[Guide] How is Tankky Formed?

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by ColonelChingles, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. ColonelChingles

    So there are lots of guides out there about how to cert out tanks and how to fight with tanks.

    This isn't one of those guides.

    Instead, this guide is more basic... how do you pull a tank.

    We start, as with all things, with looking at a map. Unless you want to drive all the way from the warpgate, you need to know where to pull a tank from!


    This area looks promising because it's decently populated. Can't see exactly how the fight is going, but we can guess a few things just by looking at the population numbers:

    1) Helios Solar is going to fall soon, where the NC is outpopped. A smaller fight there, may be worth looking into.
    2) The fight between Cora Med and Inda Excav is probably somewhere in between. We know this because the NC have the majority population in Indar Excav and the VS have the majority in Cora Med... so both sides are probably digging in. This would be a "big" fight.
    3) Indar Comms is pretty quiet.

    Let's start with Helios Solar.


    Yea... spawncamped. Go NC! :p Surrounded by infantry, and looking at the mini-map I counted at least three Magriders camping the vehicle spawn and one or two more to the south. In fact if you look at the mini-map in this picture, you can see a great example of how not to pull a tank... that Lightning just got pulled into a crowd of three waiting Magriders and probably only got off a shot before it died.

    Never pull a tank from a base that is under direct heavy enemy attack.

    So no, we are totally not pulling a tank from Helios Solar. Probably not going to even try attacking the enemy force at Helios Solar, because 1 Lightning versus 5-6 Magriders isn't going to end well. It is important to note though that this Magrider force is probably going to smash into the main battle between Indar Excav and Cora Med later (likely from the north).

    Now that we're in the area though, let's look at the map again. When you are on the ground, you can see more detailed information.


    This tells us more about the position of friendly armor around Indar Excav. You can tell that they're arranged mostly in a north-south line to the east of the base, meaning that the enemy is probably further east. I would assume that they're dug in around the hills west of Cora Med.

    There's an absence of friendly armor to the south of Indar Excav, meaning that either there are no enemies for them to shoot there (likely) or that the VS completely control that half of the base (less likely).

    One important thing to remember about the VS and Indar Excav is that they love to set up Lancer nests around the hill west of Indar Comms (you'll learn this through experience). So if they're there, that would be a problem. But they're probably not, because the NC are still fielding vehicles.

    Always note down possible long-range infantry AV nests.

    So let's get to Indar Excav and look around.


    Yup. As I thought, the VS armor and infantry have hidden themselves in the hills west of Cora Med. The usual VS AV nest looks clear. South of Indar Excav is also clear.

    At this point, I could pull a tank from Indar Excav and join the other NC tanks in their assault on Cora Med. But this would be kinda boring, and not to mention I would be at a disadvantage. The VS are dug in after all, and there might be an incoming VS force from the north to flank me (remember those tanks at Helios Solar?).

    You can imagine the NC and VS armored forces as two parallel lines clashing between Indar Excav and Cora Med. The best position for any tank is to flank, and where might be a good flanking position on the VS forces?

    Always try to pick a good but safe flanking position.

    If you said that old Lancer AV nest west of Indar Comms, ding ding!


    This position turns out to be very ideal for an AP Lightning. You negate the VS cover by hitting them from their flank, and you have your own hill that you can pull back behind if things get hairy.

    That being said, this position does have a few disadvantages... a lack of ammunition and that it's pretty open to air attack. So far I've been lucky because the air presence hasn't been very significant anywhere in this map, but that could change.

    Always be worried about air. Even if you are a Skyguard.

    So this is it. This is our spot. And it should be good until the armor around Cora Med evaporates.


    We begin our engagement with ranging shots. Because it's long-range, we need to know about how much drop we have to compensate for. Through a combination of experience and trial and error, we can figure out that to hit a target at that range we need to have the second little line over our target. Although this Sunderer is protected from NC fire to the west, it is completely exposed from our position (though it still takes a ridiculous number of shots to put down).


    And here comes the VS reaction force! Soooo many targets... so exposed. But which one do we attack first?

    Always engage targets taking into account probability of kill, hit, and discovery.

    If I were to shoot at the lead tank, then all the tanks behind it would see my shells and be able to figure out my location. Then they would either take cover or fire back, which would be bad because I would have a 5 v 1 scenario.

    But if I were to shoot at the rear tank, really only that tank would notice it was being shot at, meaning that I would have a 1 v 1 fight (in the middle of a bigger fight of course). And with my elevation, cover, and that I've already zeroed my target, I shouldn't lose that fight.

    I am, however, running very low of ammunition! :( Stupid durable Sunderers.


    Eventually, one of their Lightnings is tired of being slaughtered and comes looking for me. But I have the superior terrain (they have to fight while moving and uphill) so it's a good defensive position. Even then, I figure that I have to leave because:
    1) They know where I am and I am enough of a threat that they're trying to charge me. Although I took care of this Lightning, there may be one that follows. Or a Wraith Flash with C4, or an ESF with C4. One way or another they're fixated on taking me out. I can probably disappear for a bit and let the heat die down.
    2) Really low on ammunition. Not enough to really last for another Lightning fight. I need to pull back to rearm.

    Always know when to leave.

    So that's it. That's what I do and think when I try to pull a lone wolf Lightning to support an allied assault. Knowing where to pull a Lightning from and how to choose a good fighting position is just as important as certing out your tank and learning how to aim!

    Never pull a tank from a base that is under direct heavy enemy attack.
    Always note down possible long-range infantry AV nests.
    Always try to pick a good but safe flanking position.
    Always be worried about air. Even if you are a Skyguard.
    Always engage targets taking into account probability of kill, hit, and discovery.
    Always know when to leave.

    Happy tanking!
    • Up x 10
  2. Sebastien

    I hate that hill so much. Always spoiling a good slugfest when you're between Indar Ex and Quartz.

    Personally, I would have pulled from Indar Ex and moved over to Helios Solar. I like the low flat land there and you could save that base, move in from the South West and take the Sunderer out from afar before moving in on the Magriders or just drive them off.
  3. ColonelChingles

    There definitely are many ways to play the tanking game, and I definitely don't want to make it look like my decisions were the only good decisions. Or even the best decisions. They're just the choices I made in those ~8 minutes. Had I encountered the same exact situation I might have done something differently.

    The most important thing to take away (not you, more for new players who wind up with a dead tank 15 seconds in) are the things that a tanker thinks about when they figure out what they're going to do. Why do this... instead of that? Why go here... instead of there?

    I will also say that personally I'm a pretty conservative tanker. I tend to value survivability over knocking out the enemy. That's just me. I know that there are other good tankers who wouldn't mind going out in a blaze of glory if it meant achieving some tactical advantage, and that's fine too. :) I just tend to run away and figure out some other way to engage (yes, even when I've got 750 nanites sitting in the bank). :oops:

    With respect to taking my Lightning to Helios Solar, here's what I would have thought:
    1) Too few friendly tanks or infantry in the area. The minimap showed no other friendly armor presence around Helios Solar, and all friendly armor around Indar Excav seemed to be locked up in that fight. Would my one Lightning make a significant difference? Possibly... but in my experience it's slim. Either the infantry would coalesce and fight back, or their armor would chase me off. If I had half a squad of Lightnings with me it might have been different, but realistically in that battle I wouldn't see myself doing a lot of good.
    2) The enemy has the terrain advantage. The land between Indar Excav and Helios Solar starts out lower around Indar Excav and gets higher... meaning that if the enemy catches me in the middle then they have the high-ground advantage. Closer around Helios Solar I might have the initial advantage, but in that bumpy terrain Magriders can massively benefit from their shoot-and-move characteristics.
    3) Not enough time. With less than two minutes on the clock (and less by the time you drive up there), getting there quickly enough to destroy all the enemy Sunderers might be difficult. You would have to kill Sunderers (possibly first dealing with enemy armor), wait for the friendly infantry inside the spawn room to thin out the enemy ranks, and then have those infantry charge out and recapture the point. That's a lot to put on the shoulders of blueberries (even assuming that we could even knock out their Sunderers first).

    I definitely though did think that Helios Solar might have been a good opportunity. It was smaller, so obviously one tank will have a bigger impact. Had it mostly been an infantry v. infantry fight, I think I would have done exactly what you had suggested. That's why I went there first to check out the fight, but once I got there it turned out that the enemy was very Magrider-heavy. :(
  4. Sebastien

    I guess that's the difference between Vanguard play and Lightning play.
    My play for Helios would have been like this
    Push out West from Indar Excavation and cut across the out of bounds area to the Corals. From there I would shoot at any deployed Sunderers that I could see and then try lure some Magriders over. The Coral is actually a pretty good place to make a stand from because there's only two ways in that don't subject you to a lot of fire, and those ways in are small enough to mine up.

    After that I would push North until I was lateral with Helios and then see what's up with the base.
    • Up x 1
  5. FBVanu

    I wanted to help you out here. The proper terminology is "tactical repositioning"... not running away :rolleyes:
    some times the repositioning occurs in a hurry, looks chaotic, bob and weave, zick and zack.. huff and puff...
    but, none the less, it is tactical repositioning.;)
    • Up x 1
  6. ColonelChingles

    Love it. You know what's better than me writing a guide? Lots of other experienced tankers trying to give new players tips on the proper tanker mentality! :)

    I always preferred the term "retrograde maneuvers", though honestly when I run away there's a lot less coordination and planning involved. Plus lots more panic. :D

    But as they say, if I have no idea what I'm doing how could the enemy possibly predict my actions?
    • Up x 1
  7. Jake the Dog

    My prefered method for taking out the coramed area sundies is flanking from the North and sometimes the indar coms hill. I just get tankbusted so much up there.

    Indar Ex is hands down where the tank really shines. You can break the siege very easily and pop enemy tanks before they can react properly. The sundy positions have barely changed in years so they're in the same places every time.
    • Up x 1
  8. ColonelChingles

    Something like... this?


  9. Hegeteus

    Hey now I remember what the title is referencing. "How is babby formed?"
    • Up x 2
  10. Mythologicus

    This thread makes me happy, because it's a tanking thread that covers the single best thing you can do with vehicles in the game.

    I'm not such a big fan of the hill because it is so often populated already, so I usually take the western route there. The problem with both in the long run though is they're so damn exposed to air. Very rarely does an attempt around the western flank work out, due to ESFs spotting me on the way over. There's also very little if anything at all on that side to angle up and shoot at the attacking air.
    • Up x 1
  11. ColonelChingles

    When it comes down to it, as this thread reminded me, I think that's what tankers are about. Maneuvering. Counter maneuvering. Setting up that one deliberate trap for the enemy, and then trying to figure out what to do when it all goes to pieces.

    To me, it's about the opposite of a 96+ v 96+ Biolab experience where there's so much going on that everything really feels random. It's kinda pointless in fights like that because no matter what you do there's always that random shell or grenade that catches you. Whereas tank battles have... a certain weight to them. You tend to mess up because of what you did or didn't do. At least until the Liberator swoops in. ;)

    Air was a very big concern for me. Not entirely sure what my backup plan would have been had a Liberator flown overhead... I might have just taken cover around the structures or something. Not a great plan.

    The hill actually wasn't too crowded. Only a Halberd Harasser up there, who actually helped me out a little bit by engaging close-in targets. If it had been crowded I definitely would have come in from a different angle, because it is very hard to flank when the enemy is already looking in your direction. :p
    • Up x 1
  12. Demigan

    But what about the hail-mary backstab approach? More dangerous in general, but incredibly rewarding in how fast you can kill enemies.

    Head to Indar Comm array through the unofficial mountain pass (Chingles uses this one), then head to the right hand side where you now have a vehicle spawnpoint from Indar Comm. From there you use the ridge that protects you to peek over and attack tanks from behind. Despite people being able to spawn Lightnings directly there from Indar Comm, people often don't see it coming (one of the reasons I guess is that it's a nightmare to properly check for AV mines at Indar Comm so they don't spawn at the north one). This works even better when Indar Comm is captured by the enemy, then they think they are completely safe as tanks have to pass Indar Comm to reach them, which is much easier than people seem to think.
    I prefer to use AP lightnings here, their low frame and speed help with climbing hills and staying pretty invisible when popping over hills to fire. If you still want firepower, pull an MBT from Hvar or Allatum.

    Another thing, if you really want to do high-risk, high-reward runs you can go the invisible backstab route. This works best if you have a squad with you that wants to do it as well, as you and any possible friendlies who come with you are completely alone on this one. Any aircraft or accidental hostile tank pulled can spell disaster.
    Simply put: get a stealth flash and infiltrator, head to any base with both an infantry terminal and (heavy) vehicle spawner, towers are ideal as you can be 100% sure both will be available, and spawn a tank there (and place a beacon for your buddies). Unfortunately there are no good (undefended) towers in this scenario that any player can use. Still, let's assume Benson Construction has both a reachable infantry terminal and vehicle terminal. You drive there, hack both terminals (least time consuming is to hack the vehicle terminal, then infantry terminal so you can instantly switch classes), switch to Engineer and spawn the vehicle of your choice. Then you've got free reign to attack any base from behind. Unfortunately, any hostile tank or air reinforcement will probably attack you from behind, so speed is of the essence. Move fast if you stick to the roads, any tank that might be behind you will have to go faster than you to catch up. If you are about to start attacking, sit somewhere off-road where enemies usually don't travel to avoid them getting an easy kill on you.

    map below (yes, this is an old, old map, but it was high-res and I didn't want to look for other maps)
    • Up x 1