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World of Tanks is a popular video game that's been around for fifteen years. I didn't start playing the game until 2012. Relatively speaking, I'm a new player.

Within a few months of playing I had several tier X tanks. It took a lot of gameplay to accomplish that. I learned a few things along the way, and I figured I'd share my input. Keep in mind, I am not a member of a clan, so the information presented on this page reflects playing in 'pub' or public games (where individual players are thrown together to makeup a team).

Standard Account: The game is free to play, which makes it highly popular and will probably keep people playing the game for many years to come. If you don't plan on playing beyond Tier 5 tanks, then a standard account is fine. You'll earn enough credits through normal gameplay to do the things you want.

Premium Account: If you want to play in the higher tiers, you'll probably want to have a premium account. It costs about $15 per month. The benefit to paying a monthly fee is you earn more credits per battle, and your tanks and crews gain more experience per battle (50% increase from a standard account). In my opinion, it's worth it to spend the $15. It makes the game so much easier. When I have my account on premium, I load gold ammunition for all of my high tier tanks (very expensive). Gold ammunitation makes your tank cause more damage to the enemy, which leads to higher experience per game, which leads to moving to higher level tanks at a much quicker pace.

How to earn credits: The easiest way to earn excessive credits is to run a Premium account, and that will cost you about $15 per month. If you don't want to spend the monthly fee, then the next best option for earning excessive credits is to run Tier 5 tanks. I suggest you have at least three or four Tier 5 tanks and run them a lot. You will quickly gain an abundance of credits. Tier 5 tanks are the sweet spot for earning in-game currency (credits).

Essential Tank Gear - You can install three pieces of gear onto each tank. These are the pieces that I find useful:

  • Camouflage Net - First and foremost, get camouflage. It makes a tremendous difference. The camo net will hide your tank and make it more difficult to spot. Your tank must be stationary for several seconds before the camouflage net becomes active. When it does, you will see the net on your toolbar become highlighted. Another perk of the camo net is that you can transfer it from tank to tank at no cost.
  • Coated Optics - This increases your view range by 10%, up to 500m. As with any first person shooter game, first strike is closely associated with the winner of any battle. Coated Optics, on many occasions, will grant you the ability to see your enemy first, and will give you a second or two of decision-making time. Coated Optics will help every tank, regardless of your role. The only time this piece of gear is useless would be to install it on artillery (for artillery, you will typically install Camoflauge, the Gun Rammer, and the Gun Laying Drive).
  • Gun Rammer - This decreases the reload time for your ammunition. Only get this if you're a damage dealer. If you're mostly playing a scout role, don't install a gun rammer. Another application for this type of gear is if you already have a fast reload time. My Russian T-34 is my favorite tank. I have several thousand battles in it. The 76 mm gun is extremely fast, and with a Gun Rammer, it's even faster. And to take it to another levcl of speed, I have Adrenaline Rush on my crew member (the loader). There have been many battles where it's come down to me versus 3+ members of the opposing team, and I prevailed. I attribute those clutch wins to the fast reload time of the gun.
  • Gun Laying Drive - This will decrease your aiming time. If you want to be accurate when shooting, you need to wait for the aiming circle to narrow down to its smallest point. If you don't wait, more than likely you'll miss your shot.
  • Binocular Telescope - Increases view range by 25% when vehicle is stationary (up to 500 meters). This is extremely useful for every type of tank. Not only does it help you, but it helps your team. Sometimes, all you need to do is sit in a bush with a camo net and binoculars, and do nothing but let your team damage everything that comes into view. As long as you don't shoot at any target, your tank will remain hidden, and your stationary scouting will be all that is necessary for your team to destroy enemy tanks that become exposed.

Non-essential Tank Gear - There are many other pieces of gear that you can install on your tank, but I don't use them. Here are some of them:

  • Vertical Stabilizer - Improves gun accuracy while on the move
  • Improved Ventilation - Increases crew skills by 5%
  • Wet Ammo Rack - Improves ammo stability when damaged
  • Tool Box - Increases repair speed
  • Spall Liner - Decreases damage from impact (tank collison) and indirect damage (such as artillery fire that lands next to your tank)
  • Fill Tanks With CO2 - Increases fuel tank durability
  • Enhanced Vertical Coil Springs - Increases suspension load limit and its durability

The reason why I list those pieces of gear as non-essential is mostly because they don't help your tank 100% of the time. I prefer passive bonuses that work most if not all of the time. Consider the Tool Box. It's only useful after you get shot AND a module on your tank is damaged. There will be many battles where you will not get shot, and during those battles your Tool Box will be useless. The same holds true for Wet Ammo Rack, Spall Liner, CO2 Fuel Tanks, and Enhanced Vertical Coil Springs (or any suspension bonus).

While the Camoflauge Net and Binocular Telescope do require your tank to remain stationary, you'll find that your tank is most often stationary. Only light tanks will be on the move most of the time, and even with light tanks, it's often benefiical for a light tank to camp in a bush with binoculars and a camo net, and do nothing but stationary scout for the rest of the team.

Crew Training - If you're using a new tank, your crew will start with 70% experience on the tank. With each battle that you play, your crew members will gain more experience. Most tanks are grossly inefficient when their crew is under 100% skill level. But once the crew reaches 100%, the tank will become easier to play. Additionally, a 100% crew will decrease aiming time and increase accuracy. You can upgrade their basic skill set by spending credits or by spending gold (real money). I suggest you always spend the credits to increase their training as high as possible, but don't spend gold unless it's a tank that you absolutely love playing.

Once your crew reaches 100% training in a particular tank, you'll be able to choose additional skills for each crew member. These are the skills I find useful:

  • Camouflage (All crew members can choose this ability) - When combined with the Camouflage Net tank gear, the two can hide your tank from the enemy. Additionally, unlike some crew skills that require 100% skill level before they work, this skill immediately benefits your tank, and will improve with crew experience.
  • Deadeye (Only available for the Gunner, and some Commanders) - This is a must have perk. It increases the likelihood, upon successfully damaging another tank, that you will damage an important module on a tank, or possibly kill a crew member. However, this perk doesn't become active until your crew member reaches 100% skill level. In my opinion, you should select other skills that immediately benefit your tank, and then when your crew member reaches 100% skill level in the other perk (such as Camouflage), then you can drop the crew members training and choose Deadeye as the first perk. The reason for doing this is simple: by using 'instant benefit' perks, you'll perform better in battle, and you'll gain experience quicker. The only drawback is you will lose about 5% experience when you drop established crew perks. Even with the 5% experience loss, I think it's worth it.
  • Recon (Available for Commanders) - This extends the tank's view range. Much like the tank gear Coated Optics, this will help your tank see further and enable you to spot the enemy before he spots you. Recon is cumulative with all other view enhancement perks/gear (the ability stacks with other abilities, making their combined use very powerful).
  • Situational Awareness (Available for the Radio Operator) - This extends the tank's view range, and it is cumulative with other view extending perks/gear.
  • Designated Target (Available for the Gunner) - This keeps enemy tanks revealed for an additional 2 seconds. This is very useful. However, it doesn't come into effect until the training level reaches 100%. So, choose a different perk at first, and then when the crew member reaches 100%, drop the first perk and choose Designated Target.
  • Clutch Breaking (Available for Driver) - This is a very useful perk. It increases the speed at which your tank turns, which often determines survivability in close combat.

The rest of the perks that are available for crew members aren't particularly useful, at least not immediately. I generally go with this order:

For the first set of perks:

  • Commander: Recon
  • Radio Operator: Situational Awareness
  • All other crew members: Camouflauge.

For the second set of perks:

  • Commander: Leave Recon intact and choose Camouflage for the second perk.
  • Gunner: Drop Camouflage and pickup Deadeye, and then reselect Camouflauge for the 2nd perk once it becomes available again (usually within 30 or 40 games)
  • Driver: Drop Camouflage and pickup Clutch Breaking, and then reselect Camouflage when it becomes available again
  • All other crew members: keep Camouflage intact and select Repairs for the second perk.

For the third set of perks:

  • Gunner: Drop Camouflage and pickup Designated Target. Reselect Camouflage when it becomes available again.
  • All other crew members: Repairs. If they already have Repairs, choose Fire Extinguishing.

For the fourth set of perks:

  • Gunner: Drop Camouflage and pickup Snap Shot. Once Camouflage becomes availalbe again, reselect it.
  • At this point, for the remaining crew members, you should have the essential perks I listed above, plus you should have each crew member at 100% Camouflage. The next most important are Repairs and then Fire Extinguishing. After that, it's your call. The remaining perks, in my opinion, aren't very useful.

Basic Gameplay Strategies:

Scouting, on the move: If you have a fast tank, load it with gear and crew perks that improve your view range, and then use the tank's speed to constantly be on the move. By moving, your tank will be difficult to target and hit. The rest of your team will need you to 'light up' or 'expose' the enemy tanks so they can shoot them. Don't scout too far ahead, and don't stop moving. In the beginning of every game, some scouts move so quickly that the rest of their team can't support them because the slower moving tanks aren't in position yet. Quite often, scouts die too early in the game because they overextend themselves, and drive beyond the targeting range of their teammates.

Scouting, stationary: Load your tank with 100% Camouflage crew perks for each member, and a Camouflage Net. Also add gear that increases your view range. Then, when the battle starts, scoot as far as you can across the map and find a fat bush and park your tank directly on top of it. Try to position your tank so it's completely covered by the bush, and then stop moving. Once there, DO NOT MOVE or FIRE unless you absolutely have to. By staying stationary, and by not firing, your tank will remain hidden. Then, let your extended view range discover the enemy tanks and let the rest of your team do the damage.

Damage dealer, Tank Destroyer: The weakness with TDs is their fixed turret and inability to turn the vehicle quickly. So, the trick with TDs is to find a firing lane and stick with it. An open highway or a path between buildings, or through a valley. When the game starts, move about 1/4 of the way across the map and then park in a bush. You should have a Camouflage Net and multiple crew members with the Camouflage perk. Once the battle begins to swing your direction, start moving forward across the map. Always try to remain inside a bush, and always try to keep your Camouflage Net active. To avoid moving your TD accidentally, you can press the "X" button and it will lock your TD into its current position and prevent accidental movement.

Damage dealer, Heavy Tank: Stick with others. Avoid open ground, and avoid being alone. Avoid locations that can be targeted from multiple directions. When the game starts, follow the group, and hug one line of the map, or choose a path through a valley or set of buildings where you can't be exposed from multiple locations. Also, check the enemy's roster. If they have artillery (brownish icons), then you will need to keep your tank on the move, constantly moving forward and back, or side to side. If there are buildings, hug tight to them, and be conscious of the enemy's originating location on the map and the probable path of artillery fire. Keep yourself covered from shells that might be coming from that direction of the map.

Supporting tanks (mediums): Stick with the heavy tanks. They won't be able to move around as quickly, and they often get pinned under fire. Your job is to flank the enemy, or give them something else to shoot at. Use your speed and mobility to support the damage dealers.

Damage dealer, Artillery: When the game starts, move to the best possible location for the current map (you can learn where to go by watching where other artillery members setup on specific maps). You should have a Gun Rammer and a Gun Laying Drive. If you can park on a bush, do it. You should also have the Camouflage Net and at least a few crew members with Camouflage perk.

Game Mods:

Weak Spots - This is the most useful mod you can install. These are tank skins that have been modified to show the weak spots of every tank. Basically, when you aim at a tank, it will look identical to its normal 'look', however, there will be sections of it marked in different colors. The weak spot skins that I use have the following color distinctions: Yellow = crew members, Purple = ammo rack, Green = engine location, and Red = easy to penetrate locations on the tank.

I didn't know about weak spot skins until I already had my tier X tanks. Now that I have the skins, it makes the game much easier. With weak spot skins, the goal is to shoot the tank in the areas that are marked with paint. I generally try to kill tank crew members or shoot the engine. Even if I lose the fight with another tank, I've usually crippled that tank by killing multiple crew members or slowing its movement speed in half by damaging the engine. At that point, the tank becomes an easy kill for my teammates.

XVM - This is mostly a statistic mod. It will show you which tanks (players) have high win percentages. It also performs many other functions, but there is only one that I find truly useful. XVM will track enemy locations on the minimap. When the enemy disappears, it will leave a mark on the minimap that indicates the tank's last known location. This is very helpful, as I'm not always staring at the minimap, especially when I'm involved in a close combat fight. The 'last known location' indicators prevent me from traveling into an area that is heavy with enemies.

There are many videos and guides that will explain how to install the above mods. You'll find the videos on YouTube, and you can even find official forum posts in the World of Tanks community that will explain how to install them. At the very least, you should install the weak spot mod. It will give you an edge.