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★ ★ ★ Tip of the Day #1: The miracle of auto-aim. ★ ★ ★

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The path to becoming an Unicum begins here. Tip of the day offers detailed guides to many over-looked gameplay mechanics to allow you to excel in combat. Let's begin, shall we?


One of the first things that you are taught when beginning World of Tanks, during the tutorial, is how to use auto-aim. Yet shortly after completing the tutorial, many players abandon auto-aim entirely. Even WarGaming's tips during battle loading say that most skilled players do not use Auto-aim... this is true... to an extent. However, auto-aim offers many tactical advantages that you would never other-wise be able to accomplish.


There are several situations when auto-aim is an absolute life (tank) saver. What, when and how are all described below.


1. Driving a mobile tank. Having mobility is often times a key advantage on the battlefield. Whether you're a scout or simply a fast medium, or even TD (M41 Bulldog, Obj. 140, T67, etc.), there are times when you simply cannot afford to take your eyes off of the road; or rather, you're put into a situation where you're circling an enemy tank.


In the first scenario, you may have spotted an enemy tank which you can easily penetrate but is at a distance, and you are currently spotted and engaging in evasive maneuvers. If the terrain is bumpy or is filled with obstacles, turning your turret towards the enemy tank (let's imagine it's a Nashorn) to shoot takes your eyes off of the road which consequentially may result in you colliding with a rock, building, or perhaps simply falling off of a cliff. This could make you lose a track, lose HP, or simply come to a complete stop. All of these can be devastating, and are very real possibilities; thus turning your camera in the direction of the Nashorn for extended periods of time may very well be suicidal. If the Nashorn is entirely exposed and especially if you have very clear shots at him, simply hover your mouse over him and right click. This takes a fraction of a second - as long as you have the space to drive forwards without bumping into anything for at least a couple of seconds, you'll be able to safely and efficiently shoot at him.


The second case is when you are circling an enemy tank. Let's say you're an M41 Walker Bulldog circling an IS heavy tank. Manually aiming each shot can be difficult, and requires you to point your camera directly at the IS - which reduces your Field of View. Since the IS doesn't have much armor (100/90/90) compared to your penetration power (175/210), penetrating isn't really a concern... however hitting the target and avoiding shooting his hull roof at a bad angle, turret, tracks, etc. can prove to be a challenge. Enabling auto-aim whilst circling the IS will allow you to hit each of your shots and penetrate reliably. When facing a tank such as an IS-3 or IS-7 though, or when you have a shot loaded when your gun is at a bad angle, time your shots. Don't shoot without thinking - when circling an IS-7 don't bother shooting his frontal hull or even his sides if you need to make every shot count. Wait until you're at his rear end, and then shoot. There's no obligation to shoot the moment you're reloaded.


Often times circling a target whilst auto-aiming at him allows you to not only hit more shots, but also allows you to move your camera freely around without messing up your aim. What this means is that you will be able to see incoming enemies ahead of time, circle the IS (or whichever tank you're circling) more efficiently, and ultimately leave the brawl with more HP left and more damage dealt. In addition, efficient circling means often times you will be far ahead of the enemy's gun - their gun is pointed in the opposite direction that you are in. This allows you take more time shooting at certain weakspots (rear), temporarily disable auto-aim to hit a cuploa perhaps, or simply get away. One thing to keep in mind about auto-aim: The moment you traverse your hull significantly in the opposite direction, your gun will be off-center; it will need half a second (more or less, depending on your turret traverse speed) to snap back onto the center of the target.


When circling an un-armored target: Shoot all you wish, auto-aim will do the trick.

When circling an armored target: Don't shoot until your gun is pointing at an area of the enemy tank which you can penetrate (whether that be the sides or rear).



2. When being circled by an enemy tank. Following the previous scenario, let's say that you're the IS that's being circled by the Bulldog. The Bulldog is an extremely fast but also un-armored target. Due to its speed, it's difficult to hit by manually aiming. However, it is very easy to penetrate. Right click on the Bulldog, and traverse your hull in the Bulldog's direction. Auto-aim will automatically try to keep your gun pointing at the Bulldog, thus traversing your turret. At this point you are free to point your camera wherever you wish - as soon as the gun is centered on the Bulldog, you may take a shot without worries of missing. Keep in mind that this only works at close range. Auto-aim points at the center of a target - it does not lead the enemy. This means that if you have a derp gun, or if you are shooting a shell with a low velocity, you will need to get closer to the target, or time your shot when the Bulldog is traveling in such a manner that his trajectory is in relation with your gun's line of sight - meaning he's traveling more in a parallel manner to your gun; not perpendicular. This also applies to shooting at targets at long range. If they're traveling in a parallel line to your gun, you can hit them without leading. (This applies to both, manual and auto-aim.)



3. Coming in for a drive-by shooting. Let's say you're in a Luchs about to come up to unload your clip into an M4 Sherman. Manually aiming will result in misses and bounces, or will require you to slow down which may result in... undesired... consequences. If you auto-aim at the Sherman as soon as your camera allows you to, when you round the corner or approach him, you will be able to unload your clip without misses or bounces. This is very effective for any tank that needs do a drive-by - whether it be a T49, Luchs, ELC AMX, or even a Maus driving by a T95. Please keep in mind that if you are rounding a corner, or approaching at an extremely close range your gun / turret will be off-center at first. Make sure that your aiming circle is on the enemy before shooting. This won't take long at all if you have a fast-turning turret... and if you have a slow turret, approach the target at a slight distance, and as you're driving by turn your hull in the target's direction for a moment to help your gun snap onto the mark, shoot, and turn your hull back where you want it to be pointing. (Good for a T67, Hellcat, etc.)



4. Brawling with an un-armored target. If you're engaging an un-armored tank at close range, if the tank is moving manual aim may be difficult in some scenarios. (My T110E5 shooting at a wiggling & randomly moving BatChat, etc.) Auto-aim will prevent misses in this case. Just make sure that the target has negligible armor and that your gun & aiming circle are pointing at the enemy tank)



5. Arty. This should not be used often. Artillery are very inaccurate in general, which makes auto-aiming difficult. However, there are two scenarios in which auto-aim can be very beneficial; or even save your tank.


The first case is when you need to move your camera, but want to shoot at a tank which you are pre-aimed at. If the target is stationary and you are fully aimed (or still aiming), you can enable auto-aim to free your camera. You will then be able to move your camera around (or even enter / exit arty mode), and still take a shot at the enemy once you're aimed. This is very useful when you're aiming at a stationary target whilst there is a scout approaching you. Obviously you need to watch the scout's location to make sure that when you shoot you won't be spotted, or so you can move when it becomes necessary. Auto-aim will allow you to keep your gun aimed at the target, but still exit arty mode and carefully watch the scout driving near-by you. When the scout is 15m away from a bush blocking his line of sight to your entire arty, you are safe to shoot.


The second scenario is when a scout tank (or any tank really) is coming at your arty. As they are approaching you, the closer they get to your artillery the more difficult it will be to keep your aiming reticle and gun centered on the target. Auto-aim will prevent this from becoming an issue and significantly increase your chances of hitting the target... however, artillery have very slow shell velocities, such as is true with howitzers. Thus the target will have to be moving in a straight line towards you, or at very close range in order for you to hit whilst auto-aiming... otherwise you will have to manually aim slightly ahead of the target.



6. Poking over hills. If your target is fully exposed and you need to crest a hill to fire at him, autoaim, crest and start pulling back and fire. You can get shots off extremely quickly and with very little exposure once you master this technique. It can similarly be used in a peekaboo fight for minimum exposure. (Credits to ballinbadger for this part.)


Some very important things to remember about auto-aim:


  • It does not lead the target. The tank you are shooting at either has to be stationary, moving in a straight line parallel to your gun's trajectory, or at very close range.
  • It aims at the center of the target relative to your current location. This means that it does not aim at weak-spots. Shoot only when the gun is pointing at a penetrable part of the target (don't shoot at an IS-7's front - wait until you're at his sides or rear).
  • Traversing your hull significantly, or with a slow-turning turret, will make your gun off-center. Give your turret / gun / aiming reticle the time it needs to snap back onto the target before shooting (whether that be a quarter of a second or two seconds).
  • Auto-aim is enabled and disabled with the right mouse button. You can change this in Settings.
  • You can enter and exit Sniper mode / Arty mode without affecting auto-aim. You can also turn your camera freely without affecting your aim when in auto-aim.
  • Don't use this when you need to take the time to aim, or when sniping at moving targets. Please, only use auto-aim when it is appropriate.
  • You remain centered on the enemy target as long as you are in auto-aim whilst the enemy is spotted. If you disable auto-aim, or the enemy is destroyed and / or disappears, normal gun handling returns.


I hope this helps! Good luck on the battlefield, tankers. Smile_honoring.gif

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I've killed quite a few scouts trying to run me down while in arty with auto aim. I also love using it in scouts where my main goal is zig-zagging to avoid getting hit and farming assist dmg. In that last case make sure you hold your fire until you know you've been spotted otherwise you give away your position too early.

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