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.
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.
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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