When playing World of Tanks, your first 30 seconds can influence significantly the outcome of every battle. The beginning of the battle is an excellent time to take stock of your team and your enemies and to develop an appropriate strategy for the ensuing conflict. The experienced tank commander makes use of this time efficiently, answering each of the following questions:
Who Am I?
Perhaps the most important element of pregame strategizing is understanding your tank type. Did you pick a light, medium, or heavy tank? Perhaps a tank destroyer or artillery? Each tank type plays a different, yet still vital role in the outcome of the battle and an appreciation of your role will influence your approach significantly.
If you are in a supporting role like artillery, you might be looking for input from scouts. Early in the battle is a great time to inform your team, “I’ll be covering the 0 line, if anyone can get eyes on it.” Then, your teammates can move more freely down that line, knowing that any tank they spot in the process is a potential victim of your raining fire.
Similarly, if you are a tank destroyer, you might find a good perch or bush from which to take distance shots at the enemy. Coordinate with your teammates to make sure they help you spot enemies without revealing your position. You might even pick up a medium tank escort on your way to your sniper’s perch.
Light tanks can take this opportunity to make sure they are not scouting redundantly. Inform your other light teammates where you intend to go. Ensure collectively you are scouting as much real estate as possible to be most effective.
Mediums and heavy tanks would do well to form small in-game platoons. Remember: there is strength in numbers and teaming up provides you literal strength in numbers. In other words, as a cohesive unit, you can focus fire by collectively shooting at one enemy at a time. A unit of medium tanks or heavy tanks is significantly more powerful than any single medium or heavy tank.
Once you have identified your role on the battlefield, take a moment to identify the composition of your team. Are you the only tank destroyer? Are you one of three light tanks?
At the same time, consider the composition of the enemy team. Do they have two tank destroyers? Only one light tank?
These questions also influence your strategy. For example, the lone tank destroyer is very powerful but also very vulnerable. That tank destroyer, in theory, should take fewer risks, knowing there is not an additional tank destroyer to fill the void in the event of the first’s destruction. This is especially true if there is an uneven distribution of any tank type across the teams.
Continuing with our example, if you are the only tank destroyer on your team, and you see the enemy has two, you know you will need to remain especially hidden. You will need to practice stealth and be particularly sneaky, biding your time and shooting carefully to avoid an early death, costly to you and your team. You might wait for your teammates to root out the enemy tank destroyers first, so you can attack them without revealing your position early.
In contrast, if you are one of two tank destroyers, you might feel emboldened. Perhaps, you can coordinate with your team’s other tank destroyer to bully the enemy by taking slightly riskier shots early in hopes of swaying the momentum your way. This example demonstrates how dynamic your strategy must be as you consider the makeup of your team and accommodate changes in your and your enemy’s roster.
Once you have considered your tank type and the composition of your team, you should consider your placement on the roster. Are you the most powerful heavy tank on your team? Are you the fastest medium? These questions will influence how you maneuver on the battlefield.
If you are the heaviest heavy tank, get ready to push the enemy around. It is your job to menace the battlefield, to push heavy lines, and to send weaker tanks running to your teammates’ waiting guns. You will lead the heavy charge, knowing you can take the brunt of the hits most easily while returning punishing fire.
If you’re the fastest medium, you might lead the other mediums into a city to brawl. You might also help your scouting light tanks with a little backup firepower. Either option can help your team, but you will only know which method to use once you get a sense of combat unfolding. You can see from these examples that understanding who you are is invaluable as you start a battle.
Where Am I?
Once you understand who you are, the next practical step is understanding where you are on the battlefield. Your knowledge of map layouts is very important, as understanding the strength of firing positions, the availability of cover, and the location of choke points enables you to better orchestrate attacks and maneuver across live combat zones.
When you begin a battle, first refresh your memory of the map. Does it have a hill to cover? Is there a valley that allows you to cross enemy terrain while covered? What lines should I push down? These questions will help you think about where in the battle your tank can be most effective.
As well, you should consider where you have spawned. Are you the heaviest tank spawning on the 0 line? If so, it is probably best for you to stay near the 0 line as repositioning to the 1 line would waste precious time and leave your 0 line lopsided in its defense.
Develop an appreciation for your maps effective positions for your tank type, and do your best to get there efficiently.
Who’s With Me?
It is no mystery that teamwork is imperative in World of Tanks; thus, it is critically important to take stock of those fighting by your side. On most maps, teams are grouped along the starting point in at least a couple small units. Alternatively, you may end up in a single group near the flag.
When you have identified the usefulness of your tank type and your position, it is time to coordinate with your teammates. Teamwork makes any group a more potent force on the battlefield when compared with any single tank.
To this end, communication can be a powerful tool. Once you see your team’s composition and where you stand, formulate a strategy; then, encourage your team to cooperate with you. If you are charismatic, you can sway a group of your teammates to assist you in your plan, moving to your location and forming a posse. Adaptation and cooperation can change your initial groupings for the better in just a few seconds.
Whether you are a great coordinator or an exceptional teammate, always remember it is a smart idea to roll with at least one partner -- the "buddy system" can go a long way in keeping you alive on the battlefield in most situations. Stick to your groups, or split off in a pair; you can be even more effective if you and your teammate are playing similar roles. For example, a medium tank wandering alone (or unreasonably far from the nearest teammate) runs the risk of landing in hot water. Your teammates will agree: if you are destroyed in a moment after the enemy spots you, your remaining worth to the team diminishes sharply.
After 30 Seconds...
After 30 seconds of preparation, you are ready to battle. You will be setting up your hiding spot, or making the rounds while scouting, or perhaps even embroiled in a firefight. The battlefield offers a limited opportunity for planning, but afterward, it changes quickly and often. Remember to be adaptive, keeping in mind your roll, your position, and the location of your teammates.