Original article by @KraftLawrence
Let’s start with a game.
This is called the 30 circles game. To set up the game, you take a pen and paper, and you draw 30 circles, 5 rows of 6. Then, the game is that you have 60 seconds to fill in as many circles as possible. There are a few conditions though. First, you can’t cheat. After 60 seconds are up, you must be an honorabru gamer and put your pen down. Second, each circle must have something different in it. See picture below. Someone drew a character from Mario, music notes, etc. You get the idea. When you’re ready, set up a timer and begin. When you’re done, move on to the next paragraph.
How many circles did you fill in? Was it under 30? There really should be no excuse for it to be under 30. If it was, you let assumptions poison your ability to be unicum at the 30 circles game.
This game had 1 goal and 2 rules. The only goal was to fill in as many circles as possible. The ONLY 2 rules were that every circle had to have something different, and that you could not cheat. You didn't have to put in as much detail as the example sheet in the picture. That was something you assumed. You could've easily just written down the numbers 1-30 in each circle and be done with it. Or wrote the alphabet in lowercase then start writing it in uppercase. It didn’t matter.
The goal of this article is to help you eliminate such assumptions that are holding you back in World of Tanks.
Before we continue, I’m going to introduce 3 types of players in WoT based on their mentality towards the game:
- The scrub – The scrub is someone who has lost the game before he even presses battle. He is someone who is so poisoned by his own assumptions of fairness that he imposes unnecessary constraints on himself to lower his performance. These are the people you see in pub matches who like to complain about random stuff like “wow you shot gold at my French heavy” or “lol you can’t win without a platoon” or even “I’m a TD and should camp behind other tanks”. But of course, people will shoot the scrub’s E-75 with gold over and over again, until he learns to play in such a way to counter it.
- The pro – This is what we strive for. The pro clearly understands his objective in the game as well as the tools available to him. He selects the right tools for the goal and is not poisoned by assumptions.
- The faux-pro – This is an interesting category. The faux-pro is someone who is convinced they get it, convinced that they’re good at this game, but that there’s something out of their control stopping them from succeeding. They often see their skill plateau at somewhere between green and light purple and can't seem to get higher. Faux-pros are those who go on the forum and make posts like “I’m currently a 55%er, but I actually play like a 60%er. It’s just that matchmaker keeps giving me un-carryable teams, and that’s why I can’t seem to get my winrate higher.” I think the faux-pro is probably the most dangerous category to find yourself in, and it’s very hard to break out of this shell to actually improve.
It’s important that we have the pro player mentality, and be very sure we don’t fall into the faux-pro category – since I know there’s no scrubs reading this .
Common Assumptions that Keep YOU from Getting to Superunicum
Alright, let’s talk about some common groups of assumptions that you may face on your road to becoming a superunicum in World of Tanks:
- Knowing secrets is skill.
These are things like “If I go to this bush on Malinovka, I’ll spot all their tanks.” Sure this is good knowledge to have, and you may go there and get good results many times. But this sort of secret is not skill. What if they change the map – do you just suddenly have no idea how to play tanks anymore? Does your skill just go away?
You need to understand the reason why certain spots are good – what terrain features are you abusing to gain the advantage you’re gaining? Once you understand the reason for your actions and why what you’re doing works, you’ll be able to pioneer new spots – spots that super-unicums aren't spamming about on forums. Perhaps no one else even uses that spot you’re using – but you are, because through your understanding, you think this spot has similar qualities as other spots.
Solidify your understanding of why your current secrets work, and you will no longer need to rely on them.
- If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
This is the worst logic that has ever come into existence. This phrase makes no sense. You can often improve on what currently works.
For example, if you’re a medium tank and you’re spotting things, you could poke out, see stuff, then drop back to cover. It may work most games. But how can you improve this? You could learn that if you spot a tank, it appears a bit after you actually spot him. Then you could peek out and immediately pull back behind cover – see if he lights up afterwards. This way, you’re less likely to get shot. Can we improve this again? Sure! If you have 6th sense, you can poke out, shoot in the air, and go back behind cover. This way, you lower your camo to rock bottom, and if your 6th sense goes off, you know for sure something’s there before without even seeing them.
Always question what you’re currently doing for optimality.
- The system is flawed.
We hear this all the time. Ranging from “wow arty is so broken” to things like “matchmaker put 3 extra tier 10s on their team”, these are statements that imply the system is broken. Sure, you can make these statements outside of the game, or after you’re dead, but you should never be thinking this during the game. During the game, these things don’t matter. These are things you don’t have the power to change, and therefore should not affect your decision making.
Your goal is only to optimize your play given the constraints of the system. In the competitive space, the system is always assumed to be perfect.
- The word “counter”
I hate the word “counter”. The simple statement of saying “A counters B” implies that there’s such a causal relationship in WoT, which is not true. I’m sure all of you have seen charts while playing WoT like Heavies > Meds > TDs > Heavies. But there are many situations that heavies are just plain better than TDs – where you can abuse their lack of turrets. Or many maps where field commanders in CW will bring mostly mediums to win against beefier heavies.
You need to assess every situation individually to see where your advantage lies. The word “counter” often hinders such critical thinking.
- I answered the right question.
Basically, the goal you may currently have in mind may not be exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. Let’s return to the example in assumption #2 about scouting. You may need to ask yourself exactly what your goal is. Do you want to know exactly which tanks are down this line? Is this the right question? Or is your goal really to know whether it’s safe for you to push down this line? Depending on what you’re exactly trying to accomplish, a different play may be optimal. If you need to know exactly what’s down there, you may want to peek your turret and intend to bounce a shot, just so that you can use your received damage announcer to know what tanks shot you. Maybe you only need to know whether there’s anything there at all – so you only need to poke, shoot, and return to cover to see if your 6th sense went off.
It’s important that you make sure you’re explicit with yourself and correctly identify the right questions during the game.
Thanks for reading. Hopefully you learned something through the 30 circles game, the competitor types, and the actual assumptions portion of the article.