New Tanker, New Tanks

Saturday night rolled around and we came up one short again.  Jolly was out sick, which left four of us in search of something to do.  Giz was happy enough to work on an alt in Rift while Potshot, Earl and I considered our options.  We could find something to do in Rift.  We could have another evening in Need for Speed World.   And then there was World of Tanks, the current obsession for both Potshot and myself.

I figured we would go back to Need for Speed.  We had great fun there last time and I wasn’t sure if Earl would want to download a new game.  Plus, I had been playing tanks in every spare moment for most of the day, so felt pretty settled on the tank front.

But Earl seemed keen and, living in a place where he gets fiber optic internet connectivity, was able to get World of Tanks downloaded in a pretty reasonable amount of time, which made me a bit jealous.  It took him less time to get the whole game than it generally takes me to download their updates.  That will teach me to live in the barbaric wilds of Silicon Valley.  Rural New York is where connectivity is happening!

Once he was downloaded and had created an account came the first hurdle, getting him in a platoon.  In WoT a platoon is essentially the analog of a group.  (Though, honestly, I might have gone with the cavalry term “troop,” but whatever.)

Potshot and I were already grouped up, but there appears to be some delay from when a new account gets created to when you can find it in the contact search.  We could find quite a few Earls on the list, but Earlthecat was not among them.

We sent him off to his first battle alone, thinking maybe the initial stat reporting would update things.  But it did not.  Eventually I hit upon creating a public chat channel and had him join it, at which point we could see him, add him to our respective contact lists (he had already added us, as he could find us easy enough), and get him in our platoon.

Then it was off for a couple of dismal training rounds.  We all jumped into a tier 1 noob tank and ran off to war.  However, for the first couple of rounds we seemed to get lumped into matches where we were the only tier 1 tanks in a field of tier 2s.  Add in the fact that I started off with the new and completely un-upgraded Chinese tank and things went badly.  We all died quickly, our side lost, our homes were burned down, and our fields were sewn with salt.

But Earl did start to get the basics at least and got enough experience and coin to upgrade his tank a bit.  Eventually Earl and Potshot settled on the French Renault FT, while I opted for my sleeper MS-1.

MS-1 Unleashed!

MS-1 Unleashed!

While I haven’t used it as much as Mrrx, it is fully upgraded, has a 100% trained crew, and has a camo net, a binocular periscope, and the enhanced gun laying drive.

All the better to shoot you quickly

All the better to shoot you quickly

Even with all of that, it still doesn’t hold a candle to my StuG III.  It still feels slow to aim and the aiming circle still feels obnoxiously large at anything but close range.  But I guess you cannot let people make a completely deadly tier 1 tank.  But we drew the Mines map, which I always think of as the original map, but which is a nice one with some open fields of fire and I was able to get five kills and a lot of hits.

And then I got cocky and charged on towards the enemy base in support of another player and we both ended up dead.  Potshot lasted a while longer, but got sucked into the push on the enemy base and destroyed.

Which left Earl as our sole champion.  Both Potshot and I were in ally view mode, essentially watching over his shoulder and giving advice, which I am not sure was all that helpful.  But we sent him back to our base to defend, where he managed to take out one of the remaining opposition players.

Earl on Defense

Earl on Defense

However, he ended up facing a couple of enemies approaching from different directions and was bagged eventually.  Another loss, but a satisfying match this time.  We all got kills.  Heck, I have had tier 1 winning matches where I did not get as much experience.

Defeat, but I did a lot of damage

Defeat, but I did a lot of damage

We had a couple more matches, then ran off to try the private matches, the ones you can set up yourself.  Neither Potshot nor I had ever tried that.  I put Earl and Potshot on one side and me in my sleeper MS-1 on the other and we had at it.  That lead to some amusing fights.

Potshot and I battle on El Halluf

Potshot and I battle on El Halluf

Earl got the hang of laying back and sniping.  After Potshot damaged me heavily in our head on battle, Earl was able to snipe me from a distance despite my return fire.

I see Earl

I see Earl

And so we ended our evening plinking at each other and figuring out how to best use the low level machines.

World of Tanks is now an off-night option for three of us.

And, while on the topic of tanks, I did manage to pick up a new tank of the week last week.  I ground my way through to the AMX 105AM SP gun.

Tier IV Arty

Tier IV Arty

Meanwhile, Potshot has been working on the French heavy line, getting up to the B1.  So our work with the French vehicles continues.