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Tanager

Basic skills progression (for the player, not the crew)

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Hi all,

I have read with great interest several of the articles and guides here, and one in particular (to which I seem to have lost the link, and which I appear to be unable to relocate, *sigh*) struck a chord with me.  Several posters here have underscored the same point, but this article in particular seemed to boil it down to basics for me.

I took away from the article a couple of key points (at least for me), specifically:

  1. KISS.  I'm not a good player, I'm not even an average player, and trying to improve (let alone master) all areas at once is a recipe for failure.  So I'm picking one or two skills/areas on which to focus, and which are likely to apply (more or less) across tiers/tank types.
  2. Keep the high tier tanks in the garage until I'm ready to contribute with them.  There are a couple of t7s (e.g. the T20) with which I can generally contribute positively (relative to my own personal average, not necessarily that of the greater community, although the latter is the goal), but I made the mistake of buying a t8 some time back - and let's just say I am < useless in it.  No sense pretending otherwise.
  3. Focus on growing crew (and player) skills using some t4/5/6 tanks (but only t4 for scouts right now, more on this in a bit).  I think that for a long time, I (like many other low-skilled players) greatly underestimated the importance of crew skills - I suspect many low-skilled players pretty much ignore them outright.  It's better to grind at a tier and get good with it than it is to advance at this point.
  4. Familiarity breeds success.  I think many of us (talking about players of my relatively low skill, not other posters here) focus too much on completing each set of weekly challenges, e.g. - so we constantly flip between tank classes, tiers, lines, nations - depending on what challenge flavor WG is pimping at the moment.  So recently I've been trying to pick a couple of tanks with a category (currently two German t4 TDs - 38t and StuG III b) and focus primarily on those, with a goal of becoming really familiar with what they're good at doing and those parts of the game for which they're ill-suited (and observing the salient differences between the two).  I'm still prone to dumping a streak of stinkers now and again, but I feel like I've generally been more successful of late following this approach (and it's been more satisfying as a result).
  5. As for the key skills/areas, I'm focusing on two goals: (a) making sure I "pull my weight" - do at least my tank's HP in damage every time out, and (b) get to one or two key spots and try to do my damage early.  Where I can, I try to focus on either the nastiest baddy on the other side or on finishing off something ripe for the plucking, but I'm emphasizing the other two more for now.  As a secondary area, I'm really trying (with varying amounts of success) not to "fall in love" with a spot or battle - knowing when to pull the plug and relocate is something that bites me in the ass more than I'd like to admit.

Anyhow...I wanted to (a) say thanks again for the great resources here, and (b) ask if this seems like a reasonable way to digest the elephant one bite at a time, as it were?

-Tanager

PS - Scouting is hard.  Really hard.  When I do it, I'm sticking to the Luchs and T50, and man, does the Luchs force you to learn when to disengage and retreat for a bit.  I haven't learned that yet, but maybe I will one day...

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4. is a good point, but I'd recommend more of a generalist tank to learn the basic mechanics and battle dynamics. KV-1S would be a good choice, it's got the armour to teach you how to angle and bully weaker opponents while maintaining decent mobility to be able to relocate and follow the flow of the battle.
On top it gets a great gun, so you should be able to see improvements fairly soon, preventing frustration with the game.

Scouts are probably the most difficult class in the game and not really suited for beginners.

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46 minutes ago, monty50k said:

*snip* I'd recommend more of a generalist tank to learn the basic mechanics and battle dynamics. KV-1S would be a good choice *snip*

I don't completely suck in my T-150 - reasonable alternative?

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A little slow for my taste, it doesn't flex as well as the 1S, but if it suits you, sure, it's not a bad tank.
Maybe get comfortable in that one first (learn weakspots, angling, locations, etc.) and then look after a medium like T-34  or 34-85 to get more into the dynamics (when to be aggressive/flank/snipe/scout/run away etc.)

TDs might help to teach you weakspots, spotting mechanics and firing lanes, but in general I'd say they are too restricted to learn the game well.

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As someone who has made it to just average, I agree with Monty. Pick a good, mid-tier heavy and medium line to learn in. KV1, T150, T34, and T34-85 are really nice.

Good luck friend!

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Generally a good list.  I'l echo the other poster upthread and say don't worry too much about scout tanks for now - they are difficult to play well, especially in the current meta.  Choosing one or two mediums and heavies to focus on (around the tier 6-7 level) will probably provide you the most player improvement per time spent in a match.

At tier 6, for mediums I like the T-34-85 and VK30.01D.  Both are reasonably comfortable, with respectable penetration and alpha, and don't have weird glaring downsides compared to their peers (of those two, the T-34-85 probably has the most high-level-like playstyle, so i'd recommend it first).  The KV-1S/KV-85 are a good duo, as are the US Heavies (T1/M6) at those tiers.  As a bonus, all three of those lines lead to reasonably-to-extremely-useful tier 8 and tier 10 tanks.

The other thing to start doing (regarding early damage) is to consciously choose your initial positions based on enemy team composition and likely deployment.  Many players get locked into a sort of "I'm in a medium, so I go here to start" and never learn to re-evaluate.  Not getting caught in that trap early will probably cause some pain at first, but will make you a better player in the long run.

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One thing my shitty greenness would like to add: if you find a tank that you really love playing or hate playing, try to figure out what it is that you really like/dislike about it. Playing tanks that are comfortable for you makes. Huge difference to plying well because you can focus on reading the battle ans not just making your tank work.

More importantly, if you really hate a certain tank, it might be because it accents a hole in your game that you may not be aware of, and if you are open to this you can improve your game by addressing that hole.

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9 hours ago, Tanager said:

PS - Scouting is hard.  Really hard.  When I do it, I'm sticking to the Luchs and T50, and man, does the Luchs force you to learn when to disengage and retreat for a bit.  I haven't learned that yet, but maybe I will one day...

The light tank lines are personally the hardest to play because its a delicate balance of risk vs reward, where you want to help your team early game by spotting, and still have enough health and be alive at the end of the game to clean up the enemies. Also, the Tier 7 and Tier 8 light tanks have so many different playstyles that usually you'll have to play a few games in them before you can actually fare proficiently in them, although I haven't played Tier 6 lights for a long time, save the Type 64.

Very basics of a light tank:

  • You don't always have to scout, but please do when you feel the friendly team can shoot what you spot
  • Balance between passive and active scouting; less rewarding these days but nonetheless crucial if your team is somewhat competent
  • Pressure the enemy team by constantly keeping them lit mid-game
  • Be an opportunist; take shots where you can at dangerous enemy tanks because it'll make them less confident to push a flank if they're damaged
  • If you see a flank pushing hard, try to support them because you can get some damage in and also confuse the enemy
  • Conserve as much HP as possible because the longer you are alive, the more dangerous you become late game because the enemy would usually have low health heavies left, and if you're still sitting on a fair amount of HP, you can basically control the flow of the game
  • Back up your heavies late game and try to work together with them.

Here's a replay in my T49 which shows some nice teamwork and why being an opportunist will help late game. Same principle should apply at Tier 5 or 6, just with smaller tanks and smaller guns.

http://wotreplays.com/site/2930668#mountain_pass-outcom-t49

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Good list. I would add the idea to focus on micromanaging some ht or med first and get comfortable with it. While doing that try to figure out where each tank type tends to go and why they go there (terrain advantage, sidescraping options etc).

when you no longer have to fight your tanks and think about where you can pen each enemy tank and with what ammo type start thinking strategicaly.

Thats the endgame in wot. Be strategicaly superior to the enemy team and once you outplayed them on the macro scale use your micro skills to farm dmg, reset caps and whatnot without losing your HP.

Also i know that not everyone here agrees but it works for me so im just gonna say it. Once you are good at microing and know general areas where you should fight go play tier 10. You will be shit at first but thats where your mistakes get punished the most and therefore its the meta that will enable you to learn the most from your mistakes.

good luck ;)

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Thanks for the feedback.  Got my first mark on the T150, been trying to work on getting the armor angling right, mixing in some attempts (mostly not very good ones) at sidescraping, managing to facehug and destroy a Tiger the other day, tossed in a few good games along the way, too.  Baby steps...

-Tanager

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On 9/6/2016 at 1:30 PM, _Juris said:

Generally a good list.  I'l echo the other poster upthread and say don't worry too much about scout tanks for now - they are difficult to play well, especially in the current meta.  Choosing one or two mediums and heavies to focus on (around the tier 6-7 level) will probably provide you the most player improvement per time spent in a match.

At tier 6, for mediums I like the T-34-85 and VK30.01D.  Both are reasonably comfortable, with respectable penetration and alpha, and don't have weird glaring downsides compared to their peers (of those two, the T-34-85 probably has the most high-level-like playstyle, so i'd recommend it first).  The KV-1S/KV-85 are a good duo, as are the US Heavies (T1/M6) at those tiers.  As a bonus, all three of those lines lead to reasonably-to-extremely-useful tier 8 and tier 10 tanks.

The other thing to start doing (regarding early damage) is to consciously choose your initial positions based on enemy team composition and likely deployment.  Many players get locked into a sort of "I'm in a medium, so I go here to start" and never learn to re-evaluate.  Not getting caught in that trap early will probably cause some pain at first, but will make you a better player in the long run.

Boy howdy!

I'll add that getting XVM installed is a great investment in time. Knowing the potential skill level of the opposition can allow you to either get to a good spot to score some points against weaker/equal opponents, or avoid a location where the higher skilled folks are likely to end up. 

Eventually those bastards will find you, but if you can get a few shots in first, it helps boost your stats. :)

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7 minutes ago, Steel_Six said:

Boy howdy!

I'll add that getting XVM installed is a great investment in time. Knowing the potential skill level of the opposition can allow you to either get to a good spot to score some points against weaker/equal opponents, or avoid a location where the higher skilled folks are likely to end up. 

Eventually those bastards will find you, but if you can get a few shots in first, it helps boost your stats. :)

I've had XVM installed for a while, but I have mainly been using it to figure out who the good players on my team are, and if I die early, I'll try to spectate them and watch what they do (particularly if they're playing a similar tank).  One problem with (the way I use) XVM is that I when I see a red marker over an enemy tank, I sometimes fall into the trap of assuming they suck/are an easy kill, which lures me into doing something stupid.  And I really need to modify my XVM config so that I don't see the pregame W/L odds.

I think one thing that I'm already at least thinking about (but perhaps not really applying yet) is learning to time when I pop from cover based on opponents' shots/reload time.  I don't really know the reload times of all the tanks (I barely know those of more than a handful), but I am trying to pay attention to waiting until just after the hostile fires before popping/shooting.

Am I right in thinking that, as a general rule, Alpha > DPM as you go up the tiers?

-Tanager

PS - sorry for all the questions.  Just so much to learn.

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2 hours ago, Tanager said:

I've had XVM installed for a while, but I have mainly been using it to figure out who the good players on my team are, and if I die early, I'll try to spectate them and watch what they do (particularly if they're playing a similar tank).  One problem with (the way I use) XVM is that I when I see a red marker over an enemy tank, I sometimes fall into the trap of assuming they suck/are an easy kill, which lures me into doing something stupid.  And I really need to modify my XVM config so that I don't see the pregame W/L odds.

I think one thing that I'm already at least thinking about (but perhaps not really applying yet) is learning to time when I pop from cover based on opponents' shots/reload time.  I don't really know the reload times of all the tanks (I barely know those of more than a handful), but I am trying to pay attention to waiting until just after the hostile fires before popping/shooting.

Am I right in thinking that, as a general rule, Alpha > DPM as you go up the tiers?

-Tanager

PS - sorry for all the questions.  Just so much to learn.

Asking questions will only make you better.

I'll let a better player answer the alpha vs DPM question because I don't think there is a good answer but I might just not know it.

Timing reloads only comes with practice and a lot of studying tanks you regularly face unfortunately. When studying the reload times keep in mind that at higher tiers enemies are likely to have better crews and likely rammer/vents so learning base reloads is only useful at lower tiers.

As for XVM, one thing I do that I swear by is turning on stats for the 14 days that it lasts and then waiting a few weeks after it expires before activating it again. The reason for this is that Xvm stats can be very useful tactically and you can learn a lot from using them, but after a while it starts to feel like the stats control the game and I feel like my play regresses. So once the stats turn off I use what I've learned and just pretend that I'm the only good player on my team and the other team is never going to screw up and I almost always play better. Once I feel like the stats would be nice to have I turn them on again and they usually help for a while. It's not an exact science but I find it works really well for me and I know a lot of people who throw games when they get burned out by the stats being against them when they could have won if they didn't know they were "supposed to lose"

Also even when I am using stats I never turn on win chance because it's 100% useless IMO

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On 9/6/2016 at 1:30 PM, _Juris said:

of those two, the T-34-85 probably has the most high-level-like playstyle, so i'd recommend it first).  The KV-1S/KV-85 are a good duo, as are the US Heavies (T1/M6) at those tiers.  As a bonus, all three of those lines lead to reasonably-to-extremely-useful tier 8 and tier 10 tanks.

1. could you explain  meaning you put to term "high-level-like playstyle"

2. From my experience US Heavies play style is totally different from SU HT. KVs have good armor all around and not very precise gun, US - no side armor, some turret armor but decent precision. So, my understanding:

US: hull-down, 2-nd line snipe. brawl only if you really have to

 SU: up close, bully low tier, side-scrape etc. if low tier - flank, proxy-spot.

I'm I wrong, or you recommend bot to learn both styles? 

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On 9/7/2016 at 4:59 PM, Steel_Six said:

I'll add that getting XVM installed is a great investment in time. Knowing the potential skill level of the opposition can allow you to either get to a good spot to score some points against weaker/equal opponents, or avoid a location where the higher skilled folks are likely to end up. 

Eventually those bastards will find you, but if you can get a few shots in first, it helps boost your stats

100% agree, but for slightly different reasons: I'm as red as it gets, trying to find best teammates in same class (e.g. HT/MT/TD) and follow at some distance ( don't block backup, but don't be terribly far so we could flank same target from different  sides etc.). Play more aggressive against red opponent? - sure. avoid purple? - doesn't work too well for me.   

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11 hours ago, geek7 said:

1. could you explain  meaning you put to term "high-level-like playstyle"

2. From my experience US Heavies play style is totally different from SU HT. KVs have good armor all around and not very precise gun, US - no side armor, some turret armor but decent precision. So, my understanding:

US: hull-down, 2-nd line snipe. brawl only if you really have to

 SU: up close, bully low tier, side-scrape etc. if low tier - flank, proxy-spot.

I'm I wrong, or you recommend bot to learn both styles? 

1.  At high tiers, you will almost never be able to sit and just fire shot after shot into an enemy without moving or going dark.  Thus, lower-tier mediums that achieve their DPM by very fast-firing guns don't give you a very good feel for how mediums will play in the upper tiers (some 7s, and all 8s and up).  At higher tiers, the medium game is to poke, fire, retreat, go dark, poke, and fire again.  Tanks like the Cromwell, A-43 and others encourage sitting in place and holding down the LMB, which will for sure get you killed at higher tiers.

2.  You are generally correct, although the US tanks can be decent side-scrapers (though not as good as the Russians) and they can definitely brawl, they just do it slightly differently than the Russians do.  However, both styles are useful to learn, and one will be more effective than the other depending on map, position, team comp, etc.  Also, as currently formulated, the T110E5 is maybe the best tank in the game and for sure one of the new-player-friendliest tier 10s.  You'll want it for that reason, if for no others.

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On 9/10/2016 at 10:22 PM, _Juris said:

 You are generally correct, although the US tanks can be decent side-scrapers (though not as good as the Russians) and they can definitely brawl, they just do it slightly differently than the Russians do.  

could you elaborate on "do it slightly differently than the Russians"?

Quote

However, both styles are useful to learn, and one will be more effective than the other depending on map, position, team comp, etc.  Also, as currently formulated, the T110E5 is maybe the best tank in the game and for sure one of the new-player-friendliest tier 10s.  You'll want it for that reason, if for no others.

I heard it.. this is why T110E5 my priority line .. meaning: I got T34 and  I'm trying at least do M6/T34 x2s. 

I also advancing on both Rus HT lines .. but not as fast. 

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4 hours ago, geek7 said:

could you elaborate on "do it slightly differently than the Russians"?

Sure - Russians are sidescrape brawlers, where the US tanks want to have some kind of pile of rubble, rise in the ground, or something like that to be at their best.  However, you still can sidescrape with them if you're careful, and they work just fine at brawling ranges.  The E5 has a very hard turret, and the cupola weakspot isn't anything like as bad as it used to be, so if you keep wiggling at close range, your good gun handling and high rate of fire can be extremely effective.

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On 9/10/2016 at 10:22 PM, _Juris said:

1.  At high tiers, you will almost never be able to sit and just fire shot after shot into an enemy without moving or going dark.  Thus, lower-tier mediums that achieve their DPM by very fast-firing guns don't give you a very good feel for how mediums will play in the upper tiers (some 7s, and all 8s and up).  At higher tiers, the medium game is to poke, fire, retreat, go dark, poke, and fire again.  Tanks like the Cromwell, A-43 and others encourage sitting in place and holding down the LMB, which will for sure get you killed at higher tiers.

This is a tip I'm really trying to take to heart.  I'm grinding the Russian MT line, currently on the T-34, which is totally a high RoF DPM factory with the 56mm gun, and I'm fighting the impulse to sit there and pour out fire from a static location.  It's so tempting, yet so suicidal (even at tier, let alone in higher tier battles).  The area where playing the HT line per previous tips in this thread has helped is with patience - after playing my T-150/IS2, I don't feel as impatient, because I'm used to having to return to cover between shots.   What I still haven't really learned yet is the "go dark" part - using my MT mobility between shots and not just playing like a smaller heavy.  But your post really helped bring this home to me.  Hoping to make better use of this as I go forward.

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On 9/15/2016 at 6:25 AM, Tanager said:

I'm grinding the Russian MT line, currently on the T-34, which is totally a high RoF DPM factory with the 56mm gun, and I'm fighting the impulse to sit there and pour out fire from a static location.

Try the 57mm gun.  It's only 1mm better, but you'll be surprised :)

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44 minutes ago, moogleslam said:

Try the 57mm gun.  It's only 1mm better, but you'll be surprised :)

Mine's a 56, because my crew is effing lazy and lets the bore get gummed up because they refuse to clean it.  I need to send those losers to the gulag.

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