Friday, 1 March 2013

More Fun with Tanks

I've been slowly changing the tanks in my garage. When I last mentioned World of Tanks, I'd just bought the AMX-38 because it was on sale, and spurred on by the fact that it kept killing my tier two tanks when I met it. But since then, I haven't met a single AMX-38 in a tier II or III battle. I'n not surprised. Probably everybody who bought one has since sold it. They're rubbish when picking on somebody their own size. I sold mine. I suppose I could have got an AMX-40 instead, but I didn't. Instead, I fell for wargaming.net's next sale item, the Valentine, which of course was on sale for Valentine's day. I quite liked it, a solid enough tank, with a reasonable gun. I played it quite a bit, but in the end, I didn't love it as much as I love the Hetzer.

Envy was the reason I got the Hetzer. Every time I met it in battle, I'd found it impervious to my shots, and it could kill me as if it were swatting a fly. And it has lived up to its reputation. I love it. But against higher tier tanks, as I noted, I have to carry a couple of expensive premium shells (2800 credits per HEAT shell, compared to 60 credits for normal AP shells) if I need to be sure of damaging them. When I'm in a life or death battle with a tier 5 tank, I load a HEAT shell and pray he doesn't kill me before it's ready.

Not against KV-1s, though. I never use premium shells against them. They just bounce off the Russian KV-1, as if they were tennis balls. When I see one of these monsters, I "run away, little girl, run away". Wilhelm Arcturus had the same experience in his French B1. Just as envy brought me to the Hetzer, the little green monster has been whispering to me "you should get a KV-1". This is why my garage is not still populated with tier I and II tanks. Envy is leading me upward. I don't know why I give in, because I know that there's a tier VI tank out there that will make mincemeat of the KV-1, and will in turn be eaten alive by some other tank. I know this intellectually. But my lizard brain tells me "Get a KV-1. I want a KV-1".

I held out against the lizard. You see, I've already got eight tanks I like in my garage, and I've no space for more. There was no tank I wanted to get rid of to make room for the climb to the KV-1. That was, until last weekend's special offer: half price garage slots.

Until now, I've been a freeloader in World of Tanks, playing for free, happy to accept my role as target practice for paying accounts (not many of them in tier II battles anyway). I've never minded not having gold tanks, and as I can get premium ammo with in-game credits rather than gold, I've the same opportunity to use them as everyone else. And I don't need a premium account for the extra XP, since I've never minded "levelling" slowly. But two things I need are more garage space, and more barracks space; and they are only available for gold (and gold is not available in-game). But when I saw last week's offer of half price garage slots, I couldn't resist it, and bought 5500 gold for €19.95. Then I bought two garage slots. One for the KV-1 (and its predecessors) and one spare (eventually for my StuG-III)

Then I started working my way up the Soviet tree. The MS-1 I already had. In fact it's my most successful tank, after the Hetzer. The next in line was the T-26. I got this as a throwaway tank. It looks and feels just like the Vickers Mk. E Type B which I already have. I paid as few credits as possible to get to the next tank in the tree, the T-46, which then filled my last garage slot. My plan was to level the T-46, then replace the T-26 with the tank after the T-46, the T-28. But once I had researched the T-28, and went to delete the T-26, well I had to fight one last battle with it. And in that battle, I killed five enemy tanks and changed the course of the battle. And that's with a crew who are 50% trained. They must have known their jobs were on the line. So the reaper passed over them as I looked for another tank to sacrifice, cursing myself that I hadn't bought more garage slots while the buying was good.

What about the T-46, then? I could just sell it and press on. But they were in no mood for surrender either, and in a battle in Province, killed 4 tanks and won the match by invading and holding the enemy base alone.

Well, I guess I could look at the rest of my stable. The American T-18 is great fun, but perhaps its time has come. I took it out for a last spin. In Mines, it captured the hill and rained death upon the enemy, until it stood alone against four others. The siren went, and I knew the enemy were in my base, so I came down from the hill and found two reds in the base, at 86% capture. That frontal armour is amazing! Downed both of those, thanks to the fast reload speed of the two-pounder gun (thank goodness I wasn't equipped with the howitzer that day) and then came across a third enemy as I made my way to their base. He left me with 5% health but he died. 

I knew the last enemy was somewhere near his base, because I'd seen him take out the last of my comrades from cover behind rocks. I'd waited to see if I could kill him, but then came the siren and I had to leave him behind. Now I decided to approach from the island, which is the best route for protecting side armour when you get near the base: there are plenty of rocks to provide cover as you motor forward. Fortunately he'd stayed near his base, and was skulking behind some sheds. I poked my nose over the flag circle and started counting down the win. He was in a bad situation. He had to come out or lose the match. As my proximity detector told me he was behind the sheds, I guess his told me where I was, and he deduced that I could tell exactly where he was, so he knew he couldn't surprise me. He'd just have to come out and hit me before I could hit him. He came out. I hit him. He blew up.

That run of good fortune continued all morning. Each tank, when faced with the chop, reminded me just why I loved it. In the end, though, something had to give. And it was the T-26. I reflected that it was just the same as the Vickers in handling; and I had spent the minimum on it just to get past it; and I could easily buy another at any time; and the crew were only at 50% anyway. So the T-26 went out the door, and the T-28 came in.

The T-28 is the last tank before the KV-1. But the research costs of the KV-1 are 13500 XP, plus 1050 XP for prerequisites. That's a lot of battles. So I got the crew trained to 75%, in expectation of being in the T-28 for a long time. But now that I'm in it, I don't really think much of it, and I'm considering using my accumulated free XP to go directly to the KV-1. After all, when will I ever get better use for the free XP? I'll think over it for a few days, and see if I can find something to love in the T-28.

Current tanks:
Hetzer
Vickers Mk. E Type B
Hotchkiss H35
Valentine
PzKpfw 35 (t)
T1E6
T18
MS-1
T-28
T-46

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