Thursday Poetry Corner

 

Modern Warfare Poetry

By:

IrmaBecx

 

Unless this is your first time reading Monday Poetry Corner, you will be familiar with Captain Keith Douglas.

He was a war hero, I wrote; of the old Errol Flynn stock. He famously escaped from hospital and stole a truck to get back to the front; he was that kind of guy.

And when we look back at the first or second world war, it is unavoidably through a filter of countless books, films, songs, poems, propaganda posters, and whatnot; an enormous amount of cultural bric-a-brac that we just can’t get away from. And it will give the stories of the Great Wars a kind of romantic shimmer. The “good old Wars”.

Brian Turner wasn’t supposed to be a soldier, he was supposed to be a teacher. But because of base poverty he found himself in the Army, then later in Bosnia, and then after that in Iraq. Unlike Douglas, Turner did live to see the other side of War, and what he saw when he got back home was that the War wouldn’t let go of him. He didn’t quite know who he was anymore.

Turner wrote poetry in Iraq, but he was careful not to let anyone else know. He didn’t want them to think he was weak in some way. I find it hard to respond to that in some meaningful way, except saying it happened.

This is the first poem by Turner I read:

 

Phantom Noise

 

There is this ringing hum this

bullet-borne language ringing

shell-fall and static this late-night

ringing of threadwork and carpet ringing

hiss and steam this wing-beat

of rotors and tanks broken

bodies ringing in steel humming these

voices of dust these years ringing

rifles in Babylon rifles in Sumer

ringing these children their gravestones

and candy their limbs gone missing their

static-borne television their ringing

this eardrum this rifled symphonic this

ringing of midnight in gunpowder and oil this

brake pad gone useless this muzzle-flash singing this

threading of bullets in muscle and bone this ringing

hum this ringing hum this

ringing

– Brian Turner

 

That wasn’t about storming the beaches of Normandy, it’s about things that happened maybe a little more than fifteen years ago.

Turner, by his own slightly shameful admission, wanted to be a warrior; go through their rites of passage, and be branded in fire. But he also wanted to be a poet. He studied Iraqi poetry while he was there, wanting to see how the landscape and culture expressed itself, through poems,  the people who lived there; who came from there.

He still writes poems about his experiences. He says he tried writing something else, but it just wouldn’t work. Douglas knew he was branded by war, and Turner knows it too. He does the only thing that is possible: trying to tell people about it.

And maybe the very thing that attracts me to tank poetry is the thing Brecht didn’t like about it; the immediacy, the veracity, the will to try and conceive of something unimaginable, and turn it into rhyming words. War poetry is unlike other poetry, I will give him that. 

But also; like Turner, I feel the same warrior poet fascination that make people like him and I join armies and fight wars agains our own better judgement.

Turner knew he was a tank poet. He was overseeing his men on the rifle range one day, and wandered off a little ways to get a break. Before him was a tank graveyard; old Iraqi tanks just thrown together in a huge pile with weeds growing among them. The weeds had flowers. So there he was, in his uniform, with the sound of gunfire behind him, looking at flowers growing among dead tanks, and he also saw himself, standing there and doing just that.

That’s when he knew.

 

 

The Hurt Locker

Nothing but hurt left here.

Nothing but bullets and pain

and the bled-out slumping

and all the fucks and goddamns

and Jesus Christs of the wounded.

Nothing left here but the hurt.

Believe it when you see it.

Believe it when a twelve-year-old

rolls a grenade into the room.

Or when a sniper punches a hole

deep into someone’s skull.

Believe it when four men

step from a taxicab in Mosul

to shower the street in brass

and fire. Open the hurt locker

and see what there is of knives

and teeth. Open the hurt locker and learn

how rough men come hunting for souls.

– Brian Turner

 

 

Here, Bullet

 

If a body is what you want

then here is bone and gristle and flesh.

Here is the clavicle-snapped wish,

the aorta’s opened valves, the leap

thought makes at the synaptic gap.

Here is the adrenaline rush you crave,

that inexorable flight, that insane puncture

into heat and blood. And I dare you to finish

what you’ve started. Because here, Bullet,

here is where I complete the word you bring

hissing through the air, here is where I moan

the barrel’s cold esophagus, triggering

my tongue’s explosives for the rifling I have

inside of me, each twist of the round

spun deeper, because here, Bullet,

here is where the world ends, every time.

– Brian Turner

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Yeah; I’m back…

IrmaBecx Returns Yet Again!

By:

IrmaBecx

 

So yeah. I can’t stay away. I’ve been driving tanks in anger since the Scandinavian countries’ soft launch, and I still think it’s the best game in the world.

That doesn’t mean it is without issues.

But today, I don’t give much for the issues. Because I have new tanks.

I couldn’t really afford them, and I am starving as we speak on account of being poor, and out of work since almost fifteen years, but I just couldn’t help myself. I am going to have to reach for the old “it seemed like a good idea at the time”.

So now, I suppose I’ll have to answer the question of whether it *still* seems like a good idea.

Which; you know, still is my “job” of sorts around here…

*

Tank number one is the new Fake Tank. It’s basically a tier VIII SU-122-44; which is a tank I’ve always wanted, and am still hoping to get from a magic crate one day.

What it really is, is a WZ-120 *sans* turret, with one of those lovely flat and angled front plates and the 122 mm off the WZ-111-1-4 poking through it. End of story.

And for someone who absolutely *loves* tanks like the SU-122-54, the Yolo Wagon 263, the Foch (155), and the old Jagdpanzers, getting it is basically a no-brainer, because without looking at the numbers; for someone who knows how to *drive* these tanks, it’s going to be OP as fXk.

Well, maybe not; but it *is* going to be powerful. Wargaming will not allow a Communist tank to be sub-par; not even a Chinese one; and *especially* not a new Premium.

Remember; I never bought a Chinese premium I didn’t absolutely *love* after driving. I have both the original Hypes – 59 and 62, the WZ-111 so far. And now I have the WZ-120-1-G-FT as well. There is no possible world where I; a known Yolo Wagon pervert and turretless Medium enthusiast, will not end up loving it.

In fact, I love it already. Drove a few games; that’s all it took. 🙂

You may think that’s a typo above, but it’s not. It’s the key.

“Turretless Medium”.

If you pay almost 50€ for a TD that does 50 and then sit in a corner with it, two things will happen: One, you won’t have a lot of fun, and two, you aren’t going to ever get the Mastery.

Which; you know, is kind of a waste.

*

Tank number two is the freakish Maxi-Leopard; the Kampfpanzer 70.

I always loved that. It was one of the first tanks I drove as a supertester, and I simply *loved* it right away. They even buffed it a little since then, I believe, which is just catering to the noobs – the tank had zero problems as it was.

Well, all tanks have problems. What I mean is, there was a way to drive it and be quite successful; if you just took it for what it was and adjusted your playstyle accordingly.

I love tanks like that.

Also, I love the paint job. I got that too, and you will never see it wearing anything else. Just like my beloved little M41 90mm Black Dog; yes, I drive that wearing the black paint even on winter maps.

It’s the *black* dog; it *needs* to be black.

Same with this; *easily* one of the most curious and fascinating tank projects ever attempted; the very *epitome* of cold war style and design philosophy. Space age technology from 1965.

What it is, is a stretched Leo 1 chassis with a *very* solid (and heavy) turret and a 152 mm gun/launcher that *doesn’t* have the cheater fly-by-wire ammunition, just regular APCR, HEAT, and since it’s German: high penetration HEP shells.

Yeah; that’s 90 mm of penetration on 152 mm caliber. If you can stomach the reload, do run the calibrated shells; it’s almost a war crime.

So you have the front plate off a Leo, so what. That can still bounce a Skill Star 183. I know, because I’ve done it. The heavy turret more than make up for it; I’ve never *seen* such a wicked angle on a turret outside the Eastern bloc.

Kind of a measured pace; but this is a Heavy tank after all, and it gets around all it needs. It *really* only needs to get to a hull down position.

*

If you’ve been around, you know what I am going to say next.

“Appeal to the imagination”.

That’s what these tanks do; and that’s why I have fallen in such unconditional love with both of them after just four or five games. I love them already, very deeply. Because of what they are, what they mean to me, and what they can do.

The best part is that last one. “I know what they can do”. I know I am going to have some fantastic games in these tanks in the furture, but the best part is *knowing* that already.

I’ve been a Community Contributor for years now, and it’s allowed me to explore the limits of gameplay; mine and that of others, and I have some extraordinary people to share my thoughts and experiences with. It’s been an amazing trip so far, and looking forward, I see only bigger and better, more exciting things.

One of these people is the best tank driver in the game; on any server.

His name is Xeno; you may have heard of him.

It’s actually “Xenodium”, but we who are fortunate enough to call him “friend” say Xeno. He says he’s past his prime, and that he doesn’t play very competitively anymore.

That’s all false modesty.

Either way; if it wasn’t for Xeno, I would’nt be here; writing this. Without him to look up to, I would have lost interest; the way he drove his tanks inspired me to greatness. I knew I would never, ever be as good as him, because I am too old already and besides he just *thinks differently* from others. He sees the game in a unique way, and that’s why he can pull off such amazing in-game feats.

Twenty thousand games later, I have come to realise I don’t *need* to be as good as Xeno.

I can just platoon with him. And then we’ll talk about how the Skill Star needs to be buffed (which it was; incredulously), how much we despise the IS-7, and how that’s enough talking; let’s go die like morons.

That is his battle cry, by the way: “Let’s go die like morons!”.

I know of none better.

But that is at least 75% of the game for me – talking to others about it. That is why I felt like a Community Contributor long before I got the blue tag; I was already engaging with the community about the game.

And if only someone would actually *pay* me for it, it would be the best job on the planet; I’ve said that enough times. Here’s what’s left to say:

Xeno, you old pirate, I have a new “Skill Star Killer”! Let’s go hunt!!! 😀

/Irma 🙂

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Monday Poetry Corner

 

Bona Fide

By:

IrmaBecx

 

You may recall I said we weren’t done with Bertolt Brecht, and this week both he and T.S. Eliot are back, albeit in the background, so to speak.

Our poet this week, you see, was what you could convinvingly call a “poet warrior in the classic sense”; he wrote poetry, but he also drove a tank in North Africa against the “Jerries”.

Brecht wrote poems about tanks, but you wouldn’t call him a “tank poet”. Captain Keith Douglas ticks all the boxes: wrote poetry, drove tanks; even died young and tragically at the top of his game.

Reading something someone wrote while at war carries special significance. There is such a thing as a “war poet”, or “trench poet”; which latter I suspect is meant to be taken slightly pejoratively. Brecht didn’t really like the war poets. As I understand it, he thought what they were doing wasn’t real poetry, and besides, he was more interested in theatre, as I’ve mentioned.

T.S. Eliot read Keith Douglas. Edmund Blunden, who was a first world war poet, was Douglas’s English tutor while he was at Oxford, and sent Eliot, who was an editor at Faber and Faber, some of Douglas’s early poems. By that time, however, the poet Douglas had gone on to Sandhurst military academy to also become a warrior.

I should urge you to make your own exploration into the fascinating life of Keith Douglas. He was of the old Errol Flynn stock, and I would say they don’t make them like that anymore, but they do.

Douglas was a hero. But he was also a poet, an artist, and an intellectual. These are the people you don’t necessarily want to have fighting your wars for you, because they will tell the truth about it.

And the truth is war is hell. The failure of communication. The breakdown of society. You should always be extremely wary of people who say they function better in wartime, and tell you that society must be broken down so that a new race of supermen can rise from its ashes.

There has been myriads of poems written about the glory of war itself. If you saw “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), you may know who William Blake is.

Here’s something he wrote about war. It is called “A War Song to Englishmen”:

 

“Prepare, prepare the iron helm of war,

Bring forth the lots, cast in the spacious orb;

Th’ Angel of Fate turns them with mighty hands,

And casts them out upon the darken’d earth!

Prepare, prepare!”

 

“Prepare your hearts for Death’s cold hand! prepare

Your souls for flight, your bodies for the earth;

Prepare your arms for glorious victory;

Prepare your eyes to meet a holy God!

Prepare, prepare!”

 

It goes on like that, but I think you take my meaning.

Contrast this with the following Keith Douglas poem on the same subject:

 

How To Kill

 

Under the parabola of a ball,

a child turning into a man,

I looked into the air too long.

The ball fell in my hand, it sang

in the closed fist: Open Open

Behold a gift designed to kill.

 

Now in my dial of glass appears

the soldier who is going to die.

He smiles, and moves about in ways

his mother knows, habits of his.

The wires touch his face: I cry

NOW. Death, like a familiar, hears

 

And look, has made a man of dust

of a man of flesh. This sorcery

I do. Being damned, I am amused

to see the centre of love diffused

and the wave of love travel into vacancy.

How easy it is to make a ghost.

 

The weightless mosquito touches

her tiny shadow on the stone,

and with how like, how infinite

a lightness, man and shadow meet.

They fuse. A shadow is a man

when the mosquito death approaches

– Keith Douglas

 

Douglas doesn’t mince words. He also doesn’t try to sell us the idea this is something grandiose, wonderful, and necessary. All he says is how it happens.

If you are reading this, chances are you will know what the “approach of the mosquito death” is; the sound of a projectile through the air, missing you by inches. Douglas stares in childlike amazement at the bullet in his hand, the hyper-efficient instrument of death of the industrial age. So simple, like a toy.

All you do is point it at someone, and in an instant they are dust. It damns you. Condemns you. He can already see the mother grieving by the soldiers grave as he pulls the trigger, her shadow on the headstone. The fact he can still marvel at all this tells him he must be damned.

*

Douglas never saw the other side of the war; he was killed by shrapnel four days after landing in Normandy with the 8:th Armoured Brigades Sherwood Rangers.

I don’t really know what to say about that.

Except please join me in giving thanks to Captain Keith Douglas for his service; not because he was a soldier, but because he was a poet, and tried to tell us what being a soldier is actually like.

 

Never forget.

 

Aristocrats: ‘I Think I Am Becoming A God’

 

The noble horse with courage in his eye,

clean in the bone, looks up at a shellburst:

away fly the images of the shires

but he puts the pipe back in his mouth.

Peter was unfortunately killed by an 88;

it took his leg away, he died in the ambulance.

I saw him crawling on the sand, he said

It’s most unfair, they’ve shot my foot off.

 

How can I live among this gentle

obsolescent breed of heroes, and not weep?

Unicorns, almost,

for they are fading into two legends

in which their stupidity and chivalry

are celebrated. Each, fool and hero, will be an immortal.

These plains were their cricket pitch

and in the mountains the tremendous drop fences

brought down some of the runners. Here then

under the stones and earth they dispose themselves,

I think with their famous unconcern.

It is not gunfire I hear, but a hunting horn.

– Keith Douglas

 

 

Vergissmeinnicht

 

Three weeks gone and the combatants gone

returning over the nightmare ground

we found the place again, and found

the soldier sprawling in the sun.

 

The frowning barrel of his gun

overshadowing. As we came on

that day, he hit my tank with one

like the entry of a demon.

 

Look. Here in the gunpit spoil

the dishonoured picture of his girl

who has put: Steffi. Vergissmeinnicht.

in a copybook gothic script.

 

We see him almost with content,

abased, and seeming to have paid

and mocked at by his own equipment

that’s hard and good when he’s decayed.

 

But she would weep to see today

how on his skin the swart flies move;

the dust upon the paper eye

and the burst stomach like a cave.

 

For here the lover and killer are mingled

who had one body and one heart.

And death who had the soldier singled

has done the lover mortal hurt.

 

– Keith Douglas

 

Super Duper Mega Giveaway!

 

If you haven’t seen my friend and colleague Amaunets channel, and you enjoy thoughtful commentary on well driven games, you are missing out. That is my straight faced, honest opinion.

If it weren’t for Amaunet85, I wouldn’t be a Community Contributor, it’s that simple. She both showed me I didn’t have to be a youtuber in order to be a contributor, and supported me when I sent in my application.

I have said many times – if someone actually paid  me to do this, it would be the best job in the world.

 

So why this shameless plug? Well, because you can get lots of free stuff! That’s always nice.

But there is also something else you can do, and that is to make Wargaming listen to her more. You can very easily satisfy yourself Amaunet has your interests as a player at heart, and she always have. The simple truth is, the more subscribers she has, the more Wargaming will listen to what she has to say.

Also, the more subscribers she has, the more stuff she will get to give away! You can find out all the details in the video below, but basically: help Amaunets channel grow a little, subscribe and leave a comment, and you are in the giveaway. Have your friends do the same; the more subscribers at the end of the giveaway, the more prizes there will be!

 

Go. Do it now:

Monday Poetry Corner

 

T-62(E) Preludium

By:

IrmaBecx

 

Last week, I attempted to show both poetry and translation aren’t always as easy as they seem. We struggle with the words, trying to make them express what we want them to; how we feel, what we think about, what we long for; our fears, hopes and dreams.

It’s an uphill battle, if not downright Sisyphosean.

Sisyphos, in case you don’t recall, is rolling a huge rock up a hill, and every time it seems like he is getting somewhere, he loses his grip, the rock rolls back down to the bottom of the hill, and he has to start all over again. For eternity. The myth of Sisyphos, then, is used to illustrate doing something gruelling that will ultimately prove futile. Doing hard work for nothing.

Driving tanks can be like that. Chasing stats is a typically Sisyphosean occupation, or trying to get a Mastery badge, or clear a mission before they reset. The longer you work at it, the more hopeless it seems, and most often all your hard work will be for nothing.

That is why I care about stuff like philosophy and poetry in motion. They help alleviate the crippling fear that your whole existence may itself, in the end, turn out to be strikingly similar to Sisyphos’ punishment.

Yeah, it was a punishment from the gods. Gods are like that. I don’t remember what he did; probably stole something, got uppity, or looked at someone funny.*

My friend whom I spoke of last week has, it seems, had a visit from the Red Wine Muse, but even so found themselves struggling. You may think turning other poetry into tank poetry is easy; my experiment in translation last Sunday was meant to show that it is not.

They tell me they just couldn’t touch one of the sections. “Some things just have to be left as is”. I think that statement has a bit of the poetic to it. See if you can spot which section hasn’t been changed.

*

As before, T-62 Elliot is not T. S. Eliot; the latter died in 1965, for one thing. The former has been travelling through the European summer accompanied by a few choice bottles and their Muse, dreams of yesteryear, and some definite trace amounts of youthful poetic aspiration.

And that’s all you need. A tiny spark of inspiration. The rest is just work.

T.S. Eliot spent the war making sure people had proper books to read. It’s true; hundreds of thousands of books had been burned in Europe, and Nazi propaganda was everywhere. Starting out as a private undertaking, “Books Across the Sea” became a sort of cultural exchange program, with Eliot as chairman. The organisation exists to this day.

As always, do yourself a favour and look up some original Eliot poetry. I can tell you we are not rid of him just yet in terms of tank poetry, but I leave you now instead with “Preludes”, by T-62 Elliot.

Please enjoy:

 

Preludes

 

I

The Winter Malinovka evening settles down

With smell of steaks and Grilles in passageways.

Six Minutes on the clock.

The burnt-out ends of an ISU remains.

And now a rusty Fury wraps

The grimy unoiled tracks

like withered leaves stuck about your feet.

And lit up TDs from Lights who spot;

get showered with HE

On broken tracks and ammoracks,

And at the corner of the street

A lonely Death Star steams and stamps.

And for the Grille the extinguishing of the  lamps.

 

II

The Commander comes to consciousness

Of faint stale smells of beer

From the track trampled street

With all destroyed

coffee-stands.

With the camo to masquerade

That time resumes,

One thinks of all the hands

That are raising tentatively the shells

In 100s of ammorack furnished metal tombs

 

III

You tossed a blanket from the bed,

You lay upon your back, and waited;

You dozed, and watched the night revealing

The thousand sordid images

Of which your soul was constituted;

They flickered against the ceiling.

And when all the world came back

And the light crept up between the shutters

And you heard the sparrows in the gutters,

You had such a vision of the street

As the street hardly understands;

Sitting along the bed’s edge, where

You curled the papers from your hair,

Or clasped the yellow soles of feet

In the palms of both soiled hands.

 

IV

His soul stretched tight across the skies

That fade behind Himmelsdorff

Or trampled by insistent tracks

At four and five and six o’clock;

the red enemy lit on spot

And new crews slower

And less assured of certain certainties,

The conscience of a Blackened Dog

Impatient to assume the world.

I am moved by tanks that are hurled

Around these images, and cling:

The notion of some infinitely gentle

Infinitely suffering SP1C.

The Light that braves the loss.

Wipe your hand across your mouth, and laugh;

The turrets revolve like ancient women

Gathering fuel in vacant lots.

– T-62 Elliot

 

 

 

 

* Here is where what Sisyphos actually did wrong will be written, unless I forget to look it up.

Paradise Lost and French Tigers

The French Tiger

By:

IrmaBecx

 

I am watching a promotional video. Old newsreels: bomber formations, pilots at their controls, men running towards their fighter aircraft. You have seen them a million times, and you know the song:

Run!

Live to Fly,

Fly to Live,

Do or Die!

Aces High.

In between the grainy stock footage are new images. It’s the same planes, only in luminous coloured high definition computer generated images. One of them even has old Eddie in the cockpit, just like the old Iron Maiden album cover.

It’s ingenious. As usual. This stuff is easy to do, and it’s appeal is immediate and very pervasive. As a kid, all I wanted to do was fly. Now, as an adult, it strikes me I could have done it a long time ago; any tame I wanted. All it takes is money. It also strikes me I did do it. I have flown.

Or have I?

It’s strange, really, I don’t play a game about aircraft instead of tanks, but either way, if someone had told me when I was a child there was going to be a computer game I could play on a small, flat, handheld screen, where I could drive dozens of different tanks against other people from all over the world once I reached middle age, I would have just went into hibernation and said “you can wake me when that happens. Everything before that will be meaningless.”

But it’s summer. Who has the energy to stare at a screen in summer?

If you have stared at the screen this summer, you may have noticed the French Tiger has arrived. I can’t help the internet, it’s the “French Tiger”, and to be fair, it’s an accurate description of the tank in question: the AMX M4 49.

I’ve not driven it an awful lot, and it’s been ages since I drove the Tiger II, but allow me to paint you a broad picture:

If you have driven French tanks, you will find this one familiar. It has a lot of French traits, plus one you are not familiar with, namely massive frontal armour. You will also get the famtastic 100 mm SA47; easily one of my top 5 favourite 100 mm guns in the game.

The mobility is curious, but again familiarly French. The extra armour means it feels heavy getting moving, but once it’s past 25 km/h or so, it starts to pick up. It feels quite frisky, actually.

So three tanks I feel this one reminds me of. First off, it’s like a cross between a german Tiger II and the American tier VIII Easter Island tank; the mighty EXP. Also, it’s like a Heavy tank version of the FCM 50t.

Why the Rapa Nui tank? It’s because of the armour profile. It’s super strong from directly in front, but once you get at the sides, you practically see right through the flimsy armour. Seen from 90 degrees, the M4 49 presents the same HE-friendly barn wall target most French tanks do.

I’s not cheap. And you would think they might have thrown in the “Liberté” camo at least in the top bundle, but that’s going to be extra. Still, it does look nice:

 

 

 

So should you get it?

I don’t see why not. It’s a nice drive, has some obvious strong points and very decent mobility. Me, I just blew my tank budget for at least a few months buying the WZ-111, so I won’t be getting one. But if you like French tanks like the FCM and the AMX 50 series, and you wish the M4 45 had better frontal armour, then this tank could well be a really good fit for you.

IrmaBecx says “Vive la Liberté!”

Premium Justification?

 

 

Philosophical Justification

By:

IrmaBecx

 

So the WZ-111 experience has given rise to some deeply philosophical considerations. Like “what is time worth”.

The WZ-111 came with nine equipment slots opened, that is one of the reasons it was so expensive. Wargaming say those nine slots are worth 5100 gold, it’s in the blurb. I say they are not; I say they are worth around two million credits.

So what is that worth? Well, I have two million already so they’re free, but using them would mean depleting my resources. Letting a tank grind its own equipment is of course an option, and it could be done in a matter of hours, but that would also mean driving a tank that isn’t all it can be during those hours.

In other words, I am not only paying for novelty, I am also paying for convenience. Not going to make a recommendation about that either way, I am merely noting that is what is going on here. You all know I think life is too short to drive boring tanks, but I also happen to think wasting money is unnecessary.

Increasingly, these are the types of questions I encounter when faced with the proposition of a new tank.

Will it want to form a meaningful long term relationship?

What is the true cost of it, all things considered?

And if it fell off a bridge on Canals, but wasn’t spotted at the time; would anyone hear it?

*

Basically, most of these rather more philosophical than utilitarian or functional considerations revolve around justification. Because philosophical justification is different from your standard teleological one. “Telos” means having to do with purpose, so that means the justification has to do with filling some form of need or function:

I buy a tier VIII Heavy tank because I want to grind credits.

Compared to this very concrete statement, philosophical justification may seem decidedly less substantial; irrational even:

I buy a tier VIII Heavy tank because I am a gold noob.

Even if people will accept this justification at face value on account of its inner logic (naturally gold noobs will buy premium tanks; that’s self evident), it’s going to be a hard sell, since it all depends on your being a gold noob or not in the first place. Sensible people will reject gold noob logic because it is self evident; it has no justification outside of itself. What that means is just that there is no actual reason behind being a gold noob.

Over time however, philosophical considerations tend to become more important. If you have hundreds of millions of credits, credit grinding loses its meaning. It no longer works as a justification. Collecting tanks or chasing stats are limited in the same fashion; they are both finite projects with concrete goals.

I allude to this all the time. Talking about my “project tanks” and “promises for the future”. They are important to me, and the reason is very, very simple:

If I didn’t have any projects, and the future held no promises; why would I continue to drive tanks in the first place?

It’s not an unreasonable question. I’m sure you’ve asked it yourself numerous times out of frustration. And finding reasons to quit are always easier than finding reasons to keep on going.

I think about that a lot. I could name any number of things that I think are wrong about contemporary pixel tank warfare, but they wouldn’t change the fact I basically still think Blitz is a really good game, and I have no intention of giving it up any time soon. I know that, because I’ve made a conscious decision about it. It’s not something I take for granted or don’t think about at all.

This decision requires the change of perspective from instant gratification to long term enjoyment, but it also makes that change possible. Your projects will go from climbing tiers, grinding tanks and polishing stats to learning specific tanks and playstyles, to gathering your perfect garage, to… well what, exactly? I usually just say “to git gud”, but since I don’t care about my stats, how would anyone, including myself, know?

There is no end point. Pixel tank war is eternal. There is no future; there is only now, seven minutes, and thirteen people out to ruin your day. (Yes, from that follows: unless you are driving tanks, you don’t fully exist. I am of course joking.)

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Right now, I feel fully justified. I put like 100 games on my Chinese monster already, and I just want to drive it more. Also, I am super happy I never drove Russian Heavys, bought the IS-5, or grinded out the Glacial, because the more I had driven them, the more that would have detracted from this experience. Yea, people, pike nose Heavy tanks are still relatively new to me.

The armour works, it really does. In tier VIII games, you can pretty much bully anyone you come across into the ground unless there are too many of them at once. Some tier IX tanks as well. Flat sides are easy to angle, and once you learn to trust the curious mosaic pike nose armour, you will see how strong it is. The flat sides are easy to angle, and the turret front is massive. We are talking something like 550 mm effective, spaced armour.

I thought the thing was going to be much slower and much more sluggish, but it really has all the mobility it needs. If this thing did 50 and had 5 or 10 more degrees of hull traverse, it would be monstrously overpowered, even with the hours and hours of aimtime on the derpy old field gun it has.

Yes, it’s the famous D-25, TA model. This one isn’t the top of the line, because it’s not Russian but Chinese, but it is the second best after the Russian premiums. Numbers don’t matter, however; the weapon is obviously suited to close encounters, and you have both the armour and the mobility to back it up. It’s derpy, sure. Needs a steady hand, no problem. It’s a workhorse.

If this had been a few years ago, and some dam gold noob had plowed right into my elitist Medium tank in one of these things, I would have hated it immensely. The WZ-111 murders Light and Medium tanks. It’s fast enough to keep up with most Mediums, and once you’re out on the flank, not only will you face close encounters, you will also be facing tanks that absolutely don’t want to have to deal with you.

Unless, you know, there are two of them and they take turns breaking your tracks.

I feel like it’s strong, yeah. In some situations, it can be immensely strong. But I also still don’t feel like it has training wheels. I bounce a lot more shells off stupid noob proof IS clones than I get bounces from them. I get swarmed and taken down all the time. People hit my drive wheel or lower plate and go through. I turn the turret and get smacked in the back of it. It all happens.

But when it comes down to it, actual performance didn’t have a lot to do with my purchasing the WZ-111.

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Which brings us back to the actual justification. What does it look like, in hindsight?

Well, I can hardly claim to be governed by any kind of telos. It’s all the other kind of justification.

The tank is gone from the store. You can’t get one. As far as I’m aware, it’s not on any of our press accounts. But I have it, and so I paid for exclusivity. It’s also new and unproven. No one really knows what it can do, or how it will fare in the current meta. So I paid for novelty.

Furthermore, Chinese tanks, although you wouldn’t think so, occupy their own little niche in the game, by virtue of not really being anything special. You have heard me argue this point before; it is actually a pretty rare thing in the game, a tank being just a tank and nothing else.

The WZ-111 certainly has no bells and whistles except for APCR standard (…which has the same shell speed as regular Soviet AP shells), so in a roundabout way, I paid for quirkiness.

I could go on like this. The WZ-111 used to have a bad reputation on PC before it got buffed, but you still don’t hear a lot about them, and there aren’t a lot of guides and things like that out there. The same is true for a lot of Chinese tanks.

So I am now a WZ-111 driver. A China tank connoisseur. I don’t drive any old IS clone premium, me; I drive the Chinese IS clone premium. The new Chinese clone premium. So this is where I start paying for identity; and you all know what kind of identity we are talking about here?

Yes, that’s right:

An elitist gold noob tank philosopher. Which, you know; I already was to begin with.

 

I am not sure how I got from “what is time worth” to the above conclusion, but there you go.

Time will tell of the WZ-111 is the right tank for me, or just the “right now” tank like I suspected it might be. Either way, Capitalism is still working as intended, it seems. I pay money to become what I am already.

 

See you out there. I’ll be the moron in the overpriced knock off tank: