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Intumesce

My Experience With Light Tanks

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Hello. I like to play light tanks. I've always found them far more kick-back than any other tank type while still also being far more exciting. With over 3,000 battles in various light tanks plus thousands more in light-esque tanks, I've learned quite a bit about what it means to be the underdog yet still manage to come out on top.
Light tanks have a steep learning curve and often do not get the respect they deserve. The skill floor is high but the skill ceiling is low compared to other tanks. There are a few shortcuts, a few of which I'll go in detail on, but generally speaking each scout player will have to learn what "safety" and "danger" is to them from their own first hand experiences.
I want to preface the actual information with a bit of a history lesson sort of as a respectful nod to when I first found out this game existed. If you really want to skip it, go straight to part V.


I. Live Light As If It Were Your Last
Although I have been playing light tanks for long, I can't say I've played the game for that long. 2-3 years is a decent amount of time, but I'm not 100% certain on how light tanks were in their earliest days. So from my experience, I will be talking about the time I started playing, which is early 2013, but more specifically mid-late 2013 when I got into light tanks properly.
We are living in a post-camouflage world. Not post-post-camouflage just yet, but camouflage is going out of style. When I got my first tier 8 light, the WZ-132, the world was a fantastic place to be a light tank in.
Arty back then was overpowered. Current tier 10s were tier 8s, they reloaded faster, they had better dispersion, and some of them were more mobile or had better gun arcs either horizontally or diagonally. And there were around 4-5 of them each team almost every single game, at least in tier 10. Matches with only tier 10 tanks and tier 10-esque tanks (aforementioned arty and light tanks) were known as battle tier 12, which has since been removed.
This sounds awfully grim, doesn't it? Well, as a light tank, it was actually a small piece of heaven. The maps were more open, camouflage was more important/better than it is now, and arty was your best friend.
Mobility and camouflage were very important. You being able to spot the enemy didn't mean your team was gonna gun him down, it meant your arty was gonna gun them down. Often they were already pre-aimed at their location or could quickly snap targets due to the comparatively low dispersion. If the enemy were unfortunate, they'd be hit before sixth sense even went off. In other words, being spotted by a light was like being sentenced to death, or at best it would be a major reason to think of retreating into cover IMMEDIATELY.
Games with thousands of spotting damage were the norm, not the exception. But the fun doesn't end there!
Remember there being 5 arty per team? Well, guess whose job it was to hunt down the enemy's artillery after the path to them is clear? Yup.
Your main source of damage was roughly 40% shooting enemy tanks, 60% killing arty. Pascucci's Medals were something you'd get at least once every few days if you were playing a lot of lights.
 
The Chaffee was the highest tier American light tank, German light tanks were not a thing past the VK 28, and the T-50-2 was the epitome of speed. There were only 2 tier 8 light tanks and they stood above all other light tanks since the other trees that even had a light tank branch only went up to tier 5.
These tier 8 champions of speed and mobility were the WZ-132 and the AMX 13 90. The rivalry was hot, fierce, dramatic, beautiful! Well, at least if you were into the light tank game like I was.
The WZ-132 was undoubtedly the best pure scout in the game. With amazing agility, great traverse speeds, and an actual choice between guns, it was basically a T-54 with all its armor stripped away but with its speed turned up to 11.
Meanwhile, the AMX 13 90 was the equivalent of the WZ-132's nightmare. It would gun it down, gun it down, and gun it down 3 more times before it needs to reload. The WZ-132 obviously could not take that much damage, so its choice was either to outmanouver (yes, I'm serious) the 13 90 or run. Let's just say most of the time running is a better option, if it can even do that to begin with.
Of course, let's not forget the other tanks. They were not in as much of a rivalry as the aforementioned 2, but they still had a stay in the game.
The T-50-2 was so damn fast and zippy you practically couldn't hit it no matter what unless it was standing still. It came at a cost though, it had the T-34's gun and it drifted like something out of Initial D.
The VK 28 was much more respectable back in the day. It had the same 10,5cm gun it has now, but it had way better gold penetration and (I think?) damage. Pardon me if I'm wrong, but from what I remember it had 180mm penetration and 390 alpha. Compare that to its current iteration and feel sad.
The Chaffee was the last one to say its goodbyes before it was changed into what it was today. It, like the other tier 5 lights, had tier 6-12 matchmaking. It had more health than currently and a better gun. It had a loyal fanbase swearing by how good it is, but the tank itself wasn't THAT good from what I can remember.
So all in all, you had 2 tier 8 light tanks which were always fighting each other over which is the best and 3 tier 5 lights that had their own presence and were in all kinds of battle tiers, but generally the tier 8 lights were the hot wheels and real deals.
 
II. Times Change
All good things come to an end. Eventually, artillery as a whole was nerfed. They now had trees expanding all the way to tier 10 and current tier 8s were uptiered while their stats were also tuned down. It took a few weeks before the realization set in that arty is not AS dangerous or AS prominent anymore, but it came eventually. Less and less people started playing arty and what few light tanks were in the matchmaker now had to reconsider if the pros of being a scout outweighed the cons. Tier 5 scouts had a slight resurgence but tier 8 lights notably dropped in population. It was not unusual for me to be the only scout in the whole match.
Not everything was bad though. New artillery players came to replace the ones that retired, new maps were put in rotation that still were playable as a scout even without arty and some were changed to make life as a scout better.
Though without arty putting constant pressure on the enemy team, people feared you much less. No longer would tanks rathergo back into cover for fear of being hit for most of their health, now they would sometimes hunt you down either for easy damage or simply because arty hasn't taught them why you shouldn't do that. (Arty couldn't, because arty had retired.)
Heavy tanks quickly started populating the matchmaker queue; they were no longer bullseyes on tracks outside of city maps, they had some relevance but took a while to really kick into gear (the meta you see today is the snowball effect equivalent of what happened after the arty nerf.)
 
Tank destroyer populations started rising in return. After all, people were playing big, slow, uncamouflaged tanks with lots of HP and you have a big gun that hurts a lot, what's not to love?
Most of you remember the horrors of the TD meta, but it actually creeped in pretty slowly. I might make it sound like it happened over a week or a month, but it took around a year before the tank destroyer population reached its peak and subsequently was nerfed as a whole. But that's a whole other can of worms we're not opening today.
So I guess now you were spotting for tank destroyers instead. They were a bit more accessible than artillery and didn't die as fast, but at the same time they couldn't hit that T95 in a corner of the map while sitting in their spawn... sad, isn't it?
 
III. The Dark Ages
Around the period after tank destroyer populations started rising in popularity, light tanks were notably being left in the dirt. Some of them were kicked while down, like the poor VK 28 which was nerfed time and time again for no good reason. First its HEAT, then its speed, then everything else it had. It never truly recovered.
As tank destroyer populations grew to the point were they were unable to be contained (read: 5-9 per team every match) WG finally took action and nerfed them.
Let's say it wasn't a great time to be a scout. While at first tank destroyers were a decent substitute for artillery, they rapidly grew out of proportion. You'd be fine spotting for the tank destroyers sitting near the support line since there were only 2 or 3 of them, but now you had to share space with the tank destroyer that didn't have any room on the ridge where the other 5 tank destroyers were sitting.
And you couldn't exactly hunt tank destroyers either unless you were suicidal. Sure, they (mostly) don't have a turret, but if they hit you once you're at 2/3 health at best and at worst you're detracked with 50 health left.
 
You couldn't do much to help them since they were sitting on a ridge waiting for a tank on the opposite ridge to get bored and go out of cover, or similarly, one of the other tank destroyers on their own team to get bored and attempt to spot the opposite ridge.
Sometimes in matches with less TDs than usual, you could try to poke a TD in the back once most of his team is dead, but for the most part you were playing the middleman for both teams of tank destroyers rather than helping your team kill the bad guys. Most of the time, you simply sat in a bush waiting for a TD to fire so that you'll spot it and then a chain reaction of tanks firing at each other happen, usually determining the outcome of the match right there.
 
IV. Like A Phoenix
For a long, long time, light tanks were poked fun at for being the worthless branch. You were just an uptiered medium with what little armor that tank might have had removed in return for speed (which you used to sit in a bush) and a mediocre same-tier medium tank gun.
What little use they saw were in tank companies, team battles, or rarely as a standin for a Batchat in clan wars.
However, soon they would rise from the ashes and flap their wings.
Suddenly, Germany had gotten a almost complete light tank line leading to the new Leopard 1. Sure, you got the Awful Panther to finish things off with, but it meant the class as a whole wasn't forgotten.
Camouflage was again in style, but it was medium tanks leading the spearhead this time. However any camo a medium could abuse you could also abuse.
Tank destroyers had now been nerfed and the population plummeted. Arty saw a small, small rise in return, possibly due to frustrated tank destroyer players (some of which in turn were frustrated arty players) and now things were normal for a while. If anything, being able to spot for mediums or vice versa meant while it might not have the across-the-map-rape factor like arty did or the jumpscare 850 alpha strike of a tank destroyer, they were at least able to fend for themselves and they were aggressive even without your help.
 
But then, one day, after much waiting...
RU 251. T49. T-54 ltwt. Even the T-50-... wait, you're the MT-25. Never mind.
Now all these nations that had been sitting on their tier 5 lights for YEARS suddenly had a fully expanded branch.
You had so many new scouts! What was first a rivalry gone stale between the 13 90 and 132 had now become like an episode of Friends with each tank more wacky than the next.
Of course this had a massive boost in interest for light tanks. People wanted the derp cannon of the T49 or the gun depression plus DPM of the RU 251.
So after years of silence and disappointment, light tanks had finally become a regular part of the matchmaker. Add in the campaign missions giving you a reason to play light tanks and we now have a more lively population of light tanks than ever before.
We're now more or less at this moment in time. I overlooked some things like the bush nerf, the MT-25 first being added, maps being reworked, etc. but for the most those are relatively well known or not very mentionable outside of the fact that they happened.
 
V. What Have I Learned?
Alright, I gave you more of a history lesson than you might have wanted. But still, it's good to have a reference point to how my career started, went, and ended up in a couple of years time. That said, let's start talking the actual tactics of light tanks.
What makes a light tank player good? That depends on the specifics. To give the shortest answer possible: the map.
To give a longer answer to the same question: the map and how you play on it.
Everyone knows that Malinovka is THE scout map. Or, well, generally anyway. So when you're in a light tank and get that map, you're gonna have a great time. Erlenberg, on the other hand, has pretty much no place for you to go. You have to juggle between either heavy tank support or medium tank face-to-face combat. Neither option is particularly good, but at the end of the day you have to make due in some way or another.
 
So, more than any other tank (even than medium tanks, I dare say) light tanks both require and significantly benefit from really good situational awareness and being able to read the flow of the game.
When you've finished assisting a flank and you're about to go clean up the stragglers or go to the next flank, where will you be in a minute when you get to that flank? How much HP will either side lose and will either side push, defend, or sit in a stalemate? Should you just ignore the flank and attack arty instead?
These are all things that I instinctively think of in just a moment, they're like the solution to a math problem except in this case you don't know for certain yet, you're just predicting things.
Due to the all-powerful force that is RNG, you have to make a lot of gambles that you predict will turn out in your favor. To use my earlier example, let's say now the flank you're on is clear and your heavies are brawling their heavies. You have a road clear to arty, but there are unspotted tank destroyers. Both team's heavies have roughly 2/3 of their health left and will be down to half their total health each by the time you get there.
Do you go for arty, hoping to sneak past the TDs? Do you tackle the TDs, hoping your team will support you, and then bring down the arty which is now unguarded? Do you go assist the heavies so that you can free up your team and march on the base together?
Again, instant calculations in my head. Just writing this makes me imagine the scenario, and from my general experience I can say... it depends on the map.
 
Okay, jokes aside, almost every time you should go help the heavies. You have a flank open meaning you can get to the side or rear of the enemy and not only put some pressure off of your heavies,  you also force their heavies to either rush your heavies or try keep you at bay by aiming at you, or in the best case they just ignore you and keep getting pelted with rounds.
Going for the tank destroyer may work, but given how many variables (higher tier? High alpha gun? More than 1? Unspotted since game start? etc.) there can be, generally I'd say going up alone against a TD is not a good idea even if you can get the jump on them.
Going for arty after a flank is clear is either a good idea or a beginner's mistake. Either the aforementioned TDs will be guarding the base or the arty will be waiting for you. While getting rid of the arty relieves pressure from your whole team, they're still in combat (presumably safe from arty to begin with) with the other heavies and might well be dead by the time you get it done.
Okay, so we managed to debunk one scenario, but the more important part is understanding prioritization.
Assisting heavies > distracting TDs >/= destroying arty.
The sooner your heavies are ready to move on, the sooner you can deal with the TDs and arty. However, should your heavies die, you won't be getting either the TDs or the arty, because the match is as good as over.
 
Let's use another scenario when things have gone badly and you're either on the defensive or you know the match is as good as lost.
Your heavies have almost died, but the mediums/lights on your side managed to punch through the weak defenses on one other flank. You have, let's say, 4 teammates with you while your last 2 heavies are getting wiped out on the other flank, the enemy has most of their forces left.
Do you rush back to your base and spot so your teammates can shoot at them and reset the cap? Do you rush the arty for some quick damage? Do you start capping at a rate which the enemies can't stop?
Well, if you want to win, the answer is that you kill the arty then capture the base. You want to win, right?
Okay, there's a solution for the WN8 farmers as well. The answer at this point is to go back to your base and spot their team. When they see their sixth sense go off and they can't respond to your teammate's shots, they'll back off for a bit even if they have the advantage. You use the opportunity to either flank them for some damage and (most likely) die eventually or you keep spotting and hope your 5v10 defense will end up in a miraculous victory.
So again, prioritization. You can only do so much with your chassis and gun, and you have to think 2 steps ahead.
Killing arty = capping base > spotting enemies.
 
VI. Scouting And Speeding
While speed and view range are not unique features to light tanks, they do have the unique constant camo regardless of if they're moving or not. And while there are medium tanks with great, sometimes even amazing speed, and there are also medium tanks with great view range, they often do not come in the same package or not to the same extent light tanks do.
So, round starts and the map is good/decent for scouting. What do?
Well, the round start is the most unique part of the match and the most important one for you! When that timer hits 0...
Arty will just start loading their first shells, meaning your arty can't support you but in return their arty can't blap you.
Autoloaders as well will just start loading their rounds. Only the quicker ones will be done by the time you manage to spot them. 13 90's can't chase you just yet.
Heavy tanks have not yet dug into their brawling positions.
 
The most important part is that heavies have not yet dug in. They are the slowest, biggest, have the least camo, and go in the most predictable places. It's easy to just peek up a hill, a corner, or just rush along a ridge and dive into cover to spot what tanks and how many of them are going to a certain flank. This will immediately let your team know if they should send more tanks to that flank, if they should start getting defensive or offensive and so on. Arty may have reloaded, and in which case spotting these tanks for long enough means your team can get an instant HP advantage before combat even properly starts.
So to answer "what do?" well, you scout! Rush out there, get some early spots, return without taking any damage and before the heavies even know what lit 'em.
As the battle goes on, chances are there will be less and less scouting for you to do. The most scouting opportunities come at the start and near the end of the match. So you have to play as a quasi-medium tank to fill the time. However you plan on filling up that time, REALLY depends on your tank and I can't answer that easily, so for now I am assuming your light has at least some offensive capabilities.
What are your options?
 
VII. (Non-)Optional Combat
Obviously as a light tank you're meant to have pretty poor combat options, but that doesn't mean you can't make the most of it.
Your biggest weakness can actually become a strength in that sense. People don't expect a light tank will do much, even if it's broken through their flank on the minimap. Heavies are simply too occupied brawling to notice it most of the time.
You should ALWAYS be trying to flank and, if the enemy is alone, circle them. Your mobility will not be of any use in combat if you don't circle, and mobility is your #1 strength. You should always drive around to the rear of a TD so that they are completely facing the direction away from you, and if they somehow manage to (literally) scrape you off their back you still have their sides to cling on to before you should brace your anus for a heavy caliber shell.
Heavy tanks are the same deal. They have a turret, though most of the time they are incredibly slow to turn even if they are also spinning their tracks towards you, meaning you can at least manage to get another shot on them before they catch up and get one on you.
 
Medium tanks however will be your biggest problem. You are to them what a tier 7 medium tank is to a tier 7 heavy.
They might be slower and less camouflaged than you, but that won't matter much in combat, will it? At best their armor is as thin as yours, at worst you'll struggle to penetrate them frontally even with gold, meaning side shots are your only bet at damaging them if you can not retreat. Avoid direct confrontations with them as much as possible.
Last, there's other light tanks. They're probably what you'll be encountering pretty regularly if you stick to flanking heavies and avoiding mediums. Contrary to what most think, light tanks are actually incredibly aggressive towards each other. They both know they'll penetrate every shot on each other, so they don't make use of any fancy cover unless they can go hull down. If they lose a lot of health but their modules and crew are okay they are not totally screwed since their main purpose is spotting, aka non-combat oriented, meaning if they can take the chance to duke it out with another light and come out on top but lose a lot of health, it's almost always a net gain. If their light dies, you don't have to share (and avoid) space with the other light tank, which gives you more space to drive around in and less threats to worry about.
So all in all, if a light tank forces combat with you, generally it's not a bad thing unless it's an AMX 13 90. In which case it will fuck up your day and you'll be lucky to survive.
 
VIII. Tricks And New Moves
So aside from the general combat overview, I have some more detailed information to go into, and a lot of it involves playing tricks on the enemy.
Been spotted and out in the open? The obvious idea would be to zigzag so you can avoid shells, right? Well, kinda. Your zigzags should be unpredictable, not moving left and right every other second. Make sharp turns, do u-turns, swing to the side and drive through as many bushes as you can.
The sharp turns will force the enemy to change their aim suddenly, and while that might not sound like much in theory the main purpose of it is to throw off arty. Moving in a zigzag might disrupt accurate, precise shots like those normal tanks fire, but arty only needs to lead and splash you to mark you for death. If you take a sharp left turn and arty splashes to your right, where you would have been had you not made a turn, you've successfully saved yourself a trip to the garage.
 
But what if you get spotted while relatively stationary and intend on holding your position? Well, if you have cover from normal tanks and are safe from them, but arty can still hit you, simply... move. As in, randomly move around in the area you can make do with. To really screw them over, a good idea is to just stop randomly or drive backwards so they will have no idea when you'll change gears and go in the way they want you to.
Another way to fool people is to turn your turret and drive in a direction that you're not planning on going to. Just keep driving until you think you're unspotted, then turn around and drive in the original direction you want to go in.
It might waste a little time, and I wouldn't recommend it when you need to ,make haste, but when you're diving in and out of cover every now and then it is a great way to throw off an attentive enemy into thinking you've gone another direction. Hell, sometimes just pointing your gun away before you're about to get unspotted might fool the enemy into thinking you're doing something else.
 
While not exactly a "trick" of sorts, one thing people don't often realize is that a cornered light tank has nothing to lose.
If you find yourself at a dead end with a heavy tank breathing down your neck, neither your armor nor your camouflage is going to save you. You will not survive with anything less than a miracle. What do? You get desperate.
Get behind it, keep circling while shooting as fast as you can. Do whatever you can to deal as much damage before he finishes you off. You might die, but if you at least took half the heavy's health away your sacrifice was not in vain. Of course you don't need to set the bar at whatever amount of health, if you even managed to create a distraction it's good enough. Just whatever you do, don't sit in a corner and plink their LFP expecting them to give up after a light scratch.
 
IX. Team Setup
Now let's talk ways to exploit team setups.
Everyone knows that a lot of the map ends up never being used due to arty locking it down or there just being no real reason to go there. The whole right side of El Halluf or the river basin on Mines are great examples of underused areas. Obviously you'll avoid these in any tank due to arty being able to blap you openly and indiscriminately even if you don't poke out. Now take arty out of the picture and say you get lucky, because you loaded into a match devoid of arty. What do you do now?
An example, perhaps? Recently I've discovered a neat little rock on Airfield along the C line, right near the middle.
Going there would be great were it not for arty splashing you eventually as their team will get annoyed with you. But without arty in the match, you're almost completely safe back there. You can sit in solid cover behind the rock while your team's heavies duke it out with the other team's heavies. If they only brawl on the right side of the rock (exceptionally rare) then you can sneak past them and attack their rears. If they attack on the left side, you can shoot into their sides while your team spots them. They cannot move in without being shot by you and fighting only on the right side is unfavorable due to the ridges both sides have that enable TDs to shoot at them.
You wouldn't be able to do stuff like that if arty were in the match. Better yet, you no longer have to do the earlier mentioned trick to fool arty into thinking you went away or to try to dodge their shells.
 
Another example? Sure. Himmelsdorf, a map that supposedly is the antithesis to scouts. Both teams have half heavies and half mediums. Most people would assume going hill is your best bet since if you push that side along with the mediums, you can ambush the dug in enemy heavies, but you're a light tank so you can't properly fight up there without getting mauled.
All the medium tanks are gonna go up there and the heavies will go into their banana street brawl. So you go along the train yard and hunt arty, right?
Well, not really. It might work sometimes, but there's often a tank guarding that area, but that's not the point. Your mediums will be fighting on the hill, most likely taking the circled side around the corner rather than hogging the rubble pile.
If you go near the middle (stay on your own side of course) and hug the houses, you have access to more or less the whole map on a whim. From here you have hard cover and you can get shots at the enemy medium tanks as they turn the corner on the hill, giving you some easy shots while getting the jump on them due to the ~300m distance between you.
If their mediums don't go that way and hug the rubble, you can safely assume you can cross the courtyard and get some shots at the heavies on the banana street without fear of being shot at by the mediums.

X. Questions Left Unanswered?
I didn't think I'd write this much and yet still not cover everything I wanted to, but most of what I want to talk about is covered broadly or narrowly and I'm not sure what to write about.
If you have a question about light tanks, ask and I'll do my best to answer it.

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I am with Koel76....where the pictures at =-

In any case nice guide, I like it.

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I do have a question, I asked Zeven this a couple months ago. But for someone who has played light tanks for a long time. Do you think that camo abuse and vision control has taken a less priority to damage with the introduction of the new lights? I think about the t49, t54 lwt, and the ru having good damage output for being light tanks. Since they were introduced, I have constantly seen pubbies play lights to not play light tanks, but just to play a fast tank. 

And I'm not just talking about the typical shitter who is failing to tier 10, but greens, blue, and even purples play light tanks and refuse to spot anything because they want to shoot things, or act like they are playing medium tanks. 

So to my actual question: Is passive scouting dead? I find it very very difficult to have high assist damage in light tanks where you sit in a bush and spot. When I have finished the spotting missions for the campaign (before it got changed to total damage) it was a combination of active spotting with some yolo spotting. And I've gotten over 8k assist doing that. It's rare, and requires a lot of luck, and a level of skill beyond your average pubbie, which is why I feel it was changed to total damage. I'm also curious to other's opinions on the uses of passive spotting (in pubs mind you).

But to add to the praise, excellent job in your explanation. I've haven't played this game long enough to know about what happened before 9.0 so the history lesson was very enjoyable. And the tips were insightful, things that I may have thought about once or twice, or done out of dumb luck but not something I could repeat on a whim. And a hearty here-here to

Light tanks have a steep learning curve and often do not get the respect they deserve. The skill floor is high but the skill ceiling is low compared to other tanks. 
*snip*
 

Good job, and thank you for your insight. +1

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Nice write up!

I've ran into some filthy light tank players lately. One specific incident comes to mind on Himmelsderp. I'm in a bat and typically the bat will beat anyone up the hill. I race up to top, poke my head in the middle to see the other side coming up... only to notice a T49 barely peaking over with his gun pre-aimed for me. Blap. 900 HP and then he runs away. Dirty lil scout.

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I do have a question, I asked Zeven this a couple months ago. But for someone who has played light tanks for a long time. Do you think that camo abuse and vision control has taken a less priority to damage with the introduction of the new lights? I think about the t49, t54 lwt, and the ru having good damage output for being light tanks. Since they were introduced, I have constantly seen pubbies play lights to not play light tanks, but just to play a fast tank. 

And I'm not just talking about the typical shitter who is failing to tier 10, but greens, blue, and even purples play light tanks and refuse to spot anything because they want to shoot things, or act like they are playing medium tanks. 

So to my actual question: Is passive scouting dead? I find it very very difficult to have high assist damage in light tanks where you sit in a bush and spot. When I have finished the spotting missions for the campaign (before it got changed to total damage) it was a combination of active spotting with some yolo spotting. And I've gotten over 8k assist doing that. It's rare, and requires a lot of luck, and a level of skill beyond your average pubbie, which is why I feel it was changed to total damage. I'm also curious to other's opinions on the uses of passive spotting (in pubs mind you).

But to add to the praise, excellent job in your explanation. I've haven't played this game long enough to know about what happened before 9.0 so the history lesson was very enjoyable. And the tips were insightful, things that I may have thought about once or twice, or done out of dumb luck but not something I could repeat on a whim. And a hearty here-here to

Good job, and thank you for your insight. +1

Passive scouting isn't dead, it's just that there are increasingly fewer situations in which it is useful.  In the old vision meta, there were many maps where good scouting could sometimes win a game in the first minute (think Malinovka, Mountain Pass north, etc).  There were also maps where good scouting could easily win the game (think magic forest on old Murovanka).  However, there are very few maps left where this kind of vision can consistently win the game outright.

I would argue that outside of a few select maps, a light tank's camo and vision is less important early on and increasingly important later in the game.  Thanks to corridor style maps you can pretty well predict where enemies will be and roughly what distribution they will be in.  Most of these areas have limited view lanes where a little better camo and view range doesn't matter.  As far as the classic "early scout run" goes, I generally only do them anymore if 1.) I can pretty reasonably do it without taking damage and 2.) I have nothing better to do (like getting to a useful damage dealing position).  The information gained from most spotting runs is not too valuable if you are going to take damage from it.

With the release of the new Tier 7 and 8 light tanks, we saw a significant increase to the firepower of light tanks.  They usually have superior firepower and gun handling to same tier mediums.  To not make use of such firepower would be silly.  So any good light tank player these days is going to be putting out fairly high DPG - I just don't think it is possible to get good win rates without this anymore.

However, some light tank players can get stuck in the damage dealing pocket-medium mode and fail to do the "scout" part when it is needed.  I've watched high level players lose games because they failed to get the needed vision in their light tanks.

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So to my actual question: Is passive scouting dead? I find it very very difficult to have high assist damage in light tanks where you sit in a bush and spot. When I have finished the spotting missions for the campaign (before it got changed to total damage) it was a combination of active spotting with some yolo spotting. And I've gotten over 8k assist doing that. It's rare, and requires a lot of luck, and a level of skill beyond your average pubbie, which is why I feel it was changed to total damage. I'm also curious to other's opinions on the uses of passive spotting (in pubs mind you).

 

My personal opinion is that passive scouting, to quote Onee... it depends on the map (kek).

About the only map where you can conceivably get away with sitting in a bush the entire game without being useless is on Prok/Fiery Salient, from the north side with that E1 bush.  Every other map is either A. too closed off for passive spotting (Himmelsdorf, Ruinberg sort of), B. doesn't have enough bushes in the right places/no spots give vision on important places (Erlenberg, El Halluf, maybe Windstorm, South Coast, Hidden Village, new Murovanka), C. Too small for passive spotting (Mines, Ensk), or D. Passive is only useful at the beginning of the game to see who/what goes where (Redshire, Fisherman's Bay, Malinovka, Lakeville).

Maps in category D, plus Prok, are the only maps where I'll even bother trying to passive scout, personally.  I put this in a comment on reddit for someone who was asking how to LT-15 with spotting + a little damage, and category D maps and Prokhorovka were the only ones I really had any tips for and my advice for the rest was to get fucked/try to do damage.

So it's not completely dead, but it's not something you can expect to be useful in doing beyond the first minute or so.

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And I'm not just talking about the typical shitter who is failing to tier 10, but greens, blue, and even purples play light tanks and refuse to spot anything because they want to shoot things, or act like they are playing medium tanks.

See, I've always attributed that behavior more to the rise of wn8 than to the expansion of the LT lines.  I mean sure the addition of the high tier lights helped things along, but I really don't think people would feel the need to farm damage in their lights if it weren't for wn8 and the perceived need to pad damage.

So to my actual question: Is passive scouting dead? I find it very very difficult to have high assist damage in light tanks where you sit in a bush and spot. When I have finished the spotting missions for the campaign (before it got changed to total damage) it was a combination of active spotting with some yolo spotting. And I've gotten over 8k assist doing that. It's rare, and requires a lot of luck, and a level of skill beyond your average pubbie, which is why I feel it was changed to total damage. I'm also curious to other's opinions on the uses of passive spotting (in pubs mind you).

Passive scouting began its gradual decline with the 8.6 artillery nerfs.  It's seen a little bit of a resurgence as TDs have been brought back into line over the past year or so, but with fewer artillery in the game, the meta has shifted toward brawling, which means there are fewer opportunities to just bush up and let your snipers snipe.

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I like the guide, but the 12 year old inside me has a hard time reading stuff without images. Either way, nicely done.

I am with Koel76....where the pictures at =-

In any case nice guide, I like it.

Definitely needs pictures but also definitely a gud guide

@_@ so much words...

You're all right. I'll try to get some images and some videos for a visual representation of some of the tricks and spots I mention.

I do have a question, I asked Zeven this a couple months ago. But for someone who has played light tanks for a long time. Do you think that camo abuse and vision control has taken a less priority to damage with the introduction of the new lights? I think about the t49, t54 lwt, and the ru having good damage output for being light tanks. Since they were introduced, I have constantly seen pubbies play lights to not play light tanks, but just to play a fast tank. 

And I'm not just talking about the typical shitter who is failing to tier 10, but greens, blue, and even purples play light tanks and refuse to spot anything because they want to shoot things, or act like they are playing medium tanks. 

So to my actual question: Is passive scouting dead? I find it very very difficult to have high assist damage in light tanks where you sit in a bush and spot. When I have finished the spotting missions for the campaign (before it got changed to total damage) it was a combination of active spotting with some yolo spotting. And I've gotten over 8k assist doing that. It's rare, and requires a lot of luck, and a level of skill beyond your average pubbie, which is why I feel it was changed to total damage. I'm also curious to other's opinions on the uses of passive spotting (in pubs mind you).

But to add to the praise, excellent job in your explanation. I've haven't played this game long enough to know about what happened before 9.0 so the history lesson was very enjoyable. And the tips were insightful, things that I may have thought about once or twice, or done out of dumb luck but not something I could repeat on a whim. And a hearty here-here to

Good job, and thank you for your insight. +1

The lights themselves have not made camo less important, if that's what you're asking.
If you're asking how the new lights are doing compared to the old ones, I can say that the old ones have been forced to adapt to the new ones.
Like dualmaster said, these new lights have guns better than same-tier medium tanks. The 13 90 has a sidegraded version of a same tier medium gun, and the WZ-132 has a downgraded version of a same tier medium gun.

I've been playing mostly the T-54LW and the WZ-132 (although I have the 13 90 as well) so we have one new tank and one old tank, both of which play almost exactly the same except one has notably more armor.
The WZ-132 gets a little more scouting-oriented than the T-54LW for me because since the gun is slightly worse and the armor is not usable, I focus on getting spots rather than damage. However, I could be doing the same but better in the T-54LW, but at the same time not using the gun would be a waste.

Passive scouting is dead on all but a select few maps. Active scouting on most maps has also been reduced to basically an early spot rush. Most of your "scouting" now involves peeking corners to light a tank for arty or for your heavies to shoot at.

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