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Raptr Corrects My Perceptions – What I Played in 2013 February 4, 2014

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, World of Tanks, World of Warcraft.
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3 comments

As they did last year, Raptr sent me a nice summary of games that it tracked me playing over the past calendar year.  So I now have my gaming summary for 2013.

This is pretty much why I bother to run Raptr.  It quantifies my play time.

The report for 2012 wasn’t a big surprise.  The three games I said I was playing most of the year, Rift, EVE Online, and World of Tanks,  ended up being the top 3 in about the order I expected.  The three together represented 71% of the play time that Raptr tracked for me.

Raptr2012MostPlayed

I wasn’t keen on the circle displays, but the parity between my fantasy and space faring MMO time was pretty even.

For 2013 though, I have to admit that the numbers surprised me a bit.  My guess as to how things might stack up looked something like:

  • EVE Online in the #1 spot, what with the war in Fountain and Delve along with deployments to Curse.
  • Something close to a four-way tie between Rift, World of Tanks, Lord of the Rings Online, and World of Warcraft, each of which I played for about a season in 2013, but none of which I played all year long.
  • Then maybe Neverwinter, War Thunder, and a couple other games that I played in shorter streaks trailing behind

And what did I end up with?  I will put that after the cut in order to develop some moderate level of suspense.  Plus I have a lot (more) dumb graphics in the post that really look like crap and will clutter up the front page.  Go artistic me.

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Reviewing My Goals for 2013 December 6, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Lord of the Rings Online, Rift, World of Tanks, World of Warcraft.
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5 comments

At the beginning of each new year I have a special post.  Sometimes if it predictions.  Some times it is demands.  Back in January I decided it should be goals.

So I wrote out a list of eight goals for 2013, then promptly forgot about them as set out into the year.

2013

Now here we are, into December and we have reached the time to review.  In theory, I could run out and complete at least one of the incomplete goals on my list.  But in reality, it isn’t going to happen.

Each of my eight goals were well within my ability to accomplish.  How many did I manage?

1- Finish Rift

There was a specific definition of “finish” in the goal, since MMOs are pretty difficult beasts to tame otherwise.  And it wasn’t even the whole game I had to finish, just the Storm Legion expansion.  The base game was already finished per my definition.

All I had to do was get a character to the new level cap and finish the five person dungeons with the instance group.  Level cap should have totally obtainable… I had four characters at the old cap, one in each base class… and we were starting in on the first instance back at the start of January.  I figured this was a gimme.

No, not Azeroth!

Um, about that…

And then I had problems getting into Storm Legion.  That dragged.  I wandered off, then came back and gave it another shot and made it a bit further.  But on entering Seratos I lost all momentum and that was that.

Meanwhile, the instance group had problems even getting online at the same time.  We didn’t actually finish the first instance until the end of June.

So that goal was pretty much a bust and Rift lies fallow for me even now.  The group as a whole hasn’t been back since we poked our collective noses in to see how the F2P transition went.

Goal not achieved.

2- Find a new goal in EVE

This isn’t looking good either.  I had some idea about what I could do.  I even trained up some skills.  But here it is December and I am still playing about the same way I was back in January.  I wait for a fleet op to get called, I log in, join the fleet, and go shoot things.  Or fail to shoot things.  My role is still pretty much that of “aligner to whatever, presser of F1, and clicker of PAP links.”

Not that I don’t enjoy that.  I still goggle at large fleet battles.  It is my place in the game for now.  But it isn’t anything new.

I did train up to fly a carrier.  I even purchased an Archon.

First successful jump

My first successful Archon jump

But flying a new ships is a constant and flowing thing in EVE Online.  But unless you have a plan for what you are going to do with that ship once you have it, it isn’t the kind of goal I meant.  And I haven’t done anything with the Archon since I bought it.

Goal not achieved.

3- Get to Tier IX in World of Tanks

Another goal I though would be a gimme.  At the time I was closing in on a tier VIII tank and I was driving the KV-4 by mid-April, leaving me a good 8 months to make my goal.

Maus in the background

KV-4 with a Maus

And then I stopped playing World of Tanks around the beginning of May and I haven’t really been back since.

That is the way it goes with video games sometimes.

Goal not achieved.

4- Finish that Second Instance Group Video

This was to follow up the first instance group video I did, which reviewed our first year as a group in Azeroth.  You can read my post about it, which includes the video and the whole director’s commentary.  It included music performed by Earl and his musical friends.

I did actually start on this.  I had decided that the second video ought to focus on our run through Wrath of the Lich King, which was arguably our peak in the game up to this time.  We ran all the instances and had some adventures in the open world, so it seemed like good enough topic.  I even went through the screen shots from the period and started pulling out and cropping potential candidates.  I got about half way through that.

And then I got hung up on the music.  I mentioned that in writing the original goal, that the music is an important part of the process for me.

I really need something to make the whole thing come together.  At one point I was leaning towards ELO’s Don’t Bring Me Down, which I thought had the right ironic tone for the assault on Northrend, plus is a good tune.  But I never quite got there. Then I got a bit twitchy about music after I ran into some trouble with one of my videos.

I understand the the holders of the rights to the music are entitled to profit from them.  They claim the rights on YouTube, slap ads on them, and collect a bit of revenue.  I am fine with that.  But for one of my favorite videos, the horrible slog through time dilation to the battle at Q1U-UI, the rights holder insisted I remove the music.  Apparently the reputation of the song Theme from a Summer Place, the most stereotypical elevator music ever, was being harmed by association with internet spaceships or something.  Perhaps EVE was too exciting for it.  I don’t know.  But Google muted the audio until I clicked the button and let them remove the music from the audio track.

Google did a surprisingly good job at that, but now the video lacks much of its charm.  It is just a bunch of slow spaceships with people laughing about how slow they are going.

Anyway, this made me a bit leery of doing anything else with musical tracks I happened to have in iTunes.  Maybe I can get Earl and his group to record a version of Don’t Bring Me Down.

And then I got distracted with other things, the instance group was having trouble forming up, and I never quite got back to it.

It remains on my “to do” list, and now that we have actually done the last three instances in the expansion, maybe I will get back to it.  But I still have the music thing to deal with.

Goal not achieved.

5- Retry an MMO That Didn’t Stick

Complete and utter failure on this one, at least for the definition I gave.  I put out a potential list with titles such as Vanguard, Dungeons & Dragons Online, Star Trek Online, Runes of Magic, Warhammer Online, Star Wars: The Old Republic, and Pirates of the Burning Sea.

And I did not go back and play a single one of them.

I did try to log into Warhammer Online, but only after they announce it was going to close, and only for nostalgia tour reasons even then.

I did approve of their stance on elves...

Time to get stuck in…

And I failed at that, as I could not coax Warhammer Online into letting my log into the game.

Goal not achieved.

6- Scout for the Next Instance Group Game

This was just vague enough that I can claim to have done it.  Potshot was really the leader of the scouting expedition in 2013, leading the way into things like Neverwinter Nights 2 and Neverwinter.  Some sort of theme going on there.

With Commander Tann at Fort Locke

With Commander Tann at Fort Locke

But for me to really lay claim to achieving this goal, I think I would have had to scout a game that we actually ended up playing.

Which I did.

I stepped foot into what would become our next game.  I lead the way.  I was there first.

It just happened to be a game we were already invested in, World of Warcraft.  So I am pretty sure the group’s move back there had more to do with our investment in the game, and the BlizzCon announcements, than anything I did.

Goal not achieved.

7- Book My Autumn Nostalgia Tour Early

I think I managed this one.  Every autumn I, usually accompanied by Gaff or Potshot, end up going back and playing some MMO from the past.  This year I managed to this twice.

For the really early nostalgia tour, Gaff and I and our EVE corp went off to Middle-earth and indulged in a summer of Lord of the Rings Online.

Always the same tale

Always the same tale

Then, when that was wrapping up… I was on the far side of Moria and the rest of the corp had wandered off… my daughter wanted to go back and play World of Warcraft.  So that was declared the Fall nostalgia run… for specific definitions of nostalgia in any case.

Riding to Adventure!

Riding to Adventure!

That ended up turning into the destination for the instance group, so it became more current and less nostalgia.  Still, I think I managed this one.

Goal achieved.

8- Blog Stuff

My goal here was pretty much to stay the course… which isn’t really much of a goal.  It is like riding a bicycle and making your goal “continue to pedal.”  334 posts later, I think we can confirm that I managed to carry on as always.

Goal achieved.

Scoring

So that was a meager eight goals, out of which I managed to achieve two.

And the two that I achieved were vague targets to do what I expected I would do in any case.  That certainly doesn’t reflect well on my ability to define a goal and achieve it.

I think that for my 2014 New Year’s post I am going to go back to predictions.  Those are more fun to discuss… I cannot resist throwing in some silly or outrageous ones… and more fun to review at the end of the year.  So look for that come January 1st.

NBI – To All The Guilds I’ve Loved Before… October 22, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, EverQuest, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, TorilMUD, Warhammer Online, World of Tanks, World of Warcraft.
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6 comments

Doone’s Permanent Floating New Blogger Initiative II has been up and running for a while now.  It has forums and goals and things to do and participants and all that.

Not the official logo

Not the official logo

And while I signed up as some sort of sponsor, I have so far completely failed to anything very sponsorly.

Of course, I was a bit glib the first time around as well.  In part that is because I have trouble swallowing some of the advice people throw out for bloggers.  And, also, because I have trouble taking myself seriously in this regard.  So while I came up with some bits and pieces of things that worked for me, my only real advice is to be the blog you want to read.  If you look at your blog and cannot answer the question, “Would I read this if it was written by some stranger?” then you might be doing it wrong.

Anyway, I thought it was about time to earn my so-called keep as a sponsor .  Doone has a couple of blogging activities for the month, including something called a “Talk Back Challenge” that appears to be an attempt get a few people tackling the same subject.  One of them happens to be about Guilds in MMOs.

Guilds: What For? What functions to guilds serve in games and what kind do you prefer? You can talk about your experiences in guilds, what attracts you to them, and their role in the games you play.

A broad enough topic, which has been taken on over at Casual Aggro, The Cynic Dialogs, and Away From Game.  And now at Inventory Full.

Rather than going about this by describing what I think guilds should be about and such, I thought I would do a bit of research to see what guilds I am still in (or which still influence me since I have left) and try, from that, to derive some indication as to what a guild appears to actually mean to me.

Because this is just a list of guilds with a few comments, I will hide this after a cut so as not to make the front page a mile long.

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Further Mutterings about MMO Revenue Models May 15, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, Need for Speed World, Rift, Star Wars: The Old Republic, World of Tanks, World of Warcraft.
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20 comments

A few years back, at the height of the housing boom, we decided to move.  We listed our house at the market price for our neighborhood, and the first day on the market we got an offer for roughly 60% of what we were asking.  Somebody sensed, as we all were beginning to at that point, that the bubble was going to burst soon, and wanted to know if we were desperate.

We were not, and actually sold the house for what we were asking a couple weeks later.  But there was no possibility that we were going to come to an arrangement with the person who made that first offer.  Their offer was so insultingly low that it made it completely unlikely to be able to negotiate any deal at all.

We have a garage sale at least once a year.  Often we have two, one in the spring and one in the fall.  Just the process of finding stuff to sell helps us keep the house clear of clutter, so that our home, with the exception of my office and my daughter’s room, feels clean, open, and spacious.

We tend to put out all manner of things on the driveway for sale.  I often have a pile of books that have made it into the category of “won’t read again” out on a table.  At one garage sale I had done a big purge and had 40+ paperbacks lined up, with the asking price was 25 cents each.  Cheap enough that anybody with an interest would pick them up, and it wouldn’t kill me if I decided to give a couple away to any kid who looked like they wanted to read one.  And, as always, quantity discounts are available.

A woman, who rolled up in an expensive car, offered me a dollar for all of the books, and then started gathering them up like it was a done deal.  A dollar turned out to be exactly the right price to start a fight.

In the cold logic of hindsight, it was just an offer I could freely reject.

In the reality and emotion of the moment, it was insulting.  I started with “no” and worked my way up to using them for kindling before I would sell her one at full cover price.  Her offer stayed at a dollar throughout, leavened with sneers and insults.  But we could have stopped after our first pass through offer and rejection, as no deal was possible after that point.  I cannot imagine she thought her negotiation technique was going to be effective.  It is always interesting to meet people who are worse at interpersonal relationships than I am.

What did those two little stories have to do with anything?  We’ll get to that.  First, a foundation of words needs to be built.

With the announcement that Rift is moving from the once traditional monthly subscription model to a cash shop driven free to play model, there have been the usual range of reactions, from feelings that no good will come of this to expressions of joy at the demise of yet another monthly subscription barrier to entry.  Some people really hate the subscription idea.

My own response is somewhere in between.

Good things will come of this change.  I know that.

More people will play Rift.  It won’t make it suddenly popular with people who wouldn’t play a fantasy MMORPG in the first place.  But people who wouldn’t otherwise commit to $15 a month will want to play.

An annoying amount of words, and some irrelevant pictures, after the cut:

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Half Price Garage Slots Just Enable My Problem May 1, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Tanks.
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10 comments

I was pretty much set.  I was working up a few different branches on various national trees.  I was rotating through the ARL-44, the Jagpanther, and the KV-4, slowly accumulating the experience necessary to advance to the next tier on each.

All three of those tanks are now fully upgraded.  It is just a matter of playing my way forward until I hit the next tier.  I just have to focus.

Wait.

What is that?

Garage slots are half price?

I had better buy a few of those, just to have them.  I will need them eventually, right?

Then, of course, after my requisite daily first wins, I start poking through the tech trees, just to look.  And eventually I am driving around in this.

M37 on the field

M37 on the field

The M37 self-propelled gun.

How did I get there?  More after the break.

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April in Review April 30, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, EVE Online, Month in Review, Need for Speed World, Rift, World of Tanks.
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7 comments

The Site

A Google moment turned April into a record setting month for the blog pretty much out of the gate.  My quick coverage of April Fools at Blizzard for this year managed to get on the first page of results for a number of salient searches and… well… sent a lot of traffic this way.

Page Views Gone Wild

Page Views Gone Wild

The previous record was actually set last April, though that was driven by links to my Burn Jita posts.  This year, Burn Jita wasn’t a hot topic and page views were about at the average-ish line across the event.

If you look at the gap between the dark bar, which is unique visits, and the light bar, which is total page views, it seems like people actually stopped to look at the links I had in the post, which included the past few years of April Fools.  The “Most Viewed Posts” section below bears this out.

Upon seeing the sudden spike in traffic, I tried to incorporate as many links out to other blogs as I could in order to “share the wealth” such that is was.  So a few other blogs got some traffic out of this.

April 1st and 2nd were about equal the whole month of February, which was when the impact of the Google image search changes showed up.

The downside of such a moment of Google fame is that the traffic is not very… sticky.  I would be happy if out of all those people, one or two returned and left a comment now and again.  And, of course, those two days will now skew the default graph on the stats page for a full month.  Plus I keep looking at those two bars and feel like I should be reminded of some historical moment.

Never Forget... something...

Never Forget… something…

As with the big dip in page views in February, the big spike this month is essentially meaningless in the big picture. I like to try and figure out why these things happen, and they make the part of me that enjoys statistics thrill.  But it isn’t like I get paid for page views.

And, of course, I bet Google is going to kill off some more page views come July when they kill off Google Reader.

I haven’t switched to a replacement yet.  I am waiting for the other providers to accommodate the surge before I move.

One Year Ago

Last April set a daily page view record.  What is it about April?  I know you are going to say “April Fools,” but the record was actually set because of the Burn Jita event.

Yeah, the Burn Jita event.  It made for my most popular YouTube video ever.  And it lead right into Hulkageddon V and its OTEC connection.

Elsewhere in EVE, the LEGO Rifter got 10K votes, the War in the North seemed to be winding down with RAZOR back in Tenal and six fleets stalking Venal. Raiden managed to lose a bunch of sovereignty, by accident, which finished that up.  All that was left was to say we didn’t want that region anyways.  We also made conga lines, experience time dilation, and followed DBRB through high sec to kill some super caps.  And Seleene became the chairman of the Galactic Student Council.

I was also syndicated occasionally on EVE News 24.  I don’t think I got paid for all of that.

I also made a list of small features I wanted other MMOs to copy.

Lord of the Rings Online hit the five year mark.

Potshot and I were wandering around EverQuest again, looking for lost dungeons.  We were not buying any $25 bags though.

In Rift, the instance group was driven out of King’s Breach.  But Trion added in fishing, so we could do that instead.

And it was April Fools at Blizzard.

Five Years Ago

I made up something for April Fool’s Day.  I thought it was amusing.

Lord of the Rings Online celebrated a year of being live.  Book 13 introduced, among other things, fishing.  And my video problems with the game proved to be a bad video card, so I was actually able to get into the game.

Computer Gaming World/Games For Windows magazine ceased publishing as part of the ongoing demise of print media.

In EVE Online I made the big move from Caldari to Amarr space.  I also began producing Badger transports for fun and profit.  CCP introduced the whole Council of Stellar Management thing, which I dubbed The Galactic Student Council.  My opinion on it hasn’t changed much since.

Meanwhile in WoW one million people in China logged into WoW at the same time.  There is still no report on what would happen if they all pressed the space bar at the same time.  While that was going on, the instance group finished up the Slave Pens and the Underbog and began the long struggle with the Mana Tombs.

I was looking around for Tetris on the Nintendo DS.  You would think that would be easy, right?

And then it was Tipa’s turn to bang the EverQuest nostalgia drum, so I joined in yet again.

New Linking Sites

The following blogs have linked this site in their blogroll, for which they have my thanks.

Please take a moment to visit them in return.

Most Viewed Posts in April

Per the top of the post, April Fools at Blizzard dominates the list this month.

  1. April Fools at Blizzard – 2013
  2. April Fools at Blizzard – 2012
  3. Blizzard Blindsided by Diablo III Auction House Popularity
  4. Running Civilization II on Windows 7 64-bit
  5. April Fools at Blizzard – 2011
  6. WoW Dance Battle System!
  7. Ignore Burn Jita? Is That Your Plan?
  8. April Fools at Blizzard – 2010
  9. Burn Jita Held Over for an Extended Run
  10. Age of Empires II – HD Edition, That’s What I’m Talking About
  11. What is it with Me and Storm Legion?
  12. Camelot Unchained Kickstarter Unleashed!

Search Terms of the Month

animal jam: non fair membership abilities
[Welcome to free to play]

trion merge with blizzard
[Heh, copy Blizz, yes, merge with Blizz…]

brothers in arms or camo for arty?
[Camo]

world of warcraft bdr g1b good 4 money
[A BDR G1B would rule in WoW… in WoT, not so much]

Spam Comment of the Month

Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation;
[From a spam comment linking to “genuine” Prada items]

EVE Online

A quiet month in New Eden for me.  Burn Jita was an exercise in precise, clinical destruction.  The fleet ops I went on all ended up with no action for me.  I made some money speculating on ice products.  A rumor went around before FanFest about ice changes, so I bought up half a billion ISK worth in Amarr and relisted it for double what I paid.  That sat until the announcement at FanFest, and which point it sold.  Easy money.  And then the price dropped back down.

Oh, yeah, and CSM8 elections.  Congratulations to the winners, which includes Jester, who will now have to suffer the fate of getting exactly what he asked for.

Need for Speed World

I have actually played this game every single day this year.  I log on, I do the gem hunt, I log off.  Elapsed time for each session is generally under 10 minutes.  It was part of my plan to see what sort of rewards you would get for the daily hunt as time went along.  I thought I would be done at that point.  But then they added achievements.  And for just another hundred or so gem hunts in a row, you get a special car.  So I am in for the long haul on that.

Rift

After sulking about Storm Legion for quite a while, I actually pressed on into it with a recommended solo build for my warrior.  It is okay.  Will I press on and finish though?  Meanwhile, the instance group… has failed to show up consistently since the beginning of the year.  So we still have yet to finish the first Storm Legion instance, Exodus of the Storm Queen.

World of Tanks

I continue working with my KV-4.  Tier 8 in a heavy has turned out to be pretty fun.  I do dread those matches with three or four SPGs on a side though.  You cannot hide under cover forever, and getting caught in the open is murder.

Coming Up

We will know how the Camelot Unchained Kickstarter saga ends in a couple days.  Success will mean City State Entertainment getting to work.  Failure will mean… well, we shall see what it means.

I have a blog anniversary coming up… for another blog.  But I am going to write about it here because nobody reads that blog.  Though, to be fair, it is all about pictures instead of words.

Neverwinter is going to show up.  I think it is open beta or pre-release or taking money from the general public as of today even.  I have been averting my gaze from it so as not to spoil anything in advance.  The call of Forgotten Realms will probably ensure that I will download that at some point, but I won’t be in for the day one rush.

Maybe… just maybe… the instance group will do Exodus of the Storm Queen this month.

Weighty Matters and the KV-4 April 23, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Tanks.
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5 comments

I did not spend too much time tanking this past weekend, and when I did, I was focused on the KV-4.  Thanks to it being a double crew experience weekend I managed to get all of the crew, save that one lagging loader, into their second skill/perk.

On the advice of many, I went with Sixth Sense for his first perk.  I have found that perk useful when running tank destroyers and scouts, but I remain a bit dubious about how useful it will be overall with the house sized KV-4.  I think the biggest surprise with the skill is not how often I get spotted, which is always, but how often I apparently  fall out of sight only to get spotted once again.  I see that orange light bulb more often than I thought I would.

One of the things the KV-4 has done for me is allow me to be a bit more of a “tank tourist,” so to speak.  It is the first tank I have had that gets me into tier X battles.  So I have gotten to see some of the biggest tanks in the game, like the Maus.

Maus in the background

Maus in the background

Of course, being a tier VIII tank in a battle that includes three… Mauses…  Mausi…  Mäusen… whatever… and an E-100 means that my potential contributions  were somewhat limited.  I managed to bounce some shells off of the Maus on the other side… I knew it was a futile front shot, but I wanted to be able to say I have been there… but was otherwise mostly bait to distract the other team.

I also decided to spend the experience and the credits and go for the upgraded turret on the KV-4.

On the plus side, the new turret increases my view range by another 20m and beefs up the armor on the sides and rear of the turret.  All good things.

On the down side, it is even bigger than the old turret, adding nearly 9,000 kg to the weight, adding a noticeable burden on the already struggling KV-4 engine… going up those hills on the Westfield map is painful… and it has a non-functional mini-turret on top which is purportedly a weak spot that everybody and their dog knows to shoot at.

The offending mini-turret

The offending mini-turret

So I have been debating as to whether or not to stick with the upgraded turret.  Doing so will clearly mean getting the engine upgrade as well as… slow tank is very slow.

But otherwise, I am enjoying the KV-4… which is a good thing, because it is still a long way to the ST-I.  When it is the top tank in a match, it can shrug off a surprising number of hits.  I zig-zagged up to a Jagpanther in one match, bouncing his shots by staying angled while pounding him.

I just have to stay out from under the rain of artillery.  Ending up in a match with 4 SPGs on a side generally means a lot of pain if I am not very careful.

Oh, and don’t forget to change your password to pick up 300 gold.

The Sign on the Seaport Map April 18, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Tanks.
3 comments

I only just noticed tonight what the big sign on the building said on the Seaport map in World of Tanks.  I seem to be on the other side of the map most of the time.

In game advertising of a sort

In game advertising of a sort

I actually backed up my Type 59 on the bridge in the middle of a battle to get a shot of it.

Also, I was experimenting with depth of field trying to get a diorama effect in the shot, but I am not sure it came out as well as I wanted.  I think my tank was too small in the frame to really express that.

World of Tanks Anniversary – Crazy Battles and Comic Guns April 16, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Tanks, YouTube.
Tags: , ,
7 comments

The World of Tanks second anniversary event is now in the past.  And what an event it was.

When Wargaming.net offers 5x experience for first victories, people come out of the woodwork.  I thought I saw them tweet at one point that they set the concurrency record for the North American server, going beyond 40K simultaneous users.

And so the cast of regulars was joined by old vets and new blood all mixed together by the evil match maker into some battles of epic comedy.  I was in a lot of battles that ended with lopsided, 15 kills to 2 style results.  The only good thing was that I seemed to be on the winning side as often as the losing.

Not that they were all like that.  There were some epic, down to the wire, last two players standing finishes.  But overall, the theme seemed to be “bloodbaths.”

I took advantage of the 30% discount on tier VIII tanks to finally buy the KV-4 I have been primed to get for a while now.

Brand New KV-4

Brand New KV-4

A lot of the gear you train for on the KV-3 applies to the KV-4, so I was not driving it totally stock.  I had the radio fully upgraded and was able to mount the big gun from the KV-3.  However, the really big gun requires 44K of experience to unlock, more than I had sitting around.  So I had to head out of the barn with what I could train.

I also retrained my KV-2 crew and for the KV-4, having trained them up to ~95% towards their first skill/perk.

Equipment was on sale as well, marked down to half price, so I took the opportunity to purchase gun rammers and binocular periscopes and camo nets for a number of vehicles, including the KV-4, so I could avoid having to search and swap as much in the future.

My first outing with the KV-4 went pretty well.  A victory.  And I survived.  And I even got a mastery badge.

First Battle in the KV-4

First Battle in the KV-4

And, of course, the Steel Wall badge.  I expect I will see a bunch of those going forward.  When the KV-4 is at the top of the heap and I can position it right, it can bounce a lot of hits.

I found myself repeatedly tracked in one battle on the Airfield map, where I had take the route through the water between the two bases.  A Tiger and a Jagpanther were both under cover and pelting me.  However, I was angled just right, so aside from the track hits, they were doing almost no damage.  A dozen hits in and I was at 98% health.

That was another of those lopsided battles, and while I held the beach, stuck there in a sniping duel, the rest of the team went up the middle and eventually flanked my two opponents.  I was able to wander to within spitting distance of the cap before they hunted down the last guy.  Another Steel Wall badge.

By the end of the weekend I had finally accumulated enough experience to get the big gun upgrade on the KV-4, the 107mm ZiS-24.  The barrel for that gun may be my most comically over-sized yet.

Is that a ZiS-24 or are you fibbing again?

Is that a ZiS-24 or are you fibbing again?

Again, in the company I keep, it looks really long.

Want to compare barrel lengths? C'mon!

Want to compare barrel lengths? C’mon!

So far I am doing okay with my latest big tank.  It is a long grind to the next tank, my tier IX goal, and the ST-I.  I think I will finish upgrading the KV-4, getting the upgraded turret for the extra armor, though that will require the suspension upgrade as well.  And then the engine.  This thing needs a bigger engine.

It wasn’t all heavy tanks.  Saturday night saw the instance group reduced to just Potshot and I, so we went the tanks route for the evening.  That kept us at tier V and below for the most part.  We got out the BDR’s and ended up in a semi-comic slaughter at the beach resort on the South Coast map facing off against two more BDRs.  If that T-34 hadn’t shown up to help them, they would have been ours.

We also tried out the Luchs, newly upgraded to a tier IV light tank and now not in a dead-end branch of the German tree.  I tried out the new 3cm auto cannon that is available for it.

Luchs with the 3cm gun

Luchs with the 3cm gun

It is fun if you can circle around and get behind people, though you have to get in close as the accuracy is very bad.  I managed to circle around and take out one serious opponent before over extending and getting blown up.  That isn’t really my play style and I later opted for the new, top end 5cm gun.

Probably the most amusing match of the weekend saw my in a Cruiser Mk. IV, which represented the extent of my UK tank experimentation, and Potshot in his PzKpfw III Ausf. A on the Karelia map.  The match lineup included 8 of those Panzer I Ausf. C light tanks that featured in the video I posted on Sunday.  There were four on each side, and everybody headed for the hill… it is always a race to the hill… where a bloodbath ensued.  Watch the video.

(direct link to video)

It is available in larger sizes and quality up to 720p, and you can certainly pick out more detail viewing it in a larger format at highest quality than my blog can provide.

You get a sense of the comic amount of shells those little guys can spit out as they tear up the ground and each other.  You can also see that arty was having a go at us, as the sides both had three SPGs each.  Somehow I managed to survive that melee and was able to move on until I got a surprise of my own.

It was after that battle I decided I needed to turn my graphics settings down a notch or two.  I had everything cranked up to high, but I was starting to lag and get low FPS with that many tanks firing around me.  It became especially noticeable when I was getting hit.  It might be time to look into an upgrade for the GTS 450.

In the end I did not play as much as I thought I might.  Sunday saw me with a craving for something more slow paced, and I ended up playing more Civilization V than tanks. (I still haven’t found my Civ II disk.)  But all in all, it was good fun and I managed to stock up on equipment at lower prices.  Like Mrrx, I got almost every tank out of the barn and onto the field for at least one 5x win.

Now I have about 7 months left to make it to my end of year goal, driving a tier IX tank.

Pesky Panzer I Ausf. Cs Attack April 14, 2013

Posted by Wilhelm Arcturus in entertainment, World of Tanks, YouTube.
Tags: ,
4 comments

The Panzer I Ausf. C was introduced as part of the German light tank tree re-org, which also saw the Luchs pushed up a tier and given some new options. (That 3cm auto cannon is murder… but the nearly 20 second reload time is painful.)

These little beasties seem to have become something of the piranha platoon tank of choice.  I haven’t played much below tier VI of late, but last night Potshot were down in tier V and below and these things were all over the place.

At one point we were out in the Arctic Region map and a pair of them took a run at my Hetzer in what turned out to be a less than optimum attack.

(Direct link to video)

The first guy roars past but does not do much damage.  He attempts to circle around the rock failing to notice the big pit on the other side.  His pal catches me in the rear and flank and does do a lot of damage.  But he slows down and gets popped by a team member pretty quickly. (You can see tracer rounds from the team mate early in the video flying past me.)  Then I try to crush the first guy, who avoids my bulk.  But a 75mm round into him finishes him off.

The video is available at up to 720p.  In larger format you can see the first driver comment, “epic fail!”