One of the most important decisions in World of Tanks that will partly determine whether or not you enjoy the game is which tank line you progress down. Each line has its own ups and down in terms of the grinding difficulty and specific traits for each tank. It is important to figure out how you enjoy playing World of Tanks before attempting to go to tier 10 due to the time or cash commitment required from tier 5-10. This guide will help you figure out which tanks fit your personal tastes and save you the trouble of going down a tank line not suited for you.
Some might enjoy playing mobile medium tanks capable of re-positioning and being where needed while others might want a slow heavily armored heavy tank capable of taking a beating. Laid out below are the general characteristics of each nationality currently in World of Tanks as well as specifics on each tank line for each nationality. It is still suggested to watch game play and look into the tanks you are interested in before making a choice as this is only one person’s opinion. Each page of this post contains a specific nation, French tanks are page 1, American tanks page 2, German tanks page 3, Russian tanks page 4, British tanks page 5, Chinese tanks page 6, Japanese tanks page 7, Czechoslovakian tanks page 8, and Swedish tanks page 9.
France is a very interesting part of World of Tanks since the main attribute of their tanks is the auto-loader feature of tanks found in the upper tiers. For most French tanks they are known for excellent mobility, their burst damage(high tiers), and overall frailness in the form of HP/armor. French SPGs for the most part are all very mobile, high rate of fire, good accuracy, and low damage.
The medium line of French tanks starts out with the FCM 36 and R35 light tanks at tier 2. The FCM 36 focuses on armor while the R35 is more of a traditional light tank at tier 2. Following both of these tanks is the AMX 38 and AMX 40 which are heavily armored for light tanks and trade firepower and mobility for that extra armor protection. Moving up to the ELC AMX at tier 5 this line shifts into the speedy, no armor, high firepower that many players love allowing players to easily move around the map with their speed, do damage, and retreat. This trait remains all the way up to tier 10 at the Bat Chatillon 25t and the style of playing these tanks is a get in and do damage then high tail it out of there while you reload. This line has a very high ceiling for effectiveness however with this comes a very difficult learning curve to master. The AMX 13 90, Lorraine, and Bat Chatillon have very good auto-loading guns and excel at darting into small engagements already in place, unloading their drums turning the tide in favor of your teammates, and then retreating to reload.
(AMX 30 Prototype -> AMX 30 B High Tier Medium Branch)
With the World of Tanks 9.7 update the French medium line saw two new high tier mediums added to it that branches off from the AMX 13 90 light tank at tier 8. The tier 9 AMX 30 Prototype and the tier 10 AMX 30 B are very similar tanks that are extremely similar to the German medium Leopard tanks. At tier 9 you start with the AMX 30 Prototype that is extremely fragile but very mobile with an excellent top gun on it that will have no issues with dealing with any tanks it comes across. While it does have very good mobility and an excellent gun it does lack durability and also its gun does sacrifice a bit in the rate of fire area due to its penetration and other stats. The tier 10 AMX 30 B improves upon the tier 9 AMX 30 Prototype in many ways and since it is a tier 10 only retains its one “true” weakness of very poor durability due to low HP and low armor values. The AMX 30 B also has a very large cupola on top of the turret that is easy to hit even with hull down. Looking on the bright side the AMX 30 B has a laser accurate gun, very good damage per minute, great gun depression, and very good mobility. The AMX 30 B plays very similar to the Leopard 1 on the German Branch and both focus on a very mobile tank platform that sacrifices armor for an excellent gun.
AMX 40 Weak Spots: http://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-amx-40/
ELC AMX Tank Guide: http://wotguru.com/myth-elc-amx/
Heavy Line (D1 -> AMX 50B)
Much like the medium line the beginning of this line from tier 2-4 focuses more on armor than on mobility. The low tier tanks in this line are meant to soak up damage and lead pushes for their team and can actually do this since they are more durable than the tanks found in the French low tier medium line. However, once you reach tier 5 and the BDR G1B that mentality is thrown out the window and you become a heavy tank with sub par armor but a great gun to make up for it. From the BDR G1B to the AMX M4 (1945) you are playing lightly armor tanks(for a heavy tank) but gain firepower and other soft stats in return. This part of the heavy line can be difficult to get past since without the top guns these tanks are very mundane.
D1 Weak Spots: http://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-d1/
B1 Heavy Weak Spots: http://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-b1/
At tier 8 come the AMX 50 series of tanks starting with the AMX 50 100 and ending with the AMX 50B. These heavy tanks are similar to the medium line in game play with the high burst damage with long reloads between clips while being very mobile compared to other heavy tanks. The downside is that they are still as large as most other heavy tanks with minimal armor in most locations and lower HP than other heavy tanks from other nationalities.
Alternate Low Tier Heavy Tank Line (H35->G1 R)
The French heavy tank line starting in update 9.7 has two routes to get to the tier 10 AMX 50 B heavy tank and the newest line starts at the tier 2 H35 and ends with the G1 R at tier 5. The H35 starts out with a very heavily armored light tank for tier 2 that packs a decent punch but lacks mobility. The Somua S35 changes drastically from the H35 and sees much improved mobility and a gun that is fitting for a medium tank(since the Samua S35 is a medium tank). Since the Samua S35 has good mobility and a reliable gun it sacrifices armor to achieve both of these traits. This design continues through this mini-line until you reach tier 6 and merge with the existing French heavy tank line.
Moving to the tier 4 SARL 42 medium tank you again have a poorly armored tank with decent mobility and a well rounded medium tank gun. This means you don’t have a ton of alpha damage but you do have good penetration, decent accuracy, and a good rate of fire. The downside of the SARL 42 is that coupled with the poor armor you have a very tall profile and it is very difficult to stay in a safe position due to your size. Capping off this pre-heavy tank line is the Renault G1 medium tank at tier 5 that leads to the tier 6 ARL 44. The Renault G1 is very similar statistically to the American M4 Sherman medium tank but is larger in size and with a few differences. The Renault G1 has two choices for a top gun with the 105mm howizter and the 75mm standard gun. The Renault does have a higher rate of fire on the standard 75mm gun compared to other tier 5 mediums using similar guns but the 105mm howitzer is lacking compared to other tier 5 mediums. The Renault doesn’t have a lot a lot of armor to work with but is decently mobile for its size with enough firepower when using the top 75mm to stand up against tier 5/6/7 tanks.
Tank Destroyer Line (RenaultFT AC -> AMX 50 Foch (155))
Following the trend of the previous French lines the tank destroyer line starts out one way and then shifts roles mid way through the tank line. From tier 2-3 you are a playing glass cannon that has decent mobility, an excellent gun, but no HP and armor. At tiers 4-6 you loose this mobility, retain the poor armor and HP, but keep the awesome guns. This portion of the tank line can be difficult due to the low mobility/armor of the tanks.
Once tier 7 and the AMX AC Mile. 1946 is reached the tank line shifts back to being more focused on mobility. From here on the tanks are highly mobile with above average frontal armor and great top guns. The main downside is the lack of a turret and the increased mobility often gets you into trouble as you can be flanked easily the further you push away from your spawn point. These tank destroyers are capable of bringing great firepower to the front lines and are high risk high reward. The tier 10 AMX 50 FOCH (155) is identical to the tier 9 TD however it equips a monstrous 3 round auto-loading 155mm gun that has great burst damage but suffers from accuracy issues and is not as reliable as you would like it. The Foch 155 has also been nerfed quite heavily and is difficult to play unless RNG is on your side.
AMX 50 Foch Weak Spots: http://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-amx-50-foch/
AMX 50 Foch 155 Weak Spots: http://wotguru.com/weak-spot-guide-amx-50-foch-155/
SPG Line (RenaultBS -> Bat Chatillon 155)
French SPGs all follow the same “format” for the most part. Highly mobile SPGs with great rate of fire and accuracy but at the cost of damage per shot. The overall progression of this line is very slow due to the low damage per shot of these SPGs which at times can make its user feel useless against heavily armored tanks at the lower tiered SPGs. These SPGs do not have that massive first hit other SPGs have but do excel in being capable of re-positioning and also maximizing their high RoF/accuracy on non-heavy tanks.