Hype Contender? The T-34-3
So rumor has it the T-34-3 is going to appear some time today, and I had no idea. I had almost forgotten about it; my Chinese Medium grind is done, and I’ve just started driving Russian tanks again.
But I am kind of curious. I like the big alpha Medium playstyle; in fact I used to drive the T-44 with the 122 mm gun, and the amount of XP it takes to Ace the tech tree T-34-2 should tell you these tanks can also be effective. And that’s kind of going to be my reference. If the new T-34-3 turns out to have gun stats that are closer to the T-44-122 than the T-34-2, then it’s not going to be for me.
My Chinese bias is well documented by now. I practically never met a Chinese tank I didn’t like, and I drove over 500 games in my Hype 59. At the moment I am looking forward to the rumored Chinese Heavy tank line, but Medium tanks are still my favourites. The only question, then, is do I really need another tier VIII premium Medium tank in my garage?
Well, that’s a silly question. No one needs more than maybe a dozen tanks, at the most. For me, the question is will this tank add something new to my garage? I mean I have plenty of Light tanks, but the Black Bulldog was still a huge kick. And I may like Russian Mediums, but still didn’t go for the T-44-100. The T-34-3 is not a Type 59, obviously, but is the 122 mm enough of a novelty to make it worthwhile?
I guess we’ll see when the final stats become available. And being a Community Contributor, there is of course the possibility I will get to try it out as soon as that happens.
Disappointingly, this turns out to be a crate event. At least it seems straight forward enough; you pay the money, and among all the boosters you will get, there is a one in twenty chance you’ll get a T-34-3. That means I’m out; the price being open ended like this means I can’t decide whether or not the tank is going to be worth it, and so I will have to pass.
This, by the way, is the second Chinese premium tank in a row I end up not getting because it doesn’t have a fixed price or a guaranteed purchase.
But I will still get to take it for as many spins as I like on the press account, so there is that at least. That means I’ll be able to provide a “first look“ review so people can make an informed decision about the tank itself, even of they can’t make one about the price for it.
I am expecting it to behave like a Type 59, it has the same engine power. Five degrees of gun depression like many tech tree Chinese. And 3.91 rounds per minute. That’s more than the T-44-122, but a little less than the T-34-2, and the new tank aims three times as fast as the old T-44 does with the 122, so that should be fine. It also has a bit more armour than the tech tree variant, except the turret front, which is 10 mm thinner.
So it’s not going to be a monster. I see nothing overpowered about it. But there’s no reason why it wouldn’t work; it seems to have all the pieces it needs. If the credit making is on par with the other Chinese premiums, it should make a comfortable credit grinder with that “heavy Medium tank” flavour.
Classic Chinese tank design!
I will say I like the look of it. I’ve become kind of partial to the functionalist Chinese tank design, and the T-34-3 looks exactly like what it is: a T-54 copy with an IS-2 gun on it. So simple. Elegant, even; although that’s not a word I would normally use to describe cold war era communist industrial design.
Everything looks familiar. The rounded turret without shot traps. The angled front plate. The boxy, angular hull. It looks like a baby 121 or WZ-120, which; again, is precisely what it is.
The T-34-2, by contrast, looks more like a project vehicle. An early prototype; a different way of doing the same thing. The T-34-3 has the production model look, even though it too is an experimental design, and I think it looks rather handsome.
Kitting it out is going to take you fifteen and a half days of waiting if you don’t want to drop the 3.236 gold to skip the timers on your 100.000 spare parts investment to get the Vstabs.
But once you do, What you end up with is a capable, if not extremely exciting Medium tank. It had that Chinese “good for being so heavy” mobility, and the familiar quick aimtime. Armour it good enough to get a few bounces occasionally if you use it properly, and even if the penetration numbers aren’t stellar, you can still land some devastating shots.
The first thing I noticed when the T-34-3 dropped on the press account is the massive ammo capacity; the thing carries ninety rounds! That means you should never have to run out of any particular ammo type in it, but it doesn’t make me like HEAT shells any better, and so my loadout is 67 AP, 9 HEAT and 13 HE. 61 mm of HE penetration makes for a useful round, and on a good day you can hit a Light tank for over 600 damage.
Taking it out, there are no surprises. It moves like a Chinese tank, it angles like a Chinese tank, and it puts out damage like a Chinese tank – kind of slowly, but in big chunks at a time. If you have driven a couple of hundred games in other Chinese vehicles, you’ll feel right at home.
If you haven’t driven a lot of Chinese Mediums, there really isn’t much to it. You have a 13.5 second reload to deal with, so you need to sneak around a bit and work from cover a lot. The best thing to do is to be somewhere on the sidelines helping out; taking shots at targets who are otherwise engaged and looking for short flank opportunities.
The gun gives the T-34-3 a kind of Heavy tank feel, but remember you are a Medium tank. Don’t get caught up fighting Heavy tanks from static positions, use your mobility to run away from bad engagements and act as a force multiplier, always be looking for the position where the enemy least expect and least appreciate having to deal with your 122 mm firepower.
When not fighting your strongest opponents, the armour can be quite formidable. Just keeping your front plate pointed at same and lower tier Light and Medium tanks should get you a fair amount of bounces. Going hull down and using the turret should keep you fairly safe, but remember the turret front isn’t quite as strong as you may be expecting. A tier IX Heavy tank will go straight through.
There is no information about the internal modules, but there’s no reason to expect it will be any different than the T-34-2 and Hype 59, meaning most likely all your ammo racks are on your right side, and all your crew is on your left. For this reason, you want to be showing your left side to your opponents if you can help it so you don’t get ammo racked, and if you find you’re not getting a lot of mileage out of the adrenaline, carry an extra medkit for the crew instead.
So what’s the bottom line? Is the tank worth it?
I will say yes, but I’m still not going to gamble for it. Even owning the Type 59 and T-34-2 already, I feel the T-34-3 would add something to my collection, and I would love to be able to grind credits with a 122 mm armed Medium tank. I will be looking to pick it up at a later date if it’s sold in a bundle or something like that.
As it is though, I’ve stated before I don’t want to support business practices I don’t agree with, and so it’s still a “no” from me. If you want to gamble for the T-34-3 I’m not going to stop you, but be aware there is no guaranteed purchase no matter how much money you spend, and although it’s very likeable, the T-34-3 is certainly not worth overspending on.
What it is, is exactly what it looks like: a T-54 clone with a Heavy tank gun, and it plays like one too. I think deciding if that is something that interests you or not should be fairly easy, and if not, you can just grind the tech tree Chinese Medium tanks and find out.
If you already have, and like what you have seen so far, the T-34-3 is more of the same. It’s a 122 mm Type 59. For me, that means it’s a great tank, but for you it may mean it’s a boring tank, and if it does, then not gambling for one is going to be the easiest decision you ever made.
If, like me, you think the T-34-3 looks super cool and you would like to have one even though it’s really not that special, but you don’t like the whole gambling angle, then I feel for you and I can only hope we all get a chance to acquire it some other way in the future.
In the mean time, please enjoy my noobing my way to victory in the press account loaner vehicle: