World of Tanks: Top tips for beginners

We asked the experts for some advice if you’re rolling onto the battlefield for the first time.

World of Tanks tips main
World of Tanks tips main

New to World of Tanks? Then chances are you'll be on the lookout for some starter tips – we know we certainly were when we booted up the Wargaming behemoth for the first time! That's why we've been talking with commentator and expert in all things World of Tanks, Oliver Maxfield, as well as Wargaming’s own head of eSports Europe, Nicolas Passemard. Read on as they share their expertise and explain how to pick a tank, what to do when you spawn on the field of battle and why you should always be prepared to lurch in front of an exposed team-mate at a moment's notice!

How to choose a tank

Unsurprisingly, Maxfield says that terrain is key. “You have city maps and you have open maps and you have hybrid maps which are a mixture. You choose a tank based on that. There are light tanks like the AMX 13 90 which is a lot faster and smaller, but it doesn't have as much firepower, armour or as much HP [as other tanks]. On an open map where you need to get from A to B quickly you want something smaller, faster, lighter. On city maps you want something heavy because you don't have to travel as far and when you're driving down a street you can only get shot from the front so you need more armour on the front. A lot of people pick tanks from the country they come from. When you're a newcomer the British are pretty good and the Americans are pretty good.”

But if in doubt...

Just go for a tank you've heard of and which looks the coolest!

What to do when you spawn

“World of Tanks is a game about information,” reveals Maxfield. “Shooting tanks is the easy part, the hard part is being in the right place at the right time and thinking about what you're doing. The faster tanks tend to have higher view range and you can add equipment such as coated optics or binocular telescopes that give +10 percent, +25 percent view range so you can say I'm going to be the spotter for the team, I'm going to go out and give you information you need to use your big guns and take out the enemy. That's the most important part: information.”

Always be thinking of your next move

“You're moving from cover to cover, from A to B and you're always thinking about what's at B. You don't want to get there and be like 'Well... I'm in the middle of a field'. The average battle time is seven and a half minutes so that's seven and a half minutes thinking about your next step,” explains Maxfield. “The worst people at World of Tanks are the best people at Counter-Strike even though they seem like very similar games because they're impatient. You have to be a little patient to play the game.”

The basics of shooting

Look sharp, Maxfield says. “The smaller the reticule on your gun the more accurate your shots. There's also aiming time which is the speed at which the reticule decreases in size. The faster it goes small the more quickly you can be accurate.”

Just as important as accuracy is aiming for the right point to begin with though, Passemard points out. “Knowing where to aim is an important part of game knowledge. No matter what type of ammunition you use or how big the calibre of your gun is, you will run into significantly bigger problems with penetrating if you shoot the thickest piece of armour. Usually tanks with more alpha damage (damage dealt per shot) have a longer reload time, while vehicles with a small time interval between shots are unable to take out large numbers of hit points with a single round. Tanks equipped with magazines, commonly referred to as autoloaders, can dish out a great deal of damage in a short time, but their drawback is the very long reload time between the short bursts. Take this into account before you engage.”

Don't be that lone tanker

“Always think about your team,” Maxfield says. “You should never be in a situation where you're unsupported no matter how good a player you are. You should always have someone with line of sight on you. That's the most important thing for beginners, otherwise they just drive into the middle of nowhere and get themselves destroyed. That's what I did!”

Think about what your opponents are doing

Then run rings around them. “Seeing your enemy's plan can, and often should, influence your approach in many ways,” says Passemard. “For example, if your enemy picks a heavy setup in an open map, you can use their weakness to flank them and change your position many times. With a slow composition, your opponent can't control a huge portion of the map at the same time and is forced to play take a more careful approach, lacking up-to-date information about your positioning.”

Taking one for the team

“The more guns in the game, the more likely you are to win,” says Maxfield. “If you lose a player you can lose a lot more easily. Even if you have to lose some HP drive in front of your mate [when they're in danger]. If he doesn't die and you lose 300 HP so be it. He's still alive – he can help you and still shoot. So that's very important, blocking for your team-mates.

And finally...

Where you’re hit matters just as much as whether you’re hit at all. “Always have your tracks showing rather than the superstructure of the tank because tracks don't take any damage,” says Maxfield. “Also angle your armour as much as possible. If your armour is angled they're less likely to be able to penetrate your tank.”

“Angling your tank properly can significantly increase the chance of an opponent’s shell bouncing off your armour,” Passemard adds. “If done properly, just angling your hull can be the decisive factor between a loss or win in a one-on-one duel or even a game.”

Want to join in the fun? Check back next week when we announce our code promotion competition for World of Tanks.