Dissidence's Guide to Competence in Tanking For Baddies (<49%)
I realize I've never really put in the effort to write out a whole guide before, so this one will be my first (and lengthy) one. I'm putting this together because on the WOT forums and here in two days, I've seen a number of players with bad stats ask about improving...which is awesome. There are a lot of amazing guides out there for how to play specific tanks, and a lot of time has been spent on guides for making the jump from a good player to a great one (something I'm still working on, I might add). But I intend this fully for people who are just first starting out to improve and want to win more and tank better, and I intend it to be holistic in its approach since I don't think all this information has been put into one place. First, a little bit about me:
I wuz once a baddy. I started playing in 0.6.7 (aka the 6.7 patch). 46% and probably 500 efficiency (although it might have been higher since at the time old efficiency was in use, and I was great at padding cap points early, even when they didn't mean much). My survival rate was below 25% in every tank I played, my average damage hovering around the 100 mark as I reached tiers 4 and 5 for the first time, and my average battle time was under 4 minutes. I averaged less than a kill every two games, and did about 60% of my own HP in damage. I continued playing stupidly like this until I had almost 2000 battles under my belt, believing that the goal was to progress up the tiers as fast as I could, and that dying and readying up for the next battle in a new tank was the best way to do this. I played under the old (pre 8.0) matchmaker, so once I reached Tier 6 (stock), I got the joy of fighting Tier 10's. Another statistic was my hit rate. At one point with over 1000 games, it was 28%.
The first line I went up was the American line because I wanted a Sherman. I hated the T1 Cunningham and did horrendously in it, rushed through the M2 LT and T2 MT, learning nothing in the process, suicide scouted like a boss in my M3 Stuart (8 kills in 50 games, 2 of them by ramming!) before I gave up on that line completely (I got a scout medal! I'm gud@tanx!). I'd tried the Leichttraktor, done better than in the Cunningham, but the Panther, Tiger, Maus and all the tanks I really wanted in that line were far away so I'd stopped progressing on that line until I got the Sherman. I tried the MS-1, but nothing more, as I was going to "wait" to play the Russians since they had really inaccurate guns. If I could barely hit the target in American tanks, surely the Russian tanks would be so much worse. I'd tried a few tank destroyers (side note: today they are statistically my best class, although I haven't played any past Tier 7, a spot I will be correcting in the coming months), and found them utterly pointless with no armor and no turret. I'd tried arty, but it bored me, and I didn't really know what to do anyway. Every now and then I'd lolshot something, but it wasn't as interesting to me as blowing things up with direct fire.
When I got to the M3 Lee, which had a decent HP pool and didn't feel like a one shot to everything it faced like every other tank I ever played seemed to (could it have been me?), I began to understand TD play a little, as well as the value of using bushes for camo. Unfortunately, I did not learn how to properly use bushes for camo when actually firing my gun. So generating my first 4 kill game was nice when the (somehow even worse) baddies stayed still in the open and allowed me to keep shooting them even after I'd revealed myself, but generally in the Lee, I'd get spotted after my first shot and promptly blown to pieces. But at least I'd learned something. Still, I sucked. But I was progressing in the game, so it wasn't all that bad. (IPLAY4FUN GUYZZZ !!!)
By this time I'd gotten to the Sherman (FINALLY! THOZE THINGZ ARE SO OP! I CAN'T KILL ONE IN MY M3 STOOART...ZEE AP ROUNDZ...ZEY DO NAHHH-TING!!!).
I'd also progressed in the German line to the Pz IV and Pz III/IV, and the Russian line to the T-28 and A-20. I hated the A-20, boy I hated that thing. Still do. It was the last tank I ever suiscouted in, but I wanted a T-34. At this point, with lots of battles, I was sick of getting one shotted/killed and began taking steps to improve. I began setting a few goals:
Survive 25% of the time.
40% hit ratio.
Kill 5 tanks in a game.
Positive K/D ratio in a tank.
0.5 Kills Per Game overall
These were the very first goals I ever set for myself in WOT. Very modest. I began playing more conservatively, staying to watch good players play, and learning a little bit about the maps. I also stopped hoping for armor to work and praying for the enemy to be stock, and started learning how to use it, or how to not rely on armor and just avoid getting hit.
By the end of the T-28, I'd achieved 40% hit ratio. My Sherman exceeded 25% survival rate and had positive K/D ratio, and I'd successfully killed 5 tanks in game twice - once in my T-28, and once in my PzIV, which was actually amazing once it was fully upgraded. I couldn't believe I had ever hated it, I mean who thought that the PzIV would suck stock, right?
I finally reached Tier 6. Still a baddie at 47%, with thousands of battles. I still hadn't spent a dime on the game. WOT, it should be added, was and is really the only "game" I play. Every now and then I fire up the PS2 to play old classic, and I'll play games with friends if they have them, and once in a blue moon on my computer I'll run NHL Eastside Hockey Manager 07 (best hockey managerial sim ever, shame they stopped making it), but WOT is really it. Finally I made a conscious choice to begin improving. This is the part where I started Googling, reading the forums, and lurning abowt tanx. I also invested in a premium account to shorten my grinds, and started training my tank crews (a personal choice to do so many times since I collect tanks in game and have over 50). I bought my first 2 Tier 8 premiums, a huge mistake at the time based on early returns, but a humbling experience that showed me I had lots to learn before I could ever hope to be ready for Tier 8 gameplay, which is why they collected dust in my garage for months after until I'd felt I'd learned enough about the game to try them again.
Garbad's posts in particular were enlightening. Here was a guy who was good at the game giving tips and advice to bad players like myself. I read through his and some of the other posters' threads - many of whom post on this site now as well, and some who have already quit the game altogether. The main point that stuck with me was this - tanks should do at least their HP in damage every game. My ratio was around 60%. Clearly I was doing it wrong. From that point on, I set out to improve my win rate to 50%, and someday get my damage ratio over 100%, which was going to take a VERY long time because of the amount of damage I had to deal to catch how much damage I had already taken.
Now, thousands of battles later, I've reached true 52%, and my efficiency and WN7 are finally green (although my efficiency can easily go back south with a bad night...but it is trending upward!), so I write this guide so that others who are in that <49% range can take the first basic steps needed to get their win rate over 50% and their Eff and WN7 over 1000 (what I believe to be the benchmark for a "competent" player). Once you get there, look to players more talented than I for how to improve further, as I believe only the 56%+ and 1700+ crowd can truly help you with that. Part One: Statistics - Recognize the Problem, Pay attention to stats.
Self explanatory. You've recognized the problem, but you don't really understand what you can be doing better. The first thing you need to do is understand how your performance stacks up against others. World of Tanks is actually horrible at this. You can play tens of thousands of battles without ever having a clue you are bad unless you use mods, the internet, or the well hidden (for beginners) community features like the in game chat to compare your statistics with someone else's. Of course, this is because stats don't appear in game AT ALL (unless you add a mod).
To start tracking your performance, there are a number of great tools you can use: -Download XVM. I don't have a one stop link like I used for the 8.5 patch (side note: you will have to reinstall a new version of XVM for each patch, so keep current on it when your game client updates). However, despite the negativity surrounding it, XVM will teach you who the good players are on both sides. If you should die while in battle...do not leave...watch the good players on your team and see what they do. You will improve just by watching these players play. Second, XVM will also show you your own performance relative to others in battle. But don't be a dick. Don't troll someone with bad stats - give them a chance to suck first, before you do. Likewise, when someone suggests something that your future experiences will teach you is stupid (ie a Tier 8 premium tank with <1000 battles telling everyone to rush valley on Lakeville), you can use stats to try and end that argument in the hopes your team will discount the stupid advice. But in short, don't be a dick. Use it to measure your performance, figure out who the key tanks you have to try and kill are, and see where your gun might be needed in battle. Also, ignore the "odds" if your version of XVM has them enabled. To begin improving your play, you're going to need to learn how to beat the odds to claim victory in a match. <50% chance to win does NOT = a loss.
If you can manage the complicated install instructions, XVM is available at http://www.curse.com/wot-mods/worldoftanks - there are several different versions of XVM available, each is set up slightly differently. -Use WOTLabs.net to track your performance: http://wotlabs.net - simply enter your username, and you will see your overall stats, as well as your 24 hour, 7 day, 30 day, and 60 day stats. This is vital. As you improve, you want to see a lot of green in the 24/7/30/60 columns. If you're failing to progress, you'll see red (indicating your performance is trending downward). The most important numbers are win rate, efficiency, and WN7. Average damage, while hugely important in game, is not very important on WOTLabs unless you are playing the same tiers, since your damage will tend to trend upwards as you reach into higher tier gameplay. -Use World of Tanks Dossier: http://wot-dossier.appspot.com/ - This app allows you to upload your dossier (directions are included for where to find it) which tracks ALMOST everything you do in your tanks. It does NOT track potential damage received (aka your ability to use armor effectively), nor does it track damage from spotting. However, it will show you damage, kills, cap points, defense points, enemies spotted - a complete breakdown of anything you've ever done in any of your tanks. You can also filter the results to only show you certain tiers or tank types. This can show you the detail of your performance. -Use Tank Tracker: http://www.vbaddict.net/wot.php - If dossier tool is 2D, this is 3D. This allows you to upload your dossier to the site where your performance will be tracked over time. You can also download an app called Active Dossier Uploader which will automatically update your dossier on the page and individual battles as well for even greater detail. This is like an even better version of WOT Dossier, as in essence it allows you to compare your Dossier from today vs. yesterday, to show if you made any improvement in gameplay. It also allows you to view the server wide performance for each tank, so you can compare your performance to the average player, and see how the top players do in that tank.
There are other tools you can download, but these are the ones that worked best for me at that point in my tanking experience. Unfortunately a fifth, WOTstatistics for Greasemonkey, has not been updated in some time, and with the changes to how Wargaming displays player profiles on worldoftanks.com, is no longer workable. Part Two: Set Goals
This is important. Pick an admirable series of short and long term goals that work for you. Here are some suggestions, and things you will want to focus on for each. -Hit Rate: If your hit rate is low, focus on hitting more tanks. This will encourage you to stop wasting ammo firing low probability shots (which is punishing financially at higher tiers), and will also allow you to be loaded when a good shot presents itself, instead of reloading because you jumped the gun early with a risky shot. -Survival Rate/Average Time of Battle: If your survival rate is low, you are probably rushing out and dying too fast. Do you have a high average tanks spotted per battle and low survival rate with low average battle time? Stop suicide scouting. Be more patient. When you are bottom or middle tier, try supporting your biggest tank by hanging with it and helping it. If you get damaged, retreat, and stay alive. See if you can find ways to damage enemies without getting shot in return (like when they're looking away from you). If you are playing heavy tanks and not surviving, are you angling your armor? -Damage/Kill Rates: If these rates are low, you're not playing well offensively. These could indicated a lot of things - are you missing the target? Are you not shooting enough? Are you failing to penetrate? Are you using the correct ammunition type for your gun and the targets you are facing? If you have a high damage rate and low kill rate, are you not finishing off tanks with low HP? If you have a high kill rate and low damage rate, are you leeching kills or failing to engage same tier targets in battle? Why do you not do more damage? -Spotted (Detections) Rate: If this rate is low, it often doesn't mean a lot, but if it's very low, it might. Are you sitting near your team's base the whole game, "protecting" it? If so, you are not helping your team. Yeah it's great to have a defender there if the enemy starts to capture your base, but more often than not, once that happens, the battle is already lost. You may be cursing at bad teams, and finding yourself with good damage done alone against 6 tanks each time, but perhaps things might have gone differently if your gun was at the front, putting the hurt on and delaying those tanks before they could finish off your teammates. Likewise, perhaps you might have absorbed a few hits, and possibly even taken some damage, but perhaps you doing so might have kept a teammate alive a little longer, who could have helped damaged the enemy some more with you. ^^^These are the #'s 1-4 things bad players do wrong in the game. The first step to being competent is not doing them anymore. Part Three: Learn Gameplay Mechanics In Depth
While WoT itself does a terrible job explaining how gameplay works, the World of Tanks Wiki explains all of these: http://wiki.worldoftanks.com/Battle_Mechanics
Go there, read that, study that like it's your bible, and begin to apply what you've learned in battle. Also start learning the parameters of YOUR tank and the tanks you are fighting against. If you have questions about any of the mechanics, feel free to post here in the forums, and someone will clarify the mechanic in action for you. Also, if you have friends on the game, make a training room and go play around to test what you've learned from the Wiki in a real scenario. Remember, repairs are free, even if ammo is not.
In the M3 Stuart with the top gun (37mm M6 gun, standard rounds), you have a 56 average penetration gun which does 40 average damage. Damage therefore can range from 30-50, and penetration can range from 42mm to 70mm at 100 meters distance assuming a 90 degree angle of impact. Under no circumstances can it penetrate the front of a KV (now, KV-1). This was a lesson I did not learn as I drove that tank at that time, which seems rather stupid now in hindsight. Knowing the parameters of tanks will help you a lot. It might have saved from getting blown up by A LOT of KV's.
(As an aside, the M3 Stuart is the tank I use to illustrate my noobery vs. improved play in a then vs. now. Then: 50 battles, 18 wins, 8 kills, 38 deaths 0.3 damage ratio. Since: 36 battles, 23 wins, 38 kills, 23 deaths, damage ratio upped to 0.6 overall. It took me forever to get top gun in this game, and when I finally did it was with the PzKpfw III. My second one was in, you guessed it, the M3 Stuart. Both were on Prokhorovka.)
However, the parameters are not hard on fast. Just because the listed "frontal" armor value is higher than your penetration does not mean you can't damage the tank from that angle. All tanks have weakspots. http://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guides/ will show you some of them. You don't have to memorize everything, but learn the key ones on the most heavily armored tanks in the tiers you are fighting, and it will help you a lot. In time, you'll find penetrating for full damage easy. Part Four - Stop Gimping Yourself
This is extremely important: Every single tank you run, even Tier 1s, should have a first aid kit, repair kit, and a third consumable (usually a fire extinguisher, but fast tanks may want high octane gasoline/lend lease oil or a removed speed governor (learn how to use it before mounting it though). When and how often you use them will depend on how the game is going, and what tier. Obviously 3000 credits is a steep price to pay every time your MS-1 gets tracked. You'll only want to use it in situations that can potentially decide the battle. But you want it available, just in case it's the difference between life or death, or victory and defeat (especially that fire extinguisher!).
STOP using Free XP to unlock tanks. Free XP should be used ONLY to unlock important modules on tanks once you've used regular XP to unlock them. If I need 30,000 XP to unlock a tank, and I have 25,000 XP on its predecessor, and 5,000 free XP - I should WAIT to unlock that tank. Once I unlock it, I'll have more than 5,000 free XP which can be spent to unlock important modules on it. Maybe it's a scout with a horrible stock engine, and I'll want to put the top engine on it to improve maneuverability. Maybe it's at the weight limit and needs the tracks before it can mount the good gun from the tank before, so I'll want to free XP the tracks. Maybe the stock gun is horrible, so I'll want to free XP a better gun for my new tank. Using free XP this way will save a player from the unfortunate experience of going into battle with a tank that is seemingly worse than the tank it was researched from. Don't run stock tanks if you can avoid it. Free XP is how you avoid running bone stock tanks.
Getting to Tier 10 is not the point of the game. Tanks don't really get "better" as you go up in tier if you don't get better. Each tier is rewarding and fun in its own way.
Seal clubbing is not the point of the game. That said, don't just stay in the same tier to pad your stats. Truly talented players are good at ALL tiers, not just low tiers farming players who are new to the game. Play tiers because you enjoy them, but keep trying to get better at the game, which means progressing towards tier 10 and learning the nuances of each tier's gameplay (some of which is discussed later).
Stop running with a 50% crew, or a crew for the wrong tank. Convert your crews if you don't plan on keeping the previous vehicle, and some cases even if you do. At MINIMUM, you should be using the crew training for credits option, but if you have gold available, crew training is a good investment. Once you reach 100%, start training your crew in secondary skills. The specific ones you want will depend both on your playstyle and the tank in question - and other guides cover this in more detail than I care to since this is about improving your play overall, not just in specific tanks (plus that would make this even longer). But not having to have a completely n00b crew in every single new tank you play will help a lot. It means shorter reloads, better tank acceleration, agility turning, offroad performance, and turret rotation. It also means shorter aim times, less aim dispersion when you move your tank, and better view range and radio range. By extension this also includes better accuracy when firing on the move.
If you plan on keeping a tank that you enjoy and play often, run it with equipment. Every advantage helps. It may cost a lot of credits, but for all of my heavy tanks and TD's a couple hundred thousand dollars in fake money is worth being able to put out 10% more damage per minute.
Instead, learn something from every tier. Every tier in the game teaches you something different about gameplay: Tier 1 - How to hit targets, and how to move to avoid fire. Basic vision and camo mechanics. Base capture and defense. Tier 2 - How to use mobility (most lights and mediums) or armor (French tanks) to your advantage for the first time. TD's will give you a superior gun and teach you how avoid being easily killed by the enemy, since you will lack both mobility and armor (except for the T18). Artillery (SPG's) will teach you how to click on things. Lyke a baus. Tier 3 - For lights and mediums, this tier is an extension of how to use mobility, but also will begin to teach the importance of flanking attacks. Most Tier 3's can do almost nothing to the enemy Tier 5's they'll encounter from time to time in battle when they engage them from the front. To do damage, you'll have to get behind or beside the enemy (or aim for weakspots). The light tanks will also begin to introduce the concept of scouting for the first time. TD's continue their lesson of good gun/not a lot of mobility/no armor if any aka stay hidden and shoot stuff, but get more powerful guns. Arty continues mouse clicking 101, although some of the artys will learn to be lazy since they can hit most of the map in this tier and thus never have to leave base. The ones that don't will learn this invaluable skill in Tiers 4-5. Tier 4-5 - Varied tiers. Tier 4 light tanks (especially scouts) will have the scouting lesson drilled home in fire and blood so that they either come out as seasoned Tier 5 scouts ready to queue up against the highest tier tanks in the game, or as noob suicide scouters with just an extreme gluttony for punishment. For this reason, I recommend for new players trying to improve their stats NOT to go up dedicated scout lines in the tank trees unless they are VERY knowledgeable in the vision mechanics and their gameplay style is such that they aren't just WILLING to scout but actually PREFER it to any other tank type. Tier 4 mediums will be given adequate guns to continue their flanking/aim for weakspots lessons against Tier 6 tanks, and will still lack an HP pool (they'll get this in Tier 5), but not as badly as at Tier 3, so they will learn to use their HP pool as well as become jack of all trades tanks, not strictly support - they may have to lead, hold a flank sometimes, or flex back to the base to reset a capture. Tier 4-5 TD's are well balanced. Most will have a good combination of armor, mobility, and firepower, though still lacking a turret. They must learn to balance having all 3 for the first time with the desire to play like a medium - a mistake that is not forgiven often, even in pub matches. Camo is key except when top tier, where tanks like the Hetzer, SU-85, and T40 can decimate the opposition. The B1, the first heavy tank, doesn't really teach much, although it can give you your first exposure to having a tank with armor. But the Tier 5 heavy tanks will teach much: how to lead a true push, absorb shots with armor (aka angle armor to bounce, and hide weak points). If you want to learn the basics of heavy tanking, get a KV-1. You'll find the gameplay changes when Tier 5 tanks are involved, as there is less aimless running around, and tanks will start to cluster near obvious choke points. Tier 6 - A continuation of lessons from tier 5, except you'll find longer reloads, more expensive ammunition, less mobility, and more armor generally speaking. Tanks are bigger, and will begin to have better armor, albeit with weakspots, so you'll have to start shooting for them. Several tanks in this tier are equipped with outstanding guns (such as the KV-1S, SU-100, and even the Jagdpanzer IV when it is top tier), so in addition to teaching shot prioritization, it will also teach players how to "avoid the big guy" and capitalize to kill a tank while it reloads. This is the first tier for a nonpremium account where horrible battles will lead to a credit loss. Tier 6 also introduces the first autoloading tanks (excluding autocannons), unique because of their fragile armor and long clip reloads, and difficult to counter because of their high burst damage. Tier 7-8 - Armor and weakspots become MUCH more important here, as is the specialization now of each individual tank, as opposed a class. At this tier, each tank will have a specific role it performs best on the battlefield, and roles it is just not suited for. HP pool increases significantly, so the pace of battle will slow down, and become much more measured. The importance of trying to stay as artillery safe as possible will be drilled home at these tiers, as arty starts to actually hurt a lot at these tiers. Where previously you were prone to getting one shot, but arty often missed, now arty misses will begin to take significant HP and cause critical damage. You'll find you can just exchange shots on favorable terms with tanks to get kills as you could in previous tiers, you'll actually need to do damage without being hit back as it becomes a marathon, not a sprint. In contrast to the generally slower pace of battle at these tiers, light tanks of these tiers move freely throughout the field often, countered only by other enemy light tanks or mediums, so scouting as well as counterscouting is critical at these tiers. These lights tanks actually have HP though, so they'll actually have to be countered. You can't just 1-2 shot them as you can with lower tier scouts. They also have the ability to dish out some real hurt, so you need to be aware of where they are at all times. With much longer reloads, you'll need to take advantage of your enemies' RL, while making your own shots count. Ammo becomes very expensive at this tier. Repair costs begin to get heavy at this tier. Nonpremium accounts will consistently lose money if they perform poorly. Tier 8 is the first tier where premium accounts will lose credits for horrible battles, although it is possible in Tier 7 with team damage etc. Tier 9-10 - These tiers reinforce and magnify everything you've ever learned about the game, but add on an additional challenge: Carry harder. To win at these tiers, you will have to get in the middle of the fight and force the outcome. No more "camping" no more "support"...it's put up or shut up. This is the most unforgiving tier, the pinnacle of gameplay, and tier 9-10 tanks actually have the lowest performance spread of any 2 tiers. So a tier 9 in a tier 10 fight can still carry the match. Here premium accounts will often lose credits except for the best of matches (especially at Tier 10). It IS possible to make money at these tiers, just extremely difficult.
Learn these lessons from each tier and apply them, and you'll be really on your way. Part Five - Apply what you've learned, then step up the challenge
You don't have to devote your life to this game to be good at it, even though it seems that way sometimes. Just the simple application of what you've learned in your battle thinking will improve your gameplay.
Now, time to step it up. Now you understand how the game works, and what individual tanks are capable of, and have set goals for improvement. Once you reach them, set harder goals.
Do the following:
Watch and analyze your replays - especially your losses, especially close battles. What did you do wrong? What could you have done better?
Watch good players - their wins AND their losses. See what they did well. Note it and copy it. See what they did wrong. If you can point to it watching a replay, see if you can catch yourself in battle when you think of something (dumb) before you actually do it.
Learn the maps in and out. The good players do. When you watch a good player's replay, see where they set up, and which terrain they abuse. Try going to these spots yourself in a suitable tank, and try it for yourself. For example, a lot of players don't know that you can shoot under dead tanks (I've reset caps this way) and under train cars, and cry "HAX!" when you do it to them.
Platoon with good players. The good ones will offer map strategies, sometimes carry you to victory, and point out your mistakes when you play with them. They may also create situations where you can put out extreme damage amounts. Take advantage of them. Before you can learn to create such opportunities for yourself, you need to learn how to take advantage of one when it's handed to you.
Set harder goals and keep going.
Part Six - Actual Gameplay
Some basic things that will help you as a sub 49%er. These are more strategic in nature, by design, as understanding battle mechanics will help you with a lot of the tactical play that occurs in the various skirmishes that play out in each battle.
Every single one of these things is a mistake I made when I was new to the game. Scouts/Lights/Mediums/M18 Hellcats: Stop rushing out early and dying. A good scout stays alive till the end of battle, and only dies if it was a sacrifice necessary to eliminate the enemy's artillery. If you are new to scouting, use the "active scouting" technique. Rush towards the enemy in such a way that hard cover like terrain or buildings can serve as nearby cover. Once you hear the blip that indicates you've spotted an enemy tank, without stopping rush towards that cover, and away from the enemy so you will not die. A good point on this was someone posted on the WOTforums that I remember, always move from cover to cover. When you are moving, know where you're going next so you won't get caught in the open. Lastly, M18 Hellcats obviously are TD's, not scouts, but I say this because of their speed so many players die stupidly in them. M18 Hellcats should not be rushing to the enemy at the start of battle. They should be using sound TD principles such as camouflage and support fire to stay hidden and deal good damage. Their mobility is an asset in that it allows them to move flexibly across the battlefield and easily change position if a secondary flank needs support. Heavy Tanks: Stop camping/otherwise being in the back. From your knowledge of maps, figure out where the enemy is going to be, and get to a good choke point as fast as you can in a good defensive position. Odds are enemy tanks will amass in this area, and you want to meet them on the most favorable terms. Your heaviest tank should be in front. Especially a no no - NEVER camp the artillery. Not only are you not "protecting it" (artillery is protected by protecting all the routes to it...once it is spotted, it's already too late), but your gun is completely useless all the way back there.
TD's: Get your guns in the fight. Look for places on the map where you can deal damage on enemy tanks at the main choke points. Just because you're a TD doesn't make this a game of tower defense where you must sit at base on a hill and wait for the enemy to come to you. Sit back, away from the heavies, but have line of fire and be able to hit enemies. Be near a corner or somewhere you can easily retreat if you are spotted if in a city map, or somewhere that you can retreat behind terrain if on a more open map. Medium tanks: Stop bouncing off the heavy tanks' front armor. Since you have the most mobility, you get to go to more open areas (within reason - stay off Malinovka field please) where most tanks dare not go...especially towards the end of battle as the tank counts are winding down on both sides. You are most valuable to your team by doing some of the following things: #1 being flexible, able to shift to where you are needed... #2 flank attacks on the enemy's heavies. when you shoot them they must turn their turret and/or hull to you (thus allowing your heavies to penetrate their weak side/rear turret armor), OR they must ignore you and continue facing those heavies, OR they must move to a secondary cover, allowing your tanks to advance in the right circumstances. This is the Sophie's choice every medium tank driver wants to make every enemy tanker deal with. This is how a flank can be turned from a standoff into a landslide victory. #3 countering the enemy light tanks. you are fast enough to stay close to them and have good enough rate of fire that if you miss them they're not by you and into the base automatically...keep them away from friendly artillery / the base area. Medium tanks require the most cumulative skill to play in my opinion, and success in them in my opinion gives a player more battlefield influence than in any other class, and reflects/rewards the most skill. Autoloaders: Stop dying really early, and stop wasting your shots. Just because you can fire rounds in rapid succession doesn't mean you should. Also, manage your clip. If you know you're going to be away from enemies for a while and have a partial clip, press C and reload so you'll have a full one the next time you encounter an enemy tank. Strategic Thinking:
Start doing it. First is the concept of FOCUS FIRE. Focus fire means all of your tanks shooting one of the enemy's tanks until it is dead, as opposed to shooting individual targets, all of which stay alive to keep shooting back at you. This can mean using chat to encourage teammates to finish that nearly dead tank, but it can also mean for you, shooting the most damaged tank when you have that chance (ESPECIALLY if it yields a kill shot, and especially if that is a top tier tank on their team or driven by a very skilled player - which is why I had you use XVM).
Second is understanding maps, and knowing the tactically important areas, and how your tank is best served in battle by looking at your composition, and the enemy's. Avoid lemming trains...where tanks all line up, form a column, and go one way on a map. Usually this strategy is doomed to failure, because they will encounter enemy tanks and either die one by one, or they will STOP, and play "peekaboom" trading shots one for one until one side or the other wins...which tends to take a while, leaving the lightly (or un-) guarded flank to fall very rapidly and enemy tanks to be in your base rather quickly. You may be able to encourage the team to push rapidly all at once (which does occasionally work), may encourage some tanks to come back and cover the other flank, or you may actually go to the other flank and stall the enemy just long enough.
Third, rotate damage. If you are damaged, get out of the front, and towards the back. Stay alive, keep your gun in the fight, and let others take hits to spread the damage around and stay alive. Your gun does just as much damage when you have 1 HP as it does when you have full HP. This can also mean if a teammate is heavily damaged and an enemy tank has a killshot lined up, put yourself between the two to keep your teammate alive. Once he fires, and you've taken the hit, move back out of the way and your teammate can shoot him too. By keeping that tank alive, your team gets 2 shots at the enemy tank whereas otherwise, you would have only gotten 1 (yours).
Fourth, situational awareness. When facing an enemy tank of even tier, take shots when the enemy is not looking at you as much as possible, unless the engagement is on very favorable terms (discussed below). If, after you've shot, the enemy turns to shoot at you (watch his turret and tracks), pull back into cover before he does. If he rushes you, in most cases, you will have already reloaded by the time he gets to you and you'll get a second shot in.
Fifth, engage enemies on favorable terms. Don't just go toe to toe with their most similar tank to you. Either outnumber the enemy tanks in a given force, OR outtier them. Granted that doesn't mean 5 tier 6's will take out 4 tier 8's, but 5 tier 6's will certainly take out 1 tier 8 in a brawl, and maybe even 2 if the players know what they're doing. Utilize cover to minimize your exposure to enemy shots from various angles, and keep the enemy in front of you (and your teammates, as much as possible) at all times. If you can't engage on favorable terms, retreat to cover, or to teammates so that you can. If you're the last tank standing, get to the most advantageous position you can and make as heroic a last stand as you can. Sometimes it actually works. SUMMARY: If you are a sub 49%er and you begin doing these very basic things, when you check WOTLabs.net you'll see a very noticeable improvement in your performance over time. I know I sure did. I still have lots of things I can improve on, but hopefully some baddy out there reads this, decides to improve, and writes his/her own guide someday, because that's what this game is all about. I no longer have the free time to play sports like I used to, so this game fulfills my desire for competition, and I take improving at the game seriously because winning is more fun than losing. So good luck, and happy tanking.
Dissidence's Guide to Competence In Tanking For Baddies.doc