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View (Spotting Range and Cammo)
Forum » Combat, Tanks & Crews » Tanking 101 Basic Concepts of Tanking
Joined: 22nd Jan 2016
Rank: Executive Officer
Likes 10
3rd May 2016

I will be posting a series of topics covering "Viewing" in WoT.  I encourage everyone to please read over these posts and become more informed on how the system works.


Not everything that happens in the game world will be visible to you at all times. Game mechanics and technical limitations alike limit what you can see at any given moment. The main reason for technical limitations is server performance. We are told the current spotting system costs 30% of the server resources needed for a battle. 

We need to distinguish three main terms that often get confused by players:

  • Draw Distance - a technical limitation to being able to see tanks and other objects in the 3D world. Maximum is 564m. 
  • Spotting Range - the game mechanics limitation to spotting, i.e. "lighting up" a target yourself. Maximum is 445m.
  • View Range - a tank specific value only used for calculating spotting range, without any relevance of its own. No theoretical maximum.

The following sections explore each of these terms and other relevant factors in detail.
Last Edit: 3rd May 2016 by Tripster
Joined: 22nd Jan 2016
Rank: Executive Officer
Likes 10
3rd May 2016

Draw Distance
Draw Distance is the maximum distance at which objects are drawn on your screen by the rendering engine. The bigger the draw distance, the more computing power is required both for client and server. The rendering engine used by World of Tanks sees the world as cubes. The map itself is a cube, and every object within that map cube is drawn within an invisible circle centered on and aligned to your view point. Everything near the boundaries of this circle starts to fade into a distance fog and everything outside of the boundaries is entirely invisible to you. This circle is your draw distance.

Draw Distance Setting
Draw distance can be limited in Game Settings->Graphics via the "Draw Distance" parameter that allows you to choose from the following three options:
  • High: Maximum allowable draw distance (this is defined separately for each map, usually 1600m x 1600m x 1600m)
  • Medium: 1100m x 1100m x 1100m
  • Low: 900m x 900m x 900m
Higher draw distances will limit framerate if your computer is on the slower side but unless your framerate is low you should always opt for the highest draw distance available.

Server Horizon
  • Even with your draw distance set to high, dynamic objects (i.e. spotted enemy vehicles, terrain destruction, tracers) may remain invisible to you. This is because the server decides whether to send information about dynamic objects to you based on whether they are within the boundaries of a separate 1000m x 1000m x 1000m cube centered on your tank but aligned to the map boundaries regardless of your view point. Every vehicle outside of that server cube will always be invisible to you in the default Arcade View or in Sniper View regardless of your draw distance setting. 
  • If a tank would be visible for you on the server, but you lowered your draw distance such that you cannot actually see it, the user interface will nevertheless draw the respective vehicle marker, it will appear above the invisible vehicle when you press Alt (using the default UI; using UI  Modifications can make it constantly visible). You will however not see the tank or its outline.
  • Self-Propelled Guns have another view mode available to them, the so called  Strategic View, giving them a top down view on the battlefield. The server will also send information about all dynamic objects to your client that lie within that view port.

The minimap is not part of the 3D world and thus unaffected by the limitations discussed in this section. What you see on the minimap is however influenced by  Radio Range discussed below.
Shell Tracers
For the visibility of shell tracers there are some special rules:
  • Tracers from friendly vehicles are always shown (subject to the above limitations to draw distance).
  • Tracers from spotted enemy vehicles are always shown (subject to the above limitations to draw distance).
  • Tracers from unspotted enemy vehicles:In  Arcade View and  Sniper View, tracers are only shown if they originate from within +/- 25° of the direction you are looking at and from within maximum spotting range.  [2] In the following illustration, you will only be able to see the red tracer in the first two cases: 
  • In  Strategic View, all tracers are shown that originate from within your  Strategic View Port.

Joined: 22nd Jan 2016
Rank: Executive Officer
Likes 10
3rd May 2016

View Range
View Range is the theoretical maximum distance that your vehicle's  Commander (not you!) can see, and depends on the vehicle's  turret, the Commander's  effective primary skill level, whether the Commander has the  Recon skill and the Radio Operator has the  Situational Awareness skill, as well as the usage of view range  stat enhancing  equipment like Coated Optics or Binoculars. View Range has no relevance of its own, its only purpose is to serve as a factor for calculating the  spotting range. It is not to be confused with  draw distance, nor does it have any influence thereon.
Note that unlike what the in game description of the view range enhancing  equipment indicates, there is no 500m limitation. View range is unlimited. The better your view range, the better your  spotting range, at any range. 
The maximum possible view range you can currently (v0.7.3) achieve in game is nearly 598.842m with a Patton and 100% Commander and crew having the  Brothers in Arms perk, the Commander having 100%  Recon skill, the Radio Operator having 100%  Situational Awareness skill, the tank having  Improved Ventilation and  Binoculars equipment installed and using  Case of Cola premium consumable.
Joined: 22nd Jan 2016
Rank: Executive Officer
Likes 10
3rd May 2016

Spotting Range
Spotting Range is the maximum distance at which you will detect/spot an enemy tank if you have line of sight. 
Minimum Spotting Range
You will always spot any vehicle that comes within 50m of you, regardless of line of sight. Because you do not need line of sight, this is also called proximity spotting, and can be used on certain maps to spot enemies going past a choke-point without actually being exposed to them.
Maximum Spotting Range
You can never spot a vehicle further away than 445m, the game engine performs no spotting checks past this boundary.
Note that unlike draw distance limits, spotting range limits are the same in all directions (think of a virtual bubble instead of a cube).
Calculating Spotting Range
Spotting Range is not a fixed value particular to your tank, but depends on the target you are spotting, its current position and situation. In other words, as many different individual spotting ranges are calculated by the server for your tank as there are targets within the minimum and maximum spotting ranges to you. For each target the spotting range is calculated invidiually according to the following formula:
SpottingRange = EffectiveViewRange - (EffectiveViewRange - 50) * CamoFactor
If your spotting range to a vehicle equals or exceeds your distance to that vehicle, and you have line of sight, or if the vehicle is within the minimum spotting range, you will spot it. Otherwise it remains hidden to you unless spotted by another vehicle on your team that you are in  radio communication with.
See  above for how effective view range can be calculated. Camouflage mechanics are explained  below.
Joined: 22nd Jan 2016
Rank: Executive Officer
Likes 10
3rd May 2016

Spotting Mechanics
To determine whether you have line of sight to a vehicle within your  spotting range and will thus spot it, the server calculates a virtual vision ray extending from one of two  view range ports on your vehicle to each of the six  visiblility checkpoints of the target vehicle. 
If a vision ray is obstructed by non-transparent objects like houses, terrain, or even just a lamp post, this ray ends there and does not reach the target vehicle. Important to know is that both the vehicle being spotted as well as other vehicles from other players are fully transparent as far as spotting mechanics go. 
If no vision rays reach their target, you will not spot it. But if at least one of the six vision rays reaches the target, you will spot the vehicle and it will light up if it was previously hidden. At this point it makes no difference if any of the other visions rays would reach their target as well.
View Range Ports
Each tank has two View Range Ports as shown in this illustration:

  • Static View Range Port: A static location on the tank model, placed on its highest elevation and centered there. 
  • Dynamic View Range Port: Located where gun is mounted to the turret, dynamically moves along with the turret.
In general, the two view range ports take turns every 2 seconds, i.e. every 2 seconds visibility checks are performed using the respective other view range port. 
Visibility Checkpoints
Each tank has six Visibility Checkpoints distributed across the tank as shown in this illustration:

  1. Top, Middle of Turret (same location as Static View Range Port)
  2. Gun Mount (same location as Dynamic View Range Port)
  3. Front, Center of Hull
  4. Rear, Center of Hull
  5. Right Side, Middle of Turret
  6. Left Side, Middle of Turret
Rate of Visibility Checks
You will not necessarily spot an enemy tank as soon as you have line of sight on it. The rate of visibility checks is limited as follows:
  • within 50 m range - every 0.1 sec
  • within 150 m range - every 0.5 sec
  • within 270 m range - every 1.0 sec
  • within 445 m range - every 2.0 sec
NOTE: While Overlord confirmed the above as still correct for 0.7.1, US community manager Vallther claimed on 23 January 2012 that the frequency of the visibility checks depends "a lot on the map" and that he "requested a total check from Q&A regarding the matter".  [3]
The rate limitation on visibility checks means that it is entirely possible that a hidden tank moves out of cover right after a visibility check, shoots you, and returns back into cover right before the next visibility check, thus never getting spotted and staying hidden. This can also lead to fast tanks getting spotted only closer to you than your spotting range would normally allow - at a maximum speed of 72 km/h a tank can cross 40m between spotting checks past 270m range.
Spotting Duration
Once spotted, a vehicle stays lit up for a minimum duration of 5 seconds which can extend up to 10 seconds after the spotter moves out of spotting range or gets destroyed. The exact duration seems to be random. Tanks spotted right next to each other may stay lit up for different durations. The  Designated Target perk for the Gunner extends this duration further.
Forum » Combat, Tanks & Crews » Tanking 101 Basic Concepts of Tanking
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