Friday, 20 May 2011

World of Light Tanks - WoT Guide

Updated 20/05/2010 (v.

Having played World of Tanks extensively during closed beta testing and now after launch, I thought I would come along and start writing up a few guides, starting off with the bane of artillery, the Light Tank.
The light tank typically has very little armour which lends itself well to being killed in one shot in the higher tier games where it can often be placed. Light tanks have superior acceleration, top speed and maneuverability and have a reasonable sight range. At tier 1 and tier 2 you will generally be fighting against a force comprised entirely of light tanks or tank destroyers of your tier, in which you should group with your team mates and push forward sensibly.

Once you pick up the tier 3 light tanks you will begin to face tanks from Tier 5 and up with the occasional match where you are top dog, enjoy those matches. Despite picking up the biggest gun you can find on a tier 3 or 4 light tank you will be hard pressed to do anything besides tickle and annoy most medium and heavy tanks in this match up, so what do you do? You become the eyes and ears of your force. You are... a scout!

The PzII Light Tank (picture courtesy of Exterous)
Many people see light tanks in this role as the 'go, find their arty and die in about 30 seconds, quit and play another tank until this battle is over'. This is complete nonsense and anyone forcing you into such a position is not worth listening to. A successful scout will spot enemy artillery and be wily enough to escape to make a second run into the firing line. 

There are some golden rules to follow:
  • If you want to scout out their artillery, do not rush out immediately. Your team's artillery will be getting into hiding positions in preparation to avoid enemy scouts and provide counter-artillery. Typically hold back 30-60 seconds before starting your run.
  • An effective scout is a wily scout. Find a nice area which has cover and camouflage. Stop there and don't move. Let the enemy come, light them up and when your tank is in danger, pull out immediately and use the mix of cover and speed to your advantage.
  • Learn the typical hiding spots for defenders and artillery. You won't want to run into heavy tank parked in a bush and you ideally want to find the artillery and get the heck out of there asap.
  • When faced by two tanks in front of you, try to avoid going down the middle and bisecting them. Doing so will expose your soft and tender rear armour to their rather deadly cannons. Going down the side of one tank will at the very least protect you from the fire of the second.
  • Do not bother firing except against very squishy targets. You are a scout, not a damage dealer. Firing shots only reduces your concentration levels on dodging shells and finding artillery. Very rarely will you be afforded the chance to fire at targets of opportunity on the way.
  • Dying on the first run is a waste of a tank. Get in, spot, get out... and repeat. The more runs you can survive through the better and more likely your team is to remove the enemy artillery.
  • First upgrades you need are the Engine and the Suspension, ignore the Gun and Turret for now. Maneuverability is your friend and the Engine/Suspension give you the maneuverability boost. Radio is a notable candidate for third upgrade as it helps relay enemy positions which you can see to your friends with the big, killing guns.
  • Ramming low tier artillery if you know the net is closing in on you and you will die is quite a good idea. You have a strong chance of destroying the artilliery piece with your final moments or at least destroying its tracks to allow your artillery precious seconds to aim. Ramming higher tier artillery... is just stupid. They're usually very heavy and your tank will have the 'fly on the windshield' effect.
The best scouts tend to be those players in the German Leopard or the Russian A-20, the Leopard being a mean mix of speed, maneuverability and reasonably strong armour for it's class and the A-20 is like a rocket with a high top speed, great acceleration but poor turning circle in comparison to the Leopard. The M3 and M5 Stuart tanks also make for good scouting tanks. Surprisingly the M7 US Medium tanks and the PzIII German Medium tanks also make for good scouts due to their solid speed and turning abilities.

In higher tier matches, tanks such as the T-43, T-44 and T-54 may take up the role of 'scouting'. I use the term scouting loosely in this instance as these tanks are often able to bounce shots and survive multiple hits whilst locating enemy forces. They are also able to often destroy lone enemy tanks with a skilled driver behind the wheel.

My BT-7 leading a scouting expedition with a friendly Leopard following

Cover is essential for the scout, and all types of cover and camouflage should be used to cover an approach towards enemy lines. Making good use of your speed and maneuverability you should make haste around the enemy lines and seek out any artillery, paying close attention to the common choke points or camping spots taken up by anti-scout parties and artillery pieces.

Hopefully people will read this guide and find it useful. Please feel free to leave some comments or add your own advice through the comments section below.

Happy tanking!!!

Notable Light Tanks
  • Leopard - Fast, agile, good armour for a light tank and reasonable gun. Mops up in Tier 4 max matches
  • A-20 - Fast... Not much else to say other than it is fast. Turning isn't great but point it in the right direction and it flies. Can be tricky to hit.