Vehicles in Armored Warfare are manned by crew members and commanders. The amount of crew members can vary from as few as two to four, depending on the vehicle.
The Commander is a special crew member that progresses differently than the rest of the crew. Unlike the regular crew members, the commander can move from tank to tank and has a specific tree development system in place. You can choose from multiple commanders, each with a different progression tree and different skills available. Some commanders are suited for specific classes of vehicles (with their skills reflecting that), while other commanders are more universal.
Commanders progress by obtaining Commander Experience. Commander Experience is obtained by fighting on a vehicle.
Up until Level 10, the progression will work as described above. However, to unlock Level 11, players will have to own at least two Level 10 Commanders. To unlock Level 12, players will have to own at least two Level 11 Commanders and so on.
It is, however, possible to continue playing just one Commander – if that commander reaches the limit (for example, reaches Level 11 while the player has no second Level 10 Commander), the Commander Experience will continue to accumulate and will be stored until it can be used when the requirements for the next level are met.
Each commander has a set of perks at his or her disposal that can be unlocked by achieving the next level. That’s where the similarity to the existing system ends, however, as the progression is fairly different. Perks can be divided into:
- Commander Main Perk
- Commander Progression Perks
Commander Main Perks are the core of each commander’s character. They tend to be more general in nature, but do reflect the skills and bonuses required for the commander to perform in his or her role as well as his or her background, story and morals. What makes them truly special is the fact that they represent the starting place for the progression and grow in power.
These perks are automatically unlocked when you receive the commander in question and improve with each level.
Progression Perks are, as their name suggests, the improvements that can be unlocked by Level progression, one perk per level. Perks come in three qualities (Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3) that determine their usefulness – the higher the quality, the better the bonus.
Each commander has a Perk Field of a certain shape, consisting of square perk fields. Each square represents one perk and players can only unlock perks adjacent to those they already have unlocked, starting from the Main Perk.
Only Tier 1 and sometimes Tier 2 Perks are initially available and players must choose their path through the perk field for each individual commander. Reaching the most desired Tier 3 Perks will require at least several Levels worth of progression.
It is possible to reset the progress choices in three variants:
- For free (the commander loses 30 percent of accumulated experience)
- For credits (the commander loses 15 percent of accumulated experience)
- For gold (the commander does not lose any experience)
- While the Perk Fields for entry-level Commanders resembles a full square, other, more advanced commanders have empty spaces present in their Perk Fields to allow more interesting choices and configurations
- Entry-level commanders only have Tier 1 and Tier 2 Perks along with smaller Perk Fields, only advanced specialist commanders have Tier 3 Perks
- It’s possible to convert Global Reputation to Commander Experience
The basic commanders and their specializations include:
- Philipp Holzklau – Entry Level, universal commander, defensive focus
- Sabrina Washington – Entry Level, universal commander, sniping and scout focus
- Viktor Kirsanov – Entry Level, focus on close range combat
- Ioannis Sanna – Advanced, focus on mobility, active scouting, sniping and fire (burning damage and flame protection)
- Fyodor Sokolov – Advanced, universal commander, crew performance focus
- Maximilian König – Advanced, universal commander, crew performance focus
- Rashid Al-Atassi – Advanced, focus on ATGM launchers
- Juan Carlos Miramón – Advanced, focus on active scouting and mobility
- Freja Højbjerg – Advanced, focus on sniping
- Erin O'Connell – Advanced, focus on passive scouting
- Anthony Diaz – Advanced, focus on close range combat
More advanced or specialized commanders can be obtained during special events or sales.
Unlike the commander, crew members cannot be moved around and are tied to the vehicle they were recruited for. The crew also has a progression system - regular crew members can choose from a range of available skills depending on the experience they have gained in combat.
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)
The skills available to each crew member depend on their specialization and reflect the role of that respective crew member - a driver can thus learn a skill allowing him to turn the vehicle slightly faster and the gunner can learn a skill to fire even more accurately. Additionally, basic crew properties improve with experience so a gunner, for example, will become more accurate in time even without selecting special skills
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).
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 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).
The crew members improve the following vehicle characteristics:
- Traverse speed (increases the rate with which the vehicle steers)
- Terrain resistance (reduces the penalty for difficult terrain)
- Aim speed (increases the speed with which the aim circle shrinks)
- Turret traverse speed (increases the speed with which the turret rotates)
- Rate of Fire (increases the amount of rounds fired per minute)
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. 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). Vehicles with Ready Rack have the Ready Rack reload times increased by Loader skills as well.
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 double reloading time bonus compared to a vehicle with a single loader.
Crew progression rate can – apart from purchasing a premium account – be improved by certain commander skills boosters and insignia. 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 as well as certain retrofits.
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
- Battering Ram – increases damage done by ramming
- Off-Road Driving – improves acceleration on off-road terrain
- Spin to Win – improves hull traverse speed
- Sharpshooter – improves overall accuracy
- Do the Twist – improves turret traverse rate
- Quick Draw – improves aim speed
- Preventive Maintenance – improves cannon hitpoints
- Rapid Fire – improves rate of fire
- Preparation – improves ammo swap speed (changing one type of ammunition to another)
- Explosive Shells – improves module damage
- Secured Ammunition – improves ammo rack hitpoints
The crew skills and level bonuses multiply one another. 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