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The Triumph of the French Resistance! January 17, 2013

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

It is looking like World of Tanks week here, isn’t it?  Ah well, I have a different topic set for tomorrow.  But until then, it is still tanks.

And, in this case, it is about Potshot and I and our French tank plan, tentatively referred to as the French Resistance, which began to unfold last night.

After exchanging a few email messages during the day, we managed to get online at the same time and at a reasonable hour.  We go into a platoon, which always takes me a minute to figure out, got the built-in voice working, and got into our respective vehicles.

I, of course, was back in the AMX 40, the tank I moaned about in some detail yesterday.  Thank you to everybody who commented yesterday.  There was a lot of good data in there, along with condolences about my vehicle choice.  With the AMX 40 it is  “La lutte continue” indeed!

Should be printed on the AMX 40 by default

Should be printed on the AMX 40 by default

If I appear to have ignored your advice, it might be because a few of the comments came in after we were already playing.  Or, I might have ignored it.

I did drop the upgraded turret and gun in order to lighten the tank up a bit.  I also loaded up 20 rounds of the APCR ammo for the 47mm gun, at 800 credits a round, so if I did have to break cover and shoot I would have a fair chance of inflicting some damage.

Meanwhile Potshot, after some consideration, opted for the self-propelled gun line on the French tree, which he had also been working on along with the tank destroyer line.  So he was in the tier III Lorraine39 L AM, another one of those SPGs that look like it was made with extra parts at the tank factory.

Of course, that describes a lot of the French tank line as well.

And so we entered our first match as the French Resistance.  And we won.

In fact, we went on to be on the winning side five times in a row before losing one and then winning another, giving us six wins in seven outings.  Victory was ours.

Now the question is, did we do anything to influence those results, or did we just get lucky?

Some of our wins saw us at the top of the heap on the list.

Seeded high

Seeded high

That is a lot of platoons on one side.   But the other side was equally we staffed by platoons.

We also had wins where we were very low on the totem pole as well.

Oh yeah, this is going to be work

Oh yeah, this is going to be work

It was about split on where we stood in the line up.  And that shot above is actually from our one loss, but represents about how things looked when we got tossed in with the tier VI tanks.  That loss happened on an encounter battle on the Sigfried Line map where our side just got swamped.

On the first match I think we actually did make a difference in the battle.   Well, I know Potshot did, as he got his “Ace Tanker” mastery badge on that round.  It was an encounter match on the El Halluf map, which is currently my favorite map/battle combo, and Potshot was dropping shells on everybody.

I got out there and tried doing the passive scout thing that I had read about previously.  I got a decent overwatch on the cap where the push-pull battle tends to develop.  Once the initial round of casualties fell, I started taking shots at reds who exposed themselves with my expensive ammo, a performance that earned me a second class mastery badge.  I was particularly proud of getting a big hit when their arty peeked over a hill to find targets.

As the match built and we wore down the other team, I was close enough in to join the push on the cap so we could force the remainders to come out and defend.

On the cap in El Halluf

On the cap in El Halluf

That did draw the other side out and we were able to chop them up as they came at us one at a time.  I was down at the cap and Potshot was up on the ridge dropping shells on them.

I can see your house from here

I can see your house from here

However, in looking at the match results, while Potshot scored by dropping death on unsuspecting tankers, my own score came mostly from expending 15 of my 20 APCR rounds.  Very little of it came from spotting or hostiles getting hit after I spotted them.  Scouting fail.  Plus the round cost me more in ammo than I earned from it.  Economic fail.  At least I had no repair costs.

And it was a lot of fun, and maybe one of the best matches I have been in for a while.  It was, by no means, one of those matches where you could see who was going to win two minutes into things.  The other side exposing their arty, which got killed off quickly as soon as they were spotted, is what turned the tide for us.

It was a bit difficult to communicate during the battle.  The built-in voice was clear, which we have come to expect from Vivox, who provides the voice software. but “push to talk” does require a bit of effort, even if it just means holding down the Q key.  That might make Skype a better alternative for us.  I think we can stand being always broadcasting, since that is the way we play every Saturday night.

The only problem I could detect with the built-in voice was a pause between when one pressed the Q key and when it would actually start transmitting your voice.  This would lead to the first word in your transmission being cut off unless you hit the key, waited a moment, and then began to speak.

Success lead to success.  By our third match, which was also an encounter battle on El Halluf, I had spent the gold to apply camo paint to the AMX 40 for that extra bit of concealment.  We won again, though I took some hits this time around.

My new paint job, scratched!

My new paint job, scratched!

We also appeared to make a serious impact on the match that time around.

But other times things went on without us.  Or without me.  There was that match on the Abbey map where I was blown up during the clash of scouts in under two minutes probably less than 200 yards from my start point.

All that wine makes for a bright flame

All that wine makes for a bright flame

That first rush leaked through and Potshot got the chop as well.

More flambe!

More flambe!

However, that initial wave hit our main force and got torn apart and, like a failed Zerg rush, left the other side unable to withstand our counter attack.  So I guess it getting in a few good hits, I contributed to victory.  But it was pretty minimal.

We had a similar run on the Dragon Ridge map.  We didn’t die quite that early, but the match was won in the end by other players while our own vehicles were burning wrecks.

So in our six matches, there were probably three where we made a significant impact on the battle… or at least Potshot did… and three where we did not, including the one loss.  And it seems likely that the matchmaker, the over arching source of luck in the game, had more influence than both of us combined.

Anyway, we will continue down this path.  Potshot is on track for the next French SP gun, the AMX 105AM, for which I have built a healthy respect/fear over the course of time.  There is nothing like having a broken track out in the open when one of those is raining down on you.

Meanwhile, the challenge of the AMX 40 is not to be despised.  I am still not playing it right, but I do not appear to be playing it as badly as I started, at least when trying to spot for Potshot.

If the French light line becomes too onerous, I can always swap out to another nation.  And, by the time I get home, that will include China, as the 8.3 patch drops today on the North American server.

Surviving the French Connection January 16, 2013

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

Potshot and I have been making plans to try and coordinate activity in World of Tanks so as to… you know… actually play together.

One of the problems I have with the game is that the lobby interface is so focused on your tanks that I forget to check my friends list to see if anybody is on.

BT-2 in the garage

It is all about the armor

And, for most of the time I am on, I am in a match in any case, where you cannot… to my knowledge… actually check your friends list in any case.

So, for the most part, I play in matches solo, going where ever the match making algorithm sends me.

Potshot and I have played a couple of rounds together, but they have been very uncoordinated affairs in dissimilar tanks attempting to use platoon chat.  I don’t see how people have time to kvetch in chat channels during a match.  I am always too busy.  Unless I am dead.

So we are trying to get on at the same time and get voice coms working to coordinate.    I would like to try the in-game voice option, just to see how it works, but we always have Skype as a backup.

But part of this is also getting on the same page tank-wise.  I have already surged ahead on the German TD and Soviet heavy branches, but there is no plan so complicated that you cannot add another dimension to it.  Potshot had begun exploring the French TD line and was interested in continuing there.  The guns are certainly seem good, even if the vehicles themselves seem a bit flimsy and were designed with a certain Gallic whimsey.

S-35CA Tank Destroyer

Giant gravy boat? Mobile Jacuzzi?

I, in turn, had played a bit of the French light tank branch back when it came out and would like to get to the ELC AMX, a thin skinned but highly concealable race car of a tank that carries a 90mm surprise gun.

So I agreed, we would focus our efforts on the French tank tree.  I would scout, he would lay back under cover and snipe, and perhaps fun would be had.  We would call ourselves The French Resistance or something.

Then it came time to take stock of where I stood on the French light tank branch.  I had gone elite with the initial tank, the Renault FT, and then sold it for the garage slot.  I appeared to have done the same with the Hotchkiss H35, as it was no longer on my list.  The AMX 38 was still there in my garage though.  That was as far as I could bring myself to progress previously.

The AMX 38 is slow, not very well armored, and not especially well armed, which makes if a rather odd duck in its tier.  Its performance was probably the reason I gave up on the branch.  But I appear to have persisted with it long enough to research all its upgrades and the next tank up the branch, making it elite.

Which meant I was able to jump straight to the AMX 40.  Maybe this would be different.

It certainly looks different.

Enter the AMX 40

Enter the AMX 40

The armor is nicely sloped and seems to be pretty thick for a tier IV light tank.  The initial gun isn’t bad.  It still isn’t very fast, but it is faster that the AMX 38.  So I took it out for a match.

And lost, destroyed early on.

And lost again, destroyed.  And again.  And again.

This is a vehicle that clearly requires a special style of play.  And it gets put in something of a rough neighborhood.  It gets thrown into matches with tier VI tanks, and legitimately so.  But that means hiding from KV-1, KV-2, and KV-1S heavies.  The AMX 40 is pretty much a one-shot target for any of those.  I can attest to that personally.

Meanwhile, the initial gun feels out of its depth in that environment.  I had matches where I scored 8 or 10, or 12 solid hits and felt lucky when one actually penetrated and did some damage.  I did have some luck against British tanks.  As I said before, British tin makes for amusing targets.

So this will be a tough one to learn.  And it got worse when I finally was able to upgrade turret and gun.

Fully operational AMX 40

Fully operational AMX 40

I thought being better armed would help, but the weight of the upgraded gun and turret slows the AMX 40 down quite a bit.  So I was left trying to find its role on the battlefield.  I moved over a camo net and a binocular periscope set to try and help it be a stationary scout.  I basically hid in the bushes and hoped I would spot targets for arty and other tanks.  That worked okay, at least until I decided to take a shot for myself.

The upgraded 75mm gun isn’t a killer.  I got a couple of flank shots on a KV-1S in one match and couldn’t even break a track.  My one bit of luck is that his first shot at me left me with 9 hit points and didn’t kill any of my crew.  His next shot was interrupted by the arrival of more dangerous reinforcements, so I was mercifully ignored.

That actually lead to my greatest achievement of the night in the AMX 40.  I survived the battle!

I actually managed to limp to the cap and sit on it for a few points as well.  It was the only time I survived a battle that night, and it was my only win so far in the AMX 40.

But other than that, all it did was further tarnish my otherwise mediocre game stats.  It is definitely le canard étrange.   But I have to stick with it and figure it out if I want to get to that ELC AMX.

In the mean time, Potshot and I are looking for anything else that will help us coordinate.  I poked my nose into the whole clan thing, but details seem pretty sparse outside of the Clan Wars aspect of it.  As far as I can tell, besides Clan Wars access, creating a clan gets you a tag and another chat channel to ignore.  That does not seem like enough benefit for the 2,500 gold cost to create one.

Our plan so far then is to get online, get on voice, and go French.

What could go wrong?