The lights are on
I have been enjoying my time in World of Tanks, even as someone who is a total newcomer to the game. I wanted to share my lessons of failure so you can learn from my mistakes.
World of Tanks: Xbox 360 Edition comes with a handy tutorial and a collection of videos showcasing tactics and best practices for each class of tank, but there are a few things I ran into that aren’t made clear during the game’s tutorials.
Pick and spot and don’t dawdleIn my brilliant attempts to avoid getting sniped from afar while making dangerous treks through open areas of levels, I came up with a method I was sure would work. When getting fired upon by tanks smart enough to stay hidden while I moved across an open field, I would stop and stare in an effort to throw off my attackers looking down their scopes. It never worked. Stopping takes time, as does starting, so basically I gave my attackers a free shot on a temporarily stationary target. If you’re trying to get somewhere, stay on the move, and stay out of the open. It’s advice that applies to any shooter – nearly any multiplayer game – but the difference in World of Tanks is if you start getting fired upon, you must keep moving forward. Your tank is too slow to stop and find cover, so stay the course and head towards your original destination.
Click the left thumbstick to engage cruise controlThis is one of those tips that barely qualifies, but once I discovered its use, I found it invaluable. When moving forward, you can click the left thumbstick to lock your momentum. The tanks in World of Tanks are slow, and getting from point A to point B can be time consuming. Locking your forward momentum makes the journey easier, and also makes turning left and right smoother since you don’t have to push forward and turn simultaneously. Eventually, instead of pushing the thumbstick forward, I would just click the left thumbstick to move forward, even for short trips. Looking at the game’s controls in the options menu doesn’t make this apparent. It took me a few sessions of staying alive long enough to start pressing all the buttons and experimenting to figure it out.
It’s not worth your time to attack the frontThe game’s opening tutorials show you how attacking an enemy’s side yields much more damage, which is true and great advice. What it doesn’t tell you to do, is move on if you can only hit an enemy from its front. In a first-person shooter, a headshot is always your best bet, but in some situations it’s not a bad idea to unload on your enemy wherever you can and hope for the best. In World of Tanks, I found this approach doesn’t work. With singular lives for each game, getting into a firefight you’re unlikely to win is a waste of time. If you happen upon an enemy but can only attack their front, take your time to flank, or move onto another enemy. When faced with this situation myself, attacking an enemy’s front only alerted them to my position, and it usually ended in disaster.
Let that reticle shrink and take careful aimWorld of Tanks slows down more than just your movements. When you take aim, you are rarely in a position that doesn’t involve waiting. Whether you’re waiting for your reticle to shrink, or you’re waiting for your turret to rotate to the right angle, being in a position where you can fire off a round immediately is rare. During my first few trips to the battlefield, my impatience got the best of me. I would meet others and we would stare each other down. I would always be the one to fire first, and consequently, be the first to blow up. It’s always in your best interest to take aim rather than get your shot off quickly.
Play to your class strengthsWorld of Tanks’ aforementioned tutorials and videos set out specific recommendations for each class of tank, and it’s a great idea to follow them. If you’re a scout, go explore, but stay out of trouble. If you’re a heavy, stay back and fight from afar. The speed of the scout tank gave me the confidence to take on anyone. I thought, if things get dicey, I’ll just get the heck out of there. In truth, a powerful tank is lethal from any distance. It doesn’t matter how fast you can relocate yourself. As the stronger heavy tank, I thought I could take anyone head on, so I slowly lumbered into the open field pounding my chest and daring anyone to try to take me down – which they did, unceremoniously.
With three years under its treads and a huge collection of updates and tanks, diving into the PC version of World of Tanks can be an intimidating prospect. The Xbox 360 Edition of the game is much friendlier, and with these tips, you’ll be even better equipped to give the game a carefully aimed shot.
Email the author Kyle Hilliard, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.