Archive for the ‘WoT’ Category

Putting stats in context

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been playing quite a bit of World of Tanks lately and trying to improve both my winrate and my wn8, WoT’s skill rating system made by the game’s community. Wn8 is calculated by measuring various factors like cap points, enemies spotted and most importantly, damage done to the enemy. The statistician overlords behind the metric claim that damage done is the most direct contributor to a team chances of winning. In order to be more precise, each tank has their own expected value which means that in order to get a good rating you need to do more or less damage depending on the tank.

So for the past two weeks I’ve been making a conscious effort to try to improve my damage done in the game by reading up on strategy guides and trying to apply what I learn. Pretty similar stuff to what you’d do if you wanted to improve your Dps in WoW for example. After two weeks I was expecting improvement but when I looked at my stats they were pretty similar to what they were when I began which kind of sucks  when you apply yourself and try to get better.

Yesterday I was chatting about this with one of the trainers in my clan to see what I could do to start getting better and not get stuck at my current skill level. He listened to me for a while, went to look at my stats, asked a few questions about how I approached the games and what I felt I was doing better or worse and then he asked me a few important questions.

Him:  “What was the tank you were playing the most before the holidays?”

Me: “T-44” (a tier8 medium tank)

“What is your main tank now?”

“T-54” (tier 9 medium, the one following the T-44 and one with relatively high win8 expected values).

“I see you also have a Auflkl. Panther that seems recent. Did you buy that recently too?” (Aufkl. Panther is a tier 7 light tank with a reputation as a bad tank that is very hard to do well in).

“Yeah got it during the holidays”

“So, you’re getting similar stats playing the T-54 who has higher expected values and see tougher opponent more frequently and also while playing an Aufkl. Panther which is an awful tank.”

“….. crap I’m dumb.”

So a big thank you to my clan mate who reminded me that improvement is not just measured by a number and that it’s also important to put said numbers in context.


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Challenging yourself in MMOs

Back in October 2014 I started playing Word of Tanks again after a rather long break.  In the past I would play it by spurs of a few weeks and then leave it alone for a while and I figured this time I’d probably play until Warlords launched and not drop it again. But this time around the game seems to be sticking with me. I did play a lot less during WoD launch and the holidays but I’m finding myself playing a fair amount these past two weeks. I believe that this is mainly because back in October I had set for myself the goal of improving my play and this has kept me interested in the game more than trying to get new tanks.

Which leads me to today’s topic, wanting to improve your gameplay in videogames, something that I find is most relevant in competitive games and MMOs. For example, I’ve been trying to improve in WoW to keep up with my raiding guild which raids at a pretty high level. I’ve had to improve my healing in FF14 to get through Extreme Ifrit and Bahamut Turn 5. And now in WoT I’m trying to get in the  “bluenicum” range which equals roughly to the top 5% of players (blue is the color given by mods to the players in that range). There are also traces on this blog of my attempts at getting better at SC2.

Now these are all pretty high goals and I know that to enjoy these games I don’t need to raid at a high level, I don’t need to do extreme modes or be in a particular league or be a top tier player. For me though, it’s a matter of challenge and let’s be honest, pride. I play a ton of games and most of time I play on the harder settings. Games like the Soul series (Dark Souls, etc…) just appeal to me and I love playing them. Beating a hard game not only gives a great sense of accomplishment but most of the time I find them more interesting too. A lot of game mechanics are often not apparent on the lower difficulty settings and playing on a harder setting often allow you to appreciate all the depth a game has to offer.  In an MMO being able to play at a higher level often gives you access to more challenging content version of raids and boss fights which I find more interesting.

And let’s not forget pride. After playing games on harder setting for long I want to be able to keep doing so and when I find a game where I struggle it becomes a matter of pride to be able to “beat it”. In my mind, there’s no way I’m going to be beaten by mere lines of codes. I’ll figure out the solution and come out on top. When translated to MMOs or competitive games I know fully well that I’m not a pro player but I’m not satisfied if I can’t play at a high enough level. It might not be the best reason for wanting to improve but here it is.

Sadly I’m not always able to reach those goals especially when it comes to MMOs and games like World of Tanks.  Time commitment, opportunities and skills don’t always line up. When I tried to get better at Starcraft 2 I did manage to get in Platinum league which was my goal but by then it had become a source of stress and I’m not sure how much better I could have gotten even if I wanted to. Likewise, I can’t put in the time required by a lot of serious raiding guilds and even then, to improve to the required skill levels I’d probably have to put in way more time than is reasonable.

In the end though, I want to keep setting myself these kinds of goals. They keep games interesting which is doubly important for games likes MMOs who have no clear ending to them.

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WoT I’m up to: Fly Casual

Short World of Tanks post today.

So I’ve been playing WoT on and off since beta mostly doing a few games every other day or day either when I come home from work or just have a moment to kill. For the most part I’ve been playing by myself and just doing public matches, sometimes in a platoon with a friend.

Lately though it seems the clans (guilds) are in recruitment mode and I’ve been pestered a few too many times with offers from preteens to join their awesome guilds full of kids. Not interested.

So I did what I always did in WoW, started my own guild so I’d be left alone and thus Fly Casual was born and now I’m extending an invitation to anyone who wants to join a World of tanks clan mostly to be left alone and sometimes play with mature people.

Fly Casual is not a hardcore guild, it’s not a clan war guild and we expect nothing from our small membership (all three of us at the moment!). If that sounds like something you would like then feel free to go to the WoT website and apply, which consists of clicking on a link in the page, no essay or anything required.

Also, since I’ve been asked before, if you’re looking to try out the game and want some company to learn the ropes this would be a good place too so feel free to come even if you don’t know anything about the game but have been curious to try it out.

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Been a while since I did a friday World of Tanks post but I’ve been playing some recently so here I am. If you play WoT for any decent amount of time you’ll notice victory or defeat often hang in the hands of a few players. A great player in a good tank in a top of list position may win you the game all by himself and a bad one can lose you the game just as easily.

WoT, like any team PvP game has that famous 80-20 split. Only 20% of the players in any given game will really make the difference. When those players are in the opposite team you need to be able to identify them quickly so you can stop them and if on your team, supporting them in their actions might just assure you victory. Today, I’ll look at 3 types of players you have to watch out for.

The line breaker

This guy is usually driving the biggest tank around and has little to fear from enemy shells. He also knows that wherever he goes it’s likely a number of people will follow. Unlike the dumb big rusher who just rushes across field thinking himself invincible, the line breaker knows where to go to maximise his damage. Generally, his plan involves breaking your battle line, ravaging your rear and then mopping up the survivors.

Stopping the line-breaker: Sadly, the very nature of the line breaker makes him difficult to stop since he knows little can damage him. His plan hinges though on keeping moving and that’s his weakness. You need to stop him moving and hold him still as long as you can. By doing so you’ll also stop his following force (they never keep pushing) and it will give time for your team to either isolate the big guy by destroying the followers or just pound the big one enough to destroy him.

The pro scout

This one has one goal and one goal only, spot key members of your team so his team can engage your team at very long-range. What makes him different from the suicide scout? He stays alive and he doesn’t try to spot your entire team, just the right people.

The pro scout plays off the fact that most early games consist of the two teams staying hidden in the hopes of scoring easy kills. By spotting one or two members of your team at a time and by not dying, he directs a lot of fire on your team and weakens it slowly until you can’t fight back.

Stopping the pro-scout. Kill it!!! Kill it now!!! Seriously, this guy will make your team lose quickly if he’s not dealt with rapidly. If you can manage to kill him safely do so but if needs be this is one occasion where a sacrifice might be needed. Think of it this way, would you rather do a 1 for 1 tank trade or wait until you lost 3 tanks to finally kill him.

The ambush base defender

Bases defenders usually come in two flavor, the weak one who was afraid to go up front because he couldn’t do much… and the powerful one who was waiting for the softened targets to show up.

This guy strategy is pretty simple. Either his team win without his help or he wipes out the remaining attackers who defeated his team. Often when a team break through the main line, they rush the back disorganised and weakened from their previous battle and this is what the base defender plays off. He simply picks them off one by one.

Stopping the ambush base defender. The solution is simple but requires a bit of guts. When you do break through the opposing line, keep organized and if you get shot at or your buddy explodes next to you, keep moving forward. Ambush defenders are often alone and can’t destroy all of you at the same time. Keep pushing and you’ll win with sheer numbers.

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WoT: The truth about artillery

Today I have something a bit more unusual from my usual posts and I have Danslate to thank for it. Not so long ago I was playing a lot of World of Tanks, most of the time as artillery, and one of the running themes was people getting really pissed off at me for killing them.

As with any pvp game, some people take it very personal when they die and artillery especially can lead to situation where you feel the game was unfair. In the grand picture of the battle, artillery is pretty nicely balanced but when you’re on the receiving end it can feel really unfair.

Over on the forums and in the game, a lot of people complain all the time about how OP artillery is. This is my answer to them.

(please click for full size!)


I really want to thank Danslate for taking the time to draw all of this and make my idea come to life. Please check out his blog and leave comments below for him.

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Pvp psychics

Let me set the scene first, I’m going to be using a World of Tanks example but I’m pretty sure this could apply to any pvp game . Me (Vk3601) and two other mediums tanks are protecting a valley leading to our base while our big guns are rolling on the other side of the map. A classic hold maneuver on our part while we bring all our strength on the other side.

Down the other side of the valley we spot a Kv5 (super resilient heavy tank) accompanied by 5 fast mediums. The forces in presence are thus, on our side three mediums laying in ambush plus an artillery in the back, on their side 6 tanks including a big one no one can damage except the artillery, a great force for quick base capture.  Our objective, hold down their force long enough to give time to the big boys to capture the enemy base.

Their mediums rush us hoping to speed past us, we spring the ambush and in a beautiful display of skill on our part we destroy all five mediums while the Kv5 is slowly mowing us down. When the last enemy medium falls, I’m left alone to stop the Kv5 from destroying our artillery. In my mind things are simple, I can’t really damage the Kv5 and if he destroy the artillery he can then destroy me at his leisure and capture our base. I need to make him fight me for as long as I can so either the artillery kills it or the other group captures the enemy base.

So I load explosive shell so I can at least annoy the Kv5 and start playing hide and seek moving away from the arty hoping he’ll take the bait and come for me. He doesn’t… he’s smart and knows I can’t do much so he heads straight for the arty. In the end we managed to kill it thanks to a lucky artillery shell.

The interesting part is that during the whole time there was someone on our side calling me all sorts of names because I didn’t go head to head with the Kv5. According to him I should have suicided myself to buy a few seconds and trying to buy time by playing hide and seek was cowardice (he used much more colorful terms).

My plan is better! Why can’t you see it!

I took some time setting up my example so you could follow my thought process during the whole fight. You read my explanation and you’re thinking it makes a lot of sense right? Then why did our Scott didn’t see it? Could it be because he’s dumb? Yes, possibly… the probabilities of him being dumb sure looks good. Then again, maybe he just had a better plan that I couldn’t see. Maybe I’m the one being dumb? Who knows???

See, what Scott forgot is that until proven otherwise people are not psychics in pvp games. I can’t possibly know you’re genius plan and you can’t know mine unless we speak to one another. Scott thought more time would be bought by going Kamikaze, I prefered to play on the Kv5 bloodlust.

The best part is how these pvp psychics get all worked up about it. I mean, the whole psychic phenomenon is present in pve too but in pvp games it gets way worse. People go insane about perceived mistakes from other players and forget than maybe if a strategy had been agreed upon before maybe… just maybe… things would have been smoother.

I have a simple advice to help keep our blood pressure down. Give them the benefit of the doubt. We might be psychics but they’re not and we can’t expect them to divine our genius plan. We will need to step down to their level and actually talk to them…

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This post has been last updated on July 14th 2011.

Yup, another post about World of tanks. I know, it’s not a true MMO but I’ve been playing it a lot recently as my “I just want a quick game” game and it’s been doing wonders to let me blow off some of the accumulated stress of the past few months.  Today I thought I’d write this quick guide for newcomers to the game on how to survive against artillery. For those wondering I’m myself an artillery player with a tier 6 arty.

After a few battles, a new player in WoT will get to the second tier of tanks and will encounter artillery for the first time. The encounter will usually consists of the sound of an artillery shell fired from across the battlefield one shoting the player tank. This is often followed by QQ about how op artillery is.

Truth is artillery is not overpowered but it will teach you an important and historical aspect of tank warfare wich is cover is king. While you might be driving a tank, driving it in the open is an open invitation to get shot to pieces.

Knowing artillery

A lot of players on the forums will tell you that in order to beat artillery you need to play one. While I agree that down the road someday it may be worthwhile to play a few games as an artillery, I don’t think it’s a necessity.

As a general rule of thumb, artillery fires twice a minute in an arching trajectory from their position to yours. Artillery takes a long time to aim properly at their target (set-up) and even when they are zeroed in they still have a decent chance to scatter away from their intended target. Think of it as artillery having a default miss percentage. The more powerful the artillery, the bigger the miss percentage but when it connects you’re in trouble. But in order to fire all over the battlefield, artillery needs to be able to spot you.

The one thing I want you to take out of this is that artillery has an easier time against stationary and predictable targets who do not have cover. If you’re moving and/or not spotted, chances are slim to be hit by artillery.

We’ve been spotted!

So how does one become a target for artillery? By being spotted. As soon as any enemy tank spots you, you appear as a little red dot on the arty mini map and they can target you.  Of course, if you can avoid being spotted at all you’re mostly safe from arty but eventually you’re going to end up making contact with the enemy and as soon as that happens you could be an arty target.

There’s a lot of do’s and dont’s at this point but surviving arty comes down to making yourself a hard target. This is achieved two ways. Either you keep moving in an irregular pattern to make it hard for arty to zero on you or you get behind hard cover (not a bush). Take into account other elements of terrain that could make it hard for arty to get to you.  For example fighting in cities tend to make it really hard for arty to get to you.

Finally, try to keep an eye out for the “kill” messages, the minimap and the general flow of battle. If there’s a single arty on the other side and he just killed someone on the opposite side of the map, you can take a safe guess you should be safe for a little while. Likewise, if there’s a field of burning tanks in front of you, suspect something is amiss. I find that keeping an eye out for who’s dying to artillery fire can be a great help in figuring out if I’m likely to be a target.

They’re firing on us!

Despite all your best intentions an artillery shell lands close to you, or even damages you and you know you’re in trouble! What to do? The answer is simple, get behind hard cover, NOW! Unless you where hunting said arty in wich case you might want to rush it,  as soon as you hear the whistling you should seek cover. Try to spot where that shell came from and make sure there’s a rock, house, or anything else between you can certain death. Most arty players, once they target a tank, like to finish the job and you should expect follow-up shells.

So you get behind that rock and suddenly you feel pinned down, unable to do anything… but in fact you’re in a unique position to help your team win. The longer you can keep that artillery focused on you, the longer it’s not targeting the rest of your team. Try, if you can, to bait the artillery into taking pot shot at you by moving a small part of your tank out of the cover and darting back in. Sure the arty could get lucky but I’ve seen people occupy arty for a whole game using this technique. Arty players are incredibly prone to tunnel vision so try taking advantage of that.

General tips

So, we know that once spotted we’re in trouble and we know that the only real protection is having some hard cover. Plus, we know how to take advantage of having the full attention of an arty. Now, in no particular order, a few general tips on surviving, and fighting artillery.

  • Beware chokepoints and most travelled paths. Clever artillery players will pre-target those spots and wait for someone to simply show up. Likewise, many maps feature common spots to battle over(the hill on the Mines map for example) that arty will try get good coverage of.
  • Avoid the “perfect bush”. Some bushes are just well placed on the map and are favorite spots of tanks to wait in. Arty players will know of these favorite hiding spots and many times will fire on them just to flush people out or try a lucky kill.
  • Don’t fire for no reason! Arty players will often try to spot the enemy using your own tracers. Even if your tank doesn’t show up your shot will. It’s a simple matter then to check where the shot originated from and lob a shell. Move and shoot is a good habit to develop for that very reason.
  • Beware arty direct fire! Artillery has a direct fire mode just like a regular tank and can use it to defend itself in close combat. An artillery shell at close distance is just as deadly as the one fired at long distance. Some Spgs are extremely efficient in direct fire mode to the point that they can effectively be played as tank destroyers (assault Hummels for example..)
  • When engaging Artillery in direct combat try to come at it at fast speed in an irregular pattern and keep moving until you can get to its side or behind it. You want to make the arty waste its direct fire shot and not get hit!

That about covers it I think. Now go forth and make that arty pay!

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