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Taking Advantage of Artillery: A Guide


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Draxin #1 Posted Jan 04 2013 - 03:39

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Hey all! I've been seeing a lot of teams misusing/mistreating their artillery lately, so I thought I'd post my thoughts on how to take better advantage of a vital asset to any team, the artillery. This was originally posted on Reddit, and from the fairly popular response it got, I figured I would post it here as well!
For a tl;dr, just read the bold text!

First, I think it's best that everyone understands just how important artillery is. Artillery on your team is important when:
  • They are firing at targets in your vicinity. This is pretty much a no-brainer. If artillery is firing at the same target as you, or any tanks near you, you have the upper hand.
  • They are firing at targets that are not in your vicinity. Okay, so they're not helping you kill your targets. But that's okay! As long as the enemy team knows there's artillery actively supporting your team, they're going to be hesitant to push forward and put themselves in your artillery's line of fire. When artillery starts getting kills, the tanks on the other team will see that. It doesn't really matter which side of the map the artillery is firing on, because just by firing they're bringing down the other team's morale and giving you opportunities to attack when your target hesitates.
  • They are not firing at all. This is not so much of a no-brainer. Let's say your artillery hasn't fired a single shot. Maybe they're afk. Odds are, the other team will still be just as hesitant to move up because they know there's artillery. They just don't know the artillery isn't firing.
Second, protect your artillery! I cannot stress this enough! If you're on the west side of the map with the majority of your team, and you're all dying because your artillery isn't supporting you, odds are your team left the east flank wide open and artillery has to concentrate their fire on that flank to defend their own asses! If you see a big gap in a flank (i.e. your team went to one side of the map) then go to that flank! Hang back, hide behind cover, and spot for the artillery! Take some shots if it's safe, but your main job now is to support the artillery!
Third, don't blame everything on artillery. They get blamed way too much for things that are (most of the time) not their fault. If you stop and think about it, there are a LOT of different reasons as to why your artillery didn't support you and you died. A few reasons are:
  • Your team (and you) left a flank wide open. See example above.
  • You did not communicate effectively with your artillery (see below).
  • Artillery couldn't get a shot on your target(s). This is a very common occurrence, and artillery gets blamed a lot for this, mostly by people who haven't played artillery before. Depending on which models your artillery are, they very well might not have been able to get a clean shot on your target. If your target is sitting right up against a building or hill or any other obstruction, it's most likely very hard to get a shot on your target. This brings me to my next point...
Fourth, if you haven't already, play artillery! You can't blame your artillery for anything if you yourself haven't tried artillery. I see all too often people complaining about artillery and how "easy mode" it is. By playing artillery, you’ll see that it’s not as easy as you might have originally thought. Also, you’ll learn new tactics to avoid being killed by artillery if you actually know how they work. There's a lot that comes with playing artillery that a lot of people are ignorant about, including:
  • Shell travel time: unless you're really good at artillery, it's very hard to hit a moving target. Your shot has to be calculated perfectly. And because of the arc that the shell travels in,the travel time is often a lot higher than most other tanks.
  • Reload time: most artillery are very powerful. This is balanced by the large amount of time they take to reload after every shot.
  • Movement: artillery usually isn't very agile or fast. It takes a while for artillery to change position or maneuver between shots. Also, in the artillery view, if you move your sights horizontally too far, your hull has to move to adjust and this resets the aiming time.
  • Aiming time: this is usually also quite long. And as I said above, when the hull moves, the aiming time is reset.
  • Armor: some are artillery are strong and can take a few hits, while some are weak and get one-shotted. It varies, but artillery armor usually isn't up to par. This, coupled with their lack of mobility makes them very prone to small, fast tanks that easily slip through the front-line defenses.
My fifth, and final point is probably the most important. Communicate with your artillery! Work with your artillery! They're there to be used, so use them! Take advantage of them. They can mean the world and turn the tides very fast. Some ways to work with your artillery include:
  • Requesting fire. The default key for this is your "T" key. Simply aim at a target and press "T". This will ping the map, make a sound, and notify your team that you need help attacking your target. If you use this key, odds are you'll catch your artillery's attention and receive supporting fire in seconds. Just hang tight, keep the enemy spotted, and let your artillery support you.
  • Pinging the map. This is just as important as requesting fire. Hold down your "ctrl" key and left-click anywhere on your minimap to draw attention to a certain location. Artillery can see tracers, trees falling, anything that's destructible, etc. and if you tell them where to look, they'll be able to blindly shoot at the enemy and have a pretty good chance of hitting them.
  • Using chat. If you feel that the time is right, and you want to advance on your enemy’s position, let your artillery know by using chat. If you’re polite, and tell them you’re most likely going to spot a few targets for them, they’ll have your back.
  • Okay, so let's say you use one of these three ways to get your artillery's attention. What can you do now? You can keep the enemy spotted. Not only does this help artillery, but it also gives you bonus XP if they hit targets you've spotted. You can also lure your target out of cover if the artillery can't hit them. This can be tricky, but use your imagination. Also, when you do get them out of cover, don't go for weak spots to try and damage them. If you hit them, they'll just roll back into cover and sit there, still alive. Instead, track them! Aim for their treads, immobilize them, and let artillery do its job. Nothing is better as artillery than having an immobile target to shoot at; it's like shooting fish in a barrel!
Well, that does it. If at least one person learns something new from this, I feel I've done a good thing. And if more people have their eyes opened, and understand artillery a little bit more, I've accomplished what I set out to do!
Thank you for reading this wall of text!

Vladimir__Poutine #2 Posted Jan 04 2013 - 03:40

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I've known arty tatics last year. But thanks for the tip.

qpinga #3 Posted Jan 04 2013 - 03:42

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i have played so much arty heavy tanks that i no longer have to think about it it comes instinctively to me that reduces rage quit from arty one shot  by 70%

Cl4nkCl4nk #4 Posted Jan 04 2013 - 03:42

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Thank you for daring to post what will probably get flamed.

FWIW:  You got a +1 from me  :Smile_great:

Only correction:

The "T" key is now "F2"

But the basic idea of telling your team mates who you intend to shoot / who you would like to get shot...

Priceless, and not affected by changes in hotkeys.

Edited by Cl4nkCl4nk, Jan 04 2013 - 03:45.


Draxin #5 Posted Jan 04 2013 - 03:50

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View Postgreekguy, on Jan 04 2013 - 03:40, said:

I've known arty tatics last year. But thanks for the tip.

Ah. I was under the impression that this was the "new players' guides" forum. Am I mistaken?

View PostCl4nkCl4nk, on Jan 04 2013 - 03:42, said:

Only correction:

The "T" key is now "F2"


This was also discussed in the Reddit thread. Apparently with the recent patch, new installs now default to the "T" key again, but anything before the new patch is still at "F2". So, I guess it's whatever applies!

Gilthos #6 Posted Jan 04 2013 - 04:44

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I was in a nice Westfield battle in my SU8 the other day. A medium on my team was lighting up their team just on the other side of the stone bridge. Instead of luring them out on our side, he kept on tracking them just on their side and wanted me to shoot them. I could not get through to him that arty rounds fall from the sky. If they are tracked inside or just on the other side of the bridge, I cannot hit them! Wait till they come through then track the ! I had to drive to the top of the ridge and pass over to their side to shoot at them since he did not want to lure them to our side.

VnXsL #7 Posted Jan 04 2013 - 08:10

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I've been playing arty for a month now, a bison, which I have already aced. I  mostly encounter 2, 3, and 5.

My teammates don't protect the arties. Everyone wants to get a piece of action leaving us arties to support flanks and defend the base on our own and probably because I'm just a tier 2 spg fighting tier 3-5's thinking I can't support them. Most of the time, these so-called "expert" teammates let the enemy scouts in. You know what happens next.

Then you get blamed for losing(I got 51% win rate btw), everything you wrote down is exactly the reasons. No communications and they leave the other flanks open.

Sometimes, it's better to go TD mode on arty and play like a real arty a few times rather than get blamed for everything you do when you lose and get praised if you win.

therandomuser #8 Posted Jan 04 2013 - 17:23

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This post also comes from the same reddit thread. Draxin has asked me to post it here as well, cause hey any help to make the game better is good help.

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As a sort of counterpost, here's a few tips I've learned along the way as an arty driver (I adore my SU-8 even if the RNG has been mean to me lately). A lot of these you can even apply to regular tanks.

1. Use your marking button. I have mine bound to Q just because of old BF:BC2 habits. Make sure that you let your team know where your gun is pointing. This lets your allies know if they are under arty support or not and tells them to be cautious because of screaming SPG shells coming in.

2. Don't be afraid to swap over to nearby targets if the one you marked is not a favorable shot compared to the tank 3 to 15 meters away. A damaging hit on the enemy is a damaging hit on the enemy. Besides, your gun isn't leaving the immediate area of the tank you marked so you can easily swap back when conditions are better.

3. Notify your team in chat if you need lights or if you don't have a shot on a target marked. This should tell your team to draw/push the target to a more favorable position for arty. A simple "lights please" or "no shot" can tell your teammates that you aren't just a "lazy no good for nothing piece of easy mode noob". This shows that you are committed to the fight. If they are unable to get the target out in the open, just find a better target. A gun waiting for the enemy to pop out is a gun not firing at another open enemy.

4. Ping your map. Destructible objects getting flattened? A tank broke through the line? Flank left open wide? Ping it. You have an overview and letting the team know allows them to adjust where to deploy themselves to prevent flanking/base capture. Yes the tanks in the immediate vicinity might have seen the breakthrough by the enemy, but they might not be in a position to counter. Another friendly who is in a better position can swoop in and intercept the flanker.

5. If they do let a tank through, keep calm. So long as it's still spotted you should be able to tell when it has spotted you by cues like the turret/hull turning towards you. Fire off a round if you can then find a friendly/hiding spot to run towards. If you know you have been spotted (via Sixth Sense or your own range estimations), run and hope that their arty has no range or has not closed in on you yet.

6. Don't be afraid to unload and load a HEAT/AP round for CQB (Close Quarter Combat) if you have ample warning. If you see that the enemy has broken through and your team isn't stopping them but you know that it still has some time to get close and shoot you, fire off or unload that HE shell in your chamber and get the other ammo out. It will be useful in helping stave off the marauder.

A lot of these is common sense, but that isn't always as common as you would like it.