One of the key abilities you should strive to cultivate in World of Tanks is situational awareness. A lot of things fall into this category within the game, and all of them are important.
On the small scale:
- Be aware of your proximity to allies. Don’t pull up directly behind an ally; this prevents them from retreating to cover.
- Also be aware of the problems you cause by firing at enemies while near an ally. For instance, if your Heavy pulls next to a friendly Tank Destroyer, chances are you will be spotted but your ally will not. When the enemy fires at you, they can inadvertently hit your ally on a miss or bounce. This in turn can cause the ally to move, exposing their position too soon. Suddenly your action results in two targets rather than one for the OpFor (short for Opposing Force for those who aren’t familiar!).
- Take care not to bump stationary allies, especially Tank Destroyers. Merely bumping them causes their camo net and binos to drop, as though they moved of their own volition.
- Be aware of a friendly tank’s firing rate. If two or more of you are utilizing the same cover, it usually means taking turns pulling out of cover to fire, then falling back. If you don’t pay attention to your allies’ firing, you can easily pull forward and block their shot. You wouldn’t want anyone doing that to you when you have that sweet side shot, so please don’t do it to others.
On the large scale:
- Pay attention to the map at the beginning of the match and where your allies are headed. We’ve already touched on lemming trains – don’t join it. It may feel like suicide to go to the flank less defended, but someone needs to – otherwise the enemy has a nice, long, red carpet rolled out, straight to your base.
- Pay attention to the map during the match, making sure your team is holding up. If you can see that a flank is falling and yours is doing well, consider relocating to give support to the faltering allies. Map control is important and will be better defined in a future post, but in a nutshell it means all key areas are covered and controlled by your team. If you see an area falling that would give an advantage to the enemy, locate your gun to better help the team.
- Do the quick math when a capture is pending. If you know there are multiple reds close to your base, particularly closer than you are to theirs, then you are not going to successfully cap their base. There’s no polite way to say it – it’s a stupid maneuver to get on the enemy cap after they’ve already placed 3 or more tanks on your base. The bottom line is they will win – at best, the game will be a draw. If at all possible, consider running back to the base to help reset the cap while teammates continue on to the enemy base. Obviously, this is dependent on the speed of your tank. The faster tanks (lights and mediums, primarily) are the ones responsible for countering the enemy’s cap at this point.
There are plenty more points to consider with situational awareness, but this brief overview hits on some of the key ones. The ultimate takeaway from this should be to check the map frequently and make your decisions based on what your team is doing. Yes, there will be lemming trains – preach the word against it as much as you can and lead by example. The team that makes the better tactical decisions will win more than 90% of the time.