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Newcomers: Don't do what I did.

hard learned lessons

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wozron #1 Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:36 AM

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Okay recruits, listen up. I'm going to give you all some advice here that may help you in the long run.

Firstly I'd like to congratulate you on coming to the forums looking for advice. That shows that you're looking to learn. This game is deceptive, in that the basic game can be learned quickly, more advanced concepts slowly, and the real finesse stuff? Well, a lot of people just never get that at all. A willingness to learn is going to help you a lot through your tanking career.

Secondly, why should you listen to a guy like me with barely average stats? Well, I'm going to give you some advice that should help your win rate over time.
If I had known back in April 2011 what I know now, I reckon my win rate would be a good 5-6% higher than it is currently.
My account is my 'first and only'. Hopefully a few things I put in here will be of use to you, at the early stages of your career, even though they really can't help me much at my current stage.

So here goes; stay with me, it may be a bumpy ride :)

Don't rush tiers.
My primary focus for my first 2500 games was getting a big, bad Tier X. I did it all. Premium tanks, XP conversion with gold, whatever it took.
When I finally got my Tier X, there were a couple of problems.
First was that there was basically no use for it. Tier X games tend to have five SPG's and one or two tanks- not fun. I wasn't in a Clan so there were no Clan Wars for me to play in either.
Second problem was that without significantly more experience per-tank as I climbed the tiers, I really had no idea how to play the IS-4 (and haven't played enough of it, even now, to have changed this).
I'm forced to come to the opinion that if you absolutely must grind for a high-tier tank, aim for Tier VIII; this is the highest Tier at which you're likely to get decent matches.

Retrain your crews.
This is a big, big one. Every time I roll out in Tier V or higher, I'm facing off against players who have 100% crews with 1-3 skills/perks each. This gives them a big advantage, all other things being equal.
The reason is that when I started playing (literally days after release), the standard practice was to keep tanks and crews rather than discard tanks and retrain crews to the tank in the next Tier.
So now I have a garage full of tanks, some of which have crews that haven't even got their first skill or perk, and none of them have more than one.

If you want the comparative advantage that comes with good crews, you must keep the crews. To do this:

-Play your chosen vehicle until all crew reach 100%, then select your first sets of skills. As a general rule, Repair for mediums, heavies and TD's, and Camo for lights and SPG's are solid choices.

-Remember that these skills are averaged over the crew, so a four-man crew all with 50% camo skill will give you a 50% camo bonus, while having one man with 100% camo bonus in a four-man crew  will only give a 25% camo bonus overall.

-Do not pick perks for the first slot. If you keep your mouse pointer over the skill/perk in the selection screen, a pop-up description will tell you whether it's a skill or a perk. Skills work on a 'sliding scale' of effectiveness from 1% to 100%. Perks only work once they are at 100%, which means you'll be doing a lot more play before you see any benefit if you pick a perk.

-Once you have your first skills selected, if you're ready, you can move up to the next tier. Research and buy your next chosen tank. When you buy the tank, get it without a crew. Remove the crew from your old tank and put them in the barracks- right-click, 'send entire crew to barracks' (careful not to dismiss them by accident!).

-Right-click on the crew 'slots' in the new tank and put the crew from the old tank into the new one. Then right-click for the crew's dossier, click the training tab, set it to retrain for 'current tank', and retrain. You should retrain with gold if you can (zero loss of XP), silver if you can't (20% loss of all XP so far), or for free if you're saving up for a pack of two-minute noodles for lunch tomorrow (50% loss of all XP so far- ouch!). The more you spend during this retraining, the less you lose when you do it. Friends don't let friends retrain for free.

By repeating this process you will continue to develop the same crew and their skills, while gaining more experience with each tank.

-You should aim to have one skill at 100% early in Tier III, two at 100% by tier VI, and be working on your third by tier VIII.

-The only time you should not retrain crews is if you find a tank you love so much that you intend to keep it.

-If you want a particular perk, but don't want to grind it to 100% (gaining no benefit from it the whole time) train a skill instead, then once the skill is at 100%, use the training dossier to retrain the skill into your chosen perk using gold (to avoid loss of XP, which will drop you back down no nonfunctional staatus on the new perk).

-Watch out for some perks (Brothers in Arms springs to mind). BiA only works if all crew members have it at 100%, making it useful but also hard to get- especially in tanks with large crews.

Grind one line at a time.
When I started playing, I was grinding US SPG's, German Lights and TD's, and Soviet Mediums and Heavies. As a result I had too many tanks to play taking up too much room and all of them going nowhere fast. Even now, over three thousand games in, my efforts are spread too thin to really be of value. I have over thirty-five tanks in my garage and on a good day I might get to play six of them.
Your best bet is to start with a good general tank line and play it until Tier VIII. US mediums are fantastic for this. They have great gun depression and a high profile, meaning that ridgeline hull-down 'shoot and scoot' tactics are both viable and profitable. As an added bonus, once you move up from the excellent all-rounder M4 Sherman at Tier V, you can experiment with the M4A3E8 'Easy Eight' if you want a more conventional Medium tank experience (mobility) or the slower, much better armoured M4A3E2 'Jumbo' (survivability) if you find yourself wanting to experiment with a Heavy playstyle.
Regardless of which nationality you choose to play, you should play one line until Tier VIII. This will make you intimately familiar with the capabilities of the tanks you've played, and form a basis of skill. Then when you start playing other lines or vehicles, you will quickly catch on to the differences between the new vehicle and your primary line. If you do what I did, you will not form that 'skill basis'; the varying differences between tanks will not be as clear and you will not be driving them to the best of your ability.

A word on Eliting (Thanks to Basher515).
By completing all the research on a given tank, including all the tanks that come in the next tier, the tank becomes Elite.
Elited tanks can equip any combination of gear available (top shelf is normally the best) but can also put all their XP into crew development.
To do this, go to the garage and tick the box above your tank commander that says 'Accelerate crew training'. This box will only appear when every option for the tank has been researched.
Premium tanks get this option automatically, meaning that you can get a nice bonus from them if you're using them as a crew training bed.
I have some tanks that were elited and sitting on the better part of 20,000XP because I hadn't used crew training acceleration; this cost me gold, and therefore real money, to turn into free XP.

Free XP vs. XP.
Every time you gain XP, 5% of your gain is converted into 'free XP'. This is XP that can be spent by any tank once its own XP is spent.
Free XP is awesome and will make you a better person for having it. Try to avoid spending it as much as possible.
When WG released the Chinese tree, they had a competition to see who could get the top-tier Chinese tanks first: If I remember correctly, someone won this competition in about two minutes using free XP without having to grind a single game. How cool is that?
You can convert XP into Free XP using gold, but it can be quite expensive; you're better off Eliting a tank and using 'Accelerate Crew Training' and picking up the 5% bonus as you go.
About three times I've blown through my entire stock of free XP: once to skip the Soviet A-20 ("I regret nussink!"), once to get straight to an ELC AMX ("I regret maybe a little, 'ow much turret traverse did you say??") and once to get Lorraine 39 L AM ("Arrrrgh I hate zis tank, if I 'ad only stayed away from my CO's daughtair!"). Before you spend Free XP, you should really really make sure you're spending it on something you're going to like.

Don't play SPG as a primary line.
Seriously, don't do it. Your damage output, XP, hit rate and win rate will all suffer. SPG's have been getting nerfed pretty hard over the last few patches and are apparently going to continue getting nerfed until the server population of SPG's decreases significantly. SPG's (and consequently their best friends, Light Tanks) are rapidly becoming a dead-end in this game.

Don't assume heavies are your best option.
After I ground all the way to Tier X in Soviet Heavies, I figured out that Mediums were more my thing. That's a pain I wouldn't wish on anyone else. Many players, having read some posts, think that the Heavy tanks are the easiest to use. This is not always the case. Many heavy tanks are agonisingly slow, and the appearance of premium ammo for credits has rendered their armour less effective lately.
Sure, they generally have guns that have high alpha ('first strike') damage or high DPM ('damage per minute'), but it's generally counterbalanced with long load times or squiffy accuracy. Plus, given their reduced mobility, it's easy for a new player to push a little too far and get caught out, or to be caught on the wrong side of the field and not to be able to relocate to where the action is.

Have fun. (no, not the hipster band).
Yekaterina, in a follow up to this post, has pointed out that playing a tank you enjoy is important, and this is the case. If you really want to play Heavies, go ahead, but just be aware that they lack flexibility. If you want to play Mediums, be prepared to be one-shot-killed once in a while. If you find yourself really getting annoyed with a particular tank (A-20, Leopard, I'm looking at you two), consider whether you really want the tank on the next tier, then consider free-XP'ing past it.

Premium tanks.
Premiums are a great way of keeping the silver flowing as they provide a significant credit bonus to offset their purchase cost and less-than-top-shelf performance. However, don't fall into the trap of buying a Premium that is less than optimal.
An optimal Premium is one that meets the following criteria:
-Is of a Tier you have already played through (i.e. getting a Tier V premium when you are on Tier VI is fine, but getting a Tier VIII premium when your current highest Tier is V is going to be a problem).
-Is of a similar line to a line and nationality you are already grinding (ie, if you're doing the Soviet Medium line, the Matilda Premium is a good choice).

By getting a Premium that fits these categories, you:
-Are getting a tank that fits roughly within the playstyle you are already learning;
-Are able to put crews from your non-premium tanks through more daily doubles.

That last point is very important. I'm grinding the Soviet Medium line at the moment and I have a Matilda Premium. I'll play my T-43 Medium to a win to get the 'daily double', then transfer the crew into the Matilda, which is also a Soviet Medium, and get another daily double on it, too. This is because any crew from a Soviet Medium can use a Premium Soviet Medium without the need for retraining- same goes with all other nationalities and lines.
Lastly, if you've got the Barracks space and you're intending to use Premiums as training beds for other tank crews, you can save quite a bit by not buying crews for them.

Game mods.
I strongly recommend installing mods to increase your in-game effectiveness. M0rdd's mod pack http://forum.worldof...-83-compatible/ is an excellent choice. I just installed it literally days ago and I now wonder how I ever played without it. It will tell you who on your team is brilliant, who on your team is average, and who on your team is me.  :Smile_sad:
It also has an excellent reticle pack and heaps of other neat stuff. Install takes less than 5 minutes and I reckon it'd be good for 50 more wins over a thousand games.

Stay active on the forums.
The forums really contain some great info, so keeping abreast of them will often clue you in to good tips and tricks. At the same time, be aware that there are a lot of people out there that will troll you over your stats as you learn. Ignore the haters: if they're not actively helping you increase your skills and knowledge, they're not worth paying attention to.

Platooning and Clans
One of the best things you can do is to platoon, and to use Teamspeak or Ventrilo to coordinate your actions within your platoon. The easiest way to find platoons is to join a Clan, though most Clans won't take on an unknown.
Being in a three-vehicle platoon is probably good for about a 10% increase in win rate across the board. You may want to consider getting up a thousand games or so to determine your general level of aptitude, then start a conversation with a few Clan recruiters to see if any of them may be interested (protip: try to have at least a Tier VI in the garage). Being platooned for most of your play time will make a huge difference to your eventual win rate.

Gold (Fool's or otherwise).
Gold is incredibly useful in this game, if you use it right.

Smart uses of gold include:
-Premium account time
-Premium tanks (if Premium tank meets optimal guidelines above)
-XP conversion (sometimes)
-Some Premium items for certain tanks (ie premium auto-extinguishers for fire-prone tanks).
-Training and retraining

Dumb uses of gold include:
-Buying credits (seriously, this is the worst use for gold, buy premium and grind instead)
-Many consumables (given you only have 3 slots, filling them with sub-optimal choices is not a good idea)
-Premium ammo (unless on sale- if you must have it, buy with credits)
-Gold camo (unless the tank in question really needs that extra 5% stealth- ie Scouts)
-Customisation (do you really need to spend money to have 'Hell on Wheels' written on your turret?)
The SEA server, despite grumbling to the contrary, often has great specials. Keep your gold saved up and wait for the right time.

'Free' gold!
Some mobile phone plans (especially pre-paid) have a 'premium SMS' value included in the package. If you have a mobile on one of these plans, you can spend that included 'premium SMS' value on in-game gold using the MobilePay/SMS system in game. It's one of the most expensive ways to buy gold, but if you're on the right phone plan and letting the 'premium SMS' allowance to go unspent, it's better than nothing!

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So there you go, recruits. I hope some of the above will be of use to you. I'll continue to add to this post as I think of more boneheaded things I've done, in the hope of helping you avoid my mistakes. As Bismarck once said, "A fool learns from their mistakes; a wise man learns from the mistakes of others". Don't make the same mistakes I did, and good luck on the battlefield!
Sucky stats like mine? They won't change- unless you do.
I'm tired of losing. Join me on the Dark Side, where Win Rate is everything.

New Player wanting help with the non-combat side of things? http://forum.worldoftanks-sea.com/index.php?/topic/12792-newcomers-dont-do-what-i-did/

Travlla #2 Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:40 AM

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Very good advice  +1,made most of those mistakes myself  :Smile_sad:

Trav

Crap@tanks since 2011, retired from WOT 2015.  2017 we will see,

 


Dal_Ya_Nun #3 Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:43 AM

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kudos to you wozron.....but wonder if a newbie will reading this useful guide. :ph34r:

RalphTheTheatreCat #4 Posted 17 February 2013 - 09:49 AM

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Hindsight is a wonderful thing.  I wish I could delete and start again with the little knowledge I have now.

"My hovercraft is full of eels."


wozron #5 Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:06 AM

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Thanks guys.
With all the high-WR players around here doing nothing to 'lift the game', I thought it was about time someone let the new players know what not to do. If even one new player reads the post and learns something, it'll have been worth my time.
Sucky stats like mine? They won't change- unless you do.
I'm tired of losing. Join me on the Dark Side, where Win Rate is everything.

New Player wanting help with the non-combat side of things? http://forum.worldoftanks-sea.com/index.php?/topic/12792-newcomers-dont-do-what-i-did/

Grond #6 Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:06 AM

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Excellent +1, i did much of the same... except the tier 10 rush, i instead leveled every tank line at an equal pace... increasingly out of cash for most of it. Stopped at t5 t6 t7 finally to catch my breath and see what i was doing wrong.

moar knowledge needed please!

Enjoy G.


r1kub0y #7 Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:20 AM

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Woah dude,thats good info.Retraining crews is something i didnt know lol.More information pl0x.
The only constant in life is change.

Otakubouzu #8 Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:42 AM

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Guilty on multiple line grind.

Right now i have US med line (aiming to T29 with free exp), German Tiger H line and French Heavy Line. And actually also have US Turret TD line and UK med line too, but halted them (Convenantor is too brittle..).

And guilty about crew retraining too... just gunning thru the line with no regard on crew training... and just realize that when i already on T6. Sigh. Seems i gonna stuck in T6 for a long time. But hey, less one person to carry in t7 and up, right?

General_Soulhunter #9 Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:51 AM

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i grind all tree from all nation and its include arty...the only thing benefit from that you will know which tree suit you best...no problem to grind arty but you need to play other tank to improve your win rate and hit rate

~chuck norris and superman once fought each other on a bet, the loser had to wear his underwear outside his pants~


Yekaterina #10 Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:54 AM

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You should probably add "Enjoy playing your damned tank."

A grind stops being a grind when it's actually fun and you just play a tank properly because you find it fun taking it out and doing your best.

-Yekaterina

If winning and losing are both irrelevant, then win!

Моё судно на воздушной подушке полно угрей


Ranork #11 Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:00 AM

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A gr8 post m8 thanks from all the silent newbies for your efforts, this should go into a library of good advice.

blitzkrieg1mabini #12 Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:01 AM

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Clear, crisp and insightful! I would give this post 10+ votes if I could.
Whad'ya mean 44.4% WinRate is a BAD number? :angry::angry:
I've been trying to hold on to that magical, mystical WinRate number since I started playing WoT! :playing::playing:

SuperUnknown #13 Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:21 AM

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Thanks for all this info.

Question on secondary skill retraining: so you can train for a "skill" first and after it gets to 100% change it into a "perk" which will then be at 100%? and also, this can only be done using gold and not credits?

Also, one question on M0rdd's: is the reticle merely for aesthetic purpose or does it help in other ways like increase fps, etc...what advantage do u get over the default reticle? I'd like to ask more questions about M0rdd's mod but i will look into your link, however, why not just play w/ out mods? Me I'd like a "Mod free" WoT and there's also some risk installing any mods.

Yekaterina #14 Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:26 AM

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You lose abit of it if you dont use gold. The amount of experience may or may not be significant to your personal standard, but you'll need to train them up to their next skill abit to above losing it.

-Yekaterina

If winning and losing are both irrelevant, then win!

Моё судно на воздушной подушке полно угрей


Otakubouzu #15 Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:29 AM

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About reticule mod... from what i watch some have better information display than default reticule, and some are aesthetic.

But yeah, i want to ask if using mod will affect framerate, since my framerate already struggling.

Rashman #16 Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:51 AM

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I share a lot of your experiences, good post.

Grond #17 Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:55 AM

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reticule reticle...

on training. from tank to tank you dont lose skill or perk percentage. BUT if you drop skills/perks you will lose percent from them, 20% of TOTAL xp. not 20 percentage points.

when i dropped my 2nd skills to change the 1st (using CREDITS) i had to wait until my 2nd skill was at 40% so i wouldnt lose any % from my 1st.

Enjoy G.


Noob_Inside #18 Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:02 PM

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Nice piece of advice to the newbies including me.1+ for u mate..
Stats   Just played WoT after a year of break. 
“Know your enemy and know yourself and you can fight a hundred battles without disaster.” ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
 

wozron #19 Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:06 PM

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View PostSuperUnknown, on 17 February 2013 - 11:21 AM, said:

Thanks for all this info.

Question on secondary skill retraining: so you can train for a "skill" first and after it gets to 100% change it into a "perk" which will then be at 100%? and also, this can only be done using gold and not credits?

Also, one question on M0rdd's: is the reticle merely for aesthetic purpose or does it help in other ways like increase fps, etc...what advantage do u get over the default reticle? I'd like to ask more questions about M0rdd's mod but i will look into your link, however, why not just play w/ out mods? Me I'd like a "Mod free" WoT and there's also some risk installing any mods.



M0rdd's pack can be installed without the reticle pack if you like. It has useful info, such as distance to targeted object, round flight time, reload countdown in seconds and so on, as well as better/more visible crosshairs.
It's the XVM (eXtended Visualisation Mod) that you want, it'll give you a better feel for your team's abilities. I'm not sure what the effects on your graphics would be, but you can always drop your settings a little to compensate.

As far as retraining second skill to a perk goes, yes, you can 'drop' it once it's on 100% and retrain it to a perk, but you'll need to use 200 gold for the retrain or it will drop the completion level down to under 100%, leaving you more XP to be gathered before it works. The exact amount to be lost will show up at the point of retraining.
Sucky stats like mine? They won't change- unless you do.
I'm tired of losing. Join me on the Dark Side, where Win Rate is everything.

New Player wanting help with the non-combat side of things? http://forum.worldoftanks-sea.com/index.php?/topic/12792-newcomers-dont-do-what-i-did/

M0rdd #20 Posted 17 February 2013 - 12:16 PM

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Cheers for the shout out for my mod pack, glad you found it useful. Every time I see someone comment on how much they love using it reminds me why I go to the effort I do to keep it updated each patch. Good write up too, hope new players read this and learn some valuable lessons from it the easy way (i learned the hard way like yourself way back in beta lol).

:Smile_glasses:

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