The nature of mechanized warfare has drastically changed throughout the last 70 years, but one thing remains the same – the old saying: “It’s the man, not the machine”. Operational reports are littered with cases of untrained crews in modern vehicles being defeated by under-equipped forces with superior training, because even the best armored vehicles cannot compensate for poor crew performance.
In Armored Warfare, the crews are one of the most important elements of vehicle progression. The crew of each vehicle in Armored Warfare consists of two parts:
- The Commander
- The Crew itself
Today, we are going to take a look at the latter. The Crew window can be accessed by clicking on the Crew portraits in the Garage, or by selecting the Crew tab in the Vehicle Status window. Unlike the Commander, a Crew is always tied to a particular vehicle and cannot be moved to a different one. Effectively, they represent the amount of experience a player has acquired on that respective vehicle – maximum level crews will usually only appear on vehicles that have been in many battles.
Armored Warfare Crews consist of two or three (very occasionally four) crew members of three classes:
- Driver (responsible for controlling vehicle movement)
- Gunner (responsible for firing the vehicle weapon systems)
- Loader (responsible for reloading the ammunition)
Some vehicles have only two crew members – the loader is missing because the vehicle has an automatic loading mechanism (typical for rapid-fire automatic cannons, unmanned turret vehicles and Russian Main Battle Tanks). While other vehicles (specifically of the Self-Propelled Gun class) can have four crew members (two loaders).
Although a vehicle’s real life crew setup is generally adhered to (vehicles with automatic loaders will not have a loader crew member), vehicles with more than 4 crew members in real life (typical for certain artillery vehicles) will never have more than four crew members.
Crew members can be customized – players can select what they look like, (from the portraits listed – both men and women are available), their names and surnames (both from a list of allowed names).
Crew in Battle
In battle, crew members act as other internal modules. They have a certain amount of hitpoints and enemy shots penetrating vehicle armor can injure them. Injured crew members can significantly reduce vehicle performance – a vehicle with a disabled driver will accelerate and turn slower than one with an active driver. Unlike the internal modules, however, injured crew members won’t heal by themselves and require a consumable (First Aid Kit or Medical Kit) to recover.
Crew Progression - Levels
Each member of a crew can contribute to vehicle performance in two ways – by their level and by their skills. The development of both these attributes is essential for improving vehicle performance.
The main crew member progression system is the level upgrade. Each crew member starts on level 1 (apart from special cases such as the Black Friday promotion vehicles) and can be upgraded to a maximum of level 5. The crew members require a certain amount of Crew Experience to upgrade to the next level. Crew Experience is gained both in PvP and PvE battles and is equal to the amount of reputation gained from that battle (a premium account therefore improves the crew progression rate). Nevertheless, it takes a significant number of battles to upgrade crew members to Level 5 (typically in hundreds of battles):
- Level 2 – 3000 Crew Experience points
- Level 3 – 20000 Crew Experience points
- Level 4 – 90000 Crew Experience points
- Level 5 – 200000 Crew Experience points
Each crew member level adds 2 percent to certain vehicle properties, starting at 2 percent on level 1 (with the exception of the loader, who improves their reload time by only 1 percent per level).
The crew members improve the following vehicle characteristics:
- Traverse speed (increases the rate with which the vehicle steers, 2 percent per level to a maximum improvement of 10 percent)
- Terrain resistance (reduces the penalty for difficult terrain, 2 percent per level to a maximum improvement of 10 percent)
- Peak accuracy (reduces the size of the aim circle when fully aimed, 2 percent per level to a maximum improvement of 10 percent)
- Aim speed (increases the speed with which the aim circle shrinks, 2 percent per level to a maximum improvement of 10 percent)
- Turret traverse speed (increases the speed with which the turret rotates, 2 percent per level to a maximum improvement of 10 percent)
- Reload time (1 percent per level to a maximum improvement of 5 percent)
Vehicles with only two crew members (missing a loader) have their reload time improved by the Gunner level progression, unless they have an automatic loader – one case of a gunner also being a loader would, for example, be the LAV-300. Automatic loaders do not receive the reload time bonus and are not influenced by crew-improving consumables either (with the exception of commander skills that improve loading times).
Generally speaking, a level 1 crew vehicle with a loader will have a worse reload time compared to a level 1 crew vehicle with an autoloader, but high level loaders often surpass vehicles with an autoloader in performance, especially with various crew boosts. In both cases, vehicles without a separate loader compensate for this drawback with their base characteristics. Vehicles with two loaders can achieve a reloading time bonus of up to 10 percent by upgrading both loaders to level 5. Please note that the level 1 crews any vehicle starts with already improve the basic characteristics for the respective crew member by 2 percent.
Crew progression rate can – apart from purchasing a premium account – be improved by certain commander skills (for example Maximilian Koenig’s Accelerated Training skill) and boosters. Furthermore, some premium tanks (such as the MERC edition vehicles) come with fully-trained level 5 crews as well.
Crew vehicle performance improvement can be further enhanced by the commander’s skills, by consumables (Protein Bars – 2 percent enhancement and Energy Drinks – 5 percent attribute enhancement), as well as certain retrofits (Braided Kevlar Wiring, Intercom Systems). As an example of how much vehicle value can improve, we will use the VFM 5 MERC Light Tank and its APFSDS shell damage per minute value (number rounding in effect):
- DPM value (no crew, base value): 2868 damage per minute
- DPM value (level 1 crew): 2896 damage per minute
- DPM value (level 5 crew): 3011 damage per minute
- DPM value (level 5 crew, Rapid Fire loader skill): 3178 damage per minute
- DPM value (level 5 crew, Rapid Fire and Energy Drinks): 3365 damage per minute
- DPM value (level 5 crew, Rapid Fire, Energy Drinks and Commander Leadership skill): 3814 damage per minute (132.98 percent of the base value)
Crew Progression - Skills
Skills are special crew member properties that provide a constant bonus to vehicle performance. Each crew member can unlock 2 skills – one at level 2, one at level 4.
Each crew member (role) can choose from four skills (with exceptions, see below). The following skills can be selected:
- Smooth Ride – improves accuracy while moving by 20 percent
- Battering Ram – increases the damage done by ramming by 30 percent
- Off-Road Driving – improves the acceleration on off-road terrain by 10 percent
- Spin to Win – improves the hull traverse speed by 10 percent
- Marksman – improves the peak accuracy (when the aiming circle is smallest) by 20 percent
- Do the Twist – improves the turret traverse speed by 10 percent
- Quick Draw – improves the aim speed by 10 percent
- Shoot from the Hip – improves the minimum accuracy (when the aiming circle is largest) by 20 percent
- Rapid Fire – improves the reload time by 5 percent
- Preparation – improves the ammo swap speed by 20 percent
- Explosive Shells – improves the module damage by 20 percent
- Secured Ammunition – improves the ammo rack hitpoints by 40 percent
The crew skills and level bonuses multiply one another. If a level 5 loader (5 percent loading time bonus) selects the Rapid Fire skill (another 5 percent loading time bonus), the resulting bonus will be (1.05 times 1.05) = 10.25 percent. Please note that for vehicles without a separate loader, there are two possible cases:
- The gunner is also the loader (the gun is loaded manually), in which case the gunner can also select loader’s skills, but the vehicle crew will always have two skills less than the crew that has a third crew member
- The vehicle has an automatic loader, in which case the gunner can only select gunner skills
Obsidian Entertainment will continue to develop the crew system to make it even more interesting by adding more crew customization and upgrade choices in the future. We do, however, hope that for now this guide will answer some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the current crew system.
See you on the battlefield!