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H311fi5h #1 Posted 24 March 2015 - 01:23 PM

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Welcome to Hellfish's FC-Academy.

 

Table of Contents:

 

I. Preface

II. About the author

III. Introduction

1. First Steps

2. Map Control and Key Locations

3. Organized Games vs. Random Battles

4. Camping

5. The Cardinal Rules of Field Commanding

6. Setups Part 1 - Skirmish Tier 8

7. Analysing the Enemy

8. 7/54 - Team Battles for Beginners

9. 7/54 - Ranked Team Battles & ESL

 


 

I. Preface

 

For a long time I was thinking about writing a guide on one of the more complex subjects of advanced play: Field Commanding. I have touched the subject in a couple of threads and gave advice to several rising clans and FC's. But I have never found a way to get everything there is to say about Field Commanding into one guide. Instead I will write a series of shorter articles, each one about a certain component of Field Commanding, various angles to look at the subject. In the end I hope to create a sort of compendium on the topic, which I'd like to call Hellfish's FC-Academy. I cannot promise to post articles regularly, but I will do my best.

If you have questions, comments, suggestions for future articles or anything else you want to say, please leave a post. You can also PM me with any questions you might have, however I can't promise an instant response, especially if you want me to look at your replays. Please note, English is not my native language. Cut me some slack, there will be mistakes. Now have fun reading.

 


 

II. About the author

 

 

Spoiler

 


 

III. Introduction

 

The first problem I encountered when thinking about how to approach this subject is the question “Where to begin?” The subject of Field Commanding is very complex, because competitive games, where you play with an organized team are so very different from random battles, where everyone plays for himself. Thus there are many sub-topics that need to be covered, but in the end they are all connected. My plan is to talk about a variety of matters, such as map control, coordinating a push, aggression vs. defense, how to use scouts properly, setups for specific game modes, how to get into Clan Wars, and many more. 

Therefore it is even more important to find the right place to start, to create a solid fundament for the following articles.

So this is exactly where I will begin. The first article will cover the First Steps to Field Commanding. I will not go into deep and complex strategies, but look at the most essential things that you need to understand to lead a team to victory. Later, there will be articles about more complex subjects, going deeper into detail.

 


 

1. First Steps.

 

Before we can go into matters of actual commanding, we have to look into how to become a Field Commander in the first place. There is no place so sign up, and the rank in a clan doesn't make you one either. You just have to start doing it. Gather a couple of players around you and start playing some team mode. Doesn't matter what exactly, but skirmish is probably the way to go these days. Just go into a battle and start calling the shots. At the start this will be simple things. You don't need to start with crazy complex strategies and micromanaging 15 tanks. Say which way the main force of yours will attack. Tell your scouts which flanks you want spotted. Order your team when to push and when to fall back. Maybe you can call out the target for focus fire. This is not hard to do, as most of that is something you have to do anyway if you are playing the game. Now you just say it out loud and make the decisions for everyone, not just yourself.

This sort of very basic commanding will already change everything over a random team. Because now you are pulling on one string. Of course that string will not always be the right one. Be prepared to lose. A lot. World of Tanks is learning by dying. But you can't give up. Every time you lose, you should learn something. Even if you get roflstomped in the most brutal way, try to take something away from the experience and apply it the next time you find yourself in a similar situation.

And that is how you become a Field Commander. Just start somewhere. The rest will take time, a lot of frustration, learning the hard way but the most important thing is, you need to keep going and improving.

So now that you are a Field Commander (probably not a very good one, but everyone has to start at the bottom. I did), let's look into the basic elements of Field Commanding. I will split the process of Field Commanding into 4 parts. The parts I will be talking about are:

 

Preparation

Briefing

Playing

Aftermath

 


 

Preparation

 

Preparation is what happens before the actual game and before the briefing. The most important part of this is picking the right setup. I am going to write an article about this in more detail, for now let's keep it basic. What setup you should pick depends entirely on what you pick it for. In Clan Wars you know the map, even the spawn. So you can prepare a strategy and pick a setup for this specific map. In other modes such as skirmish you can't do that. That means you have to pick a universal setup. Of course there are many different approaches to achieve this, but for now we will just cover the most important things. We will skip the part where you prepare for a specific map or enemy at this point, and just look at the basics for a setup that works on any map.

The first thing your setup needs is a basic amount of mobility and scouting capability. You can't go with only heavy tanks. Especially in lower tier skirmishes I see many teams doing that regularly. This is a terrible idea. Yes, in a fight face to face heavy tanks are the most powerful machines on the battlefield, but this won't help you if you can't get into the fight, because you have no idea what the enemy is doing.

So no matter what you are playing, you should not leave the garage without at least two scouts. Two, because you will need one to spot ahead and the other one to cover your empty flank, so you won't get surprised. Personally I prefer to play with 3-4 scouts, because that allows me to use them more aggressively. Also losing one doesn't hurt as much if you got 3. If you just started with Field Commanding, your players probably don't have a big selection of tanks to chose from. So I won't go into specific tanks. Of course a T37 is probably the best tier 6 light, but any other T6 light or even a Cromwell will do if you have nothing else.

Now that you have the scouts, we need to fill up the rest of the team. I could go through the tank classes and tell how many tanks of each class you should pick, but I think this is the wrong approach, because what is important is not the class of the tank, but the role is should play in your setup and strategy. The roles I like to categorize my tanks in are Scout, Battle Tank and Support Tank. We already covered the scouts, so let's go the Battle Tanks. These are what forms the heart of your setup. They are you main strike force, dishing out the damage, but also taking the punches. Traditionally the main force consists of lots of heavy tanks. This is not a necessity though. Especially on tier 6 light and mediums tanks can very well serve as battle tanks, composing your main force. For tier 8 you probably want to look more into heavies though.

Battle Tanks should be the largest number of tanks in your setup. I would aim at 50% of your total setup. These tanks will fight in the first line. Pick tanks that can hold their ground. You want a good mix of firepower, armor and health points. Mobility is nice to have, but not your first priority. Try not to mix too many different speeds though, because the slowest tanks will dictate the overall speed of your main force. That is why 1 E 100 and 3 IS-7 are a bad idea, but 2 IS-7 and 2 T110E5 or just 4 E 100 work quite well. The same applies on tier 6. 7 T37 actually make a decent setup, 6 T37 and 1 ARL 44 not so much, because he will just slow you down.

Now that we have coverd the Battle Tanks only what I call Support Tanks is left. As opposed to the Battle Tanks, Support Tanks can't stand their ground. They usually lack the armor and hp to fight in the first line and rely either on scouts to spot targets for them or the battle tanks to distract the enemy and soak up the damage while they deliver the pain. Support Tanks may belong to various classes, they can be artillery or tank destroyers, but also medium or even heavy tanks. I would call the 50 100 a support tank, because it has neither the armor nor the hp of a real heavy tank. It depends on other tanks to make it work. Support Tanks are force multipliers. Alone they are usually weak, in the right combination with other tanks they are devastating. Support Tanks should make for a small part of your setup, no more than a third, but that depends strongly on the kind of support tank. You don't want to use more than one artillery, but 3 AMX 50 100 are perfectly fine.

Generally speaking, Support Tanks are the least important for your consideration when building a setup, but they are rather difficult to use for the Field Commander. You can experiment with different Support Tanks and setups as you get more experienced. Keep their numbers low at the start. 3-4 light tanks and 6-7 heavy tanks make a fine setup for tier 8 skirmishes.

To sum up this part: Get at least 2 scouts, fill at least 50% of your force with Battle Tanks to fight in the first line, and finally up to one third Support Vehicles, but they are not that important for now.

 


 

Briefing

 

The exact shape of the Briefing depends on the sort of battle you play. For Clan Wars or Tournaments you can prepare using Training Rooms and tools such as Map Tactics (look, another topic for a future article). But for most battles you only have the first 30 seconds before the battle. In a skirmish you need to analyze the enemy setup, come up with a strategy and give orders to all your players, all in 30 seconds. This may seem difficult at the start, but it gets easier the more you do it. At the start, keep it simple. Focus on the most important things. What is the central goal of your strategy? What part of the map do you want to control? Where do your scouts need to spot to achieve this?

For many maps you have to look at the enemy setup to determine if you can go for a certain location or not. The prime example would be the hill on mines. If you setup is faster, you can take it. If not, you might want to try something else.

But what if you have absolutely no idea where to go? Well, try something. Just rush a position that seemed important to you from your experience in random battles. Push down one lane with all your tanks and just spot the rest. What's the worst thing that can happen? If you lose, you at least learn what not to do for the next time.

But please, for the love of god, do not camp. You will learn nothing, waste your and the enemy's time and you are probably going to lose. In the best case you draw, which is basically losing. Camping means giving away all initiative, all control over the flow of the battle. Even if xvm gives you a really bad chance, just try something. Have the balls to charge into a bunch of Unicums. Maybe you catch them on the wrong foot and actually win. If not, you at least learn something and go into the next battle faster.

A strategy doesn't have to be super sophisticated to work. Identify a position that will give you map control (another article) and go for it. You don't need to order every single one of your players around the map. 3, maybe 4 orders will do. That is your scouts, tell them which part of the map you want spotted and your main force. Just keep them in one big bulk and attack. By working together in this basic form you will already beat many teams, because you are working together, fighting for one goal. Do you want to know how I play Windstorm? I pretty much throw all tanks straight into the center and fight it out. Just by keeping your forces tight and pushing forwards together you are already in the driving seat and make the enemy sweat.

At this point the 30 seconds are probably over and the battle begins.

 


 

Playing

 

Many Field Commanders stop commanding at this point and just let the battle play out, but that's not what you want. This part is probably the hardest to write a manual for. To make it easier, I will split this into two parts that roughly describe a Field Commanders duty during the match. That is the Macromanagement and the Micromanagement. It's probably a slight misuse of the term, but I think Macromanagement is a good way to describe the first duty of a field commander: Looking at the big picture. You always want to have one eye on the minimap to see the overall situation. You always need to know where the enemies main force is located. You should see a base capture coming before the alarm goes off and move your tanks back in time. When attacking the enemy, make sure, all your forces are in position to do so and start their attack at the same time. Macromanagement, the big picture, is the most important part of your job. You give the goal for your team, and your team executes. One of the biggest mistakes you can do is tunnelvisioning on something. You need to be on the lookout, constantly aware what is going on in all parts of the map.

But the most vital duty you have is making the big decisions. This is where most inexperienced clans and teams struggle. They don't make decisions quickly enough and with full force or they don't make decisions at all and just let the battle play out. I know, this is also the most scary part of the whole thing. Because a wrong decision probably means defeat. But try to look at it the other way: No decision is always a wrong one. If you decide to go for something, you at least have the chance to do the right thing. If you think you see an opening, a chance to strike at the enemy, don't hesitate, take it and attack! If you see an immediate threat, tanks going for your cap or an incoming enemy push, don't just sit there and let it play out. Make a choice, throw everything you got in the fight and counter what you perceive as the biggest threat. Be active, because that it the only way you can disrupt the enemy's plan.

 

The other half of your job is the Micromanagement. The term refers to controlling individual units. At the start you have probably all your hands full with driving your own tank and looking at the big picture, how can you possibly play part of the game for 6/9/14 other tanks? Well, it gets easier. Don't try to micromanage too much at the start. All your team mates have a functional brain and should be able to drive their own tanks. Trust them to do their job and only micromanage when you see something really important. Two rather simple things will go a long way to winning fights. Call out targets to focus at. Don't stay zoomed in between your shots, but look around you. Look for the enemy tank with the lowest hp and shout at your guys to shoot him. Make it easy to identify the target, something like “IS-3 with half hp” is a good way to go. That is easy for your mates to pick up. Keep doing that until one of the teams is dead. Shooting the same target is so important in this game, it can't be said too many times. And you are in the position to do that. Focus fire!

The second rather simple form of micromanaging is making sure all your tanks join the fight. Are you fighting every single enemy tank and one of your scouts is just sitting in a bush on the other map, doing nothing? Order him to attack. You need all the tanks in a shootout. Throw everything you got at the enemy. See a heavy tank with full hp peek-a-boo'ing a corner, while the rest of you is in a brawl? Shout at the guy to move is butt into the fight. Conserving hp is good, but not once the shootout starts. Then it is all about sharing hp. If one tank doesn't take damage, that means the other tanks get shot even more and will die earlier. You want all your tanks to take damage to keep your guns in play. Everyone who is not low on hp needs to be in the front line, taking some hits for the team. Doesn't matter if it's a reloading autoloader with no armor to speak of, if he can keep his mates alive and win the fight by taking some hits, that's what you need to do. Get in the fight!

With those two basic commands, you can already decide many battles for your team. You don't have to tell every single tank what to do and shoot. Keep it simple.

 


 

Aftermath

 

At this point, the battle is probably over and you could think your duty is done, but I mentioned a fourth part of commanding, the Aftermath. Technically not commanding itself, it is important if you want to improve as a team and as an FC. Like I said many times, no matter what happened in the battle, the most important thing is that you learn something from it. If your strategy failed on a major level, try to find out what went wrong and why. It will be a valuable lesson the next time you play that map.

Try to resist the temptation of finding excuses and shifting blame. It is human to do those things, I do it myself more often than I like to admit. But it is not going to help you at all. Don't scapegoat. You won't improve by blaming someone for a defeat, the only thing you will achieve is crushing your teams fighting spirit. With the morale down you will spiral into defeat after defeat. It recently happened to me in a couple of Stronghold attacks. If you see that you are on a tilt, you need to find a way to reboot. Take a break, try to lighten the mood and enjoy what you are doing. Internet tanks is serious business, but don't make it too serious. Your life doesn't depend on it.

Also try to resist your own ego. The better you get, the more you will be tempted to see yourself as the master, and your players as servants. It is the other way round. A Field Commander serves his team. Never forget that. You are providing leadership and a direction, but it's the players who fight the fight. Treat them properly and you will grow to become a strong team.

 


 

For all its complexity, Field Commanding is not rocket science. You can start today.

 

I hope you liked the first part of this series. If you were bored because you read nothing new, don't worry. There will be more advanced and complex topics in the near future. I figured this would be a good place to start off and I hope this will help some new and rising Field Commanders. Please comment and discuss, post ideas for future subjects and feel free to ask any questions.



 

 


Edited by H311fi5h, 03 October 2015 - 03:58 PM.


Obsessive_Compulsive #2 Posted 24 March 2015 - 01:37 PM

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Really good post. i ran out of ~+1 thank you indeed sir!

 

question if I may: I often find enemy teams using large amounts of medium tanks perhaps 1 or 2 as spotters and a large pack of maybe 5 or 6 that sit tight in a position then fly trough where there is a weak point or opening. I find combatting so many mobile targets hard work becuase they can relocate, hide thier low HP and output alot of fire it becomes disorientating to say the least. Any tips? ( this is CW related btw)


Edited by Smeeeeg_Heeeeed, 24 March 2015 - 01:40 PM.


wetlioN #3 Posted 24 March 2015 - 01:50 PM

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dont give secrets away for nothing you fool 

 

 

okok, if you find this helpful what hellfish wrote, contact me for donations 



H311fi5h #4 Posted 24 March 2015 - 01:58 PM

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View PostSmeeeeg_Heeeeed, on 24 March 2015 - 01:37 PM, said:

Really good post. i ran out of ~+1 thank you indeed sir!

 

question if I may: I often find enemy teams using large amounts of medium tanks perhaps 1 or 2 as spotters and a large pack of maybe 5 or 6 that sit tight in a position then fly trough where there is a weak point or opening. I find combatting so many mobile targets hard work becuase they can relocate, hide thier low HP and output alot of fire it becomes disorientating to say the least. Any tips? ( this is CW related btw)

 

Thank you!

 

When playing against mediums (or any setup superior in mobility) it is of vital importance to get your heavier forces into the fight first. If the enemy is more mobile than you, that also means you have the bigger guns, more armor and more hp. You need to make that advantage work for you. So what you need to do is keep your forces close together. If you spread out too thinly the enemy can use his speed to pick of parts of your team. You don't want that. What you want is getting your heavy tanks into a frontal engagement with the enemy mediums. So you have to play very aggressive with those tanks and really go for the enemy. Your faster tanks however have to stay defensive. You need to keep them alive. If you lose fast tanks early you lose all map control and will get outmaneuvered. Keep your mediums and other fast support tanks (like 50B's) close to your heavy tanks, just a step behind them. Now the enemy will most likely try to outmaneuver and flank you, since he can't survive in a frontal engagement. Your mediums have to prevent that from happening, they have to protect the flanks and funnel the enemy towards your slower but more powerful heavy tanks. Send your heavies in the fight, and once they are getting flanked by enemy mediums you use yours to counterattack.

Against a more heavy setup you would play exactly the other way round.



Paris_Hilton #5 Posted 24 March 2015 - 02:05 PM

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Hellfish best FC :great:

 

followed by my ofc 


Edited by Paris_Hilton, 24 March 2015 - 02:08 PM.


Ephemerich #6 Posted 24 March 2015 - 02:10 PM

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Before the battle starts, we talk almost an hour about class setup, strategy, coordination, communication etc. Hellfish explains all the details, all the possibilities and so on. By the end of the conversation you feel like you're fully prepared, motivated. For a moment, you think Hellfish is born to be a field commander, you think there is no other person in the whole world more suited for this job than him. You feel lucky and grateful for the opportunity of being in the same team with him. 

And then, all of a sudden, everyone picks Russian mediums and we do yolo rush.

 

Spoiler

 



Obsessive_Compulsive #7 Posted 24 March 2015 - 03:16 PM

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View PostveitileiN, on 24 March 2015 - 01:50 PM, said:

dont give secrets away for nothing you fool 

 

 

okok, if you find this helpful what hellfish wrote, contact me for donations 

you are worrried my clan will come and take all your land arent you:trollface:

View PostH311fi5h, on 24 March 2015 - 01:58 PM, said:

 

Thank you!

 

When playing against mediums (or any setup superior in mobility) it is of vital importance to get your heavier forces into the fight first. If the enemy is more mobile than you, that also means you have the bigger guns, more armor and more hp. You need to make that advantage work for you. So what you need to do is keep your forces close together. If you spread out too thinly the enemy can use his speed to pick of parts of your team. You don't want that. What you want is getting your heavy tanks into a frontal engagement with the enemy mediums. So you have to play very aggressive with those tanks and really go for the enemy. Your faster tanks however have to stay defensive. You need to keep them alive. If you lose fast tanks early you lose all map control and will get outmaneuvered. Keep your mediums and other fast support tanks (like 50B's) close to your heavy tanks, just a step behind them. Now the enemy will most likely try to outmaneuver and flank you, since he can't survive in a frontal engagement. Your mediums have to prevent that from happening, they have to protect the flanks and funnel the enemy towards your slower but more powerful heavy tanks. Send your heavies in the fight, and once they are getting flanked by enemy mediums you use yours to counterattack.

Against a more heavy setup you would play exactly the other way round.

thank you again sir!



HowTheStoryEnds #8 Posted 24 March 2015 - 05:00 PM

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I washed your car master, may I go home now?

H311fi5h #9 Posted 24 March 2015 - 06:17 PM

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2. Map Control and Key Locations

 

Map Control

Key Location

Force allocation and mobility

 



If you have read my previous post, you will have noticed I was talking about map control a few times. Map Control is one of the central terms in strategy and tactics. As a Field Commander, most of your considerations will involve map control. So before we continue going deeper into the matter, let's take a look and find out what map control really means, and why it is so important.

 


 

What is map control?

 

At its very core, the meaning of map control is how much of the map in terms of area you have control over. Having control in turn means, the area is not usable for the enemy, but for you. This doesn't necessarily mean you have turned this area into a death trap for any tank moving there. It rather means the enemy can't afford to use that part of the map for any number of reasons, e.g. because his cap is threatened, thus he can't go away too far or he will be unable to return in time. There are many ways to get map control. The exact details highly depend on the map and the available setup. We will look into the most basic ways that apply to all or at least most maps. But before we do that we should ask the question, why is map control that important?

Map control doesn't win the game. Killing the enemy tanks or capping the base does. You can control 95% of the map but if you can't complete the mission, you won't win.

Well, map control is about tactical options. There more map control you have, the more tactical options you got. If you control three quarters of the map, you can attack the enemy from any direction. And you know where he will be coming from.

By taking map control, you limit the enemies movement, you limit his options. If the enemy has very few viable options left, then you can focus more forces to counter those options. What sounds contradictory at first, is of fundamental importance for a Field Commander. By covering more ground, you need to cover less. You can also look at it this way: If you have more map control than the enemy, then you have all the options. His forces however are tied. Because you have many tactical options, you bind enemy forces. Forces he can't use for something else.

That is why, when making a strategy you don't try to figure out how to kill the enemy or cap his base. Instead you have to ask yourself how you get map control. While not being the final goal itself, taking control mediately leads there. So how do you take map control?

The first step is information. You need to know as much about the enemy's movement as possible. I will dedicate a post to scouts later, but for now let's just say, you need your scouts to spot the enemy's deployment as early as possible. It is not about spotting to get shots at the enemy (that can be a nice side-effect, but not your primary goal). Many maps offer opportunities so see on which half of the map the enemy is deploying. On Steppes you can move a scout to one of the rocks at the middle road, on Ensk you can spot along the rails, on Prokhorovka you can make a run through the middle, on Himmelsdorf you can rush a scout to the center square and so on. These early spots won't give you exact positions and they usually won't allow you to do significant damage, but they tell you where you can expect a high concentration of enemy forces. Which means you also know where the enemy can't have many tanks. Let's say I see the enemy crossing to the outside, the “green strip” on Ensk. Then I know the city will be abandoned. Thus I won't waste any time and go up the 5-line, taking control over half the map straight away. Of course this is possible not just at the start of the battle. You should always know where most of the enemy forces are. That will allow you to roam other parts of the map freely with your more mobile units, taking map control away from the enemy.

 


 

Identifying key locations

 

I define key locations as spots on the map, that will allow you to control larger parts of the map with small forces. Thus taking a key location serves as a force multiplier. A tank in such a spot will be more valuable, able to contribute more than the same tank in a different location. Such a location, to provide some examples, would be the hill on Mines or Karelia, the Abbey on the map of the same name, the doughnut on Cliff and many more. Most maps have spots like this. Sometimes it is just one central location, sometimes there are many smaller ones, controlling only parts of the map.

It is of absolutely vital importance to know and understand these locations. I'm not saying you have to get them at all cost. What I'm saying is you should know them so you can use them if given the chance. Or deal with them if the enemy is in control. Once you have identified the key locations on the map you're playing, you need to incorporate them into your strategy. There are different ways to do that.

The most obvious is to rush a key location, throwing everything you got in the fight to take it from the enemy. This is a very common practice on maps such as Mines. Doing that however, you have to be aware that all your forces will be bound for this task. If you take the hill on Mines e.g. you can't also rush the island. Taking a key location is a good basis for building your strategy, but don't give in to the temptation to bite off more than you can chew. On the other hand don't be overly cautious. If you don't take any risks, you just give away the key locations for free. You don't want that. Find a middle ground.

So what about the key locations you don't want or can't take by force?

Well, you need to find a way to work around that and neutralize the threat. The easiest way is by simply playing over the other flank, where the key location doesn't give an advantage to the enemy. Let's assume you leave the hill on Himmelsdorf, no doubt a key location, to the enemy uncontested. Then you will need to build the rest of your strategy around that fact. You can't use the center of the map, because there you will get shot from the hill. What you can use is the 1- and 2-line, where you are out of draw range. So if you don't take the hill, you probably want to attack down that side. If you do take it, you should rather stay more to the center, where your team can work together and support each other.

You can also try to keep a constant threat up at the key location, to make it unusable for the enemy. Let's say you are playing Mines from the south. It takes just one tank proxyspotting the hill while some snipers or arty are aiming there, and the advantage the enemy has from taking the hill is basically neutralized. If you decide not to take a key location, you should at least try to spot it with one scout. That will allow you to count the enemy tanks going for that location, thus you know what to expect at another point of the map. And if the enemy is not going for it either, you get the position for free. Key locations are the primary means to get map control. But there are others.

The most common would be threatening the enemy base. If you are closer to the enemy base than he is to yours, you will most likely win a cap race. If your enemy isn't stupid, he will know that. Thus you restrict his movement. He can't go away too far, has to keep forces back to cover his base. Now you have map control, you can freely take other parts of the map that are outside your enemy's reach. This leads us to the last part I want to talk about:

 


 

Force allocation and mobility

 

To take control over a part of the map you don't need to necessarily have tanks located in that exact spot. Having tanks in a position to take effect in the area will do. This concerns primarily slow tanks. By moving slow tanks to the flanks of your deployment area, they are pretty far away from the action. It will take a long time to move them where you need them. If you decide to flank with your main force, you have to keep that in mind. The more central the position of your heavy tanks, the more map control they can provide.

Regularly I see teams who think the 0-line on Redshire is a good place for heavy tanks. In a random battle that may be true, in a skirmish it certainly isn't. The central hills are a much better place to go, simply because from there you can reach all important parts of the map relatively quickly.

Consider the cost of your investment to take a certain location, and calculate the gain. Slow tanks are generally more powerful in a fight than faster ones, but they are harder to get where you need them. That's why a flexible setup should include both fast tanks and slower but more powerful ones. Find the right assignment for the different elements of your setup, but remember, what works in a random is not always a good idea when fighting organized teams. 


Edited by H311fi5h, 18 September 2015 - 07:23 PM.


Dr_Oolen #10 Posted 24 March 2015 - 10:34 PM

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Im not sure if heilfishi will write on this topic (he hasnt in previous posts) but i think one of the most contributing factors to our victories is his policy on using premium tanks and it really needs to be mentioned - he is a strong advocate of using at least 2 premium tanks in T8 SH. While we do object at times to this rule, generally we listen. Other than that id say the greatest challenge hellfishi has to deal with from our side is the ever changing setups between each battle. 10 heavies and 5 mt/support tenks in previous round? Ninjad! Within 5 seconds that it takes 15 people to ready up we suddenly have 2 arty, a td, 8 mediums and 4 heavies. Also we ignore any command that has anything to do with capping or decapping. I secretely want to have babies with hellfish.

HowTheStoryEnds #11 Posted 24 March 2015 - 10:48 PM

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CDC master race. A good FC requires obedience. 

Edited by HowTheStoryEnds, 24 March 2015 - 10:50 PM.


_SgtBomber_ #12 Posted 25 March 2015 - 12:18 AM

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Great effort!

Now give that man the COMMANDER rank !!!



H311fi5h #13 Posted 25 March 2015 - 01:53 PM

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3. Organized Games vs. Random Battles

 

or: The Unicum Sickness

 

The Big Picture

The Little Things

 


 

Battles with organized teams are radically different from most random battles. This applies to the big picture, the strategy of both teams, but also some little things. While those little things are not decisions, the FC usually has to make, but the individual player, the Field Commander also has the duty to educate his players and serve as a good example. So what are these differences?

 


 

The Big Picture

 

On a larger scale we have already talked about some. In random battles you usually get a sort of standard deployment. Heavy tanks drive to the heavy corner, slugging it out amongst each other, mediums and lights drive to the open flank, while tank destroyers and artillery camp somewhere in the back. Forget everything about this stuff when you play Skirmishes, Clan Wars or Team Battles. There is no heavy corner. There is no medium playground.

The reason number one why standard random tactics (if you want to call it like that) won't work in any form of organized games is simple: It's a massive split. In random battles you usually try to cover the whole map, guard all approaches to your base. Sometimes that's not happening, then you see teams complaining about so called "Lemming-Trains". Most of the time that is a bad thing, but not because a Lemming-Train, all or most tanks going to one flank, is inherently bad. It's because the train stops half way, the second it meets resistance. If you play in an organized environment however, you can order that train to keep going and push straight through to the enemy base. Then it can be a very successful strategy.

A split however is a very risky proposition. Both teams will – if half way competent – try to figure out each others deployment early in the game using scouts. As soon as the split is detected, a good Field Commander will mass his forces and take down one half of the enemy. With a 2:1 overmatch and a merciless push, that inferior half will die very quickly and do very little damage in return. Then the other half is left versus an almost untouched team. The only chance would be a fast base capture, but most likely it will be too late for that already. So lesson number one for new Field Commanders: Stick together. Don't split.

But I should clarify. This does obviously not mean you have to stay in one big blob rolling straight to the enemy's cap circle. No, what you should do is keep your forces close enough to support each other. That means, the more mobile tanks are, the further you can send them away from you main concentration of forces. Because they can retreat and run away if they get in trouble, or quickly get to their mates in need. With slower machines you better stay tight and in more central positions on the map.

The part about being able to support can't be stressed enough. Only because you are very close together in terms of physical distance, doesn't mean you can support each other. I will give you an example for what I mean.

Regularly I meet teams on Himmelsdorf, usually when they play from the south spawn, who think it is a good idea to camp around the cap circle, on the J and K-line left and right of the church. The pinnacle of this was during the third campaign, when we met a team consisting of only E 100 and T110E3, not moving one inch. While this may seem like a strong defense, it is in fact super easy to break with the right tactics and a little bit of patience. I will dedicate an article to camping and how to break it at a later point. With their camping strategy, the enemy teams are within maybe 300 meters of each other. Close enough to support if one side gets attacked you would think. Actually no. Because from the G-line you have two roads giving a clear line of fire all the way to the south edge of the map, a few tanks there can cut the enemy team in half. And all of a sudden, the enemy camp looks way less scary, because you can use almost all of your forces to attack only one half of the enemy team. If the other half tries to reunite and help their mates, they are going to run into a crossfire, getting shot in the side over and over.

Don't split doesn't just mean don't go too far away in the spacial dimension, but in a tactical sense. Covering much ground is good (map control) but if you stretch too thinly, you create weak points the enemy can use to break through, isolate, and destroy parts of your forces.

 

Of course this also goes the other way. With an organized team you can afford to do certain things that would be complete and utter suicide in a random battle. Like pushing down the 1-line on Mines. Or driving straight through the center on Swamp. Pushing from the low ground on Cliff. There are many examples.

You can do this stuff, because as a Field Commander you have the power to concentrate your forces where you want them making sure the parts of your team going in get the right amount of support needed, and they are going in together. I can't possibly cover all those things and possibilities. It's up to you to find opportunities and create new strategies. You will have to re-learn and get a new look at the maps. Be willing to experiment. Like I said before, what's the worst that can happen?

 


 

The Little Things

 

Now let's have a look at the little things, stuff on the micro level, the individual players. Of course the basic mechanics of the game don't change from one game mode to the other. Things like shooting at weak spots and tracks, using the spotting system, angling your armor and all that good stuff, nothing changes about that. But the way the individual players has to use his tank can change a lot in certain situations. The first rule of playing in organized teams is: Don't peek-a-boo.

This is something that has driven generations of Field Commanders into insanity. If you are a player reading this, stop it! If you are a Field Commander, you have to drill your players to stop this and be more disciplined.

Peek-a-boo(m)ing is something you do in random battles all the time. You wait for the enemy to not pay attention to you, or to shoot someone else, then you go out of cover, shoot, and retreat. Hopefully before you get shot back. Not the greatest thing to do in organized games, for two reasons.

Reason number one is, while it's a random team mate's or your own health that gets lost, in a competitive match it's not a random guy or you losing health. It's part of your team's health pool that gets lost. You need to learn to conserve health, because you need health for the shootout that will happen in most battles at some point. You can not afford to waste health before that. If you are tasked by your FC with holding a position, then you building a fireline or create crossfire depending on the available terrain, and you pre-aim your corners. Don't peek around the corner. Don't try to sneak in a shot. Be patient. Be disciplined. The enemy will come to you eventually.

The second reason is the number of guns in effect. We will talk about the guns in play theory in a later article.

The cornerstone of any engagement is keeping the number of enemy guns shooting at you low, and the number of friendly guns shooting at the enemy as many as possible. You can't achieve this by peek-a-boo'ing. If the enemy is disciplined and you aren't, they will have multiple guns aiming for you. When you peek out, only a few, but not all of your team's guns can return fire. This means, effectively you lose a lot of firepower, your enemy doesn't. You are taking bad trades, probably losing more health than you do damage. You need to be in strongly superior positions (hull-down or side scraping against enemies in the open) to make that work. Think twice before you take a big risk for very little gain. This problem is why I gave this article the subtitle “The Unicum Sickness”. Because it is usually not the bad players in your team to do this sort of mistake. It is the purple guys, trying to get more damage and be the hero of the game. This is because they are conditioned from tens of thousands of random battles to squeeze out every tiny last bit of damage. Certain reflexes from random battles need to go away in organized games, they do more harm than good. There are no heroes in a team. You win or you lose together, and the sooner you understand that, the better.

 

This is also tied to the subject of using HP. In defensive or idle situations you want to conserve them. But what when things get real and the shootout starts?

Let me clarify first, by shootout I mean a situation where both teams shoot at each other at close range, with very little cover available. A shootout is usually the deciding moment of a battle and happens when one team decides to push in.

In a shootout all gloves are off. HP are no longer what you try to conserve, they are a resource that wants to be used. Again, this contradicts your random reflexes. Why would you take a shot for someone you don't know? Well, playing in a team you know your mates, so take one for the team!

As a general rule, the more hp you have left, the more you need to try to get shot. Because if you get shot, that means the enemy is not shooting someone else on your team. Someone who may have less hp left than you, maybe even is down to a oneshot. When the shootout starts, you need everyone to go in. If you as a Field Commander see someone with full hp standing in the back, sniping, while his mates are dying in the front, you need to shout at him to get his lazy a*s in the fight. You need his hp. You need him to get shot, so someone else doesn't. This by the way includes autoloaders on reload. If you have a full hp autoloader left, and sacrificing that hp will allow others to survive and keep shooting, then that's the right thing to do.

You will also need to take one for the team when going for kills. Of course, you are also trying to get the kills in random battles, but you won't be willing to take a huge load of hits just to finish off a 100 hp target. Well, in a shootout, kills are (almost) everything. You need to get those kills. You need to focus fire. Sometimes that means you have to go around a tank or an obstacle to get your shot in, maybe taking some in return. Get those kills! Nothing is worse than almost killing the enemy team, but in the end it's a crushing 3:10 defeat with every single enemy left on a whiff of hp.

 


 

To sum things up: Certain strategies and elements on the individual level that are basic skills in random battles, can backfire in a more organized environment. You will need to develop discipline and patience, but you can't hesitate when the time comes.

 


Edited by H311fi5h, 17 September 2015 - 03:07 AM.


binmaa10 #14 Posted 25 March 2015 - 03:17 PM

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Thank you this is a really nice and well written article.

I enjoyed reading it very much, and will read all other things you will write on this topic for sure. As of the concerns about your qualification: When you I talked on several Teamspeaks about FC's I hear your name very often as one of the best on the server, Even though I never had the possibility to drive under your command, I had the chance to hear one of your instructions when I was a member of LEOFL. This was really nice and I am still having some screenshots of the tactics you showed us there :D

 

But when reading this it feels like this was ages ago and now I am also leading sometimes. Well to be honest I am far away from beeing a good FC but it was decent enough for the Clans were I was and it is still decent enough to lead some strongholds at NOS. When reading this I also thought a bit about the things you were writing on and I also noticed that some of my thoughts would be big enough to fill an own article. So I will just write what I would like to say to the parts you wrote already. Because I think you will write most of the other parts sooner or later anyway.

 

I think when you are starting to lead battles it's important that you dont do jobs where you have to be concentrated a lot. Because when I started leading I played like an idiot and it took me some time until I was able to lead and play at the same time without failing too much. Even now I am still driving into rocks sometimes at the beginning of battles while I am still saying something about tactics. So I would add to the first steps part that it is maybe better when you start to lead battles to do the easier jobs, like passive spotting the base etc.

 

When building a setup I would also write that the roles of a tank in setup can change between the battle and are not fixed during the whole games. For example a supporting medium can turn to a spotter if one scout dies and you need the otherone elsewhere. Or sometimes it is better to use an oneshot heavy as a support tank in the back.

 

What I like to do after battles is not only to think about the battles on my own. Most of the time I also ask the players what they were thinking about the tactics and if they see possibilitys to improve them. Because a guy playing on his position is sometimes better to judge if there would have been better options as the move I ordered him to do. And so on.

 

When gaining Map Control I think it is also important to give up mapcontrol and let the scout fall a little bit back, when you are pushing on the other side in order that he doesn't get overrun by a counterpush and is able to run away or get support. Oh I've just seen you wrote this, or at least something which is saying the same, while I was writing my post :D

 

In my opinion its not the commanders task to point out focus fire. I think focus fire is something all players need to care about on their own. A player should always shoot the lowest hp target he can hit. A commander could always only pick out one target and in the chaos of a shootout it is almost impossible for everyone to hit these or to be in a position where they can pen them. The only thing a commander has to say about focus fire is take out the autoloaders/mediums/whatever first and maybe reminding the people before a push not to forget about focus fire. Aditionally when he is picking out focus targets he might not notice the people which are going to flank the main force or if he sends some people to flank they might not notice his commands between the focus instructions.

 

OMG now I wrote pretty much about this topic. As english is not my native language I hope it's understandable what I am trying to say. Please don't take this as critic I just wanted to point out what I would add or maybe do different.

 


Edited by binmaa10, 25 March 2015 - 06:17 PM.


H311fi5h #15 Posted 25 March 2015 - 03:49 PM

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No worries, thanks for your post!

Regarding the question which tank you should drive, I don't think there is a universal truth. I know some FC's who like to play arty, because that gives them the best overview. Others play scouts (Hami) so they are at the front early and can direct their team from there (or die quickly and command even better).

Personally, I don't always stick to the same class or role. But when driving fast tanks, I regularly manage to drive into rocks or stuff while I'm pinging on the minimap. Don't ping and drive. Once I drowned myself on Windstorm falling of a bridge. 

But most of the time I play heavy tanks. On tier 8 the T32 and 110 are my favorites, on tier 10 the FV215b (which is also a sort of trademark in many of my strategies). Why heavy tanks? Well, three reasons.

1) We always lack heavy tanks in the setup

2) It's not so hard to drive and ping the map/focus on other things, when you are driving a slow machine

3) I'm in the middle of thickest fight. Which leads to your point about focus fire.

Yes, in theory you are right. An FC shouldn't need to say anything (or very little) about that. The players should be able to figure out what to shoot on their own. But my experience shows, this never works properly. I see super-unicum players shooting down a full hp tank while there is a oneshot sitting right next to it. So I rather shout orders left and right, trying to get all guns at the right target. It's very stressful, but I think the results are there. Maybe this would work better with  a stable team, but the way my clan works (no obligations), we have a lot of fluctuation in players, setup and tier of the skirmish on one evening. Not saying that is a bad thing, we quite enjoy that freedom, but it may be a reason why teamplay is sometimes not 100% optimal. Honestly, I shouldn't complain. The guys got so much better at the stuff I was talking about in the latest post, looking back at the last months.

 

Watch this if you want to see IDEAL in action: http://wotreplays.com/site/1734464#airfield-veitilein-type_64


Edited by H311fi5h, 25 March 2015 - 04:47 PM.


Stefan_el_Maestro #16 Posted 25 March 2015 - 05:02 PM

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Thank you for the very nice tread...

 

I have one question... if this is the place...

 

As FC how you deal with super star (or primadonna, first violin, primaballerina) attitude of best player (or top 4-5 players) in a clan? In weak clans, where you have limited (few) good-very good players that clan can not afford to lose not even one good player?

 

I am new in this game but playing games from 1989 :) and I am good. So for example tactic in CS, or Bf... if worst player is trying to lead my actions I disobey and do as I think. I know ofc, that personal score in team game is not something that should be looked to so that way I ask.... How you deal with superstars of your team, better players than your self?

 

Thank you



HowTheStoryEnds #17 Posted 25 March 2015 - 05:45 PM

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That clan can afford to kick them, enjoyment and efficiency above all.

Dr_Oolen #18 Posted 25 March 2015 - 05:58 PM

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View PostD_O_A_wot, on 25 March 2015 - 05:02 PM, said:

Thank you for the very nice tread...

 

I have one question... if this is the place...

 

As FC how you deal with super star (or primadonna, first violin, primaballerina) attitude of best player (or top 4-5 players) in a clan? In weak clans, where you have limited (few) good-very good players that clan can not afford to lose not even one good player?

 

I am new in this game but playing games from 1989 :) and I am good. So for example tactic in CS, or Bf... if worst player is trying to lead my actions I disobey and do as I think. I know ofc, that personal score in team game is not something that should be looked to so that way I ask.... How you deal with superstars of your team, better players than your self?

 

Thank you

 

Ideal doesnt accept such mr sexiis :P But sometimes someone doesnt listen, but not because they think they are better and know better, but just because they are being [edited]at that moment and they think someone else will do what is being said if hellfish doesnt say specifically whom should do said thing.

 

But i personally dont listen to ephemerichs command, once he sent me to the middle of a lake, i went there and drowned. Ever since i dont trust that guy!



RoninRage #19 Posted 25 March 2015 - 06:18 PM

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Thanks H311fi5h for the good work so far and the effort you put into this guide.

 

What I found interessting is that the "random" mindset in teambased battles is not only a problem for not so skilled players (red to green like me and the guys I order arround most of the time by FCing for training/academy clan)but also hard to master for more skilled players.

  
about Primadonnas/better players than myself not playing for/with the team:
Option 1: as HTSE said
Option 2: not all better players are better FC's or even willing/able to FC.
Option 3: let him do like he thinks. Most of the time (at least thats my experience) this results in a defeat or him getting killed or the rest of the team getting killed.
Try to point out why this happend and at somepoint the superstar normally realizes why this happens. This might be easier for me because in an academy clan you only have people with
the mindset to improve and to learn so most of the time no superstars and interessted in advice.
Option 4: Talk and listen to him. Why did he want to go there? Is there away to improve tactics or the teams performance by changing something. But I think H311fi5already mentioned the feedback by players part somewhere.

 

Again thank you and looking forward for the next parts of this series.

 

Greets
Ronin



binmaa10 #20 Posted 25 March 2015 - 06:20 PM

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Just an example what happens if you forget to spot one side:

http://wotreplays.eu/site/1694376#team






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