It doesn’t take long for new players to notice the general distaste for SPGs (arty) amongst the World of Tanks community. While the problems with artillery may seem obvious for some, the disdain for arty within World of Tanks should be clarified for newcomers who are unfamiliar with the debate. Let’s discuss some of the reasons for all the arty hate you may run across in the World of Tanks chat, forums, and subreddit.
To understand why players dislike SPGs, one must first understand the how artillery works in the game. At the start of a battle, arty players are expected to sit at the back of their spawn, usually behind cover or within a bush. Their contributions to their team involve launching shells high in the sky in a wide arc across the map, affording them the nickname “sky cancer”.
SPG cannons have extremely high alpha damage, meaning a well-placed arty shot can easily destroy a heavy tank in one powerful blow. With any luck, their shell will land on the hatch of an unsuspecting enemy and wipe them from existence, or at least inflict some splash damage. This is where the troubles with arty begin.
Unlike most other tanks, arty players can obliterate an enemy tank in a single shot without the enemy even knowing they are being targeted. Players must simply assume that arty can drop a shell on their hatch at any given time, with no real way to defend themselves other than to just maneuver carefully with the hope of getting across the map undetected.
This diminishes the importance of good positioning and essentially leads to more camping (which is also generally frowned upon). Many players feel that it's not a balanced fight, as the arty player has the advantage of not getting shot in return, at least in this scenario. SPGs are usually among the last tanks standing near the end of a match, as they are never directly in harm’s way until then.
Another reason for much of the arty hate online is due to the way that players choose to play this tank class. In general, SPG players are expected to not only keep an eye out for enemies who pose a direct threat to their teammates, but to also respond to their teammates when they request fire at enemies through map pings. However, many arty players seem to ignore these habits, opting to simply shoot at the closest or easiest-to-hit targets instead, regardless of whether it benefits their team.
Truthfully, we’ve all succumbed to the desire to pad our stats in World of Tanks every now and again. The problem with arty doing this, however, has to do with their overall capabilities and impact during battle.
Arty is often considered to be one of the easiest tank types to play, and many believe that success as an arty comes down to luck rather than skill. Most of their mechanics involve lots of clicking and hoping for good RNG. In most cases, arty won't even need to leave the back of their spawn. Meanwhile, players in all other tank types must consider a number of other factors when encountering enemies on the battlefield, from armor penetration and camouflage to angling and side-scraping, which requires a much wider breadth of knowledge regarding game physics and tank stats.
SPGs typically have much longer reload times than most tanks due to their use of HE shells, which means they will fire at opponents significantly less often than their teammates during a match. Since their HE shots have the capability of deleting a nearly full-HP enemy with a single shell, it’s best to reserve these powerful shots for the most dangerous opponents, such as a scout flanking behind the team, or multiple heavies pressuring a choke point. Arty players that squander their shots on easy kills are effectively hurting their team.
The issues surrounding artillery have been the subject of ongoing debates within the World of Tanks community for quite some time. There are many ways to approach dealing with SPGs in the game. Players have suggested reserving arty for Strongholds and Clan Battles, while others have requested removing artillery from the game altogether. With the new changes coming to World of Tanks in a future update, players should expect changes to arty matchmaking at the very least.
While arty may still have a positive role to play within the World of Tanks meta, it’s still arguably the most hated tank type among the player base. Hopefully some of the huge changes coming in the next major update will address and alleviate the issues that players have with SPGs in World of Tanks so we can all hate arty a little bit less.