Tag Archives: Hetzer

Pesky Panzer I Ausf. Cs Attack

The Panzer I Ausf. C was introduced as part of the German light tank tree re-org, which also saw the Luchs pushed up a tier and given some new options. (That 3cm auto cannon is murder… but the nearly 20 second reload time is painful.)

These little beasties seem to have become something of the piranha platoon tank of choice.  I haven’t played much below tier VI of late, but last night Potshot were down in tier V and below and these things were all over the place.

At one point we were out in the Arctic Region map and a pair of them took a run at my Hetzer in what turned out to be a less than optimum attack.

(Direct link to video)

The first guy roars past but does not do much damage.  He attempts to circle around the rock failing to notice the big pit on the other side.  His pal catches me in the rear and flank and does do a lot of damage.  But he slows down and gets popped by a team member pretty quickly. (You can see tracer rounds from the team mate early in the video flying past me.)  Then I try to crush the first guy, who avoids my bulk.  But a 75mm round into him finishes him off.

The video is available at up to 720p.  In larger format you can see the first driver comment, “epic fail!”

Half Price Jagdpanzer IV

I have not been very good at climbing the tiers in World of Tanks.

It is easy to climb up a short ways.  It tanks minutes to get to tier II, and not much more to get to tier III.  Even tier IV can be had with an evening’s undisturbed focus and a 50-50 win streak.  But once you get to tier V, impulse buy time is over and you have to focus a bit.

And so it was that I got my Hetzer in short order, but had to work a bit to get my StuG III.  Likewise, even with a pile of converted experience, I had to do my time in the Russian T-28 before I could get into a KV-1.  But I got there.

KV-1 blasts away!

KV-1 blasts away!

And then there is tier VI.

The experience is, of course, incrementally greater.  But it also becomes the point where… for me at least… the cost in credits for the vehicle itself begins to become an obstacle.  I can bring myself, in times of great need… heh… to use a bit of gold to convert experience on elite tanks into universal experience.  But gold for credits seems like a waste.  And there is so much else on which to spend credits.

So while I did eventually earn all the experience and trained for the Jagdpanzer IV, the next stop on the German tank destroyer line after the StuG III, I never purchased one.  I needed to train it to make the StuG III an elite tank, at which point I turned on accelerated crew experience.  But the JgPz IV is 910K credits, which is a lot when you still spend time playing lower tier tanks.

I did actually save up that much, then looked at all those credits and decided to spend it on upgrades for my current tanks.  Camo nets and binocular periscopes all around!  I have a pretty well fitted PzJg I in the tier II bracket.  And I haven’t had that many credits since, as there always seems to be an upgrade I want to buy.

This past weekend was the Battle of the Bulge event on the North American server which, aside from reminding us of countless poorly written weight loss articles that appear in the paper this time of year, also meant a 50% boost to crew training speed and a variety of discounts on tanks that Wargaming.net felt embodied the spirit of the event.

As I was looking at research on my various vehicles over the course of the weekend, I saw that the JgPz IV was on the half price list and that I happened to have just enough credits to get it.  And so I bought my first tier VI tank.

Factory fresh JgPz IV

Factory fresh JgPz IV

And then I was out of credits and pretty much out of experience with a completely stock new tank.  I did opt for the fully trained crew.  Again, I think that is worthwhile in tanks I expect to spend a long time playing.  Better to get the crew started on their supplementary skills.  I also noticed that camo paint was half price as part of the weekend event, so I applied that.

Tarted up a bit

Tarted up a bit

But playing the JgPz IV in matches along with my StuG III, I could really feel the lack of extra equipment.  I got spotted a lot more easily and could not see targets as far away.  So I decided I needed more upgrades.  Since I did not yet have the credits to fully fit the new tank destroyer, I decided to borrow equipment from one of my old ones.  I looked down the list to see which well fitted vehicle I had not been playing as much.  And that was the Marder II.

Desert Marder II

Desert Marder II

While I have fun playing the Marder II, it is always the last on the list.  With the purchase of the JgPz IV, I now had five German tank destroyers.  And so I unfit the camo net, the binocular periscope, and the coated optics from the Marder II and mounted them on the new guy, bringing him up to spec.  That helped a lot.  I left the Marder II in the garage, just in case.  But for now it is out of play rotation.

I also managed to get the first gun upgrade for the JgPz IV, which was a slight improvement.

Upgunned PzJg IV

Upgunned PzJg IV

Note the giant TOG II* in the background, which started making an appearance in numbers this past weekend.  It was clearly put in game to make T-28 feel svelt.  It is a target begging to be shot.

Tempting, but he is on our team...

Tempting, but he is on our team…

I am still saving up for the big gun on the JgPz IV, the 88mm KwK 36, which is called the PaK 36 when used in an anti-tank role.  Once I have that, I will be invincible, right?

That will be a while though.  It is nearly 10K experience to get that, plus some cash.  And then it is another 60K experience to get to the Jagpanther.  But I am still moving forward, though I have been splitting my time with the KV-1 as well, both of which got a lot of crew training this past weekend.

The only other WoT item of note has to do with the router in our house, which decided it was time to lay down and die, but not before spending a few hours on Friday night acting erratically.  It would run for a bit, then reset itself, dropping my connection mid-battle.  Of course, this kept happening at the worst possible time.

I have you now BDR!

I have you now BDR!

Yeah, there I am, lined up for the kill… and the link is down.  The game let me shoot at my target, but nothing else happened.  So I took some screen shots of the KV-1 firing just to have them.  The picture at the top of the post is one.

When I finally reconnected, I was the one who was dead.

Fortunately, Fry’s is just a couple miles away and open until 10pm.  A new router was purchased and set up.  Tanks battles recommenced.

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 Wargaming.net 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.

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.

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