Original article by @A_Chodeful
One of the things that I'm often asked by purples and blues is how to become better, and I could never find a decent response to that question, and always left it to others to give canned advice and tips - this is because these players from my first-hand experience, already knew the basics of the game, they knew how to abuse vision range, camouflage, game mechanisms, and the vast majority of good map spots. In short, they just knew how to play their tanks, very well in fact.
So why did it seem that they were stuck in a rut?
Because they simply haven't been putting themselves in punishing situations nearly as often as they should be, and this can be seen by the canned advice they're given when they ask for help:
- Watch the replays of other, preferably better players to watch how they play
- Go back to the lower tiers to master what you've already learned
- Platoon with better players or have them review your replays
Though there are many varieties to the responses, these three are the most common, and all are flawed:
- Watching the replays of other players is not the same as being in and having to make the decisions they make in that situation - it's easy enough to say you'll do this in this situation and that in that - but the problem here is that only basic situations remain the same (i.e. team goes to these spots in this map and that map), the details almost never duplicate themselves - so you have to develop a sense for the situation that simply watching won't develop - this is the equivalent of reading a math solution to a complex problem that you couldn't crack, then thinking you now understand it and can do it all.
- Going back to the lower tiers to master what you've already learned is a horrible idea, not only are the meta-games different for each and every set of tiers, such as T10/9 being dominated by alpha damage and vision range, and T1/2 dominated by fast game-speed and disproportionate damage-dealing capabilities where tanks have ten times their HP in DPM - the players also get worse the lower you de-tier, so any jump in performance you see in lower tiers is only the result of you seal-clubbing deaf-mute zombies who run the worst possible set-ups while grinding through the tech tree, and not you actually improving.
- Platooning with better players doesn't work well at all, all that happens is that you're able to maximize your win rate. For the most part, you'll be too busy bothering with your flank or fights to pay much attention to their actions, and in the end, you're just riding along their coattails as they carry you to a win you don't really understand - since they'll be too busy padding their own stats or thinking/fighting to tell you their thought process and what they're thinking in each situation.
So, how do you improve in the fastest, most brutal, efficient, and stats-damaging way possible (unless you plan to follow my advice on an alt account)? You go straight to the highest tiers as fast you can and stay there, solo-pubbing in average tanks - playing next to no games outside of the double digit battle tiers other than to take a break or to grind some credits.
This advice also applies to yellow and green players as well, though they should read through the game mechanisms article on the WOT WIKI at least once just to make sure they have the basic mechanisms understood.
But why does this approach work? Taking an average tank like the M46 Patton or M103, and jumping straight to solo-pubbing in T9/10 battle tiers?
- These tiers represent a high where everyone is more or less on an equal footing, everyone's finished their stock grinds for the most part, they have equipment, consumables, crews with multiple perks and skills researched, and know at the least, the very basics of the game, so least the base quality is as high as it can be in pub games.
- It should also be noted that the occurrence of blue players and unicums are very frequent in T9/T10 battle tiers, a quick look through my high tier replays with XVM on will show this.
- The extreme accuracy of the guns and view ranges also contribute to the harshness of which punishment is dealt to mistakes in such a tier - any mistakes you make in an average tank in one way or another will be punished - typically by a brutally accurate barrage of shells coming from invisi-tanks that either cripples or outright kills you.
- Consider that platooning makes you complacent and prone to making mistakes that your platoonmates cover - what do you think happens when you take away that bit of insurance? Your mistakes are punished even more heavily - thus driving you to make even less mistakes and better calls.
- To sum it all up, go straight to the highest tiers (T9/10) and solopub there for hundreds or if you have the time, thousands of battles, preferably in non-overpowered tanks to force yourself even more to make even less mistakes and even better calls - this is all a first-hand experience as well, all application, little theory involved.
Anyways, this experience in the high tiers will do damage to your stats, so I suggest keeping it all to one tank that you can write off as a training tank, or an outlier in the sea of high performance T9/T10 tanks people will find in your statistics when they check. An addition as well, to constantly be seal-clubbed as you try to get better can be tiring, and can burn you out, so I recommend finding another person's account to sockpuppet or dick around in.
Supporting the Claims
This is how I went from being a running a 45% in my Lowe to running a 58% in my E50 in less than a thousand battles when I first started the game (I free-EXPed to the E50 with the EXP I grinded in the Lowe), while the ability to pick things up quick helped, the fact I didn't go through the tier advancement process probably helped me the most, where I was routinely punished by players who had come out of closed beta for my dicking arounds.
It’s also worth mentioning that as soon as I started platooning with other unicums or players, I hit another rut, which I climbed out of again one to thousand battles ago when I started pure solo-pubbing again (i.e. taking up requests to do challenges, and then moving on to solo-pubbing outside of challenges) - now I find myself hitting and exceeding 70% win rate easily, and doing 4000-5000 DPG for T9/T10.
Also, if you look to the other servers, you'll notice that the very best of the RU/EU servers do something like to this, emu87 for example, solopubbed almost exclusively - Luciquell and Straik/Kirilloid often solopub in T10/T9 games as well, only getting together for special streams. These are the people who top that damage-output boards in their servers while maintaining win rates in the 70s, and in the case of Kirilloid and Straik, also participate in and win multiple competitions a-la-Ural-Steel.
This experience will also make you a supreme clubber in tiers lower than 9 and 10. Ever notice how seal-clubbers like Autism_Speaks and Marxist can perform on unicum levels in low tiers, and some Hellcat-padder can pull off great numbers in the mid-tiers but never the high tiers? Then notice how people who perform exceedingly well in higher tiers also perform exceedingly well in mid-tiers and become literal gods in low-tiers? This is because everything you learn in highest tiers can be used in lower tiers, but only part of what you learn in lower tiers can be used in the highest tiers.