WoT Corner; Kill or Cap?
There are two ways to win a match in WoT, and it’s hard to believe, but that creates controversy. The two options are related but it’s actually possible to win the match by doing one and not doing the other. The two ways are killing every enemy tank or successfully capturing (capping) the enemy’s flag. A large segment of the player base wants to always kill all the enemy tanks and an equally large contingent that’d rather cap than chase enemy tanks. To a large extent both sides are correct and the controversy comes from whether a player leans toward capping or killing all. It’s a matter of degrees, yet still divides the community.
Should you cap the win, or chase the kills?
First let’s look at how WoT is designed because it’s crucial to understanding why the argument exists. The primary game goal is to win in one of the two ways mentioned above. We’ll save the discussion about how some people’s primary goal might not be to win for later. Two teams of fifteen tanks spawn and it’s up to them to figure out how to win by accomplishing one of those two goals in the allotted time.
One of the base mechanics of the game is shooting and destroying enemy tanks, so it makes sense that clearing the board of all enemy tanks is a victory condition. However, gaming companies have learned that death matches, especially ones without respawn, require an additional mechanic to keep the game from becoming a camper’s paradise. There’s usually a mechanic designed to push players out of hard camps. In the case of WoT it’s the flag and cap mechanic. If you can capture the enemy’s flag, you win. This gives a bit more flavor to the basic death match mentality of the game. Essentially it gives the game more focus than a simple death match.
The argument then, between WoT players is this; kill or cap?
Because the mission for each team is to win; the obvious question begged is how best to do it? Should a team kill all tanks, or cap. Both of those objectives are interrelated. There is a definite symbiosis involved. Should teams do some of both?
We’ll break down the two objectives and start with killing all tanks. On the surface this seems a straight forward goal. The majority of games are won by killing all the enemy tanks. The maps are not really very large and the game design tends toward avalanche victories, where one side gains an early advantage and it snowballs from there. This kind of win is fairly common, the cap isn’t typically involved in any meaningful manner and the objective of killing all tanks leads to mission completion and a win.
Another kill all type of victory happens when a closer game is being fought and cap pressure on one team or the other draws out the remaining tanks to be killed. Or a defense of a cap kills all of the attacking enemy. These two examples are where the cap game mechanic influences the kill all mentality a bit more and works as intended to force a decision. The game is won by killing all, but the cap game mechanic facilitated the enemy being destroyed.
As for the second objective of capping for a win, this happens less frequently than killing all the enemy and generates the majority of the controversy. In theory you could cap for a win with zero shots fired. That’s highly unlikely, though I’ve witnessed cap wins with only a handful of tanks being destroyed. Again, these are rarities.
Cap wins are more likely than kill all wins in several situations.
First is the merry go round game where the majority of both teams push in opposite directions and pile onto cap trying to out cap each other. Typically the victory goes to the team that manages to reset a few times; these tend to be the fastest kind of games. Second is the late game cap where there’re few tanks on either side and one team is out of position to reset, or they don’t get enough on cap soon enough. One of the more unlikely cap win strategies is to rush cap and try to cap out early, these rarely work early game. The last kind is the glove save where your team has been rolled up and a couple of your tanks get on the enemy cap, completely out-numbered, but manage to cap it out before the enemy gets back to reset.
The three game modes change who can cap, and how many caps there are, but they don’t significantly change the arguments of cap or kill all. The exception is assault defense where all you need do is have a surviving tank, and not be capped out when time runs out.
You might think that despite all those scenarios, kill or cap both seem like reasonable ways to win and why should there be controversy? In general there’s little controversy about doing whatever it takes to win, it’s just that the opinions regarding the variations of what it takes to win differ.
The controversy is generated by the desire of many players to “kill all” instead of leaning towards capping a win, they will chase the remaining tanks to kill them all.
Why do they do that?
Frankly they have several good reasons to chase the last tanks. Killing the remaining enemy and dealing more damage gives the team more experience and credits. There’re personal missions that require you to do certain things and chasing down the last tanks may allow you to complete them. Gaining Ace Masteries is an example of the many medals and baubles people might be trying to collect. However, the main reason people lean toward the kill all mentality is to improve their Wn8 (or personal rating metric of choice/flavor of the moth). This is the point at which personal goals might be at odds with the game mission to win the match. In other words, some players on the team may not have winning the game as their primary mission for that match. Chasing credits, experience and personal ratings creates the bulk of the controversy because it’s seen to be throwing matches. It’s considered by some to be selfish and poor team play.
Of course that’s not the whole story, as usual the truth is more nuanced. The cold hard fact is that both killing all, and capping have their place. The real reason there’s controversy is humans have different goals and also make mistakes. When players chase damage in the wrong situation or at the wrong time, or try to cap when it’s a low percentage play a game can be lost.
What are the mistakes made in regards to losing a match which cause a failure to achieve victory through one of the two victory objectives?
One of the biggest blunders made when trying to win by capping is doing it too early and with too many enemy guns still in the game. Having the cap reset is a very real danger in these situations. We can call this rushing the cap and while it occasionally works, it’s a very low percentage play. Another mistake often made is putting all your tanks on cap with no tanks out screening the cappers to prevent a reset. For example, if you have 5 tanks, only 3 need be on the cap (perhaps only 2 depending on the situation) and the others should move forward and delay any enemy trying to reset. The common theme here is if you’re going to attempt the win by the capping objective, do it the right way and at the right time to maximize effectiveness. For the team being capped, the critical part is returning to cap. That subject is a whole article in itself. Suffice it to say you can rarely go wrong by returning to cap immediately when you feel it’s in danger of being captured.
As far as attempting to kill all goes, the mistakes made are often in regards to time left in the game, or the enemy team capping your base. Refusing to cap and chasing enemy tanks to farm HP when they’re too fast, or too far away or too many in number can cause a loss if the enemy is capping your base. It’s also the cause of many draws because the running tanks manage to stay alive and you cannot either kill them or cap before time runs out. Many close cap races are lost to someone jumping off the cap to chase the enemy while their own cap is being captured uncontested. The other common situation is the case of chasing an enemy in a strong position who actually kills your chasers off. Plenty of games have been lost to ill-advised or poorly coordinated pushes to kill all enemy tanks which failed because the enemy defeated your push, or stalled you long enough to cap your base.
In general WoT Players want to win the matches. Though situations where individual players have a primary goal other than winning happen, they’re few and far between. The argument between kill all or cap can get heated, and there’re situations where doing one or the other is advised. For the author the priority is to win, the primary objective to secure a win is killing all tanks, the secondary is capping, but the cap win is preferable to a loss or a draw.
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