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Guide to Grinding the US Heavy Line


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JDCollie #1 Posted Aug 05 2011 - 20:01

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Guide to Grinding the US Heavy Line
by JD Collie



Note - I apologize for the current state of the images; it's an issue with the forum unfortunately.


Introduction

This guide was originally intended to help players reach the T34 before it was made a tier 8 premium in the 7.2 patch. It has now been modified to aid players in reaching their US heavy goals (whatever those may be) as quickly as possible.

About Me

I'm an unrepentant pubby with a great deal of experience in the US heavy line, as well as some experience in the Russian and German heavy trees as well.
Contents

I – Research and Costs
II - Tactics
III - Frequently Asked Questions
- Outdated Sections -
IV - US Heavy Tree Update Information
V - Personal Progress










I. Research and Expense Guide



Overview
This section includes both a speed grinding guide and helpful information for those looking for a more leisurely experience.

For each tank the following has been provided
  • Speed grinding guide
  • Overall experience cost for Free Xp use
  • Overall cost of tank and modules
  • Grinding advice

Grinding Guide KEY


As shown in the key in each image, colored borders are used to show the following;

RED indicates that the upgrade can be researched via a tank not in the current tree. I.E., the 76mm M1A1 can be acquired via the M4 Sherman. These alternate options for acquiring upgrades are shown to aid those with the extra tanks available, not to recommend grinding the secondary tanks.

BLUE indicates that the upgrade can be researched via a tank earlier in the US heavy tree. The 90mm M3 on the T29 is an example of this, as it can be researched on the M6

WHITE indicates that the upgrade will be used by a later tank, should you research it at the current point. Most of the T29 upgrades fall into this category.

YELLOW LINE Denotes the speed grinding upgrade path. In cases  where an indicated upgrade is already acquired, simply continue onward.

Information and images are from World of Tanks Database and is subject to change.


Each tank has four “guides” provided.
  • Visual Guide – Image with speed grind outlined, plus additional module-specific information
  • Speed Grind – Experience requirements and credit cost. Assumes player is playing the tank and using one upgrade to reach the successive one, and thus includes those module's cost.
  • Elite Grind – Experience requirements, cost of top modules, and cost of all modules combined.
  • Free Experience – Experience requirements only. Same as the speed grind cost on many, but not all, tanks
NOTES
1 – If you have little Free XP to spare, I highly recommend saving it for researching guns. Skipping the final 10k XP required to get into the next tank is tempting, but in reality you are jumping into another weak, poorly armed stock nightmare. Save your XP, gain some valuable learning experience while driving for that last 10k, and then have some Free XP ready to make that next stock tank suck less than it normally would.

2 – Tier 1 through 3 are very quick grinds. If you have a great deal of Free XP, skipping these tanks is a fairly cheap option; however, unless you are seriously strapped for cash, it is easier to simply play them through. The M2 in particular can be quite fun with its howitzer.

3 – The experience and credit totals for tanks do not take into account modules researched/purchased for previous tanks. Thus your totals may end up being less than those listed. (In the case of the T32 and T34, having elited the T29 will reduce your experience requirements for various modules by tens of thousands or eliminate them completely.)


T1 Cunningham
Spoiler                     

T2 Medium
Spoiler                     

M2 Medium
Spoiler                     

M3 Lee
Spoiler                     

T1 HT
Spoiler                     
Alternate route to M6

M4 Sherman

Spoiler                     

M4A3E2 'Jumbo' Sherman
Spoiler                     


M6
Spoiler                     

T29
Spoiler                     

T32
Spoiler                     

M103
Spoiler                     

T110E5
Spoiler                     





II. Playstyle Guide


Overview

This guide is written with the expectation that the player will be focusing on a single tank; however,  you will be needing more than just experience to progress. Credit flow is an important point to consider, especially if you are playing without premium.

The Grind

Unless you have 100% survival rate, you will not have 100% uptime on your tank of choice, thus it is wise to have a second (and possibly a third) tank available for when your primary grinding tank is disabled in a prolonged battle.  Ideally these secondary tanks will have good credit gain, meaning either premium tanks, or Tier 5-6. Prioritize vehicles that can inflict damage over those that can take it (damage = credits).

The Tanks

This portion is devoted to making the most of your (presumably) new tank. For many of us grinding up the US heavy line, these are among our first experiences with heavy tanks. This is one reason I do not recommend using Free XP to skip tanks, as it deprives the driver of valuable experience of the non-spendable kind.

General Advice

If you don't use consumables on your Tier V and higher, shame on you. Fire extinguishers are cheap, rarely used, and worth their weight in gold when they are needed.  When you start getting more HP, you will learn that fires can burn for a very long time, potentially crippling your modules while it does so. First aid kits are useful as well.

For high tier US tanks, a Small Repair Kit is an absolute must. Because your turret is so hard on many US tanks, you will often get high explosive (HE) spammed, meaning that you will have your gun broken more often then you would like. A repair kit goes a long way toward preventing rage induced brain aneurisms while grinding.

Basic US tank tactics.

Three words: Get hull down. Follow this advice and you will most likely succeed as a US tanker.  American tanks have tough turrets and amazingly squishy hulls; the difference between Steel Wall and first casualty for US tankers is often a few degrees of elevation in the proper location.

NOTE: Hull down is not as effective with the M103 and T110E5 as it was with the T32 and T29. That doesn't mean you shouldn't use hull down whenever you can, but don't expect the later tanks to be the impenetrable bunker the T32's turret is.  On the plus side, both the M103 and T110 have significantly better penetration, accuracy, alpha, DPM, and aim time than their predecessors. This means you can snipe effectively, or even brawl effectively if you so desire. Both tanks are highly dangerous at any engagement range.




When referring to Top, Mid, and Low list games, this refers to your relative position on the team list.


T1 Cunningham, T2 Medium, M2 Medium to be added.

M3 Lee
Spoiler                     
T1 Heavy Tank
Spoiler                     
M6
Spoiler                     
T29
Spoiler                     

T32
Spoiler                     

M103
Spoiler                     




III. Frequently Asked Questions

I will add new frequently asked questions as they arise (if they arise). Outdated information is greyed out.

1. When will the T34 be made into a Premium tank? - See section IV. US Heavy Tree Update Information


2. Is (insert any upgrade gun here) really worth it? I could get to the next tank faster without it. - Always have the best gun you possibly can, period. More damage = more xp, more xp = faster grind (and more fun for that matter)  You should always pick up the best gun on a tank as soon as it is feasible.

3. How much money will I need? - To concurrently purchase each tank stock from the T1 HT to the T110E5 (not including upgraded modules or crew training) would cost 15,020,300 credits.

4. How much free XP would I need to skip this whole grind? – To free xp from the T1 Cunningham to the T110E5 would require 653,060 free experience.

5. I have some free XP, which tank should I skip if I can only skip one? Hard call; most players seem to recommend skipping the T1 HT or the M6, as they can be very painful to grind. I myself would recommend skipping the T1 Heavy. The M6, once it has the 90mm M3 is less painful to play.

6. Will the T34 have the 120mm if I don't research it before the patch? - Yes. The T34 premium will be equipped with the 120mm.

7. What consumables should I be using? - A regular Fire Extinguisher, Small Repair Kit, and Small First-Aid Kit usually do just fine. I find that US tanks rarely catch on fire, but it doesn't hurt to have an extinguisher around, just in case.

8. What order should I train the secondary skills of my crew? - With all the skills 7.2 added, this is a far more difficult question than I can answer here. Feel free to provide your own opinions on this subject in the comments.

9. How much time would it take for me to get into the T34 from _____? - There are a number of posts in the comments section that have detailed player's time it took to get them to the T34.  I took about a month myself from the T1 Heavy.

10. What equipment should I be using? - Some discussion in the thread has brought up two extremely important points: Speed and Cost.

Speed
This is a grinding guide, thus getting maximum XP from a battle is your primary concern. XP is gotten by having the capacity to do damage and living long enough to inflict it upon your enemies.

Porntobewild said:

Shooting faster is the equivalent to getting more experience and credits, so rammer and vent (that also increases everything on the tank) are a must, and well, there's a third option, where I usually choose vertical stabilizer, that gives a ice 20% accuracy always. Of course I have not get my pants wet into maths, so I could not assure that a 10% faster aiming could do the job as well, but since this game is about a "peekaboing" and "shoot and move" the stabilizer helps to achieve nice shots sooner, and more often than a 10% faster aiming speed.

About the spall liner, hell yeah, it's really tempting, not for just arty (god forbids that name), but for the HE rounds we, as heavy armored turrets tanks we are, are going to receive, so in this case the formula stays the same: The longer you stay, the more you shoot, but at the same time, if you keep moving and knowing where to go, and where don't, then an experienced player should not need the spall liner.

Cost
The overall grind for the T34 will cost you nearly ten million credits, not including crew training costs. Even if you moving the modules from tank to tank once you have purchased them, the initial cost is of three heavy tank modules it at minimum 1.5 million credits. Modules make a difference for sure, but if you are short on cash, it may not be feasible to purchase them. Remember, you are going for speed; if it takes you longer because you are trying to get modules, then your modules are ineffective for the purposes of getting the T34 in the given time frame.

EDIT: As this guide is not longer dedicated solely to getting the T34, Crew Ventilation and Gun Rammers are almost always recommended for heavy tanks. The last slot is a matter of huge debate. I like to snipe, so I go with gun-laying drives myself.

11. Should I go through the T1 Heavy, or should I move through the M4 and Jumbo Sherman to get to the M6? If you are just using free XP to skip tanks, going the T1 HT route will cost you ~20,000 xp less.  However, if you are playing through, both Shermans are considered to be much more competent and fun then the T1.  In other words, the T1 path is technically faster, but if the T1 is horribly painful for you, the Sherman path might be just the ticket.





IV. US Heavy Tree Update Information - No longer relevant



Currently the M103 is slated for patch 7.2  

hiroshi_tea has posted a comprehensive history of the M103's release history and delays here.










V. Personal Progress - No longer relevant



This section details the time it took for me to move from the T1 heavy to the T34. This should give you  a guidepost to estimate your own grind by.
Spoiler                     



Please, add any advice or recommendations on how to improve this guide in the comments below.  Thanks for reading, and feel free to let us know how your US heavy experience is going!

Edited by JDCollie, Jan 14 2013 - 21:00.


JDCollie #2 Posted Aug 05 2011 - 20:33

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Reserved (for the extreme case that this is actually useful to someone and requires expansion.)

AltDeep #3 Posted Aug 05 2011 - 21:41

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I love it. Thanks a lot for doing this, I've only recently started to grind for the t29 (I already have a Tiger). How long do you think it would take to go from M2 - > T29, granted I don't have premium and only have a vk3001H and a mostly upgraded Tiger?

JDCollie #4 Posted Aug 05 2011 - 21:55

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View PostAltDeep, on Aug 05 2011 - 21:41, said:

I love it. Thanks a lot for doing this, I've only recently started to grind for the t29 (I already have a Tiger). How long do you think it would take to go from M2 - > T29, granted I don't have premium and only have a vk3001H and a mostly upgraded Tiger?
Without Premium, I'm not sure how long it would take you, however, the biggest obstacle to your progress is likely to be the M3 Lee. Not because the Lee is a bad tank, but because it isn't a tank at all. The M3 Lee is a moderately fast TD with a high profile and no camo. Play it like one and you will do fine.

With premium, I was able to push through the T1 HT in about 10-15 hours of solid gameplay (not all at once), and the M6 in about the same. Assuming similar performance, you should probably be able to grind up to the T29 in about two weeks of concerted effort.

VirgilHilts #5 Posted Aug 05 2011 - 22:55

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View PostAltDeep, on Aug 05 2011 - 21:41, said:

I love it. Thanks a lot for doing this, I've only recently started to grind for the t29 (I already have a Tiger). How long do you think it would take to go from M2 - > T29, granted I don't have premium and only have a vk3001H and a mostly upgraded Tiger?


Without premium, I got through the T1 in 103 games. I think the M6 may have taken about 125 games, maybe 140 including the 90MM.

I banished all memory of the M3 Lee, damn you for reminding me!  :lol:

Seriously, since I used the Lee to get both the T1 and the M4, all I can do is guess, I had 115 games total in it, so maybe 60 games for just the T1.

I played 34 games in the M2 with a 62% winning average.

I do, however, have the beta Sherman, which does generate a fair amount of credits and free experience. It used to generate a lot more when I was at 60% with it, but the match maker crap has it down to 48% right now.

Again, all of that is without premium, and I had a little better than 52% average over all.

I have gone as far up the German lines as the PzIV and the PzIII/IV, so there are credits from those lines I have not used, since I have both the VK3601H and the VK3001P researched. I still have the PzIV, I got rid of the PzIII/IV.

Pongo #6 Posted Aug 05 2011 - 23:06

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I have done this and am 100k into the T32 right now.
For my play style you nailed it. The T32 needs the 105 to be viable. I elited the T29 as you describe.
I kept my T29, put the tracks on the T32 with free xp and then moved all the good gear and the great crew to the T32. When I had the money after a few days I bought the good stuff for the T29 and put an ok crew in it. So it is rocking again now.

Good guide

JDCollie #7 Posted Aug 05 2011 - 23:13

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View PostPongo, on Aug 05 2011 - 23:06, said:

I have done this and am 100k into the T32 right now.
For my play style you nailed it. The T32 needs the 105 to be viable. I elited the T29 as you describe.
I kept my T29, put the tracks on the T32 with free xp and then moved all the good gear and the great crew to the T32. When I had the money after a few days I bought the good stuff for the T29 and put an ok crew in it. So it is rocking again now.

Good guide
Thanks! Any tips you would add?

hiroshi_tea #8 Posted Aug 05 2011 - 23:20

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For the T32, you should research tracks and then turret.  After that, do whatever you want with the tank.  

Why do I suggest the tracks?  Simply so you can mount the upgraded turret.  Because the stock turret is notably crap and most good players will recognize the stock turret and shoot at it for guaranteed penetration.  The upgraded turret provides the invulnerabilities of the T29 stock turret and will increase the tank's survival in high tier matches (and thus more exp).

JDCollie #9 Posted Aug 06 2011 - 00:49

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View Posthiroshi_tea, on Aug 05 2011 - 23:20, said:

For the T32, you should research tracks and then turret.  After that, do whatever you want with the tank.  

Why do I suggest the tracks?  Simply so you can mount the upgraded turret.  Because the stock turret is notably crap and most good players will recognize the stock turret and shoot at it for guaranteed penetration.  The upgraded turret provides the invulnerabilities of the T29 stock turret and will increase the tank's survival in high tier matches (and thus more exp).
Good to know, thanks!

Magmus #10 Posted Aug 06 2011 - 02:33

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I think it took 2.5 weeks for me to reach the T34.  According to my battle list, I had 94 games in my T1, 176 games in my M6, 411 games in my T29 and 331 games in my T32.  I skipped the 2nd engine upgrade for the T1 and M6.  Everything else I elited, although I did have the first 76mm researched from my Sherman.

As for playstyles, I generally played as a flanker for the T1 and M6.  Most tanks, heavy and medium, will be able to penetrate you with ease, and as such  you should never go out alone.  The best situation for these two tanks is if you can get to the side of tanks and continuously pepper them.  If you are the top for the T1 or M6 you can be a little more carefree than in other battles, but make sure that your front armor faces your enemies.  As a warning, you will hate your life in the M6 without the 90mm.

The T29 is a mix of being daring and a sniper, and is the only time you actually feel like a heavy in the American line.  For a tier 7, it has the best armor and gun, after you get the 105.  You are more than adequate to deal with anything below you with the 90mm.  With the 105, hull down if possible, and play as a medium to long range sniper for T8/T9 battles.

The T32 is pretty much a more mobile version of the T29.  The other bonus of the T32 is its uncanny ability to facehug any tank.  The 105 begins to lose its luster at T8.  Learning the weakspots of T8/T9 tanks is a must for the T32 to be enjoyable.

If you guys have more questions I'll be happy to address them.

EDIT: Forgot to mention I didn't have premium.

Biscko #11 Posted Aug 06 2011 - 02:54

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Theoretically, couldn't you just free exp the entire thing?

Just save up around 500k and you're set.

JDCollie #12 Posted Aug 06 2011 - 03:21

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View PostTomoya_kun, on Aug 06 2011 - 02:54, said:

Theoretically, couldn't you just free exp the entire thing?

Just save up around 500k and you're set.
Significantly less actually, 384,520 Free XP are required to skip from the T1 HT into the T34.

PornToBeWild #13 Posted Aug 06 2011 - 07:43

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Very nice guide, a lot of players are eager to get info on this, as I am. The only point I could make is about the modules, which I find pretty hard to choose the right ones, of course, and it's in everyone to find the ones that fit their style, but let me tell you which ones are the ones I recommend:

Shooting faster is the equivalent to getting more experience and credits, so rammer and vent (that algo increases everything on the tank) are a must, and well, there's a third option, where I isually choose vertical stabilizer, that gives a ice 20% accuracy always. Of course I have not get my pants wet into maths, so I could not assure that a 10% faster aiming could do the job as well, but since this game is about a "peeakboing" and "shoot and move" the stabilizer helps to achieve nice shots sooner, and more often than a 10% faster aiming speed.

About the spall liner, hell yeah, it's really tempting, not for just arty (god forbids that name), but for the HE rounds we, as heavy armored turrets tanks we are, are going to receive, so in this case the formula stays the same: The longer you stay, the more you shoot, but at the same time, if you keep moving and knowing where to go, and where don't, then an experienced player should not need the spall liner.

So, for me, the right deal would be: Vent, Rammer and Stabilizer.

But, there's another thing to have in mind: The prices of the modules, so, would it worth it to risk 600K's credits per module knowing that T-34 costs like 3'4 Mill.? (Not to mention the price of the T-32...) Rigth now, unless youre spending real money, case that doesn't really need any guides like these, it doesn't worth it. T-32 can make money in a premium account, but not as fast as it should... so, it could propably be better to stick with the options and equipment, or buy modules, but having in mind that you could also be forced to sell both your T-29 and T-32 to get the T-34 (by doing this you would "only" need like one million credits, more or less... depending of which modules you mounted in the sold tanks).

And, YES, consumables are a must, not just for the tracks, but more specifically for the cannon, loaders and ammo racks

Thanks for your time spend reading this, and please, accept my apologies if my level of english was not as good as you could have expected =).

andyraptor #14 Posted Aug 06 2011 - 10:58

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Agree with the 1st secondary skill being repair. Especially with the amount of tracking you will encounter on the battlefield.

On my T32 I actually carry a Toolbox in Slot 3 module position. Might be a odd choice but I've found it invaluable. Not everyones first choice but for 500K for a module that you can freely move between vehicles it's good to have in your depot.

I use the small repair kit as my "double urgent get me out of tricky situation fast" kit. But I've found that on many occassions the repair skill + toolbox repairs the tracks almost or faster than I can double tap 5 (small repair kit in slot 5). Especially if I'm in a multi contact brawl or fight for my life situ :)

Now use the same on my egg shell armoured hull T34 :)

Nisae #15 Posted Aug 06 2011 - 12:20

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Love it,remotivated me to grind for the T34,will be coming back for more :Smile_honoring:

dodge3500 #16 Posted Aug 06 2011 - 13:48

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I wonder how much free xp I need to get t34 since I already have MED tank line researched and 200000 xp rdy to go.I think it may have shaved of a bit from the near 400000 needed. Any general ideas appreciated.

TheCheez #17 Posted Aug 06 2011 - 17:06

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The top T32 engine is unlocked when you unlock the T34. The tank is much better with the extra power, but it's a waste of 36k xp.

Like others said, without the 105 and upgraded turret, the tank is a sitting duck. Anyone who will actually grind it out must get those modules! They will pay off in higher avg xp and fewer, less frustrating battles.

I just got the T34 and will have the T30 shortly.

hiroshi_tea #18 Posted Aug 06 2011 - 17:20

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Quote

I wonder how much free xp I need to get t34 since I already have MED tank line researched and 200000 xp rdy to go.I think it may have shaved of a bit from the near 400000 needed. Any general ideas appreciated.
all that the US meds share with the US heavies is the 90mm and the radio.  Otherwise, everything is very much separate

dodge3500 #19 Posted Aug 06 2011 - 17:28

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Ahh cool,thanks for all the great information .I was gonna get e75 but gonna go down US heavy line now.

JDCollie #20 Posted Aug 06 2011 - 17:44

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View Posthiroshi_tea, on Aug 06 2011 - 17:20, said:

all that the US meds share with the US heavies is the 90mm and the radio.  Otherwise, everything is very much separate
Assuming he is starting the heavy line at the T1 HT, he'll be saving approximately 25,000 XP. (76mm M1A1, 76mm M1A2, SCR 528, and SCR 538)

- EDIT -

~35,000, the 90mm M3 can be gotten from the M26 Pershing.




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