What Is It About The WZ-113?
So after spending a day on the test server playing around with the new Chinese Heavy tanks, I am really looking forward to seeing them in the game. Especially I have my eye on the new tier X Heavy tank, the WZ-113.
Which sounds suspicious. I don’t even like Heavy tanks.
And these tanks aren’t even that special. I’ve said that before; about the Foches, about the Yolo Wagon, about the LeKpz M41 90 mm “Black Dog”, and they have still ended up being some of my favourite rides in the game.
Part of this anticipation I think just comes from where I’m at as a tank driver right now. My garage is well stocked, I am getting more comfortable at top tier, and I may not be progressing at the same rate I was a few years back, but I am still learning, and still evolving my playstyle. As the games stack up more and more, I’ve become more interested in things like details, nuances, and wider perspectives.
Tier X is really where it’s all happening for me these days. Through persistence, tank philosophy, hard work, and good old fashioned gold-noobery, I have put together a fairly impressive collection of elitist, highly philosophical, “thinking-man’s-tank” type vehicles for my top tier assault, and I figure in a couple of thousand games I’ll get the hang of driving some of them.
Basically, I have the gun depression Mediums, the heavy Mediums, and the Russian Medium, and then I have the two brawler Tank Destroyers for when it gets dicey ut there. Mixing up my Medium gameplay with different caliber guns and some mobile casemate TDs has been a really great learning exerience.
That’s kind of the perspective I view the game from at the moment, and from that perspective, adding some kind of Heavy tank to the lineup to further expand my playstyle seems like a logical, and fairly obvious next step.
The choice closest at hand for me is the AMX 50 B; I’m on the last stretch slow-grinding that. It would mean having to learn how to drive autoloaders again, and besides, it’s not really your typical Heavy tank. In fairness, I am probably just as close to the E100, but I never liked that at all, and I sold my E75 ages ago.
The rational choice I suppose would be the IS-4. I’m not getting an IS-7, that’s just not going to happen, and anyway the IS-4 I think would suit my playstyle better. But getting one would mean grinding through the entire line; I have the KV-13 which crosses over to the IS-7, but the IS-4 is a separate line.
None of this matters, of course. I went to the Chinese showroom, and again I came away from there with the decision already made. The WZ-113 is a great drive, that’s what’s important. Also I think it looks really cool which is not an insubstantial selling point for me, and it’s going to be a pretty short grind through some Russian-inspired vehicles – meaning they likely won’t be hard to drive – to get it.
I’m not going to get through this next part without saying “appeal to the imagination”, so I’ll just start with that, because I think these tanks do. Ironically, the whole “Russian knock-off” thing doesn’t make them boring to me; instead it makes them more approachable.
And that’s a big part of the attraction. The WZ-113 is a pleasant drive. It’s comfortable. It’s likeable. Even when I didn’t perform so well, I still really liked driving it.
So what’s to like?
“HELLO! My Name Is: WZ-113″
It’s kind of slow doing low speed manoeuvres, and it doesn’t like mud and water, but that’s fine since it’s a Heavy tank, and does have a bit of armour to make up for it. Once you get it in high gear, it will take off at a quite respectable pace doing 50 easy on a downward slope. It’s not a race tank or a sports tank, and it certainly doesn’t turn like one, but it is actually one of the fastest tier X Heavy tanks. You have plenty of speed for effective relocating, short flanking, and reaching good positions early.
It’s a big tank, but it’s not very tall. Nice big 120 mm front plate with a wicked angle on it; steeper than the Obj 140 even. Its hull extends out above the tracks with some kinky angles, side armour is given as 120 mm, but that’s just a strip; the rest of the hull armour is 90 mm. The turret looks like it’s in the middle, but it’s actually about as far forwards as it can be with that angled front plate.
On flat ground, people shooting at your front plate are hitting it at like a 68 degree angle. This means you don’t need a lot of angling to get it to an autobounce angle; four degrees of gun depression is quite sufficient to do that, and no one is going to overmatch it. You can sidescrape out to 20 degrees no problem, which gives you around 350 mm of effective armour both front and sides, leaving only your lower plate and turret hatches for people to shoot at.
The turret front is 260 mm, meaning Medium tanks will really struggle to go through. Roof is 40 mm, so 122 mm Russian Heavy tanks will overmatch that, and then you have maybe 200 mm effective armour on your two hatches. These hatches, along with the lower front plate and front drive wheel, constitute your weak spots; no surprises there. Overall, the armour is pretty solid.
Firepower I is fully adequate for a Heavy tank. DPM is top notch. Accuracy is good. Aimtime also good. Nothing really stands out, but the weapon shouldn’t give you a lot of headaches either. Your only real problem is the gun depression.
Looking through these last few passages, I realise this doesn’t exactly read like a fervent promotion of the WZ-113, although that is the feeling I have about it. These are test sever stats, but for all intents and purposes this is the 113 we are going to see in the game, and the numbers don’t look all that fantastic. It’s not some kind of monster, just a well crafted Heavy tank that I found it very easy to get along with.
It’s not the first time I get excited about what looks like a pretty average vehicle, and the more I think about what it is about this one, the less I have to show for it.
There is the fact it’s Chinese, and I like Chinese tanks. But the WZ-113 is more than that; it’s a sound Heavy tank design, and it gives you a few tools to work with that, although they may not be terribly exciting, are nonetheless effective.
I suppose the thing I am most excited about is simply learning to drive a tier X Heavy tank, and finally I found one I really like.
If you like Medium tanks, the transition to the WZ-113 isn’t going to be very difficult. It’s still pretty fast, and you will soon get comfortable with the way it moves and what makes it different from your regular drives. If you are a fan of Russian tanks with low gun depression, you’ll have an even easier time.
If you are looking for your first tier X Heavy tank, there isn’t a lot to recommend the WZ-113 specifically, but there is also nothing that really speaks against it except not being an IS-7 or an IS-4. Giving someone advice on choosing their first tier X is tricky, and everyone will tell you to get a Russian anyway.
If you already have a few tier X Heavy tanks, and you’re not a collector, it’s not certain the WZ-113 is going to add anything significant to your garage other than the novelty of being new to the game. If you are of the opinion Chinese tanks are just cheap knock-offs of Russian tanks, then I don’t think the WZ-113 is going to change your mind about them.
Again, “There is nothing wrong with it” may not be the glowing endorsement I struggle to express, but it is at least my honest opinion. Driven with a bit of care, the WZ-113 isn’t going to struggle.
Is that really all I’ve got? I mean listen to it. “These tanks are nothing special”. “It’s not some kind of monster”. “It isn’t going to struggle”. Although fair descriptions all, they don’t express any of the excitement I feel rolling out on the battlefield; the sense of exhilaration that makes me want to drive it again and again. “It’s fun to drive” doesn’t begin to express it; there is just something about the WZ-113 that makes it the perfect fit for a Medium driver looking to dabble in Heavy tanks.
This is, I think, because the WZ-113 is everything it needs to be; a veritable wonder of balance. You have a super strong turret, so you don’t get gun depression. But you don’t need gun depression, because the front plate is really angled already. To make things fair, the hull is low to the ground so people can aim down at it, but of course that also makes you a smaller target. Top speed is among the highest of all tier X Heavys, so it doesn’t turn so good. To make up for that, you get sturdy side armour, which in turn also lets you side scrape really well. Add to this a tier-standard 122 mm with good aimtime and good DPM, and those are the tools you have to work with. It all fits together.
And it all makes sense. It all works. The tank is greater than the sum of it’s parts; it’s a well thought out design. It’s not as flamboyant as the AMX 50 B, it’s not as sturdy as the IS-7, and it’s not as big and boxy as an E100. It’s none of these things, because it doesn’t have to be, it already is something else; filling a niche that wasn’t there before. A Chinese Heavy tank, and recognisable as such. If that sounds strange I just mean it fits in with the other Chinese vehicles in terms of gameplay and design elements; if you like one, you’ll like the other.
So that all means the WZ-113 is going to be all about the gameplay. Learning what positions you can use with the gun depression, getting good angles on your armour, anticipating peoples movements so you have time to turn the tank around, finding the limits of your speed and mobility. It’s not about the tank, it’s about the driver.
I would go off on something like “…the expression of the tank through the driver…” here, but I fear more philosophy will make me lose the plot.
Because the WZ-113 is about pragmatism. A simple tool, that can do many things. And that’s what appeals to me.
You may think that sounds generic and uninteresting.
I think it sounds like a promise for the future.
See you guys out there.