and our 7/42 team with a few of PBKAC SEA's best. - comix[DPS] Join Africa Clan due to me doing medium TCs with them. [...] Turns out I am decent at calling. Stay as a caller for a while winning most of the battles I call. Apply to numerous clans under the ruse of being a good caller and get accepted by a few, PBKAC being the most notable and best in my opinion. - Cod_[PBKAC] I made a smart ass remark to a recruiter asking why were recruiters always so much lower than the minimum stats for joining. - Driftin[SIMP] (RBS: officers typically have lower requirements as they are harder spots to fill. It's a tough job keeping a clan running!) INSTALL GAME, ACCEPT WAITING INVITE TO BEST CLAN, EZ GAME EZ LIFE BETTER LUCKY THAN GOOD Some random dude asked me to platoon with him, which I did. He asked me to join his clan as he needed chips for Clan Wars and didn't even care if I showed up. I joined just for giggles (becoming the ~4th member), and that "random dude" was Exploit. The clan I had joined for giggles was PURPL, and became a consistent landholding clan within a month and narrowly won the M60 in the first campaign. - rocketbrainsurgeon[OTTER] UNIQUE WAYS TO GET A GOOD CLAN SUMMARY There are tons of different ways that people have gotten into their top clan that makes them happy... and all of them are different! Go read through the stories in full and realize the breadth of skills that people cite to get into the best clans: it's not just being the best @ tanks. Share your story in the thread if you like. If you don't have that story, log onto WoT and make it! Discuss this on WoTLabs
  2. WN8: The Good, The Bad, And The Padding

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon Obviously no one agrees on the best way to rank people or activities, but WN8? The things you need to about it: deal more damage and pick the right tanks. WHAT IS WN8 WN8 is the latest rating system trying to measure that ethereal factor: skill. It's a complex formula that measures performance on a tank-to-tank basis against the general population, so people aren't punished for playing tanks that might not be the best. WN8 DOES A LOT OF THINGS RIGHT One of the goals of WN8 and why it has been established as the [currently] best skill evaluating metric was to reduce the phenomenon of "stat padding". Stat padding is where a player does an unnatural activity for the expressed purpose of inflating some metric. Winrate is just too easy to farm to be considered a skill metric on its' own: tank companies or low tier play can yield absurdly high winrates (80-90%+). So there was a need for a metric that tried to measure skill for more normal play. The original "skill" rating, Efficiency, weighted damage / kills / tanks spotted / cap points roughly equally. The problem with that was light tanks could hide for the entire match and then accumulate meaningless cap or defense points when the game was either irrevocably won or lost. Sitting in the cap circle in a blowout win was also incredibly more valuable than chasing down the remaining enemy. So instead of being around the average of ~1 cap point per game, it was 5+ for these players who made a complete mockery of the efficiency metric. While it was later reworked to reduce the effect cap points had on the rating, no one in NA really takes it seriously anymore. WN7 (a precursor to WN8), made the combination of wins / kills / damage per tier as the core of the metric. Getting rid of meaningless cap points went a long way towards measuring actual skill and reducing padding, but it didn't solve everything. Kills were weighted heavily in the metric since the thinking probably went: "how the heck does one stat pad kills without actually being good?". The problem was that the rating was account-wide, so playing low tier tanks (where kills are plentiful for a good player) with some higher tier tanks will create weirdly high WN7 values. The other major problem was that artillery, scouts, and poor tanks were heavily penalized as they couldn't get their win rate high enough (artillery), or kills high enough (scouts), or couldn't compete with the 1 or 2 best tanks in tier (hellcat/KV-1S). WN8 was produced to measure in a more apples-to-apples kind of way. Account-wide measurement will always have problems as there are too many variables to skew the equation. WN8 takes datamined values for each tank and compares your stats in each tank to the general population. So if you like playing bad tanks, that's OK! Your performance in that bad tank will be compared to others driving that same tank. For 99% of the population, WN8 does an excellent job. For the top 1% it gets a little weird. DISCLAIMER I appreciate the work that went into WN8. I know that the limitations of WN8 are mostly because Wargaming won't release more metrics for retrieval with their API (spotting damage plz tks). I don't have all the answers and know that criticism without solutions is just pointless complaining, and I'll try to put out some ideas on how to improve it at the end. HOW DOES WN8 WORK Every tank has "expected values" of kills / damage / spots / winrate / defense points. These values come from the creators of WN8 looking at, a huge database where people upload their dossier files and it spits out a lot of fun information. The creators chose these values for each tank as averages that we should expect from them. If you do better than other people at killing, dealing damage, spotting tanks, winning games, and defending cap, your rating is higher. Straight-forward so far. I'll present you the scary-looking math, but don't worry: I'll explain what it means in a very simple way and why it matters. Here's the formula: WN8 = 980*rDAMAGEc + 210*rDAMAGEc*rFRAGc + 155*rFRAGc*rSPOTc + 75*rDEFc*rFRAGc + 145*MIN(1.8,rWINc) See the numbers? Those are weighted constants: they prioritize certain metrics over others. Damage gets the largest number because that is what the creators want to matter the most. Let's look at my T-62A numbers as an example to see how WN8 works first-hand: T-62A expected values for WN8 per game: 0.98 kills, 1682 damage, 1.61 spots, 0.74 defense points, 50.4% winrate - 1580 WN8 rating T-62A my averages: 1.51 kills, 2401 damage, 2.13 spots, 1.2 defense points, 59.4% winrate - 2856 WN8 rating Let's play with my T-62A numbers and see what happens! I won't go into the math of why it works out this way, but I will show you some scenarios that make for an interesting picture. My T-62A WN8: 2856 What does my WN8 do if I win 70% of my games instead of 59.4%? WN8: 2883 (+27) That's right, winning more doesn't influence WN8 at all! A huge jump in winrate has almost no effect. What does my WN8 do if I win 50% of my games instead of 59.4%? WN8: 2763 (-99) So it's possible to have great WN8 but have zero impact on your winrate. "Skill" metric, right? I have seen people with purple WN8 who can't break 50% winrate. What does my WN8 do if I spot 4 targets instead of 2.13? WN8: 2888 (+32) Spotted targets is capped, and I agree with this: people otherwise could just #YOLO into the enemy team and collect a scout medal along with a high rating. This doesn't work. If the spotting value gets too high, it just uses the DAMAGE stat instead. That doesn't make sense on the surface, it's to prevent abuse. Just know that spotting doesn't really matter as long as your damage rating is high. What does my WN8 do if my damage drops to average - 1682? WN8: 1789 (-1086) There we go: WN8 is severely weighted towards dealing more damage. What does my WN8 do if my damage increases by 1 shot per game to 2700? WN8: 3184 (328) Again, we see how much stronger increasing or decreasing damage is than any other metric for WN8. What does my WN8 do if my kills go to the expected 0.98? WN8: 2451 (-404) So kills are important too, but if you're increasing your damage then the kill could should rise naturally. What does my WN8 do if my defense points drop to zero? WN8: 2856 (0) As with spotting, if the defense points get too high it just uses the DAMAGE stat instead. This is to prevent abuse. QUICK SUMMARY So I've shown how WN8 is all about damage. For the vast majority of the population and tanks, it works very well. Increasing your spotted targets doesn't [substantially] increase your rating Increasing your defense points doesn't [substantially] increase your rating Increasing your win percentage doesn't [substantially] increase your rating But I haven't talked about expected values yet. You remember, those things that this whole calculation is based on? EXPECTED VALUES AND THEIR PROBLEMS The expected values for every tank: Expected values are pretty good in theory: bad tanks should have worse stats per game than good tanks. That's why bad is bad and good is good. Easy. The creators chose the expected values for each tank: what this tank "should" be able to achieve and how it has historically performed. Reaching the expected values gives a rating of 1580, which is "green" or "good": the metric was made for epeen measurement so it's going to be more concerned about the upper end of the scale. If you don't hit the "expected" values, don't worry about it. What if a tank is OP? It gets a high expected value because people are dominating with it. It can even be a select few people that raise the bar considerably for everyone else. What is a tank was OP but got nerfed? The M4 Sherman during the HEAT spamming period was better than most tier 6 tanks... and the expected values show it. M4 Sherman expected values per game: 1.73 kills, 801 dmg, 1.57 spot, 1.31 defense points, 60% winrate So to get a rating of 1580, those are the numbers you have to hit. Oh, and the M4 Sherman isn't even close to the game breaker it was before the nerf. Seriously, there is no way someone reaches 3000 performance nowadays whereas people are hitting 4/5K WN8 with other tanks. What if the majority of people suck in a tank, bringing it down in historical performance? Then this tank gets a low expected value, meaning it's easier to pad WN8 for the same amount of effort (don't worry, we're getting there). Typically mediums and heavies are harder to play than SPG's and TD's so the expected value is lower. Lights are by far the hardest class of tank for the average person to play, giving them a crazy low expected value. What if the majority of people are great in a tank, bringing up its' historical performance? Then the tank gets a high expected value, making it harder to achieve good WN8. SPG's and TD's will have high expected values as they are relatively easy to play in comparison to mediums/heavies/lights. BEST WN8 TANKS PER TIER Here are the tanks that have low expected values for what they do, in no particular order. The goal is to get 3K WN8: super-unicum status. But even if you don't reach that, these tanks should naturally raise your WN8 as they are capable tanks but have low expected values. Some of these tanks will be more difficult than others, but that's the point: beating the average rather than getting the highest damage possible. Light tanks will be streaky while the mediums will be more consistent. Tiers 1-4: No. Tier 5: ELC Chaffee T-34 Pz 3/4 The trick is to increase the damage dealt. For the ELC, getting a 3K rating takes just 1.2 kills and 800 damage. Sounds like a lot until you realize that's only 3 shots of damage per game! Super-unicum status for the ELC is landing 3 puny shots per game. The medium tanks aren't the best in tier by a long shot, but racking up 800 damage per game should be doable with both and score a super-unicum rating. Tier 6: All the light tanks you can handle E8 T-34-85 Tier 7: All the light tanks again - WZ-131 or T71 is my pick KV-13 T-43 Here we start to see a trend: the RU mediums are great for WN8 padding. Racking up ~1500 damage per game will do the trick. I'd actually advise not to pad with tier 7 tanks, though, as they have difficulty competing with even the tier 8 premiums. Tier 8: Light tanks? Light tanks. T-44 Pershing Another RU medium? No way! Aim for 2K damage per game. The T-44 and Pershing are certainly capable of that. Tier 9: E-50 is criminally good for padding at this tier - much wow Patton Other mediums besides the T54E1 are fine as well 2300 damage per game will be the mark, and the E-50 getting buffed after these values were made should make it very easy. The most ridiculous thing to me is that the T54 isn't even penalized despite being the best tank in tier and at one time glaringly OP. Tier 10: RU mediums IS-7 Seriously, what? Why do three of the best tanks at this tier get the absolute best WN8 padding numbers? 2600 damage per game is all it takes for the RU mediums to hit 3K WN8. This is where the real padding is being done and where people are hitting their 4-5K WN8. The tanks at this tier are capable of cranking out far better numbers than their expected values. The IS-7 has a lower ceiling than the mediums, so going for the 4K/5K rating is best done with them. GAMEPLAY STYLE 4 MAX PAD Don't take risks. A big damage loss is greater than a low damage win in the eyes of WN8, which is a big pet peeve of mine. "Scout" tanks are ranked on being damage dealers, which is obviously silly. However, you do need to be in an area that is able to consistently see and shoot the enemy. When I say don't take risks, that means: let someone else scout for you. I don't see platooning as detrimental to the stats, which goes against popular opinion. A good WN8 game at tier 10 "only" needs 4-5K damage, and there'll be 20K+ to go around. There will always be a few campers/potatoes/afk'ers that will accumulate next to zero damage anyway, the next tier of players will deal minor damage, so most of that 20K damage can and probably will be dealt by your platoon anyway. In fact, I see platooning as a good thing for stats as it means the games will last longer. Longer games, more damage. If you're afraid you won't get damage when platooned, go to the opposite side of the map so you're not competing. To get deep super-unicum stats (4K+), it takes a LOT of shots flying. Like, running low on ammo every game volume firing. I will admit that there's more skill in this than I originally thought, but I'm still not sold on the idea that more damage is automatically better. WHAT DOES A BIG WN8 GAME LOOK LIKE? PUTTING MY MONEY WHERE MY MOUTH IS If WN8 has padding problems, why don't I pad? FINE, I WILL! I normally bounce around 2700-2900 WN8 while playing a variety of tier 7-10 tanks, mostly CH/FR/RU (in that order) with a few US. Zero UK/DE. Here is about 75 games into my padding experiment: So I've been able to bump my WN8 by 1K just by being more choosy about tank selection (80%) and playstyle (20%). I don't play the T57 or 50B nearly as much as I used to as they have very high expected values: 2159 and 1915 respectively. That would mean to just get a 3K rating it would take ~4K average damage per game, which is unlikely for me. The more I play, the more Russian mediums I'm playing as they are sturdy platforms with relatively little chance to face-plant: eliminating those sub 1K damage games is crucial to hitting 4K WN8. I've tried mixing in IS-7 games, but that tank has a lower ceiling than the RU mediums. It just can't put out that much damage even on its' best games whereas the RU mediums can have enormous games at any point and any map. The same problem is happening with the Chinese tanks: they have a lower ceiling than the RU tanks due to their terrible accuracy. I've tried mixing in light tank games, and that works, but the light tank games can be vulnerable to getting 1-shot and severely submerging the rating. Light tanks are still good for padding WN8, but I'm going for 4K+ and getting a 0 damage game is crushing. So the tanks I'm playing: T-62A, Object 140, T54, Type 59, and FCM. I get 3K WN8 anyway in the Type and FCM, and with some playstyle adjustments they've been boosted farther. My winrate trended downward as I was doing more sniping than useful activities, so I platooned today to bring that back up. For my playstyle changes, it's been about keeping the gun active over all other considerations. I don't care if the opposite flank is failing or if it's safer to stay hidden for a bit: I need to keep shooting as much as possible or I will miss out on damage. Recognize a blowout victory early and sprint forward for damage. Recognize a blowout loss early and farm your teammates while they die. Spotting damage is purely incidental. ~175 games sample My drop in survival rate tells the story: I was so concerned with getting MAX DAMAGES that I was at the front of the pack and pushing it a bit too much (note the increase in detected tanks as well). Being less aggressive would probably bring my WN8 to where it was around the 75 game sample, ~3.8K. I actually platooned more than normal during this experiment, and my average damage kept climbing. The only time when damage is a problem when platooning is if your blue/purple platoon gets another blue/purple platoon on the same team: at this point damage becomes pretty rare and it's a sprint to the enemy as they evaporate. The end result was that I was able to pad my WN8 by 600 points mostly by choosing different tanks. So I went from strong unicum performance to solid super-unicum performance. Thoughts on the experiment: Object 140 is a WN8 dream tank: the extra gun depression lets the tank spam shots anywhere on any map. The T-62A was more limited as shots were delayed due to the gun depression. Penetration matters more than I thought. Not only does it let more shots go through, it severely reduces aim time if you can just auto-aim and click on the enemy. The choices of the Type 59 and Type 62 were sub-optimal: I should have played more FCM and AMX 13 90. I rarely shoot premium on either tank, hurting my damage against more armored lineups. I have more respect for WN8 after doing the experiment than when I started. I do think I could break 4K WN8 by playing more Object 140 and FCM rather than T-62A and Type 59. The rating does have its' flaws and is somewhat game-able, but at the end of the day the player has to deal more damage than others. That's not automatic or guaranteed. IDEAS FOR IMPROVING WN8 I think the overall idea of the metric is good: How much damage does a player deal in tank X vs other players in that tank? It's something that's not easily captured by other metrics and offers a solid at-a-glance picture when viewed alongside winrate. I'm not saying the ideas below are the end-all-be-all, but I wanted to offer suggestions to move the rating forward and improve upon an already good metric. 2 sets of expected values: historical WN8 vs recent WN8. This takes care of the OP/UP phenomenon. The recent WN8 is a full list, while the historical version is just where some tanks need patching. Get rid of the spotting/defense/win factors of the equation since they don't really matter anyway. Just make it a pure comparative damage stat instead of including noise. We already look at the combination of winrate and WN8 for "skill", so let's further that route. Massage the expected values at least a little bit. I know most of these are based on historical data, but there's no reason why the Obj 430 has the same values as the Obj 140. The 121 has a higher target than the RU mediums and E50M despite being significantly worse. Start with the historical data, and then adjust them by 5%. SUMMARY Again, for the 99% of the population, WN8 does an excellent job. Things like medium and light tanks should have lower expected values because they are generally more difficult to play. WN8 is a significant step up over WN7 and the other metrics we have previously had, but it's not perfect. WN8 rewards perverted gameplay at the top. Scouts judged on damage potential. Big damage losses over average damage wins. Tank choices purely to game rating. I was able to achieve a 600 point swing based on tank choice. Since this trial, my stats have started their migration back towards where I started as I've been mixing in harder-to-score tanks. Overall I think the metric is a net positive by far, and that the creators will curb some of the issues in the future. Discuss this on WoTLabs
  3. Rethinking the Rammer

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon In a game where the goal is to put more damage into the enemy than they put into you, the rammer equipment has to be a no-brainer choice... right? The enemy of "great" is "good": when there's something that brings success, we do more of it and tend to stop learning as we think we've already solved the problem. But sometimes that success can be correlation instead of causation, or that small success can hold us back from larger success. Like the sports player who has a routine before games because it's "lucky", our minds try to create causation where there is none. Or we have success and attribute that success to all the wrong things. But a little bit of failure helps in these times, to give us reasons to look at everything more carefully. Recently I've played a lot of the Chinese tanks, and my damage per game was dropping through the floor. I tried different playstyles: brawling, sniping, scouting. I tried shooting nothing but gold ammo. I tried changing the way I aim: more snap shots, all full-aimed shots, etc. There was even such desperation that all HE ammo was used. Not even kidding. My standard setup for mediums and heavies was: Vertical Stabilizer / Rammer / Optics. Super standard. On tanks that had low aim times (T-62a, FCM), this worked great. But there were plenty of tanks that were not working: pretty much all Chinese tanks. The problem is that they are made for brawling, but not every map has areas to do so. So on many maps I'd be the worst RU knock-off tank there ever was, putting holes in the dirt and sky. And I realized: if the shots don't hit the enemy, that extra 10% damage that the rammer gives me is meaningless. What I need to do is get the shots that I do fire to actually deal damage. Creating a new mindset Taking off the rammer is hard from an intellectual perspective. Who cares about aim time when: 66% of all shots are going laser straight just by how the accuracy mechanics work It's possible to fully aim while the shell is reloading When very close, snap shots are just fine When outside visual range, there's all the time in the world to aim On paper, the choice of a rammer looks pretty clear. There was one problem: what I was doing wasn't working, and removing the rammer was one thing I hadn't dared try yet. I wanted to move to a setup like Stabilizer / GLD / Vents (or optics) to minimize aim time as well as exposure. A small test I decided to play a few games, and during the games I'd look at every shot and decide: Do I want faster aim or faster reload for this shot? If I'm waiting for the reticle to aim but have a shot loaded, that means I want faster aim time. If I'm sitting there waiting for reload and fully aimed in, then I'd want a faster reload. I asked myself this question on every shot. I didn't bother to record results, as it quickly became apparent: I prefer faster aim time in the vast majority of situations. It's a playstyle thing I have a very active playstyle, typically being at the front of the pack. In general, this is sub-par at times: the vision mechanics, accuracy mechanics, gold ammo, and huge alpha tanks all dictate a more cautious approach. My stats all positively spike just by keeping a tank between myself and the enemy at all times... but this type of play doesn't appeal to me. I like leading, which means getting spot and shot before others. If you're the type that sits in the back, the rammer is going to be more important for you. Quick results After trying setups of Stabilizer + GLD + Optics for ~50 games, my damage per game in the Chinese tanks has exceed their RU counterparts! I'm not sure this makes them good, I'm not sure this makes the setup correct, but I'm happy with my performances and trying something different. On many of the other nations' tanks, the rammer is going to be the way to go as the fire control is manageable with only a Stabilizer. But there are still many tanks where the aim time is ridiculous, and with an aggressive playstyle I now believe the rammer should be left in the garage for some playstyles and tanks. It shouldn't have been this hard to come to this conclusion I just kick myself for being so stubborn sometimes. Damage per minute (DPM) has never been a serious consideration when evaluating a tank unless it's on an extreme. The T29 has lower DPM than tier 5 tanks yet it's still considered the best tier 7. The batchat and E-100 have near bottom levels of DPM for tier 10 but are still clan wars staples. The M6 has 30% more DPM than the KV-1S, but it's the KV-1S that dominates tier 6. So why was I so afraid to give up 100-200 DPM on paper? Because I thought I already solved this problem, and turned my brain off to the possibility of not equipping a rammer. But when I looked at every shot I was taking in my games, being able to fire sooner increased my effective damage per minute as well as made my shots more accurate when I didn't fully aim. Sometimes it's good to look back on the basics: pick apart the things you think you're good at... you might be surprised. Discuss this on WoTLabs
  4. Brawling Guide

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon I'm all about bringing the fun back to World of Tanks with a brawling guide. No vision system tricks, scouting, or camping. See enemy, shoot enemy. What is brawling? Brawling in World of Tanks is close combat fighting within 100m, and typically involves: Snap shotting - little to no aiming Encircling - driving around an opponent faster than they can turn to avoid fire Face hugging - touching tanks front to front to force the enemy to fire into your turret Here's what brawling looks like - with tips, tricks, and advice Benefits of brawling FUN Keeps your gun active - most people have difficulty in fluid or uncertain situations but do well with a defined situation (ie, shoot that guy in front of me) Dictates the action Incidental scouting - proximity scouting and counter-spotting people that shoot at you Generally occurs in artillery-safe areas Downsides to brawling High risk High variance - Live by RNG, die by RNG Difficulty finding brawling areas on some maps Requires certain tanks/crews Brawling might not be the best path to victory What nations or tanks are best for brawling? In general, the Russian and Chinese tanks are going to be the best brawlers but it can be done with other tanks. A brawler ideally should have: Alpha - when trading punches with someone, it's always better to hit harder Mobility - not only fast, but good traverse is important for angling and encirclement Armor - Some way to limit damage when up close, even if it's only the turret Why are these things important? Alpha is important in the damage race: if I damage my opponent for 390 and he hits for 240, he's going to die first assuming all else is equal. Missing a shot on a high alpha tank sucks due to longer reload, but there are less shots you have to hit in the first place so it's a wash. An IS-3 vs Type 59 example: the IS-3 has to land 4 shots (or if slightly above average damage, it's 3 shots) while the Type 59 has to deal 6 shots to the IS-3. Greater alpha also reduces the chance for mistakes. It's incredibly strong to be able to threaten death when an enemy is a one-shot kill. It limits exposure to the enemy, naturally reducing the amount of time that the enemy can damage you. Low alpha means constant exposure, and there's no tank that can withstand constant incoming fire. Mobility is important in two areas: low end torque and traverse. Low end acceleration helps small, fast adjustments while aiming and moving in and out of cover. It also helps with wiggling weak spots, making it harder to be damaged. The traverse helps angle the tank to incoming fire or rotate when an enemy is trying to circle your tank. Armor isn't a necessity, but greatly helps when squaring off against multiple tanks in close range situations. If the mobility on the tank is high enough, it's possible to use "speed armor" (ducking in and out of cover quickly) and sneak in shots while the enemy reloads. But there'll always be an enemy or two that is unaccounted for, and it's here that armor is helpful to possess. Strong turret armor is the most valuable as there are many features on the maps to hide some portion of the hull. Some examples of good brawlers The Russian tanks are the kings of brawling at tiers 5 and 6 with the KV-1 and KV-1S. There's nothing that even comes close to them in tier. Beyond that, the RU tanks are up and down in brawling performance. The heavies are going to be quite good for brawling, but either a bit slow (KV-3, KV-4, STI) or under-armored (IS, IS-3, IS-8). The mediums can brawl just fine, but lack some of the alpha in exchange for better gun performance. The Chinese line starts brawling at tier 7 and stays consistently good at it the rest of the way... at the cost of being terrible at most everything else. But brawling is what we're about, and the Chinese line does that with strong frontal protection, mobility, and alpha. How to brawl Find an area of the map that's conducive to close range combat Provides some type of cover - hills or dips to play hull down or buildings to sidescrape from are standard 1 on 1, even if there are other people around - There needs to be a feature of the map that limits the amount of people that can shoot you, like the NW corner on El Halluf where it's narrow and several tanks square off one at a time The "city" portions of the map are usually the best Engage the enemy as safely as possible Keep the front of the tank pointed at incoming fire If the turret is the strongest part of the tank, consider hull-down or face-hugging options Sneak shots in when the enemy is reloading Sidescrape around corners if there's room Circle a less mobile enemy if you're alone People often think that brawling is similar to sui-scouting where they just drive into a pile of enemy tanks. NO! The goal is always to fight with the idea that you're going to survive as long as possible. Shoot, shoot, and keep shooting Start preparing for the next shot before reload is complete Snap shotting with a 20% chance of penetration but taking 0 damage is generally preferable to trading damage If you have an HP or alpha advantage over the enemy, it's usually OK to trade shots It's OK to trade shots if the enemy is assured to die Why isn't aiming needed? Because it looks like you're missing a lot of shots! The short version is that 66% of shots are going laser-straight no matter what. That's just how the accuracy system works and you may read up on the wiki (warning: math) if you like, or just take my word for it. The rest of the shots will not necessarily miss the target either. My hit ratio in the 112 where I do almost nothing but snap shot: 75%. 75% of the time, the shell I fire hits the enemy tank. According to, the average hit ratio for 112 players: 73%. The next reason is aiming. The listed aim times in the game is the time it takes the reticle to shrink 1/3 its' size. Again, read the wiki link above. So for a 3.4s aim time tank like the 112, actual aim time will be around 9 seconds from full bloom to fully aimed assuming no equipment or skills. With equipment and skills, let's say the actual aim time of the 112 drops to 7 seconds: that is a LONG time to be sitting still in view of the enemy! It's too much exposure to sit and aim for that long, drastically reducing lifespan. Furthermore, the enemy is going to be moving around, forcing you to re-position and then re-aim. What happens is that you spend more time aiming than firing. Using the 112 as an example again: it can fire every 12 seconds (roughly). While you aim, the enemy will move away as they can see you're aiming on them. Instead of firing every 12 seconds, it'll be closer to 24 seconds (simplified). Well, since we know that a minimum of 66% of snap shots are going laser straight anyway and that we fire every 12 seconds, we can fire twice as many snap shots as aimed shots and our damage will (on average) be higher: Snap shot - 2 shots with 66% chance to hit for 390 damage = 514 damage in 24 seconds Aiming - 1 shot with 100% chance to hit for 390 damage = 390 damage in 24 seconds The caveats to the math above: the snap shot chance for damaging the opponent won't be as low as 66% and the aimed shot chance of damage won't be as high as 100%, making the math greatly favor snap shots! TL;DR: SHOOT MORE. Angling Armor Simple guide to angling your tank Discuss this on WoTLabs
  5. Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon I rarely rage at people, except for this ONE thing... Lakeville. Specifically, lakeville valley pushes. There's no reason to go there, ever. Here's a map of lakeville with some modifications I'll explain: Blue = marsh terrain, Red = choke points, Orange = completely open space Blue is where there is swampy terrain. The tanks will sink into the moist ground, greatly slowing speed. Red are choke points, or points where tanks will have to gather and expose themselves fully to the enemy. Orange are the cap zones, which are completely open to nearly all angles. So to get a valley push to work, and yes it sometimes works, one has to string together several bad choices to form a parade of stupid: Willingly subject ones' tank to swampy ground - the equivalent of shooting your driver in the face before the battle begins Forsake any chance at defending cap - the tank can't get back in time Travel through TWO choke points without cover to get to the enemy cap - one in the middle of the valley and the other when turning the corner to the cap zone Do all of this without cover from artillery Sit in a wide open cap area without cover to be shot from invisible tanks and/or tanks with cover Seriously, going valley on Lakeville means that you either didn't think about it, or worse: you thought about how horrible it is and did it anyway. And on Lakeville encounter? You're seriously brain damaged if you ever go valley. There's not even an argument that can possibly be made: it takes 3+ minutes of uninterrupted travel time just to get through the valley and you STILL won't have shots on the enemy when coming out the other side as they are covered by buildings. STEP 1: Gently let people know valley is bad STEP 2: People are going to do it anyway, because genetic disorders STEP 3: Battle starts going poorly, RAGE INCOMING STEP 4: Full on rage mode CONCLUSION I want YOU to win. I made a site dedicated to helping people get better. But for you to win, you have to help me out a little: stop going valley on Lakeville. It's all I ask. DISCUSS THIS ON WOTLABS
  6. Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon Tired of invisible tanks shooting you? It's not a hack: Using the vision system in World of Tanks. The vision system is complicated, but I'm going to simplify it. Sure, you could read the wiki and memorize a ton of information or watch the official video which doesn't go over strategy, but what do you need to know and how do you actually use it? I'll show you! [DISCLAIMER: I'm deliberately leaving some things out or greatly simplifying the situations for clarity, so please don't nitpick when this is 95% correct] THE BASICS Maximum view range is 445m Maximum draw range is 700m Firing reduces camouflage to zero, along with the bushes within 15m of your tank The smaller the tank, the better the camouflage rating 10 seconds - the amount of time it takes to go off of radar if spotted then hidden That's all the numbers you need to know! Let's go over why I've chosen these numbers and how they can be used. MAXIMUM VIEW RANGE IS 445M, MAXIMUM DRAW RANGE IS 700M Unless a teammate is spotting your tank and radioing your position to the enemy, the farthest away a tank can be spotted is 445m. If a teammate is spotting and relaying the position of an enemy tank, the game will put the tank on screen up to 700m away. Beyond that, they will still be on the mini-map if spotted and in radio range but will not appear on the main screen. Why this is useful - Put the cursor over the enemy tank. If the distance is over 445m from the nearest enemy, you can't be seen! You can be the invisible tank! The distance to the target is highlighted: 524m away. I can fire all I want and know that he can't see me since he's farther than 445m away. It's possible to stay between 450 and 700m and be completely invisible the entire game! Once the enemy moves closer, just move away and continue being an invisible sniper while your team spots for you. FIRING REDUCES CAMOUFLAGE TO ZERO, ALONG WITH THE BUSHES 15M AROUND YOU If you're within 445m of an enemy tank and they are within line-of-sight, firing generally will reveal your position as it removes the camo. Yes, even with a camo net. How to use it - Use cover/camo to aim unseen on the enemy, and right after firing moving back into cover. Don't wait for 6th sense to tell you that you got spotted: move before the light bulb comes up. By the time the enemy turns their turret, you'll already by behind cover. If 6th sense doesn't go off, that means you can just fire without moving next time. How to use it, part 2 - Enemies will be more visible when they fire, so make sure you're ready to take advantage. How to use it, part 3 - If someone else is spotting the enemy, stay 15m+ behind the bush and fire all you want! The enemy won't be able to see you. How to use it, part 4 - Move into the bush to spot, then back out of the bush 15m+ to fire. The enemy will remain on the screen for a few seconds while you are backing up and aiming, and then you won't turn the bush translucent when you fire. Invisible sniper. THE SMALLER THE TANK, THE BETTER THE CAMO Light tanks keep 100% of their camo bonus while moving, medium tanks lose roughly 50% while moving, and big heavy tanks generally don't have any camo to begin with. Turning the turret doesn't count as moving; only moving the hull does. Chinese and Russian tanks generally have the best camouflage ratings. Camo rating varies tank by tank, but you can look your tank up here. How to use it - Light and medium tanks have a lot more freedom of movement around the battlefield for flanking due to not losing their camo bonus. Heavies while moving can be spotted from near max-distance. 10 SECONDS - THE AMOUNT OF TIME IT TAKES TO GO OFF RADAR IF SPOTTED THEN HIDDEN You get spotted, then hide behind a hill. 10 seconds is a good amount of time to wait in cover for your tank to drop off of radar. How to use it - Aim when in/behind a bush and not seen. Fire, moving back into cover right after firing, and wait 10 seconds to drop off radar. Repeat. Invisible sniper! HOW TO USE A BUSH/TREE CORRECTLY If you can see through the bush (it's translucent), then you are viewing beyond the bush. If you can't see through the bush, you're too far back. However, if you are this far behind the bush your enemy can't see you even if firing. CORRECT - Tank gets the camo but still can see through the bush WRONG - tank is hidden by the bush, but can't see through the bush SKILLS AND EQUIPMENT Camo skill and Camo net are useful on light and medium tanks. NOT heavy tanks due to how the math works. View range skills are useful on every tank that has decent or better view range. Generally don't try to improve the terminally blind tanks. Anything with 400m view range or more could make use of view range skills. SUMMARY That's all you really need to know! It's possible to get super complicated with the vision mechanics, but the above should demystify how enemies are shooting you while being invisible as well as show you how to be the invisible sniper.
  7. HEAT premium rounds are terrible

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon This is patch 8.9 nearing 8.10. I'll tell you why HEAT premium rounds are terrible. HEAT ROUND MECHANICS If you want, read up on the penetration mechanics from the wiki, and my post about angling armor. You don't have to read them; I'll give the simple versions. Here are the main points, greatly simplified: AP gets a bonus against angled armor The steeper the angle, the better this bonus performs APCR gets a bonus against angled armor, but half as much as AP HEAT/HE does not get a bonus against angled armor HEAT can't penetrate spaced armor. Tracks and mantlets count as spaced armor! All armor that you shoot at will be angled in some way LET'S SEE IT IN ACTION The E-100 is a great tank for this example. We are in the Chinese tier 8 medium tank, the T-34-2 with the 122mm gun. This gun has 175 penetration with AP rounds and 250mm penetration with HEAT rounds. We are looking at the side of an E-100: I'm simplifying the armor layout of the tank, but basically we have just enough penetration to go through the side of the turret but it's a 50/50 proposition. But we get a bonus against angles! The side of the turret is 150mm thick armor angled at 30 degrees, giving 173mm effective armor (go here if you want to play with angles and armor thickness). So the normal AP round treats it as 150mm thick armor at 25 degrees, down from 30, giving effective armor thickness of 165 penetration. So the hidden bonus to AP shells gives us an extra 8mm of penetration! The steeper the angle, the more effect this bonus has since armor can get exponentially tougher with angles (read my post above on "angling armor" to see why). So we actually have enough penetration on the AP round to go through more often than not. We can load up a HEAT round with its' 250mm penetration if we want, but it's not necessary. But see those tracks down below labeled as "200m+ effective armor"? That whole area counts as spaced armor. If a HEAT shell hits anywhere in the lower red section, it's not going to damage. However, sometimes an AP round would get a high penetration roll and still go through the tracks if the shot went low. But not a HEAT shell! LET'S SEE IT IN ACTION, PART 2 The E-100 is now at roughly a 45 degree angle to us, which increases his effective armor. Here is what would happen if we shot AP rounds from a 175mm penetration gun at this E-100: The armor is just too tough, and too angled for our 175mm penetration AP rounds. Let's see what would happen with 250mm HEAT rounds: The exact same thing! So against very difficult targets, these HEAT rounds aren't going to be any more effective than AP. That's OK, because APCR wouldn't be worthwhile either: this example is just too difficult for most guns to deal with. LET'S SEE IT IN ACTION, PART 3 This next image is taken from the excellent E-100 weak spot guide at Highly recommend you check his site out! Can't penetrate the turret: 289mm effective armor is too much for both our AP (175mm pen) and HEAT (250mm pen). Can't penetrate the upper front plate: 400mm effective armor is way too much for our gun. We can penetrate the lower plate, but only with the HEAT round and only from dead-straight: as the E-100 turns away from us, the effective armor value quickly makes our HEAT shell ineffective! HEAT VS APCR HEAT shells have roughly the same penetration as APCR. But APCR shells get the bonus against angles and don't have weakness against spaced armor! So APCR is plain better than HEAT, no matter how you look at it. So in the example we've been looking at, we were using the 122mm gun on the T-34-2. Looking at the AMX 13 90, it has 170 base penetration, and its' APCR round has 248 penetration. But since APCR gets the bonus, the 13 90's gun will have much more effective premium ammo usage. SUMMARY AP shells get a hidden bonus against angles... and there are always angles HEAT shells get eaten by tracks, mantlets, and spaced armor. Oh, and the tracks on the sides of tanks take up nearly the entire side of the tank HEAT shells don't have enough penetration to punch through tough turrets, and the shots can be eaten by the spaced armor in the mantlet HEAT shells have problems with angled armor So if you want HEAT to work, you just have to shoot at un-angled, non-spaced armor that's only slightly tougher than what you can penetrate with AP. And be very careful when shooting at a turret or the side of a tank as the mantlet or tracks could just eat the shot. And you have to pay 5 to 20 times the price. Sigh... HEAT is bad.
  8. What is gun depression and how do you use it?

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon A lot of players ask: What is gun depression and how do you use it? I'll show you! WHAT IS GUN DEPRESSION Gun depression is the amount a tank can lower its' barrel, usually measured in degrees. Basically, how well a tank can point down. Good gun depression is usually 8 degrees or more, OK gun depression is 6-7 degrees, and bad gun depression is anything less than that. Examples of good gun depression tanks: US mediums/heavies/turreted tank destroyers Examples of OK gun depression tanks: T62A, Tiger II Examples of bad gun depression tanks: Chinese tanks GUN DEPRESSION DEPENDS ON THE LAYOUT OF THE TANK How much gun depression is "good", "OK", or "bad" may also depend on the tank layout. For example, the 110 and IS-3 have "bad" gun depression at -5 degrees but no one mentions them first when talking about bad gun depression. That's because both of them have strong upper front plates, making hull-down play (exposing only the turret to the enemy and hiding the hull) less of a necessity. Gun depression values also differ where the barrel is facing. If the barrel is over the rear of the tank, there are many tanks that have less gun depression than if the barrel is facing forward (Leo 1, FCM). WHERE DO I SEE HOW MUCH GUN DEPRESSION MY TANK HAS? Check the wiki or wot-news advanced tank information. Look at the individual tank. HOW DO I USE GUN DEPRESSION? Gun Depression is useful for: Firing at enemies lower than your tank Dealing with uneven terrain Playing "hull-down" - exposing only the turret to incoming enemy fire by hiding the hull behind a hill/rock/building/debris/tank/etc GUN DEPRESSION AND FIRING AT ENEMIES LOWER THAN YOUR TANK Being able to simply move the turret and not the entire tank is a large benefit. Not only is the tank ready to fire sooner, but the reticle will bloom less since it's only the turret and not the entire tank moving. DEALING WITH UNEVEN TERRAIN Ever stop on a small hill and realize your gun won't aim down at the enemy? We all have this issue from time to time. Gun depression allows the hull of the tank to be at weird angles while the turret trains onto the enemy. Good gun depression is able to deal with incredibly uneven terrain while bad gun depression makes even the smallest bumps difficult. PLAYING HULL-DOWN This is probably the best use for gun depression! "Hull-down", as stated before, is playing with the hull of the tank hidden, allowing only the turret to be exposed to the enemy. This has a few advantages: The turret is usually the toughest part of the tank A very small portion of the tank is exposed, making it harder to hit Moving back behind cover is very quick as so little is exposed The World of Tanks wiki has a good image about hull-down play: The tank on the left can fire on any part of the right tank. It's the largest possible area. The tank on the right can only fire on the turret of the left tank. It's a small area. Here is a T34 going hull-down behind a hill on Siegfried Line: So the enemy can only see that reddish area and not anything below that. The T34, like most of the US heavy tanks, is great to play hull-down as the mantlet (area directly around the gun) and frontal turret armor is very strong. This T34 is almost invincible to enemy fire! The strong frontal turret will bounce almost all incoming shots, with only the commanders' hatch on the very top of the turret able to be damaged by the enemy. Going hull-down allows the tank to live for much longer it otherwise would. OTHER HULL DOWN APPROACHES AND USES FOR GUN DEPRESSION The next step with gun depression is to get creative with it. Hiding the lower hull is good, but not always possible. The next best thing is to hide the lower hull rather than nothing at all: This T54 is partially hull-down. The upper front plate on the T54 is very strong, to the point where I can't damage him when he is positioned this way! What he's doing only takes the smallest of hill, and should be attempted often. Here's another one. I'm in a 113 on Komarin, using a rock and hill to simulate being hull-down: The red area is where enemy fire will come from. The blue areas are being used to cut off angles from incoming fire. The arrow indicates that I'm backing up, which will peek the turret over the rock at the enemy while hiding the majority of the tank behind the rock! In this way, I'm nearly invincible to incoming fire from the enemy. SUMMARY Hull-down play is something that's incredibly useful for every tank. It points the strongest part of the tank at the enemy as well as presents a tiny target to fire on. Mastering hull-down play can greatly increase survival rates, and turn lost games into wins.
  9. Defensive Options

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon Armor armor armor makes up a tanks' defense, right? Not entirely. TAKING DAMAGE For your tank to take damage, the following have to happen: Be spotted Be in line of sight Enemy turns tank/turret onto you, aims Shell has to hit tank Shell has to hit non-auto-bounce angle Armor Check Each one of these steps is a chance to avoid damage! Notice that armor doesn't come into play until the very last step. There are so many things that can prevent armor from ever coming into play, and I highly recommend you try them. WHAT TO DO AT EACH STEP TO AVOID DAMAGE 1. Being spotted I won't go into all of the details of the camouflage system here, but here are a few tips: - try to put your tank in a bush or tree while waiting for further developments. This can greatly reduce the range at which the enemy can spot you (100m+) and requires very little effort. - firing will make you spotted. You don't have to shoot if it means a lot of pain! - maximum view range is 445m: if there's no one within that distance of your tank, there's no way you'll be spotted! - have a larger view range than the opponent 2. Be in line of sight - back down a hill - duck behind a building/rock/dead tank 3. Enemy turns tank/turret onto you and aims - cut off line of sight - go off radar and move - wiggle - angle armor to increase bounce chance - move into cover before enemy aim time completes, forcing a snap shot 4. Shell has to hit tank - presenting a small target to hit increases miss probability - fighting from range increases miss probability 5. Shell has to hit non-auto-bounce angle - keep turret pointed at incoming fire (even the softest turret has angles!) - keep front angled at incoming fire 6. Armor Check - frontal armor is tougher than side/rear armor - turret armor is [usually] tougher than hull armor, usually the mantlet (area around the barrel) is incredibly thick spaced armor - angled armor is tougher than non-angled armor SEPARATELY THEY MAY BE SMALL BUT ADDING THEM UP MAKES YOU INDESTRUCTIBLE Maybe you're looking at the "Armor Check" section and thinking: my AMX 13 90 has such low armor that angling is worthless. Not true! I've gotten Steel Wall on nearly every French tank I've driven! But it's because I constantly point the front of my tank and turret at the enemy rather than the flat sides and rear. Let's say that each of the 6 steps above means another 5 shots out of 100 will miss, bounce, or not be fired at all: you're avoiding 30% of all damage! On tanks with a defensive trait to lean on, like a tough turret or good camo, avoiding 30% of damage is actually the minimum amount you can expect to avoid. GOLD AMMO IS OVERRATED Look at the prevention steps above, and you'll see nowhere do I mention armor thickness or effectiveness: these are all tactics to use no matter what the penetration level of the opponent! Instead of complaining about someone shooting gold at you, use smart positioning and movement to take gold ammo right out of the game. IN YOUR NEXT GAME, THINK ABOUT EVERY SHOT YOU TAKE Go through the checklist above: did you do everything you could to prevent the damage? Where could it have been done better? QUICK WAYS TO TELL THAT SOMETHING IS WRONG You've been shot in the side or rear - need to point the front at the enemy at all times! You've been shot in the known weakspot like a driver port or hatch - wiggle to throw aim off the weak spot or hide it better with positioning You've been perma-tracked - try not to expose the front road wheels on corners You're shot primarily in the hull - expose less of your tank OF COURSE, IT'S EASY TO SAY THAN DO The tricky part is to combine all these defensive ideas into gameplay that includes scouting, or pushing a flank, or defending a cap, and [most importantly] keeping your gun active. However, it can be done: just peek at your tank now and then to see where you're taking damage and correct the mistakes.
  10. Angling Armor

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon It's possible to get super in depth about angling armor, but here's all you really need to know. BASICS OF HOW ANGLES HELP ARMOR Here is the wiki entry on the specifics of armor angling, but I'll try to simplify it here since it contains some things which aren't as useful to know. Angle of Impact (degrees) - Increase in Armor 0 - 100% 10 - 101% 20 - 106% 30 - 115% 40 - 130% 50 - 155% 60 - 200% 70 - 292% 71+ - Auto bounce According to the above chart, just by angling your tank 30-40 degrees you can increase your effective armor by 15-30%. What does 30-40 degrees angle look like? Roughly it's when the gun is directly over the right or left front wheel: This is roughly a 30 - 40 degree angle BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE The above chart is only for one direction of angles: armor is typically angled vertically, so it gets even tougher! Example time (simplified): the KV-1 has 75mm thick armor listed on the World of Tanks website. But the upper front plate is also at a 70 degree angle on the vertical, giving it 106% armor according to the chart above resulting in 80mm effectiveness. That's not impressive, right? All the tanks at tier 5 have 110mm of penetration! But now angling the tank as shown in the image above gives even more armor: using the armor calculator of a KV-1 angled gives 97mm effective armor protection! That will bounce a lot of shots from tier 5 opponents just for twisting the tank slightly sideways. FURTHER READING ON EFFECTIVE ARMOR VALUES If you want to see the exact values on any specific part of the tank, has a great weakspot guide with amazing images of effective armor values of any part of the tank. I don't think it's required reading, because the idea will always be the same: angled armor is harder to penetrate than non-angled armor. HOW TO ANGLE PROPERLY Flat front tanks are tanks with armor layouts similar to the Tiger, KV-1, or T29. The benefit of these tanks is that they are very easy to angle: just slant the tank sideways to increase the armor value. The downside is when pushing forward into the enemy the armor is at its' least effective. These tanks are very common. Pike shaped tanks have layouts similar to the IS-3, 110, The blue square represents cover of any type: rocks, dead tanks, buildings, hills, etc. It's very important to hide the front road wheel behind cover, otherwise the enemy can shoot through the wheel, damaging AND tracking the tank! Pike shaped tanks can have some problems with standard frontal angles around cover such as buildings since it blocks the gun. SIDESCRAPING / REVERSE ANGLING Whatever you want to call it, this is a way to provide what is usually an auto-bounce angle to the enemy. Recall in the chart above that angles over 70 degrees are auto-bounce, and this situation sets up those angles. CAVEAT: there's a small mechanic called "overmatch" where if the side armor is too thin compared to the shell hitting it, the shot will penetrate. The short story is this: don't try sidescraping with scout tanks or super light armor tanks such as the Leo 1 or Batchat. I've done it successfully with both heavies and mediums of all varieties, even with such paper tanks as the FCM 50t. Taken from the wiki: SUMMARY While it's possible to get a lot more complex in both information and technique, the above examples are 90% of what is needed to best use your armor. When you know that you're going to take damage: set up an angle for the enemy. It might not bounce every time, but it's giving yourself the best odds.
  11. WoT Secrets and Tricks

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon "OMG YOU HACK!!!onE!1!!" is shouted practically every game, but if people knew these tricks they'd think a bit differently. SHOOT EVEN IF HE'S NOT ON RADAR, BUT WAS LAST SEEN IN THAT LOCATION If the enemy isn't moving and goes off of radar when stationary, take another shot or three. There's a large chance the enemy is still there. REDUCING RETICLE BLOOM "Bloom" is when the reticle gets larger through movement, but it gets larger in two ways: turret movement and track movement. Try to keep your turret stationary when moving your tracks, and that will improve your on-the-move accuracy considerably. SHOOT IF YOU DON'T NEED THE SHELL IMMEDIATELY Take low percentage shots if it won't endanger you. For example, when spotted running to cover, it's fine to snap shot into the distance as there's a lot of upside and no downside. NOTE: losing credits isn't a downside. POINT TURRET IN THE DIRECTION OF INCOMING FIRE OR DIRECTION OF POTENTIAL INCOMING FIRE The mantlet is the toughest part of the tank, and will frequently bounce/eat shots that the rest of your tank can't take. It won't do it every time, but it's so much better than showing the side/rear. Ammo is frequently stored in the back of the turret. It's better that the ammo doesn't get hit. DON'T EXPOSE YOUR SIDES, EVEN WITH PAPER THIN FRONT ARMOR The tank is made to take hits from the front, not the side or rear. The vital things like ammo/engine are in the side or rear of the tank. The driver/radioman frequently sits in front, especially in Russian tanks, but losing a driver is better than exploding. SIDESCRAPING Offering poor angles for your opponents to shoot at. I show examples here. DROP OFF RADAR BEFORE EXPOSING YOURSELF Wait in safety for about 6 seconds before peeking back towards the enemy. You'll be invisible again by that time. SHOOTING MAKES YOU VISIBLE Shooting reduces your camouflage rating to 0. Don't wait for 6th sense to to tell you that you're spotted: just shoot and move into cover immediately unless you're over 445m away from the nearest enemy (generally). AUTO FIRE EXTINGUISHER ACTUALLY SAVES YOU MONEY It reduces your fires by 10% just by equipping it, reduces your repair costs even over the normal fire extinguisher, and keeps you alive longer to deal damage which makes more credits. Put them on every tank.
  12. Hoping your opponents suicide isn't a strategy

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon Every game, there will be someone saying the following: "Let them come to us!" "Let's ambush them." "GUISE, just wait here" Yes, sometimes this "works": the opponents will blindly walk in front of your teams' guns and explode. But what happens when they don't suicide? Well, then you're stuck. While the mechanics of many games favors defensive positions a little more than offensive ones simply due to being pre-aimed on the exact spot the enemy will appear, this doesn't mean that defending is the way to go. There's a much better strategy available that is typically frowned upon, but very easy to do with zero communication: out-numbering the enemy, often dismissively called "lemming rushes". The great strength of out-numbering the enemy is obvious and simple: more guns = more boom. So why is it looked down upon and or discouraged? Because if it fails, then your teammates will have to come up with a reason why it failed because it obviously wasn't them! And in some ways they are right, and some ways they are wrong. How to cultivate a good lemming rush with zero communication or teamwork As I've posted before, team games don't require teamwork. In the beginning of the game, take note of where people are going. How your team moves out will determine what you do, even if you don't have the best vehicle for it. There are a few ways the game can go. Your team spreads out evenly In this case, simply head to the place where there is more strategic value and add your presence there. Your team spreading out evenly is the second worst start of the game you can have, because if they meet a larger force they'll tend to straight-up die. It also signifies that your team doesn't really have any plan in mind, which is bad because they'll just float around randomly until they die. Your presence at the strategically best situation helps add a little force there, and if your team gets outnumbered at that spot hopefully you can pull them out of it. Your team overwhelmingly goes one way This is actually a great thing! Most people are completely terrible, but when you get a lot of terrible in one place it can be very good. This is your best chance to win, so don't dissuade your team from doing it! However, it takes some sacrifice by you: you are the one that has to do the dirty work and defend. It might be boring, it might be a death wish, it definitely will be thankless, but you have to do it. This is what the best players do that the average player doesn't recognize: fill in the necessary roles no matter what. If your lemming force somehow gets wiped out despite overwhelming numbers... that does happen from time to time. Your team strongly favors one way You have a choice: add force to the lemming or add force to the defense. In general it's best to aid in attacking (offense is how you win!), but there can be cases to be made based on your vehicle whether you should sit back and defend. This is the second best situation you'd like to see at the beginning of the game. Your team just sits there and defends Abandon all hope! This is the surest sign that your team has no plan, no will to win, very little skill, and probably some AFKer's mixed in for good measure. The problem with defense is that given enough time, the offense can pick away at the weakest point and break through. Yes the defense could adjust theoretically, but if they had that kind of skill they'd be attacking. Plus, there's no upside: a successful defense simply means "not losing". Winning with people whose only skill is pulling the trigger when someone walks in front of them is difficult. How does one player going with the lemming or defending help? Because with a little effort, the better player accomplishes more than your average player. So you heading one way is actually equivalent to 2-3 regular players heading that way. Plus, you'd be surprised at how effective it is to be at the right place at the right time. So tell your team to lemming on, and watch those crazy bastards go!
  13. All games are pretty much the same

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon I've grown up playing console games: Zelda, Mario, and Madden games of many systems and decades. Transitioning to computer games, I was top 20 worldwide in Starcraft and top 100 worldwide in Starcraft 2. Playing chess for awhile took me to the top 5% of tournament players in the US. In Magic: the Gathering, I was in the top thousand or so players by composite Standard/Limited rating. I started playing poker on the side, and after awhile I was good enough to spend several years as a professional online poker player. Over the years I've been a programmer (8 different languages, dozens of frameworks), and now I'm an online marketer (SEM, SEO, Social, Affiliate). I've played hundreds of different games, mastered quite a few, played professionally, and have come to the conclusion: From a game theory perspective, it's all the same. Starting out, learning the ropes, making a name for yourself, competition... there's nothing unique about any of them. Even the business world follows these rules. Here are the steps to master pretty much anything. Seek out those who have come before you, and learn what they know Don't think that you're going to immediately turn the community on its' ear with your "radical" approach. Often, you'll just be stumbling down the wrong path until you finally learn in 1000 hours what you could have learned in minutes. Someone else had to start from scratch too, and they often write about it or produce some other educational content. Standing on the shoulders of giants is a saying that appeared for good reason: learning from previous efforts is extremely effective. Use the Pareto Principle whenever possible Also known as the 80/20 rule, the Pareto principle states that roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. That means that there are very few things you should be concentrating on, and throwing away all the rest as the cost isn't proportional to the reward. For example, in games like Starcraft where resource gathering is a prime objective, often just having more resources outweighs all other factors. In chess, tactics are used on every move while strategy often comes and goes. That means working on tactics will yield a bigger payoff for your effort. In business, your income is determined by others if you work for a company whereas you determine your own income if you work for yourself. Aim to win, not lose slower If fighting is sure to result in victory, then you must fight, even though the ruler forbid it; if fighting will not result in victory, then you must not fight even at the ruler's bidding. Sun Tzu The quote, while it looks really stupid on the surface, actually carries a lot of truth to it: people actually choose to lose slowly rather than win most of the time. Common examples are many situations in American football, such as punting on 4th and inches or kicking a field goal on 4th and goal. Statistically speaking, these decisions make absolutely no sense! But people whose job it is to play a game routinely mess them up. People who don't game for a living almost always make the wrong decision. Measure yourself constantly and concretely Always re-evaluate yourself after a performance, and make sure your evaluation is based on something definitive like damage/points/money/etc. Not performing this step is the reason why people struggle with mediocrity forever: they never give themselves a chance to realize that they need improvement, or base their skill level on nothing but their feeling of superiority. Practice constantly, but also let time pass to let your brain work on it "alone" Spending a lot of time doing something helps to increase proficiency (but only with reflection and study!), but there's something else I've found: learning subconsciously is key to most endeavors. With chess in particular, I'd spend weeks practicing my middle-game skills or tactics, without seeing any real progress. After getting frustrated and moving on to other areas or dropping the game completely for awhile, I would come back to the problem with vastly improved results! This process repeated itself with other games and endeavors: either the brain really does work on the problem subconsciously, or it just needs time to "sink in". Whatever the reason, I've found that there are skill plateaus where you can't speed up the process without old fashioned time passing by. When it comes to our personal success, we as humans are our own worst enemies. We need to look at our performance objectively, learn what it takes to succeed, cut out all crap we don't need, and then spend time on it. But looking at ourselves and admitting we suck isn't all that easy...
  14. Get Your Team to Do What You Want

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon Guys, we're losing. DEFEND HERE! *pings the map* *watches as your team speeds to defeat, when all it took was one person to take 10 seconds to fix the problem* GAME OVER We've all been there: having a great individual game, only to lose because the team just folded like laundry. If only they responded to your instructions! Here's some advice on how to get your teammates, in any game, to be more receptive to you. YOU take the risk. Don't ask your teammates to take the risk Human beings are risk averse: we biologically and fundamentally hate taking risks if there's a chance of losing. Yes, even in video games. If you ask your teammates to do something dangerous and/or uncertain, they're going to refuse you nearly every time. Ask them to do low-risk activities and assume they'll always refuse high-risk ones. Think about what's in it for them Humans are fundamentally selfish, and the internet hasn't really helped that phenomenon. If you are asking them to forgo a chance at personal glory so they can do the dirty jobs for you, you're in for disappointment. If you're asking them to score the points / get the kills while you do the inglorious dirty work, your success rate will be much higher. Become a community icon Post on forums, write guides, make sites or videos, etc. Be a "known" person. Your teammates will see that as a sign of authority and be more responsive. Scale back your expectations on how many people will do what you want No matter what you do, there will always be people that just march to their own drum. That's fine. If you can alter the decisions of 1-2 people into doing something useful, that's more than you had at the beginning of the game. Ask, don't badger No one likes to be berated or bossed around, and people hate it even more in a game. I've never seen people respond positively after turning down the first request, so don't ask more than once. To sum it all up: Don't ask your opponents to take risks Give them the glory jobs Be a community expert or personality Be realistic about how many people will respond to your requests Ask once, Ask nice
  15. Team Games Don't Require Teamwork

    Original article by @rocketbrainsurgeon We hear it all the time: "THIS TEAM SUCKS SO BAD" "I can't win with you clowns" "Why do I always get the bad teams?!" The people saying these things are typically, but not always, poor players. Better players do cry out in frustration sometimes, but more often than not they are doing what they do best: carrying the team to victory despite the efforts of their teammates. Let's meet a typical teammate, BOB: BOB works pretty hard at failing and according to his win percentage, he "succeeds" at it most of the time. Here's just a small list of the ways BOB is going to fail you: Gets single digit frame-rates because his computer is awful 500ms ping because he's torrenting a whole lot of porn in the background Is high or drunk Gets distracted by his wife/kids/job, so he's AFK most of the time Uses the start of the game to go and grab a drink or go to the bathroom, rather than do it between games Has no theoretical knowledge whatsoever of the game, yet believes he's an expert Believes he can't make a difference on his own The outrageous caricature of a drunken, porn addicted, hill-billy aside, it's actually the last two that are the most detrimental to BOB being actually good at the game. These two beliefs are what holds the vast majority of people in mediocrity. Yes, even you. Remember the statement above: "Why do I always get the bad teams?". If you've ever said this statement, you're part of the problem! You're denying your involvement in the outcome, instead of trying to change the outcome. Because we all get the same garbage teams, over and over again. Sure, some of the teams will be better than others. But over time, the good and bad teams even out for everyone. Unless you're talking about small sample sizes, luck has absolutely nothing to do with it. Let's look at the myths surrounding team games. One person can't make a difference. All of recorded history disagrees with this statement, on every level. Singular people have and continue to change human history on a consistent basis. Whereas they are struggling against hundreds of thousands or millions or billions of other people to create a difference, someone in a game has to struggle with far fewer: often 5-15 opponents. How do you make a difference? By contributing more than the next guy. Everyone would say the team with more players has an advantage (everything else being equal), so create that advantage! If the game is 15 vs 15, but you contribute as much as 3 players on your own, the game is actually 17 vs 15 because you contribute as much as three people. Will you win every time? No, but you have a very good chance each game. I always get the bad teams. Flip a coin 10 times. Theoretically, it'll come up with 5 heads and 5 tails. Realistically, it'll come out something like 6-4 / 7-3 / 4-6 / etc. That's just how statistics and variance work. The more times you flip the coin (this is called "sample size"), the more likely the percentage will move towards 50/50 heads/tails. This is known as the law of large numbers. Heads is getting a good team, tails is getting a bad team. Sometimes you will definitely get screwed with the bad teams, sometimes for many games in a row. Sometimes you'll get rewarded with good teams the same way. You don't remember the good stretches because humans see losses as twice as powerful psychologically than wins. Good teamwork wins over a group of talented individuals. Take 5 NBA players and 5 college basketball players. The college guys can plan beforehand, have a coach, make plays, talk, etc. They can use everything at their disposal to coordinate. The NBA players can't talk, gesture, or even meet beforehand. Now have them play a game against each other. It won't even be a contest: the NBA players will completely annihilate the "team" of college players. What people commonly fail to realize is that there is communication going on all the time: the talented individual is constantly re-evaluating the situation and doesn't need explicit prodding to be productive. That's a large part of what makes them talented: recognizing the situation at all times and responding accordingly. Poor players often suffer from a severe lack of game awareness. How to be on the favored team, all the time, every time The first step is to believe that you can make a difference, and the next step is learning how to make that difference. Study up on the game, ask questions, try different things to see what works. If the average number of points scored is X, you'd better be putting in 2X or 3X. Always rate your performance as "Needs Improvement". And whatever you do, don't blame the loss on your team. There were steps you could have taken to turn that game around.