Lag, Losses, and Mods

It has sort of becomes a regular item here, the post-weekend World of Tanks summery.  I am a creature of habit.

Of course, it helps if there is something new to write about.  And last week, that seemed to be in question.

I have played shooters in the past and have rarely been anything beyond mediocre on my best days, which means I depend on my team mates for wins.  I am best in support of somebody who knows what they are doing.  So I have had to get used to the random matches where the quality of your team mates can vary greatly.  Sometimes you get a good group and they come together, and sometimes you get… something else.

Last week I was doing poorly in that regard.  One evening I had a 19 loss run.  So went my semi-even win/loss record.  And while that was the low point, wins seemed to be pretty rare for me until the weekend, when I did make up some ground.

A loss streak like that does cast a light on some of the regular characters in the game.

There is the guy who needs to broadcast to all that his noob team sucked.  Just so we all know it wasn’t his fault, though he usually has time to broadcast because he’s already been knocked out.

There is the scout who rushes ahead, spots the whole enemy force just leaving their laager, dies, and then rages about how the arty, which wasn’t even in range, failed.  I think he is related to the guy who runs off on his own, dies, then rages that nobody supported him.

There is the “one true objective” guy with his mantra, “take the hill and win the match.”  I’ve been on teams that have taken the hill and still lost, especially during Himmelsdorf encounter battles.  This actually comes in two flavors, the guy who says it before the match, and the guy who says what we should have done after it is clear we’re losing.

And the one I always appreciate, the dead guy who is watching now you play and telling you that you suck.  This guy can pop up whether you are winning or losing.  I had a guy kibitzing like this the other night.  I was in a position where I was taking long range flanking shots at three of the other team that couldn’t move forward.  A guy starts telling me that I suck, Churchill III is in accurate, I need to push on, blah blah blah.  And, as he said this I made 20+ hits, killed two, and seriously damaged a third bad guy, none of whom could spot me.  To me, this seemed like the perfect use of my time.  Yeah, I didn’t hit with every shot, but the Churchill III’s 6 pounder can make that up with sheer volume of fire.   But this guy continued to rage at me as I did that, then pushed to the cap.  We won, by the way.

I still think the game is fun, and these sorts don’t pop up as often as they might I suppose.  Occasionally there is one very angry guy typing away furiously.  But mostly people play and win or lose without ire.

Still, I wouldn’t join a random team VoIP channel in public matches, if there was one.

And, despite my miserable mid-week record, I did managed to earn enough experience to get into the T-150.  Training from the KV-2, where it was 13K experience, also lit it up on the KV-1, which is now an elite tank for me.  So I got to start off with another new Soviet heavy.

A Fresh T-150

A Fresh T-150

I even had enough experience to get out of the initial gun, a miserable 76mm door knocker, and into the long barreled 85mm, which can do some damage against the opposition.  And I needed it.

Part of my loss streak… or at least my streak of destroyed tanks… was because the T-150 seems to get matched up with a lot of higher tier tanks.  I was frequently at the bottom of the list in a match with mostly tier VIII tanks.

I also seemed to draw assault maps a lot.  After I drew six in a row, always on the attacking side… which is generally the losing side… I turned off assault in the options.

I don’t mind assault really.  They can lead to some very fun matches.  But it is a type of battle that really takes a team, something you do not often get in random public games.  Given my choice, I would do encounter maps all night long.  I like how those maps force both teams into a fight over a single objective.  And, at least everybody knows where to go.

Still, persistence got me the track and turret upgrade so eventually I could mount the 107mm gun on the T-150.

107mm Armed T-150

107mm Armed T-150

The barrel is still long, but it doesn’t look quite as silly as it did on the KV-2.

I also camo’d it up, moved the equipment from the KV-2 over (camo net, binocular periscope) and even bought some consumables.  Somebody linked to the consumables page on the wiki with the terse message “speed governor” in a comment on a completely unrelated post, but I still got the message.

I was a little hesitant to try it, as it comes with a dire warning about engine damage.  But it was cheap, you don’t have to buy a new one every battle, and I was aching for some sort of speed boost.  So I went with it and Lend Lease oil.

T-150Consumables

And, as far as I can tell, it has never caused me harm.  I was afraid my engine would spontaneously combust and leave me a smoking wreck 10 yards from my start point.  But it seems more benign than that. I put one on the Churchill III as well, which lets it keep up with the other heavies.  Sort of.  I am still debating the Lend Lease oil.  That one is 5K credits ever match.  That isn’t enough to put me in the red even after a losing battle, but that does add up over time.

Now that the T-150 is up and going, my time with the KV-2 is diminishing.  But it did get a good send off.  The final battle with it was on everybody’s favorite map, Dragon Ridge, where we have chased a German heavy into a gully.  He was heavily damaged, but was too low to hit.  I pulled close and waited for him to fire.  He missed and I roared forward off the edge of the gully and onto him, crushing him for the kill.  I might have to go back and Fraps that with the battle replay.  I thought it was hilarious.

This weekend I also started tinkering with mods for the game.  Gaff had been talking about an artillery sighting mod that he had tried.  But it was a reticule he linked me that I ended up using.

Dream Target

Dream Target

It conveys all the data you need in a nice package.  I grabbed that one and another one that more accurately displays the direction from which you are being hit so you can match bearings and fire on a reciprocal heading.  That doesn’t work often, but I have managed to flush out a couple of hidden targets by just blazing away in the right direction… usually into the lone pile of cover.

This past weekend was also double crew experience, so I played a bit more than I might have otherwise, attempting to get one Soviet heavy crew to 100% on the first secondary skills.

That last few percent...

That last few percent…

Even at double crew experience, with accelerated crew experience selected, and playing the Churchill III with its experience bonus, that last 10% is quite a hill.  My commander hit 98% eventually.  But it will be a couple dozen more battles before he caps I bet.

I also found out that World of Tanks is an excellent way to tell if my daughter is using her Nook Color to surf the web rather than read as she promised she would.  For reasons I cannot explain, when ever she hits this Warrior Cats forum she frequents, the lag indicator in the game goes red and my ping spikes to 999ms.

Somebody is surfing...

Somebody is surfing…

I cannot prove that her Nook web surfing activity is causing the issue, but the correlation between that and my seeing this issue is extremely high.  So web surfing on the Nook is officially banned when it is time for me to battle.  She can still read on it… which is what she was generally supposed to be doing in the first place… but web is verboten while daddy tanks.

(Also, you can see in that screen shot that a mod I added… I do not remember which… puts the time up next to the Lag indicator, which is nice as the game rather aggressively takes over the LCD display on my Logitech G15 keyboard where I generally leave the time display up.)

And, finally, I did find this article on playing the Soviet T-28 tank pretty amusing in light of my own experiences with the beast.  The only thing worse than dying in a T-28 is dying to a T-28 I guess.

Anyway, the next goal after the T-150 is the KV-3, which will put me in tier VII, and which isn’t really that far away.  I could be there by next weekend, given some effort over the week… and a few less losses.