What you do prior to getting into a game and growing experience with crew actually matters. While I wouldn't consider this to be ADVANCED, it does need to be addressed because some people have no common sense.
See feedback & comments below.
So now we get to the game itself.
I have seen just about everything done in regards to this, but there are a couple of tried and true things that I know work at this point.
At the start of the game there are two things that are of most concern.
- Counter-arty fire
- Do NOT go to standard spots on the edge of the map. This is a big no-no as about 90% of scouts move quickly along the edge of the map, or to areas where larger tanks will struggle to defend the space.
- Pay attention to your team and what they can and can't defend. Moving with your team to open the game and leveraging their dispersement on the map and ultimately their guns for protection can be a definitive way to stay alive.
- Head for some cover. You don't need to set up right away and start dropping shells on the enemy right away. Letting your scouts do their work while waiting for a safe opportunity to shoot or getting nailed by counter-arty when spotted is a prudent measure.
- IF they do get through, DO NOT move and wait for the right opportunity to inflict damage. Usually you can disable them and your team mates can do the rest.
- If you do get spotted, run FORWARD like hell, reverse is useless under those conditions. Best to leverage the most speed your tank has. (pretty basic but you would be surprised at how many people do this).
- Do your best to mix up your positions. I can't tell you how easy it is to find other arties just by looking in the same old holes. The first place I look is along the edge of maps because most arties are exceptionally predictable in their positioning map to map.
- Use cover to your advantage. If you know where most arties set up, you can essentially use cover to reduce the risk, At this point you will most likely limit your shot options to half a battlefield, but if that is a main attack point it doesn't matter
- If you feel like you don't have many options and you have to use the same old holes because that is your preference you can use one of two techniques that are tried and true
- Shoot and move: Not as effective as everyone thinks but required in some instances. Shooting and moving forward is the best policy, so set up back and constantly move forward as speed is your friend. Moving backwards rarely gets you out of the blast radius. Only issue is that you can't apply a constant rate of fire once in position.
- Counter their arty first: Easier said than done, but if you are willing to forgo assisting your team in a game of chicken to see who fires first and exposes their position, then go for it. Not my preference but it is a viable option. Clearly the less arty in each battle the more effective this is.
This is probably the most important component of the game. You have five goals in positioning:
- Find a reliable spot that is not susceptible to counter-arty fire and can withstand any preliminary scout attacks.
- Be able to slow down or support any major strategic tank avenues, sniper spots or enemy spotting positions that they may use.
- Cover the most strategic real estate possible. The more important the avenue or avenues, the targets possible.
- Get as close as possible to the targets without getting spotted to minimize the distance your shell has to travel. It makes if far easier to hit moving targets.
- AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, If possible set up in a position that offers the most potential to hit an enemy in the SIDE or REAR of their vehicle. This is important because all tanks have the most armor in the front of their vehicle, the most damaging shots are made when penetrating weak armor on the sides or rear of the enemy's unit.
I think most people that have a tough time with arty don't understand how to set up their reticle properly. Aiming at a target requires that you do not physically move your tank during the process. If your turret reaches the edge of its limit, the tank is forced to move to meet the aiming demand. If this does happen you essentially have to aim all over again wasting valuable time. To stop this you need to understand your guns center line where your guns is at zero degrees in line with the tank.
When aiming at a set of tanks it is important to have your arty at or near the zero line to the target. Should the tanks move in either direction (which they will), you won't have to bother re-aiming everytime and you can make a clean shot and maximize the amount of shells you cut loose with the potential to do damage.
For this, I highly recommend J1mB0's Crosshair Mod for artillary. There are more advanced reticles out there, but none of them make you shoot any better. The one thing it does offer though is a center-line in both sniper mode and god mode.
For moving tanks you should set up your center line in advance of the tanks position so you can make an accurate shot when required.
ADVANCED SHOT MAKING:
There are three types of advanced skills that all arties should employe in game.
- Shell Radius Damage
- Hitting a moving target
- Targeting enemies on the down slope of a hill
This is by far the most underutilized shot by artillary in the game. It is also one of the best shots you can make in game because more often than not it has two effects. Now I am not talking about when a tank is in the open and your shot just happens to miss directly, I am talking about shooting at tanks that are behind cover.
- Does a decent amount of damage (albeit reduced) to the enemy tank AND
- Renders the vehicle unmovable by tracking the vehicle. This is easily the largest benefit of the two as a tracked vehicle is a sitting target for everyone to shoot at.
Maximum damage isn't always a necessity when you can both damage and disable a vehicle because they refuse to come out from behind cover. Anytime you can set down the center of your reticle within blast damage radius, take the shot.
HITTING A MOVING TARGET:
This one takes a bit of skill, but as I highlighted above if you learn how to anticipate where vehicles are moving you can make a fairly accurate shot on a moving vehicle with a well placed center line. I would like to say there is a secret recipe here, but hitting an elc going full speed 900 meters away just takes some practice, So here is the information I digest before I take the shot.
- My distance from the target: this is the most important piece of information. You can get super technical with a table to judge flight time if you wish, or get a reticle that tells you specifically what it is, I just prefer feel. It doesn't take long to know the difference in flight time of 900m vs. 400m vs. 100m.
- The speed of the target: This one is obviously a little harder to judge because you have to take into account acceleration, up hill / down hill trajectory of the target, etc. Again, I use feel on this.
- Defined path of target: I rarely take a shot at a target if they are moving unpredictably. Targets moving in straight lines are much easier to handle. Especially if they go invisible on you.
- My orientation to the target: Obviously a straight on shot is far easier to make than one move perpendicular to your position
- Critical nature / Situational need of the target: If I think I can make a difference by shooting at the target, then I am more likely to take the risk of shooting at a moving vehicle.
- Potential for target to stop or slow down. If a tank is on a ramming trajectory, sometimes the best course of action is to wait until it comes to a dead stop. If a tank is moving quickly but I know topographically they have to move up a hill, I would rather wait until that point to take the shot.
Everyone knows that shells, when fired move in an arc to the target. That can be beneficial when targeting enemies on the backside of hill. By watching the length of your target zone on your reticle marker you can easily judge how a shell will fly on the backside of that hill.
If the target zone is uninterrupted by the peak of the hill on the down slope, and also shows the target zone elongated, it is more than likely that the shells flight path will be almost parallel to the downslope of the hill.
So what does this mean? By placing your center marker just beyond the target the flight path of your shell will "naturally" hit the target dead square on its downward flight path. It is one easy and devastating shot to make, but rarely attempted for some reason, hence the reason I tossed it in the advanced section of shot making.
I always get someone telling me NS, when I do it, but I guess the secret is out now. Just make sure you understand the height of the tank you are shooting at. The higher the profile the better, but you can attempt it on smaller tanks just as easily if the reticle takes on an extreme elliptical shape.
Fairly undervalued as far as I am concerned. As a ranged unit with a slow reload, you easily have the opportunity to be the best communicator in a team. Since most people play Pubs let's just stick to the basics here sans teamspeak for platooning and CW.
A couple of things that may be valuable include:
- Advise your team on the area that you plan on covering to start the game.
- Advise your team on where you plan on sitting down
- Call targets for focusing fire and for spotting purposes. Hopefully your team mates know to look at their mini-map while firing on enemies.
- Immediately called tracked targets for elimination
- Call areas of concern by CNTRL clicking them in your map.
ADVANCED SHOOTING IN SNIPER MODE:
In some rare instances on some maps it is quite possible to stay behind cover with ZERO chance of getting spotted using sniper mode. Since Arty "sniper" mode is the standard set up for most tanks, you can use that to your advantage when squaring up targets behind cover.
Most people don't realize it but it is a distinct advantage that only arty gains because of the trajectory of arty shots and game mechanics related to the POV.
You will have to figure out the rest for yourself.
As stated above, there are no active defenses (plate armor / HP) on an arty so your stengths are very much your weaknesses in this piece of metal. Everything you have defensively either requires active information gathering so you have to be aware of how the battlefield is playing out and move accordingly or movement. So let's run them down
- Sixth sense: your primary active defense system addressed above
- Your mini-map: active intelligence on your team's movement and spotted enemies within radio range
- Range of fire: being the furthest back on a battlefield is advantageous.
- Movement: running like hell can sometimes get you out of a jam or sometimes you just need to adjust your position due to team breakdowns on one side of a map.
BE UNPREDICTACLE & FLEXIBLE:
The more wide open the map, the more options you have in being unpredictable. Obviously some maps just force you into certain areas for shot making, urban battlefields being the primary in that area. But you don't always have to do what the next guy does.
Don't be a afraid to try something different and to mix up how you play a map. You should always have a couple of options.
Also be sure to be flexible. A spot on the map that at one point was not secure can become secure when your team clears an area. Dynamics of battle and safe positioning change over time. Moving to an area that was at one point threatened but now safe can be extremely beneficial to both you and your team. Don't ever feel the need be fixed to one spot, it is about the worst thing you can do in a game
NOTE: Edits for poor grammar or spelling will not be made, live with it.
Edited by Capitalist_Pig, Mar 06 2013 - 14:59.