Many people have started to enjoy the playing and understanding of their roles, for each of the classes of tanks, but the more I play each class, the less I see certain SPG Operators, using and playing their roll, to the best of their tank’s ability. Hopefully I can shed a little light on this. First, I should mention I have only been playing this a short time, but being a lover of strategy games, I have invested quite a few hours in learning the role of the SPG.
The role, does not always entail, staying in the spot where you started, and simply laying waste to tanks within your hittable area on the map. In fact, doing do, will usually be the death of your tank, by early to mid game. It is better, to move where at least 3 mid-heavy armor tanks have gone, to aid in their support. Simply hanging out in the corner, or at your base, is a foolish way to play.
So in the first 30 seconds of the game – before it’s even started, look at where some advantageous places on the map would be for you to go, besides the main base. Remember that this area, should be decently high off the ground or in a low valley. The higher, the more range, the lower, the less visible you will be. It should not have any high walls, buildings, or cliffs, which will impede your shot. Additionally, it should allow you to move to a more advantageous spot, as in closer to a target, if the need arises.3
Your tank is weak. I can’t tell you the amount of times, that I was run into by my own team members, and had my tank damaged in some way. It is crucial in the first few moments of the battle, that you stay clear of the other tanks. Those heavy and medium tanks, can damage your tracks, and not even realize it, making you immobile on the field, and an easy target.
In the first minute of play, when the clock has stopped it’s countdown, it’s important to watch, where the other tanks go. You want to help your team, so staying behind, out of range at the base, is not a good spot. Instead, you follow, at an exaggeratedly long distance, but still within range of about 3 squares past their position (on the minimap). By following your tanks, you are able to not only stay in range and give them air support, but you also keep things from blocking you. As would happen at the starting point or base.
It’s also keen to remember that the first place that most heavy tanks will go, is your starting point. If you start at the base, they will go there, as usually there is no one to help defend you, unless you are in an advanced strategic platoon, or have knowledgeable players, which leave at least a Tank Destroyer and Heavy Tank to defend you in early to mid game. So it’s usually best to move away from the base or starting point, and to find a bit slightly hidden place, when possible. However, DO NOT move up, until the support has moved up first. It is far better to move sideways or back, then to move forward, until the first few tanks who cross over on to your side, are taken out. An SPG operator, who moves up, in front of the support, is a loss for the team, waiting to happen.
Keep in mind, you should NEVER knock over trees and stay in that spot. That is exactly however, what you should be looking for, if there are no highlighted tanks on the map. Those freshly knocked over trees, might be a hiding spot, that the enemy will use to foolishly hide in. So we then use this information, and send a random shot in those areas when we have no other targets, especially if it’s near the base or starting point, of the enemy.
Our 2 worst enemies, are Tank Destroyers, for their long shot, and fast moving, light-medium tanks. Those tanks can either see us from afar, or drive circles around us. When an enemy gets within 1-2 squares of us, it’s highly necessary, to take off those long range goggles. While not all SPG’s are nimble, it’s better to be looking towards where the enemy is, rather then to be sighting them, and then not being able to take some defensive maneuvers or to target them visually, with our guns. We do have powerful guns, and while they are not very accurate, they can do some serious damage to an enemy coming at you.
SPG’s are not as fast nor able to turn quickly, so we must use other things to avoid damage. Defensive maneuvers, entail moving forward, and stopping or even backward and stopping, at random times. If at all possible, get cloistered near some buildings.
Here’s one last key piece of advice. When you buy a new tank, either pay the 20k for the 75% school, or get the base 50% skills. Do not take your previous team, and use them on the new tank… unless.. your team is at least 65%. When you goto a new tank, with an old team, your tank’s team loses 14% skill. So a 50% on the new tank, is better then the old crew with 64%. If you do keep your team, just make sure that you don’t on the last tank of the tier. This is important, because once they hit 100%, and you have all the weapons/upgrades possible (4% skill bonus), you are still -10% on that tank. So in reality, your team will never be able to achieve 100%, an old team, will be stuck at 90% effective.