Friday, 5 November 2010

World of Tanks - Heavy Tank Guide

So you have learned about Light Tanks and mastered the Medium Tanks, can you handle the Heavies?

The fearsome IS-3 stalks it's prey supported by a friendly KV-3
Heavy Tanks share some similarities with the Medium Tank range in that some tanks were born to sit back and snipe, others were to be support.... but some of these metal behemoths were designed to be the spearhead of an armoured assault, a breakthrough tank. Learning what your tank is capable of and designed to do is 80% of the battle in World of Tanks.

A heavy tank is one which carries a large amount of thick, often sloped, armour around all 4 sides and usually a turret to match. They mount some of the most powerful guns available in the game and can be quite capable of wiping out Tier 5 Medium Tanks and Tier 5 Tank Destroyers in a single shot. I have very often been on the wrong end of a gun from a Heavy Tank, trust me on this one!! 

A Russian KV tank with standard turret and 122mm U-11 gun
To offset these rather large advantages, they are often slow and not very good at turning. Their turret traverse is often sluggish compared to the Light and Medium class of tanks. This also makes these mammoths susceptible to artillery fire which can actually destroy them in one shot depending on the artillery and the accuracy of the shell fired.

Like with all of the tanks previously, there are some basic rules to follow:

  • Do not go gung-ho towards an enemy position unless you know you overpower their group and won't take much damage. You are well armoured but you are not invincible and the enemy will tell you that.
  • Do not hide back at base and expect light and medium tanks to scout  for you so that you can snipe at the enemy and avoid repair bills. Move your backside, join with a few other tanks in a battle group formation and be there to steamroller the opposition.
  • Learn your speed, turning circle, turret speed and gun reload times.Whilst knowing the mechanical limits of your hardware is required in all other tanks, it is most important in your heavy tank. It often takes a long time to reload or to turn and face an opponent so prepare yourself adequately positionally and be aware that a miss can be costly to your Hitpoints.
  • Cover your rear. Most tanks can only deal damage to your front if they hit a critical area such as the lower tracks or commanders view port. Not too many tanks can penetrate your side armour consistently and tracking is not extremely common. Your rear is most vulnerable to even Tier 6 Medium Tanks. Your medium and light tank companions should help in this regard. If you are alone.... why?!
  • You are often the bullet magnet for your time. Their guns will magically point in your direction and spit forth shells, most of which will plink and plunk off your mighty suit of armour. Use this to your teams advantage by making your presence known. The enemy can concentrate on you whilst your relieved team members should be able to mop up enemy forces much easier without the fear of being blown sky high.
The German Maus as spotted by a rather frightened A-20 (Courtesy of Gorthan)
I might sound like a broken record but you really must learn your tank inside and out. For example if you take a KV in a max Tier 5 match and decide to go solo, a simple Leopard will spend 5 minutes circling you and LOL'ing every time he punches a hole in your armour. The reason for this is that the KV is slow, turns even slower and depending on the turret it turns very slow or extremely slow. It is best to sit slightly behind your team or moving battle group to be able to make best use of your powerful arsenal without your lack of mobility being a drawback.

Another example is the IS-3. For it's tier and classification as a heavy tank, it is rather maneuverable and can be played more akin to the heavy version of one of the nippy, Russian T-series tanks.

The IS-4, IS-7, VK4502(P) Ausf B and the Maus are all tier 9 and 10 tanks often classified as super heavy tanks. They represent the biggest tanks designed around the World of Tanks era, whether they saw production or not. Their stats reflect their stature and they should be played accordingly. These behemoths can be impossible to run perpetually, costing more credits to repair/reload with ammo than can be recouped in a great fight but they are definitely something which strike fear into the heart of the opponent and act as the biggest bullet magnets around.

A German Tiger II prowls the streets of Ensk (Courtesy of Skott)

When we looked at the Light Tanks and Medium Tanks, we suggested that the most logical advancement path would be Engine/Suspension first, then probably radio, turret then finally gun. With heavy tanks this path can also be very similar, front-loading it with the engine and suspension upgrades to make the moving around the map part more tolerable. Often you will have already researched a useful gun or two via previous tanks so it may be prudent to go for the upgraded turret first. There is no hard and fast rule here so go with what you feel works best.

KV and KV-3 on the Russian side can be complete pigs to drive and handle but things smooth out a bit with the introduction of the IS line. The Germans are always complaining that their Tiger and Tiger II do not match up to the might of the Russian equivalent. 

Having faced down all manner of tanks in combat I do honestly feel that Russian heavy tanks bounce my shots far more often than their German counterparts. I cannot back this up with figures, only my own feeling and interpretations of the game based upon combat situations.

An IS tank on the move. A fearsome Russian Heavy Tank (Courtesy of Dark)

The IS-7, the epitome of heavy tanks in the World of Tanks game