Vehicles in Armored Warfare are manned by crew members. The amount of crew members can vary from as few as two to four or five, depending on the vehicle. The commander is a special member of the crew who is in charge of the other crew members and generally improves their performance.
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. In the Early Access phase, 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.
A commander can improve by gaining experience through combat. For a certain amount of experience gained, the commander will gain a level allowing him to select available skills at that respective level (please note that some levels do not offer a choice, having only one skill available). Players can choose these skills depending on their play style and on what vehicle the commander will be used in. This enables players to customize their commanders to best suit their needs. 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)
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.
Typically, crew members are divided into: drivers, gunners and loaders
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. Unlike the number of skills available, improvement of basic skills is practically unlimited - the longer a player drives his favorite tank, the deadlier the vehicle becomes.
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