The Word of the Day is: Sturmgeschütz

I am not ready to celebrate my 10,000th match like some players more dedicated than I, but my renewed interest in World of Tanks, driven by the changes in the 8.0 patch and my sudden desire to drive a Hetzer, has propelled me to add another hundred or so matches to my modest total.

Hetzer in its natural habitat

I have found the nature of the German tank destroyers, which tend to be heavily gunned, fragile, but not very quick, to suit my own play style.  I stay a bit back under cover and let the other tanks expose targets.  When it works, it works well.  Sometimes though, it can be frustrating.  I recall a match where I had set myself in ambush on one flank of the Karelia map, which has three channels, making it almost a League of Legends map.  A medium tank moved ahead of me and spotted five hostiles approaching up.  Rather than baiting them back into my kill zone, he rushed forward to engage and was knocked out in short order.

I managed to knock out two of the hostiles as they exposed themselves and had damaged a third before I also was knocked out.  All the while, the chap in the medium harangued me for not rushing forward to die with him.

There is always somebody who thinks they know your business better than you do.  And while I am sure many players know how to play better than I do, the guy who just screwed up and got himself killed isn’t very high the list of those to whom I will listen.

Playing through the week I managed to rack up enough points to get to the next rung on the German tank destroyer ladder, the Sturmgeschütz III.

I got into the StuG III as soon as I could because… well… you always envy the person one tier up.  When I was in the Marder III, the Hetzer was my bane.  In the Hetzer, I seemed to inevitably face a StuG III.  So I bought the StuG and got into a battle as soon as I could.

A freshly minted SutG III

Of course, I realized as the battle started that I actually had a lot of shared experience left over from the early days of the Type-59 and that I could, you know, probably upgrade the damn thing.  So while I had spent a chunk of my gold on a fully trained crew, I had ignore the rest.

After the first battle, I went to explore what upgrades I could afford.  As it turned out, there is a lot of commonality between the Hetzer, which I had fully upgraded and which is now an “elite” tank in my garage, and the StuG III.   Using a bit of my remaining gold to convert some experience over to the freely shared variety, I was able to fully upgrade the StuG III for my second battle.

Upgraded StuG III

Just behind the StuG in that picture is the JagdPanzer IV, the next German tank destroyer in line, and which is described in the World of Tanks wiki as being “considered the worst Tier 6 tank destroyer.”  So I have that to look forward to.

I also opted for the camo netting, which boosts a tanks “you didn’t see anything” abilities by 25%.  I did not, however, have enough gold left to apply the paint scheme to the StuG, which is worth another 5% in that regard.  In hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have bothered with those emblems on my Type-59.

…and they called it “Peace”

Of course, fully upgraded meant I got cocky pretty quickly.

Dead StuG III

Like the tank destroyers before it in the German tree, the StuG III is best used a bit behind the main line to take out targets of opportunity.  Finding yourself in the front line generally means death will be coming for you soon.  Still, it is light and maneuverable and fun on par with the previous tank destroyers on the tree.

Racing through green fields

Meanwhile, I will say that the World of Tanks 8.0 patch, which is what brought me back to the game, has been living up to my expectations.  The graphics are very good, though they can be a bit slow to draw at times if you have your settings too high, and the new physics are excellent.  I have to say, the removal of the invisible barriers, which allows tanks to fall (or be pushed) off of high ground has delivered all the comedy gold one could hope for.  I saw a medium tank get rammed and shoved off the high, broken bridge in the middle of the Westfield map the other day.  Completely worth it!

And it looks like World of Tanks won the Golden Joystick Award for Best MMO, with League of Legends coming in second and SWTOR getting third place.

While deserves congratulations on their victory, I think it would be extremely foolish to read too much into the win.  WoT ran a very aggressive “get out the vote” campaign for the event, which is always effective in player driven ballots.  And the fact that the it was WoT and LoL in first and second place certainly seems to demonstrate that the MMO category is a wide open field that means many things to many people.

And what with SWTOR coming in third, you might be ready to write off the fantasy MMORPG element in the category were it not for the fact that, due to the calendar constraints of the awards, neither Guild Wars 2 nor Mists of Pandaria were on the ballot.

In fact, I am not even sure how WoT got on the ballot.  When you are free to play and don’t sell expansions or boxes, does your latest patch count as shipping something new?  And in past years there wasn’t even an MMO category, it was just Online Games.  There are some blurry lines in all of this.

Ah well, popularity is nice, but making money trumps every time.  World of Tanks seems to be managing both though, so good for them.

12 thoughts on “The Word of the Day is: Sturmgeschütz

  1. Latrodanes

    Do yourself a favor and check out some of the 8.0 (and soon to come 8.1) map reviews on Youtube. There have been numerous changes and reworks to terrain.

    Re: StuG – it kept the 75mm/L70, which is on of the best guns for its teir. Use it in good health. Even after getting up to the JagdPanther, I loved my StuG so much, I’ve kept it.


  2. Wilhelm Arcturus Post author

    @Latrodanes – I might be able to manage that, despite the fact that it implies a level of seriousness about the game I am not sure I can sustain!

    I have actually kept the whole German tank destroyer line and play them all in something of a rotation. That will make getting to the JagPz IV all that much longer… but, whatever. I live for those battles where the Marder II is at the top of the stack and I can lay back and pop reds while laughing manically.


  3. Gank

    I always liked the Hetzer. Played it in beta, and then a bit in the live game as well. The Stug was okay, but didn’t suit my style which often sees me exposing myself foolishly. The Hetzer bounced a few more shots than the Stug so it survived me a bit better )


  4. mrrx

    I never understood the players who only have a few slots on their account. If you like the tank, keep it, and buy a new slot for the next one.

    Don’t be like me, who bought a bunch of half price slots sometime in Spring 2012 and has left them all empty, however. I overdid it there. With the British coming in 8.1, I should start filling them out.


  5. Mekhios

    @Wilhelm Arcturus
    The German TD line is one of my favorites in WoT. Save the early TD’s I have kept every German TD from Hetzer and up on full play rotation. The fully upgraded Ferdi and JT have those glorious long range sniper rifles that reduce enemy tanks to molten slag.

    Then it all comes crashing down when you move to the JagdPz E-100 which is without a doubt one of the worst tanks in the game. It has one of the largest cannon’s in the game, the slowest reload, the slowest speed, terrible accuracy, and is a lovely practice target for enemy arty and tanks.


  6. Drebin

    Yay, Hetzery! Like Mekhios, I love the German TD line (which I admittedly spooged about in W_A’s last WoT posting). I think it supports the best balance of speed, firepower and accuracy for ambush sniping, frankly.

    The other nations are…well, they support a different style of play, I think. The Russian line has struck me as a more ‘rush’ type, since their cannons trade accuracy for firepower, but the tanks are much faster. The recent addition of the second line simply swaps the firepower/accuracy aspect, meaning sniping should be better, but with little gun depression on average means you’re limited in your hillside ambush positions (El Halluf, for example) for long-range fire. So I think we’re back to the original Rushian concept of TD play.

    The American lines are a balance of schizophrenia, since at times players appear to want to push quickly in a T95, or try to snipe at long range in a T30 (and the public team chat will support this desire, or roundly condemn it, or both simultaneously). There’s no continuity of play, I think, that leads to a smooth transition from one tier to the next, with the exception that the higher tier tanks are uniformly slower than the previous tier. Woo.

    I’ve yet to think nice things about the French TD line, although perhaps that’s because I’ve been stuck in the V39 for long enough to result in an improvement in my grasp of the French language, solely to be able to creatively swear at the baguette de merde that is the V39. Granted, fighting the 155 Foch repeatedly in T10 mediums and heavies has given me a round appreciation for high-speed traverse tracks and a cylinder-fed main gun, but it seems so…far…away. Le sigh…

    For the people who like rumours though:


  7. Mekhios

    Also the T110E4 is probably the best TD in the game. It doesn’t quite have the pinpoint accuracy of the Ferdi or JT but it makes up for that in maneuverability, limited turret, and massive damage. It’s one of my mainstay tanks and I frequently use it with great success in Clan Wars. I also have a T95. I only use this in pub matches for fun. The T95 has an awesome fear effect. Watch the enemy scatter when you face them. :)


  8. Drebin

    I’ll give you that it’s likely the most popular CW TD out there, even post-nerfing. The ability to duck forward, pop a shot off down-street, then back into cover immediately can’t be understated. I’ll likely have an experienced-backed opinion when (if ever) I get the silly-looking thing.

    The T95 certainly is a fear-causer. That terrifying gun, that thick armour, the slow, relentless assault. Then again, knowing how slow it is, and where to shoot it in the front to actually hurt it, makes it painful, but not unstoppable.

    Digressing on the topic of TD encounters, you could always do what I did, which was to hang a hard left down a Himmelsdorf street in an M48, see a flicker of red, immediately blow up, and spend several moments marvelling that a platooned pair of JgE-100’s can fit side by side in those narrow streets.


  9. HarbingerZero

    @Drebin – yeah, even the German tank expert Overlord interviewed called bullshit on their Tier 10 German TD’s. We should be getting the Krokodile, and instead we are getting the J-E-100 redux. Bleh.

    Congrats on the Stug TAGN! One of these days I will skip a night of STO/GW2 and come find you for a match together.


  10. scotth

    I didn’t mind the jpz iv. It has a decent gun in the 88 L56, but the German tier 6 mediums all have the same gun. The gun is still good, just not better than what is available on other tanks of the same tier.

    One of the things that I find helpful when playing a fast tank, like a medium or a light, is not out running my support. It is easy to charge ahead, get outnumbered and killed.

    Lots of people still want to tell me how to play. In general though, WoT seems pretty friendly. There is still the odd jerk, but most people are better behaved than I am used to in online games.


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