The battle is underway. Conflict and explosive confrontations unfold across the battlefield. Tanks face off in a fight to the end. The enemy base is left unguarded, and on your screen, the minimap suggests you are the only one nearby. You know that, alone, you need to accrue 100 capture points. You have to obtain these points before you are shot or challenged for control of the enemy base. In the pit of your stomach, you know you’d have a better chance of success with reinforcements.
The moment has come to ask, “Should I cap?”
Base capture, or "capping" as it’s best known, is a dynamic battle element in World of Tanks. This means that the best strategy in any given battle may not always be shooting to destroy every enemy. However, understanding how base capture affects the tide of a battle is important when deciding to push for it.
Base capture is as simple as rolling a tank into the large circle that designates the enemy's (and your team's) base, and staying there long enough to run up the capture point timer to 100. Capture can be sped up by simply having more tanks in the circle, or reset completely when an enemy shot hits a tank. But proper decision-making can ensure your success when going to cap.
There are many opportunities to make effective use of base capture, so let’s cover some basic capture strategies.
Underdog Capture: The "Come-From-Behind" Cap
Here's the scenario: You are about halfway into a battle, and your team is down by two or more tanks. The enemy is concentrated on wiping out your team, and yet there you are, mere yards from the cap, and the minimap shows that the enemies are not concerned with your position.
Looking at the remaining members on each team, you realize in that moment that you’re not likely to regain numbers, firepower, or any other advantage. But you do have a positional advantage.
If you can get on cap (reach the enemy outpost) safely, you can force the enemy to backtrack in an attempt to wipe you out. As the enemy retreats, your remaining teammates can take up an offensive position and chase the enemy back to their base. Or just as well, if the enemy is too late, you can secure the win for your team even if you are heavily outgunned.
Making use of base capture is a great way to force the enemy out of a comfortable position. It might come as a surprise, but while this strategy is frequently formed out of desperation, it’s often met with success.
Stalemate Capture: The "Ninja" Cap
Scenario two: your team and the enemy team are dug in deep. You both control the strongest positions on your respective sides of the battlefield. A few volleys of shots ring out across the map, but otherwise, it’s become a game of waiting for the other side to make a mistake.
All tanks are waiting for action, yet, somehow, you find yourself behind enemy lines. A firefight explodes, as both teams engage each other. In the confusion, nobody is covering the cap.
In the heat of the battle, nobody is safe enough to retreat to base; either there’s no time or there’s no opportunity.
This is your moment to slink onto cap. Hope that the enemy is too caught up in the fight to put up any defense against your base capture; or, hope they might be too slow. You’ll find out soon as you push the issue by rolling onto the base.
Simultaneous Capture: The "Cap Race"
Another scenario: you and your friend are near the enemy base, wondering if it’s time to go for the win. At the same moment, you see your friendly capture point timer start -- an enemy tank has made its move onto your base.
But there's strength in numbers. Capitalize on the enemy’s error: with two friendly tanks on the enemy base that aren't in danger of being shot, you will be able to earn the cumulative 100 total capture points faster than that lone tank on your cap.
Encourage your teammate(s) to join you on the enemy base, and watch your cap timer overtake the enemy’s. If all goes well, you and your teammates have just won by winning the cap race, effectively staving off defeat by staying still.
As you can see, one exceptionally fun element of World of Tanks is effectively capitalizing on capture opportunities. Learning to respond dynamically to ever-developing battle conditions is important; a talented tank commander can singularly influence the outcome of a battle with an understanding of how and when to cap.