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The Comprehensive Guide to Playing Artillery

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GrumblingGrenade #1 Posted 06 March 2015 - 04:09 PM

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Hello WoT community!

 

This is a thread dedicated to the education of those players who are willing to put up with the abuse of driving artillery and want to learn how to play them. If you've looked at my vehicles and/or my stats, then I know what you're thinking: "What the... ...This GrumblingGrenade shouldn't be giving advice about arties, what is this, some kind of joke?" Well, I have to agree with you, I rarely play in artillery, but over my time playing I've amassed a fair sum of tricks to playing, as well as gained quite a bit of knowledge when it comes to playing this particular class of vehicle.

 

For those of you who recognise my username, yes, I did create a thread based on the same topic a few months ago. However, I have decided to collate all the valuable tips and tricks that you have all given into one big guide for aspiring artillery drivers. Firstly, I would like to take some time to thank all the people who have participated in the original topic: "How To Play Artillery... ...Properly", in a list of acknowledgements. The thanks are as follows:

 

Spoiler

 

Now, seeing as we've got the thanks all good and sorted, let's begin with the guide to playing artillery. Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, allow me to present to you...

 

The Comprehensive Guide to Playing Artillery

By Various Authors

 

Before we get started, I feel it appropriate to get fairly acquainted with the class in general. What is an SPG? How can they be used? What artillery lines and individual SPGs are there in the game? Let's have a brief look, shall we?

 


What is an SPG? A Brief Introduction to the Class...


 

Self-propelled guns, (also known as artillery, or SPGs for short), are fragile armoured vehicles which provide indirect fire support from a long distance. They are represented by a green or red square, depending on allegiance, on the mini-map and over their respective target marker.

 

Artillery are the most unique class of armoured vehicles in the game, sharing very few characteristics with the other four classes. The most distinguishing feature of artillery is their ability to aim and shoot over terrain and other obstacles. Unlike the other four classes, SPGs do not get a "sniper" mode; instead, by pressing left shift, the player enters a birds-eye view which allows them to look at a limited area of any chosen part of the map. Using this view, artillery can aim at enemy targets over terrain and structures (depending on the size of the structure, the trajectory of the shell, and the range of the particular gun).

 

Artillery, generally, have the most powerful, highest calibre guns for their tier. Unlike most tanks and tank destroyers, artillery fire high-explosive, (HE) shells as their primary form of ammunition. This type of shell explodes on impact and does not need to penetrate a vehicle's armour to do damage. The explosion of a large HE shell can also deal splash damage to nearby targets, (both allies and enemies), who aren't hit directly. These advantages do come at a price, however. Artillery guns usually have long reload times, poor accuracy, and are very slow to aim. Artillery cannot quickly change targets or follow fast-moving enemies without a considerable accuracy penalty. Like many tank destroyers, most artillery have limited-traverse guns mounted in their hull, (although a few do get slow-turning turrets). Turning beyond a hull-mounted gun's maximum traverse range requires turning the vehicle's hull, which results in camouflage and accuracy penalties. In addition, artillery are also the most fragile class of vehicles in the game. Artillery can only withstand a few hits from even the smallest of enemy guns, and their high aim times and long reload times make it difficult for them to defend themselves against close-range attackers.

 

Artillery are, ultimately, glass cannons; they are best played far behind the front lines attacking targets that allied tanks may have difficulty damaging, (usually heavy tanks, snipers, and opportunity targets). It is important for artillery to position themselves in an area where they can make a meaningful contribution to the game with their attacks, but are still stay safe from enemy scouts and spotters. Artillery are almost purely a support class, and rely heavily on allied vehicles to spot and distract targets for them. It is important for artillery players to keep track of the map and re-position to safer areas when necessary. If re-positioning is not possible, an artillery can attempt to defend itself by using ambush tactics to surprise-attack enemies at point-blank range.

 

***

 

Now that we've got sufficiently acquainted with artillery, we will move on to the guide to playing artillery well, and adviced shared by other players on how once can perform to a very high standard of play in an SPG. Let's begin how I began originally. I have 5 "Golden Rules", moreover, guidelines, on how one can play an artillery piece well in a battle. These are only the basics to doing well, which unfortunately so many players either miss out on or forget, which will cost them dearly in terms of battle performance...

 


The Basics Basic Techniques and Playing Styles in Artillery...


 

My first bit of advice would be to prioritise targets. This is one thing that many artillery players do not do, which is a source of raging for many other players. For example, if you're playing a tier 8 artillery piece in a tier 8 game, and you go for the tier 6s, then you're probably doing the wrong thing. Artillery should prioritise targets and destroy the more threatening tanks to their team, and should really be going for the higher tier tanks in the game. I understand that this can be hard, as having such a big gun you just really want to one-shot something, but you'll find that prioritising targets and going for the stronger and more team-threatening tanks first will be a huge service to your team.

 

My second bit of advice is "Location Location Location". Unless you're in something whizzy like an FV304 or a higher tier Lorraine, where you go at the start of a battle is generally where you'll stay, so picking your spot is crucial. There are very few artillery that can relocate and run away, and even the ones that can have to sacrifice something, usually total hitpoint count or how big and "boomy" their gun is, and the really big and powerful artillery cannot relocate when under fire, (unless the tank that's hunting them really doesn't know what they're doing). Very few artillery are good at "shotgunning" close enemy targets that are a threat, (ones that are include the S-51 and Crusader SP), so my advice is to pick a nice, covered spot where you most likely can't be easily sniped or spotted, and using foliage to conceal yourself can also really help. Tactical positioning can also help, hugging the edges of the map or lurking in the corner of the map is preferred, and pick a spot according to where you want to fire. However, this rule can be dismissed if you're looking to manipulate artillery in a more adept fashion, which we'll come on to later...

 

My third bit of advice is to aim for weakspots. This really comes under common sense, though in the heat of action, even this simple task can be a lot more difficult than it initially seems. For playing artillery, it is no different. If you aim for the sides of the vehicle, you will not do as much damage as you would by hitting the decking of the vehicle, especially when attacking heavy tanks. You can do this by, after going into artillery mode, (by pressing "SHIFT" when driving an SPG), aim a little further than the intended target; not too much, though just enough so that the shell will hit the top of the turret, a cupola, the decking or even the engine compartment; a lot more fires are cause by doing this!

 

(Of course, this also depends on what you intend to use your very powerful gun for. If you wish to deal massive damage to a target, then this is recommended. However, if you are a lower tier artillery piece in a higher tier game, and you want to immobilise the target for your team's higher tier arties to finish, or to just stop him getting away and let your team's actual tanks finish him off, then aim for the tracks.)

 

My fourth bit of advice is to use your brain. If you're in an M41 HMC with a whopping big 155mm gun on it, (not the biggest, but big enough to one-shot tier 4s and 5s), don't go for enemies which are literally hugging your allies. If you've got an enemy right next to and ally, don't go for him unless the ally is destroyed or they separate a bit. If a whopping great big 155mm HE shell came down from the sky, likeliood is it will destroy the enemy and your team mate, or critically damage your team mate if it hits your enemy. Plus, artillery are not the most accurate of all tanks, so if you miss, you're in for a whole lot of raging... 

 

Finally, put up with abuse. Artillery are hard to play to great avail in a battle situation, as I've found out, and many players will often throw cheap insults at you and report you. Artillery are for support, and are a crucial asset for many a team, despite many players deeming otherwise. So just have fun! WoT is, after all, a game, and what's a game for?

 


 

The Basics: A Brief Guide on Positioning

The advice below has kindly been submitted by ttheobald in this thread; many thanks to him for his very valuable contribution to the guide! This must have taken a lot of time for him to think out and to post, so many, many thanks for his incredible contribution to the guide!

 

"When you start the game, you have 30 seconds to make your mind up of where your initial position will be, and you have probably another 30 seconds to get there.  During that time, if you don't know the map, look for other arty and follow their lead, (particularly if you have XVM or other stats active and can find an arty player with a good record).  Do NOT park right next to them, (this is considered to be very rude), but look for a good spot within 100m of them.  This way you'll get to see what arcs that player chose, and you'll be able to offer support in shotgun mode if your team lets some scouts through."

 

"When you do know the map, those first thirty seconds should be spent guessing where the main action is going to be.  Look at your team and theirs - are there a ton of heavies?  Meds?  TDs?  Figure out the weight of the teams and imagine them "flowing" over the field from the start points.  Where will the water drain to and meet your team coming?  Those likely places are going to be where you want to have yourself aimed at, and where you want to not be in line of sight of when you pull that trigger.  In an immediate sense, select a spot relatively near the base that you can reach with cover, and start aiming.  After your first shot, if you have a favorite spot and your team isn't being overrun, use your reload time to get there and re-aim."  

 

"If you're not going to go far from base for your position through the game, make sure to set up so that you can drive at least 10-20 meters immediately after pulling the trigger, especially if there are more than two arty on a side.  With only two or one, few players will waste time looking for counterbattery opportunities.  With three or more, it's almost guaranteed at least one of them will be snooping around your base in satellite mode, and probably knows the good spots near it.  You want to move even before you snap out of satellite view, so you're out from under the shot when that player lobs one on your muzzle flash.  Turreted SPGs have a much easier time of this, if you pick out a "lane" to drive in you can simply wander back and forth between shots without ever coming out of satellite view."

 

"Get a friend and open a few training rooms - maybe 10-15 min a night, scouting both bases of a map.  Get some spots not so close to the base that counterbattery will see you, but not so far that you can't get there before your first shell has spent a lot of time in the tube.  The further you are from the base, you make it exponentially harder for the enemy arty to spot you and home in on your position."  

 

"Also, try to take advantage of dips in the ground with flat spots, or gentle slopes you can reverse up in case you need gun depression when going into shotgun mode.  Inclines are nice, but the wrong angle at the wrong time can put your gun in a position where you won't be able to hit targets closer than a few hundred meters.  A good flat spot example is around K1-2 on Sand river. It's a smooth spot right behind a dune, so you have great cover until one of your sides collapses, and you should have plenty of warning to escape if that happens."  

 

Of course, if you are spotted by his team, this puts you back to square one, but that's where we get to...

 

Re-Positioning, (in the Event of an Emergency, or Simply Out of Preference)

You have tracks. Use them. If one of your team's pushes is going particularly well, and you're not having much luck shooting, move up or around behind the successful side.  This has the benefit of getting you further away from where enemy team members will think to find you, and will offer cross-fire opportunities against targets who consider themselves arty-safe. This is particularly useful to do on maps like Mountain Pass, where teams have only a few fairly limited zones of control.

 

Cover

At later tiers, cover becomes far less important, as we end up driving vehicles roughly the size of a well-tended office park. However, there are exceptions at this tier, and early vehicles tend to be very small. When picking a position, we all generally go for bushes in or behind which to hide.  Check the coverage you have with that bush - first around your hull, and then check with your gun fully elevated.  You might think that bush is good cover, but if you're in satellite view, that gun of yours is poking up like a big flagpole aiming straight down at your vehicle.  Bush with trees in front of it? Pure gold. Just a bush? Probably okay, but not so hot. Gentle hillside? Super. Sheer cliff or big boulder? Going to be hard to get your distance from it to shoot over."

 

Driving

Surprisingly enough, driving is an important skill in arty, despite our inherent sluggishness.  Most important to remember:  the shortest distance between two points on the map is almost never a straight line.  If you're driving a slow SPG with a low-torque engine, climbing a hill can be a terrible nail-biting experience. Is there a gentler slope a little ways off that can reach that point you want more quickly? Again, training rooms can help you out here - practice till you figure out the rate of incline your vehicle can handle without too much challenge. For guns like the French or the FV304, this doesn't mean quite so much since they're already very quick, but even they have their limits, and crossing a berm via a gentle road versus a sharp incline can still make a difference of several seconds.

 


Common Artillery Hiding Positions, (On Certain Maps) Where to Go When in an SPG...


 

If you're stuck when it comes to thinking where to place your SPG, the following pictures should yield some decent idea as to how, and where, to place oneself when driving an SPG, and should inspire you to find similar places also.

 

arty-abbey.jpg arty-cliff.jpg

 

arty-el-halluf.jpg arty-komarin.jpg

 

arty-murovanka.jpg arty-ensk.jpg

 

arty-erlenberg.jpg arty-himmelsdorf.jpg

 

arty-karelia.jpg Arty hiding positions

 

Arty hiding positions Arty hiding positions

 

arty-ruinberg.jpg Arty hiding positions

 

Depending on situation, this can easily change, though for beginners, this is a decent place to look and start deciding where to place yourself.

 

 

***

 

This brings the first section of the guide to a close. Though we're far from done. There is still far more that you can do to really bump up your performance while playing artillery, and these little tricks are all found in the following chapter...

 


Intermediate Artillery Playing The Nittier-Grittier Aspects of Artillery Play...


 

Below was originally a post made by "conductiv", which depicts a deeper insight into the basic methods of playing artillery. Many thanks to "conductiv" for his post:

 

Intermediate Artillery Playing 1

There are many ways to prioritize targets. One way to prioritise is indeed to attack the biggest and most lethal targets on the enemy team, however, one can also prioritize for annihilation. In essence, one will aim for targets that they can potentially one-shot. With the biggest gun that an artillery player can find, (generally TDs, autoloaders and badly damaged heavies) the damage output per shot is generally poor or lessened, but one can amass plenty of kills and manage to win the majority of the games they play through prioritization for destruction.
 
As soon as you have cross-map range, that is, tiers 3 to 5 for most SPG lines, it is very tempting to stay in the safety of the base, and you usually stay where you initially set up because most SPGs are slow or have to delay their fire a lot to move. One can try moving SPGs around, and this can be very effective, as it opens up new areas of the map that you wouldn't have been able to hit from your usual spot, bearing reference to map geography instead of view range. However, the obvious risks that this brings often causes artillery drivers to doubt its use over the "lazy" base set-up position. An artillery driver can try to be the one strange SPG player who employs wacky positioning to his advantage, though it can result in an untimely demise if not conducted with care.
 
SPGs can benefit a lot from coordinating their fire with other SPGs; again there are multiple ways to do this. You can set up in situations which are close together, and simply focus fire upon individual or groups of targets; unlike tanks you don't have to deal with "Who rolls out first?" and the inevitable possibility of hitting your ally. The priority of marking the target is greater as you both cover vast amounts of ground and each target is only exposed for a limited amount of time. This principle works better in conjunction with the area coverage priority as it limits the amount of ground you cover.
 

You can also spread out, disperse, and "crossfire" over the map. This reduces the effectiveness of enemy cover and can be more useful when trying to eliminate rock "huggers". It's also safer, as when a single tank gets close or even reaches the rear lines, not all SPGs are eliminated as one. However, on most maps this does mean that 1 of the SPGs will have to leave the security of the spawn, and it is very rare that you see this in random games. It only "naturally" occurs on wide open, already very arty-friendly maps like Prokhorovka and Malinovka.

 


 

Another piece of intermediate-level artillery playing advice is the following; submitted by "Bkc1965", (of whom many thanks are being given to for this very valuable piece of advice):

 

Intermediate Artillery Playing 2

Lock your hull. This helps more if your gun has a narrow arc, like a Grille or an Obj 261. Without the hull locked, the whole superstructure will rotate when the aiming point gets close to the edge of the gun arc, therefore blooming the aim circle, (sometimes dramatically) and causing you to have to wait on re-aiming.  Often, a tank will be moving back and forth, trying to avoid your line of fire, and will move just out of the arc of your gun.  Without your hull locked, you would have to be re-aiming when he moves back into his original position. 

 

However, if you lock the hull of your artillery piece, this annoying occurrence quickly dissipates. If he has simply moved to the edge of your gun arc, with your hull locked you will not lose your aim.  But if the hull had not been locked, the whole superstructure will have moved a little before the edge of the arc is reached.  Sometimes this little extra thing makes the difference between a hit and no hit. Some people are of the opinion that locking the hull improves overall accuracy, though there is still plenty of controversy surrounding this theory.

 

"One tip that I think is very important is to mark your targets. I have reassigned this function to the right mouse button.  I always mark my targets when I think there is a danger of a friendly tank approaching the target after I fire.  I mark my targets about 3 seconds before firing.  Another reason to mark targets is to inform the other arties on my team that I am firing on a target.  This helps to save ammo and prevent unnecessary reloading because of shooting a dead tank."

 

"When another arty on your team marks a target, do not fire on that target as you might be firing on a destroyed tank and waste your shell.  If everyone marked their targets at least 3 or 4 seconds before firing, then it would benefit the entire team especially if there is more than one arty on the team.  Avoiding firing on a dead tank will allow you to fire your shell on a valid target.  This could be the difference between winning or losing.  Besides, in clan wars how often will you have more than one arty on a team?  If I see that an arty has marked the target, I will wait until his shot lands before firing my shot, or I will choose another target.  No sense in wasting a shell and reload time. "

 


 

The following is a tip submitted by "WolfOfCampscapel", to whom I thank dearly for his input:

 

Intermediate Artillery Playing 3

This is a tip mostly for artillery platoons who have the availability of voice communication, and applies to those Village maps with lots of breakable cover. Find an enemy tank camping or taking cover behind a breakable house. Wait until both of you are reloaded and have shells ready to fire. Then, do a coordinated one-two without waiting for the first shot to land. Hopefully, the first shot will remove the house or piece of cover, with the second shot following quickly and hopefully removing the tank, since he won't have had time to start moving. This is perhaps most effective in artillery of tiers 6 to 8.

 


 

Intermediate Artillery Playing 4: An In-Depth Look at Weak-spot Targeting

The following is a piece of advice submitted in this thread by "Gnomus" - many thanks to him for contributing to the guide!

 

Weak-spot shooting can be interpreted in two different ways:

 

  • You have two Maus, (or Mice; what is the plural of Maus?) available as targets. One of them is facing your way, while the other is offering his side. Pick "the weak-spot", so shoot at the one offering his side. It's a much larger target and also has less armour than on the front, unless you hit the tracks. The same applies to one target that is circling your team mate. If possible, wait for him to offer his rear, or at least his side before shooting.

 

  • Another way is deciding where to aim. You need to choose if you want just to hit or do you want to inflict a massive effect. Aiming for hitting is easier, but often will result in a non penetrating hit. Aiming for the top of the tank, or even top of the turret, will make you miss more, but a hit will be devastating when you get it. It's basically a high risk high reward or a low risk low reward. Both are still subject to RNG, but you can influence changes of them. Some times hitting is all you want. Some times you want to make sure you get the maximum effect when you hit.

 

The following was submitted by "GrumblingGrenade", (me) in response to a question made by "chr1stos", who has also kindly contributed to the guide, for which I would like to thank him.

 

"I find that with a very well trained crew, hits on individual weak-spots are an awful lot easier to achieve. The accuracy mechanic also has to be in your favour, though it does require a very accurate gun, or at least, a lot of practice to master. Aiming for weak-spots is more beneficial to the team, as it deals crippling amounts of damage in comparison to hitting the stronger armour, however, it is far less practical, and one will often either overshoot or undershoot. I would recommend practising it, though; maybe in lower tier artillery, and arties including the Bishop and FV304 are very accurate and will often hit weak-spots dead-on. Plus, their reload time is far more forgiving, so if you miss, you can try again within moments. Though, when playing artillery with much more lethal guns, it is much harder to actually hit weak-spots. All it needs to perfect is a lot of time, patience, and experience, and eventually, you will see some improvement".

 

The following has been submitted by "ghost_tiger", to whom I am very grateful for giving examples of the consequences of weak-spot targeting, as well as different methods:

 

  • "Battle Assistant is not that bad, but it causes terrible tunnel vision. I have very good hit ratio with it and lot of success firing at moving targets. When deciding whether to attack target that are facing you or showing his side - it's not always so clear cut that you should select the guy showing his side. I have seen even the big TOG 2 evade my shot in this way just because he started moving the very moment I fired my shot. If there is some range between you and you have 2.5s shell travel time its well possible. You should fire at the guy showing you his side if he is busy with someone else and likely to remain there for some time. Otherwise its just safer to fire at tank facing you, even if it means less damage as its harder to evade such shots when shell trajectory is flat. So select the guy you think you have the best chance of hitting. I found out that my strategy of prioritizing targets by hit chance doesn't seem to affect my average damage, what it does affect is winrate (doing reliable damage all the time seems to help more than doing massive damage from time to time)."

 

  • Aiming slightly behind a target can increase your odds of hitting massively, because of shell trajectory, (see below).

 

Spoiler

 

Note the aiming on the thinly-armoured engine deck for massive damage upon impact.

 

Spoiler

 

Above: how, (and where) to aim effectively and efficiently.

 


 

Intermediate Artillery Playing 5: A Brief Look at Crew Skills

The following piece of advice has been submitted by Azrael_Ashemdion, and it talks about crew skills for artillery. Many thanks to him for providing this excellent and valuable contribution.

 

"If you have the gold or silver to spare for converting skills, then if it's a small vehicle (i.e., can fit behind an average bush, like your FV304 or the French AMX 13), start them all on camo, and when they hit a ways over 100%, convert commander to 6th sense, everyone else to Brothers In Arms.  If it's large, camo won't do you much good at all, so skip it in favor of repairs (and convert after 100%).  After converting, start the commander on another camo/repairs conversion path to Brothers In Arms, and everyone else can start their member-specific selections."
 
"Camo is important in avoiding being seen and shot at in small SPGs.  Repairs won't matter in those little guns, because if you get spotted, you have neither the hps or the armor to make a difference, you'll be dead probably before your 6th sense goes off.  If it does, move your [edited]. In a larger vehicle, you won't be able to hide effectively, so camo makes little or no difference in the grand scheme of things - and since you're likely to get spotted anyway (and probably from quite some distance), you'll potentially have splash damage done to your tracks while trying to relocate, so repairs are more useful here."
 
"For each crew member, in order of most important to least important:"
 

  • "Commander:  6th sense, Brothers In Arms, Camo (only take if small), Recon, Repairs (if large), Mentor, Jack of All Trades. Note: Recon will be more important than repairs in this case, because you want to have a chance to spot the enemy on approach and perhaps derp them before they see you (think IS3 with crappy view range approaching your position from distance)."

 

  • "Gunner:  Brothers In Arms, Snap Shot, Camo (small), Repairs (large)."

 

  • "Driver:  Brothers In Arms, Smooth Ride (better aim after relocating), Camo (small) or Repairs (large), Clutch Braking (faster traverse), Off-Road Driving (faster getting where you need to go)."

 

  • "Radio Operator:  Brothers In Arms, Situational Awareness, Camo (small) or Repairs (large)."

 

  • "Loader:  Brothers In Arms, Camo (small) or Repairs (large), Adrenaline Rush (if you're still alive after being hit, you probably have less than 10% of your hps left, so you get a 9% boost to your reload), Intuition. Note: one of those last two doesn't stack with two loaders, so if you have two, pick something else."

 


 

Intermediate Artillery Playing 6: Using Auto-Aim

For those of you who have read onwards on this topic, you will see that there have been many queries based on the appropriateness of using auto-aim while driving artillery. The following is an edited debate, conducted by Bkc1965, Eila_Juutilainen, and ghost_tiger, who have all contributed invaluable input to this guide and really pushed it onwards - many thanks to you all!

 

Auto-aim can work exceptionally well when being attacked, especially if your seeker is a slow tank. Using auto-aim enables the aiming circle to cover as much of the enemy as possible, which ultimately increases the odds of a hit, while being at a good, close range. However, using auto-aim is not always appropriate when being attack while driving an SPG.

 

Autoaim works horribly when tank is moving fast or moving to circle you. In those cases manual aim is better, or just wait until the enemy gets to point blank range. Sometimes it's better to deliberately wait long enough and even take a shot from your enemy, if it means that you can destroy him with one accurate shot, that you have sacrificed your hit points for. One could also have a lot of success in "TD Mode" with auto-aim at the end of games, waiting for about 3-4 seconds, then firing at short range, (no more than 200m).

 

If the tank is driving very fast and perpendicular to the SPG, then it is next to impossible to hit it with auto aim... ...or even with manual aim.  As stated, the best chance is to aim ahead of the tank using manual aim and hope for the best. But, most arties rotate so slow and aim so slow that defending against a tank in close combat is almost impossible anyway.  If the tank ever gets on the side of the arty, (through circling), the battle is usually over for the SPG. Your only chance is if the tank runs out of ammo, or you manage to free yourself from their trap and get a shot off, which is more of a "once-in-a-blue-moon" occurrence than a likelihood.

 

However, you do have to take into account that shooting anything fast is horrible with artillery. Auto-aim can still work against tanks that are moving sideways or circling, if they're close. Especially if you have an SPG with good traverse. Remember that the auto-aim system is very stable while your own hand is jittery, plus using auto-aim will let you focus more on controlling the vehicle itself.

 


 

Intermediate Artillery Playing 7: General Advice

Below is some advice kindly submitted by PhooBar - many thanks to him for making such a well thought-out and constructive contribution to the guide!

 

"Some of these seem like they should be obvious, but very few arty players actually practice them. Train yourself to look at the mini-map every 5 seconds. Tunnel vision will kill you. Move after every shot, even if it's just ten feet left or right.  There are mods out there that put a red dot on your position every time you fire. Move."
 

"Always mark your target. Sight on the tank that you intend to shoot, and press the 'T' key.  This lets your team know where you are aiming.  Hopefully they will not try to face-hug that particular tank."

"Ping your reload time. Press the 'Z' key, or F8, and highlight the 'reloading' tab. This lets the team know how long they have to wait for the incoming. On SPG's with long reload times, ping it at 20, 10 and 5 seconds.  The good tankers will notice this and be able to plan their next move."

"Sixth sense should be the first skill on your commander.  It will give you just enough warning to help keep you alive. Get the Battle Assistant mod and learn to use it. I don't think it replaces "god view", but it can help make some difficult shots easier."

"When you get put into a city map, learn to drive your SP like a TD. Direct fire at close range only.  Learning how to do this can get you three or four one-shot kills, after some practice. Timing your shot is critical, when playing up close. Keep a few preimum shells in your magazine.  
2-3 round of HEAT should be enough. 
I have mounted binocular optics on all of my SPGs, and trained my gunners with Deadeye."

"In a lot of games, your arty will be one of the last vehicles left on the team.  If you can spot your own targets, it gives you that much more of a chance to take out one or even two enemy tanks before you get killed. You could even win a match all by yourself. Deadeye gives a slightly higher chance to get a solid hit your target, and it only works with HEAT or APCR."

"Know when to back off.  If the flank you are on looks like it is going to fall, run like hell and find a new place to shoot from. You can't help the team if you are dead."

 


 

The following has been submitted by who_dares_wins, and I would like to thank him on behalf of this thread and its collaborators for providing some excellent advice on retreating.

 

  • "In most battles, inevitably one side will fall. In SPGS, knowing when to run is very useful indeed. How do you know when to run then? In short, Look at the minimap. If you can see that the enemy have a large advantage in one area (ie 5 heavies 3 med vs 3 heavies 1 med) then it is obvious that that the enemy will win there, and most likely start the push to your base. If a flank collapses, move from near the base to areas your team have pushed the enemy back from. This enables you to survive, and use your powerful gun to help defend your base. Example: Erlenberg: your team are pushing the enemy back along the west side, but the east is wide open. You should head away from the base along the west side in this case, because an enemy push from the east will almost certainly kill you. Remember, If you are killed by a scout, it is usually your team's fault. If you are killed by a push, it is usually your fault for not moving. The exception to this is if BOTH flanks collapse. Then it's down to shotgunning, stealth, and luck."

 

 

***

 

This brings the section "Intermediate Artillery Playing" to a close, and now we broaden into the tips and tricks which can really make playing artillery a great benefit to the team:

 


Pernickety Artillery Playing Very Meticulous and Fussy Playing Techniques...


 

The following is a post initially submitted by "mrsMiggins", which I believe to be a very useful piece of advice. Many thanks to mrsMiggins for sharing this, as I feel that it is a real benefit when playing artillery:

 

Pernickety Artillery Playing 1

A lot of the time, hiding in a bush or coppice isn't the best method of concealing yourself. In the experience of many, this is inferior to hiding in ditches, or behind small hills for that matter. For example...

 

  • While behind a bush, you still run the risk of being spotted after firing, or having the enemy scout flanking you early. Both risks are severely reduced, though not wholly negated, when situating yourself in ditches. You can even "hug the hill" after firing, making it very hard to be hit by enemy artillery if the enemy scout did indeed spot you during his first-minute frenzy.

 

  • Situating yourself near bushes gives that counter-artillery-ing enemy an edge. Bushes create awesome reference points for tracking tracers. Being parked in a ditch on bush-free ground makes it considerably harder to track the origin of your tracer, (this also works on non-ditched grounds).

 

  •  It will improve your maximum shell height. Parking yourself on a nice ridge that sticks up your front can really add loads to your gun elevation, which means that you can fire over more obstacles at the cost of your range. This is great for playing artillery such as the Crusader S.P. which has a relatively flat firing angle, in comparison to artillery such as the Bishop. Angling your actual hull can be beneficial for mid-range attacking, as well as defending yourself from Speedy Gonzales AMX 12 T rushing across the map at breakneck pace towards you, as you can take cover behind the ridge and have a go at "shotgunning" him when he comes over.

 

On the subject of playing with the purpose of counter-artillery, it is also much, much better to be situated on light coloured ground instead of dark coloured ground. Again, this makes it more difficult for the enemy to track your tracer.
 

  • Avoid the waste of time of looking for that perfect shot. The longer your reload time, the more important this is. One shot less from a G.W. E-100 can potentially mean 2,000 damage lost in a game, let alone the damage others can do by only immobilising a target for them. This does not mean, however, that you must shoot at every peeking tank as soon as you can, whenever you can. But understand that the RNG makes it virtually impossible for you to effectively hunt for that perfect shot: random is and always will be random. It makes you waste precious time. Also it gets significantly easier to make "snapshots" when having an outstanding crew, and having lots of experience yourself.

 

  • Do not use the "Z" key and any other mouse-based forms of communication/methods of reaching consumables.The gun sight might still be fully zoomed in, but the server reticle is reset to its highest inaccuracy. It basically means that you have to wait for it to be fully aimed again. Instead use the hotkeys, namely F1-F8, or for consumables or ammunition type, 1-6.

 

  • Pre-aim at the start of the battle. If you can quickly get to your preferred position, pre-aim at the location where you will think you have either the best shot or the enemy is sure to be show up in. It allows you to get in a nice first shot, because a lot of tanks are still on the move and not yet hiding behind cover. You will see plenty of wreckage inflicted by you through using this method.

 


 

Pernickety Artillery Playing 2

These tips have been kindly submitted by Bkc1965 in the first response to the thread; many thanks to him!

 

  • If you are less than 15 meters from a bush, the camouflage effect after firing is much less than if you position your vehicle more than 15 meters behind the bush. This is good for partially negating the effects of post-firing detection, and is especially good for concealing artillery with better overall camouflage ratings. This is really picky, and will take a lot to master in every map, though, as far as positioning goes, this is very advanced when trying to find a suitable spot to hide in, which could mean the difference between life and death.

 

  • Watch replays of battles played in your chosen arty.  If you are looking for good places to position your arty, you can learn a lot from other players.  Replays can also educate you on needed changes in your playing style. "I was having a lot of trouble doing well in my new CGC until I watched some replays of battles where a lot of damage was dealt.  I learned that I have to be more patient in the CGC.  It has very slow aim and if you move the gun in fast, or jerky movements the aim circle will bloom and you will not get a shot.  I now feel as if there is a zen like quality necessary to be successful in the CGC.  It is a very demanding arty to say the least." - learnt from player analysis by the submitter of the advice, (Bkc1965).

 

  • Another tip is that many SPGs will climb steeper inclines in reverse than they are able to in forward.  So, if you are unable to drive up an incline forward, turn around and try in reverse.  Often, even if it can make it up the incline very slowly forward, it may climb faster in reverse. 

 


 

Pernickety Artillery Playing 3

The following pieces of advice have been submitted by "GrumblingGrenade" in response to tips given by chr1stos, of whom I would like to thank for his valuable input in improving the guide:

 

  • Aiming for artillery while in artillery mode is, in some ways, similar to that of a tank, however, the principles change depending on the circumstances. The aiming of tanks is not altered by altitude above targets, or comparable positioning between the attacker and the target; moreover, artillery are affected by this. One will notice, while in artillery mode, there will be an oval shape, which is the aiming circle. This aiming circle, unlike that of tanks, is subject to change shape depending on the terrain it is targeting, the elevation of the ground it is looking at, and the position of the actual artillery piece itself.

 

  • For example, if a player is driving an artillery piece with a very upwards firing arc with a higher parabolic line, (if drawn on a graph), they will notice that, when they are targeting flatter ground, the aiming circle will resemble a circle more than an oval. This means that, depending on the target you are zooming in on and how fair you are aimed in, usually, the aiming circle will cover the entire enemy target, increasing the odds of a hit. However, if the target was on sloped ground, then the aiming circle would change shape according to the gradient of the ground.

 

  • Firing arc dramatically effects these principles. Vehicles with a lower parabolic line will note that their aiming circle will resemble an oval much more. When aiming onto a target, this means that it is highly likely that the shell will hit within the aiming circle when fully zoomed, though may either over or undershoot. More circular aiming circles are more balanced, and the odds are made more even, while oval aiming circles will somewhat de-balance the determinable odds, while increasing the chance of a non-penetrating hit. While being complex to digest initially, when put into practice in battle, a player should soon realise the patterns.

 

  • Positioning can also effect the appearance of the aiming circle. If an artillery piece has its nose pointing upwards, then the parabolic line will heighten dramatically when the gun is lifted. This increases the chances that you will be able to fire over cover, and should flatten out the aiming circle when targeting on moderately level ground, though depending on the gradient at which your nose is pointed, you will lose some range. In contrast, if your nose is pointing downwards, then expect a rise in view range, (depending of gradient) though a much dampened parabolic line, as well as a more oval aiming circle being generated.

 

  • Blind-firing for the purposes of counter-artillery can be hugely beneficial to the team. If you are aimed in on a location that appears to be a popular site for artillery to hide, then there's no harm in taking pot-shots over there if there are no other targets. The odds are that you will miss, though direct hits occur more-than-often, and can mean the difference between a victory or a defeat.

 


 

Pernickety Artillery Playing 4: Cliff Diving!

The advice below has kindly been submitted by ttheobald in this thread; many thanks to him for his very valuable contribution to the guide! This must have taken a lot of time for him to think out and to post, so many, many thanks for his incredible contribution to the guide!

 

This is an important note - any SPG can get itself up to suicidal speed when driving off a cliff, but be aware that you can get down a hill with rather shocking speed safely by putting yourself into a controlled slide down a steep incline.  Be sure you want to do this, because you won't come back up.  Pick a relatively clean path and tip yourself over the edge gently, then accelerate slightly until you begin to gather speed by sliding.  At this point, reverse your drive ("S" key) to slow down the slide.  Practice this maneuver, it's not that hard to master.  This makes all the difference between being a living threat to the enemy and being a smoking splat-mark at the base of a hill.  
 
By doing this you can make it more difficult to be chased by lights or mediums (going over and perhaps under their gun depression, forcing them to expose themselves to your team on a ridge, etc.), perhaps buying you time to load or reload your derp shot, or for your more aware team members to come back and rescue you.  It can also provide you an aggressive option, if slower enemy heavies or TDs pass by beneath your location without originally spotting you - you can slide down behind them, swing around the corner while they engage the base defenses, and put a shot in their rear (or better still, run away to turn and re-aim at them for when your team-mates reacquire visuals on them)."

 


 

Pernickety Artillery Playing 5: Crew Skills

The advice below has kindly been submitted by ttheobald in this thread; many thanks to him for his very valuable contribution to the guide! This must have taken a lot of time for him to think out and to post, so many, many thanks for his incredible contribution to the guide!

 

"The driver of an SPG arguably has the most valuable skill options of the entire crew - between clutch braking, smooth ride, and off-road driving, you have three skills here that are highly important.  Brothers In Arms is probably most important as a first skill for a driver, and if your SPG is pretty small then camo should follow it (some would say camo first, and they might be right).  After these two, however, Smooth Ride is your best choice - anything to cut aim time and dispersion after moving is a Big Deal.  If you get to your fourth skill, it's kind of a toss-up, but I tend to prefer off-road driving over clutch braking, since ORD gets you to your new position faster, and the traverse gain in CB tends to be negligible on vehicles that don't do lots of traversing."

 

***

 


Shotgunning: An Introduction Wiping Incoming Enemies off the Face of the Earth...


 

Another tip I have to give, (that causes major "lols" for the artillery driver, and major rages for the victim), is the fine art of Shotgunning.

 

Shotgunning is taking out targets at point-blank range, at about 50 meters to 1 meter away from you. Whenever I go artillery hunting in other tanks, (my favourite is the Cromwell), I am always cautious, especially around artillery such as the S-51, with a scary gun and, if played right, great shotunning capabilities. Knowing how to shotgun and how to do it to maximum effect is crucial for any artillery player, as it can be the difference between whether you remain hunting, or are hunted.

 

There is no point in even trying to shotgun when you're out in the open, so you may as well have your Commander wave a white flag hang from the gun. This is where mrsMiggins' comment comes into one of it's best effects. Lurk in a ridge or be the troll under the bridge, (pun intended ^ ^, rhyme not), and wait for those hunters to present to you the belly of their tank or the side. If under a ridge, be patient and wait 'till that unwary tank pops over, then put a shell into either his belly or lower glacis, and watch as he goes up in flame. Also, if you're next to a building so that the only way the aspiring hunter can claim you as a kill is by exposing himself, zoom in and be ready for whatever he tries; he could be a Pz.1.C, though even the fastest of tanks need time to accelerate to full speed. Take full advantages of the game mechanics, as they play in the arty's favour in situations such as these.

 

The key principles of shotgunning are patience, situational awareness and positioning. If you are somewhat savvy about these, you will find that you will at least go down with a fight, instead of being taken down too easily. Even if you miss, you could splash them with explosion and hopefully track them, in the hope that you can pull back a little further and load another shell. Shotgunning is the ultimate troll for artillery, and just goes to show that no-one is safe, unless they're parked right next to you, so keep your wits about! It may sound easy, but it's a lot harder than initially thought, and takes a lot of practice to get to a good level.

 

Shotgunning can also be done on the move, if you're in a fast little arty, (like the FV304). If you're small enough so that, when at top speed, (which also has to be considerably quick), that other tanks miss you, come up really close to your targets after they've missed you and shoot, then veer off to the side of them and keep going! This is even harder than standard shotgunning, and a significant amount of luck is required, though it is fun, especially if you're the last on the team against a lot more enemy tanks. If you want a joke, then Kamikaze your targets just after shooting, and get an eye-for-an-eye medal if they're a light tank and do extra damage!

 

I would highly recommend practising this genuinely awesome tactic in team training and random battles, and it can mean that you efficiently defend yourself from threats without taking a point of damage and contribute to your team by either destroying or damaging your attacker. With practice, you will finally be able to say...

 

..."The hunter has become the hunted"...

 


 

The following is a piece of advice submitted by "Eila_Juutilainen", which is a very beneficial and useful tactic when you decide to employ the tactic of Shotgunning. Many thanks to "Eila_Juutilainen" for collaborating to the guide!

 

What you will notice when playing "derp" tanks such as the KV-2 and the Cruiser II is that if you use auto-aim on the intended victim, the chances are that you will hit more shells, especially on the Cruiser with it's high arc. This is likely because the shells have a parabolic arc and when you aim directly at a tank, you are doing the equivalent of aiming directly in front of your enemy in strategic view with an SPG, which means that there's a chance for your shell to fall in front of the enemy tank and deal no or less damage. Auto-aim on the other hand will force the center of your aim on the center of the enemy tank, which means that the circle contains more of your enemy for your shell to hit, even though you cannot actually see it yourself.

 
This same principle applies to SPGs as well and yes, it works the same as with the "derp" tanks. "Nowadays I auto-aim any approaching enemy and most of them go splat or at least hurt really bad".

 


 

This brings the guide to a close. I would like to thank everyone as before mentioned for participating in this, but I'm sure we can add more tips! Feel free to post and add your little tricks to playing this mighty vehicle class. Despite people's beliefs, artillery are hard to play to great avail for the team, and I must congratulate you all on having the courage to actually want to play this vehicle class and put up with the abuse. I salute you, and I'll see you on the battlefield, Commanders! *Fanfare*

 

fb


Edited by GrumblingGrenade, 05 July 2015 - 04:45 PM.


Darth_Clicker #2 Posted 06 March 2015 - 04:36 PM

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Great job.  Great info, thanks for posting.  Another thing that I would add that I have recently learned is that if you are less than 15 meters from a bush the camo effect after firing  is much less than if you position your arty more than 15 meters behind the bush.  http://www.wotinfo.n...camo-calculator is a website that will calculate the camo effect of any vehicle in the game based on crew skills, camo net, distance, or any other in game variable.  It will also calculate at what distance you can spot the same vehicle in the vehicle of your choice.

 

One more thing, watch replays of battles played in your chosen arty.  If you are looking for good places to position your arty, you can learn a lot from other players.  Replays can also educate you on needed changes in your playing style.   I was having a lot of trouble doing well in my new CGC until I watched some replays of battles where a lot of damage was dealt.  I learned that I have to be more patient in the CGC.  It has very slow aim and if you move the gun in fast, or jerky movements the aim circle will bloom and you will not get a shot.  I now feel as if there is a zen like quality necessary to be successful in the CGC.  It is a very demanding arty to say the least.



GrumblingGrenade #3 Posted 06 March 2015 - 11:15 PM

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View PostBkc1965, on 06 March 2015 - 03:36 PM, said:

Great job.  Great info, thanks for posting.  Another thing that I would add that I have recently learned is that if you are less than 15 meters from a bush the camo effect after firing  is much less than if you position your arty more than 15 meters behind the bush.  http://www.wotinfo.n...camo-calculator is a website that will calculate the camo effect of any vehicle in the game based on crew skills, camo net, distance, or any other in game variable.  It will also calculate at what distance you can spot the same vehicle in the vehicle of your choice.

 

One more thing, watch replays of battles played in your chosen arty.  If you are looking for good places to position your arty, you can learn a lot from other players.  Replays can also educate you on needed changes in your playing style.   I was having a lot of trouble doing well in my new CGC until I watched some replays of battles where a lot of damage was dealt.  I learned that I have to be more patient in the CGC.  It has very slow aim and if you move the gun in fast, or jerky movements the aim circle will bloom and you will not get a shot.  I now feel as if there is a zen like quality necessary to be successful in the CGC.  It is a very demanding arty to say the least.

 

Thank you so much; I hope it lives up to expectation, and thank you very much for your valuable input in the original thread! Collating tips and making a guide from them wouldn't have been the same without your excellent input, so once again, thank you so much! I'll add the advice to the guide, thank you for collaborating!

:)


Edited by GrumblingGrenade, 02 August 2015 - 09:08 AM.


Eila_Juutilainen #4 Posted 07 March 2015 - 09:31 AM

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Something I'd like to add to shotgunning.

 

What I've noticed when playing derp tanks such as KV-2 and Cruiser II is that if I use auto-aim on my intended victim I will hit more shells, especially on the Cruiser with it's high arc. This is likely because the shells have a parabolic arc and when you aim directly at a tank, you are doing the equivalent of aiming directly in front of your enemy in strategic view with an SPG, which means that there's a chance for your shell to fall in front of the enemy tank and deal no or less damage. Auto-aim on the other hand will force the center of your aim on the center of the enemy tank, which means that the circle contains more enemy for your shell to hit even though you cannot actually see it yourself.

 

Tried it out in SPGs as well and yes, it works the same as with the derp tanks. Nowadays I auto-aim any approaching enemy and most of them go splat or at least hurt really bad.


Edited by Eila_Juutilainen, 07 March 2015 - 09:33 AM.


chr1stos #5 Posted 07 March 2015 - 10:03 AM

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Hmm, I'm new to playing artillery and not the best one either, I guess not being too serious about it has something to do with it.

So far I find the "aim for weakspots" advice impractical.

Maybe on some other artillery or the Object 261 at the end of the line.

But my SU-14-2 which I started playing after the last patch came out with the accuracy changes,well, I concentrate at just hitting things with it's big gun.

I prefer to aim right at the center so that even if my shot flies high it will at least hit the turret.

A hit is all I want and am happy with, it will give me 700-900 dmg if I don't get really lucky and pen.

The few times I used the "battle assistant mod" which I'm not comfortable with and do not like, I was shocked at how much my shots deviate from center.

Maybe if I played something more accurate it would be different, I could have a good chance at hitting engine decks.

My philosophy is to fully aim no matter how long it takes and take advantage of the waiting period to study the movement of the enemy tank.

Then wait for them to finish their last reload and go into the aiming phase.

That's when I let off the shot, when they are sitting there aiming and I am fully aimed myself already.

Chancy shots don't pay off but very rarely nowadays.

 



GrumblingGrenade #6 Posted 07 March 2015 - 10:32 AM

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View PostEila_Juutilainen, on 07 March 2015 - 08:31 AM, said:

Something I'd like to add to shotgunning.

 

What I've noticed when playing derp tanks such as KV-2 and Cruiser II is that if I use auto-aim on my intended victim I will hit more shells, especially on the Cruiser with it's high arc. This is likely because the shells have a parabolic arc and when you aim directly at a tank, you are doing the equivalent of aiming directly in front of your enemy in strategic view with an SPG, which means that there's a chance for your shell to fall in front of the enemy tank and deal no or less damage. Auto-aim on the other hand will force the center of your aim on the center of the enemy tank, which means that the circle contains more enemy for your shell to hit even though you cannot actually see it yourself.

 

Tried it out in SPGs as well and yes, it works the same as with the derp tanks. Nowadays I auto-aim any approaching enemy and most of them go splat or at least hurt really bad.

 

I always used auto-aim in tanks such as the VK.28.01 with the 105mm gun for artillery hunting, (how ironic), and it works too, but I was never aware that it would work for artillery! A great piece of advice; I'll add it to the guide, give it a +1, and add your username to the list of acknowledgements - thank you so much for your contribution!

:)

 

View Postchr1stos, on 07 March 2015 - 09:03 AM, said:

Hmm, I'm new to playing artillery and not the best one either, I guess not being too serious about it has something to do with it.

So far I find the "aim for weakspots" advice impractical.

Maybe on some other artillery or the Object 261 at the end of the line.

But my SU-14-2 which I started playing after the last patch came out with the accuracy changes,well, I concentrate at just hitting things with it's big gun.

I prefer to aim right at the center so that even if my shot flies high it will at least hit the turret.

A hit is all I want and am happy with, it will give me 700-900 dmg if I don't get really lucky and pen.

The few times I used the "battle assistant mod" which I'm not comfortable with and do not like, I was shocked at how much my shots deviate from center.

Maybe if I played something more accurate it would be different, I could have a good chance at hitting engine decks.

My philosophy is to fully aim no matter how long it takes and take advantage of the waiting period to study the movement of the enemy tank.

Then wait for them to finish their last reload and go into the aiming phase.

That's when I let off the shot, when they are sitting there aiming and I am fully aimed myself already.

Chancy shots don't pay off but very rarely nowadays.

 

 

I find that with a very well trained crew, hits on individual weak-spots are an awful lot easier to achieve. The accuracy mechanic also has to be in your favour, though it does require a very accurate gun, or at least, a lot of practice to master. Aiming for weak-spots is more beneficial to the team, as it deals crippling amounts of damage in comparison to hitting the stronger armour, however, as you say, it is far less practical, and one will often either overshoot or undershoot. I would recommend practising it, though; maybe in lower tier artillery, and arties including the Bishop and FV304 are very accurate and will often hit weak-spots dead-on. Plus, their reload time is far more forgiving, so if you miss, you can try again within moments. Though, when playing artillery with much more lethal guns, it is much harder to actually hit weak-spots. All it needs to perfect is a lot of time, patience, and experience, and eventually, you will see some improvement.

 

Hope this helps!

;)


Edited by GrumblingGrenade, 07 March 2015 - 10:32 AM.


Gnomus #7 Posted 07 March 2015 - 12:52 PM

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Weakspot shooting can be thought two different ways:

 

You have two Maus available as target. Other is facing your way other is offering his side. Pick "the weakspot" so shoot at one offering his side. It's larger target and also has less armor than front, unless you hit tracks. Same aplies to one target that is circling your team mate. If possible, wait for him to offer his rear, or at least side to hit before shooting.

 

Another way is deciding where to aim. You need to choose if you want just to hit or do you want massive effect. Aiming for hitting is easier, but often will result on non penetrating hit. Aiming for top of the tank, or even top of the turret, will make you miss more, but hit will be devastating when you get it. It's basically high risk high reward or low risk low reward. Both are still subject to RNG, but you can influence changes of them. Some times hitting is all you want. Some times you want to make sure you get maximum effect when you hit.



chr1stos #8 Posted 07 March 2015 - 01:03 PM

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I think your guide is excellent but could get even better.

You should probably add some pointers concerning aiming, how one should aim depending on the shape of his reticle and what one should expect from aiming at tanks that are not at the same height as him, such as firing at tanks on hills.

Also what effect your tanks attitude has on  the aiming and shell trajectory, like nose down or nose up etc.

All these are important things for an artillery player in order to maximize his dmg and efficiency.

One of my favorite things when playing artillery is counter artillery and blind fire.

I do not do them often but there are maps with well known positions for arty so I can use the long reload to locate them.

Hidden Village for example I have lost count of how many enemy artillery I have killed 1 minute into the battle.

And I feel sorry for them every single time.

And there are also many well known camper bushes on many maps that you can be almost certain that after a couple of mins into the game someone will be sitting behind them.

Those I don't feel sorry for, they are my greatest satisfaction and putting my tanking experience into my SPG gameplay ;)

 



GrumblingGrenade #9 Posted 07 March 2015 - 01:48 PM

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View PostGnomus, on 07 March 2015 - 11:52 AM, said:

Weakspot shooting can be thought two different ways:

 

You have two Maus available as target. Other is facing your way other is offering his side. Pick "the weakspot" so shoot at one offering his side. It's larger target and also has less armor than front, unless you hit tracks. Same aplies to one target that is circling your team mate. If possible, wait for him to offer his rear, or at least side to hit before shooting.

 

Another way is deciding where to aim. You need to choose if you want just to hit or do you want massive effect. Aiming for hitting is easier, but often will result on non penetrating hit. Aiming for top of the tank, or even top of the turret, will make you miss more, but hit will be devastating when you get it. It's basically high risk high reward or low risk low reward. Both are still subject to RNG, but you can influence changes of them. Some times hitting is all you want. Some times you want to make sure you get maximum effect when you hit.

 

This is a brilliant build on the topic of aiming for weak-spots! Thank you for your contribution! I'll add this to the guide straight away, and I'll +1 this post as soon as my quota resets; thank you so much for building on the guide!

:great:

 

View Postchr1stos, on 07 March 2015 - 12:03 PM, said:

I think your guide is excellent but could get even better.

You should probably add some pointers concerning aiming, how one should aim depending on the shape of his reticle and what one should expect from aiming at tanks that are not at the same height as him, such as firing at tanks on hills.

Also what effect your tanks attitude has on  the aiming and shell trajectory, like nose down or nose up etc.

All these are important things for an artillery player in order to maximize his dmg and efficiency.

One of my favorite things when playing artillery is counter artillery and blind fire.

I do not do them often but there are maps with well known positions for arty so I can use the long reload to locate them.

Hidden Village for example I have lost count of how many enemy artillery I have killed 1 minute into the battle.

And I feel sorry for them every single time.

And there are also many well known camper bushes on many maps that you can be almost certain that after a couple of mins into the game someone will be sitting behind them.

Those I don't feel sorry for, they are my greatest satisfaction and putting my tanking experience into my SPG gameplay ;)

 

 

I will add this all to the guide, and thank you for showing your support too! It really means a lot, and yet more advice for the guide will always be welcome, so once again, thank you so much for your contribution! I'll +1 this post as soon as my quota resets!

;)

 


 

EDIT: The guide has been updated with all of your input added; thank you so much for taking the time to add to an already expansive list of tips and methods! Thank you all so much, I really appreciate it, and hopefully, those learning from it will as well!

:honoring:


Edited by GrumblingGrenade, 07 March 2015 - 02:17 PM.


ghost_tiger #10 Posted 07 March 2015 - 11:52 PM

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Battle Assistant is not that bad, but it causes terrible tunnel vision. I have very good hit ratio with it and lot of success firing at moving targets.

 

When deciding whether to attack target thats facing you or showing his side - its not always so clear cut that you should select the guy showing his side. I have seen even the big TOG 2 evade my shot in this way just because he started moving the very moment I fired my shot. If there is some range between you and you have 2.5s shell travel time its well possible. You should fire at the guy showing you his side if he is busy with someone else and likely to remain there for some time. Otherwise its just safer to fire at tank facing you, even if it means less damage as its harder to evade such shots when shell trajectory is flat. So select the guy you think you have the best chance of hitting.

 

I found out that my strategy of prioritizing targets by hit chance doesn't seem to affect my average damage, what it does affect is winrate (doing reliable damage all the time seems to help more than doing massive damage from time to time).



Darth_Clicker #11 Posted 08 March 2015 - 06:22 AM

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View PostEila_Juutilainen, on 07 March 2015 - 09:31 AM, said:

Something I'd like to add to shotgunning.

 

What I've noticed when playing derp tanks such as KV-2 and Cruiser II is that if I use auto-aim on my intended victim I will hit more shells, especially on the Cruiser with it's high arc. This is likely because the shells have a parabolic arc and when you aim directly at a tank, you are doing the equivalent of aiming directly in front of your enemy in strategic view with an SPG, which means that there's a chance for your shell to fall in front of the enemy tank and deal no or less damage. Auto-aim on the other hand will force the center of your aim on the center of the enemy tank, which means that the circle contains more enemy for your shell to hit even though you cannot actually see it yourself.

 

Tried it out in SPGs as well and yes, it works the same as with the derp tanks. Nowadays I auto-aim any approaching enemy and most of them go splat or at least hurt really bad.

 

Good advice Eila.  I also started using auto aim on approaching tanks recently.   Someone here in the forum, may have been you, recommended it a while ago.  It has helped save me a few times.  Definitely saved me more times than if I had used manual aim.  It is still important to wait as long as possible for your aim circle to shrink before you blast the tank.  It does not make shotgunning easy, just a bit more probable.

GrumblingGrenade #12 Posted 08 March 2015 - 11:00 AM

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I have added all the advice given from this thread to the guide, and I would like to thank you all for collaborating and making the list of tips so extensive; I certainly know that I have learned a lot from you guys when it comes to playing artillery! Thank you all so much - let's keep the tips rolling in until we have a really thorough and in-depth handbook for artillery drivers! Many thanks!

:honoring:



ghost_tiger #13 Posted 08 March 2015 - 08:54 PM

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View PostBkc1965, on 08 March 2015 - 05:22 AM, said:

 

Good advice Eila.  I also started using auto aim on approaching tanks recently.   Someone here in the forum, may have been you, recommended it a while ago.  It has helped save me a few times.  Definitely saved me more times than if I had used manual aim.  It is still important to wait as long as possible for your aim circle to shrink before you blast the tank.  It does not make shotgunning easy, just a bit more probable.

 

Autoaim works horribly when tank is moving fast or moving to circle you. In those cases manual aim is better or just wait until enemy gets to point blank range. Sometimes its better to deliberately wait long enough and take 1 shot from enemy to kill him with accurate shot.

 

I have also had lot of success in TD mode with autoaim at the end of games, waiting for about 3-4s then firing at short range (no more than 200m).



Darth_Clicker #14 Posted 09 March 2015 - 06:57 AM

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View Postghost_tiger, on 08 March 2015 - 08:54 PM, said:

 

Autoaim works horribly when tank is moving fast or moving to circle you. In those cases manual aim is better or just wait until enemy gets to point blank range. Sometimes its better to deliberately wait long enough and take 1 shot from enemy to kill him with accurate shot.

 

I have also had lot of success in TD mode with autoaim at the end of games, waiting for about 3-4s then firing at short range (no more than 200m).

 

If the tank is driving very fast and perpendicular to the arty then it is next to impossible to hit it with auto aim...or even with manual aim.  As you have stated, the best chance is to aim ahead of the tank using manual aim and hope for the best.  But, most arties rotate so slow and aim so slow that defending against a tank in close combat is almost impossible anyway.  If the tank ever gets on the side of the arty (circling arty)  the battle is usually over for the arty.  Your only chance is if the tank runs out of ammo.

Eila_Juutilainen #15 Posted 09 March 2015 - 08:53 AM

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View Postghost_tiger, on 08 March 2015 - 08:54 PM, said:

Autoaim works horribly when tank is moving fast or moving to circle you. In those cases manual aim is better or just wait until enemy gets to point blank range. Sometimes its better to deliberately wait long enough and take 1 shot from enemy to kill him with accurate shot.

 

Shooting anything fast is horrible with artillery, though.And auto-aim can still work against tanks that are moving sideways or circling, if they're close. Especially if you have an SPG with good traverse. Remember that the auto-aim is very stable while your own hand is jittery, plus using auto-aim will let you focus more on controlling the vehicle itself.

 

I admit it's not perfect and you're right to point out the flaws, of course.



GrumblingGrenade #16 Posted 09 March 2015 - 06:12 PM

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Following the debate on the appropriateness of the usage of auto-aim in a battle situation, I have added a small sub-section in the "Intermediate Artillery Playing" segment of the guide, based on the posts made. I would like to thank all who participated in the debate, as it covers an important area in artillery driving; one that may save the SPG. Many thanks!

:)


Edited by GrumblingGrenade, 09 March 2015 - 06:24 PM.


ghost_tiger #17 Posted 09 March 2015 - 10:06 PM

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View PostBkc1965, on 09 March 2015 - 05:57 AM, said:

 

 If the tank ever gets on the side of the arty (circling arty)  the battle is usually over for the arty.  Your only chance is if the tank runs out of ammo.

 

Once I had a funny game when enemy tank succeeded in getting to my side, but sadly for him also colliding with map border thus coming to a complete stop. He got confused and could not move. My arty could thus complete rotation and kill him. :)

 

Another autoaim weakness is that it tends to aim too high (in this case tank is very close but not point blank and you just finished rotation, it occurs on arties with narrow arc like Grille) - if you don't have enough time to aim you will shoot over. If you react fast and aim a little lower you can hit more reliably even without waiting for aim. But still using autoaim to defend is a good choice in like 80% of cases.


Edited by ghost_tiger, 09 March 2015 - 10:17 PM.


Azrael_Ashemdion #18 Posted 11 March 2015 - 05:36 PM

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Nice guide.  I noticed one thing missing, though:  positioning and driving.  Allow me to offer you some goods on this:

 

Position

When you start the game, you have 30 seconds to make your mind up of where your initial position will be, and you have probably another 30 seconds to get there.  During that time, if you don't know the map, look for other arty and follow their lead (particularly if you have XVM or other stats active and can find an arty player with a good record).  Do NOT park right next to them (verrrry rude), but look for a good spot within 100m of them.  This way you'll get to see what arcs that player chose, and you'll be able to offer support in shotgun mode if your team lets some scouts through.  

 

When you do know the map, that first thirty seconds should be spent guessing where the main action is going to be.  Look at your team and theirs - are there a ton of heavies?  Meds?  TDs?  Figure out the weight of the teams and imagine them "flowing" over the field from the start points.  Where will the water drain to and meet your team coming?  Those likely places are going to be where you want to have yourself aimed at, and where you want to not be in line of sight of when you pull that trigger.  In an immediate sense, select a spot relatively near the base that you can reach with cover, and start aiming.  After your first shot, if you have a favorite spot and your team isn't being overrun, use your reload time to get there and re-aim.  

 

If you're not going to go far from base for your position through the game, make sure to set up so that you can drive at least 10-20 meters immediately after pulling the trigger, especially if there are more than two arty on a side.  With only two or one, few players will waste time looking for counterbattery opportunities.  With three or more, it's almost guaranteed at least one of them will be snooping around your base in satellite mode, and probably knows the good spots near it.  You want to move even before you snap out of satellite view, so you're out from under the shot when that player lobs one on your muzzle flash.  Turreted SPGs have a much easier time of this, if you pick out a "lane" to drive in you can simply wander back and forth between shots without ever coming out of satellite view. 

 

Get a friend and open a few training rooms - maybe 10-15 min a night, scouting both bases of a map.  Get some spots not so close to the base that counterbattery will see you, but not so far that you can't get there before your first shell has spent a lot of time in the tube.  The further you are from the base, you make it exponentially harder for the enemy arty to spot you and home in on your position.  

 

Also, try to take advantage of dips in the ground with flat spots, or gentle slopes you can reverse up in case you need gun depression when going into shotgun mode.  Inclines are nice, but the wrong angle at the wrong time can put your gun in a position where you won't be able to hit targets closer than a few hundred meters.  A good flat spot example is around K1-2 on Sand river.  It's a smooth spot right behind a dune, so you have great cover until one of your sides collapses, and you should have plenty of warning to escape if that happens.  

 

Of course, if you are spotted by his team, this puts you back to square one, but that's where we get to...

 

Re-positioning

 

You have tracks.  Use them.  If one of your team's pushes is going particularly well, and you're not having much luck shooting, move up or around behind the successful side.  This has the benefit of getting you further away from where enemy team members will think to find you, and will offer cross-fire opportunities against targets who consider themselves arty-safe.  This is particularly useful to do on maps like Mountain Pass, where teams have only a few fairly limited zones of control.  

 

Cover

At later tiers, cover becomes far less important, as we end up driving vehicles roughly the size of a well-tended office park.  However, there are exceptions at this tier, and early vehicles tend to be very small.  When picking a position, we all generally go for bushes in or behind which to hide.  Check the coverage you have with that bush - first around your hull, and then check with your gun fully elevated.  You might think that bush is good cover, but if you're in satellite view, that gun of yours is poking up like a big flagpole aiming straight down at your vehicle.  Bush with trees in front of it?  Pure gold.  Just a bush?  Probably okay, but not so hot.  Gentle hillside?  Super.  Sheer cliff or big boulder?  Going to be hard to get your distance from it to shoot over.  

 

Driving

 

Surprisingly enough, driving is an important skill in arty, despite our inherent sluggishness.  Most important to remember:  the shortest distance between two points on the map is almost never a straight line.  If you're driving a slow SPG with a low-torque engine, climbing a hill can be a terrible nail-biting experience.  Is there a gentler slope a little ways off that can reach that point you want more quickly?  Again, training rooms can help you out here - practice till you figure out the rate of incline your vehicle can handle without too much challenge.  For guns like the French or the FV304, this doesn't mean quite so much since they're already very quick, but even they have their limits, and crossing a berm via a gentle road versus a sharp incline can still make a difference of several seconds.  

 

Cliff-Diving!  This is an important note - any SPG can get itself up to suicidal speed when driving off a cliff, but be aware that you can get down a hill with rather shocking speed safely by putting yourself into a controlled slide down a steep incline.  Be sure you want to do this, because you won't come back up.  Pick a relatively clean path and tip yourself over the edge gently, then accelerate slightly until you begin to gather speed by sliding.  At this point, reverse your drive ("S" key) to slow down the slide.  Practice this maneuver, it's not that hard to master.  This makes all the difference between being a living threat to the enemy and being a smoking splat-mark at the base of a hill.  

 

By doing this you can make it more difficult to be chased by lights or mediums (going over and perhaps under their gun depression, forcing them to expose themselves to your team on a ridge, etc.), perhaps buying you time to load or reload your derp shot, or for your more aware team members to come back and rescue you.  It can also provide you an aggressive option, if slower enemy heavies or TDs pass by beneath your location without originally spotting you - you can slide down behind them, swing around the corner while they engage the base defenses, and put a shot in their rear (or better still, run away to turn and re-aim at them for when your team-mates reacquire visuals on them). 

Crew Skills

 

The driver of an SPG arguably has the most valuable skill options of the entire crew - between clutch braking, smooth ride, and off-road driving, you have three skills here that are highly important.  Brothers In Arms is probably most important as a first skill for a driver, and if your SPG is pretty small then camo should follow it (some would say camo first, and they might be right).  After these two, however, Smooth Ride is your best choice - anything to cut aim time and dispersion after moving is a Big Deal.  If you get to your fourth skill, it's kind of a toss-up, but I tend to prefer off-road driving over clutch braking, since ORD gets you to your new position faster, and the traverse gain in CB tends to be negligible on vehicles that don't do lots of traversing.  

 

Okay, that's my spiel.  Hope this helps.  

 

  T



GrumblingGrenade #19 Posted 11 March 2015 - 05:55 PM

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View Postttheobald, on 11 March 2015 - 04:36 PM, said:

Spoiler

 

 

Well, if that isn't a crucial contribution, I don't know what is! In this post, there are loads of valuable tips and pieces of advice; all of which have been added to the guide, as well as the contributor's name to the acknowledgements! Thank you so much for this - it really means a lot, and adds something really quite special to the guide!

:honoring:



ghost_tiger #20 Posted 11 March 2015 - 09:00 PM

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Some time ago I created a similar topic in Newcomes forum http://forum.worldoftanks.eu/index.php?/topic/458420-newcomers-interested-in-arty/ . Important links from there are arty guide by tyraforce, http://wiki.wargaming.net/en/Self-Propelled_Guns , http://www.tank-compare.com/en/ (server seems to be down now, allows you compare tanks and arties), http://www.vbaddict.net (allows to determine which arty is the best income maker, does most damage etc)





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