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★ ★ ★ Scorpion's Den: A Guide to Spotting Mechanics ★ ★ ★

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Don't worry. I see that you are lost and confused, in need of guidance and support. Lucky for you, thou have stumbled into the Scorpion's Den; with guides aplenty. This particular edition contains A Guide to Spotting Mechanics. If these are the drones you were looking for, sit back, turn on some pimping music and read away... all of your questions shall be answered here.


"Yes... perfect... I'll just set up right here and ambush the enemy as soon as they show themselves... What?!?! How did that TD see me?! Haxorr!!!11!1111one!".


Far too often, players set up believing they're safe from fire; yet they quickly are spotted and destroyed. A proper understanding of spotting mechanics can easily help alleviate any confusion about how, why or when you are being detected. Let's begin, shall we?


Foliage: The flora and fauna (mostly the flora) of WoT.


Bushes: Perhaps the most renowned aspect of Spotting Mechanics; bushes are the primary source of camouflage bonuses that you may find on the battlefield. The larger the bush, the better it conceals your tank and the more camouflage it provides. However, it is a bit more complicated than that. Another variable beyond bush size which also affects how much camouflage you are receiving from a bush is your own distance and positioning in regards to said bush. There are 5 positions that come to mind when it comes down to choosing where to place your tank in correlation with a nearby bush. However, only 2 of these positions are widely accepted, with a third being highly situational.


In Front: Hiding in front of a bush is a mistake rarely made; however I have seen a few very new players believing that a bush will provide you camouflage as long as you're next to it. Wrong! The bush must be directly blocking the enemy's line of sight in order for your tank to receive a camouflage bonus.


In the Bush: This is the very situational positioning. Usually hiding inside of a bush reduces the camouflage the bush is providing you with; as only part of the foliage is actual in the enemy's line of sight, rather than the entire bush. However, if you are surrounded by enemies from all sides, and need to try to cover every nook and cranny of your tank, then hiding inside of a large bush is most likely your best hope of not getting spotted. Please keep in mind that if any part of your tank is sticking out of the bush, you can easily be spotted. Press and hold the right mouse button, and turn your camera around the bush you're sitting inside of. If you see part of your tank sticking out, no matter how slight, you may need to re-position. As soon as the enemy has a direct line of sight to the exposed bit, they will spot you.


Slightly behind the bush (with the very front of the tank partially inside): This is an accepted form of hiding your tank; hiding mostly behind the bush, with only a small part of your frontal hull inside of the bush. However, be aware that the closer you are to the center of a bush, the less camo it provides you with. If there are no enemies to your sides, than you can be directly behind the bush to gain maximum camo value. Although if tanks are somewhat to the sides, then moving closer will help conceal your sides a bit more.


1m to 15m behind a bush: This is also an accepted form of hiding your tank. If you keep a small distance behind the bush that you are using to camouflage your tank, then the bush is providing you with the most camo that it can. However, the bush must be directly in the enemy's line of sight towards your tank. If part of your tank is not being blocked by the bush, then the enemy can easily spot you. This is why if there are enemies off to either direction and you're uncertain whether or not the bush is covering your sides, moving up a bit into the bush is safer.


More than 15m behind a bush: While hiding far behind a bush still provides you with camo (and lots of it), assuming the bush is blocking the enemy's line of sight, there is a catch with this form of hiding: It also reduces your own View Range. Any bush or tree farther than 15m from your tank provides you with camo, at the cost of View Range. Those bushes and trees will then be providing camouflage to the enemy as well; thus making it harder to spot them. This is why tanks are so hard to detect in the "Magic Tank-Eating Forest of Death" in Murovanka or in any location with very dense foliage. This 15m concept is what allows even Heavy tanks to stay so well camouflaged when given a large amount of foliage. It's not hacks; just plant-life. Some people complain about this system, yet think about it. When you are strolling through a dense forest, when would you spot a bear wandering around? You probably wouldn't see the bear until it is relatively close to you outside of the foliage. When it's a distance behind trees and bushes, you won't see it. The same thing applies to World of Tanks. Even a heavy tank can be hidden entirely if given the right amount of foliage to hide behind.


A bonus to the 15m rule - when you are firing your gun, any bush within 15m will have its camouflage bonus reduced. Bushes outside of 15m are un-affected. Thus if you want to shoot at an enemy whilst in a bush: Spot it, back 15m behind the bush (it will become opaque in sniper mode; you can no longer see through it), shoot at the enemy and then pull back into the bush. Rinse and repeat and the enemy will never know what hit it. Keep in mind that this only works up to 100-150m away from the enemy (depending on its view range). Anything closer than that and the bush won't provide you with enough camouflage.



Trees: Standing trees also provide you with large amounts of camo; especially when they are in tight clusters. This is why Muronovka's forest is called the "Magic Tank-Eating Forest of Death". Even heavy tanks can easily remain hidden! Once again, I felt as though a visual example would be best to accurately depict just how effective trees can be.


In this image, there is a StuG IV directly in the trees where I'm aiming. Even though he has a 50% crew, has no camo net, no camo paint or even camo skills, he ultimately is able to remain hidden simply due to the quantity of thick foliage in front of me.





However, watch what happens as soon as all of the trees are removed. I am still in the same location, yet the StuG is now spotted!





This is why invisible snipers are so common in dense forests - the foliage is thick enough to conceal a large majority of tanks. Please keep in mind however, that the trunks of trees do not provide any camo bonuses, only the foliage does. In order for a tree to hide a tank, its leaves and branches must be covering it. The trunk plays (almost, will be discussed later) no role.



Fallen Trees: If a tree has fallen in the middle of a forest, and no one who is spotted is around to hear it, does it make a sound? The answer is yes. But does it provide camo? The answer is also yes! However, keep in mind that a fallen tree provides less camo than a standing tree. The StuG IV in the previous image still had a fallen tree covering his tank, but it wasn't as effective at hiding his tank as the standing trees were. Regardless, fallen trees (especially in numbers) can still be exceptionally effective forms of concealment.


Over here, I am only meters away from a T-150 heavy tank, and there aren't even any standing trees providing him with camouflage! Regardless, there certainly are fallen trees. Lots and lots of fallen trees have managed to hide even this giant machine from my crew's trained eyes.




Here is an aerial view of what was in front of the T-150. I have now moved my tank right next to him so that he would be spotted.






All of those fallen trees managed to hide that heavy tank. He would be even harder to spot if those trees were standing, however the fallen trees still provided him with more than enough camouflage to remain hidden until I was right next to him.


As for the 15m rule for fallen trees, this is where the trunk comes into play. The only usage the trunk has is gauging how far away from a tree you need to back up in order to be able to shoot without getting spotted. 15m away from the foliage doesn't work for trees, it has to be 15m away from the trunk of the tree.



Obstacles: Be it a rock, building, part of the terrain or even another tank, many things come to mind for hiding a vehicle. Which ones work and to what extent? Let's find out.


Solid Map Features: Any sort of obstacle such as a cliff face, rock, building, etc. can also hide a tank. The tank must be completely behind cover in order for it not to be spotted. Even if a little bit is sticking out, you may very well be detected. Here is a visual example in order to clear up any confusion as to what this means.


In this first image, I am right next to an ELC AMX. In fact I'm only 70m away from it, yet it's not spotted. That's because the entirety of his vehicle is hidden behind cover.




Here is the same scenario, except this time I moved in close enough to detect the ELC. He was a small enough tank to fit entirely behind the tank wreck without getting spotted.





Note: The wrecked tank in this image is considered to be part of the map. Vehicles destroyed in combat do not conceal your tank.


Essentially, putting your tank out of the enemy's line of sight behind a solid piece of cover will keep you hidden. The hardest part is making sure that you don't accidentally stick part of your tank (other than the gun, your gun can't get you spotted) out of cover.



Hiding behind destroyed tanks: Unfortunately, tanks destroyed in combat do not function as solid cover from spotting checks. Even though they'll block shells, they won't do anything to prevent your tank from being spotted.


See this BT-SV? You probably can't see his actual tank, since it's entirely behind the dead tank... but you can still see his name hovering there, and his mini-map image. He's spotted despite being covered by a dead tank. Unlike the ELC in the previous image who was hiding behind a wreck which is part of the map, this BT-SV is using a tank destroyed in combat to hide.


BT-SV behind wreck:  



Come on out Mr. BT-SV... we can still see you! You're not fooling anyone! =)





Hiding Behind Allies: You see a large heavy tank in front of you, so you decide to place your scout tank directly behind it in hopes of preventing yourself from being detected by an enemy. The heavy tank is an ally, and is 100m away from the aforementioned enemy directly in front of it. Unfortunately, hiding your tank behind the heavy will not hide your tank as it would if it were a rock or building. I tested this out several times with even an ELC AMX, and the same results came: The scout was spotted behind the heavy tank; despite the fact that it was completely covered by the heavy. A visual example is below.





See what I mean? The scout tank is still spotted; even though no part of his tank is directly visible.






Ditches and Bumps: Ditches and bumps are also effective methods of hiding your tank. Essentially if you can hide your tank behind the map's terrain, so long as no part of your tank is exposed to an enemy's line of sight, you can stay hidden.


In this first image, I am in my IS-5, less than 80m away from a Type 59 medium tank. There are no bushes or trees blocking my lines of sight towards the heavy tank, nor are there buildings or rocks. However, the Type 59 is in the ditch next to the lakeside, thus his tank is out of my line of sight. He can see me, but I can't see him.




After moving closer however, I now can see his tank.





And there he is! If your tank is in a deep ditch in the ground, or protected by a large bump, then you tank is also much harder to spot unless the enemy vehicle is very close to you. So long as no part of your tank is directly exposed to the enemy's view port, you can stay hidden like the ninja Type 59.



View Ports and View Mechanics: Essentially anything and everything relating to the numbers and geometrical locations themselves.


View Ports: The one thing that allows your tank to spot enemy vehicles is your View Port. In order to spot the enemy, your view port needs to have a line of sight to the enemy (which is why when side-scraping around a corner, the enemy will see you before you see them). Below, I have lined up several different kinds of tanks in order to spot one lone BT-SV on the Himmelsdorf hill.


The tanks lined up are a waffle with a very tall turret and left-mounted view port, a T110E5 with large turret and Commander's Hatch, an E-25 with a very small profile and a View Port mounted on the machine gun port on the very left side of the tank, and an A44 with a rear-mounted turret.


First up is my Waffle truck. Notice how despite the very tall turret and view port, the leftwards placement of view port requires me to show a good portion of my turret.


Waifu / Waffle truck / tractor!  



The height of my turret still meant that I could use the rubble pile to spot from, and didn't have to leave its cover. Regardless, I was still rather exposed.


Next in line is the T110E5. It has a very tall commander's hatch with a top-mounted view port. This means that it can expose a very minimal amount of its tank to spot over the rubble pile, with minimal fear of retaliatory fire.





Next up is the poor E-25. One of the worst off in this scenario, the E-25 has to reveal his entire tank due to the positioning of his View Port. It's also on the left side, just as with my waffle... except since the E-25 is a very low-profile tank, he has to go around the rubble pile in order to spot. This means that the enemy will see him and be able to shoot at him far before he can do the same.


In addition, when trying to use small ridges to conceal your tank, the E-25 typically has to crest the ridge in order to spot, whereas other tanks are tall enough to spot over it without moving.





Last but not least is the A44. With a rear mounted turret and View Port, the A44 has to expose the front part of his hull before being able to crest his view port over the rubble pile. Luckily, the A44 is tall, so exposure isn't as bad as it would be with something such as the Tier 9 waffle, which is too short to even spot over the rubble.





If I was driving that A44 and wanted to spot, I would turn my tank around and reverse slowly to spot the enemy. My coming out backwards, I can spot over the rubble without sticking any part of my tank out of cover aside from the hatch and view port.


A44 coming out backwards:  



The point is, know the location of your View Port. If your View Port does not has a clear line of sight to the enemy vehicle, then you will not spot the enemy! Also, when peeking around corners, over ridges, etc., it's very likely that part of your tank will be exposed to the enemy's view port far before the enemy is exposed to yours. Thus expect to be shot at when driving around a corner, even when you can't see or aim at the enemy!



Maximum View Range: No matter how poor the enemy's camo is or how good your View Range is, it is impossible to spot any tank that is farther than 445m away from your vehicle. That's about it for Maximum view range. Smile-tongue.gif



Radio Range vs. View Range: If an ally has a low Radio Range, then any allies outside of that Radio Range will not be able to see that first ally; even if they are within the 500x500m square around the tanks... unless they're within view range. In order for you to see an ally, you must either be within their Radio Range, or they must be within your View Range. This is why at lower Tiers, your allies on Malinovka so often disappear out of sight. Also, if an ally is spotting an enemy that is outside of your View Range, but that ally does not have enough Radio Range to signal the location to you, then you will not be able to see the spotted enemy.


Essentially - At lower Tiers, tanks often times have very poor view ranges, and thus can only see allied and enemy tanks that are within their own view range. At higher Tiers however, you can see allies across the map despite them being far out of view range. Radio ranges are so good at higher Tiers, you will always see your allies. Problems are only at Tiers 1-4, on the rare occasion Tier 5.


There is a catch however - radio range communication is not based off of only one vehicle's radio. The distance at which you can communicate with allies is the combined total of your own tank's signal range as well as your ally's radio range. This calculation is performed for all tanks on your team individually. This means even if one ally can see all of his allies on his screen or map, that doesn't mean that someone else on your team can do the same thing.


Here's a visual example. In this image, you see my LolTraktor just chilling in the Malinovka field. On the mini-map, I can see every single one of my allied tanks; I have the upgraded radio. My allies other than the Patton however, all have stock radios. Despite the allied tanks having... 70m of signal range, my 350m combined with their 70m is more than enough for me to see them. As for the Patton, he's across the map; however he has a Tier 10 radio with 750m signal range, so combined with my 350 it's still enough for us to see each other.


I see you:  




Not all of my allies are as lucky though. Take a look at the situation from my Patton's perspective. I am the only ally which he can see on his mini-map. Our combined signal range is over 1,000m, which is more than enough to communicate. However, I cannot tell my Patton where the other allies. I can see them, but I can not relay allied locations to other allies. That is a tank-to-tank communication basis, meaning for him to see my allies, they must have enough signal range amognst themselves, without help from allies.


Since the other tanks on my team have stock Signal Flags (70m of radio range), even combined with the Patton's 750m, it is not enough for them to keep in touch. The T1 in the prior image above was actually closer to the Patton than I was by about 30m. Despite him being closer, the lack of radio range has failed him. Here's the screenshot from the Patton's perspective.


Patton thinks he only has one ally:  




This is why Radios are, yes, important! (At least in lower Tiers).


Something else to mention - at any Tier below 6, the "Signal Boosting" skill for the radio operator does provide significant benefit, especially at Tiers 1-3. Even though you yourself won't see any benefit, your allies certainly will - chances are, they have poor radio signal range and can't see many allies or enemies, even when they're clearly there. Your tank having that skill will help your allies see more. At anything above Tier 6 however, the skill is absolutely pointless. Tier 6 itself is that "middle zone", where 99% of the time the skill is useless, but it's still possible for a low Tier allied Tier 4 to lack signal range.



Maximum Draw Distance: Around your tank is a theoretical 500m x 500m box which represents the maximum distance at which you can see any tank, whether it's an ally or enemy. This is one of the reasons why you can be shot by tanks even when you're far outside of their view range. If you have been spotted by one tank, any tank inside of that 500m x 500m box can also now see you and shoot at you. Morale of the story? Try not to get spotted in the open. Or if you have to be spotted, make sure you have cover around you.


Here's a T49 sitting 610m away from my IS-5. Since I'm spotted, so long as he's in that draw distance square (diagonally it can reach up to 700m distance), he can shoot at me all day long. If you look on the mini-map, the blue square is the draw distance; and my IS-5 is still just barely inside of it at 610m.


Swiggity swooty, coming for dat IS-5 booty:  



Other Mechanics: Any other mechanics which may affect the spotting system.


50m Circle (Auto-Detection Range): Around every tank there is a concept known as the "auto-detection range", which is 50m circle around your tank. Essentially, if your tank is within 50 meters of an enemy vehicle, no matter how well camouflaged or well-hidden the enemy is, you are guaranteed to see him/her. This was implemented into the game in order to prevent tanks from being able to remain 100% invisible even if you are inches away from them. In particular, this affects any tank within very thick foliage and tanks behind solid cover.


Here is a brilliant visual example of this concept. In this image, there are 5 tanks directly above my LTTB. Since they are within 50m of my tank, I can spot them even though I have no direct line of sight. A 6th vehicle, an E-50M, is outside of the 50m; thus he remains un-spotted.





Since they're spotted, I can see exactly what their tanks are doing, where their guns are pointing, etc.; so long as I move my camera a bit. Looks like... they've lined up to crush my LTTB. ;-;





Any tank within 50m of your tank will be spotted; regardless of its location, camouflage, and obstacles around it.



Tank Destroyers: Massive Guns and low profiles. Tank Destroyers were designed (at least some of them in this game) to annihilate anything in their way without being spotted, just like a ninja assassin. Tank Destoyers pre-9.0 have camo bonuses after shooting; thus they don't lose as much camouflage as most tanks would after launching a shell out of their barrel. However, after the release of Patch 9.1, Tank Destroyers will lose the same amount of camouflage as any tank on the battlefield after propelling a shot. Despite this they still maintain very good camouflage values, and Premium TD's remain un-affected. I have a visual example for you.


Over here, I have lined up one tank of each class. I then had all 5 of them shoot simultaneously. Which tank was the only one not to be lit up? The Tank Destroyer of course! The E-25 was not affected by the camo-after-shot changes, and thus has as much camo after shooting as medium tanks have when moving!


TD still remains hidden:  



Fear the mighty tank destroyer!



Sitting next to Allies: This has been extremely well covered by Lert. Here's the link to his Mini-Guide to this. http://forum.worldoftanks.com/index.php?/topic/204215-psa-what-not-to-do-when-someone-is-sitting-in-a-bush/


And here's my version of Lert's guide...


Here are 2 different images. In the first, I see a line of Tier 10 tanks. I must dump my 30 round APCR clip into them! Smile-izmena.gif





Go away Tier 10's! Shoo! Fear my MT-25!





And I've killed them! Wait a second... no I didn't... instead, I killed the BT-SV and FT AC who were spotting me from the bushes.





The morale of the story is: If you see a smaller tank hiding in a bush, don't sit next to it. Otherwise, you can easily be spotted, and thus fire will be attracted towards you. The enemy thinks that they're shooting at you, but in reality, they're hitting the ally that is right next to you! And that ally hasn't even been spotted! Thus this same scenario may end up happening - because you decided to carelessly sit next to the ally, you may not only get yourself killed, but you also indirectly cause the death of your ally. Please don't make this mistake!!! Please? I'm certain your allies would appreciate it. =)



Importance of crew skills, equipment, etc: Your tank's crew skills and perks, equipment layout, crew's major qualification training, etc. can all influence your ability to spot or stay hidden.


A 50% commander on a tank with 400m of base view range will only be able to see up to 314.3m... that's almost 25% less! The same thing applies to radio range. A 750m base radio with a 50% radio operator will only be able to signal 589.3m. The better your crew, the better your tank's performance.


Camouflage paint, camo skills, Vents, BIA and food all can influence your vehicle's stealth. The better outfitted your tank is, the less likely you are to be detected. The size of your tank also plays a role - the larger your tank, the worse your base camo. Improved Ventilation, Coated Optics and food affect your view range as well. Skills and perks such as Recon and Situational Awareness, camouflage and Brothers in Arms also provide benefits.


It's also important to remember when your tank has the most camo, and when it has the least. In order from greatest camo to worst camo, with "foliage" depicting a medium sized bush:

  • Stationary behind foliage
  • Moving behind foliage
  • Stationary in the open
  • Shooting behind foliage
  • Moving and shooting behind foliage
  • Moving in the open
  • Shooting in the open
  • Moving and shooting in the open


Foliage will always provide great concealment to your tank. When sitting still, all tanks have their maximum possible camo. Upon moving, all tanks other than scouts (not just lights, but scout tanks exclusively) will lose some of their camo upon moving. After shooting, the tank loses almost all of its camo.


Here is a graphic showing the BatChat 25t's various camo levels, with and without foliage.


With foliage:




Without foliage:




The last thing that's worth mentioning is that foliage is not absolute cover, even when sitting still. If your tank has very poor camo values, only great quantities of foliage can conceal your vehicle at very close ranges. When shooting, foliage only keeps tanks hidden at a distance. And even when applying the 15m rule prior to shooting, you will only be un-spotted until about 120m.


Here's an image of a Black Prince behind various trees, yet still being detected. The other tanks nearby him have greater camo and are able to remain hidden. Him however, being the least stealthy of them all isn't.


I see you, Churchill!  



Essentially, keep in mind that not all tanks can be hidden in all bushes. The larger the bush or tree, the more likely you are to remain hidden. The better your vehicle's camo, the less likely you are to be spotted. If you have a Camo Net activated, detection chances are even further reduced. Regardless, all of that just wasn't enough for the Churchill. His base camo is just far too low.



I would also like to give a very special thanks to all of the following people for contributing to this guide in one way or another:


  • orinn123
  • SupSupCanadian
  • SkunkButt
  • Mikosah
  • Inciatus
  • hwboy3
  • XSlay_J1
  • ANiceGuy
  • Lert
  • CharAzn
  • NightWolf5628
  • Blackshot01
  • Zinroe
  • der_Sensennman
  • cmdr_riker
  • Sanisk
  • HowitzerBlitzer
  • Emmett257
  • _Parox
  • And anyone else who was in the Training Rooms who I forgot to mention. Smile_Default.gif


I hope that this guide is useful! May all of you have the best of luck and fun, both on the battlefield and in real life, tankers. Smile_Default.gif


Link to compilation of guides and tutorials:




This guide was an update of one I made over a year ago. I will keep updating my old guides with new and current information, in order to ensure that you are receiving the best content possible.

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