Starting out in World of Tanks can be very difficult for most players since a lot of the game mechanics aren’t easily explained. Most remember their first few battles where they rushed out and died in the first 2 minutes on Himmelsdorf and then sat there until the battle ended thinking the themselves “well this is boring.” What most new players jumping into World of Tanks don’t know is that you can leave the game once you die and hop into another tank with no penalty along with a vast amount of other things. This guide will touch on some key aspects of World of Tanks for players just starting while other guides will dig deeper into playing the game.
Before You Begin
If you haven’t created an account for World of Tanks great! If you have already haven’t played yet and/or haven’t played many matches you’ll want to look into an invite code. World of Tanks usually has floating around several invite codes for new accounts for each server and they grant you various rewards for using one while signing up. The best codes usually contain about a week’s premium account time, some gold, and a tier 5 premium tank. It is worth remaking an account if you have say a dozen or so battles if you want a free premium tank. In total it adds up between the tank plus gold/premium time to be about $15-$25. You can find invite codes by googling “World of Tanks new player invite code *server name*”, asking on the official forums, and often times there is a Reddit specific one(for North America at least).
Getting Started (Tiers 1-2)
The first dozen(or more) matches in World of Tanks can be frustrating, confusing, and downright painful at times for new players. Most never played a game like this but I tend to think of it as a “shooter with an added layer”. Instead of being a soldier running around with a gun and taking damage whenever you are hit you are now a tank with a gun that also has armor capable of bouncing shots/protecting you if used correctly. This adds depth to the game since tanks not only rely on their firepower/mobility but also on their armor. Learning the strengths and weaknesses of your tank and adjusting how you play is crucial and can be as easy as glancing at the listed stats in your garage or hopping online and doing a little bit of research.
The most important piece of information for the first handful of battles however is knowing that you can exit the battle after your death, hop into another tank and start playing in a different battle!
Tier 1-2 battles are generally artillery free(think snipers) and playing aggressive while also keeping in mind cover(rocks, buildings, etc) is rewarded. Simply rushing out does not work in low tier battles but sitting back and playing conservative doesn’t either. Advancing roughly 1/3 of the way out of your initial spawn area and setting up/pre-aiming ahead while in cover will do wonders as you will fire at advancing opponents before they can shoot back. Stick in the general area of other players and work together and you’ll quickly find out that going out on your own usually does not work out.
Moving on up! (Tiers 2-4)
Research is very important as you progress up the tiers and get into the tier 4+ tank range since by tier 3 you will have a general sense of what kinds of tanks you like and which you do not like. However once you hit tier 4+ it becomes more difficult to research modules, purchase tanks, etc. and thus making an informed decision on the tank line you want to focus on will save you a lot of frustration. How do you do this? The easiest way is to simply bring up the research tree and look ahead at the tech tree at future tanks and their general stats. This way will provide you with a general sense of how tanks played based on their armor values, speed limits, and weapon stats but won’t give you a definite answer. You can also hop onto the World of Tanks forums and dive into the new player and game guide section of the forums which has a vast amount of useful information. Personally I found it easiest to combine using the WoT wiki plus searching on Youtube for game play of specific tanks I was interested in. Since it was difficult when I started to play World of Tanks for new players to learn how to play the game I have since started to write the guides and articles found here on WoT Guru. These guides are straightforward and tank specific in the tank guide section, and other guides will help you learn other useful bits for improving.
As you move up the tiers you will also want to keep past tanks that are fully research and equipped. This will allow you to always have tanks that are fully upgraded and capable of earning silver at a decent rate compared to new non-upgraded tanks that are difficult to play. It might be tempting to sell your current tank to fund the next tank but you will regret it. This is true even as you make it to tier 8 and above since keeping several low tier tanks in your garage to “take a break” from grinding new tanks is a very overlooked aspect of the game for most.
Keeping on this topic having experienced crews can be even more important than having a fully researched tank. 50% crews are brutal and will handicap your tanks in such a way it can be nearly impossible to play some tanks and be expected to be useful. Waiting until you save enough silver up to re-train your crews for your new tank using the 20,000 silver/crew member retraining will make the game a lot less frustrating. 100% crews become almost needed once you surpass the tier 3 threshold since once you hit tier 4 you will regularly face tier 5-6 tanks with 100% crews plus additional equipment.
Time to Make a Decision(Tier 5)
Tier 5 is a crucial point in World of Tanks where deciding what or how you want to play can make or break you enjoying the game. At this point advancing to higher tiers becomes much more difficult without a premium account or a premium tank due to the significant bump in experience and silver required to obtain the tanks and modules. It’s not impossible to keep advancing without spending money on the game but it becomes a very long and painful grind each additional tier you advance especially at tier 8.
If you decide you are content with continuing to play for free then keeping your goals centered from tier 6 and below is a wise decision. This will allow you to fully research and train crews on several tanks from the tier 4-6 range while also gaining free experience and silver. Tier 4-6 make the best “income” for standard non-premium tanks and if for any reason down the road you decide to advance to higher tiers and/or spend money you’ll have quite a lot of experience/silver saved up. For many the most balanced and enjoyable fights are around the tier 4-6 range which also helps.
The other route of spending some money and buying gold if you decide World of Tanks is a game for you becomes a viable option once you hit tier 5. By now you have a general understanding on how the game is played and how to be effective in battles. You also know(if you did a little research) which tanks you want to work towards in the higher tiers. Knowing which tank line you want to progress down is key since if you buy gold and a premium tank you will want to “match” it to the tanks you working towards. For example if you are working towards the American heavy tanks(T32,M103,T110E5) then buying an American heavy premium tank(T14 or T34) will ease the grind down that line. Not only will these premium tanks gain more silver than other tanks they also allow you to put in crews from the same nation and same tank class into them with no penalty. For example if you own a T14 you can place any T1HT, M6, T29, T32, M103, T110E5, or any other American heavy tank crew into them allowing you to train them while you grind silver.
Any gold leftover invest it into a premium account as it will provide you with a 50% increase in both silver and experience gain. Converting gold to silver or using it to convert left over experience to free experience is not ideal for a new player since advancing to quickly is not advised. Taking your time advancing up the tiers will make you a better player by slowly adapting to high tier matches and learning how to counter new tanks at a slower pace.
Which Tank Line/Nationality to Progress Down?
One of the most difficult decisions to devoting your time to a specific tank line to work your way up to tier 10. A lot of time is required to get to tier 10 and making a well thought out decision will save a lot of frustration. You can find a general outline of each tank line on this page called “Which Tank Line is Right for You?“. For new players I usually suggest doing the American heavy tank line(which ends with the T110E5) first and then make a decision on which will be your second tier 10 after that. This is due to the flexibility of American tanks and the heavy line is a nice blend of attributes which make them “jack of all trades” tanks which are great for both new and veteran players. By going down this line you get small tid bits of different play styles and then you will be able to decide if you want to go down a more mobile line, brawler line, heavy armor, etc., etc.
General Tips/Game Mechanics
Hiding in bushes is almost as useless as sitting out in the open since even if one tiny corner of your tank sticks out you will be spotted as if there is no bush at all. Like below…
Sitting behind a bush with it remaining transparent allows you to spot advancing tanks with your view range. But on the downside if you fire your gun the camouflage bonus from the bush no longer applies since you are close to it. See below…
However if you have teammates spotting tanks ahead of you simply sitting behind the bush with it being completely opaque will hide you even while firing. You can also sit close behind a bush with it being transparent, spotting an enemy, then reversing until it is opaque and firing without ever being seen. As seen below…
Scouting might seem strait forward at first as many think rushing out and lighting up the enemy team as quickly as possible and then dying is “being a good scout” when in reality it is not the case. There are three different forms of scouting in World of Tanks, two of which are “correct”, and they are suicide scouting, passive scouting, and active scouting. The first being the incorrect one since rushing out in the first minute, lighting up tanks 500m+ away and then dying does not help your team that much and also doesn’t help your experience/silver gain.
This leads to learning how to passive scout and active scout. Passive scouting can be tricky at first and does require a good crew/equipment to be used to its full potential but it very deadly when done correctly. Passive scouting is when a scout/light tank or even a TD with a good camouflage bonus exploits their camouflage by parking themselves behind a bush between the enemy and their team. At that point they will not fire on any tanks spotted but instead let their team pick off tanks from a safe distance and in return the passive scouter receives half of the experience and silver earned by each damaging shot(as with all damage assisted via spotting). This tactic can be pulled off with no equipment/experienced crew but the scouter runs the risk of being spotted at 75m+ away. However with a crew with 100% camouflage skill, sixth sense(to see if you are spotted), and a camouflage net equipped many light tanks can remain invisible until the 50m auto-detect mechanic kicks in.
The final form of scouting is active scouting which is personally what I enjoy doing the most. This requires the scout to continually move around the map where needed and dart in/out of being spotted to light up the enemy team in front of your teammates. It does pose some risk if you leave yourself exposed for to long but once you master it you can dart out of cover for 2-5 seconds, light up the enemy, and zoom off being you are hit. This method is highly effective when done right since you can re-position where you are needed, support and get a few shots in on enemy tanks, and once the enemy is weakened advance in for the killing blow. One good example of this is this replay I have posted of the M24 Chaffee.
Moving crews up to new tanks can be a difficult obstacle to over come for brand new players since they start off with 50% crews and have no existing 100% crews to draw from. There a few options and tricks to having your crews stay near 100% as you progress up the tiers. Crews have their “base experience” which ranges from 50%-100% and also crew skills which accumulate after a crew members reaches 100%. I would recommend saving credits before moving up to tier 3 so that when you move your crew you can use the credit option to get them to 75%+. Even if you have gold to spend save that for other things to spend it on.
The crew retraining options work like this…
The gold option keeps 100% of any crew experience.
Credit option you’ll loose 10% total crew experience moving to tank of the same type(heavy to heavy, etc.) and 20% for different types(heavy to medium).
Free option you lose 20% of total experience moving to the same tank type(heavy to heavy) and 40% for different types(heavy to medium).
All retraining options will not effect any skill/perk experience already assigned to a crew member. One trick to not having to spend gold on retraining crews for the next tank in the line is the get your crew to to 100% before moving onto the next tank. Once at 100% do not assign any crew skills/perks and let the experience remained unassigned. Then after 10-20 battles of letting this experience pile up you can move that crew into the next tier and retrain them using the credit option(or free if you are that cheap). Depending on how much crew experience you have saved you will be at 95%-100% and save yourself spending 200 gold per crew member for each new tank as you grind up a line.
You can do this up to any tier but eventually you may want to assign that unassigned experience to get repair skills, etc. to make your tank more effective. Usually the grind goes pretty quickly up to tier 5/tier 6 so saving yourself the trouble from tier 2+ will help out at the very least.
This World of Tanks New Player Guide will be updated with more information as time goes on and is useful for not only for new players but for those having difficulties in the free to play MMO World of Tanks.