Wargaming's PVP game shows little sign of losing popularity - and recent graphics upgrades mean it's looking better than ever. For a new player though it's a steep learning curve, and can lead to many frustrating hours of getting inexplicably blown up by invisible enemies, or smashed into oblivion by visible ones.
The very first thing a new player needs to know is that the real game doesn't start until you reach Tier V. Tiers I to IV are wasteground of madness, with terribad people suiciding into the enemy or trying to penetrate some seal clubber in a T-127 from the front with an autocannon.
These lower tiers are dominated by said seal clubbers, often in a platoon with their pervert friends, or just by blind luck. If you are fortunate enough to learn anything at the bottom tiers - great, but otherwise be philosophical and get to Tier V as quickly as possible.
So, which tech tree to choose for your first Tier V? Currently, most good players would tell a newbie to go through the Russian line that leads to the KV1. This is because it will lead you to the IS3 at Tier 8, which remains the single most viable and forgiving of noobs Tier 8 heavy in the game.
However, if you to learn by a harder route, but one that will teach you how to play in way that doesn't consist of approaching the enemy head on, consider the British Medium line that leads to the Cromwell at Tier VI, or the American Tank Destroyer line that leads to the T67 at Tier V. Both of these vehicles have the mobility to make you think about maps and how to deal with enemies without getting into simple Hit Point exchanges.
Which leads us to the next point. There's no respawn in WoT. If you're dead, you stay dead for that match. Like most PvP games, WoT is driven by maths. If you hit player DeadNoob1 for 123 HP, but he hits you for 187 HP, then this is a bad exchange for you. Learn reload times of tanks you might face. If DeadNoob1 has an 8 second reload, and you have a 4 second reload, you can turn this bad exchange into a good one, hitting him for another 119 HP before he's reloaded.
Careful though - how many Hit Points does he have? Do the maths - and quickly. Where are is the rest of his of team? It's no good winning a one on one only to have DeadNoob2 come and blow you up from behind. Think: Can I win this fight? Is it worth winning? Do I have support? Does he have support? An advancing lone tank in WoT is usually a dead tank very quickly.
Learn where to hit people. The 3D models on http://tanks.gg/wot/ are excellent for this. Don't be the player who bounces off an O-I and gets an HE shell in the face.
Look at the teams at the start of the game. They have a more heavies than you? You must have more mediums then. Support the medium tank attack. You can always outspot heavies later in the game. You have a lot Tank Destroyers? Then it's likely to be a campier game. You are playing a light tank? Is there a good place to spot in the early game? If not, keep your Hit Points. Many light tank players don't realise the value of their vehicles in the mid to late game, when spotting and rushing that camping Tank Destroyer who is five kills up becomes vital.
Learn view ranges and camo values. If you can outspot someone, you can shoot them. Or the rest of your team can. Don't always pull the trigger if you have someone spotted - you'll still get Experience if your team hit what you've revealed. Pulling the trigger will most likely get you spotted and destroyed if you're close to the enemy and hiding in a bush.
But you can play smart and at least lower the chances of being hit by the sky cancer. The first thing a good player will do on entering a game is to look at the enemy team composition for arty. No arty? Happy days. Arty? Think about where you are going to move - is it arty safe? If no, then keep moving. A static tank is like a big juicy armoured steak to an arty player. Spotted? Get unspotted. If you get it right, you'll have the delight of slaughtering that "arty pig" at the end of the game. Or being shotgunned by him.
And be careful out there - remember, they are armed.