So when I’m not driving tanks, thinking about tanks, and writing about tanks, I am actually supposed to be a social scientist. I am also interested in fashion, design, and technology, and so driving tanks for me has always been about a lot more than just shooting at other tanks.
For one thing, I spend a lot of time dealing with things a lot of people think are irrelevant to the game; like ideas, and feeling, and aesthetics. I never drove the German camper TDs because I don’t like the idea behind their gameplay, I don’t drive my T23E3 even though it’s a good tank because I’m just not feeling it, and I never drove the Daimler VK Mediums because they just don’t look good enough to me.
Some tanks appeal to the imagination in ways that others just don’t. Like the famous Littlepard; I didn’t come up with the name myself, but it’s still the greatest nickname there ever was for a tank. No other vehicle carries its moniker quite as well. Everyone knew the New German Lights were overpowered and that the halcyon days couldn’t last, which gave rise to the “Save The Littlepard” Foundation, and the best part is the Littlepard was actually saved. You can still grind it out and see for yourself.
So this gave rise to a kind of culture. People fashioned themselves supporters of the Littlepard Foundation. It became a thing. You wanted to be a Littlepard driver; bomb around at max speed and clip people out with your aircraft sourced autocannon. All of a sudden, you are not driving a tier V German VK16.02 Leopard anymore, you are driving a Littlepard, and being part of something greater than yourself.
And sure, that sounds pompous, but it’s also true. It makes the game a little more fun to play.
The tank without a nickname – VK 28.01
The Löwe used to be a joke. People would buy it and get killed with zero damage again and again because they had never played tier VIII before. I always thought of myself as a Löwe driver, but held off until I though I was ready for it.
The thing about the Löwe is it was never a bad tank. People just drove it badly. And once you figured out the playstyle, it was like a revelation. You would start doing a lot better and raking in the credits, outplaying people just by careful gameplay, hull down and sidescraping.
You could see this revelation hit people. They would do badly, and they would hate the Löwe and say it was the worst tank in the game. Then they would “get it”, and the Löwe would be their favourite tank. Then they had a losing streak, and they would hate it again. Or matchmaking. Or Wargaming. Whoever.
But either way, the Löwe was never boring. It’s either really good or really bad, and ultimately, it quite obviously depends on the driver.
So the call to “buff the Löwe” pretty quickly became a joke. People knew there was nothing wrong with it that a little “stay back-hull down-sidescrape” couldn’t fix, but the Löwe received a series of quite substantial buffs nonetheless. Last time it happened, I felt compelled to write a statement about it saying the Löwe Appreciation Society had nothing to do with it, but we were of course grateful for all the extra credits we would be raking in.
There is that too. The Löwe, when it works, can make insane amounts of credits. And that is of course part of the appeal; when you learn to drive it, it’s a great credit grinder, and as I said it never really gets boring.
I had high hopes for the Death Toaster, but that never really took off. The Brown Bomber I liked driving, but didn’t want to own it.
The Rudy I could write a whole chapter on, but it doesn’t really have the same type of appeal. I like to say Rudy has personality, I suppose it’s more of a personal attachment. Rudy is a tank for solitary drives, showing off, and indulging yourself. The “I, Me, Mine”-tank.
What about something like the Defender? Certainly enough people drive it, but I never saw anyone trying to start a Defender Driver’s Club. Perhaps the fact it’s part of the “problem” of tier VIII; if you are driving anything other than an IS clone that is, makes this a more personal attachment also.
A tank being strong doesn’t necessarily make it likeable. Compare the KV-2 and the Helsing. The KV-2 is high risk/high reward, so people like it. The Helsing is low risk/high reward, so it doesn’t benefit from any kind of underdog status, it’s just a nuisance to everyone who isn’t driving it. I confess this passage may be highly influenced by my personal aversion to the Helsing; your opinion may differ.
Anyway, it’s a curious subject; tank sociology. What makes people like certain tanks and not others? What makes people like some tanks in spite of their glaring deficiencies? And where would we all be without the Littlepard Foundation to guard our interests?
For me, tank sociology has made me a happier tank driver. I know exactly which tanks I like to drive and why I like them. That is a pleasure in itself. It helps mitigate my feelings of disappointment when things don’t always go my way to remind myself I am driving a tank I really like, because that’s the tank I want to be driving and nothing else.
So do yourself a favour next time you are hanging out in your garage and have a think about the tanks you really like, and why you like them. Compare with your stats and see which ones you drive the most, and which ones you are most successful in. Are there some kind of patterns? You may find these patterns don’t always correspond to your expectations.
The longer you play the game, the easier it becomes to get bogged down in grinds and negativity. It’s important to sometimes remind yourself you drive tanks for fun, and best case, doing so may also give your gameplay and tank collecting both a bit of direction.
See you out there.