I present to you, the first of hopefully many new collaborative articles produced by the Purple Poster team here at WoTLabs. Today's article is about how one goes about improving and developing their skill in the game and ultimately increasing the levels of enjoyment.
I'll start off, and make some of the paragraphs shorter than the response I made to the "skill stagnating" topic. I'd also like to state that it isn't something that happens overnight. This shit takes time, I'm talking thousands of games here.
When I first started playing WoT, it was with 2 RL friends, we didn't know anything about mechanics, we just grinded Pz1c's and yolo'd arty. This was fun for about 500 games, at which point I started on the american heavy and TD line. I can't remember much more details, other than the fact that I was bad (really, really bad!).
I kept playing, and joined a clan with some green players. In the beginning I stuck mostly with triple platoons with friends, and focused on enjoying the game. I wasn't worrying about efficiency/wn6/winrate/younameit. I guess I kept up this approach until reaching "green/blue" stats, at which point I wanted to improve more. I did this using a combination of the below points:
Watch streams. This is how I got better. You start off with streamers that explain what they're doing(learn sidescraping/weakspots/map layout - can also be done reading forums), eventually move onto streamers that simply play the game. Really high-end streamers will do shit that average players don't even notice.
Analyze your own gameplay. After a few thousand battles, everyone knows the basics such as leading shots, aiming weakspots, knowing where to start off on each map etc. The next step is figuring out when to play aggressive and when to play passive, learning map development, when to fall back, when to camp, when to push etc.
Minimap/general awareness. Keep an eye on your minimap every few seconds. Try to spot openings and attempt to predict enemy movement. After a while you will start to correctly predict enemy movement, being able to deal with issues before they even arise. I.e. if you anticipate an enemy can pop up from your right whilst you're engage with a tank already move your tank to a position that has cover from crossfire. Just little things really.
Tank selection has a strong influence on your stats, but at your current level I wouldn't worry too much about it. Play tanks you enjoy playing, and try to maximize your effectiveness in each class. Play the different classes, and figure out what you like. Most unicums prefer mediums due to the meta, and the fact that they have the highest impact on the game due to speed. You can easily flex all over the map, whether this involves flanking into enemy base, running back to reset cap, or pumping out damage from a double bush position to take out enemy heavytanks/td's.
Finally, if you really want to tryhard, watch all your replays and analyze if/when you made a mistake. After 23k odd games I usually know what I did wrong the second I did it, but that may not always be the case. Always think "How could I have avoided that" or "What did I do wrong there" or "Could I have done something different". Sometimes it's as obvious as not rounding the corner into the waiting JPE100, but other times it may be harder to decide.
A final point that I didn't add in my previous post, is that until very recently I always platooned. I tried to platoon exclusively with better players (and learnt a lot from those games). This can be kept up indefinitely, but once you reach a certain point, you realise that you need to play solo to give you the highest chance of consistently doing 3.5/4k dpg. In a platoon your platoonmates (especially if just as skilled as you) will effectively cripple your games.
I spent my time just casually goofing around in tanks for about 12k games, being shit at the game and not having a care in the world. My only friend that played tanks were exclusively playing low tier prems (tier 2 and 3 with the occasional Churchill III) so we played that a lot. I got kind of good at maneuvering and I knew where tanks would go. so I was stomping tier 2 for my first year at the game, slowly doing doubles on other stuff and grinding up shit. Then I went on the official forums one day after I learned about XVM and WN8, and poked around for a bit. I saw that the T49 (now T67) and the Hellcat were godly for it and for improving your vision gameplay. So I pretty much spammed 1k games straight in the Hellcat, during which I learned that the higher tiers were much more of a challenge and honestly a lot more fun. I was still pretty bad at the actual game and I started to get frustrated when things didn't go the way I wanted. I met an EXNOM platoon that I whined at because they were always in the enemy team. They told me about the tank channel "stronk plutons" where I started hanging out and play with people. I remember the first guy I played with. Draz_H, a S3AL player that's now retired completely. The first game we played was a tier 8 pref game where he did 6,5k damage in the Type 59. I was a green and he was purple, so he made quite the impression for that first game. Seeing as I'd never played with someone that good before. I started reading up information about the game in general, mostly on the official forums but I started to find some useful stuff on WoTLabs as well.
I started putting what I had read about into practice and noticed a slow improvement, and I decided to go at it at tier 10. I got my BatChat and started yoloing around like a complete idiot for a clip a game. It was 2k damage roughly so I didn't feel like I was performing poorly but I noticed that I lost a lot. My survival rate was incredibly low as well and this is a remnant that's still around today. I kept getting better and got a blue recent after eliminating stupid mistake after stupid mistake, one by one.
Then I started watching EJ. This was probably the biggest change as I saw him play areas I've never really considered before. I was blind to matchmaking and kept going at it at areas I just knew how to play, regardless of what I played or what I might have faced. I noticed that he went about as aggressive as I did, but he stayed alive for much much longer. He didn't do one for one trades and instead focused on eliminating exposure and sink damage in where it was for free. I started putting this into practice and I got myself a 140. It was a bit rough at first but I quickly ended up getting better and better games. My winrate was positive even at tier 10 and I got some decent games pretty close in between eachother. I guess the biggest reason here was that I could finally see how the really good players did what they did and I tried to replicate it to the best of my ability. It mostly resulted in either being too passive or overextending but I got closer and closer, and am still approaching it.
After this I became active here on WoTLabs. I started playing CW with ZER0 for the second campaign and I finally got myself a purple recent. I was so satisfied. Thinking I was good at the game. However quickly realising that I still did mistakes that made me lose out on having even better games. So I kept trying. I joined KITTY and got around to playing with some of the better players and eventually I became dark purple recent. This is probably where I grew the most as a player in analysis and getting more consistent. I learned the way of E 50 and M46 there and I really had fun learning, doing it and actually three marked them eventually. This was still on a shitty macbook that crashed every third game. Summer last year (pretty much a year ago) I joined LAVA. I knew WaterWar from KITTY and he asked me if I wanted to join post leaving KITTY, and I took the offer up. Now, I finally got around to buying myself a PC and it just had a massive performance boost for me. I bought the T32 and 3marked it in 75 games. Thinking that crash eliminations and better FPS would help my game even more. I started getting really good at tier 8. Almost as good at it as I am now, but tier 9 and 10 was still a problem. Mistakes kept getting the better of me and I didn't know what to do to help it. With the death of LAVA I joined S3AL and stayed there pretty much until a week ago. I got better at T10 here, learning the ropes by players about as good as me, yet better at T10 but worse at lower tiers. I noticed I had some 3,5k DPG sessions and strived to keep them coming, ending up roughly around 3k and feeling just fine with that.
SHs became a thing and I noticed I could start using a bit more gold and prem consumables while still being able to keep up my credits. Now this probably sounds bad but goldspam actually helped me limit my exposure by nature and in turn taking waaaaaaaaay less damage. I got better at micromanaging and fighting face to face and that's pretty much how I ended up where I am right now. Forever improving but for different reasons. I joined FAME a few days ago which was the last goal I had for tanks. Now I felt like I could shut off and finally just enjoy the game for what it is. Bullshit. Game isn't worth anything to me without playing to play my best and that's where I'm currently in limbo. With the increase of skill came more and more frustration about the game, whether it be arty, the playerbase, meta, balance issues or map changes. I'm honestly not sure if it was worthwhile all the time I've invested into the game. I'm really glad that I was able to join the best clan in europe for game that I really do care about, but now I think it's more about the community here, the people I got to know and less about stomping pubs and feeling superior.
You need to forget about stats. Right now, just drop it. See your long term stats as a wall, each brick is a game. How many of you take care of each and every brick,
aiming to achieve complete perfection with each one you lay?
The percentage we're looking for here lies smack bang in the middle of 99.8 and 100. Being good isn't your padded DPG on a specific tank, nor is it you 75% win rate over 11k games.
Being good is taking care of every game that you enter,
striving for success in it, taking/creating opportunities to get ahead and thus having a great influence on the game in your teams favour.
@Gashtag has said it better than I ever will be able to, but being good isn't the numbers, being good is a mindset and a set of skills. Those pretty numbers come as a result of that skill.
1. Mentality: As with anything requiring any sort of skill, adopting the right mentality toward WoT was essential to improve for me. For a while my question I asked myself was "how can I do the most damage in this game". With this in mind, I sacrificed my winrate and platoon-mates for my damage quotas. What I came to realize was I asking the wrong question. What I should have been asking is this: "How can I influence this game enough to swing it in my favor and make it a victory"
2. Awareness: This is something I still struggle with, but being able to use my minimap and be aware of my surroundings was the first step. Once I was in the habit of looking at my minimap, I realized I wasn't doing anything with that information. It is not enough to just be aware of the battle and your map, but you must act on this awareness to make the biggest possible impact on the game.
3. Analysis: Whether it is you looking over your replays, or someone else providing feedback, there is no way to improve if you don't identify where you are weak. This falls into these general areas:
1. Mechanical skills (aiming, leading, penetrating, movement) - 48%+
2. Tactical skills (angling, camo, vision, positioning) - 53%+
3. Strategic skills (map control, awareness, analysis) - 58%+
4. Tank selection/loadout (proper equipment, gold rounds, consumables/prem consumables) - 48%+
5. Platoon or solo; platoon composition (complimentary tanks) and quality of platoonmates - depends
6. Mental state of player (tired/drunk/awake/distracted) - depends
4. Watching Others: There will always be a bigger fish, there is always someone better than you are. The cool thing is that you can learn from them and improve yourself. This ties in with the last point. You now know what you are doing wrong, but you don't know what to do right either. By watching streamers (Like Zeven, Anfield, Straik, Vetro, and Weenis to name a few) you can see and get inside the heads of these players and apply what you see to your gameplay. Platoon with someone who is willing to call you out when you screw up, listen to that advice and learn from it.
A big thanks to the authors @weenis, @Kolni, @Joyrider216.and @Gashtag