Finnegan’s WoT Guide for Noobs
So, you’ve downloaded the game, chosen your first tank, played your first game, and been absolutely obliterated in the first 30 seconds.
World of Tanks is one of those games that is quite easy to play, but it’s difficult to become really skilled. Most players boast a win rate of about 49 per cent, and that includes many who have 50,000-plus games in WoT.
The question is how to ‘git gud’ as quickly as possible.
This guide will give you one simple, step by step process to become at least a reasonable player with as little pain and anguish as possible. It’s certainly not the only way, but it worked for me.
Part One: Choosing a Tank Line
When I started World of Tanks in 2015 I thought going up the Russian heavy line would be the way to go. Everything I read pointed to the KV1 and KV1S as being the ‘easy mode’ for new players.
But, when I went up that line I found myself frustrated by my inability to affect games, to rack up damage, and to avoid being hit by every gun on the enemy team.
The problem was, heavy tanks are slow, and I didn’t know where to go, what to do when I got there, or how far out to go before realizing I had to return to try to stop someone capping us out.
Heavies are also very visible and easy to hit, and as a Noob I was constantly being killed by tanks I couldn’t even see. So, I rage quit. I briefly left WoT, and then decided to try again under a different account, with a different strategy. And this time, it really worked.
My strategy was to go up the American turreted tank destroyer line, with the original intent to get the Hellcat, which at that time was quite overpowered. By the time I got there the Hellcat had been seriously nerfed, but on the way I got M8A1 and the T67, both of which are fantastic trainers for new players.
My first piece of advice is simple: Spend time learning the game before deciding on which line to grind all the way to Tier 10.
This game is, again, simple to play, but it is deep in tactics, and if you go beyond Tier 5 as a new player, you’re going to get your *** handed to you.
As step one, go up the US Turreted TD Line, and get first the M8A1. Plan on spending a good amount of time learning the game in this tank, and once you get your win rate consistently OVER 50 PER CENT, then get the T67.
Part Two: Learning Basic Skills
The reason I suggest the T67 is that it will allow you to learn the most important skills of the game more quickly than most other tanks.
These skills include: Spotting mechanics and view range; Concealment; Aiming and Weak Spots; Hull Down Tactics; and Map Knowledge.
The one thing it won’t teach you is how to angle your armour, because it doesn’t have any, but it’s more important first to learn how not to get hit.
The M8A1 and the T67 are both very fast, and they have fully rotating turrets, so they are somewhat similar to fighting with a medium or light tank. They are pretty accurate, they have very good camouflage, good view range, and high damage per minute with relatively high penetration guns. They also have quite good gun depression, so you can learn to fight on hills and ridges.
Also, because these tanks are very fast and nimble, you can explore more of the map during games, and this will help you become a better tanker later, even if you’re playing heavy tanks. Knowing where you can be shot from is half the battle. Or maybe a third. I’m terrible at math.
First step then, get these TDs, and equip them with a Gun Laying Drive (GLD), binoculars and a camo net. Get concealment as your first skill, and when it’s 100 per cent pay gold to get sixth sense on your Commander, and you may want to trade that camo net for a gun rammer, which increases the speed of your reloading.
Once you have the M8A1 and later the T67, you can actively work on the skills listed above.
3. Spotting mechanics and View Range: World of Tanks has a maximum view range of 445 metres for any tank, and beyond that point you will not be able to see a tank even if it sits in the open.
The view range is also affected by the camo on a tank, and whether it is sitting behind a bush. For example, if a tank’s camo value is at 30 per cent, and your maximum spotting range is 390 meters, then you will not see that tank until it is within 260 meters of your tank.
If the tank is behind a bush, you may not see that tank until you are within 50 meters.
Now, on the map you see on the bottom right hand side of your screen, you’ll see your tank is surrounded by various circular lines.
The green one shows your current view range, and the next one outside that shows your maximum view range. If you are using binoculars, the green line or your view range will jump out after about two seconds.
Finally, the last line shows your Draw Range or Rendering Range. You can also shoot at tanks that are spotted by other tanks, and if they are OUTSIDE your maximum view range, but within rendering range, you can shoot them all day and never be seen.
Ideally, have a scouting tank ahead of you hidden in a bush (and not firing), and place yourself JUST OUTSIDE THE MAXIMUM VIEW RANGE of your tank. When the enemy is lit, fire away repeatedly knowing you can’t be seen.
Learning this in the tank destroyers is easier, but the same tactic can be used in other tanks.
The US TDs have very good camo and view range, so if you place your tank behind a bush, you will not likely be spotted until you fire. In some cases, at long distances, you may even be able to fire repeatedly and still not be seen. And if you’re not seen, you probably won’t be hit.
So, the first lesson is, try not to be seen.
While playing, try this out: Go to a ridge with a bush at the top, and position yourself behind the bush, just close enough to see through it. When you see the enemy, fire, and then back up behind the ridge. Wait 8 seconds to ‘go dark’ or become ‘unspotted’ and then go back up to the ridge to fire again. Rinse and repeat.
A more advanced trick is to ‘double bush’. If you go behind two bushes, or even 10 to 15 meters behind a bush, you will be invisible when firing. For example, spot your target, then back up until the bush cannot be seen through, but you can still see the red outline of the target. Fire, and then move forward to spot them again.
It’s worth noting that smart players can figure out where you are shooting from, and may ‘blind fire’ the bush you are hiding behind. For this reason, it’s ideal to pop over a ridge at different locations, rather than always firing from the same place.
Increasing your camo values is very important for these fragile TDs, so put concealment on all your crew members, use a camo net, and if you can spend gold on getting camo paint.
5. Aiming and Weak Spots: The farther you are from your target, the harder it is to penetrate its armour. Also, you will face many tanks that are very difficult to pen, such as higher tier tanks.
These two TDs have good pen and quite good accuracy, and therefore are good for practicing hitting weak spots. Check out the Resources page on this site to various ‘Weak Spot’ guides like WoT Guru.
Ideally, you want to both hit a weak spot, but also hit a module such as the engine, ammo rack, tracks, gun and so on. You just have to study weak spots to know them, but there is one important skill which is very important to learn, and which you will see every Unicum doing all the time.
Hit. Their. Tracks.
If you hit the drive wheel on a tank you can often knock the tracks off and paralyze that tank until it repairs the module. During that time, all of your team can fire at that tank, and you will get half the damage points as Assisted Damage.
And, it will help win games.
If you hit many tanks at the right angle, you’ll not only detrack that tank, but damage it at the same time. The M8A1 and the T67 are excellent at permatracking vehicles due to their high rate of fire. So, hit the track. Hit it it again. Then hit the tank for damage. Then hit the track again, and so on. If you do this, you can keep a tank in place long enough to take all its hitpoints.
This is also very valuable when you face a tank you can’t pen. In that case, leave the damage to others; your job is to knock off the tracks, and keep them knocked off.
Other general weak spots on most tanks include:
The commanders hatch or cupola;
The machine gun ports;
Side or rear of most tanks;
Any flat piece of armour ( with a lot of exceptions );
The Lower Front Plate, aka Lower Front Glacis.
In short, avoid using Auto Aim all the time, and take care to hit your more heavily armoured adversaries where it counts.
6. Hull Down Tactics:
Going hull down is the practice of placing your tank at the top of a ridge, with only the turret and gun pointing over. This is more important when you get heavily armoured medium or heavy tanks, but it also makes you harder to hit if you present a smaller target.
Many heavy tanks are virtually impossible to pen through the frontal turret, so learning this skill will make you a much better heavy driver.
Also, between each shot, back down the hill, then try to come up at a different location 8 seconds later (when you are unspotted) to take your next shot.
You can also use hull down tactics to bait shots. Keep moving constantly, popping up and down, until your opponents fire a shot in frustration and miss. If it’s a slow loading tank, you can then pop up and fire a couple of shots into them before they reload. (learning reload times of different tanks is also a good idea, btw)
Both these TDs have pretty good gun depression and are very fast, so they are excellent for practicing hull-down tactics.
7. Map Knowledge:
This is one of the most difficult skills to learn, and it’s where Unicums excel. They know every corner of every map, where they can snipe, go hull down or brawl, and they will definitely kill you very quickly if you don’t know the map as well.
This is the major reason I recommend going to Tier 4 first, spending a lot of time there, and then going to Tier 5, and spending EVEN MORE TIME at that tier.
Tier 5 is often called the learning tier, and for good reason. After this tier, the game gets a lot tougher, and by the time you hit Tier 10 you will be punished hard for every small mistake.
You are far better off learning your trade at Tier 5 and below, and once you have gotten a good win rate (above 50 per cent minimum), then go for Tier 6.
During this time, don’t just go into games, but use WoT’s training rooms to explore maps when you’re not in a battle. Find a friends and explore every corner, and think where you can position your tank for maximum effect.
Also, watch videos on map tactics or just gameplay videos to see what the best players are doing, and then copy those tactics. Over time you will learn what works and what doesn’t, and by the time you get to the higher tiers you’ll have the map knowledge you need to win.
As well, over this time you can try different types of tanks up to Tier 5, and discover what works for you. Every player is different, and your success will depend on whether your tank reflects your playstyle.
I tend to do well in fast and mobile medium tanks, and not as well in heavies, lights, and non-turreted TDs. It came as a surprise, because I honestly thought I would prefer heavies, but they’re just not my cup of tea.
WoT Talk will be posting articles and videos on map tactics as we develop the site, so you can check back and type in Search the words Map Tactics, or the name of the map itself, and you’ll find everything we post on those topics.
For now, some of the best YouTubers on map tactics include the amazing Lemming Rush, Quickybaby, and Taugrim, among others.
Good Luck, Have Fun, and Carry Hard!