Guide to Crew Rank, Qualifications, Skills, and Experience
In World of Tanks, your crew plays an important role in improving the combat effectiveness of your vehicle. In this guide, you’ll learn all about crew rank, skills, experience, training, and their effect on gameplay.
The crew’s military rank is printed on the portrait itself, before the name. Seen here on the image above is printed Feldwebel Joachim Eichelberger. That’s like saying Staff Sergeant Joachim Eichelberger.
Feldwebel is the rank. For a Russian crew, you might see something like Mladshiy Serzhant, followed by the name. That’s equivalent to Junior Sergeant.
For a full list of crew ranks, and their English translations, please see Panzer crew ranks.
Depending on crew qualifications (ie, commander, gunner, loader, etc), every new crew member starts with different military ranks. All new crew starts with :-
As a crew gains combat experience, he gets a rank promotion. His rank is not dependant on whether you sent him for training or not - so if you sent your crew for training at the Tank Academy, this does not automatically give him a promotion in military rank. How fast a crew gets promoted also depends on crew type. Commanders and gunners tend to receive promotions quicker than drivers, loaders and radio operators.
A crew’s military rank and his promotion has no effect on gameplay. So I would assume that a crew’s rank merely serves to add to realism and historical accuracy.
There are five types of crew or qualification in World of Tanks. Here’s the list along with how they influence the ingame combat characteristics :-
Crew skill is probably the most important criteria because they determine crew quality, and have a direct effect on gameplay. You would be wise to pay special attention to this number.
Crew skills are shown in percentage form. In the image above, my commander Sergeant Eaton Titchmarsh has 53% skill in carrying out his duty as a commander. That means he's a pretty crappy commander, with only 53% efficiency in spotting enemy vehicles.
All new crew starts with 50% skill, and as a crew gains combat experience, his skill improves. As his skill improves, your combat effectiveness improves.
How does a crew’s skill affect gameplay? For example, if your tank has a maximum visibility range of 400 meters. And if your commander has only 50% skill, and since commanders affect visibility, then your maximum visibility is only at 50%, or 200 meters.
I can’t tell for certain that this formula is accurate, as only the developers know the exact formula of how crew skills are calculated. But I can tell for certain, a 100% crew performs very, very differently from a 50% crew.
Try playing as artillery with your gunner at 50% skill, and then at 100% skill. The difference in combat effectiveness is huge - so huge that you just need to try it for yourself to believe.
For Commanders, they further give a ten percent skill boost to their crew. So if your commander has 100% skill, then 10% is added to the skill of all your other crew.
In this respect, if ALL of your crew is at 100% skill, then your gunner, loader, driver and radio operator would operate at 110% efficiency. The additional 10% is the boost provided by the commander. The commander himself would operate at 100% efficiency.
As mentioned, crew skill is improved through combat experience. But if you would like to shortcut that process, you may send your crew for training at the Tank Academy or Regimental School. More on training is explained below.
When your crew reaches 100%, it unlocks a Secondary Skill.
Upon reaching 100% in their primary skill, it unlocks a Secondary skill. Currently the available secondary skills are :-
You may only select one skill improvement at a time. As with primary skills, secondary skills are improved through combat experience. Secondary skills start at 0%, and goes all the way up to 100%. When at 100%, you may then select another skill to improve – but one skill at a time.
So which secondary skill should you opt for? Which skill should you select first?
My preference and advice for tank destroyers and artillery is – go for Camouflage first, Fire Fighting second, and Repair last.
For heavy tanks, I’d choose Fire Fighting, Camouflage and lastly Repair.
Camouflage is of paramount importance, especially for tank destroyers and artillery. But also very important for light and medium tanks. For this reason, Camouflage ranks the highest on my list.
For heavy tanks, I feel camouflage is not as useful because its very difficult to hide a big tank – like a KV or Maus. Rest assured, the enemy will spot you moving in a heavy tank way before you spot him – and stealth and ambush is not the primary tactics of a heavy tank.
The Repair skill is lowest on my list because I normally use the Repair kit module. There are three Repair module add-ons – the Repair toolbox (+25% repair speed), the Large Repair kit (repairs a damaged module) and the Small Repair kit (repairs a damaged module for 2 minutes). Because of these ample module add-ons, I place Repair skill as the lowest priority.
Unlike primary skills, you cannot send your crew for training to improve on secondary skills. The only way to improve on secondary skills is by gaining combat experience (ie, by playing the game itself).
As mentioned, there are two types of qualifications – primary and secondary. Primary qualifications are commander, gunner, loader, driver and radio operator. Secondary qualifications are camouflage, fire fighting, and repair.
Primary skills can instantly be improved by sending your crew for training – whereas secondary skills cannot be improved by training.
To send your crew for training, right-click on his portrait, and select the training tab. There are two possible training options :-
Select the desired training option, and voila, your crew’s skill is immediately improved to the indicated level.
To get the most bang for your buck, as soon as you recruit your crew, send him for training at the Tank Academy - so he goes immediately from 50% to 100%. And you can choose a Secondary skill immediately too.
But as you would have noticed, it costs 200 gold per training at the Tank Academy. That’s a pretty steep price to pay. So I would be selective on who I send for training.
Because the SU-26 is my favorite artillery piece, I’d send all my crew to the Tank Academy as soon as I recruit them. Same with my crew of Stug III and, JagdPanther.
For other crew, I may spend 20,000 credits to train them to 75%, or I may train only some of the crew members. When forced to choose whom to train, I’d usually train the gunner, and loader, followed by the commander, then driver. If you like, you can prioritize the commander too, because a 100% commander provides a 10% boost to all other crew members.
A common question is what happens if your crew is currently at 80% skill. And you send him to the Tank Academy. Since the Tank Academy improves a crew's skill by up to 50%, and now that your crew is already at 80%. Does this mean that he will be at 130% (ie, 80 + 50) skill after the training? The answer is both a yes and no. No, he will not be at 130%, but he will be more than 100%. Of course the additional skill points above 100% is placed into Secondary skills.
I noticed that when I sent my 65% crew to the Tank Academy. Immediately after only two battles, their Secondary skill had already reached 14%. So this indicates that its not a waste of gold if you sent a crew higher than 50% to the Tank Academy. The training skill points do flow over into Secondary skills.
Crew Reassignment and Retraining
When a crew is reassigned to a new vehicle, he will incur a reassignment penalty of a 25% reduction in skill points. If the new vehicle is of a different class, an additional 25% reduction will be incurred (total 50%).
The image above shows my gunner's skill at 100% - 25% reassignment penalty + 8% commander bonus = 83%
The crew will need to be retrained for the new vehicle in order to remove the reassignment penalty. To retrain, right-click on his portrait, select the Training tab. Then select the new vehicle and click on retrain.
Retraining a crew for a new vehicle also has retraining penalty. There are three retraining options :-
Retraining to the same vehicle class will cause a 10% and 20% reduction in skill points accordingly for Regimental School and Rapid Courses. Retraining to a different vehicle class will cause double the reduction to 20% and 40% respectively for Regimental School and Rapid Courses.
This reduction in skill point only affects the primary qualification (ie, commander, gunner, loader, etc). Secondary skills (eg, camouflage, fire fighting, etc) are not affected by retraining or reassignment.
Once a crew has been retrained for a new vehicle, he is considered to be the new vehicle’s crew. If you reassign him back to his old vehicle, he will incur the same reassignment penalties as with any other vehicle.
Since it costs 200 gold to train a crew to 100%, then this business of retraining your crew for a each new vehicle is an expensive affair. Everytime you upgrade your vehicle, you need to retrain your crew for 200 gold, or for free which will cost you to lose 20% skill points.
One way to reduce retraining costs is to maintain ONLY ONE SET of crew for each vehicle class. What I do is I maintain only one set of German Tank Destroyer crew, one set of German Tank crew, one set of German artillery crew, and so on.
I spend 200 gold per crew to train them up initially to 100%. Each time I upgrade my vehicle, I spend another 200 gold per crew to retrain the same crew for new vehicle. When I want to go back to the old vehicle, I reassign my crew to the old vehicle.
Every crew will incur a reassignment penalty of 25%. Therefore the commander will also be at 75% skill (instead of 100%). Since the commander provides a 10% boost to all the other crew’s skill points, therefore each crew’s skill will work out as 100 – 25 + 8 = 83%.
Every crew (except the commander) will operate at 83% skill points, which is an acceptable number to me. The commander operates at 75%, which is also an acceptable figure.
The advantage is this gives you the ability to level up your crew, so they can improve on their Secondary skills. By the time you train a crew up from Hetzer, to Stug III, to JagdPanzer, and JagdPanther, you’d find that by the time you reach JagdPanther, you now possess a set of kick ass crew with multiple secondary skills.
If you maintained a separate set of crew for each different vehicle, you will never be able to effectively improve on their secondary skills.
Every time you participate in battle, your crew gains experience points. To view their experience points, right-click on their portrait, then select the Service Record tab. The total experience points is expressed in units and it’s completely different from skill points (which is expressed in percentage).
Crew experience points has no direct influence to crew quality, and does not impact combat characteristics in any way. You can train a crew to 100% skills, but his experience points would still start from zero.
Crew quality affects game play very much, and if you can afford the gold, its well worth it to train your crew up to 100% at the Tank Academy.
When my crew was starting out at 50%, I couldn’t even win a single Top Gun award in my SU-26. This was after 30 battles (in SU-26). But as soon as I trained them up to 100%, the kills started to pour in and along with it, I was winning one to two medals (either Top Gun or Confederate) for every ten games I played. As of now, I had bagged five Top Guns, and three Confederates out of 50 battles. I could not have done this with a 50% crew.
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