Original article by @dualmaster333
“Vision control” – it’s something that good players talk about being important and is a concept absolutely essential to being a good light or medium tanker. Unfortunately, the average WOT player is quite terrible at it. This is somewhat understandable – the mechanics take some time to understand. Not to mention having to know many tank view ranges and camo ratings, dozens of maps with different layouts, typical enemy positioning, etc. It’s difficult to master but is also one of the most rewarding aspects of World of Tanks. There’s no feeling like knowing your enemy never even saw you as you obliterated their team.
[This post is from dualmaster333's perspective. Here is sr360's perspective]
This review will not focus on the mechanics – instead, it will look at how to use those mechanics to turn the tide of a game that could easily have been lost. The match is on Malinovka – the king of vision maps in WOT. This map has long, open lanes of fire with little hard cover. Getting spotted often means your death from tanks you can’t even see. This game was played with SR360 who will be giving his view of the battle as well.
The first step is to know your tank. My Pershing has a pretty typical medium setup. With a 400 base view range, Optics, Brothers in Arms, and Situational Awareness, my view range is just over 460 meters. This is enough to spot some low camo tanks at very close to the max spotting range 445 meters. I also have some camo on my crew as well as camo paint – this gives me approximately 17% camo when moving – not too shabby!
Let’s look at the teams:
The first thing I look at is the light tanks. We have three – the Leopard, ELC, and T71. The enemy has two lights – an MT-25 and T71. Apart from those two tanks, the enemy team is composed of mostly low view range tanks. Thus destroying the two enemy light tanks will give us a significant vision advantage. As for our team, I never depend on my scouts to do their job correctly. As I said most WOT players are not good scouts! Thus it is my expectation that I will be largely fulfilling a scouting role in this game. The good news is that my platoon includes a Rhoomba and Lowe – solid sniping tanks that I can depend on to damage things I light up.
Given the south spawn there are two routes I consider for a medium tank shown in the picture above. The yellow is a high risk route that can only be done by certain tanks in certain situations. It has the advantage of getting very early lights and often leads to the enemy losing a tank or two right at the start. It is dangerous because of how likely you are to get spotted and shot at by the entire enemy team. In this game, my Pershing is not good for this – it is too slow, too big, and given the enemy light tank presence I would get spotted early and die.
The green route takes you to the bush at E7. From there you gain significant vision over the north side of the map. Given my 460 view range I can often spot enemies on their way to the hill who foolishly use the route south of the church. You can also sometimes spot people on the slope headed uphill. Spotting them allows your snipers at E8 to punish them.
I start out on the green route but things change quickly when I get spotted here:
Note I am using the XVM minimap mod, which I highly recommend. The black circle is at 445 meters – the maximum spotting range. The white square is at 500 meters which is max draw range. Given where I am spotted I know there are only two positions where the enemy could be – the yellow and green regions. I expect it is not from the yellow region because it is a bit early for a tank to be set up there. Thus I’m fairly certain either the T71 or MT-25 is in one of the bushes in the green area. This is a superb spot that I have used many times in light tanks. The dotted green line shows the approximate area that can now be spotted by the enemy. Note just how much of the map is now under our opponent’s control just from that one light tank. I ping the map and inform my platoon mates of the enemy position.
Our Leopard goes a little suicidal but at least manages to flush out the MT-25 (which had moved up to the yellow circle). Both tanks die shortly after. This also informs me that the T71 is the one spotting me. I move up to the F7-E8 area because the small rises in the land provide protection from enemy fire (I’m still being spotted). It now becomes important to flush out the T71. Our capabilities are severely hindered by him. So I begin blind firing the bushes.
Most light tank drivers will kick it in to high gear if they get shot or if shots even come close to them. My hope is that I can scare him into moving out from cover. You’ll notice that several times I zoom out after the shot to look for the shell landing – if you don’t see the shell landing there is a good chance you’re actually hitting something! Eventually I spot the T71 – he’s already taken two hits from me and is trying to run away.
Too late. He then gives me one of those WOT style compliments that I so enjoy:
This is a critical part of the game – we’ve taken a major step in winning the vision war by denying the enemy vision. Our team now controls (or at least denies the enemy control) of a large portion of the map shown by the dotted yellow line (below). The enemy has been slow to push out of their base (likely busy shooting things lit by the T71). Also note what the ELC has done – he’s gone deep in to enemy territory and spotted a bunch of enemies. The bad news is that almost none of our tanks are within range to fire at any of the tanks he is lighting – essentially this ELC dies and accomplishes nothing. Don’t be like him.
The next step to winning is to gain more vision. To do this I decide to move up through the water to the ditch at D6 (green X). The dotted green line roughly represents the additional area of the map that I will be able to spot from there. Now this position is a bit dangerous for two reasons. First, if you get spotted on the way there you are susceptible to fire from the enemy base. In this case I’m pretty certain there are no enemies at D5 to spot me and my camo rating will keep me unspotted from anything to the west (now that the T71 is dead). The second danger of this position is that enemies will often derp in to you. They always end up dying there, but not before they take some or all of your hitpoints. However, in this game I’m not too worried about it. Look at where my two platoon mates are positioned – they can hammer anything that comes for me. I inform them of what I am doing on TS and ask for their support.
Unfortunately, a common occurrence on Malinovka is that once a team starts to gain momentum, everyone charges foolishly into the enemy. This happens to us and 6 minutes into the game it’s looking bad – we’re down quite a few tanks.
My job here is simple – I need to light enemy tanks and avoid taking damage. SR360 and our FV304 are in a good position to take advantage of my lights, so I continually pop up and down. I stay exposed just long enough to spot then duck back down until I’m no longer spotted. Rinse and repeat. I keep the T34 lit and our FV304 slowly smacks him down. Note how once the T34 has backed off a bit I’m able to use bushes to light him without being lit in return. Because of this the T34 is forced to go hide on the north side of C5. I’m also able to spot and kill one of the AT15s as he tries to get up the hill:
This opens a new opportunity for me – without any close enemy tanks I can move further up on the hill and start spotting the west side.
This brings another section of the map under our control – we are slowly squeezing the enemy into a corner.
I light another T34 in their base. I know that if I shoot I will almost certainly get lit so I wait patiently while my team takes him down. At the very end I’m worried he is about to go unspotted (due to some trees in my line of sight) so I take the finishing shot and immediately back down in to the hole knowing that I would be lit.
Note that SR360 has relocated further south and west – this is to take advantage of additional spots as well as support our base area. This becomes more critical when our JT88 is taken out by the enemy T28 that has ever so slowly crossed the field. SR is now forced to take up an overwatch position on our cap. This whole time on TS I was talking to him making sure he didn’t move too far south. My biggest concern was getting rushed by the remaining enemies up north – I wanted SR’s gun ready if that happened. He assured me that he had me covered and that I should stop crying like a little girl about it.
I managed to spot a T25/2 in middle which distracts me and makes me slow to notice the enemy rushing me. Fortunately I only take one shot from the AT15 before quickly backing down in to my hole and calling for support. SR is quick to respond and the two enemies are annihilated.
At this point we have the upper hand – SR has good vision to the south and I am free to clear the north. I expected to find the arty and VK, but it turns out both had relocated to the south. This means that SR got to slaughter most of the rest of the enemies while I drove around. With time starting to run down, I made the safest play of hopping on cap. The arty is almost certainly at G1, but there was a small possibility he had moved across the A line and snuck up the hill (highly unlikely, but possible). Actually, I think SR wanted me to do that just so he could come get the last kill.
So there it is – vision control in action. In short, I contributed to our win by:
- “Locating” enemy scouts
- Denying the enemy vision
- Gaining vision over more of the map, thus denying large sections of the map to the enemy
- Slowly and methodically squeezing the enemy into known areas and limiting their ability to influence the battle
I did this in tandem with my platoon mates – letting them know where I was going, when I was lighting enemies, and being careful not to out-distance their support. My platoon mates used good positioning to take advantage of lights and protect me from getting rushed. Together we were able to turn an impending loss into a solid victory!