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    Damage Farming


    Intumesce

    Original article by @Intumesce

    damage-farming

    Dealing damage is one of the core factors of World of Tanks. Teams that rush caps aside, battles are won by dealing more damage than the enemy team. Dealing damage is not only beneficial for your stats, but for your team in the battle as well!  In this guide I'm gonna teach you what can make the difference between a greenie and a purple.

    Tank Selection

    The first thing you need to deal damage is a capable damage dealer. You don't need to be driving a tank destroyer, an autoloader, or an autoloading TD to deal damage. Most of the time, all you need is something with at least good firepower, not necessarily the best, and some mobility.

    The firepower is of course the most important part. Firepower is an ambiguous term, so let's describe what it is.

    Aim time – Good aim time means you can quickly get your gun on target and deal damage shortly after aiming.

    Accuracy – The better your accuracy is, the more likely your shot is to go on target and start the most important part of damage dealing: hitting the target.

    Penetration – Higher penetration equals higher chance to deal damage, as ricochets deny you damage even if you hit.

    Alpha – The higher alpha you have, the more damage you can do in a single shot if the enemy decides to go into cover.

    Rate of fire – The better your rate of fire, the more often you can fire, meaning missing a shot or killing a low health target isn't so bad. In addition, you usually have good DPM if you have a good rate of fire.

    So, let's rank these from the most to least important to have if you want to farm damage, starting from the most important.

    Alpha. If a single shot does a lot of damage, not only does it mean you have to expose yourself less in the end, it means the enemy will be scared of attacking you in the first place. A lot of fights in this game are peekaboos where you only get one shot at the enemy before he goes into cover.

    Accuracy. Being able to hit reliably means you won't lose any damage just in the transition of firing your shell. Hitting more often = more damage!

    Rate of fire. While being able to fire often is good, if you can't hit heavily you'll just end up tickling the enemies with your shots. Quality > quantity.

    Penetration. Yes, I definitely agree penetrating your target is the most important thing after hitting, but almost every tank packs gold ammo! Even more so, lots of tanks have weak spots you can penetrate just with AP/APCR (in the case of tier 10 meds) ammo.

    Aim time. Being able to aim fast is nice, but generally you will either be totally surprised by an enemy's appearance, or you will be totally expecting it. In the former case, a snapshot is sufficient while in the latter you should already be fully aimed in anyway. Besides, if your aim time is really bad, you can use anything from crew skills to equipment to help shorten it.

    Tank Destroyers

    So, does this mean that the Waffenträger auf E-100 is the best damage dealer in the game, since it has all of the above? Yes. The Waffenträger, however, is a one-trick pony. Sure, its gun is game breaking, but you can only do so much in it.  The Waffenträger is slow, huge, has no armor, it has the least camo out of any tank in the game, and has a painfully long reload. This means you rely on your team to spot for you, protect you, and you can't secure any damage on your own.

    Going back to my guide, I mentioned how important alpha and accuracy is. So should we all be playing tank destroyers? Not at all. Tank destroyers might have the highest alpha and some of the highest accuracy, but they are very limited by their playstyle.  Generally, tank destroyers are required to camp in the back of a map and wait for targets to be spotted so they can be fire at them. Most of them lack gun depression due to not having a turret, most of them lack flexibility due to... well, not having a turret, and often they sacrifice either mobility or armor to get their gun and camouflage.  So tank destroyers are the best damage dealers, but they aren't the prime pick for damage dealing, what gives?  Tank destroyers might have solid guns and camouflage, but one thing they need to be able to do is get to the damage. Now what does getting to damage mean?

    It's the complete opposite of the tank destroyer playstyle. Tank destroyers sit behind the team, wait for spots, and deal damage, right? Well, tank destroyers aren't dealing damage as much as they are stealing it. The point of their high alpha, high penetration guns is to take a powerful hit at the enemy, effectively telling them “buzz off, or I'll hit you again!” and act as a team's form of last defense.

    See where I'm getting with this? Tank destroyers are, playstyle wise, relatively immobile. They are forced to select areas of the map where players usually only get to once the first line of defense, be it heavies or mediums, has been destroyed.

    So the goal is to get out there and deal the damage yourself. Since tank destroyers are defensive more than offensive, what's our first class to look at?  Heavies, of course.

    Heavies

    Usually, heavy tanks carry heavy firepower, only a bit below that of tank destroyers. They usually pack heavy armor as well, which allows them to take hits. Their mobility is lacking, however, and camouflage is a joke.
    Heavies are meant to give and take hits. You can easily get to the enemy, give him a shot, then either bounce his or take it without too much concern. You came to the damage and took it yourself! You were in fist-to-fist combat with another tank and stole his health, you didn't need someone to spot for you and hope the enemy is in your line of sight.

    However, heavies lack something crucial.  First of all, they generally are slow. This means when things go south on a flank, they are often forced to commit. Meaning once a flank falls, the heavy falls. There's no running away from your fate if you're too slow.  Secondly, they are incredibly susceptible to vision control. I'm assuming if you're reading this guide, you're a player that at least understands the basic of vision control and how important it is.  Due to heavies' low camouflage and slow speed, they can easily take damage when they're not in a ready position to take and return it.  Lastly, due to both of the above, they are map dependent. On city maps they roam free and side scrape every corner while hull down on every hill. On open maps, however, they get spotted, punctured by high-velocity shells, and can rarely if ever return the shot.

    So heavies are a nope, and tank destroyers are an even bigger nope. Out of the last 3 tank classes, what is the best for reliable damage farming?

    Mediums

    A medium tank could be a lot of things, and they vary greatly between nations. From the all-rounders with good gun depression of the USA, to the high rate of fire, high camouflage USSR mediums.  What nation has the most desirable traits is up to you, as near the endgame there are few truly bad mediums.  Mediums might not have the most potent guns or heavy armor, but they have unmatched flexibility and an insane amount of potential. While they are also somewhat map dependent like heavies, they are able to work with their class-specific traits much better on an unfavorable map than a heavy tank is.

    So, we've picked the best tank class for general use, now how do we actually start farming damage?

    Farming damage isn't entirely a skill, it's also a mindset. To farm damage effectively, you cannot be a martyr. You're gonna lose games while farming damage because you're trying to maximize your individual performance, not the team's.

    With that warning out of the way, here's the secrets to higher damage per games:

    Positioning

    One of the most important things when trying to deal damage is where you are and where the enemy is. If you're stuck near your base and the match isn't going terribly for your team, you're most likely far away from the enemy team and your own teammates are sucking up precious damage from you.

    Ideally, you want to be in a position with at least 2 of the following:

    • Escape route – The ability to run away once things go south and your flank is compromised
    • Hard cover – Cover that the enemy can't shoot through or over to damage you
    • Access to at least 2 common lanes on the map where the enemy is or will be – Ability to cover multiple flanks from one position
    • Soft cover – Cover that is either destructible of provides camouflage bonuses

    While the more you have, the better, having a line of sight on 2 lanes is definitely the most important. Having a shot on the enemy without something blocking you is the first part of damage dealing. And if you can see two lanes, that's two places where damage can be coming up and your gun will be in battle twice as much as someone who's just on one lane!

    Let's look at an example: Prokhorovka

    prokorovka

    If you've played this map at least a few times, you'll know tank destroyers go to the west side and sit on their respective ends of the 2 line.  If you're a heavy tank you might have found yourself with the dilemma of where to go on this map. Some sit with the tank destroyers, some go to the east and try to prevent the other side from conquering the hill.  Seems straightforward, right? You go one line and defend or attack it and hope the other side does its job.

    But what's the best position to go on this map with damage dealing in mind?

    prokhorovka-best-spots

    Here I've marked the best and worst routes to go to.

    Let's start with the infamous tank destroyer camping position to the west.

    We can of course see there's tons of bushes to hide in, but what qualities does this position have and not have?

    • An escape route - NO
    • Hard cover - NO
    • Access to at least 2 common lanes on the map where the enemy is or will be - NO
    • Soft cover - YES

    It only has 1 out of 4 ideal damage farming qualities! Sure, the bushes will give you great camouflage... but so will they do the enemy. And if you want to start moving to the enemy, you're walking into a death trap as you'll be spotted and there won't be any cover for you to use.  There's no way to escape either, the routes back to your base are open with no cover of any kind. Once the enemy pushes in, you're screwed.

    That's one flank covered, let's look at the east flank.  The hill is an important spot on this map that is fiercely combated. Generally, whoever conquers the hill wins the match as they have a straight access route to the enemy's base as well as side shots on the tank destroyers on the west flank.

    So what qualities does this flank have?

    • An escape route - NO
    • Hard cover - NO
    • Access to at least 2 common lanes on the map where the enemy is or will be - YES
    • Soft cover - YES

    There's bushes to sit in and avoid being spotted for both sides. However since the distance between the combatants is short, firing often gets you spotted anyway.  You can see one other flank as well, even if only partially. To your left there's the middle where hull down tanks and mediums often duke it out to try to support their respective side of the hill.  However, there's no hard cover, and anything that can see you will shoot you up here.  And there's no real escape route. You can go back down the hill and run away, but you have to be way ahead of the enemy so they don't spot you. If you lost the hill and run away, you're gonna die trying to go up the hill that leads to your base.

    So lastly, there's the middle flank, which I marked green. Would that mean it's the best spot on the map? If you guessed it, you'd be right.  The middle of the map is great for supporting the hill and having easy access to every flank by just moving one or two squares to the left or right.

    Mid's got some great qualities, let's see which:

    • An escape route - YES
    • Hard cover - YES
    • Access to at least 2 common lanes on the map where the enemy is or will be - YES
    • Soft cover - YES

    The middle of the hill has pretty much everything you need. Most tanks without good gun depression need to crest over the hill if they want to shoot you, and they expose themselves a lot if they decide to do so. There's bushes on both sides which means you won't be spotted right away while trying to get shots on the east flank.  Plus, if things go south, you can run along your side of the rail carts to avoid being shot at by the enemy, especially from the south spawn.

    Let's run through another example: Cliff

    cliff

    A more symmetrical map where it doesn't seem like one side really has an advantage over the other. Again you can vaguely see 3 lanes on the map in 3 different sections, all intended for different tanks to fight in.  While the map itself looks very different from Prokhorovka, the concept is mostly the same.

    cliff-spots

    The west flank is a direct route to the enemy's base, and provided you can get a push going here can turn the game massively in your favor. It's very exposed, though.

    Looks can deceive, and to some players this might look like a good spot to go. Why is it not?

    • An escape route - NO
    • Hard cover- YES
    • Access to at least 2 common lanes on the map where the enemy is or will be - NO
    • Soft cover - YES

    This doesn't look too bad on paper. No escape route, but there is soft and hard cover.  However, what kills this line really hard is the fact that nothing happens over here. Often 1 or 2 tank destroyers go down here and do nothing the whole match as neither side wants to push and nobody wants to go down there.  The 1-2 line, just like Prokhorovka, is a death trap for active play like damage dealing.

    The orange line to the east is a step up, since tanks actually go there.

    You have probably often seen heavies go there to brawl as it seems like a prime peekaboo spot. It does have some good things, but it's not prime.

    • An escape route - YES
    • Hard cover - YES
    • Access to at least 2 common lanes on the map where the enemy is or will be - NO
    • Soft cover - YES

    There's soft cover and hard cover, so it might seem like a great spot at first. However, there's no real distance between you and the enemy: when you spot him, he's most likely gonna spot you. It's practically impossible to snipe here as the mountain cuts you off near the middle and the cliffs at the edge of the map have both an odd shape and are placed so you cannot be out of sight of the enemy. You're also pretty isolated over there, you can't see more than what's ahead of you and you need a good start to run away from enemies if they decide to push.

    So again, we end up with the middle. But this time the middle is the best spot to go for a different reason:

    • An escape route -YES
    • Hard cover - YES
    • Access to at least 2 common lanes on the map where the enemy is or will be - YES
    • Soft cover - YES

    This time it's for complete dominance of the match. If you can conquer the middle (and it WILL be contested, trust me) you are given the rears of both the west and the east flank as a reward. Delicious damage!  Bushes give you soft cover, rocks and the hill give you hard cover, and once you win the mid you win the map. You can go to the east or west flank and shoot at heavies or tank destroyers in the rear, respectively.  Now, I'm not going to list every position in the game and where is the best to go, as that would result in a very long article and one patch might make a whole section useless. Let's instead head on to the second part of damage dealing.

    Efficiency

    No, I'm not talking about the easy-to-farm statistics rating, I'm talking about your battle performance!  Efficiency is about doing the most damage you can without going down. Being shot at is what kills you, so what's the priority list for surviving?

    Camo > speed/size > armor > hitpoints

    Camouflage prevents you being spotted to begin with, making it practically impossible for the enemy to damage you.  When you get spotted, being un-hit-able is another step forward as it will help you get into cover better or faster, plus the enemy missing you is just as good.

    Armor is sort of the last resort to avoid taking damage. Because of how common high penetration guns and gold ammunition is, you shouldn't really rely on your armor unless it's extremely good.  Hitpoints are where you pay the price for being hit. Obviously high alpha guns and artillery hurt the most, so being out of the line of sight of those should be your number 1 priority when you get spotted.  A lot of peoples' damage farming ends at this point.. They take too much damage and die. That's it, you can't deal any more damage in the match even if someone were to take your wreck and push it over another tank, that would just be an environmental death.  You need to be efficient both at dealing damage and taking it to farm damage properly. Hitpoints are a thing you need to conserve, and you can spend them on opportunities.  Of course, not every shot of damage you deal needs to cost you health. Not being spotted means the enemy most likely can't return your shot at all, and thus you've saved your health.  If you got spotted but avoided being hit or the enemy bounced off of your armor, it's the same deal. As long as you're not taking damage for each shot you fire, you're already doing good.  This doesn't mean you should be waiting for the enemy to come to you. Remember, you have to come to the damage, not the other way around. If you're gonna lose a lot of health to deal a lot of damage, so be it. If it's got a higher reward than risk, it's worth it.

    Another part of efficiency is kind of an oxymoron. You don't have to be efficient with your shots. The more you fire, the more potential damage you're dealing.  Snapshots for example are a risk worth taking a lot of the time. The only shots you really miss are the ones you never took. Well, I'm sure some great basketball player said that, anyway.  One thing you'll notice about a lot of purples is that the sheer volume of shots they fire results in them dealing more damage. Being more into a fight as well as taking risks means you have more opportunities to earn damage.

    There are more lessons to damage farming like a pro, but there's too much to have in one article. This covers most of it, so I hope you learned a thing or two from this!

    RBS: Okeano made a thread about where to go on every map, similar to the diagrams above and useful for finding damage farming areas.  Worth checking out.

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