WZ-111 Evaluation

 

Chinese Brawler?

By:

IrmaBecx

 

So the WZ-111 is back in the store again. Also the 121B; my second most coveted tank at the moment, but that’s another story.

You may recall I wrote about the WZ-111 a few months ago, saying I had let my emotions get the better of me, and that I had bought the tank ”sight unseen and against my better judgement”. Today, those words – although they were both true and spoken in earnest at the time – seem slightly harsh. They don’t express the way I really feel about the tank.

I also wrote that if you have the Glacial or the IS-5 already, then you may want to give this one a miss. That part still stands. The WZ-111 won’t be a huge upgrade over the Glacial; it has a pike nose and is a little bit faster. Also it has stronger side armour; that’s about the extent of it. And, if you have a few Soviet style Heavy tanks already, thos one probably won’t be worth it for you.

But, in spite of this, I still like the 111 a lot, and I won’t hesitate to recommend it.

*

So what’s to like?

I have come to understand the Chinese tanks don’t always have the same effect on people they have on me. I think they are fantastic. A lot of other people think they are boring Russian knockoffs, and there is no arguing where the inspiration comes from. Chinese tanks have Russian armour layouts, old Russian field guns, all kinds of Soviet influences. I’ve said before if you look at these tanks and all you see is a Russian knockoff, then that’s all they are going to be.

In the case of the WZ-111, it’s hard to argue there is more to it. It has the same armour profile the tier IX WZ-111 1-4 has; same as the IS-5 has the armour profile of the tier IX IS-8. It has a regular 122 mm gun with APCR standard, same as the IS-5 has. And being a tier VIII Premium Heavy tank isn’t exactly original. It doesn’t even have a 130 mm or something, all in all it’s a pretty standard vehicle.

But it does work. In fact, it’s one of my ten best performing tanks at the moment, although that’s not nevessarily saying much. I’ve never been into Heavy tanks that much, and I don’t actually own a high tier Russian Heavy tank. For someone who does; again, it’s not certain the WZ is going to add a lot to your collection.

Three things I like about the WZ-111. First of all, it’s pretty fast. It’s fast in that typically Chinese diesel kind of way; it bogs down in mud and water, but seems to glide across the ground once you get it going, right up until you try to make a turn. It’s not exactly agile in a close up brawl, but it can chase down Light tanks and run with the Mediums if you want. But the WZ is not one of those ”Heaviums” you hear about, it’s a pretty standard Heavy tank, and it does all the Heavy tank jobs you throw at it.

Second, the WZ-111 side scrapes really well. It doesn’t have the weak fold at the bottom of the side armour a lot of the other WZ models have. It doesn’t have the impervious IS-8 armour the IS-5 does; you won’t get any bounces unless you angle up properly. But with the straight sides, and a bit of spaced armour above the tracks, the armour profile is super easy to get your head around. Especially if you have driven a few similar (…by which I mean ”Russian”) tanks already.

And here, again, I feel I should say that if you are used to the ultra bias of your IS-5, 8, 4, 2, or 7 you may feel the unbiased WZ armour is simply worse than they are. Like I said, that’s hard to argue against. I ended my last WZ-111 review by saying the IS-5 is a no brainer in comparison; it’s faster, it’s stronger, it has a lot more bias, and it’s a lot cheaper. That still stands, although personally, I will always go for the WZ.

 

Lastly, I really like the pike nose. That’s not a very curious attribute either, but as I haven’t driven a lot of pike nose tanks, I enjoy the playstyle a lot. Indeed, learning to use the pike nose effectively is the key to being successful in the WZ-111.

It’s not really a ”true” pike nose. It’s more like a cross between a pike nose and a flat glacis plate, with a rectangular lower plate unlike the IS tanks and the WZ-110. That means the angles on it aren’t very acute, but it also means it produces a kaleidoscope of bounce/no bounce zones, especially if you wiggle around a bit:

 

The lower plate is a weakspot, of course, which is completely fair on a tier VIII tank. It’s also pretty flat, so hard to angle up unlike the more severely angled Russians. But if you use the gun depression, the upper pike/plate will be completely impervious, and the turret too. They also won’t see your hatches, which are weak spots. It doesn’t take a lot to find these semi-hull down positions, and nce you figure it out, you’ll start finding them everywhere. It’s just a slight adaptation of your regular Heavy tank playstyle.

So with the fast-in-a-straight-line mobility, the pike-plate nose and the strong side armour, the WZ-111 is a very well put together vehicle, it’s easy to learn how to use, and it’s a pleasant drive, unless you are determined this is just a Russian knockoff and therefore super boring. That pretty much leaves just one question:

Who should buy one?

*

Well, me. But I already did. So who else?

That’s a difficult question. Because although I won’t hesitate to recommend it, I struggle to actually find someone to recommend it to.

A tank collector? A tank connoisseur like me? Someone who thinks Russian tanks are boring? But then why would Chinese tanks be any less boring? And the fact is you can easily find, or may already own, tanks that are a better option for you.

I think the WZ-111 will continue to be a sort of marginalised, niche type of vehicle; which seems a bit strange for what is basically just a standard Heavy tank. It’s the non-Russian Russian Heavy. The Non-pike nose pike nose tank. Only people who take an actual interest in it will buy it, because unless you are into Chinese tanks, this one doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles.

But it doesn’t have to. I’ve said that’s the exact reason I like it; it doesn’t try to be anything other than exactly what it is, and that’s not hard to figure out. And although you can find a cheaper, more accessible alternative that may be a better fit for you, there is absolutely no risk in choosing the offbeat vehicle for once, because there really is nothing strange about the WZ-111.

 

IrmaBecx says it’s the perfect tier VIII Heavy tank for me. Make sure you know what you want out of it, and it may be the one for you as well.

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Monday Poetry Corner – Call for Submissions!

 

So I was playing a bit of 1 versus 1 with my friend and colleague PanCCham the other day, and thinking about it after, it struck me how much I have slacked off during my break a few weeks ago.

I keep saying the game is the best it’s ever been, but every time I play I seem to end up yelling at noobs again, which is neither constructive nor healthy – which I realise; and so I also feel bad about myself.

It’s really staggering, the amount of negativity pixel tank driving can produce.

But then I went and drove some of my favourite tanks on my own, and I ended up having a really good game in the Leopard 1, which I am ashamed to admit I am still afraid to drive.

Let me tell you why it was good. Since I was in my Leo, I didn’t rush the B cap on Rockfield as usual, but went around and tried to get some early spots on the Medium route; you know, like a Medium tank. T57 Heavy rolls up, and we cap the base, because there is no one there. They are capping A with their Heavy tank advantage, and I poke up to take a look; maybe try to reset, and get hit in the face for it like anyone could have guessed.

So then I have a moment of clarity. They have the A cap now, and they’ll be moving around towards our base. Instead of trying to poke the ridge again, or drive after my team, I turn back, and am already doing 50 when our straggler E100 calls for help. We halt their advance, and take out their T57 Heavy together; I hit a beautiful snap shot at speed; a real drive by, and set the thing on fire.

The rest of the game is just hitting the remaining tanks from behind and clearing them out. Nothing really special at all, but I came away feeling like everything had gone right.

*

That’s not always how you feel after driving the Leo 1, because you can’t make any mistakes, and you only have hitpoints for armour. Most of the time, I leave the battle feeling like I’ve made a fatal error.

And in general, I think it’s time for me to face the fact it’s not just the noobs noobing out that loses me games anymore; I noob out pretty hard myself.

But then it just takes that one battle where everything falls into place to make it all worth it. The eternal quest for the perfect game. And it’s not a sisyphean quest, or a finite and transient target to be reached; it is a process, a journey, an adventure in tank driving looking for glory in battle – the perfect battle and nothing less.

It’s a tall order. But you get a lifetime to succeed at it, and it just takes work. You learn something every time you roll out, and the accumulation of knowledge is a beautiful thing in and of itself. Feeling like you understand how things work gives you a sense of satisfaction and reassurance.

But to what end? Will we, like the remorseful philosopher, end our life wishing we had spent more time looking at flowers than reading books?

*

To me, the answer is clear; although not so easy to express.

The reason is poetry.

Not curating tank poetry, although that is also a worthwhile and hugely satisfying endeavour; but poetry in motion. Making a slick play. Landing a clutch shot. Weaving through the battle like a furie; untouchable, as if for once protected by the dark gods of Russian numbers and probabilities.

And this is why I drive like a crazy person. Trying to manufacture the situations that will allow me to make poetry; if only a single time, for a fleeting, split second moment.

Bouncing the would-be killshot off my rear disappearing around a corner. Catching air. Powersliding manoeuvres. Things like that.

Being a Medium elitist tank philosopher means chasing those fleeting moments all the time. We always play to win; so what? Everyone plays to win except campers. But we drive out to find the magic game. The clutchest shot. The broadest broadie. The hardest ram, and the fiercest knife fight brawl. If you see us out there, you know we are going to go for it.

*

In the actual poetry department, I’ve had the help of some great tank drivers in finding, researching, and even producing their own tank poetry. 

I feel I should mention the underhandedly intellectual Vanguard clan in this context; if you look at them from a distance, you might not notice their extreme cultural refinement, lurking behind a wall of boobs, goats, and “no-one-carries-Vanguard” stiff upper lip, but their input has been invaluable; Monday Poetry Corner wouldn’t be the same without Vanguard.

If you happen to be an aspiring tank poet, and you aren’t afraid to admit you know how to read and write, or you know someone who is, and isn’t, then do send me any tidbits you may find or scribble on scrap paper. Or, your phone I guess, these days. Me, I still prefer scrap paper.

It doesn’t take a lot to make a poem, although it can take everything you have. We’ve already featured a single word, single letter, single syllable poem, and I have one coming up that I am told has taken months of work.

But by way of inspiration, and to remind myself of the positives of pixel tank warfare; the wondrous feeling I have every time I roll out in one of my favourite rides, I will leave you with a short poem I wrote myself.

If you have some tank poetry to share, there is a “Contact” button above, I am on the Official Blitz Discord server, or just message me in game. If you prefer to use a pseudonym, or an amusing nom de plume, that is of course no problem.

Here; as promised, one of my own.

 

Anticipation

 

Anticipation;

       not fear.

Unyielding Noobish pride.

 

These are

       my only weapons,

       preparing for the ride.

 

See my careful

       combat loadout;

Nothing scares me rolling out,

 

Hubris;

Maybe.

But, anticipation 

       leaves no room

       for doubt.

*

Break my armour,

       kill my driver,

       blind me, stop me in my track;

 

I will turn

       my vengeance on you;

       blind with rage as I attack

 

Fury

Anger

       dreams lay shattered

Best laid plans turned on their head

 

Hatred;

       not fear

       kills your mind

Spare me reproachment when I’m dead

*

Rise again,

Anticipation

       once again it fills my head.

 

Not anger

       nor hatred

       nor dread.

-IrmaBecx

 

 

 

First Look: Panzer 58 Mutz!

 

Swiss Bear Sighting!

By:

IrmaBecx

 

So the Panzer 50 Mutz is finally here, complete with the Swiss Bear camo. This in fact marks the last of the PC Premium tanks I was super interested in when I first started driving Mediums being added to the game. Almost three years, I’ve waited.

And somewhere in the middle of all that waiting, I got kind of bored with gun depression Mediums. I sold all my US tanks except the SuperPershing, and I haven’t driven my Japanese tanks in ages. The meta, you would think, isn’t super friendly to lightly armoured gun depression Mediums. But lately I have been returning to my Medium tank roots, and so I have been curious about the Mutz.

So have Wargaming managed to make the Panzer 58 an interesting drive? Or at least a competitive one?

*

I threw some gold at the press account shop to find out. Naturally, I went for the fully loaded version, and I splashed for the bear camo as well.

Didn’t look at the stats any, I just rolled out on Vineyards and tried to see what the thing is all about. It’s not super fast was my first impression, top speed around 50. But the thing does turn really well, and the turret keeps up as well. I’m not really used to this kind of gun handling after driving all those derpy Chinese tanks, and I found I exposed a lot more of the tank than I really need.

Gun depression leaves nothing to be desired. Still, that’s not so unusual for tier VIII.

The tank I feel the Mutz is most like is the Indien-Panzer. Which is cool, because I always liked the Indien; basically you trade side armour for frontal armour, and the mobility of the Mutz is a lot better than the IndyPanzer.

It’s the hull traverse that does it. With improved controls and some fuel and chocholate, I get over 70 degrees of traverse, with almost 20 horsepower per ton. That means, even though the Mutz is no light tank, it does retain speed really well, and it’s a really slippery seal in a close up encounter. If you happen on an isolated Heavy tank, the Mutz may be one of the best COD tanks i’ve seen in a while.

It’s not as fast or powerful as the AMX CDC, but it does turn faster. And 120 mm isn’t going to stop the CDC 90 mm, but it will at least produce some autobounce angles. The front is kind of a strange dome shape, especially made for getting those hull down bounces.

But like I said, you shouldn’t be afraid to go toe to toe in it. The armour is weak overall, but it’s not useless, and they have to catch you first. Not a lot of tanks have the mobility in close quarters the Mutz does.

*

So is it going to be worth the 14 thousand gold, or 17 thousand with the equipment?

A bit to early to say anything definite; I’ll have to get into more tier IX games. And 30 mm of side armour is going to get you Borsig-ed and SU-ed and T49:ed a lot; it’s certainly not a frontline brawler.

But I will say the Mutz is a great drive. It’s faster than you think, and relocates really effectively, which is how you’ll want to play it. Gun handling is great, penetration is good; in fact this is virtually the same 90 mm you find on the Indien and the CDC. DPM is also the same.

If you like your gun depression Mediums, and you know how to play the sneaky supporter, then the Mutz may well be for you. After my few first games I came away feeling I’d had a great drive, and I’m looking forward to driving it some more. Even though it’s pretty lightly armoured, I didn’t feel like it struggled; the mobility and gun handling makes up for it, and I can’t imagine the Mutz won’t be competitive.

But it is a lot of gold, and it’s not certain the Mutz is going to add something to your collection beyond the novelty of being an early adopter. It’s possible you have a very similar tank already.

But I don’t feel any reservations about recommending it, as long as you understand precisely what you are getting.

 

IrmaBecx says if you are looking for a new gun depression Medium to grind some credits with, then look no further.

 

 

Monday Poetry Corner

 

So I noticed something.

It’s Sunday night, and I am goofing around at tier X on my press account. Playing the Foch (155) and Yolo Wagon; I’m afraid to drive my own Object 263 now, because I subconsciously don’t want to ruin my bullshXt 72% winrate after like 28 games or whatever it is.

I mean, anyone can see it’s a fluke. The tank may be that good, but I’m not that good. If I kept my head down (which I don’t – we’ll get back to that), I bet I could reach the magic 60%, but that would take some extensive de-noobing work, as well an a super-human effort on my part.

I’ll tell you what; I just don’t care enough. As long as I am over 50%, it’s all green to me. I don’t need to be blue.

So yeah; 53% I think is an accurate representation of my standard of driving: I win 5% more often than the average 20.000 game noob; if you just show up and don’t really do anything, 48% seems to be the new 50. Me, I show up and at least try to do something.

And here’s where we get back to not keeping my head down, and also the thing I noticed. Ten seconds after the bell rings, I am at top speed, at least 100 meters from spawn, and I am going somewhere.

*

Somewhere. Not just anywhere.

I have looked at the team setup, and I know which one is the Heavy and Medium side, or I know a good spot for lighting them up or get an early shot in. I know where the enemy herd is likely to be, and I am thinking “someone has to spot them”.

But here’s what I noticed. That “someone” always seems to be me. Which is fine, but the thing is I don’t always drive Medium tanks. Light tanks can do the spotting as well, but they can’t brawl as good. And I am talking about Heavy tanks and turretless Tank Destroyers.

You don’t want to spot the middle on Canyons, or try to take the corner on Port Bay in the aforementioned Foch (155). Not saying it can’t be done; and indeed I’ve done it, but you really don’t. You want your Mediums to do it.

So the thing I noticed is, how much the game revolves around Medium tanks for me, and also that a lot of the time, that means I play like a complete amateur. I mean, after I get lit up first and obliterated in crossfire, the other six people have to be asking themselves “Why would you bring a Foch (155) to the B cap on Canyons? Look what happens…”.

*

I also noticed it isn’t actually Sunday night anymore, it’s early Monday morning, and so I promise there will be a poem at the end of this.

But yeah; ever since they blanket nerfed the Medium tanks and buffed all the gloss off vehicles like the Object 140, not only are we seeing less Medium tanks out there, Medium tank gameplay has also become a more crucial component in winning the battle, either by it’s presence or it’s absence.

If you can smash their Medium tanks early, you will have blinded them, and basically established map control. You can go anywhere you like, and not get spotted or pounced on by roving Mediums.

Or, if they don’t have Mediums and you do, you can push across real fast and catch their Heavy tank herd in a murderous crossfire; drive straight at their TD backup and knock it out.

This is the kind of stuff that goes through my mind when I drive my Medium tanks. Not the tactics so much as the part about “drive straight at their TD backup”, and yeah, that means I get death-starred a lot.

But it’s OK, because all it takes is for someone to be on point, and their doom cannon is toast. I spot them up, maybe hit their track, and then they get death-starred themselves.

Poetic justice, we call that.

I remember when the BatChats came out, Wargaming made known they were going to be an antidote to camping TDs.

We all knew the BatChat was going to be something to the Skill Stars, but we were thinking more like fodder for them. Like all other tanks in the game. In fairness, first game out, I drove straight across the middle on Oasis Palms, and actually got behind their camping 183 in the corner. Only after that did the one-shotting start.

So yeah, seeing the game from a Medium tank standpoint is one thing. That makes you aware of your flanks and common scouting spots, but playing all other tanks like Medium tanks, is quite another. And 90% of the time, it’s just dumb. Welcome to 48%.

*

Forty eight percent, incidentally, is the current winrate of my Object 140. Not the one on the press account; that one still has “most OP tank in the game” residue on it, but my own, personal Object 140 “Terror”. That has like 48%, even though it’s still the best Medium tank in the game and all that, and I never ever drove it without 100% crew, eight slots of equipment, and full race loadout.

It’s because of the “full race” in the above. There is nothing more exhilarating than driving pure Russian Bias coated with a thin veil of pixels straight into fire and peril, and then getting away with it. It’s just you don’t always get away with it.

If you want to hit that “one shot in a thousand”, you basically have to drive the other nine hundred and ninety games as well, and all those other times you are going to miss.

*

We call that “living on the edge”, us Medium tank elitists, but maybe we should call it “the white man’s burden”. Kipling wrote that, in honour of Queen Victoria, but the poem got bumped from the Diamond Jubilee in favour of another one.

Luckily, Kipling had wrote that one, too. It was a sombre piece about the British empire going the way of all other Empires some day; “lest we forget”, and sort of went against the whole mood of the Jubilee celebration.

“The White Man’s Burden” is of course a call to the US to assume control of the Phillipines so that the “half child, half devil” savages could be civilised, even though Imperialism is a dirty business, and comes at great cost and not a lot of thanks:

 

Take up the White Man’s burden —

And reap his old reward:

The blame of those ye better,

The hate of those ye guard —

The cry of hosts ye humour

(Ah, slowly!) toward the light: —

“Why brought he us from bondage,

Our loved Egyptian night?”

[…]

Take up the White Man’s burden —

Have done with childish days —

The lightly profferred laurel,

The easy, ungrudged praise.

 

Comes now, to search your manhood

Through all the thankless years

Cold, edged with dear-bought wisdom,

The judgment of your peers!

 

Kipling ends by explaining why it is, exactly, we should take up the white man’s burden: it is to stop being childish, and go search our “manhood”. If you don’t go to war for Imperialism, you are not a real man, but just a child. Quite rightly is was criticised, ridiculed, and polemicised against by a lot of people for being racist and Eurocentric.

“Come on, Kipling”, they said; “what about the Brown man’s burden? Or the Black man’s burden?” Or they said “Okay, Kipling, we picked up the White man’s burden. Now tell us; how do we put it down again?”

The problematic interpretation of Kiplings poem; (one feels he might have quite while he was ahead as “The Jungle Book” was writte five years prior) is that it justifies Imperialist colonization. It makes it a moral duty to colonize other peoples, so that they can become fully realised as human beings, through being part of the global industrial economy, and through your own culture.

Part of your own culture, but still apart from it. A component of your culture, but not involved in it; not a participant in it. These other peoples will be something like an “Abo” or a “Bamboula”. If they happen to be born of mixed race, they they will be a “cafe au lait”, or a “Mestizo”, or something. And what about the “Pied-Noir”, or the “Expat”?

African American. Native American. Irish American. Filipino American. Which of these is an actual American? One of them? All of them? None of them? And how could it be the moral duty of someone to make them all “American” in the first place?

Let’s not get into all that. Kipling is dead, and we all remember “The Jungle Book” better than Kipling’s poems anyway. Certainly Kipling knew war, his son was killed at the front in 1915.

Imagine the bitterness in writing these sparse words:

A Son

My son was killed while laughing at some jest.    I would I knew 

What it was, and it might serve me in a time when jests are few.

 

Common Form 

If any question why we died, 

Tell them, because our fathers lied.

 

*

The same way Kiplings poem about the Filipino-American was misguided, that feeling of superiority you feel because you drive a Medium tank, and you know exactly what’s going to happen if they drive off that way like they are doing, is misguided.

Medium tank gameplay is the key to victory, even though the Heavy tanks and Tank Destroyers are the backbone of the team and do the bulk of the damage. But that doesn’t mean Medium tank playstyles are inherently better than other playstyles, especially not of you are slavishly following some Medium tank doctrine of your own concoction, to the detriment of adapting to the situation.

So that’s what I noticed. I am slavishly following some Medium tank doctrine of my own concoction, to the detriment of adapting to the actual gameplay situation. If no one else is going the “right way”, than it ceases to be the right way, and there really is only the moral victory in saying “I told you so” left.

I don’t need to tell you that victory doesn’t show up on your stats.

So I will leave you with this weeks tank poet poem, written for us by unknown tank poet Leo P.T.Aodh.

No, I don’t know how to pronounce it either. It’s prolly Gaelic, or Finnish, or something.

But I found it a fitting illustration to the troublesome duality of Medium tank driving. You know you can be the key to victory, but even if you get the win, it’s still a thankless job. And we don’t have to do it; we choose to. And personally, I am going to try and choose to do it a little more carefully.

Thankfully, the death we contemplate is not that of our children; merely that of our pride, and of our favourite pixel tank.

/Irma

 

Reflections On Death

 By: Leo P.T.Aodh

 

Dead men don’t seem to have balanced opinions 

It’s not left me

to die gloriously 

Without their spurious whingings.

 

Even my super-rare carry 

in the Type 59

Was subject to some dead guy

Giving me his uncorked bitter whine. 

 

Don’t talk to me about

Yolo dead tankers

Wish they would move on

And spare me their canker!

 

After the death 

Of a super purple unicorn 

All hell can break loose 

Like being in a verbose noobathon 

 

And that’s the thing these days 

About staying alive In Blitz

It really leaves you

Kicking against the pricks.

 

 

T-34-85 “Rudy” – the No-Brainer

 

Rudy Returns Yet Again!

By:

IrmaBecx

 

So my friend bought the “Rudy” the other day to grind some credits, and if you know me, you’ll know I’m all for that.

“Rudy”, of course, being the best tank in the game.

I tried to explain about when I first got my own Rudy all those years ago; when I finally took the plunge and started driving Russian Medium tanks, having been strictly a German tank purist in those early days, although I had started dabbling in British Mediums also.

If you knew anything about reading stats, you would immediately see Rudy was going to be worth it. You have to remember there were a lot less tanks back then, and the T-34-85 “Rudy” made a tremendous impact in the meta of yesteryear.

Me, I thought I saw something else too. Two things, actually.

First off, Rudy was supposed to be a tier VII rival to the T-43; considered a Russian powerhouse in those days, even though it was quite obviously just a souped up tier VI T-34-85, but looking at the stats, I figured Rudy wasn’t just a tier VI tank only a little stronger.

Rudy was a tier VIII T-44 in disguise, only a little weaker. Fifteen millimetres or so weaker. That’s a little.

*

The other thing was more diffuse. But just looking at Rudy from a distance, I didn’t feel the usual fear and revulsion; my heart didn’t sink the way it did when I had to face Russian tenks in the wild.

The immediate sensation was I could totally see myself driving “Rudy”.

As I’m sure you know, “Rudy” is actually a Television superstar from Poland. That fact alone is of course fascinating; there actually is a real “Rudy” out there somewhere. You can search “Four Tank Men and a Dog”, and watch Rudy charge against the Fascists in glorious Soviet era black and white.

The Polish thing I made quite a big deal about. I lied to myself Rudy was actually Polish, and not Russian, and therefore my betrayal against the Fatherland would be slightly ameliorated. That means “not as bad as it looks, really”.

Like I said it’s a total lie. Rudy was one of the first generation Premium tanks that were just outright better than their tech tree counterparts, and wearing the Russian flag, it would of course just laugh in the face of any accusations of Bias or overpoweredness.

“What Russian Bias? I am Polish!

I realised all my rock star tanker friends and enemies alike would throw all their money at “Rudy” as fast as they possibly could, but more importantly, I realised something else. I wanted to do the same thing myself.

Not because everyone else were going to do it. Because it was just so obviously the right and proper thing to do. I was convinced I was never going to be really happy with my tank collection unless it was crowned by the jewel that is the T-34-85 “Rudy”, and I also knew right away we were going to be friends forever and ever.

So this is it people. If you are reading this looking for some kind of recommendation, then here it is:

“Rudy” is the absolute best in game purchase I ever made in my life.

I would be completely happy with just one single tank in my garage, as long as it is my T-34-85 “Rudy”.

Outside of tier X; after all these years, the T-34-85 “Rudy” is the best tank in the game.

That is all you need to know.

*

I drove my “Rudy” yesterday, and those couple of games were all I needed to put me back in the “Rudy” frame of mind.

Because Rudy may have Russian Bias coming out every orifice, but you need to understand what Russian Bias is. Outside actual stats, like ground resistance (“What? It’s only a little tier VI Medium tank, it doesn’t need ground resistance…”), once you are out there you need to work for the Bias, because it’s all out there on the edges of performance.

“Rudy” will hit the most insane snap shots, but you have to keep firing in order to get lucky. “Rudy” will bounce dead-certain kill shots off the kinky WW II armour; shot traps and all, because it has just enough beefed up tier VI armour to not get overmatched, and if you are doing over 30, powersliding through a turn, then that kill shot is going to bounce off the front plate, right next to the super obvious driver’s hatch weakspot.

Because Russia.

Because Rudy can dance like Michael Jackson. Walking across the moon like an ethereal presence; seemingly moving in the exact opposite direction you would imagine.

That’s what “Rudy” does. If you dance around the edges of performance, you will reap a fruitful bounty. And that doesn’t mean Rudy is a very complicated drive; only suited for Pro drivers, it just means it can be. You can throw any job in the game at Rudy, and a lot of the times, Rudy is going to surprise you. Disappearing around a corner the last second before the enemy shell whizzes past, on just a handful of hitpoints; the dog has to help hold the thing together in there so it won’t just implode like the Bluesmobile from the savage beating you’ve taken, and then blasting out from the other side, securing the kill with a no-scope return shot across the shoulder.

Outside of tier X, the “Rudy” is going to give you the best games of your life; sooner or later. The better you get at driving, the more Russian Bias you can take advantage of. And it just never ends. Even after all this time, “Rudy” still surprises me doing the incredulous stuff you just don’t ever see. Unless you make some kind of pact never to play tier VII again, the Rudy is the best investment you’ll ever make, because Rudy says like that cop in “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry”:

“My top end is un-limited!

I just never get tired of driving it. No matter how much I love bombing around in the ultimate Bias Machine, my beloved Object 140, there will always be time for Rudy. Because the Object 140 may still be the best tier X Medium tank in the game, but it’s not “Rudy”. I told you already.

“Rudy” is the best tank in the game.

I don’t know how else to say it.

*

So how do you drive the best tank in the game, in the tier VII of today?

Same as you always did. Pedal to the metal. Full on race spec tanking. Rev up the diesel V-12 and drop the hammer; the 85 will be loaded by the time you reach top speed. Slam on the brakes, fire the gun, do a 360 degree pirouette, and you will be loaded again just as you complete the turn. That’s the kind of fierce mobility and firepower you are dealing with.

You basically have tier VI armour. But I mean the CDC has tier VI Light tank armour, and it still does pretty good at tier VIII, right? Don’t get hit. Or if you do, dance and wiggle, and Rudy will shrug off most reasonable shots like nothing.

Rudy has gun depression. That’s so you can aim down over one front drive wheel, and even though your armour is so flimsy, Rudy just goes all red.

“Rudy” means “Redhead” in Polish.

You don’t stop punching the pedal; Rudy wants to rock back and forth, and wiggle and jiggle to find the ultimate gun angle; Rudy likes to move. The completely off the charts mobility stats were one of the things that sold me on the Rudy right away, and when I took it out the first few times, it nearly blew me off the seat. Remember, I was used to Panthers.

These days, we have other speed machines in the game; all Rudys tiers infested with Light tanks of all kinds, roving IS drones that move like Mediums in tier IX Heavy tank armour, and heavy hitting Chinese hull down beasts. Or the 50 km/h “Tank Destroyer” turretless Medium tanks with tier X weaponry? It’s fair to say “Rudy” has been power creeped a little bit.

But that’s not Rudy’s problem. Rudy is still the best. It’s just now you have to work a little harder to realise Rudys awesome potential. There is not a tank in the game the Rudy cannot take down in a  one-on-one, or even three-on-one.

Rudy just doesn’t care. Rudy runs away and pops back up unexpectedly. For someone who loved flanking manouvers and stalking lone prey already, driving the Rudy back then was an absolute revelation.

To this day, I am never scared of anything driving my beloved Rudy.

Rudy is fierce, but your gameplay will have to be also. That doesn’t mean Rudy won’t work if you stay back, it just means you won’t see Rudy at the edge of performance; triumphing against the elements of game mechanics time and time again.

But that’s all fine. If you drive Rudy casually, playing solid support and going hull down T-34-85 style, then you are still going to be raking in the credits. Rudy will do casual no problem.

But just be aware; if you do se a slight opening, all you have to do is think “fXck it, let’s go!” to yourself, and Rudy will roar into action in a cloud of diesel smoke and cordite, drop the Adrenaline, and watch Rudy blast out approaching, and often in excess of, three thousand five hundred DPM.

Not a lot of tanks stand up to that, especially if they’re not expecting being pounced on by a tasmanian devil made entirely out of overpoweredness, Russain Bias, and dumb, blind luck, unconvincingly painted over with a thin sheet of cultural reference to hide the worst of the blatant disregard for anything even resembing “balance”.

And yet, Rudy is a wonder of balance. It’s just when you push your luck, you almost always get away with it – especially if you tried it before, and know exactly the split second you need to pull back from the lovely damage farming and pull back to get the perfect bounce off your 75 mm thick front plate that is full of holes, but will actually produce like 300 mm of rapidly disappearing effective armour approaching 80 degrees of angle.

The gun mantlet will eat a HEAT shell. The tracks too; make sure you run the track upgrade so it takes two shots to break your track. The 75 mm turret sides will also produce 300 mm effective armour looking down a bit at your opponent, but they will autobounce anyway.

The upper side armour is only 45 mm, but that will actually bounce a Box Tenk or an IS 122 mm at autobounce angles.

That is not saying “side scrape against huge guns”; it just means it can be done. If you angle up, the side armour might bounce the shell, because it is thick enough. If it had been 40 mm, a 122 mm would have punched straight through, but Rudy isn’t actually Polish, Rudy is a Russian tank, and has inherited this small piece of Bias from the T-34-85 at tier VI. Literally the only difference between the two chassises is Rudy’s front plate is 30 mm thicker so Rudy can bounce a Death Star.

There is no gun in the game that will overmatch the Rudys front plate or turet cheeks. It would have to be at least 226 mm caliber. Basically, you need a Sturmtiger or “Atomic Annie”.

That is what Russian Bias is, and if you understand and accept that, then Rudy will be the best drive you ever drove. If you like the retro Polish TV series angle, then that’s just a bonus. Because even without the pop culture, Rudy is a truly powerful vehicle; easily able to handle anything you throw at it.

Not every time. But often enough to be astounding, and also more often the more you work at it.

If you are going to buy just one Premium tank, that you can keep enjoying through tens of thousands of games of playing, then the T-34-85 “Rudy” is that vehicle; if you have even the slightest interest in driving a fire breathing Medium tank.

You can run Rudy full race spec and live on the edge, or you can pack some protection kits and play it safe doing support. Rudy is up for anything; a casual game here and there, or serious tier VII credit grinding. Chasing down Light tanks. Breaking through the flank. Destroying lurking Tank Destroyers. Harassing Heavy tanks until they explode from hysteria.

Rudy is not invincible. That is obvious; or it wouldn’t need all that Bias. And it doesn’t actually need it – Rudy would have been a really good tank turned down several notches.

It’s just a T-34-85 on steroids. Does 55 easy. 53 degrees of traverse, stock. Two and a half thousand DPM without a rammer. Eight degrees of Biased gun depression. And it rakes in the credits.

I mean, really…

 

IrmaBecx says: in a tier VII daily driver; what more do you want?

  

My T-34-85 “Rudy” on May Day a couple of years ago. This was when the IS-5 first dropped.

  

If you don’t want to take my word for it, then just pull up your favourite tank stat source, and then don’t compare the “Rudy” to the T-34-85, or the KV-13, or the T-43.

Instead, compare it to the tier VIII T-44 with your favourite 100 mm gun on it, and remember Rudy started out as a tier six tank.

You’ll see what I mean about the “fifteen millimetres weaker”. If you put a 100 mm gun on the Rudy, then nobody would believe it wasn’t a tier VIII tank…

Monday Poetry Corner

 

Sadness

By:

IrmaBecx

 

So the game is the best it’s ever been right now; that is my honest opinion.

It saddens me deeply a lot of people don’t seem to care about that.

And it’s hard to describe how invested I am in the game; not just because I’ve been playing it for so long, but because of what it is, how it works, and the tremendous amount of work I, along with so many others, have put into the game. That all still amazes me; will never cease to amaze me.

World of Tank Blitz is the best game in the world.

And writing that I feel immediately like the people from “Little Big”, which is of all things a Russian “rave” band from S:t Petersburg; the first words out of their mouths is “We love Russia” before they say anything vaguely critical about their own society. I’ll just say if you haven’t seen old Stalin rapping in Russian, or girls in “kokoshniks” bathing in Rubles and twerking among goats, you are missing out.

But it is none the less true. I don’t identify sexually as an Object 140, but being a pixel tank driver does form a huge part of my identity, even though I am pushing 50 at a rapid pace and it’s “just a silly game”.

I say that all the time. “I’ll be driving my silly pixel tanks” or “I’ll be playing my silly tank game”.

But computer games have been around since the first T-54 tanks rolled off the assembly line at Nizhny Tagil, and owning a game console past your 16:th birthday doesn’t automatically make you a “nerd” anymore; it practically makes you one if you don’t. Especially when you start approaching middle age and have more money to spend.

And spending all that money on something means it needs to be taken seriously on some level. Certainly playing video games will stir your emotions; even in fantasy you always play to win, and of course you get upset when you lose.

A lot of people don’t deal well with that, and I sometimes find myself among them. I get salty, call people a camper, or a noob, or whatever, and say it’s all hopeless; useless; a disaster of epic proportions.

It is of course not. It’s just a game. And when the salt is gone, there is only sadness.

Sadness at losing of course, but also sadness born from disappointment; not in my useless team anymore, but in myself, letting myself get carried away like that and acting like a spoiled child.

*

People threaten to kill eachother over losing a game. They spew the most hateful, vitriolic abuse they can think of all over their opponents, their families, their loved ones, and everything they stand for.

And as poorly as I deal with losing, I deal with that kind of abuse even worse. And worst of all, I deal with becoming like those people I deal the absolute worst with myself.

But worse than even that I deal with being made to feel like it’s my own fault. That I am to blame for feeling bad when others act badly. Like I somehow caused it, just by being.

There is the argument, that if I find using a word in a derogatory manner offensive, then that is my own fault. I represent the entirety of the problem, and if I were to go away, there would be no problem.

This is not so. I had a huge problem with the way people were carrying on on the Official Forum, and so I left. The problems didn’t go away; they got worse. And now the Forum is dead. I grieve for that, but I am not responsible. Indeed I was not allowed to be responsible; and if I had, perhaps things would have been different.

Perhaps.

I might also have drowned in all the negativity, and just went down with it.

*

So where, I wonder, is the next step even going to point towards?

You can see the natural progression of the pixel tank driver. They learn a few things, move up the tiers. And then they hit some kind of limit, and they start blaming things. Game mechanics are bad. The tanks are bad. The teams are bad. Their shots are bad. Everything is bad, and so they get tired of it and leave.

Me, I passed that point long ago. I still play the game, because I imagine I understand something about it that people who give up on it don’t. Or maybe, it’s just that I am so invested in it, I don’t know where else to go or what else to do. I’m not sure anymore.

But if this kind of philistine, luddite “everything is bad” attitude leads to the dementia of Cancrackerism, what does tank philosophy and elitism lead to? Except doing the same thing, with minor variations, over and over again, hoping to get a different result; the very definition of madness?

Is there a way, in which tank philosphy doesn’t lead to sadness?

*

Hatred leads to sadness, for everyone. Frustration leads to sadness. Anger; at least for me, leads to sadness.

Sooner or later, you are going to have to examine yourself; do a bit of soul-searching, and evaluate yourself, to yourself. You have to make sense,a s a person, in your own eyes, otherwise you cannot live properly. Without coherency, there is only existence; not life.

Is the game alive?

Yes. As long as wee all keep it alive. Wargaming may pay for the servers, but we all need to pitch in as players to make it live. And when we do, likewise we have to look at ourselves and consider what kind of contribution we are making to it.

I felt like a contributor to the community, before I ever got the blue tag on the Forum and the magic press account. But today, I just don’t know anymore. Perhaps I have become jaded and entitled; resting on my old laurels, and demanding to be recognised without anything to show for it.

Again; perhaps.

I just feel there is too much negativity going around; not enough willingness to do anything about it, and I can feel it turning me into a worse person, a worse player, and most frightening of all – a worse community contributor.

I wouldn’t be the first to succumb.

But no matter what happens, I will keep driving my silly pixel tanks, and I will continue to write about pixel tank warfare, philosophy, war, and just generally be the tank philosopher warrior poet in the classic sense I always dreamed of being watching Bushka and Sariel’s early efforts at explaining what it was all about and how it was done.

I don’t know what else to do.

And this week, I am not sure there is solace in poetry. Indeed, there is often sadness in poetry also. Or rather; not in poetry itself, but in the subject matter. Because this weeks poem is by aspiring tank poet Peter Panther; unclear if there is any relation to the other Peter, who flies around in a green Robin Hood outfit and doesn’t ever want to grow up.

Like, I suppose, all of us who still play video games in our middle age. Sariel builds Lego now, and Bushka certainly doesn’t seem to be in any kind of a hurry to wear a suit and tie and act all serious.

What I do know, however, is that there can be solace in poetry. And in saying that, I have perhaps tentatively answered my own terrifying question: what does tank philosophy lead to?

In the best of all worlds, it leads to Poetry.

I could live through that.

 

/IrmaBecx The Desert Fox

 

8point8 

By:

Peter Panther

 

I am done with fake fun!

My heavies you know can  carry

And can be 60 % or so…..

But what the hell

They have the smell of fear of…

playing the Light

Or the difficult Medium

But to gain my win rate

Must I suffer this tedium?

 

I’ve seen a mini running everywhere

Challenging his executioners 

And I thought That is without fear!

Ice runs in his veins 

(Is he too callous to be friends?)

Well good for him

Freedom comes from within.

 

So for my love of words

I was always a fan of Placebo 

And knew by instinctual means

What our man Molko 

meant when he said

That he was 33 degrees!

And now I know 

To counteract the in-game hate

I’ve got to be come so ….

8.8

 

They moved the posts

Maybe rightfully so,

Now we only play against those initiated 

Our winrates drops

It’s time to become 8.8s.

Love life 

Laugh at the hate

Embrace your freedom

Go 8.8!

 

 

For the benefit of the Vanguard clan diehards, here is the “Goat Twerking and Ruble Bathing” video by Little Big, mentioned initially. Those over the age of 23 may want to mute the rave-rap sounds and play their favourite power metal track, or “Fuck Tha Police” by N.W.A instead while watching.

You have been cautioned:

Unloved Tanks I – AMX 50 B

 

AMX 50 120 and 50 B – Why Drive The IX?

By:

IrmaBecx

 

So there are more Chinese tanks coming, but I’m not super excited about driving a tier X SU-152. I don’t think that’s going to come as a surprise to anyone.

They say the T-22 Medium is coming, but I’ve not heard a thing about it from Wargaming; likely it will be a crate tank, or maybe a reward tank for the Pros. You could make the argument we have two tier X Russian Mediums already, and people already can’t decide between them, but I for one am super curious about the V-shaped hull.

I’m pretty much only driving my new Premiums these days, trying to scrape together a few million so I don’t have to worry about resources, and I’m feeling like I don’t really have a project right now.

Stagnation is the death of tank philosophy.

So I started looking at my old projects. There are basically two. The first one is the BAtChat. I haven’t even started the French Light tank line yet, but I am of course getting one. The BatChat is the most Elitist tank in the game; why wouldn’t I? The other one is also French, as it happens, and I’ve been at it for ages. It’s the AMX 50 B.

*

Why would anyone drive the 50 B? That’s a paper in itself, but basically it’s down to this: The AMX 50 B does 50 km/h.

There is no question, that in a lot of ways the T57 Heavy is just better. It has that lovely 2,5 second interclip reload. It has armour. It traverses faster. Lots of things.

But those things also limit the T57 Heavy in terms of playstyle. You want to hull down somewhere and hide the hull while you wait for the reload, and then fire off the clip as fast as possible. The T57 Heavy is a classic, armoured, burst damage autoloader Heavy tank.

The 50 B is not that. It’s a huge tank; weight almost 60 tons, and the French gun isn’t quite as sharp as the American, except it depresses down further. The one piece of useful armour is right at the front, the middle of the upper front plate.

But like I said; it does 50. For such a big tank, the mobility is simply amazing; all down to the massive 1320 horsepower engine; the 50 B has like 500 horses on the T57. And to me, that makes all the difference. Having speed means having more gameplay options; it’s that simple. And that is why tanks like the BatChat and the Ru 251 are so alluring, even to the best players in the game.

Fine. The 50 B is one thing. But other than grinding for the 50 B; why would you drive the AMX 50 120 at tier IX? Is this not the classic case of the tier X vehicle simply being better?

*

You would think so. Certainly I thought so. But my friend and colleague “Blitz Jingles” Bushka said something in his second 50 120 review; the thing is actually something pretty unique in the game.

If I had the choice, I would rather drive the K-91. That one has a 100 mm autoloader, and I got to try it out on supertest; easily one of the strangest vehicles in the Russian tech tree, but such a wonderful drive.

So what Bushka said was just this thing doesn’t have tier X Matchmaking. And it still has a tier X 120 mm autoloader that does 1200 damage with each clip.

I hadn’t thought about it that way.

I did like the French Heavy tanks, right up until they changed the AMX 50 100. I still haven’t gotten over that, actually. But anyway; the 50 120 always struck me as just… boring. I didn’t want to drive the tier IX prototype; I wanted to drive the Monster 50 B.

But like the real Jingles says; it ain’t gonna grind itself.

*

And there are some discounts going on. I don’t have a project. There might not be a better time for the 50 B than the present. And I need to get myself a present for the holidays anyway.

So last night, I pulled up my pants and drove a game in my old 50 120. It went pretty well. I drove a second one, and then I spent the million or so credits to get some tracks and Vstabs on it, because I finally understand the point of the 50 120. It’s like Bushka says. It doesn’t get 50 B matchmaking, but it gets a 50 B gun.

The very next game, I got smashed to bits, of course. But I soon found I was getting into the autoloader playstyle; it isn’t all that different from driving a big gun Medium with a long reload.

But it is different. What the autoloader does is give you options, and that is why it’s so interesting to play. You can do 1200 damage in six or seven seconds. But are you sure you have seven seconds? Are you sure all three will go in? A lot of the time, I find the last shell is used to cover up a mistake from one of the two previous ones.

In other words, you wouldn’t just drive out against a Maus or a Bias-7 that’s on like twelve hundred and fifty hitpoints.

*

Sadly, tier IX is still the same. And that, ultimately, is why I ended up selling the 50 120 to buy the AMX 50 B.

 

 

Like I said, I did get into it. I had some good games. But the constant frustration of Death Stars and T49 cheater tanks made me blind to the special qualities of the 50 120, to the point where all I could think was the 50 B is just better. In my mind, other than bullying tier VIII IS clones once in a while, the 50 120 doesn’t really have anything the 50 B doesn’t.

I mean, let’s look at the upgrade package:

You get one more round per minute, which equates a five second shorter clip reload. four more degrees of depression and elevation. 220 more horsepower. 350 more hitpoints. And although the side armour is actually weaker, the frontal armour is between 50 and 70 mm thicker.

You may think the 50 B doesn’t have armour, but it does. It can bounce the biggest guns in the game off the front plate.

Also, those sneaky Frenchmen must have taken a cue from Volvo and thought a bit about driver safety as well. If you fire straight at the lower plate from a slight downward angle, that’s actually more than 300 mm of armour you need to get through to hit the driver. I did actually get a few bounces off the 50 120, but I do miss those extra 70 mm of frontal armour. I love that 50 B front plate, it’s over 400 mm in places with a bit of angling.

 

So many times people just aim at the middle, and if you are on point, that’s where your front plate will be; the only piece of armour you have, and the one place they should never try to shoot you, except for the actual gun in the middle of the turret.

In fairness, the 50 120 is a little more agile, and the side armour is actually thicker. But against tier X guns, that doesn’t really make a difference at all; most of them will overmatch it either way.

*

So yeah. I sold it. Bought the 50 B instead.

And why wouldn’t you? Do you really need two top tier autoloaders? Even if you prefer playing tier IX, I have a hard time imagining the kind of person who likes the 50 120, and doesn’t like the 50 B.

And so that means I’m back to driving my credit grinder Premiums. Basically four Chinese, a Frenchman, and the fantastic “Deutsch-Amerikanischer Freundschaft” project tank. Oh, and the little Black Dog, of course.two

I actually have Vstabs and tracks on it after a few games this morning. And then I have to rebuild my credit buffer. Again.

But I am looking forward to driving it. I have a regular tier X Heavy tank now, so getting an autoloader too seems like a much better idea at this point. And I have been wanting to get it, ever since it first came out.

The AMX 50 B looks fantastic, of course. But in philosophical terms, it’s basically just a combination of three things: a three shot 120 mm French long gun, a small, but massive front plate, and a huge 1300+ horsepower engine. You can tell this is the same people who built the Foch (155).

And although you can’t be as agressive in the 50 B as you can in the Foch, you can still play mid range, as long as you have a team of active players around you. Go with the pack. Maybe follow the Mediums. Or go off alone to find a spot for covering fire, or ambushing low health enemies.

Either way, you want to put yourself in the endgame with as many hitpoints as possible, because that’s where you will start becoming really dangerous. If a Heavy tank takes a full clip from you but ends up taking you out, that’s actually not such a bad trade for them, because they can still hide behind their armour, and they don’t have to worry about you later.

Speed and firepower is what you need to finish off the game a winner, and if you time it well, you can make all the difference for your team; either taking off huge chunks of damage and leaving the reds an easy kill, or finishing off two or even three low health tanks in mere seconds.

The dream of the Magic Clip. Three perfect shots.

But you are most powerful as part of your team; backing them up, and taking refuge behind them and their covering fire while you reload the clip.

 

The AMX 50 B is a team player. Let’s see if I can be one too?