My time with World of Tanks can be divided into two eras.
There was beta, launch, and immediately after, during which I played a lot but then tapered off, with my last surge coming when I bought the Type 59. And then there is Patch 8.0 and beyond. Patch 8.0 was the great physics update which revitalized the game for me, fixing some of my key annoyances, and got me to come back and play.
Of course, a lot had changed between these two eras besides the physics. Tank trees, tanks, countries, and skills had all be shaken up in that time. I have taken on things by turns, and now I am looking at skills.
For those who do not play the game, you tank has a crew that actually translates your inputs into actions. So you may aim and click the button to shoot the cannon on your tank, but the skills of your gunner play heavily into the accuracy of that shot. And you increase the skills of your crew by playing. They gain experience over time.
In the first era there was but one skill. Each crew member had a function, like gunner, loader, or driver, and a skill level associated with that. At 100% you were done training and that was that.
At some point when I had faded from the game, Wargaming.net added in secondary skills. So now, after your crew hits 100% in their primary skill, they can learn additional skills to help them at their job.
I handled this the way I often handle these sorts of skill changes. I picked some likely looking candidates and moved on to play. After a while and a bit of reflection, I came up with a pattern, a standard set of skills I assign my crews.
First off, the secondary skills are actually divided into skills and perks. Skills come into effect immediately and get more effective as you learn the skill. Perks, which tend to be better, do nothing while you learn them, only providing benefit when you get them to 100%. That can take a while, as the game wiki points out.
I never know how long I am going to play a given tank. So my first decision was skills only, avoid perks. And for quite a while I was in no danger of getting to 100% on skills or perks, so it seemed like a wise course. I settled down to the following as a general template:
- Commander – Mentor (+10% primary skills for crew)
- Gunner – Snap Shot if vehicle has a turret, Armorer if not
- Driver – Controlled Impact (because I love when people die ramming me)
- Radio Operator – Situational Awareness
- Loaders – Repair, Fire Fighting, or Camouflage
So my KV-3 crew follows that pattern. (Which you can verify if you know what the tiny icons mean.)
After a while, I started getting to crews that had a skill trained up to 100% and needed to start on a second skill. But I had chosen all of what I perceived as the “good” skills the first time around. And since the climb to 100% for the second skill is, as the chart above indicates, about double the effort, I didn’t want some useless perks idling there for all that time.
So I looked into retraining.
You can reset you skills and perks for a price. For 200 gold, which seems like a lot (and which is probably the point), you can simply swap them out with no penalty. For credits you can swap them, but lose 10% of your skill points. I have chosen both options at this point, but the skill point loss isn’t so bad if you wait for a bit getting into your second skill. I am happy so long as I don’t have to do that last 5% over again to get the first one to 100%.
With a reset, I could inject perks into the first position and then put the same skills I had been training before into the second slot. Being mildly obsessed with crew skills, I went with Band of Brothers for the first slot across the whole crew. This perk boost crew skills beyond 100%, but only if everybody in the crew has it.
So I have a couple of crews that look like my T-150 crew now:
So you can see that with Brothers in Arms across the whole crew, plus the commander training Mentor again, plus ventilation added to the tank, my gunner is running at 121% skill level. And he has Snap Shot well under way, though it you look at that curve above, 74% is about the half way point to being done. A long ways to go yet.
I was generally satisfied by this, with the view that better crew skills was the optimum choice.
However, when I finally got my Type 59 crew up to their first skill at 100%, I began to wonder if a 5% skill boost was worth tying up the whole first slot. So I decided to experiment with them. The Type 59 was the crew where I first picked skills and perks, and did so at random, not yet understanding the whole “skill vs. perk” thing. So they had some perks mixed in that I never bothered to retrain. So I decided to stick with them.
For the commander, I chose Sixth Sense, which I am beginning to really depend upon. I play the Type 59 either on the flanks, looking for a good shoot, or as a passive scout, parked in the middle of what would otherwise be a giant gap in our lines as the rest of the team tries press up either flank. 3 seconds after I have been spotted, a little light bulb shows up on screen, and I know it is time to trot. Now, in that 3 second gap, the bad guys can, and often do, take a shot at me. But not always, and it at least keeps arty from raining down on me.
The for a second skill, I chose Mentor, which is my standard.
My gunner has Deadeye, which is supposed to increase critical damage. The boost is only 3%, so I am wondering if I ought to retrain and take Designated Target instead, which keeps targets in your scope visible for an extra two seconds than they otherwise would. That can be the difference between getting off a good shot or not.
My driver camo, which certainly doesn’t hurt when playing passive scout, and Controlled Impact because, as I said, I like to punish those who ram.
My loader/radio operator has Situational Awareness and Repair because… why not?
And this seems to have worked out well enough and again undermines my initial faith in Brothers in Arms as a worthwhile use of a skill/perk slot. Is that 5% worth it or not? It apparently also boosts mentoring a bit, but as you can see above, by all of 1%.
I have two vehicles coming up where I am going to have to decide how to move forward. The KV-3, whose crew I showed above, and the Jagpanther, which I suspect I will be driving a lot in April, since it is the Tank of the Month and gets a 30% boost to credits.
For the Jagpanther, I am going to go with something akin to the Type 59 crew. Sixth Sense for the commander and Designated Target for the gunner being my gut priority.
And with the KV-3, which tends to be a giant shot magnet, I am tending towards Eagle Eye, Deadeye, Preventative Maintenance, Safe Stowage, and whatever repair and fire fighting skills I can squeeze in, just to enhance survivability. Six Sense seems like a waste as pretty much everybody seems to see me when I move around.
What do you think? How do you fill up the skill/perk slots on your crews? What seems to really help and what is a waste of a slot?