So I just got the Object 140, and I doubt I’ll ever get the T-62A – I sold the T-54 for one thing.
But just as there was a time when I actually believed I would never drive a Russian tank at all, there was also a time when I believed the T-62A was the right and obvious choice for me. Eight or nine months ago, to be exact.
This is a paper I wrote about it back then.
T-62A: Beast from the Steppes
You may have heard it before, but I’ll be honest and say the first thing I did when I got my press account was drive the tier X Soviet Mediums. Not because I wanted to boost my winrate; stats on a press account are largely useless, but because I was curious. I had already been in more brawls against T-62As and Object 140s than I cared to recall, and it filled me with a special sense of pride on those rare occasions when I managed to take one down. They were my arch enemies.
If you have one or both of these machines, you’ll know exactly what happened. Not only are these tanks a lot more fragile then you would expect if you’ve only seen them from their strongest side before, I had absolutely zero experience driving Russian Mediums, and didn’t even know how to do that typical Russian turret and front plate thing so I wouldn’t take damage. I got smashed to bits with astounding regularity.
As it was, and remember this was back when the Russian Meds ruled the game, I liked the Object 140 better, because it had the edge in speed and gun depression. Looking back, I think what really happened was, within the limitations of my playstyle those were two things that actually enabled me to be a bit more successful. I felt the Object 140 had a higher ceiling in terms of what was possible to achieve.
These days, I’m not so sure. Veteran players say the rebalancing of tier X Mediums hasn’t really made that much of a difference, but you don’t actually see a lot of Mediums in tier X anymore.
But there will always be the Romantic; the one for whom Heavy tanks and Derp guns doesn’t stir the faintest emotion becaue they are just too boring; for whom speed and mobility means freedom of the soul.
The Big Three
So three things happened. Equipment rework, penetration adjustment, premium ammunition rebalancing. Even using nice words for it, what this all adds up to is basically you’ll have lower DPM against stronger targets. There is no doubt Heavy tanks are the big winners of the equipment rework, small percentages making more of a difference on big numbers.
It means that engaging heavily armored targets from the front is always going to be your worst option. Which, to be fair, is exactly what Wargaming said they hoped to accomplish with the rebalancing of tier X Medium tank weapons.
Yes, I feel like the whole nerf thing was unneccessary, yes, I lack that sense of pride when I take down a tier X Russian Medium now, and yes, I would feel slightly cheated if I bought an Object 140 today, because it used to be the most OP tank in the game. But this is what we have to deal with, and sometimes I can’t help thinking it may all be better for the game balance in the long run.
Either way, it’s unlikely WG will reverse the equipment changes. My guess is the premium damage nerf is here to stay also. You will excuse if I sound sententious here, but I never used to fire that much Premium ammo. These days I hardly fire any premium ammo, so for me, logic dictates the change has been beneficial: I spend less credits on and take less damage from premium shells.
The game has changed forever. This is the new Blitz.
A New Dawn
A bit of a disclaimer before we continue. Yes, I am still a Medium tank elitist, and I do sometimes drive complicated tanks for the sake of it. They could prolly nerf all Mediums to within an inch of their lives and I would still drive them. I would still find reasons to drive them. I am still a Romantic, who judges tanks by their personality, mystique, or other obscure features that have little or nothing to do with sensible things like winrate and Russian bias.
Driving Medium tanks isn’t very complicated, philosophically. You are a support vehicle. That means you need to work off your team to survive and be successful. You have the ability to put thought into action very quickly. That means you should follow the flow of battle and look for opportunities to go where you are most needed. What makes Mediums different from eachother is the way they put out damage, the way they mitigate incoming damage, and, to a lesser degree, their mobility, but there is such a thing as a basic Medium playstyle.
You would be forgiven for thinking Medium tanks are now less relevant to the game. That is not what has happened. Medium tanks are now less dominant in the game than they used to be, but they are no less relevant. In fact, they may be more relevant today, precisely because there are fewer of them out there. Mediums can still do things other tanks can’t.
With a bit of rose coloured tint on your glasses, the recent changes doesn’t have to spell the demise of the Medium tank, they could instead be its renaissance.
The Uralvagonzavod proposition
With all this in mind, I kind of started throwing glances at the old T-62A again. It’s because of the turret armor, in conjunction with the fact I am a massive noob at tier X.
But of course there is more to it than that. Before I even drove a Russian Medium tank, I had decided if it ever came to that, I would choose the T-62A, because I remember it from the the cold war and the permeating, paranoid fear that hordes of those tanks were going to spew forth from the Russian steppes and just roll all over western Europe.
When I finally did drive Russian Medium tanks, I realised instead the Object 140 was the one for me. It had better speed, better gun depression, and a more steeply angled front plate; all of which were Medium-elitist traits that appealed to me, but I think the actual reason was I hadn’t figured myself a Russian sports prototype driver before was because I didn’t think I was good enough. When I started feeling like maybe I did have some skills after all, why would I not want to drive the best tank in the game?
You can compare the two all you want, but even if you have both of them, every time you want to press that Battle button, you are going to have to make a decision between them, and that decision is yours alone. Things being what they are at present, for me the T-62A is now the more rational choice.
I’d like to add it’s not neccessarily the elitist choice. I still think the Object 140 is somehow the better vehicle, but I also think it takes a much better driver to realise its potential, and I, sadly, am not that driver. Not today. The dawn of the Obj 140 is not yet at hand for my part.
But what is left of the once-glorious T-62A? Well, it’s still got the best turret of any tier X Medium. It has a rapid-firing 100mm with the fastest APCR rounds in the game, and somewhere in there you are bound to find some leftover Russian Bias, I’m pretty sure. All in all, it may not sound like such an exciting proposition anymore, but that also depends on what you are looking for.
Recommending someone their first tier X Medium was never easy. Back in the day, there was no doubt the Russians were the strongest, but that didn’t mean they were accessible to most players, and none of the others could be convincingly called “noob friendly” either. And although the rebalancing has arguably benefited the other Mediums more, the problem still remains. No matter which one you choose, you’re in for a steep learning curve, and in all likelihood, you are going to fail initially.
My policy has always been to follow your subjective inclinations; drive the tanks that interest you and that you think look the coolest.
I’ll get the bad news out of the way first. Some games, you just can’t seem to do anything worthwhile. Tier X may be the big leagues, but it’s also kind of a cesspit. Noobs running around getting instakilled. Huge derp TDs hiding in the bushes and taxing you for 1000 health a pop. Shots bouncing off impossible angles. OP Russian Heavys plowing through your team, which then quickly disintegrates, leaving you alone and beat up fighting multiple enemies from all sides. Sometimes you’ll run straight into the whole enemy team on a flank and get swiftly deleted.
It’s a hard knock life.
But I also feel a certain sense of confidence driving the T-62A. It may have less alpha damage, but it still has the best ROF, and using the armor and a bit of hull down tactics, you can still outtrade people. The turret still works, all you have to do is hide the hull and it’s easy to feel invincible for a short while. And just like a lot of things in the game, it’s not rocket science. The overall feeling I get from the T-62A is one of balance. I still think it’s strong, but I don’t think it’s OP anymore, and I have to say I like that. I’m actually having fun driving it.
I should perhaps say I drive the T-62A with stage I equipment only, and for me that seems to work fine. You can almost tell if someone you are brawling with has thrown some spare parts at their T-62A; they move slightly faster, hit you more often, and seem bounce more incoming shells. In most everyday situations, however, the stock tank with rammer, optics and protected modules will do the job. It could be that I’ve just been meeting people with thousands of games in the T-62A under their belt and been outplayed. Either way my conclusion is the same: spare parts equipment will give you an edge, but it’s not a game changer. You still have to do the job right in order to be successful.
I’m not going to presume to teach anyone how to drive a T-62A after maybe 100 games. What I do is basically follow my standard Medium tank patterns; go to the flanks, fight other Mediums, catch people in crossfire, relocate and hit the pack from the rear when they are busy fighting your teammates, and since I’m in a Russian bruiser; look for hull down spots everywhere. And they are everywhere, once you understand what “hull down” really means.
I’ve set myself the goal of doing my own hitpoints worth of damage, meaning just under 2000 or landing around seven rounds. It’s getting there. A bad game, I may do less than 1000; a good one, maybe 3 or 4000, but that is of course not the whole story. I can carry a bad game if I do a successful flank, kill off some low health enemies or manage to break a deadlock, and I can lose a good one if no one else does any meaningful damage.
That is not to say the T-62A is “situational” as opposed to other vehicles. It is not. It’s a versatile tank. My biggest problem, predictably, is putting too much faith in the tank and pushing too hard, not keeping my head down, not holding on to my hitpoints, and getting knocked out early. I am fairly certain this is down to my playstyle and not the vehicle itself, because I used to have the exact same problem in the T-62A before the “big three”.
So what’s the conclusion? Is there even a conclusion? In this case, I’m not so sure there is one. In my darkest moments, I think things like “do I really need another tier X Medium to throw credits at?”.
But that I think is approaching the whole thing from the wrong angle. Playing Blitz is about wanting, not needing. I want to be more successful at tier X; I want to learn how to play Mediums better, and I want to drive a big Russian bruiser. It really is as simple as all that.
There are of course some conclusions to be drawn. Mediums are not the main tier X damage dealers anymore, and I can’t help feeling that has, on the whole, improved game balance. I also can’t help thinking if you keep comparing the T-62A to its former state of total and uninhibited supremacy, you’ll blind yourself to the fact that it’s still a great tank, and even a noob like me can make it work most of the time.
IrmaBecx says drive one sooner or later. And because this is now the New Blitz; why not sooner?
Tank Philosopher and former German separatist tank driver.