The Chinese Whisper
So if you’ve read my reports from the test server, you pretty much know what happened. I fell completely in love with the little tier VII Chinese Medium tank.
I think I actually talked myself into falling for it long before I ever drove it. If you think that sounds strange, and you wonder how one might go about doing something like that, it’s really not that difficult. All I did was figure out what the idea behind the Chinese Medium line is, and then decide whether I thought it made sense or not. My conclusion was it does.
That’s the easy part. Then you need to figure out which tank is going to be the most successful expression of that idea, and it’s not always as easy as higher tier being better. In this case, I figured tier VII would be where the big-gun-on-small-chassis theory would likely be the most effective. No other Medium tanks have a 100 mm gun at tier VII, and so I thought that’s where it would make the most significant difference.
Before we go any furhter, I have to say this is pretty much the whole deal with theT-34-1. It’s a T-34-85 (well, about half of one…) with a Type 59 turret on it. If you think that sounds like a carbon copy of a Russian tank, then it’s pretty hard to argue that there is in fact anything more to it than that. What differences there are have to do with playstyle, and possibilities, and imagination; and for some people, that’s just not going to be very interesting. This tank is not for everyone, and I think it all depends on what your expectations are.
If you get the feeling these tanks sound way too Russian for your liking, then my advice is to simply drive actual Russian tanks instead. At tier VII, there are even two of them to choose from, plus the Premium Rudy; all of them are excellent tanks.
But for me, the 100 mm weapon along with the sturdy turret appeals to the imagination, and having driven a lot of tier VII Medium tanks over the years, I see something new and different in the little Chinese Whisper.
So far, I can’t say I’ve been disappointed.
So what’s the deal?
“Little”, yeah. The thing is tiny. It’s like half the size of the T-34-85, just a tad taller than the engine deck of the KV-13. I happen to thing it’s super cute, but more importantly it’s a very functional shape. Nice angles, forward mounted turret with no shot traps, low to the ground, and the running gear in the back. Simple and efficient.
I spent some resources to get the T-34-1 quicker, and then I finished all the modules on the Type 58 while I was waiting for the timers. This means you only have to grind the turret, top gun and a set of tracks to finish the T-34-1.
At the moment, I’m running at 90% crew with all the modules, and I have coated optics and rammer fitted. Ammo loadout is 17 AP, 9 APCR, and 7 HE, and then I run double crew rations, super fuel, and my usual consumables: adrenaline and dual repair kits.
So the first game was with all modules but no equipment, and 75% crew. I was hooked. The Chinese Whisper is everything I wanted it to be, but I think I should probably explain just what those expectations were for that statement to make sense.
The Chinese tanks I’ve driven so far have been pretty close to their Russian counterparts, just slightly toned down. Their mobility is good, but not exceptional. Their firepower is solid, but again, not extraordinary. Same with the armour, if applicable.
So, in the case of the T-34-1, what I was expecting it to be was simply a pretty standard tier VII Medium tank with a Hype 59 gun on it, and in view of those expectations, the tank is everything I hoped for. Remember kids, having low; or at least reasonable expectations is the key to happiness.
Notes on Playstyle
It’s not super quick. Rated top speed is 50 km/h, but it takes a little while to get there. If you’ve driven a lot of Medium tanks this won’t come as a surprise, and you’ll know you have to keep moving as much as possible to take advantage of what speed and mobility there is.
The weapon, though, works a treat. It really works a treat. 280 alpha in a tier where most others have to settle for 160 is super satisfying, and if you can work a position and hit people a couple of times, they will often become really disheartened and back off.
Just as well too, because you don’t want them to get too close. The DPM isn’t enough to shoot yourself out of situations where you get swarmed by multiple enemies. You can hold a corner or a position pretty well if you have someone else there to keep the reds occupied during your reload. Remember that, so you don’t wander off on your own at the start of the game.
Five degrees of gun depression isn’t stellar, but it’s no worse than most Russian tanks, and it’s mostly just a question of habit. You may struggle lining up your shots at times, but remember you want to stay hull down as much as possible, and you’ll have like twice the reload of most of your opponents.
A lot of tanks that aren’t especially strong will become more and more dangerous towards the endgame, when there are less opponents with less hitpoints around. With decent mobility, useful armour, and high alpha, the T-34-1 is an excellent “finisher”. You can chase down Light tanks and bounce big guns off the turret; there aren’t alot of endgame situations the thing can’t handle.
Except, you know, being one against seven with 200 hitpoints left. Not a lot of tanks deal very well with that situation.
So what’s the word? Well, I like it. I can’t wait to get some proper equipment on it, but that’s going to be another ten days. By then I’ll have trained the crew to 100% and in all likelyhood started the T-34-2 already.
If you look beyond my obvious Chinese bias and purple prose, there’s not a lot of substance left to be completely honest. Like I said, it’s a redesigned T-34-85 with a Type 59 turret on it, and that’s pretty much the end of it. If you are looking for a super strong tier VII vehicle, this ain’t it. If you are looking for a tier VII Medium in general, there are likely better options for you out there.
But if you like tier VII Mediums, or tier VII in general, and you think running a de-tuned tier VIII 100 mm gun sounds like fun, then I can tell you you have absolutely nothing to lose by giving it a go. The tank works, it’s just a question of adapting your playstyle a little. The preceding tanks may not all be super exciting, but they are solid performers, and you shouldn’t struggle too much with any of them. Once you get to tier VII, you’ll have your first real taste of what Chinese Medium tank driving is all about, and from there you can make the decision whether you want to continue up the line or not.
Having had the opportunity to test drive the entire line before release, my decision has been made already. I want to get the tier X 121, so I’ll be doing the whole grind regardless. But in a way, having gotten this far feels like I’ve cleared a stage or passed a milestone, because the T-34-1 was also one of the tanks I was looking forward to adding to my collection.
If you remain unmoved in your conviction the Chinese Medium tanks are nothing but cheap knock offs of Russian tanks, then I don’t really see anything to dissuade you.
But if you think you may want to get into some hull down, high alpha trading, and sneaky flank attacks, then IrmaBecx says this tank may be just what the doctor ordered.
I’ll let you know how it works out for me.
Yea, Irma likes it, but it’s nothing special. A bit of a new take on an old (and at least Russian-inspired ) concept. Functional, but not terribly exciting.
Unless you want it to be.