This is an unofficial game guide.

This guide is for players who already have a basic understanding of World of Tanks.

A few things to note about the writer:

1) I’m not a clan member.

2) I don’t platoon.

3) I’m not a member of WOT fan sites or WOT chat forums.

4) I have no interest in game release dates, game updates, or new tanks.

5) I don’t read missions or attempt to complete them and I’m always surprised when I’ve earned something by completing a mission.

6) I don’t pretend to know the mathematics behind RNG or anything at all about game mechanics.

7) I play the game for fun. That’s it.

This article is about what I’ve observed playing WOT as a solo player. A pug player. When I take breaks from work, I start the game, play for a bit, and then I turn it off and get back to work. My perspective is based on that level of commitment. Keep that in mind when you read this article.

My Background

I’m a day trader and gambler; I buy and sell stocks throughout the day and I bet on the horses via online wagering accounts. Yep. That’s right. I’m a professional gambler and I earn a living playing the ponies and trading stocks.

I play World of Tanks for entertainment. It’s something to pass the time between trades and post times. That being said, my analysis is not from a hard core player’s perspective nor is it from an entirely casual player’s perspective as I’ve logged over 20,000 games.

When it comes to video games, my natural inclination is to find game imbalances and exploit them. I can’t help but spot them as that’s how my mind works (otherwise I’d never make it as a day trader and horse player). For example, I know the best locations on every map for first strike, and within the first minute of almost every game I’m the guy blasting chunks out of enemy tanks while they’re still stuck in rush hour traffic. Because of my early strike tendencies, I thought about changing my name to CheapShotKing but decided to stick with a more ambiguous player name.

My statistics

As of this writing, I’ve played 20,253 games. My win rate is at 50.25%. And that’s a true pug win rate – no platoons, no clan wars. I play in tier VIII thru X, and I’m profitable the majority of the time in tier VIII and IX tanks while tier X is a hit and miss for profit. I play the higher tiered tanks for one simple reason: they’re more challenging.

Keyboard Setup

I’ve been playing computer games for a long, long time. The very first thing I do after I decide to keep a game is to assign movement keys based on the natural key position for your left hand (index finger on the “F”). By building your key assignments around the natural left hand position for typing, you’ll enjoy the highest available amount of assignable keys. And, when you need to, you’ll find the home position with ease as finding its location is borderline instinctual.

I suggest you reassign your movement keys to the natural typing position for the left hand. I use “E” for forward, “D” for reverse”, “F” for turn right, and “S” for turn left. I do this with every game I play.

US West vs. US East

If you’re on the US East server you might want to skip this section otherwise you might get your feelings hurt. You’ve been warned.

I’m located in southern California and because of that I’m automatically dumped into the US West server. The difference between the number of online players between east and west is rather significant. From what I’ve noticed, US East has approximately 3x more players at any given time. Thus, if there are 5,000 players online for US West, there are usually 15,000+ or more playing at the same time on US East. Why is there such a disparity? I’m guessing it’s because of weather. When it’s cold and rainy or freezing and snowing, people tend to stay indoors. The west coast has no such weather concerns, so the players you find on US West are typically hard core gamers, or at least serious gamers.

This player disparity makes for an extremely competitive environment on US West. The skill curve is much tighter, and at higher tiers you’ll be playing against very skilled tank operators.

If you’re located on US West and you want to experience a game filled with squishy, easy-to-kill opponents, switch to US East for a night. Even with the high ping issues associated with switching servers, you’ll still dominate the majority of games. If you’re into padding stats and you’re on US West, switch to US East.

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Mediums and TDs

I mostly play mediums and TDs. My play style fits naturally with Tank Destroyers, and my win rates on TDs go as high as 57% while my win rates on my mediums are much lower, averaging 49%.

When I play TDs, the game seems like it’s on easy mode. But that’s me, and that’s a reflection of my play style. For you, the game might seem like its on easy mode when you play heavies or when you play artillery. My advice is for you to find which type of tank fits your natural play style and focus your time and energy on those types of tanks. Your team will appreciate it, and you’ll have much more fun and success while playing.

Scouts

Back when they had the T-50-2, I played a scout most of the time. I also enjoy the T50, which was/is slightly faster than the T-50-2 although its top speed was eventually nerfed.

When playing a scout, you’ve got two basic strategies: (1) Passive Scouting and (2) Active Scouting.

If you’re into Passive Scouting, you’ll need the camouflage perk on every crew member for the 1st perk until you hit 100% and then you should switch to Sixth Sense and any available perks that extend view range. Always spend gold when retraining your crews or you’ll lose a significant amount of experience.

As a Passive Scout, you won’t be shooting. You won’t be moving. Your job is to scoot as quickly as possible across the map, find a bush and park inside it, and then sit there and let the enemy expose themselves to you. If your Sixth Sense gets triggered, move to a new position.

Active Scouting requires speed. Your job is to light the enemy and – if you’re able to do so without getting killed – draw fire. Obviously, one wrong move can result in quick destruction for a light scout. For active scouting, I’d recommend improving suspension durability and using high octane gas. You need to keep moving. Don’t stop. Not ever. Speed is your best friend. You need to keep skirting the edge of the front line. Light the enemy and draw fire, and allow your teammates to do the damage.

As a scout, whether you’re active or passive, your job is to light the enemy locations. Don’t get involved in combat unless it’s absolutely necessary or if the balance of the game has already tipped in your favor and your survival is no longer crucial to the outcome.

While I mostly follow the above advice for my scouts, my T50 is the exception. I load it with gold for every game, and about halfway through I’ll cross into enemy territory and start beating up their heavies. Their slow moving turrets are no match for the fleet footed T50. My win rate on that particular tank is currently 58%. It’s one of my favorites.

Heavies

I can’t give much advice when it comes to heavies. I’ve only played a handful of them and I don’t care for the way they feel. Too sluggish, too slow. I prefer speed and mobility.

Early in my WOT career I had the tier X British heavy, the FV215b. I was still a relatively new player and I bought my way to the top tier which was a big mistake. It’s much better to learn each class of tank by playing through the various tiers. My win rate was a dismal 44%. Although I only played a few hundred games, it just felt wrong to me. I’m not a heavy tank player and I respect that about my play style, so I don’t play them for my teammate’s sake.

When it comes to video games, particularly video games with multiple class types, you should focus on the types that fit your natural play style. This is very much the same as real life. If your natural, “real world” talent is the comprehension and use of advanced mathematics, it doesn’t make sense to swing an axe for a living as a lumberjack. Always follow a path that makes the best use of your natural talents. Doing so will ensure success, both in video games and in real life.

Artillery

When you play artillery, I suggest you pay attention to the flow of rush hour traffic immediately after every game starts. You should also take note of common camping spots for snipers. This information comes in handy when playing on the opposite end of the map.

Do you own a stop watch? If not, get one. I keep one on my desk at all times when I play. Whenever a new game starts, start your stop watch and take note of where your friendly heavies are located at the 20 second mark and the 30 second mark (or at the exact reload time of your favorite artillery). When you eventually find yourself on the opposite side of the map playing Arty, use the stop watch to time the enemy tanks location and take at least one blind shot. You WILL do damage and the enemy WILL curse you in global chat. That’s one of the perks of playing Arty. Everybody hates you. Instead of using a stop watch, you can use the in game clock, but I’ve found it’s not nearly as accurate as a stop watch which probably has more to do with latency issues than an incorrect game timer.

When you can kill or cripple an enemy tank early in the game, you’ll definitely tilt the odds of winning in your team’s favor. While taking blind shots is fun, that first initial spam shot at 20 or 30 seconds is probably the only one you’ll get to take if you’re playing in the higher tiers. The only other time I’ll take blind shots is when I know of at least one common camping spot for opposing snipers.

When it comes to skills/perks, Brothers in Arms is the best option for artillery but requires 100% skill level across all crew members. Next best would be Sixth Sense, but even Sixth Sense is kind of worthless as Arty is typically dead within a minute or two of being lit. After those perks, I don’t think it really matters. Instead of chasing perks, buy a camouflage net and focus your time on finding the type of artillery tank you enjoy playing the most. I play the French line, and I enjoy the VI and the X.

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Crew Perks/Skills

When it comes to perks/skills, I always choose abilities that are in use the highest percentage of game time.

For example, the Loader perk for increasing load speed by 10% (Adrenaline Rush) when your tank is damaged below 10% health is basically a worthless perk. Of course, that’s just my opinion. The reason why I find it worthless is because of the rarity in which you’ll actually see a benefit compared to the camouflage skill which basically comes into use every time you stop moving your tank.

Unless you’re active scouting, your tank will most likely be stationary for most of the game. I suggest the camo skill as first choice for every crew member. Once you reach 100%, you should spend gold and retrain the 1st tier for Sixth Sense perk, Dead Eye perk, and any available skills/perks that extend viewing range. For the 2nd tier, choose camo again for any crew member that switched the 1st tier. After you get to 100% on the second tier, I recommend retraining all crew members with gold again and selecting Brothers in Arms for the 2nd tier and choosing camo again for the 3rd tier. After you complete the 3rd tier, I recommend driver skills.

I have 4.7 skills/perks on my E50-M. The notable perks are as follows:

  • 1st: Camouflage, Sixth Sense, Dead Eye, Brothers in Arms
  • 2nd: Camouflage & Brothers in Arms
  • 3rd: Clutch Braking & Situational Awareness
  • 4th: Smooth Ride, Snap Shot, Recon

Most of my crews have similar setups. I always choose camouflage for every crew member until I hit 100% skill level, and then I retrain (with gold) and get Sixth Sense and Dead Eye for the 1st perk and choose camouflage once again for the 2nd position. After that, I’ll retrain again when I hit 100% on the 3rd tier and acquire Brothers in Arms. And so on.

At 4.7 skills/perks on my E50 M, several crew members have camo as their 1st tier. And with the camouflage net installed on the E50 M as well, I’ve learned how effective a high camo rating is for survivability.

Enemy tanks have to practically bump into my E50 M in order to discover it. And if they are shooting at me and I stop inside a bush and stop shooting, my E50 M will disappear in very quick fashion. The reason why I know this is because of the global chat complaints about my invisible tank and how I must be cheating somehow. High camo ratings will save your tank and allow you to passive scout on a very successful scale.

Peekaboo

Peekaboo or Peekaboom is when two groups of tanks have a stand off at an intersection. Both sides will repeatedly expose their tanks in order to take a shot at the enemy, and then retreat in order to reload.

When you want this situation to occur: when your side has fewer and lighter tanks holding up a group of heavier, harder-hitting tanks. The longer you can delay the enemy’s push/advance, the better.

When you don’t want this situation to occur: when your side of the peekaboo has the heavier, harder-hitting tanks. When this happens and your heavies get held up by a cluster of smaller tanks, you need to push straight through. Don’t get held up at the corner because, when this happens, your team is most likely getting overrun somewhere else on the map.

When a peekabo occurs and both sides have equal firepower, it’s basically a stale mate for that section of the map, and things can get boring real quick. If I’m in a heavy, I leave and go elsewhere. If I’m in a light or a medium and I see this occur, I will flank the enemy or try to zoom past the peekaboo and disrupt their cluster of tanks by drawing fire or simply spinning their turrets.

Marks of Excellence

“To obtain one Mark of Excellence, displayed on the gun, the average damage caused by the player and average damage caused with the player’s assistance must be higher than the results of 65% of players in this vehicle for the past 14 days.”

The description for obtaining a mark alludes to two kinds of damage that count: damage caused directly by a player’s tank and damage through a player’s assistance (spotting, tracking).

I don’t consider myself an exceptional player, but at the time of writing this particular section, I have 14 active tanks between Tier V and Tier X. Seven of them have the 1st Mark of Excellence. I don’t have any tanks beyond the 1st mark.

I haven’t deliberately pursued these marks. I only noticed that I received one when I looked at the stats for a particular game and that made me curious to check my other tanks. You can find your current % rating for each tank by looking under the statistics for a particular vehicle and then looking at the rewards tab.

The percentage rating is based on your last 100 games. Although I’m not 100% certain of this, if it’s truly based on the last 100 games, then your percentage rating should change without you playing a single game as a result of other players statistics changing through their game play (and their 100 game totals). Make sense?

If you are interested in pursuing Marks of Excellence, I suggest the following:

(1) – Well trained crews. If you have to pay gold to switch the crew between tanks, do it. All of my tanks that have obtained the 1st mark have crews with a minimum of 2 skills/perks at 100% training.

(2) – Build your tank with both DPS and passive scouting in mind. When you’re top tier in a random battle, play aggressively and go for high damage output. When you’re low tier in a random battle, play conservatively and assume a more passive scouting style of game play (park in a bush with high camo rating + binocs + camouflage net).

(3) – Play during peak hours. You’ll want to play against a higher volume of players so that you’ll be more likely to play against weak players PLUS have a better chance at being top tier or at least middle tier.

(4) – If you have a choice between servers, choose the server with a higher population so you’ll be competing against a lower curve of player skill. My native server is US West, and I can definitely state that player skill on US West is significantly higher than US East. Of course, if your ping is terrible on the alternate server, then switching servers isn’t a good idea

Ramming

If you’re in a heavier tank than your enemy, ramming must always be considered an option. It’s like having a 2nd shot available while you’re waiting to reload. Ramming is very effective at destroying a tank with only a small percentage of health. Of course, if you’re in the lighter tank, then ramming is more or less a form of suicide.

Ramming is also effective at keeping the enemy tracked. Only you don’t need to ram the enemy to reset their track repair. A simple bump will do the trick.

Ram + Shoot

When I’m facing two enemy tanks and I have the higher ground, I’ll speed downhill and ram the lighter of the two and shoot the other one at the same time. It’s like getting multiple shots off at once. If I’m lucky, I’ll track the lighter tank (or possibly destroy it if it’s low on health), and I’ll take a bite of out tank #2’s hit points at the same time.

Bumping

When you’re fighting in close combat with a small cluster of enemies, more experienced players will always focus fire on the tank with the least health (at least they should). In such a situation, waiting for a reload is a waste of time. Just because your gun isn’t ready to fire doesn’t mean you can’t be useful. Bump and push the enemy, jostling his turret and jostling his aim. He will either miss his shot, or he’ll wait until he’s got better aim in which case you’ve bought more time for your reload (and your teammate’s reload).

Low Tier

It sucks to be low tier in a random battle, especially if you’re playing a new tank without a decent crew. Just remember that all tiers can scout equally well. You don’t have to cause damage to assist your team. Find a passive scouting location and let your higher tier comrades do the damage.

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