WOTBB 57 – Snipermode revisited

Original date of blog: May 12th, 2016

I’ve taken to rewatching my gameplay recently. It was a thing I never thought YouTube would be useful for, but it allows me to analyse my own games, to see and re-see what mistakes I made and what I can do to learn from it. It’s actually a very useful thing to do, I’ve found. I really dislike watching stuff on youtube in general, so I really only watch the vids that are more or less shoved into my face so much I can’t avoid watching them – and whatever is uploaded on the Clan youtube channel.

I’ve always believed that you can learn a lot from watching other people play. Even the noobs will drive where you don’t usually go or use move that, if performed well, would be excellent to use myself too. But I mostly do this in game. Now, if the videos are just of one match, I sometimes watch them to look at how other people play. And there’s still one massive difference between how almost everyone else plays, and how I play. Snipermode.

This is a topic I’ve been wanting to revisit again, because of some new insights. Last time, I mostly wrote about my snipermoding because part of me felt like I had to defend my way of tanking. As I said there – the amount of comments that were made on it made me feel insecure, and I felt the need to explain myself. As it is now, people often still don’t understand why I drive that way – or -how- I manage to drive that way for that matter. Watching my vids can apparently make people dizzy. But there are people out there that are slowly starting to see beyond that.

Ludvig commented last week that my style of tanking actually makes things more realistic, because if you were in an actual tank, you wouldn’t be watching through a camera hovering behind your tank either. It cracked me up, but funnily enough, it’s also true.

But a huge compliment I got was on Facebook, when someone commented on the upteempth comment about my driving like that by pointing out exactly how my driving that way highlights what makes me a good player – and it’s mostly to do with awareness. Despite being completely zoomed in, I’m aware of where I am on the map and what that means position-wise, how my tank is angled/positioned, I constantly check the minimap to be aware of where my enemies are (and I’m starting to learn to not disregard the green dots on there as much either (which in turn is very useful for the training rooms)).

I still get lots of comments on my snipermoding, on fb, yt, and I know there are some people that comment on it not so charmingly behind my back. But now it’s not making me insecure anymore. I know the pro’s of my driving like that, and it really does work for me. If they can’t understand or respect that, that’s their problem, not mine.

A few weeks ago, I had a game in the E5 with P264. At some point, I had to face off against an object 268 while I had less than 300HP left. He could have sneezed on me with HE and I’d have been dead. But, I had a corpse of a Patton in between us, and that turned out to be my salvation. Not only did it provide cover for me, it also allowed me to shoot through the gap between the turret and the hull of the tank. Not once, but twice. That kind of shot never would have worked had I not been in snipermode. That’s just one example, but for me, supposedly impossible shots like that make being in snipermode both fun and useful.

Last weekend, as I wrote in my last blog, I was playing the PS4 edition of World of Tanks. I was absolute crap at it, couldn’t properly hit targets, didn’t position right and all of that. Controls are totally different, and in a way more sensitive, so that took some getting used to. But once I started learning that, I still didn’t do well. And then I found how snipermode worked. And that it has an extra-zoom function where you zoom in a lot more. From that moment on, I played a heck lot better and got decent results.

My biggest ‘problem’ with it is that you have to continuously press the button to stay in it. But it does remember to go back to superzoom the moment you press it again. The funny part is that I realised that if I were to play that edition of the game for real, I’d be more or less forced to start driving without snipermode a lot more, compared to what I do in Blitz. Which could be good for me, but I don’t know.

In Blitz, I enter snipermode as soon as I get close to where I expect enemies to be. The moment I spot them, I’m already aiming and I can shoot them quite quickly. This gives me somewhere between one and two seconds before I need to worry about getting shot in turn – and that’s only if they’re already facing me and already spotted me in turn as well. Most of the time, my first shot is free damage with very little risk to my own tank.

Since I started looking more at tanking styles and the likes, I’ve come to realise that while others don’t understand how I tank like this, there are things I definitely don’t understand about how others tank either. There’s people that enter snipermode, aim, and then exit snipermode against before actually shooting. This makes their shots miss or bounce so often, I can’t understand why they do it, and it can be so frustrating to watch. Not to mention the people that are so unused to snipermode that when they enter it, they actually forget to keep moving their tank, and literally just stand still while aiming, making them very juicy targets for whoever they’re aiming at – and anyone else that can see them.

A while ago, Slava taught us how to properly use the auto-aim function. I use it that tactic too, but I’ve found one great big flaw. Auto-aim only works properly if the tank you’re facing doesn’t turn and angle itself differently. Because if you’re aiming for the right side of the tank, and the tank has turned left, your auto-aim will still be pointed at that spot on the right side of the tank. The chances that you’re now aiming at a much better armoured part of the tank, or at troll armour that’ll bounce your shot, is very likely. And that’s something snipermode is good for too – I constantly adjust my aim to the weakest part of the tank I’m facing that way, without losing much or any time doing it.

Snipermode is often mistakenly judged with the assumption that the only thing you need it for is to see weak spots on tanks – but you don’t really need it for that, and you still have to use common sense when aiming at and shooting tanks. But it makes tricky shots work out a lot more often, especially when you’re shooting targets in bushes, or when you’re abusing the not-so-new-anymore game mechanics and shooting through objects to damage tanks (which still surprises people a lot when you do that. I love it).

However, someone outside of snipermode has an easier time seeing what other people are doing. I’ve found that when I’m dead and I’m piggybackriding along with my platoonmate, I tend to say things like “he’s just fired” or “he’s not looking at you” – because that’s the kind of information that I’d find useful if given to me. But my toonmate will already know that, as he’s not zoomed in and can actually see (part of) the enemy from above.

Overall, the more thought I put into it, the more useful I find my own driving style, even if I overdo it and should probably snipe a little less. There’s probably a happy balance somewhere, but I doubt I’ll be sniping much less over time. For me personally, with my awareness of the battle as it is, it really works. And for others, their own style works. I think the most important part of the game is learning. Learning new tactic, new tanks, new maps, but most of all learning what works for you and what doesn’t.

Forcing yourself to play a style that isn’t you will only result in things feeling forced, and imo, that’d take the fun right out of it. So whether you use snipermode or not, go rambo or not, drive only one tank or one type of tank, or drive all tanks, as long as you are comfortable playing that and feel like you’re doing good – it’s all good.

My only advice there is to keep an open mind and allow yourself to grow with the things you learn.

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