I was pretty much set. I was working up a few different branches on various national trees. I was rotating through the ARL-44, the Jagpanther, and the KV-4, slowly accumulating the experience necessary to advance to the next tier on each.
All three of those tanks are now fully upgraded. It is just a matter of playing my way forward until I hit the next tier. I just have to focus.
What is that?
Garage slots are half price?
I had better buy a few of those, just to have them. I will need them eventually, right?
Then, of course, after my requisite daily first wins, I start poking through the tech trees, just to look. And eventually I am driving around in this.
The M37 self-propelled gun.
How did I get there? More after the break.
Ah, self-propelled guns, the long range striking element of the game.
I haven’t really done much with artillery in World of Tanks. I have an SU-26 in the garage that I play every so often. But the SU-5 was such a change after the SU-26 that I stopped working up that tree. And then there was the French experiment, where I got to the AMX 105AM. I save that for team nights when we haul out two or three together.
But Earl, he has been all about the arty. While most of my battles have been in heavy tanks, he has focused on SPGs. He has worked his way up to at least tier IV in all of the SPG trees, and into tier V in most. And he seems to be the most enthusiastic about the US line of guns, and the M7 Priest in particular. (Though others have been less enthusiastic about it.) So I thought I would give that a try.
But that meant getting up the tech tree.
I had enough free experience to skip the T57 (which might have been a mistake, but I can go back), and so jumped right to the M37, the tier III SPG.
That actually started off very well. I had wins in my first five battles, including one where I got a mastery badge.
The M37 starts of decent and, as with all low tier tanks, the upgrades come quick. In just a few battles I had everything upgraded and was on the path to the M7 Priest. I had already squandered my free experience on the last KV-4 upgrade (the bigger engine makes a noticeable difference) so just worked my way along until I could train for that next tier. But eventually I got there. My M37 turned elite and I had a stock M7 Priest in my garage.
Things do not start off rosy with that SPG. You need the suspension upgrade before you can even fit a camo net. So I had to roll out in a completely stock configuration.
This was not helped along by the fact that I was on the losing side in the first two battles, so it took me three to save up enough for the suspension. And they were awkward fights for me. Not only is the M7 somewhat unwieldy stock, but the base gun has a serious range deficiency after playing the M37. I had to trundle all over the battlefield trying to get in range.
On the third match we won, which gave me enough experience for the suspension upgrade, which then let me mount a camo net to help me stay hidden, plus a gun rammer and a gun laying drive to help me aim and shoot more quickly. Now I have to get out there and play until I get the upgraded gun, and which point I can, it is said, just sit back and rain shells down to smite my foes.
We shall see.
There was also the big 8.5 patch that came out this past week. All patches seem to be big patches with World of Tanks. I have already learned to respect the new Indien Panzer when I am out in the KV-4. It can be a tough nut to crack.
I have also gotten to play on the new map, Pearl River, a few times. I am at the start point for it in the M7 picture above, which was the first time I was on it. A new tank on a new map is not an ideal combo.
I would describe the map itself as “Dragon Ridge smooshed down.” It is the same southeast Asian theme, put into the game do doubt, as Potshot phrased it, to celebrate all the great clashes of armor that took place in the tropical rice paddies of the region. Yeah.
It seems to be a decent map with lots of place to hide. My only minor complaint so far is that the design seems set on blocking you from getting up on some high points. That starting point is in a little bite out of a mountain that is blocked on a couple of sides.
Of course, people were already saying, “I hate this map” in chat. We shall see if people hate is as much as Dragon Ridge, a map I miss. Dragon Ridge was a different map and the hills made heavy tanks dog slow, but it was a change up. And it allowed for some of the best comedy moments. Ah well.
There were also some under the radar changes that did not make the patch notes. Tank names were no big deal and the UI change was obvious. But the change in the daily reset time… when one day officially transitions to another for purposes of sales and events… like special XP multiplier events… threw me for a loop.
Previously, the daily reset for victory bonuses and limits on purchases was 17:00 PDT (20:00 EDT). With the launch of the 8.5 Update, this time has changed to 04:00 PDT (07:00 EDT). This change was made based on customer feedback so that more people would have a better chance to play through all of their first victories of the day.
Years of EVE, working with overseas offices, Linux, and what not has trained me to accept UTC midnight as a reasonable time for dates to transition. That works out to 4pm local time here in California, or 5pm when we have Daylight Savings Time in effect. I have my blog set for the day to transition on UTC. Some other games, like Need for Speed World, do the day transition at that time.
I have been known to start playing World of Tanks an hour before midnight UTC, get my first victory bonuses, then when the day transitions, get them again, thus doing two days of bonuses in one fell swoop. And since the bonus events go in on a Friday, you could squeeze out four days of bonuses on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday event.
No more of that… which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But on Saturday afternoon I was really confused as to why the date transition did not take effect. Ah well, one more… or maybe one less… time element to keep track of in my mind.