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Beginner's guide to World of Tanks: 5 things you need to know!

If you're new to World of Tanks then here's 5 essential tips to help you become a better player!

World of Tanks is easy to pick up but is a hard game to master. For new players, the low tiers (1-5) are all about learning the ropes against similarly experienced opponents.

With this in mind, I am going to go over five crucial aspects of WoT that all new players must get to grips with before moving to the higher tiers. These skills will massively increase your survivability on the battlefield and will make you stand out from the casual gamers.

1. Angle your armor!

This is probably the most important thing you could ever learn in World of Tanks and is one of the first things taught in the tutorial. Maximizing your armor's effectiveness is the key to taking non-damaging hits and surviving for far longer on the battlefield. I see far too many new players just sitting in the open, facing the enemy straight on - they take a couple of hits and die because their armor was rendered ineffective by not angling.

To make the most of your tank's protection angle your armor at about 45 degrees but also take note of your base stats. If you have extremely thin armor to begin with, it would be far better to stay out of site and provide supporting fire.

2. Know where to shoot

This may seem pretty obvious at first but knowing the best places to shoot an opponent is often the difference between life and death. All tanks have weakspots, whether that be the sides or rear of the vehicle, the commander's cupola or a machine gun port on the front hull. Identifying these weaknesses on the battlefield is crucial and new players MUST learn to exploit them at lower tiers as it is even more important at the higher tiers.  

Take a look at the T29's (Tier 7 American heavy tank) armor profile (courtesy of World of Tanks Guru):

As you can see, although it has mediocre frontal armor to begin with, the forward machine gun port is by far the weakest area on the upper glacis. The lower glacis is also usually a weak point for every tank, so if possible you must shoot there! You are much more likely to penetrate and thus damage the target by shooting at these weakspots, so make sure you aim for them and memorise as many as you can for each tank you encounter.

3. Work with others and think about what the enemy is planning

This basically means 'don't be a loner' and 'plan ahead'. Although some tanks can be utilised in solo roles (e.g. light tanks), for the most part you always want to ensure that you have the support of your allies. What's the point in spotting loads of targets in your light tank if there's nobody shooting at them? Similarly, your heavy tank is easy pickings for enemy heavies and flanking mediums if you're left isolated and exposed, without supporting fire from your team. Too many new players race straight out into the middle of the battlefield, immediately getting decimated by the opposing team. Don't be that guy, you're no use to your team dead.

Secondly, anticipating your enemy's moves and reacting before they occur will place you in extremely advantageous positions that can save a match from defeat. If you see the enemy is about to break through on the other flank, signal your allies to race over there before they do. Even if you just hold up their advance for a minute or so, this can give allied tanks the crucial time needed to capture the base or come over and help you out.

4. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your tank

This is so fundamentally important, but too many players simply ignore what their tank is and is not made to do.

  • A light tank is for scouting and support, not the frontline.
  • Heavy tanks are for close range brawling. They are terrible scouts and are not mobile enough to change flanks at will like mediums and lights.
  • Most medium tanks play a support role and are designed to exploit the poor mobility of heavy tanks, using their manoeuvrability to exploit the weak side and rear armor of their targets.
  • Tank destroyers should endeavour to remain hidden, using their huge guns to wreak havoc on the enemy from a rear line support role. 
  • Finally, artillery should always be at the back of the map, firing a shot then moving a short distance to a new location to avoid counter-battery fire.

This is a very, very simplified explanation of each tank type's role and I must stress that not all tanks conform to their category's generalised overview. There are slow moving, heavily armored mediums and fast moving 'medium-esque' heavy tanks. Similarly there are tank destroyers which belong on the front line because their camouflage values are so bad. An example of this would be the Tier 5 British tank destroyer, the AT-2. It has amazing frontal armor but is slow moving and should be used like a heavy tank in an assault role.

If you find your tank does not play like a 'normal' vehicle of its type, then you must adjust your play accordingly. 

5. Choose your loadouts wisely

This is perhaps less crucial at lower tiers but is essential if you wish to make the jump up into the big leagues. As a general rule, you should equip every tank you own with a medkit, a repair kit, and a fire extinguisher. This will allow you to bring injured crew and damaged modules back to the fight while also preventing huge amounts of fire damage to your vehicle. This is good enough for the low tiers, but when you get to Tier 6 and above you may want to consider using the premium versions of these consumables or take food instead (which buffs your crew's skills).

Then comes equipment, which has a significant impact on the effectiveness of your tank. You want to use equipment that benefits your vehicle's play style. For example, a light tank could be loaded with coated optics or binoculars, a camo net and ventilation (to boost crew skills). A heavy tank could take ventilation, gun rammer (to speed up reloads) and enhanced gun laying drive (to improve aim time). 

Finally, when it comes to ammunition, it is always good to take a mix of all ammo types. If your tank has a capacity of 50 rounds, for example, take 30 standard AP rounds, 15 APCR or HEAT rounds (these have higher penetration) and 5 high explosive shells. If you have a low calibre gun then I'd recommend leaving out HE shells and take extra standard or high penetration rounds.

Equipment available in World of Tanks

With these tips, you should be well on your way to becoming an accomplished player in World of Tanks. If this guide was helpful for you let me know in the comments below. Good luck and happy hunting on the battlefield!

Published Feb. 8th 2016

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