WoT Corner; Be an Active Player
WoT is an incredibly unforgiving PvP game. Because there’s no respawn or HP recoup mechanism in the game mechanics, mistakes are punished immediately and permanently. What this tends to do is reinforce a mentality of passive play. That’s unfortunate because passive play is the primary cause of the majority of losses in WoT. After being punished hard for mistakes while trying to be active, players often become very careful; to the extreme of becoming overly passive.
It’s not hard to see that the game design lends itself to passivity, but what can you do to break free of a passive mentality?
First, I recommend you come at the game with one overriding thought process which informs the entirety of your game play. Consider yourself the only sentient being on your team and if you don’t do it no one else will. No matter if some very good player has better stats, or they are in a good clan. You must consider yourself as the only reliable member of your team and act accordingly (platoons are an obvious exception). If you take this mentality into every game, your performance will increase and you’ll find it’s easier to avoid excessive passivity.
If you don’t have this mentality and decide to play passively, you’ll learn little to nothing but how to die in place. Further it’ll become a very frustrating game.
The next thing you need to know about avoiding the pitfalls of passive play is very important. Recognize that WoT is more chess game than arcade tank shooter. Nearly anyone can become competent to good at pointing and clicking, hitting weak spots and driving a pixel tank. Once those skills are mastered players start to wonder why they still get wrecked just moving on the map. They wonder why they’re never in the right spot, or they get overrun because they’ve over extended. The typical reaction is to become very passive. They don’t venture far, and when they do, it’s only to find a good spot to stare down a lane, or to find some hard cover to sit behind until someone drives in front of their gun.
Be aware that winning WoT requires you to be where you need to be, when you need to be. In order to perform well you must react to the game flow. Passive players do none of those. Passive players allow the game to flow without their input, they let the game come to them. What you get when the game comes to you is most of your team dead and you facing multiple tanks from multiple angles. Good players love enemy passives, as it’s very easy to work flanking angles and take even the most stubborn hull down passive defender out of the game.
But wait you say, sometimes you need to defend and camp!
Of course those are both valid tactics and have their place in the game. But those are tactics, not gameplay styles. Even the most active players will grasp that sometimes they need to camp or hide in a bush, or lock down a flank in a relatively static position. The difference is that the passive will rarely if ever realize when it’s time to stop sitting. In fact sitting is most passives default tactic and not a defensive tactical application to the actual game situation.
Any time you use defensive tactics they should be active defenses and not a further extension of passive gameplay.
Two examples of the most egregious passive gameplay mistakes are the arty and cap guarder. It should be obvious, but apparently is not, that the cap and arty do not need to be defended at the beginning of the game. In fact, a good offense that considers the whole map will naturally take care of guarding arty by wining the game and engaging any enemy tanks well away from the cap or arty.
If we understand then, that to play WoT well you must not be a passive player, what exactly is it you’re trying to accomplish as an active player?
First, it’s critical that we not mistake YOLO play for aggressive play. Simply pressing W until the enemy is met and firing away to die in a blaze of glory is certainly active, but it’s not particularly smart. The two things you should be doing as an active player are to be a force multiplier and look for openings.
A force multiplier is a person who’s dynamically helping their team at the point of attack. There’re many things you should be doing to accomplish this. Actively look for shots; you should always be trying to keep the barrel warm and reduce the enemy teams HP. You should also be attempting to help your teammates do the same. Bait shots, side scrape and trade well, don’t just sit behind the corner and hope the enemy pushes you. Work with your team and not against them. If you have multiple tanks on a corner then side scraping and blocking them all might not be the best option, work together and in echelon. There’re many more examples, the point being you should work to increase team effectiveness, not be a lump of jelly sitting in the back.
While you’re working to multiply the effectiveness of your team on your flank you should always be looking for an opening. Look to push and flank a stubborn defender to get side and rear shots. Turn their turret so your team mates can move forward and finish him. Watch for the moment you can dash across a street or some terrain to take up an advantageous spot for cross fire. Help the team leap frog forward from cover to cover and spot hidden enemies for engagement. An active player makes openings happen.
Strategically watch for openings to break your flank and move to another flank. Get behind the enemy to create strategic crossfires across the map. Push into their back field and take out arty, or spot the camping TDs and tanks. Also pay attention to when it’s time to flex back to cap. While it’s not exactly an opening, it’s a situation where being active and not passive is required. If at any time you feel cap is threatened, start moving back that way. Be active and remember you’ve decided that if you don’t do it no one else will. You’ll be amazed at how many games you save by simply going back to cap after a flank is won. But you’ve got to be an active player to accomplish this.
A special mention needs to be made about TDs and being passive. Many players believe TDs are meant to be played well in the back and in fact camping cap is a good idea. This could not be further from the truth. It is of course map and mode dependent, but you must be active in a TD as well. Mitigate the activity by realizing that casemate TDs are less flexible than turreted tanks, and TDs in general are a bit more fragile and vulnerable to being spotted. However, also remember your gun needs to be active, and close enough to be a force multiplier. Sometimes this means pushing with the tanks, but at the very least advance with them, close enough to add the weight of your gun to the decision. Bottom line, TDs are not passive tanks, they must be careful and sometimes be hidden, but they are not passive.
Now for the painful part. It’s difficult to learn how to be active, how to be a force multiplier. The usual progression for players is to start pressing W in the low tiers and drive forward to die in seconds. This goes on for a few tiers as we all think if we just get the next higher tier we’ll stop dying so much. Of course, that doesn’t pan out as the higher tiers punish bad game play even harder. So somewhere around tier 5 we’ve learned the hard lesson that getting out front and being spotted is a quick ticket to the garage. So passivity begins. Many players never grow out of this phase because they stop taking chances. Unfortunately, the only way to learn is throw your tanks HP away a few times to find out how far you can push.
If you’re a passive player, drop back down to tier 5 or 6 and start pressing forward, start to learn the forward positions and just how aggressive you can be. You’ll learn how to be active, and not a passive.
Passive gameplay costs wins. It’s rare that a camping ream wins and if they do it’s typically because their forward tanks mauled the enemy just enough that the campers can clean up. But that’s the exception, and the team would’ve been much better off with the camping guns in the game from the beginning. Cultivate a mentality of aggression without the YOLO component. Try to be a force multiplier at the front and always be ready to create and exploit openings. Be an active leader, not a passive follower.
Joe Granducci is a student of politics and military history. He is a life-long gamer and a former fighter pilot. Reliving his wasted youth, and starting his second career after retirement he enjoys reading, movies and computer gaming. Joe plays way too much World of Tanks, and you can follow him on Twitch here or his YouTube channel here. If you like what you see follow all of the NerdGoblins at NerdGoblin facebook and twitter @thenerdgoblin