Technology in war is never stagnant. Nations must continuously refine their fighting vehicles to hit harder, move faster, fire further, and take less damage to gain an advantage over their enemies. By upgrading your vehicles and bringing newer, more fearsome war machines into battle, you give yourself an edge that can help your team achieve victory.
The Tech Tree
When you begin playing World of Tanks you have access to tier I tanks, each country's most basic armored vehicle. As you battle against other vehicles, you will earn experience points (XP) and Silver that you can spend to research upgrades for your vehicles, called packages, which improve their combat efficiency. As you research stronger hulls, bigger guns, more powerful engines and better suspensions, you will be able to unlock a nation's more sophisticated, higher-tiered vehicles through the tech tree.
Select the Tanks tab from the main screen to view each nation's tech tree. Vehicles are organized into "lines" based on their type, such as light tanks or medium tanks. There are ten tiers of vehicles, numbered I through X, and five specialized types of vehicles:
To acquire higher-tiered vehicles within a line, the prerequisite vehicles and packages must first be researched. Green arrows on the tech tree indicate which vehicles and packages you need to research to progress to the next tier. For example, the American tech tree begins with the tier I T22 tank. The tech tree branches into four different tier II vehicles, as indicated by the four green arrows.
Press the "Upgrade" button while highlighting any vehicle to view the packages available for that vehicle. By researching your vehicle’s packages, not only are you able to purchase upgrades for your current vehicle, but you advance towards more powerful vehicles as well!
Press the "Tank Info" button while highlighting any vehicle in the tech tree to display the vehicle's type, a brief description, and its base characteristics. A vehicle has many different stats that contribute to its overall effectiveness, so if you enjoy getting into the numbers of your vehicle, you can see them here!
A simpler version of a vehicle’s stats are displayed on the five bars on the right-hand side of the Tanks tab. The five attributes are:
Stat bars are color-coded to let you know at a glance how your vehicle rates in that characteristic: red is low, yellow is medium, green is high. The light gray portion of a bar shows the potential increase to a stat the vehicle will receive from equipping packages.
Press the "Packages" button to view the available setup for the vehicle. Packages upgrade up to four different parts of your vehicle, increasing effectiveness: the gun, the engine, the turret, and the suspension. Highlighting a package will display any changes to the vehicles stats on the bars. Pressing the "Toggle Details" button over any package gives you an in-depth breakdown of what each specific part upgrades.
Once researched and purchased, packages can be equipped and unequipped freely.
Tip: You can press the "Upgrade" button in the Garage screen to quickly view the packages for vehicles that you own!
The Price of Warfare
Vehicles and packages have two costs: a research cost, and an optional purchase cost. Research costs, denoted by a star icon, are paid using XP, and must be paid before a vehicle or package can be purchased and used. The purchase price in Silver for vehicles and packages is denoted by a coin icon.
Note that to advance through the tech tree you need only to research the prerequisite vehicles and packages -- you do NOT have to purchase them. For example, if you wanted to use the German tier IV Hetzer tank destroyer, but you didn’t want to purchase the tier III Marder II, you could pay the XP research cost for the Marder II and the necessary packages to be able to research the Hetzer. You could then pay the XP research cost for the Hetzer, and spend the Silver to purchase it.
XP, Elite vehicles, and Premium vehicles
XP is accrued per vehicle when you use them in battle. XP earned on one vehicle can only be used to research that vehicle’s packages, and to pay the research costs to unlock vehicles that are directly connected through the tech tree. At the end of each battle, you will receive a bonus of 5% of the XP earned during the fight as Free XP, which you are able to use towards any research cost in the tech tree. But what if you really enjoy playing a specific vehicle and want to be able to use all of the XP gained from it as Free XP? That’s when you make your vehicle Elite.
An Elite vehicle is a vehicle that has all of its packages and connected vehicles in the tech tree researched. Once a vehicle is Elite, you have the option to pay a Gold fee to convert all XP earned on that vehicle into Free XP, which can be used towards other tanks and packages. Elite vehicles are denoted by a golden wreath around their type icon.
Another option to get Free XP is with Premium vehicles. Premium vehicles are exceptions to the tech tree as they may be purchased with Gold at any time and do not have any research dependencies. Premium vehicles have the benefit of allowing you to immediately convert any XP earned into Free XP, for a Gold conversion fee. Premium vehicles do not have packages to research, and thus cannot be upgraded.
The more engagements you fight, the more XP and Silver you’ll have to research new packages and tanks, so get battling, tanker!