World of Tanks has a number of mods and tools available for it and Wargaming actively encourages players to create more.
Like EVE, Wargaming has provided players with a number of ways to view statistics both in and out of game. The first method is a classic API and the second is a locally held file called the Dossier Cache. Between these a number of third parties have created some very interesting tools which integrate within the game, as well as website base stat tools.
The third party created content doesn't stop there; World of Tanks is very easy to mod. Wargaming has made it possible to replace literally anything in this game, from tank skins and the hanger backdrops to your crews voices.
Because of the volume of mods and tools, we'll go over some of the most popular and useful. Whether you're wanting more comprehensive stats, additional historical immersion, your driver to sound like Eric Cartman or simply want a few more FPS, there's a mod or tool for you.
Before you get started
As with all games which allow third party modifications, there may be some unintended side effects, like broken textures or performance issues.
Most of the mods and tools we'll look at below I've used in one version or another over my time with World of Tanks and are generally held in high regard by the community. They should all work perfectly. However, as a precaution, once a mod is installed, start up the game and give it a quick play to make sure its running correctly before installing any further mods.
Quick disclaimer - These mods are all supported in 8.2 and many will work out of the box in 8.3, however check the host's respective webpage for updates.
No guide to 3rd party mods and tools for World of Tanks would be complete without an in depth look at the eXtended Visualisation Mod, better known as XVM. The mod is really a two in one, a statistics system and a visual overlay system.
The core feature of this mod, and what its best know for is the Efficiency rating system. The Efficiency rating is a 3rd party method of displaying individual player skill, based on statistics obtained via the API system. This system is widely accepted by the World of Tanks international communities as the first in a number of 3rd party rating systems. For example, many of the top rated Clans will only accept into their ranks players with a high Efficiency rating. The Efficiency rating itself can be viewed outside of the game, on various websites. However XVM goes a step further and integrates these ratings into the game itself, as you can see from the in game screenshot below.
The process of installing is relatively simple: it involves copying a few files to your res-mods folder, installing a library and then running World of Tanks from a shortcut rather than the main EXE.
Without any tinkering, the standard XVM mod does two things. The first that when you enter into battle, the loading screen presents each player's Efficiency and Win Rate. Efficiency is expressed as a raw value running from 0 to 2000; it's possible to get higher than 2000, but extremely rare. The average player tends to cluster around 1000-1200.This gives you an overview of each players skill and is extremely handy when facing and opponent. Knowing they're either terrible or a statistical 'unicum' makes all the difference to how you might handle them.
It's also possible to adjust how this statistic displays within game. This requires you to edit a text-based configuration file, although the mod comes with several prebuilt config files to choose from, submitted by players. A common and useful tweak along these lines is to show the player's win rate & efficiency above their tank out in the field. Those same config files also allow for a variety of GUI enhancements like overtarget markets, crosshairs, and tank icons.
Another feature in recent versions adds a damage counter at the top left of the screen, which shows comprehensive information about your performance in real time. Each row is a shot fired and the result of that shot. From left to right: Shot number, damage done, tier, tank name, number of hits against that tank, and cumulative damage to that tank. A red skull and crossbones icons indicates that you got the kill shot.
One extremely useful information overlay it contains are statistics when tanks are in capping zones. It displays the number of tanks capping and the time it will take the number present to complete the capping cycle. For a player who takes part in Clan Wars and Company Battles, this is vital information.
There are a couple of downsides with XVM. Perversely, the first is that you'll see other players statistics. Ignorance can be bliss, and sometimes you'd prefer not to know the instant you join a game that your team is full of mouthbreathers and you're like to lose. The second is if you want to make any customisations to the overlays, you have to do them yourself. It's not too big deal if your able to read the readme and edit a text file, but some people may find it offputting.
To install and run, you'll need to get relevent XVM for the curren version here an xvm-stat-1.1.0.zip, make sure you have Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 and download the latest Dokan Library. Once you have those, just follow the instructions within the XVM zip files.
If you've been playing MMO's for a while you might have come across Curse previously. Curse is a website for hosting mods, which in conjunction with the Curse client allows for easy installation of game modifications. The library of mods on Curse for World of Tanks isn't huge but it does contain some of the ones we'll look at today. It's easy to use: just sign up, install, select your game and then install mods to your hearts content. Once the mods are installed you can turn the client off! Simple stuff. Like World of Tanks, its a free service with a premium subscription, but its not required.
Visit Curse here.
[Editor's note: While it may be less of a problem in WoT seeing as there's little or nothing to be stolen, old WoW players may remember that the Curse client was occasionally used as a vector for malware. Install and use at your own risk.]
Camera Zoom Mod
This is a fairly simple modification which allows players to draw back the camera view further than the games default. Given the relatively restricted camera view, this is handy. While you can't really see artillery shells past a given distance, it does give you a better overall view of your surroundings, which is valuable. Just be sure not to stay zoomed all the way out, as it makes it take a lot longer to get back into sniper mode to take shots.
This mod is available here on Curse.
Startup Video Remover
Another simple and effective mod. This does nothing more than remove the start up video, speeding up that process of getting into battle. With the number of crash to desktop bugs World of Tanks has suffered over the last couple of years, this mod is most welcome.
The mods home page is here.
Permanent Serverside Reticule
The purpose of this mod is both simple and effective. The game actually has two crosshairs. The first is the default GUI crosshair, and the second is a server-side version. The difference is that the GUI crosshair is a sort of smoothed out representation of the server side, but the process of smoothing eliminates information about how your aim is actually be interpreted. The server side crosshair mod restores that information, and so while it can result in a jumpy aim, it still gives you the most accurate possible feedback on where you're aiming at any given time.
To make sense of that, check the screenshot below. It contains three crosshairs. The one furthest left is where your mouse is pointed. Turrets don't turn instantly, so the one in the middle is where the gun is aiming. The crosshair furthest to the right is the server side crosshair. If you were to press fire at that point, your shot will go where the blue crosshair is aiming. Please note this doesn't mean there's no deflection shooting, you still need to account for shell travel time and your opponents speed to make a successful hit.
This is an immensely useful mod and you'll find that it will almost certainly improve your performance. It's almost mandatory in competitive modes like Clan Wars, Company Battles or ESL.
It's worth noting that a version of this mod comes with XVM and several of the other modifications we'll review today. However if you just want this mod alone you can get it from the Curse client. The mods home page is here.
DAR Artillery Sight
The standard artillery sight doesn't really tell the player very much, so thankfully a kind soul named garnet_auxo created one which does. This guys been busy because he also made the Permanent Serverside Reticule mod as well! The new sight comes with a traverse indicator, a time and distance to target and reload counter and server side reticule. They're all simple but effective tools which any die hard artilleryman will need to get the most out of their SPG.
It's also works with Tank Destroyers...and SPG's pretending to be Tank Destroyers in first person view. The screenshots shows the 6 degrees traverse either side of the centre line on the GW Type E. When the gun moves the gun sight moves appropriately until it reaches the end of the traverse available. The blue and orange dots represent the UI and server side crosshairs.
This is available from the Curse client and a direct link to the mods page is here.
Update - Apparently the owner of the DAR Artillery Sight has stopped work on it and may not work in 8.3. However RaszNaRoks battle interface includes this mod, which does work in 8.3.
Some people disagree with this (and I count myself among them), going so far as to label it "cheating". However, Wargaming has made it abundantly clear that they are legitimate, so this article would be incomplete without mentioning it. There are a number of different examples out there, some crude and simple, others less invasive, but the end result is the same: These are skins which tell you each tanks weak points and where crew members are located. The example here is one of the least invasive hitzone skins available. And here's a link to the coloured hitzone skins. Don't forget to hit 'translate' when you visit those links.
While we're on the subject of skins for tanks, there's plenty of them out there. Tank fans have created everything from the historical and semi fictitious to... My Little Pony. Depending on your taste, there's something out there for most virtual tankers. You can visit some skinning sites from the links below.
There are a number of Crosshair modifications out there but this one is probably the best place to start. Overcross, by PietrofSKY, is clean and simple; it doesn't contain the clutter seen in a number of other crosshair mods. The main features are a cleaned up crosshair UI, distance to target indicator, a reload timer represented as a counter and finally a your health as a %. It also ties in with any other modifications you might have running like the server side crosshair.
This is a mod I always run and can't do with out.
As an alternative J1mBO's crosshair mod is also quite popular.
Plunky's Sound Packs
No mod review is complete without looking at some of the sound packs available. Plunky's Sound Packs is a popular replacement for the vanilla in game voice overs. Made by, you guessed it, Plunky, the samples are high quality if a little predictable. The author has provided packs based on themes like Blazing Saddles and Beavis and Butthead.
Historical Realism Sound Mod
This is a mod for those who require a little more immersion and a little more variation than what Wargaming's default weapon sounds have to offer. The Historical Realism Sound Mod aims to fill this requirement by changing the default sounds with ones made by the real things. Made by a group known as the Historical Realism Modelling Project, this mod provides flavour and immersion where Wargaming forgot to put any in. This team also creates new models for historically accurate tanks.
Millbarge's Effects Remover
Got a slow PC or want to get the best possible performance in competitions? Look no further, a player named Millbarge on the US forum has just the mod for you, Millbarge's Effects Remover. It removes various effects that affect performance like smoke, shadows and explosions etc.
Check out this video to see it in action.
Doesn't look pretty but that's not the point.
Colorblind map boundary mod
Colorblind? Can't see the map boundry because its in red? Then this might be of some help. All it does is change the colour of the map boundry and that's all it needs to do.
Mini Map Mods
The minimap is a vital tool for situational awareness, so as you'd expect there are a number of mods out there. This example hosted on wot-shot comes in different sizes, has reference markers for the various view and detection ranges and custom icons for tanks.
An alternative, with better quality maps and icons is Locastans enhanced HD minimap.
Mod Collections & Sites
It's not unheard of to get performance hits or conflicts when using multiple mods together so I've listed a couple of mod collections below which take a number of the mods listed above, combined them and provided them within one easy to use package.
GOLDDIMES TACTICAL MOD PACK
Golddimes tactical mod pack is a collection of mods, some of which we've already discussed, including XVM, post battle statistics addon, Coloured Battle Results, DAR's artillery sight, Overtarget Markers, J1mb0's Crosshair Mod, minimap mod, zoom mod, White Tank Wrecks, Disabeled intro video and a few others.
If you're looking for an all in one package, then this is it!
Ashbane's mods comes with its own installer. How's that for ease of use?
The mods contained within are information overlays, like new contours and over target markers. This mod is quite useful for newer players as it contains information on each tank in battle next to the players name i.e. their armour, hit points and average damage.
Mod Hosting Sites
If you're interested in doing your own search for mods, here's a selection of World of Tanks modding & skin sites you might want to visit. Some of these sites are in Russian so unless you're understanding of Cyrillic is up to scratch, you'll need a browser capable of translation like Chrome.
Wot Dossier is one of a number of websites setup around interpreting statistics, either from the API or Dossier cache. As you'd expect from the title, this website reads your Dossier cache file, a locally hosted file which contains your entire World of Tanks history of statistics. The process of using this site is simple: you go to the URL and there's some basic instructions on how to find the Dossier Cache on your computer. Once found you simply upload this file to the WoT Dosser site and the rest is obvious.
You're presented with a gold mine of information about your performance on each tank you've driven. Want to see what your current 'sharpshooter' progress is on any given tank? Want to see how much time you've spent in a tank? Interested in medals and would like to know near you are to acheiving them? Well you're in luck, this tool shows you everything. It's also used by a number of clans to ascertain a applying players actual performance in Clan Wars capable tanks.
This is personally my favourite World of Tanks mod or tool and I use it religiously. It's become an indespensible part of tracking my statistics and performance. I was going to post some screenshots of this tool but it really doesn't scale too well, so instead, take a look yourselves. The link to the site is here and if you want to see what a players stats look like before you use the site, then feel free to check out my page.
Efficiency & Ratings Calculators
There are a number of different rating systems available for World of Tanks, the most prevalant being the Efficiency system. It's criticised because it can be 'padded', although curiously most of the people making these claims have rather poor Efficiency scores. Most of these systems use the API to look at a combination statistics like average Tier, average damage per battle, win ratio, spotting, survival, dapture and defense points.
No one system is really perfect. They all have faults or the person who wrote it, in the case of noobmeter, has kept the formula secret preventing large scale adoption. WN4 is one of the better systems being developed, in no small part because the formula is publically available and is being adopted by the community. You can find your WN4 score here.
This is another great web based tool. By using the API, this site tracks your performance and shows it by way of some simple graphs and charts. You can view both daily and overall statistics for efficiency, win rates, cap points, defend points, damage done, spotting, and average tier, to name a few.
This tool isn't as comprehensive as something like WoT Dossier when it comes to being able to review absolutely everything, but it is a great way of monitoring your performance over time. If you want to review your progression as a World of Tanks player, this is the perfect tool.
To use, all you need to do is go to the URL and register as a new user. From there on in you can track your stats in a logged out state. It also has the handy feature of being able to show stats for entire clans; your entire clan however will need to register with the site.
Unlike everything else listed here, this tool isn't specifically for World of Tanks. I put it on the list because of its particular use to World of Tanks clans participating in Clan Wars. Twiddla allows a user to open us a session, load in an image, invite other people to that session without requiring a login and the do some collaborative drawing. Think of it as a web based interactive whiteboard usually seen in a class room. For World of Tanks this is perfect, as it allows Clans to load up a map then discuss and show stratergies without the normal ambiguity of just talking about it over comms with a static image.
I wish I could have written some kind of tl;dr version as this has been a particularly long read (I apologise to my editor!), but with the vast array of high quality mods and tools it is necessary. If you're already using some of these mods and tools I hope you'll agree with my choices; and if you're not currently using any of these, or have found new ones which are of interest, I hope this read has been beneficial.
If I missed a mod or tool that you think should have been included, feel free to put a link in the comments secion.