Less Than Zero: The WZ-113
So the Chinese Heavy grind is coming to a close for me. Sort of.
What I mean by that, is getting the tanks is just the first part, then you have to learn how to actually drive them, which is a “grind” in and of itself. That’s where I’m at right now.
It’s been a fairly short grind, mainly because I’ve dropped a bit of gold on it, training crews and such, but it’s been pretty frustrating since I don’t actually know how to drive a high tier Heavy tank in the first place, and Chinese Heavys in particular are pretty expensive to drive.
I had been slowing the grind down a little; I had about 20.000 XP to go, but only five million credits, which wasn’t enough to buy a top tier Heavy tank, kit it out, and then actually drive it into battle. But apparently there was a 15% discount this weekend, and I had just enough to buy the WZ-113, saving myself 900.000 credits, so that’s what I did:
New tank! Weee!
It’s the first time in a very long time I don’t have a three million credit buffer, and it feels a bit strange. I have a brand new tier X tank, but I can’t afford to drive it, which is the exact situation the credit buffer was there to avoid. I even sold off some ammunition from tanks I don’t drive a lot, which is also a situation the credit buffer was there to avoid.
Either way, I am now the very proud owner of my first tier X Heavy tank, and as a tier X Heavy tank noob, I don’t believe I could have made a better choice except the IS-7, T110E5 or the IS-4, none of which interest me very much.
So what’s so good about the WZ-113?
Chinese Heavy tanks are a curious breed. They have fairly good firepower, strong turrets, they are fast in a straight line but don’t turn so well, and they tend to get bogged down in mud and water. Their armour looks good on paper, but in practice, it will be more trollish than outright strong.
Looking at the WZ-113 specifically, you can see the family resemblance. It basically has the same hull as the WZ-111 model 1-4, only they had to extend the engine compartment to fit a bigger engine, and instead of nine pieces welded together to form the semi pike nose, only three pieces are used, producing a flat 120 mm front plate with a wicked angle on it.
The turret is beefed up as well, not only is it better armoured, it’s also shaped better without any shot traps. If you don’t know what a “shot trap” is, it’s when the bottom of the turret angles inward towards the turret ring instead of angling straight down towards the hull:
WZ-111 1-4 shot trap.
WZ-113 has no shot trap. The trade off is the turret is further back on the hull.
Worst case, a shot can hit the lower part of the model 1-4 turret and ricochet downwards into the front plate, pretty much at a right angle, and punch straight through.
Also, the WZ-113 doesn’t have the strip of spaced armour along the side of the hull the 111 1-4 does, instead it has a strip of 120 mm. Lower part of the hull is around 90 mm, even the bottom part, which is only 20 mm on the 1-4, meaning the bottom part of the side is actually stronger than the middle.
Out to 20 degrees of angle, your whole side is basically an autobounce zone. Angling up against an IS-7, they will go straight through your lower front plate as usual, the turret front either side of the gun, turret roof and hatches, and the rear drive wheels. Here is the 113 at 15 degrees:
Note weak turret roof and exposed rear drive wheel.
So you have some fairly decent armour. You also get almost 1000 DPM over the 1-4, but with a lower caliber weapon, better aimtime, better accuracy, more gun depression, and APCR standard which means better penetration.
As I said you’ll also get a more powerful engine, meaning you’ll almost have the specific power of a Medium tank, but thanks I guess to lower gearing, it actually turns slower than the tier IX tank.
The WZ-113, however, is not a Medium tank, and you will drive it like one at your peril. It’s a Heavy tank; nothing more, nothing less. And that, in a nutshell, is why I liked it so much right off the bat.
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to drive the 113 during testing, and although I’m not generally a Heavy tank driver, i ended up putting like 130 games on it before they took it away again. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what it was about it exactly that made me like it so much, but were none the wiser when asked to give my feedback.
It’s Chinese, sure; and I like Chinese tanks. But it’s not a Medium, not a Light tank, not even a fast TD, which are the tanks I usually go for, it’s just a bog standard Heavy tank, and compared to the others, my impression was it was average at best.
Since then they gave it one more degree of gun depression and better firepower; I think they cut two seconds off the reload, but in essence it’s the same tank I drove during testing. I didn’t actually cry when I had to give it back, but I wasn’t far off.
As best I can figure, the WZ just makes sense. Everything about it says “Heavy tank”, and it’s not very hard to figure out. You try to do Heavy tank things with it, like sidescraping, going hull down, or tanking damage, and they work really well. You try to do Medium tank things with it, and it falls down on it’s face, and you immediately understand why.
You try to do Tank Destroyer things with it and you will be wasting opportunities; if by “Tank Destroyer things” you mean sitting at the back or along the redline camping for shots.
I’m not going to try and teach anyone how to drive a top tier Heavy tank; like I said this is my first one, and I don’t actually know a lot about how to do it. Also, I can’t actually afford to drive tier X tanks at the moment.
But I am happy with it. Really happy. It’s a promise for the future, and the future is now. Well, actually the future is right after I grind a couple of million credits with my fleet of credit grinders, but you take my meaning I am sure. Looking at my nine tier X tanks, the WZ-113 is easily one of the most accessible; pretty much a natural starting point for learning tier X gameplay.
If you already know a bit of tier X gameplay, then you can work on optimising your WZ-113; learning how to use the front plate, finding positions that work, exploring the limits of your mobility, et cetera. The thing will do 50, but only in a straight line; most of the time you’ll be doing around 30 give or take.
WZ-113 ready for action, but my credit reserves aren’t…
So what’s the verdict?
Yes. It’s a “Yes”. Do it. Grind it. Drive it. You’ll be glad you did.
Or you could be. As tier X tanks go, there may well be better options for you. I have disqualified myself from some of them; I don’t like Russian Heavy tanks, and I’m sick of British and American tanks altogether, so I won’t be getting something like an IS-4 or a T110E5. Either may work better for you.
And yes, the IS-7 is still a dam cockroach; you can pound on it’s carapace all day and nothing happens. If you choose the WZ-113 over the IS-7 for your first tier X Heavy tank, a lot of people are going to say you made a bad decision.
But for me, there is no better Heavy tank at tier X. It has no frills, what you see is what you get, and it’s not super hard to get your head around. Hide the lower plate, angle juke and wiggle, find good positions and work them. Where it’s going to fall down is mobility; you don’t quite have the speed to move around the battlefield and engage yourself in every situation that develops like a Medium does, so you have to choose your battles wisely. You also won’t brawl quite as effectively unless your opponent is a slow tank as well.
It’s early days yet. Not a lot of people are driving the WZ-113, and I would be surpprised to see a lot of them in rating battles or tournaments. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few of them in tournaments though, because I think once you figure this tank out, you’ll be able to do some really good work with it.
Me, I am off to rebuild my credit buffer, and once I do, I’ll be getting into tier X Heavy tank driving for real. Unless something extraordinary happens my next one is going to be the AMX 50 B, but that is likely going to take quite a while, and of course the 50 B is not your average tier X Heavy with its thin armour and autoloader gun.
So yeah. If you like the look of the WZ-113, just get one. What you see is pretty much what you get, and even a noob like me can make it work fairly well.
IrmaBecx says “China Number One!”
See you out there.