Writer's note: I don't feel guilty, it sounded like a good title.
A short history of collecting tears and ego massaging through competitive games
Pubbie and Pub stomping is a term that I came across during my time in EVE online; it's a fairly new term although I suspect the concept has been around in one form or another since humans first got competitive about something other than food, land or which God is the right one. I can imagine masters of Xiangqi wandering from tea house to tea house in ancient China, pub stomping the local peasants simply because they can.
So with that in mind, many of us carry on this time honored tradition with gusto, boosting our egos and collecting tears from unsuspecting pubbies we stomp on during our online gaming sessions.
If you feel bad about griefing or simply don't agree then you'll probably want to stop reading this article now. However, if you do like a good bit of pub stomping, collecting tears and leaving your opponents in a fit of rage, then keep reading. We'll look at how to get the most tears out of as many possible players in World of Tanks.
Why is it so much fun in World of Tanks?
World of Tanks is one of those games where when you're dead, you're dead. No re-spawn no quitting the server and rejoining the game, no second chances. The game has short 15 minute rounds, hundreds of thousands of players online and many of them are statistically terrible. Put that into a mix with overpowered methods of ending someones virtual life, and you get a perfect environment if you wish to top up the tear bucket.
There's simply little else that compares to killing several opponents, driving nonchalantly by their burning hulls as they wonder how you killed them with so few shots, in a tank which to all but those in the know is average at best. The best thing is that you can do it all again in just a few minutes time.
Before you set out to stomp on some heads remember, winning and winning while pub stomping are two different things. The enemy team congratulating you at the end of the round with a 'GG' is not what you're after; you're not in it for the 'good fights', you're trying to humiliate, you're trying to win while the enemy team rages in chat, blaming their own poor performance on you using hacks and cheats, which of course you've not used.
Premium ammo for credits & Derp guns, the pub stomping godsend
In late 2012, Wargaming did something extraordinary. After constant whining from some parts of the player base about the 'pay to win' mechanics of World of Tanks, they changed Premium or 'Gold' ammunition, so it could be purchased with credits.
This was, as the title says, a godsend for stomping players into the dirt. If you did use Premium ammunition, you had to pay for it...unless you're in a good enough Clan to own a lot of territory, and thus high gold payouts and those are rare, really rare. Premium ammo for credits opened up new and interesting options for some tanks, mainly derp guns. What the hell is a derp gun? Well, I'll let you off for not knowing this but just this once.
Derp guns are Howitzers like the German 10.5cm KwK 42 L28, these are direct firing artillery guns. The shells they fire, in the non Premium form are low penetration high damage rounds, however the Premium rounds they fire (called HEAT) tend of have the same high damage but twice, if not more penetration than their cheaper counter parts. In the case of the German 10.5 this is a round that can do 350 average damage, but has 150mm penetration. It can be mounted on various, notably low Tier tanks like the Hetzer and Panzer IV and VK2801. Various other tanks can take advantage of this change: the M4 Sherman has an identical gun (statistically) to the German Tier V 10.5cm, and the E100, with its monstrously devastating HEAT-firing 150mm cannon, can issue out 850 damage per shot.
Premium ammo for credits used in this manner is a guaranteed method for inducing rage for the poor souls you destroy in one hit and you won't go poor doing so.
So I can imagine comments coming in about how they cost 2800 credits per round on the PzIV, and how can that be economical in a Tier IV or V tank? Well, you do need a Premium account but if you're not spamming rounds, it actually does, in most cases make a little bit of money. In my PzIV, all I do is carry gold rounds because when you're doing 1000-3000 damage per battle in a Tier V, you tend to earn allot of credits! Of course most of those earnings go to reequipping but you'll often walk away with a 7-10K net profit.
Wargaming is bound to nerf these tanks aren't they? Well, nothing has been stated about this; for instance the PzIV is still a tank with no armor and 460 hit points, its not tough by any standards so you can't just wade into battle and come out the other side with a Radley-Walters medal and an overflowing bucket of pubbie tears; it still takes some skill and/or common sense not to die.
Anyway, if you've not seen the M4 or PzIV in action with the derp gun in action, check this out for a demonstration.
Taking advantage of the impatient, overconfident, stupid and Predictable
You don't have to be a statistical anomaly, use overpowered tanks or Premium ammunition (although it helps and certainly gets people raging!) to stomp on pubbies, you just need some map knowledge, opponent knowledge and common sense.These are the things that most other, average World of Tanks players simply don't have or refuse to learn and it's easy to take advantage of.
People are predictable too; on Campinovka you'll always get a slow heavy going for the hill right at the start, so aim there with artillery at the start of the round and let your own heavies spot them; in Murovanka and Prokhorovka there are plenty of trees and plenty more stupid people who'll knock them down, letting Artillery know where they are.
Positioning and using the landscape in both an offensive and defensive way is everything in World of Tanks, there are OK places to be and there are terrible places to be, the E100 below demonstrates this by way of exposing himself to every enemy SPG.
Patience, or lack thereof is a major weakness in most World of Tanks players. They simply have to complete the round as fast as possible, like its going to make them a better player or get them more experience.
Impatient people will put there tank around a corner or come over a ridge line in a vain attempt to get a cheap shot off, as if it's going to decide the battle or something equally daft. Make them pay for their stupidity and keep them detracked; they'll be forced to use their repair kit and if they don't have one, they'll be fully exposed to incoming fire and will not be able to fire back at you. For maximum rage and humiliation, keep them tracked, you won't damage them much but you'll know there is a player raging at you for taking advantage of their idiocy.
You don't have to be an especially well-skilled player to do well in World of Tanks, because there's so many people willing to be terrible.
What tanks do I need to stomp on some pubbies?
Apart from the obvious tanks, which mount Howitzers and fire HEAT ammunition, there's a variety of tanks and combinations of tanks which are perfect for trolling. Some pub stomping is done best in platoons or you can do solo and some work extremely well in Tank Companies.
I can hear the people questioning my first choice. Well stop questioning and pay attention.
The tank lovingly known as the loltracker is fantastic for pub stomping. Stick some optics on it and you'll have 310 meters view range, which is 60m more than the other Tier 1 tanks and more than most Tier 2's by 45m. Considering 2 of the 4 maps that Tier 1 tanks can play are long distance/sniping maps this tank is perfect for trolling the absolutely rawest form of pubbies. Keep the stock gun too, for a Tier 1 gun it's quite powerful and relatively accurate.
Many people dismiss anything but top Tier tanks as where the newbs play; it's simply not true. Gameplay at Tier I is no different to Tier X, damage is relative and as proved time and time again, top Tier players with 20K battles seem to be just as skilled as players with 10 battles.
This US Tank Destroyer is sure to get a nerf. Armor is extremely good, so good that most shots will bounce off unless they know where to aim...which very few people seem to do.
There are two guns to chose from, a quick firing 2 pounder which has all the right stats in the right places, it's a Tier IV gun after all. The other choice is the 75mm Howitzer, 38mm penetration and 175 damage is an instant kill for most tanks you'll meet.
The only downside is the view range, which is shockingly bad. it doesn't matter, however, you can one shot kill all Tier 1 tanks, and 2 shot most Tier 2's with that little derp gun.
PzKpfw 38H735 (f)
Today, this tank is a shadow of its former self and no longer on sale in-game or through the Gift Shop. So why do I include this then? Well first off, if you're any good at World of Tanks, it doesn't matter what you drive, within reason anyway, and secondly you can still get this tank if you know where to look.
On to tackling the bad. Wargaming gave this tank a higher match making weight, so it would meet Tier III tanks more often, where its principle strength and armor is not particularly useful. Don't fret, this tank still works but you might need to load up some Premium ammo. Anyway, this article is about pub stomping and one thing about pub stomping is the tears you earn and what's a better way of earning tiers than killing people in tanks of a higher tier?
Now that we've got that out of the way we can drool over this pub stomping masterpiece. First off, it's packing some serious armor for a Tier II, it's 40mm everywhere and it's sloped. The only tank you have to fear at a distance is the Tetrach and T18, most other tanks can't penetrate you without a little help from Premium ammo.
The tank has a 330m view range with optics, which is extremely good for its Tier. Let the pubbies spot the enemy pubbies and take advantage, with your 100 rounds it doesn't matter if the gun isn't to accurate. If you get in single combat with another tank, always make sure you're angled and calmly dispatch them aiming for weak spots.
It all doesn't sound like much but to give an impression just how good this is, my current kill/death ratio in this tank is 7.3 to 1. If you can buy this tank, do so.
The Su26 is the most economical method of upsetting a vast number of people in a very short space of time. It is the pub stomper. Being a Tier III, it takes very little to upgrade this tank and doesn't require Premium ammunition. However, if you do take it, it's the sort that adds penetration rather than splash damage.
So why is it so good? Firstly, it has a turret, artillery with a turret means not moving your hull to re-position and raise your camo value. Secondly, its rate of fire is obscene, nearly 7 rounds per minute. Thirdly, its aim time is 4.6 seconds and finally, its accuracy is only 0.53. All in all, it's a brilliant little package, so good in fact it can fire on the move.
It must have downsides? Yes, it does, its range is quite small so you'll be moving forwards to get in range which means you're potentially going to get noticed or attacked at close range. In most artillery that's a death sentence unless the attacker is remarkably stupid. In the Su26, relying on its rather excellent gun and turret, you just come out of artillery view, swing the turret around and give them a shell in the face.
What's more, artillery seems to boil the blood of many World of Tanks players who don't understand that sitting in the open for 30 seconds is practically begging to be shot, and in the Su26 you can shoot them many times in 30 seconds. While you rack up the kills, you'll be racking up numbers of incoming insults and profanities.
On paper there is very little about this Premium tank that warrants much interest, but like most Premium tanks it's all about how it comes together on the field of battle. The gun, while not particularly accurate is capable of 1233 DPM, which is high for a Tier III light tank. The armor on paper is thin at 40mm but sloped to such a degree it bounces a high proportion of incoming rounds. The mobility isn't to the same standards of the M22 Locust (this tank deserves an honorable mention!), but with a turret traverse of 46 degrees p/s, elevation arc of -8 and 2 seconds aim time, it all adds up to become a Tier III Red Terror, purging low Tier pubbies of their hit points.
Think of it as a miniature IS7 able to induce large scale lacrimation.
This little Tank Destroyer has always been a good tank but with the ability to buy Premium ammunition with credits, its moved up a league. It's now a troll tank par excellence.
It's able to mount the 10.5cm KwK 42 L28, the 'derp' gun we spoke about earlier so it's got some extreme firepower for a Tier IV tank, it can practically one shot any opponent from the same Tier. When you take into account its armour and maneuverability it really has no comparison. Be warned, the gun isn't accurate, in fact its horribly inaccurate but don't let that put you off. With enough experience and once you get used to its exceedingly long flight time, deflection shooting is possible but be prepared to miss and deal with the consequences to your wallet.
If you've played TDs before then this will be no different: Find a nice spot, wait for the impatient and stupid to come round the corner and kill them. People playing 'peekaboo' are perfect targets. Shoot the front sprocket/idler to damage and detrack them, then finish them off with the second shot. Just don't charge in by yourself and definitely don't spot on open maps, you'll be quickly dispatched by artillery, the Hetzer is a nice target for the Su26.
This StuGIII should be treated exactly like the Hetzer but at Tier V. It's similar in most ways and can mount the same epic troll gun. It's a Tier higher though, which means it can meet Tier VII tanks. Is that a problem? Not really when you can kill a Panther tank in 4 successful hits. The comedic value of such a thing is well worth stepping up one Tier; Tigers and other tanks with a front drive sprocket (easier to detrack than those with rear drive sprockets) playing peekaboo are perfect for slaughter, you can detract them on a corner and they cannot fire back.
PzIV & M4
We've previously covered a few details in relation to both these tanks, both of them being capable of mounting a Howitzer that fires Premium HEAT ammunition.
The PzIV is quite average in most ways. Its armor is thin, it's not particularly mobile, doesn't have that many hit points, lacks any kind of gun depression and even looks a bit daft. Yet with the 10.5cm KwK 42 L28 Howitzer mounted, it becomes something of a tin foil terror.
The M4 is in the same category, it's average until you mount its own Howitzer which has near identical stats to the German version; so really, when it comes to picking your Tier V Medium trolling machine, it comes down to: Do you want some gun depression? If so then pick the M4 and what crew do you have spare? If you've been playing this game a while you'll have some good spare crew to man them.
Because these tanks have no armor, a small pool of hit points, the gun dispersion is huge and the accuracy is terrible you'll want to cut all these down as much as possible, so Gun Laying Drives, Stabilisers and Rammers are all advisable.
The other concern is the cost of the shells, 2800 a piece. While you can occasionally pull off a long range shot, the travel time of the shell and accuracy takes a lot of getting used to; it is an artillery piece on a tank after all. So spamming random or wild deflection shots at distant tanks can be a costly and pointless activity.
Many people think this is a scout tank which is wrong, simply because it's a light tank doesn't equate to scouting. This tank is meant for trolling. Why? It can do 72kph, it weighs 25 tons and can mount the German 10.5cm KwK 42 L28 Howitzer.
First off, its speed and weight make it great for ramming other light tanks, its not the most maneuverable but all you have to do is scrap the side of an AMX13 90 or ELC AMX and you'll track them while simultaneously removing a good chunk of hit points. The fun doesn't end there, the big Howizer can wreck the day of these poor light tanks with almost guaranteed penetrations and subsequent crew and module damage.
This tank does take some skill to actually do well in and survive; that's part of the fun. It's simply not a case of storming off at the start of a battle but picking your moments; shooting an enemy in the back when they're tied down with something which is mistakenly thought as a bigger threat.
This tank does have some downsides, it's not particularly maneuverable when compared to other Tier V scouts and doesn't have much gun depression. You can also meet Tier X tanks which you have to show respect, even if XVM tells you the guy you're fighting is borderline remedial, many can finish you off in 1 hit.
Artillery with Premium ammunition
Artillery has a special place in the heart of many WoT players. They hate it, usually they've been killed by it because they sat in the open for to long and did little to avoid it. It's best to take advantage of those kinds of players, there are many of them and they all get angry.
Premium ammunition in Artillery does one of two things (in general), it either gives HE a larger explosion radius i.e. increased chance of splash damage or it increases penetration. For instance the GW Type E, using its Premium round, has an explosion distance of 9.2 meters which is a huge area.
Even at lower Tiers, Premium ammunition in Artillery is extremely powerful; the previously mentioned Su26 gains 160mm penetration with its Premium shell; that's enough to penetrate most tanks it will ever meet. Really there is no special formula for using Artillery other than learning where people tend to go and where is the best position for you to park, so you can hit them. It goes back to theory that people tend to be utterly predictable which is something you can prey on; the G zero corner of Arctic Region, the back side of the two opposing hills on Serene Coast, the valley on Lakeville, the list goes on.
AMX50 Foch 155
180mm of sloped frontal armour, 293mm of penetration on its standard AP around, 3 round drum capable of 2,550 damage in just a few seconds and a top speed of 50Kph. This is one of those tanks which you simply do not want to meet head on.
In my mind this has the best high Tier gun for trolling, only the Maus has enough hit points to survive three rounds from the Foch's drum magazine; everything else is just food for this French Tank Destroyer. On city maps, with your flanks covered, this tank is king.
I'll start off by saying this tank is overpowered; which is great if you want to kill a lot of tanks. Its frontal armour is well angled and the turret is 240mm thick and of that special curved variety often found on Soviet tanks that bounced incoming rounds like it would rain drops.
Its gun is equal to any other Tier X medium and in some ways superior due to its ROF at 9.09. Yes, it does less damage per shot but its DPM is 2908 and very little can compete with that; add in an accuracy of 0.34 and it's firmly in the realms of 'accurate'. The view range is only slightly shorter than the other Tier X Mediums yet has none of the drawbacks the others face with lower camouflage values or high silhouettes (to be fair, the FV4202 is a smaller, shorter tank yet has a camouflage value inferior to the T-62A).
Best used in packs, this tank is a firm favorite of Clan Wars and a great tank for random battles.
Some of you, assuming we have people reading this, will be saying "Well what about the [insert tank name here]?"
I'd probably agree with those comments, as stomping pubbies...doing well at World of Tanks isn't limited to a certain subset of tanks with special guns or well designed armor layouts, a lot of it is down to the individuals playing these tanks. There are exceptions, you'll never see someone pub stomping in an M3 Lee or VK 3001 (P); but you may see them doing it in an ISU 152 or E50M.
Group pub stomping
This is an activity best experienced shared. While solo it can be gratifying, in a group it's positively hilarious. I've mentioned a couple of combinations I myself particularly like to play.
Tier VII Black Prince/AT-15A Platoon
For example, myself and 2 others from my Clan's sister Clan often take out tanks which individually are ok, but as a team are particularly good. One combination we use is the AT-15A/Black Prince combination. Three tanks with solid armor and fast firing guns are ideal for singling out opponents, detracking them and murdering them quickly and efficiently. What's more, tracking an enemy continuously opens them up to the very real prospect of getting hit by artillery, which generates the very best rage.
Cromwell Platoon and Medium TC
Another combination worth trying is three Cromwells or a Cromwell based Medium Tank Company. Individually the Cromwell is a fine tank, but in a group, if you have space to maneuver it's spectacular. Many people say the KV1S is the ruler of Medium Tank Companies, well not any more.
The Cromwell is extremely maneuverable so ideal for circle strafing and avoiding fire from enemy heavies. Between three tanks they have so much fire power that you'll take out most potential enemies before they can shoot twice and the tanks are so quick, it's likely your foes may miss anyway. In fact the only downside to using these tanks in a platoon is you can end up getting in each others way. It's a perfect way to find, single out and kill any other tank before help can arrive.
In tank companies the maneuverability and speed means you can relocate very quickly as a group. The gun on the Cromwell is reasonably good too, certainly powerful enough to take on most Tier VIII tanks from the sides or rear.
So what's the difference between pub stomping and just being good at a game? When it comes down to it not really that much; World of Tanks is the sort of game where common sense, situational awareness, patience and some basic mechanics knowledge will pay off large dividends. It's really what you get out of it, no one wants to be the guy being stomped; everyone wants to be doing the stomping so pick what works best for you or your platoon.
To me the key is to employ some common sense and avoid going for the tempting cheap shots and that's half way to becoming a good player and most of the way towards being able to stomp pubbies into the ground.