World of Tanks today announced their pre-order packages for the upcoming release. I’ve had my nose to the grindstone in that game (my handle is the same name as my email address) and I’ve really enjoyed it. Its not flawless of course, but Wargaming.net should be proud of what they have accomplished. To that end, I am planning one of my famous “reviews” before launch. Until then though, here’s some protips to tide you over. (Please note that while I have tons of screen shots at this point, I wanted to make these tips flow and be read easily, so you get a wall of text today, but for a good reason).
Just Push X
If you are playing as a self-propelled gun (aka “arty”) or a tank destroyer (“TD”) learn the X button. It locks the gun and hull in place, allowing you to look around without giving away your position. This is very, very handy, as it appears that siting mechanics do involve, at least partially, where you at looking at on the screen, and how long you look there for. For TD’s its great to look around without breaking cover, especially if you have had to put yourself in a corridor more open than you would like.
But this button really shines with arty. Have you ever cursed arty for being right on top of you almost immediately after you are spotted? And wondered how they aimed so fast? This is why. You may have noticed that if you move too much left or right while aiming, your dispersion circle gets blown to hell – it opens up like a flower in springtime. Pushing X will lock things down, so that only your gun will move and not the hull. It limits your field of fire for the time being, but as an arty, you should already know what your intended field of fire is. The benefit is that your dispersion circle, within this field of fire, will remain about the same. This will drastically reduce your aim time as you normally must wait for the circle to close down enough to ensure at least some damage. On many maps, I will point myself at critical junctures, lock the hull and just wait. Eventually, someone will appear, and most of the time, I get a solid direct hit on them instantly. This almost always has an impact on the fighting in that sector.
Adjust Your Scope
You can use your mouse scroll wheel to zoom your view in and out, rather than just hitting the shift key. Or you can be smart about it. In gun mode (shift key) mouse wheel yourself in all the way, or one click out from all the way. Now in regular 3rd person view, mouse wheel the camera as far back as it will go. Now you have great visibility around your tank, and you can move quickly to hit targets far away or get well aimed blows in up close, all with the touch of one key.
If you are tired of watching the one sided battle unfold or are just irritated with teammates, you don’t have to stick around after your death. Hit ESC and select “Exit Battle.” This will not incur any XP or Credit penalties to the battle. You will still receive everything that you would have normally. The only downside is that the tank you use will be locked into the game until it finishes, so you will have to select another tank to play with until that battle is over. But that shouldn’t be a problem. If you are like me, you have a screen full of tanks that you just can’t bear to part with.
Your commander is a vital component of your tank crew. If you hover your mouse over the crew member, you will see their base skill plus another number. That number is 10% of the commanders skill level, which is added to the skill levels of everyone else on the crew. In addition, it is the commander who aids with sighting distance, which can often be a life or death issue. If you have the silver or even gold to upgrade even one crew member, make it the commander. 20K silver is not a lot for the basic 75% skill upgrade, so its worth saving enough to at least bring him to a higher level. And if its an elite tank that you plan on keeping and keeping the crew in place with, consider that 200 gold 100% upgrade. That comes to 80 cents – a true microtransaction.
Get a Custom Paint Job
Tired of the way your tank looks? Flex your creative muscles or just enjoy the work of others at: http://wotskins.wordpress.com/
R is for forward and F is for reverse. Don’t ask why. I’ve even had one person tell me they had to reassign those two keys for just that reason. But here’s the key – there is more than one speed of cruise control. You will need to push the button multiple times to engage the highest level of speed for your ride.
Red Light, Green Light
Your cross-hair indicator is not always black. When you put it over a tank, it will give you one of three colors. Green indicates that your shot is likely to penetrate the enemy vehicle – fire away. A sort of brownish-red indicates that your shot can penetrate, but that its not likely – find a new aiming point. And if the cross-hairs are red – hold your fire. You are not going to do any damage. Unless…
Know your Ammo
…you are using High Explosive ammo. This ammo does catastrophic levels of damage if it does penetrate – which is one of the reasons you will see tanks with those snub-nose howitzers instead of the long barrels on occasion – but its not good at penetrating. (This is also a good reason to be passingly familiar with penetration and armor levels – so you will know those tanks that you can one shot with that thing!) But the real treasure of HE ammo is that even if it does not penetrate, it can still do damage, often to critical components of the tank, even if it does absolutely no Hit Point damage. Tier 4 Light Tanks in particular, who often find themselves in battles with high tier super-heavies, will want to pack HE shots almost exclusively. There will be no chance of penetration on some of those tanks, but with HE you may be able to knock out a periscope, or pull off a track, and small component damage like that is often the edge needed by your team as the big dogs slug it out back and forth.
The Secret Voice Chat Button
To enable voice chat, you first have to go into the settings menu, select the voice chat box, and hit OK or Apply. From there, Q is your PTT button.
Add a Little Color to the Afterlife
Also, while you are in that same menu, check the “Disable Post-Mortem Effect” box and hit OK or Apply. Now, after your death, you will see the battle unfold in the same glorious graphics, rather than that sad and gloomy grey tone pall hanging over everything.
If you have been in the Beta and have gotten a feel for the maps and the typical strategies used by different tanks and teams on each map, put that premium tank to good use, either earning you some solid cash, or, if you have some gold, putting out some Free XP that can be used to smooth over some of the rough places in the Tech Trees (M3 Lee anyone?).
But…if you are just now entering the World of Tanks – stay away. The premium tanks are often Tier 5 – a place where players who have worked their way up from Tier 1 have a solid base of experience and knowledge to draw on. And there is a decent chance that you will much up the game for your teammates if this is your first time on map X with premium tank Y, which you bought because you wanted to “level up” faster. World of Tanks not only encourages steady, rather than rushed, advancement – it actually *rewards* it. You will be well served to stay in your current Tier and unlock that extra gun or radio rather than just diving through to the next Tier. And not just for the better gear, but also to get more battles under your belt. And to learn to transition from lights to heavies. A map with all tanks Tiers 7-10 may require a completely different strategy than one full of Tiers 1-3. Why? Because of increased survivability, lessened artillery presence, high view ranges…and a host of other things that can’t be taught – they must be experienced.
That said, if you are going to buy just one of the premium tanks, I heartily recommend the Ram-II. It has good speed, decent HP and armor, and packs a solid punch with its 6-pound gun. You will be able to contribute to high Tier battles, and you will put a hurt on opposing teams in mid Tier battles with it.
Well that’s all for now. I will probably do another of these in the future, because there are a lot of great little things to learn in this game, which is part of its charm, and I think will be part of its success. Feel free to look me up in game anytime, I’d love to blow some stuff up with you.