The goal of this post is to share what I have learned since I started playing WOT, and the factors that I think were most responsible for my improvement. While my stats don’t reflect it yet, I have reached the point where I can consistently average 2500-3000 WN8 in a session, provided I follow the method outlined below. When I play on Wi-Fi or when tired or distracted, things don’t go as well.
For my first 8000 battles or so, I learned primarily through trial and error. For example, no one told me how to go “Hull down”… I learned it the hard way. I don’t recommend that method of learning the basics. I’m going to mostly focus on how a “good player” with a WN8 of about 1200 and above can quickly become “Great”, so I won’t talk about basics like aiming and maneuvering, instead I will talk about more “meta level” decisions that can improve one’s play.
Rule 1: Have Patience.
WOT is a slow game. Slow tanks make it even slower, and fast tanks make it easy to rush in too quickly. If you want to play well, you absolutely must exercise patience as all times.
In every battle, take the time to do the following:
· Aim. (You don’t have to wait for the reticle to fully close, but you should wait until you have a good chance of hitting)
o If you can’t safely aim a shot because you know you will get hit if you do, you probably shouldn’t be trying to take the shot.
o Don’t immediately shoot if the tank you are aiming at shoots at you. If his shot is going to kill you, it is already too late, and if it won’t, then you are needlessly wasting your shot.
o Don’t immediately shoot if the tank you are aiming at is about to get behind cover. Sometimes you will hit, but most of the time you will miss and he will pop back out and hit you while you are reloading. This is especially important if you have a long reload time. (On the flip side, you can take advantage of the fact that many players do this in order to get them to waste their shot)
· Angle your armor/Go hull down/Side scrape
o It takes a few extra seconds to set up a hull down or well angled position, but it is worth it, especially in tanks that heavily rely on it. For example, the T34 is beast when properly side scraping, but without it, it is quickly burnt toast.
o This is a key part of what it means to “play smart”. If you need to round a corner, don’t just drive straight into enemy guns… angle your armor and side scape around the corner. (or let someone else go first)
· Look at the map.
o Situational awareness is very important. Don’t rely on the “tank spotted” sound to alert you to the tank that is trying to sneak up behind you. If you look at the map you can often see where the enemy is likely to pop up and be ready for them when they do.
o How many games are lost because the other team fast-caps and no one was paying attention? Too many. If you see a fast cap is imminent, go back towards base immediately, no matter how slow your tank is.
· Wait for the right time to make a move.
o Don’t rush in anywhere without support. Wait for your teammates to catch up to you. (If there are no teammates coming to cover you, then you shouldn’t be there in the first place… retreat ASAP.)
Rule 2: Play under optimal conditions.
Often you may find that even if you are trying to play smart, it just isn't happening. You will play better when you are:
o Don’t play when stressed, rushed for time, or feeling like you feel you must try really, really hard to do well or your life is meaningless.
o It is a game. If you aren't having fun, your play will suffer. You will be more likely to YOLO out of frustration or camp in fear, ruining games that you could have done very well in.
o If you aren't relaxed, you will get increasingly frustrated if you play bad… compounding the problem and making you play even worse.
· Well Rested.
o Don’t underestimate this one. I personally notice a session difference of about 1000 WN8 points if I am tired.
o Being tired will make you more prone to acting on impulses to YOLO, and more prone to making other bad decisions.
o Take it one game at a time. You should be fully engaged in each game for its own sake. View each game as a unique challenge, and a chance to do your best.
o If you are just trying to get through a grind, performance will suffer greatly.
o Get off Wi-Fi, upgrade your internet, do what it takes to lower your ping. (Bad ping is rarely WG’s fault.) This may not be possible for everyone, but it is a big limit to your performance.
o If you MUST play with bad ping:
§ Check the ping meter on the top left of the screen every few seconds
§ Check the ping meter immediately before each shot you take.
§ Play high-alpha TD’s or arty as they rely less on making precise maneuvers and taking many shots.
Rule 3: Choose your tanks wisely.
While the best players can excel in any tank, everyone has tanks they enjoy more than others. The simplest way to increase your stats quickly is to focus on tanks you enjoy and do well in. This isn’t any sort of cheating or padding, rather it is simply acknowledging and taking advantage of your personal strengths.
· Play tanks you like
o You will be more engaged and have more fun, even if you don’t win all the time. As long as you enjoy playing a tank, you will be engaged and you are likely to play better than in tanks you dislike.
· Play tanks you like AND do well in.
o Many of you have that one tank that gets a 60% win rate. Play that tank more often and your stats will increase. Simple. Over time, you can figure out why you are good in that tank and apply it to your other tanks.
o There are many tanks with similar play-styles. For example, if you like the JPE-100, you may also like the FV215b 183. Get as many tanks as you can that fit your playstyle(s), and avoid tanks you know you will do poorly in. WOT is supposed to be fun. No reason to torture yourself.
o Try the “OP” tanks. If you find you often get bested by a certain tank (Other than arty) you may want to try that tank yourself. If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em. You will probably find out the tank isn’t quite as OP as you thought, but you may also find that you really enjoy playing it.
Rule 4: Don’t make the same mistakes over and over.
· Did a certain position work for you once upon a time but fail every other time since?
o If so, don’t go there anymore. Remember which positions work almost every time, and go to those positions all the time. If a position only works sometimes, don’t take the risk.
· If you know that making a certain maneuver frequently results in you taking hits or getting killed, don’t do it.
o Adjust your play so that you don’t rely on maneuvers that expose you to enemy fire. Try to use cover whenever possible, even if it means going the “long way” to your destination.
o Shortcuts are often really a shortcut back to the garage.
· Remember what tank you are in.
o Don’t take a heavy up the hill on Mines because it worked so well in your light tank. Don’t take your light tank to tank alley on Himmelsdorf. Pretty basic, but be sure to take your tank into account when thinking up your strategy.
· Take advantage of common mistakes.
o If you often make a certain mistake, often you will find that other players make the same mistakes too. Imagine that you are on the other team. Think about where you would go. Now go obliterate the tanks on the other team that do what you would have done.
§ For example, if you like to go up the hill on mines, instead of going up, find a spot where you can shoot the tanks that try to go up.
§ If you got caught in a certain part of a map, next time you are on the other side of that map, try to catch others in the same spot. Often times you will.
o Once you identify a mistake that you commonly make, you will be able to identify and punish others who still make that same mistake!
Golden Rule of WOT: Put your tank first.
Imagine that the Field Commander is in your tank. As a result, your tank is the most important one, and you are not allowed to sacrifice your tank for anyone else.
· Sacrificing your tank for the good of your team is NOT good for you or your team.
o Is some jerk telling you to do something that will probably get you killed? Don’t do it.
o Is someone raging at you and telling you to scout? Tell him to get his camping butt off the red line and find his own targets. WN8 does not take spotting damage into account so if you are in a light tank, you should focus on doing damage, not on scouting.
§ Lest you disagree with that, remember that most scouts die at the beginning of the game after doing almost no damage. As a result, a scout that stays alive and does the damage of a heavy tank is like having a whole extra heavy tank on your team. Pure profit for the team.
· Don’t position yourself between the enemy and the cap on a weak flank.
o What if the team all goes to one side of the map? You, being the one responsible player on the team decide to go to the empty side and do your best to hold it alone, whilst raging at the team for being stupid and leaving a flank open. Sounds good? NO.
o When you and a few token tanks go to the empty side:
§ You can’t hold the flank alone so you invariably get steamrolled.
§ You die doing almost no damage.
§ You immediately put your team down a few tanks, leaving the rest of the team at a disadvantage.
o In other words, if you go to defend a flank alone, YOU ARE CAUSING YOUR TEAM TO LOOSE BY WASTING YOUR TANK. (Ironic, because you were trying to help.)
o So instead of reenacting the Alamo:
§ If you are fast, go the same way as everyone else to secure a decisive victory on that flank. Keep your eye on the map and be ready to drop everything and rush back to defend at the first sign of trouble.
§ If you are slow, start going the way everyone else is going, but find a spot to defend the cap from that side. Then wait until the enemy rushes through to the cap. Once they are capping, you can start shooting them from a position of strength because you chose a good spot with lots of cover. The cap siren will likely send part of your team rushing back to help you, and they come up behind you and give you support.
§ The enemy is often reluctant to push past cap, so once they are on cap they will often sit and let you shoot them.
o This will probably eliminate many of your bad games.
§ You still defend, but from a position of strength and on your own terms.
§ You might actually get help because your team hears the siren and comes back.
§ You get to farm damage from enemies trying to cap with no cover.
· Remember that you can’t influence the battle when you are dead.
o A good player will influence the battle as much as they can. If you die, you leave your destiny up to your teammates. They will usually let you down.
o Don’t ever rely on anyone but yourself. Expect that you will have to carry your team to victory, and then do it.
Bonus Rule: Don’t take crap from anyone.
· If they are a good player, they are following the Golden rule. As a result, they are probably telling you that you suck because they screwed up and you didn’t cover for them.
o If you go on to win anyway, be sure to respectfully let them know that they are an idiot.
o If you lose, that’s on you. Evaluate your own performance and learn from it. What they think you should have done is probably not what you really should have done.
· If a good player/unicum rages at you, challenge them to a 1v1 honor duel in the public battle chat.
o They will probably accept because it is a matter of personal ego for them to prove that they are better than you. (Of course if they don’t accept you can imply they are chicken.)
o When you duel them, calmly play your best and treat it as a learning experience. You will probably loose, but it matters not. Tips for putting up a good fight:
§ Don’t be the attacker. Don’t camp, but don’t rush in. Let them come to you. They will assume you suck so they may be over aggressive.
§ Use all the 1v1 techniques you know of. (i.e. side scrape, hull down, etc.)
§ Position yourself so that you are ready no matter what direction they come from.
§ Use your favorite tank. This will make you feel more comfortable. If they have it, insist they use it too.
That’s all I have. Cheers and good luck out there.