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Credits, More Big Guns, and the A-32 April 9, 2013

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

No new tanks this week.  I am still building up credits for the KV-4.

I actually have more than enough credits right now to purchase the beast, but I also want some reserves for the usual equipment, like a large caliber gun rammer.  And that adds up fast.  So I continue with my credit accumulation plan.

Oddly, Wargaming.net has an offer up in their Gift Shop this week for a million credits.

MillionCreditDeal

I am not sure I am ready to go there.  I do not mind being part of the so-called Gold Economy, and paying for premium to speed things up some.

But doing the math in my head, that offer doesn’t seem like a huge deal.  Using the 400 credits equals 1 gold conversion you can do in game, this looks like you are essentially getting 3,500 gold for $16.95, which is about a half a cent per unit of gold, which is about what it sells for in any case.

I suppose it is easier for some than doing the conversion in-game.  And at least they aren’t selling experience outright.

With the KV-4 on hold for now, the only real changes over the past weeks was getting more big guns. This time is was the turn of the Jagpanther and the ARL-44.

On the Jagpanther the big gun doesn’t change the look of the vehicle very much.

In forest dot camo

Jagpanther with the 8.8 cm gun

Jagpanther with the 10.5 cm gun

Jagpanther with the 10.5 cm gun

The new gun is a little longer and a little more stout I suppose.  And it doesn’t really change my armor penetration abilities or accuracy much… the 8.8 cm gun is a wee bit better at both… but it does give my damage a big boost.  A pity that every shot costs four times as much.  It is probably good that I carry less shells and shoot them more slowly.

As with every upgrade, it doesn’t turn turn me into superman, but I do more damage when I hit.  And more damage translates into more experience.  There is only one more item left to research on the Jagpanther, the last track upgrade.  I am not sure how much those will help, except as a step to getting me toward elite status.  It might boost my effective flank hit points, but if I am taking hits on my flanks, I am already in deep trouble.

They will probably come off just as often

They will probably come off just as often

Not that elite status will be within my grasp any time soon.  To get there I have to research both the Ferdinand and the Jagpanther II, both of which require 77.5K of experience.  At my rate of play, that is going to take me a while.  But at least I will have a while to think on which of the two I will go after first.

On the ARL 44 though, the big gun is yet another evolution through the visual comedy stylings of the French tank series.  It starts with a turret as big as a barn.

That is a big turret

That is a big turret

And ends up with a gun barrel so long it seems to be compensating for something.

Not awkward at all...

Not awkward at all…

The gun compares in length with my arch-nemesis on the field, the Super Pershing.  I hate those things and their spaced front armor.

Super Pershing in the background

Super Pershing in the background

Upgrading to the final 90mm gun on the ARL 44, the DCA 45, has just the opposite improvement as the upgrade on the Jagpanther.  All three of the 90mm gun options do the amount of base damage.  But each step up the chain improves penetration and accuracy, with only a minor reduction in reload time.

In the end, the result is the same though… more damage on targets.

I would like to report that I used these two big gun upgrades to good effect, but I had one of those weekends where losses seemed to be the norm.  I was in one match where I very nearly became the person I hate and started yelling at my own team for being idiots in chat.  On one flank three of us were doing well, but on the other our team appeared to have decided to feed themselves one at a time into a deadly crossfire, with the expected results.

I held my tongue though, as I was on the “early to dead” roster myself in more than a few matches as I ran out to play with my new toys.

This got me looking at other tanks in my garage, in hopes of finding something with which I could extract a win, and I ended up casting my eyes on the A-32.

This previously light, now medium, tank was part of the WoT pre-order plan, which I bought, and has been sitting in my garage since launch two years ago, largely unused.

The A-32

The A-32

I got it out and despite having a 55% crew and big list of downsides (poor armor, poor penetration, inaccurate gun, mediocre view and signal range), I did okay playing it as a light tank.  But I am not sure what I really want to do with it.

If I were going up the Soviet medium line, I could use crews from that to do better while gaining additional experience for them in turn.  But since I don’t really need yet another branch of the tree to pursue at the moment, the A-32 will probably continue to lead a quiet life in the back of the garage.

Vive Le Char ARL 44! March 12, 2013

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

It is tank of the week time, and this time around I managed to buy one while it was on sale.  World of Tanks this week is focusing on the French tree and have put several of the French tanks on sale for half price.  Unlike the Jagpanther, which I bought the day before it went on sale, or the KV-3, which I grabbed the day after a sale on it ended, I was ready and waiting for this tank.

I had already trained up the BDG G1B up to elite status and was just waiting for such an occasion.  So when the news item went up that some tanks in the French line were half price, I was ready to strike.  I soon had a tank with a barn on top in my garage, the ARL 44.

That is a big turret

That is a big turret

I was able to upgrade to the 90mm gun from the BDR right away, which gave this guy some hitting power.  But any upgrades after that would need some combat time.  I did not have much in the way of free experience sitting around, having dumped most of it into Jagpanther upgrades last week.

I was in luck, as the first few battles I was in, the ARL 44 was at the top of the list.  The big gun let me score a kill and some solid hits on the first battle.  I had already read up a bit on the ARL 44, which has very strong frontal armor, but is quite vulnerable on the flanks.  With this in mind, I used the built up areas of the map… I drew Ensk for my first run… to protect my flanks while punishing my foes.

The new ARL 44 in its first battle

The new ARL 44 in its first battle

Every time I brought the tank out in its stock form, somebody commented about the turret.

The barn again

The barn again

I claimed to have a family of gypsies living in the back of the turret.  I didn’t bother to buy the camo paint at this point.  I wasn’t sure that you could hide something so big.  And since the suspension and tracks couldn’t even support a camo net once I upgraded the gun, I figured I would leave it in the stock blue-ish color.

In a later battle, on Lakeville, I was again in the built-up town section of the map, where I discovered that the ARL 44 was tall enough that, on a gentle slope, I was able to fire over the Tiger that was in front of me.

After an evening of battles, I was able to upgrade the tracks and turret, and decided that, with its gun and frontal armor, the ARL 44 was a keeper.  So on went the camo paint and the official slogan of Les Chars de Combustion.

La Lutte Continue!

La Lutte Continue!

Now to get to the top 90mm gun, which will put holes in just about anything I will end up facing in this tank.

Competing Against the Gold Standard in Heavy Tanks February 4, 2013

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

In its element, the Char B1 is not a bad tank.

Desert B1

Desert B1

The B1 is a tier IV heavy tank, a tier that is otherwise bereft of tanks in that class.  The only exception is the captured German version of the tank, which got yanked back when the French line was introduced.

In a match where tier IV is the top, the B1 can truly fill the heavy tank role.  It has enough armor and hit points to press forward in the vanguard.  While not speedy it can move.   Its best gun can damage anything it can hit, is reasonably accurate, and fires quickly.  And the turret rotation speed and gun depression make it a very versatile gun platform.  You can track anybody and peek over terrain to take shots at people quite well.

Potshot and I rolled out in our twin B1s quite a few times over the weekend and did very well.

As long as we were in a tier IV.

Tier V matches, on the other hand, were not so pleasant.  Once you get to tier V then suddenly a lot of people have a heavy tank to toss into the match.  You have the T1, the T14, the Churchill I, the Churchill III, and the KV-1.

Well, actually, none of those are insurmountable.  None but the KV-1 that is.

I keep 20 rounds of premium APCR ammo in the B1 for those matches.  At 800 credits a shot, expensive for tier IV, I use them sparingly.  But I am happy enough to pump them into an unwitting Churchill or T14.  It can be the difference between victory and destruction.  That does, on occasion, put me at a credit deficit at the end of the match, but generally I want experience, which you get for damage done, more than credits.

The only heavy I do not bother throwing expensive ammo at any more is the KV-1.  Unless I get very lucky, every shot is a bounce.  If I am going to just harass a KV-1, I might as well do it with cheap ammo.  And some times I can get a track shot so the KV-1 will be still while I pound fruitlessly on his armor.

Potshot and I ran a series of matches with the B1 because we were looking to get into the next French heavy tank, the BDR G1B.

Getting to that, we felt, would help us contend with those tier V heavies.

And after an evening of matches, we had the experience and the credits to make the leap to the next tier.  We trained up, bought the tanks, outfitted them, and rolled out for our first battle.

Matching Outfits

Matching Outfits

And, of course, we were slaughtered.

My BDR, minutes later

My BDR, minutes later

The BDR G1B does not have a reputation as a great tier V heavy tank.

A Flying Shit House

(image source)

Certainly in stock BDRs out in a field of tier V and tier VI tanks, this piece of French craftsmanship seems to be more of a moving target than a threat.  Even Wargaming.net has its doubts about the tank.  It lists out its drawbacks:

  • Poor armor
  • Slow rate of fire
  • Sluggish speed
  • Depressing gun depression

And the damn thing is so under powered stock that a camo net is too heavy to equip.  Sorry, if I put this pile of cloth on your tank, it will cease to move!

When driving this tank, your team mates either pity you or completely fail to understand your actions.  I had one light tank driver raging at me for being a heavy tank and not charging ahead.  The nicest thing he called me was a “camper.”  (And why is that an insult?  There are any number of vehicles in the game that are best used from cover, though you wouldn’t know it from the way some people blather on.)

Of course, just a bit later a KV-1S that I had been playing hide and seek with got a clear aim at me and blew me up in one shot.  I had previously avoided being damaged, which illustrates why I wasn’t out in front leading the charge.  The BDR is more of an upgunned medium tank without the mobility.

I am told that the BDR gets better once you get the 90mm gun.  I have a ways to go on that.  But even when I get there, the BDR will still not be a tank for the front of the charge.  It will have to hold back and take shots of opportunity.

The BDR has its place and its play style.

Its main problem is what Potshot called “The KV-1 index” of capabilities.

The KV-1 was my first heavy tank.  It may be one of my favorite tanks in the game.  I still play mine regularly.  It behaves exactly as you would expect a heavy tank should.  It is slow, heavily armored, and can carry a big enough gun to damage everything it faces.  And because of this, it is very popular.  You run into a lot of them in matches.

A lot of KV-1 heavies

A lot of KV-1 heavies

I see more KV-1 heavy matches than I ever saw Type 59s at the height of their dominance.  That makes it the yardstick by which every other tier V heavy tank is measured.

And if you count derivatives of the KV-1, the KV-2, the KV-1S, and the T-150, it starts to look like a Russian dominated world out there in tier V and VI heavy tanks.

Which is kind of the way of things.  The Soviet Union clearly went to heavy tanks earlier and better than any other tank producing nation.  The French were there first with the B1, but the KV-1 owns that.  Later the Germans showed up with the Tiger and the British with the Churchill line.  But the early KV-1 had everything you expected in about the right measure.  I would cackle with glee when my KV-1 came across some non-Soviet heavy tank.  They were generally meat.

Which is why I cringe when the BDR gets dropped into a match with a pile of KV-1 heavies.  I am now the meat.

But still I persist.

Our clan is Les Chars de Combustion (which Wargaming.net corrected for us, free of charge!).  Our goal is to explore the French tank tree.  The burning tank is our logo and our motto is “La Lutte Continue!”  The struggle continues indeed!

Soon though, I will have the 90mm gun in the BDR.  Then I hope to be able to fend off the rampaging hoard of KV-1 heavies.  And then it will be on to the ARL-44, and everything will be great!

Right?