I have two problems with World of Tanks.
The first is that, when it comes to the game, I am pretty much a dilettante.
Despite the fact that the icon on my desktop says “World of Tanks closed beta,” indicating that I have been playing the game for about as long as it has been actually playable, I really have not put that much time into it.
I can go for weeks and weeks and not play. And when I do play, it is often for just two or three matches. The game has been live for 18 months now, and I have just over 300 matches in. That is about 16 a month. That isn’t enough to hone killer reflexes. That is barely enough to remember where the controls are and what they do.
Still, I persist now and again because I like the game. It is fun for me in a way that most first person shooters… and it really is just a vehicular first person shooter… are not these days.
My second problem is that I don’t know which tank I want to drive.
Well, actually, the problem is I want to try them all. And there are a lot of choices.
So I end up entertaining brief fits of enthusiasm.
I got enthusiastic about working up the line of Russian self-propelled guns. Then I was big on German light tanks. And then they introduced the French tank tree and I headed off to that.
And you get sucked right in because the first couple of upgrades come quickly. And then, somewhere around tier III to V, the hill starts to get steeper. It is no longer an hour to the next new toy, but a day, or a couple of days, or a few weeks. And the mid-tier tanks can have the same effect on me that mid-tier levels do in most MMOs. They can feel like the bridge between where I was having fun and where I might have fun again. But on the bridge itself… not so much fun.
Which leads me back to my favorite tank, which is the Chinese Type-59. No longer available in game, I have more fun playing it that just about anything else. (Though I enjoy my Luchs too, and probably should have not bothered to advance to the Leopard.)
But even the Type-59, which I like because it gets me into upper tier battles, which I tend to find more interesting, can only keep me going for so long. And so I lapse and stop playing for a while. At least until something new shows up.
Recently, they released patch 8 for World of Tanks, which had a few things I wanted to see, the key being a change to physics an terrain.
In the original versions, there were basically invisible walls that would prevent you from driving off of anything that might damage your vehicle. This included all the really high cliffs, but also included some comically short drops. I had the nack for finding those short drops, which would leave my tank stopped and dangling in the air, a perfect target.
So I patched and jumped in to the game.
And once I figured out where everything was again… and got the graphics settings toned down a bit… things were good. There were just enough tanks attempting to fly off of high places to be worthwhile, and I was no longer getting hung up on three foot drops.
Keen to try things out, I played all of my tanks. But when I was down in the lower tiers, I started to see a pattern. I seemed to be getting smacked time and time again by a single vehicle, the Hetzer tank destroyer.
That set me on my goal for the weekend. I was going to get a Hetzer of my own.
Long and boring details culminating in an actual battle after the cut.