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Pilot Orientation: Preparing for the Arena

October 27, 2022
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Welcome to the new Pilot training course! Here you can learn the basics of the Spider Tanks arena.

Spider Tanks is a competitive esport that takes time to master, but players of any skill level can have fun competing as they refine their skill and strategy. Anyone can learn the fundamentals to have some fun on the arena floor right away!

This article is meant to walk you through the basics of Spider Tanks, and touch on the depth of individual strategic approaches Pilots can bring to the arena. Did you even know you were a Pilot?

Once you feel like you’ve mastered everything this course has to offer, check out some of our more advanced training materials to up your game!

Pilot Orientation 2: Knowing the Battlefield

-In this lesson we discuss basic team tactics and the different game modes you’ll encounter in the arena.-

Pilot Orientation 3: Rising Through the Ranks

-In this lesson we tie all your training together into advanced team strategy and discuss how to upgrade your Tank and climb the arena leaderboards.-

Playing to Your Strengths

Any Tank and Weapon combo will have certain things it can do really well and some things it struggles with. Weaknesses are ok — you have a team standing with you. Identifying what your strengths are is the first step towards forming a winning strategy.

First, let’s review how to customize your Tank. Each Tank is made up of several Tank Parts, each of which can be player-owned items.

  • Body
  • Weapon
  • Prop
  • Skin

To round out their build, players also choose two Abilities that all Pilots have access to.

Through the Pilot Program, players can grab a random Body and Weapon to play with. For our purposes here though, let’s assume we’re building a Tank from scratch.

It’s important to note that if you own a Hero Tank like Snoop’s Bumpin’ Lowrider, or the JACKED O’ Lantern, these are package deals that contain both a Body and a matching Weapon. Though each can be used independently, they are designed to complement each other in an excellent prebuilt combo.

Snoop’s Bumpin Lowrider comes complete with the Beat Blaster Weapon. It’s great for knocking your opponents around with the power of pure bass.

Tank Body

The Body of your Tank determines the movement behavior of your Tank, as well as three key statistics:

  • Armor: The amount of damage you can take before your Tank is a pile of rubble
  • Speed: How fast your Tank moves
  • Energy: How fast your Tank gains Energy to use Abilities

Each Body has an assortment of these stats that favor different playstyles. A heavy duty, high-energy Body like Nomad can take more hits and use Abilities more often, but don’t expect to be rolling around the arena in a hurry. A small, agile Body like Flea lets you zip around the battlefield with dizzying speed, but you better be able to translate that into dodging enemy attacks, or you’ll find these lightly armored Tanks are a recipe for a fast respawn.

This tough Titan on the far end of the bridge gets its hands on the flag (it’s a chicken!) and is able to withstand a ridiculous amount of punishment without giving it up to the other team.

Each Body has certain strengths that can help form the foundation of a successful strategy. In a Titan you may not be running people down, but if you can use a Stun Grenade or Relay Drone to get the drop on them, a smaller tank won’t be able to stand up to your bulk in close quarters. Conversely, a smaller Tank like a Scout offers you a chance to position yourself more deliberately and outmaneuver your foes, but you’ll need to invest a lot more effort in dodging incoming attacks to stay alive.

Less Armor doesn’t always mean easier to kill. This super-fast Flea gets in and out with hardly a scratch.

Some Tank Bodies will be easier to get the hang of for you than others. No two players have the exact same strategy, and the best way to figure out what you like to play is to just play! Maybe you’ll discover that you love a quick little murder machine, or you could learn that something with a little slower pace lets you more calmly exact your plans and follow through. The best Tank Body is always the one that plays to its Pilot’s strengths…that’s you!

Tank Weapon

The Weapon that you choose to combine with your Tank Body will have a big impact on how you play. There are tons of Weapons available in Spider Tanks, and they each have their own distinct style. Every Weapon has different firing patterns, rate, range and damage.

The Scout and Flea on the right know their Weapons’ ranges and the range of their opponent. They draw back to dodge the enemy Flea’s Laser Blaster, then use the Crossbow’s superior range to end the standoff.

Each Weapon brings new strengths and weaknesses to the arena. Some weapons like the Shotgun or Flamethrower do massive damage, but have very limited range. The Gatling Gun can throw out huge storms of bullets, but will leave you helpless while it reloads. The Repair Artillery or Repair Gun won’t do much damage to enemies, but will heal your allies.

Many Weapons have totally unique behavior — like the Finisher from the WhaleShark Tank. This Hero Tank Weapon launches torpedoes that swim across the arena, homing in on your opponents before exploding.

This Titan’s Shotgun doesn’t have the range to keep up with the Scout it’s chasing, but a little help from a Relay Drone teleport lets it close in for the kill.

Since every Weapon has its own signature style, the best way to learn what works best for you is to hop into the game and get experimenting! Did you know you can try out every Tank Body and Weapon that exists in the Shooting Range?

Props, Skins and Abilities

Now we get to the bells and whistles. Your Tank is mostly assembled now that you have a Weapon and Body, but those little extra customizations can often be what help you edge out the competition.

First, there are Props and Skins. These are both cosmetic additions to your Tank. They can be player-owned items, and some impart special passive bonuses when worn. Props are an extra feature that your Tank will wear like a hat, and Skins are a total paint job for your Tank– some with intricate patterns.

Even if you don’t own any Skins, there are a few free options available with some sweet cosmetic customization.

There’s a wide array of Props and Skins available, and they’ll often add small but useful bonuses to your stats. This can help cover some of your weaknesses, or it can pump up your strengths.

The Cat Ears are deceivingly cute, and give you a little more feline-like agility.

Last we come to Abilities. These are not player-owned Tank Parts, but instead a wide array of tools and tricks that every Pilot can use on any Tank build. Some abilities will help repair or protect you and allies, some will debilitate or slow down opponents, and some just pack some extra firepower.

The Abilities you choose really help define the nuances of your playstyle.

Each Tank can choose two Abilities. Each Ability has an Energy cost you must pay to use it during a match and every Ability has a cooldown. Otherwise, you’re free to use Abilities as often as you have Energy for them.

Choosing the right Abilities to complement your playstyle is crucial for victory in many matches. Everybody has access to the same pool of Abilities. Watch and learn from how other Pilots use their Abilities, and get in there and try out every combo you can think of!

Ready to Rumble?

You now have the basic knowledge you need to start your rise to glory as a Pilot. There’s a lot more that you’ll need to learn along the way, but the arena itself will be your best teacher.

While we’ve tried to give you the crash course on constructing your Tank here, we haven’t spent much time talking about what makes a great team and a winning strategy.

To dive into that, it’s time to hit part two. Hopefully you already feel a bit more comfortable getting in the driver’s seat and taking your education into your own hands!

Pilot Orientation 2: Knowing the Battlefield

Pilot Orientation 3: Rising Through the Ranks

Spider Tanks

Spider Tanks Official OpenSea Collection

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