The HESH Debacle
So as of update 4.7 all is well in the land of British high tier Mediums again. The HESH is back.
I have driven exactly one game since the update dropped, which seems strange for a Medium tank diehard such as myself, and so I thought I’d try and explain why that is exactly.
The British Mediums were the first tanks I drove outside of the German tech trees. The little Cromwell, specifically. The Cromwell Knight had just become available on console, and I just thought it looked… well, spectacular. If you haven’t seen it, it’s a regular Cromwell B with a huge union jack plastered all over the front:
It still amazes me WG didn’t bring the Cromwell Knight to Blitz, what with all the fantasy tanks and crazy paint jobs we have.
Anyway, I free XP:ed the Cromwell, because I was keen to drive it, and it was, as I said the first tank I drove outside the German tech tree. Well, technically it was the second tank I drove outside the Germans, because I drove the MS-1 by mistake on my first day ever of playing – I was sure I had the Loltractor selected. At least now I can always check the date I started playing.
The Cromwell was a blast. So much fun. So after a while I got the Comet as well. Back then the Comet was still a DPM monster, and although not as fast as the Cromwell, it was mobile enough and could hull down really well.
Then came the Cenrution I, and by this time I was deep in. I named it ”Jane Birkin” after one of my British heroes and started getting better and better at the gun depression playstyle. There was absolutely no reason at all why I shouldn’t continue all the way up to tier X.
But then a few things happened. The skill rounds all had their damage output reduced, and equipment mechanics were altered radically. The latter in particular has had a huge impact on which tanks I play, and I’ve often said if I had more spare parts, I would drive more tanks. That’s ”more” as in a wider range of different vehicles, and I’ll return to this point in a moment.
So I was driving a fully kitted out Centurion 7/1, affectionately named ”Charlotte Gainsbourg”; being of course Jane Birkins daughter, when the news came the higher tier Brit Mediums were getting their HESH rounds replaced by regular, boring HEAT rounds. I say ”boring” because instead of trying to land a shot that gives you higher damage, you will instead get more reliable penetration with less damage.
I never liked HEAT. It has the same drawbacks regular High Explosive rounds have, meaning they will detonate prematurely if there are obstacles or spaced armour in the way, and I’ve always found them finnicky and unreliable. But as it was, people started putting out higher and higher damage numbers in their high tier British Mediums, prompting a string of changes back and forth; among which were lower rate of fire.
Anyway, as soon as the first iteration of the “new” Centurion 7/1 arrived on the server, I immediately parked mine. I didn’t sell it, partly because of my emotional attachment to the British vehicles, and partly because Wargaming said the HESH would return after a few updates. This, in a way, has now finally happened.
I say “in a way”, because although I now have the option to run a similar gun to the original iteration, it still has the lower rate of fire it got after having had both APCR, HEAT and high penetration HESH in one of the earlier versions.
And returning to my earlier point, not only had I parked my 7/1, I also didn’t spend any spare parts on it because of the uncertain future. This means, rather than having my old tank back, I now have a weaker version of the original tank, and if I want to get it up to full potential, I’ll have to invest around 100.000 spare parts and two weeks of waiting to get it done.
In addition to this, I’ve played a couple of thousand games since I last drove the high tier British Mediums, and I’m a different player now, with different interests as far as what I look for in a tank, and gun depression just isn’t my main focus anymore. On the contrary, most of my recent favourites are tanks with very little gun depression.
So although I am happy I now have the option to run the classic APCR/high penetration HESH/low penetration HESH configuration, it’s just been too long, and too many changes back and forth. Also, there is of course nothing to indicate this state of affairs will be permanent.
Put simply, waiting for the “return of HESH” for so long has made me lose interest in British Mediums altogether.
The Future of HESH?
So what can be done? How can Wargaming make me a happy high tier Brit Medium driver again?
Sadly, I don’t think it can be done. For all intents and purposes, the tanks are back to “normal”. The loss of DPM doesn’t bother me at all; it could just as easily have happened anyway. The problem, as I said, is too much time has passed and things are just different now.
I still won’t be selling off my Centurion 7/1, but I’m not going to get the FV 4202. And because of this, the 7/1 is way down at the bottom of my list of tanks to spend spare parts on.
I imagine some time in the future I will be at the point where most of my collection has at least vertical stabilisers on them, and at that point I will upgrade the 7/1; I don’t imagine I’ll ever get rid of it.
But for me, the thrill is gone. In trying to make the British Mediums more accessible and easier to play, they have become less and less interesting for me, and now that the pure HESH option is back, it’s just a case of too little, too late.
That is not to say there is anything wrong with them, and this is an instant where your mileage is sure to vary. I think for most players the Brit mediums have become more accessible and easier to play, which is of course a good thing.
I guess IrmaBecx says play them if you want. And if you choose to, do run the HESH gun; it’s more of a challenge, but it’s also more fun when you get it right.