This is a very basic guide for World of Tanks. It covers the initial steps required from a new player in order to purchase a tank and start playing the game. I recommend reading the guide from start to finish. If possible, print a copy of the guide and keep it handy while you navigate the game menu for the first time as the game interface can be confusing for new players. Once you understand the basics of the game menu and you’ve played a dozen games or so, you will no longer need this guide.

…Installing The Game

To install the game, visit the website World of Tanks. Follow the directions to download and install the game.

…Choosing An Account Name

When you install the game, you’ll be asked for an email address and a user name. Choose this name wisely. This is the name that other players will see when you play. The only way to alter this name in the future will be to spend real money.

…Buying Your First Tank

(1) Click on Tech Tree
(2) Click on any of the nationality icons
(3) Click on the purchase button for the 1st tank listed under Roman numeral “I”
(4) Congratulations! You just purchased your first tank.

…Crew Training

When you purchase your first tank, you’ll have 3 options for Crew Training:

(1) Rapid Courses – 50%
(2) Regimental School – 75%
(3) Tank Academy – 100%

The percentage rating relates to the crew’s skill level for the basic operation of that particular tank. When the crew is at 100% skill, the tank will function at ‘normal’ performance. Anything below 100% skill level and the tank will function at a slight impairment.

Rapid Courses (50%) are free. I suggest you go with free training for every tank you purchase, especially at the lower tiers. There’s no reason to spend credits or gold on a tank that is more than likely just a stepping stone to get to the tank you prefer to play.

Regimental School (75%) will cost credits. Credits are earned by playing in random games with your tank. Every time a battle ends, players will earn credits depending on their performance within the game. You’ll then use those credits for any of the following: repairing tanks, buying ammunition, researching new modules on your tank, buying new tanks, etc. The only time I recommend spending credits on crew training is if you already know you want to keep that tank for a long period of time.

Tank Academy (100%) will cost gold. Gold is purchased through the World of Tanks website in exchange for real money. Until you acquire a basic understanding of the game, I suggest you refrain from purchasing gold and just work with the credits you’ll earn while playing random battles.

…How To Find Each Crew Member’s Experience Level

After each battle, your crew members will gain experience. You can see their percentage rating listed next to their name. If you don’t know where to look to see each crew member’s experience level, follow these steps:

(1) Click on Garage at the top of the screen
(2) Click on any tank listed inside your garage (Tip: there’s a small ‘globe’ icon on the bottom at the far left of your garage. Make sure this is set to “all nations”) (
3) After you’ve clicked on one of your tanks, a large image of that particular tank will be displayed in the middle of the screen. To the left of the tank you’ll see the crew members. Each crew member will have a percentage rating listed next to his name. Ideally, you want each crew member to be at 100% training in order to operate the tank normally. Your crews will eventually reach 100% experience after you’ve played enough random battles with that tank. The only other way to reach 100% experience is to purchase Tank Academy training with gold (real money) which I don’t recommend for new players.

As a beginner, don’t worry too much about your crew training. Instead, focus on learning how to operate the tank and how to play the game in a manner to assist your teammates.

…Ammunition

Before entering your first battle, you will need to load your tank with ammunition.

(1) Click on Garage
(2) Click on your tanks icon (Tip: make sure “all nations” is selected on the globe icon to the far left of your garage)
(3) After you’ve clicked your tank and it’s image is displayed in the middle of the screen, look directly below the tank. You’ll find a button titled “Service”. Click that button.
(4) A new window will pop open with more choices inside. Don’t try to figure out the different options listed. At this time I only want you to toggle two options: Repair Automatically and Resupply Automatically. Those two options will be listed at the top of the window. Check the boxes next to them and then click ACCEPT at the bottom of that window. Your tank is now loaded with ammunition and will automatically be repaired and reloaded after each game.

…Tank Controls

To see the default keys for moving your tank and shooting, do the following:

(1) Click the ESCAPE key
(2) Click SETTINGS
(3) Click the CONTROLS tab

I suggest you keep the default key controls the way they are. You’ll need to learn how to move forward, move in reverse, turn left, and turn right. You’ll shoot with your left-click mouse button, and you’ll aim your turret with your mouse. When you have time, look through the available key settings to learn about other things you can do while inside a game. For now, knowing how to move your tank and how to shoot is all you need to know.

…Ready For Battle!

Now that your new tank is loaded with ammunition, it’s time to fight your first battle. At the very top of the screen you’ll see a big red button that says BATTLE. Before you click that button, look to the right and you’ll see the words Random Battle. If you click Random Battle, you’ll see many choices for the types of battles you can play in World of Tanks. For now, just leave it selected on Random Battle and then click the red BATTLE button.

…The Loading Screen

Prior to the start of each game, you’ll experience four phases:

(1) The first thing you’ll see is a list of current tank types waiting for a new game. There’s nothing to do here except wait. The game is in the process of matching players for a tank battle. This phase usually lasts a short period of time, a few seconds or less. In the higher tier battles, this first screen can last significantly longer, sometimes for a few minutes. Be patient and just wait.
(2) The second screen you’ll see is a list of player names on both teams. When you’ve reached this screen, the teams and players and map have been selected. You’ll see your user name listed on the screen alongside your teammates. At this point the game is waiting for players to enter the game. Because everyone has different internet connection speeds, some players will enter this screen very quickly and others may take some time. The players with their names listed in white are the players currently in the game. The players with their names listed in grey are still waiting to see the screen you’re looking at (either their internet connection is slow or their computer is slow and it takes them a while longer to enter the game).
(3) Countdown. You will see a countdown timer in the middle of the screen. When it reaches zero, the battle will begin.
(4) The battle starts! At this point the game becomes live. You can now drive your tank and shoot and kill and be killed. This is where the action begins.

…Tips For Your First Battle

For your first battle, take it slow. Regardless of what type of tank you’re playing, stay behind your teammates and let them be the first line of attack. Support them by shooting the enemy tanks that become visible.

…Zoom

When you aim at another tank, you can zoom in and zoom out like a sniper’s scope. If your tank is in a stationary position, it’s best to zoom in and try to shoot specific points on the enemy tank. If you’re on the move, it’s best to stay zoomed out. Aiming and shooting on the move can be very difficult to accomplish for new players. Try it anyway. It’s the only way you’ll learn.

…Aim

When you aim at a tank and see a red silhouette, it’s time to shoot. If you don’t see the red silhouette it means you won’t be able to hit the tank so don’t bother pulling the trigger.

…Shoot And Move

After you take a shot at an enemy tank, it’s best to move a little bit. This is particularly true if the enemy tank is also shooting at you. By moving, you’ll disrupt his aim or make him miss his shot.

…How To Avoid Enemy Artillery

Artillery units can target almost any location on the map. When an enemy tank spots your tank, the enemy artillery can also see your location and will attempt to shoot you from a distance. If you learn to move your tank after each shot, you’ll become a much more difficult target to hit. Additionally, if you can hug buildings or rubble, you’ll become a very difficult target for “Arty” to hit.

As a new player, there’s nothing more infuriating than getting killed by artillery. If you stay on the move and/or stay close to buildings and rubble, you’ll be much less likely to get killed by Arty and the game will be much more enjoyable.

I recommend playing artillery as soon as possible. After you’ve played a few games in a normal tank, you should acquire an artillery unit and play a few games just to get a better understanding of what artillery units are capable of. When you play an artillery unit for the first time, you’ll need to hit the SHIFT key in order to target and shoot enemy units.

…Where To Shoot Enemy Tanks

Ideally, the best locations to shoot enemy tanks are in the following order:

(1) anywhere in the rear of the tank,
(2) the side of the tank,
(3) the turret,
(4) the lowest portion of the front of the tank between the tracks,
(5) the tracks.

While every type of tank in the game has very specific weak points, if you can shoot those specific locations when shooting you’ll do just fine. As you progress in tiers and fight against various enemy tanks, you’ll become better experienced at shooting specific points of an enemy tank.

…Tracking A Tank

When shooting the tracks of a tank, it’s very likely that you won’t do any damage to the tank. Instead, you’ll do what is called ‘tracking’. When tracking occurs, the tanks track becomes disengaged and the tank will be immobilized for anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds. When a tank is tracked, it won’t be able to move but can still fire. This is useful when you are a smaller tank fighting a larger tank. You can track it and then run circles around it and shoot it in other locations where you’ll cause damage. Larger tanks usually have slow moving turrets. If you can track a larger, stronger tank, you can then easily drive around the tank at a fast enough pace where the enemy turret will not be able to catch up with your lighter and faster moving tank. This type of light tank strategy is called ‘circle strafing’.

…Stick With Your Buddies

At the start of every game, both teams will begin at set locations on the map and then disperse according to each player’s whim. It’s best to stick with your buddies. Just follow a pack of tanks and stay near them throughout the game. Don’t go gallivanting into the wild blue all by your lonesome. That’s a very bad idea. Stay near your teammates and work with them to destroy enemy tanks.

…Destruction

Inevitably, your tank will get destroyed. Instead of exiting the game immediately and going back to choose another tank, I recommend you left-click your mouse button and watch the other players on your team finish the game. By viewing how other players operate their tanks, you’ll learn how to play the game much more quickly.

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…Leaving A Game

You can leave a game by hitting the ESCAPE key and then selecting BACK TO GARAGE.

…Tank Equipment

Every tank has 3 slots for optional equipment. These slots will be empty until you purchase something. To view equipment choices for each tank, do the following:

(1) Click on Garage
(2) Select one of your tanks
(3) Below the large image of your tank in the middle of the screen you’ll see three empty boxes. These are your equipment slots. Click one of them and you’ll see a list of different equipment choices that you can purchase for that tank.

I recommend you purchase a Camouflage Net as your first piece of equipment for every tank. Using a camo net makes it more difficult for enemy tanks to see you. However, the net only becomes active after your tank stops moving for several seconds. While most equipment isn’t removable without spending gold, Camouflage Nets can be removed from your tank and switched to another tank without spending credits or gold.

…Consumables

To the right of the three equipment slots you’ll find another three slots for consumables. To view available items, click one of the boxes and you’ll see a list of items you can purchase for your tank. Most of these items are single use (once you use them in one game, they’re gone and you’ll have to purchase them again). I don’t recommend new players use consumables of any type. I only use consumables on my tier VIII thru X tanks.

…Experience

With every completed battle come two types of experience: (1) Crew experience and (2) Research experience.

Crew experience is automatically added to your crew members and will increase their proficiency percentage on their tank. Research experience is for researching modules specific to each tank. To view available research modules on any given tank, do the following:

(1) Click Garage
(2) Click one of your tanks
(3) Look to the far right of your screen, near the top, and you’ll find a button called RESEARCH. Click it.

The next screen you’ll see is a list of available research modules for that particular tank. Each one of those modules, after being purchased and installed onto your tank, will improve your tanks various attributes (top speed, damage, rate of fire, radio distance, etc.). When a module is available for research, it will have a green purchase button. The amount listed is the amount of research experience required to purchase that particular module. After you purchase the module with research points, you’ll then have to purchase the actual item with credits. The ‘credit’ purchase is a yellowish colored purchase button. If you don’t have enough available credits, you won’t be able to purchase the module and install it onto your tank.

…Purchasing The Next Tier Tank

Some players enjoy Tier I tanks. I don’t. I prefer to research a low tier tank as quickly as possible and work my way up the tiers until I get to at least tier V. If you want to purchase the next level tank, you’ll need to purchase the available modules in your research section that lead to the next tier tank. Once again, to see available modules for a particular tank, you’ll need to do the following:

(1) Click Garage
(2) Click one of your tanks
(3) Click the RESEARCH button (located on the far right edge of the screen)

Once you’re on the Research screen, you’ll see the next tier tank listed on the far right. To purchase that tank, you’ll need to research all the modules before that tank. Tip: You don’t have to actually purchase the module with credits after you research it in order to get the next tier tank. You only need to research the modules. After they’ve been researched, you can research the next module in line or buy the next tier tank.

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