Daily Archives: October 15, 2012

In Search of the Hetzer

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.

So I run out of steam.  I made it to the AMX 38 on the French tree, but even as the next tank became available, I lost my enthusiasm.  Likewise with the SU-5 and the Leopard.

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.

Continue reading

Five Friday EVE Tidbits… On Monday

Because I never quite got around to finishing this on Friday.

1- CCP and Trion Cross Pollination

Nosy Gamer noted that CCP and Trion have been exchanging staff.  Earlier in the year David “Triple A and Here to Stay!” Reid, who spent most of his time at Trion tryin’ to annoy Blizzard, moved to CCP where he adopted the tag CCP_Pokethulhu.

Meanwhile, former CCP executive producer Nathan Richardsson (aka CCP Oveur) has moved over to Trion to work on their new MMO.

All of which makes me look at the Rift Empyrean Mechanics page and wonder if I can somehow tie together Storm Legion and the EVE Empyrean Age expansion.  Surely there is a conspiracy theory or a lawsuit there waiting to be created!

2 – The War Between the Sites

Kirith Kodachi took a look at how two EVE Online news sites, the venerable EVE News 24 and the new upstart The Mittani.com, are faring in traffic.

The emergence of a competitor named after the chief Space Goon certainly shook things up.  The Mittani.com, by the yardstick chosen, seems to have hit parity with its older rival pretty quickly, focusing on content written by a dedicated staff, including an editor lured away from EN24.  Meanwhile, Riverini has repositioned the editorial stance of largely syndicated EN24 to make it the focus of Goon opposition.

Ha, ha, just kidding!  EN24 was always anti-Goon!  The last pretense otherwise has merely been removed.

3 – Bumping: It’s the New Ganking

James 315 has been attempting to create a new order in high sec.  However, rather than ganking the ice miners that occupy the space he intends to control, he has taken to bumping them instead.  And he has a blog dedicated to his efforts, complete with irate chat logs. Grief will find a way.

4 – EVE Has Sound!

Who knew, right?

Most of the time I play EVE I have the sound off because I am on voice coms or I am listening to something else.  But sometimes I want the sound.  Sometimes I want to hear that voice say, “Warp drive active.”

However I haven’t been able to get the sound to work in EVE for ages.  I have tinkered with the settings.  But there isn’t really a lot of choices there, and none seemed to have an impact.

And then I was having problems with another app and I traced that down to the Windows 7 sound mixer, which you can access via the little speaker icon on the task bar.  While I was there, I launched to EVE to see how it was set.  Sure enough, for reasons unknown, the mixer decided to turn the volume for EVE all the way off.

So if you are looking for the sound in EVE Online, try that.

5- EVE-Kill.net Still Needs Your Help

I posted last week about this.  About 90 people have donated up to this point, which puts them half way to their base goal and about a quarter of the way to their full goal.

Well, the site is still having problems.  It was up but not processing data for a lot of the weekend.  I must have seen/heard more than more than 90 people bitch about site not being functional.

So go to this link, or click on the graphic above, and donate to this site that.  Clearly a lot of us will lose the will to live if it goes down.