The Löwe: How Buff is Too Buff?

 

Requiem for the Löwe

By:

IrmaBecx

 

The following is a statement from the Löwe Appreciation Society

 

Back in December, I wrote the Löwe Lobby had nothing at all to do with the latest Löwe buffs; in fact, none of the recent adjustments had been called for, and the slogan “Buff the Löwe” was always really just a joke.

Five months later, it seems some of my forebodings, spoken at the time in jest, have come true. A lot of people aren’t driving more buffed Löwe; they are driving less. It’s like they are in fact insulted by the fact Wargaming would belittle their skill by buffing their favourite vehicle.

Whatever the motivation, I hear a lot of people say they aren’t really driving their Löwe anymore, because it’s just too strong. It’s not game breaking or anything, but it has certainly become more and more comfortable to drive with every buff, to the point of being… well, uninspiring.

“Boring”, my friends say.

A lot of them are extremely proficient tank drivers, and with that comes a kind of natural progression towards faster and faster tanks with less and less armour. There is also a form of blindness to ones own ability that will sometimes limit your perspective.

What was so great about the Löwe was that it was a really good tank, but you had to know how to make it work, or it would be completely useless. You had to figure it out. And once you did, you could cross over to the other credit millionaires standing in the corner, giggling at people around them saying the Löwe is a useless tank.

What made the Löwe work was the human element. Your ability to juke and angle your armour properly was crucial. But once you figured it out, the rest was just positional play, which to be fair has a myriad of variables in itself. The Löwe was an extension of your playstyle, and every time Wargaming made it stronger, they took away a little bit of what made it special. The easier it became to drive, the less you had to work at driving it, the less rewarding it has become to drive.

These days, many would say, to the point of obsolescence.

I have mixed feelings about this, because on the one hand I want the Löwe to be successful, and I am happy for new players who get such a capable vehicle. The Löwe certainly deserves to be strong. On the other hand, I feel a bit sorry, because they won’t have the opportunity to learn from the Löwe, and thus they won’t create that special bond to it that, let’s be honest, only the overcoming of despair and disappointment can truly forge. And the simple fact is the Löwe was already strong.

So is this the end?

Not a chance. The game is evolving so fast these days, it’s impossible to say where the Löwe will be in another six months. As it is, I do feel the old Löwe has become lacklustre, and I thought I’d make a few suggestions about what you might want to drive instead.

 

Indien Panzer

My first thought was the IndyPanzer. It has a few similarities with the Löwe; it can sidescrape like a boss, and hull downs really well with its rounded pinhead turret.

The Indien is an old tank in the game, a classic tier VIII Medium from back in the day. It has Medium mobility, at least Medium armour, and a 90 mm Medium tank gun. It may look funny, but this is a proper Medium tank, everything is Medium about it.

It’s not a Heavy in disguise, not a TD at heart, not practically a Light tank. Just a Medium. It has armour and weaponry that is adequate, but not spectacular, and you need to stay aware to stay alive.

IndyPanzer likes it best out on the flanks and in the support role, indeed it can be hard to carry from the top, because you don’t have the top speed and DPM to clear multiple opponents fast enough on your own. Indy Panzer is a team player.

The excellent gun depression means you don’t actually have to show your hull if there is the slightest undulation in the terrain nearby. Learning the hull down, max gun depression playstyle is where the Indien starts to come into its own.

So yeah, it’s a Medium, but in spirit, I think the Indien Panzer is a main contender to be the “new Löwe”. Other than that, the only thing that doesn’t really fit is the Indy is famously expensive to drive; sort of an “anti Löwe” in that regard.

You can get one easily, just grind it out either from the Ru line or the Leopard 1 line.

 

The 112 Glacial

IrmaBecx recommending Chinese tanks? Stop me if you heard that one before.

This one is kind of special though, because although I tried it out, and actually liked driving it, I chose not to get one in the grind event on account of the gaudy blue dragon camo. It was just too much.

I still think it’s too much, but as a replacement for your Löwe, it may be right on point. It’s a fairly standard Heavy tank with a flat front plate and rounded turret. They buffed it recently; people used to swear over the gun a lot, but apparently that’s better now.

122 mm APCR standard with good penetration, but strangely not that Russian style near-instant APCR delivery you get on your IS-5; not even 1000 m/s of shell velocity. Six degrees of gun depression seems to be the new Chinese standard.

It’s not super fast, doesn’t quite have the same top speed as the Löwe actually, but it’s a lot more powerful; almost 14 hp per ton, and some nice terrain resistances. It feels more mobile than it is, I would say.

The turret is much stronger than the Löwe turret, and the whole tank is lower to the ground, but on the flat, at 20 degrees angle, you will be showing about the same amount of skin: lower plate and a few specks on the turret. The 112 has 80 mm side armour just like the Löwe, just a lot less of it, and also a strip of HEAT-eating 30 mm spaced armour along the side.

The 112 has a different design philosophy than the Löwe, but it’s not too far removed in terms of playstyle. You have to watch out for the same weakspots: lower plate, straight side shots, and keep the turret moving. Also it’s a premium, so it’ll make you credits, not end up depleting your reserves.

 

The FCM 50t

This one is actually Xenos suggestion, but I have to say I agree with it. The only reason I don’t drive mine more is I’ve been trying to ace the Löwe and Hype 59 for a long time now.

The French Char Magnifique is also a Medium tank, but that’s not the whole story. It’s a Heavy tank on PC, and I think the only reason it’s a Medium in Blitz is a lightly armoured Heavy tank wouldn’t have fit the Blitz meta back then.

People just wouldn’t have understood it.

As a Medium, it has a few outspoken proponents, myself being one of them. I bought one as soon as it came out, and I never regretted that. The thing is huge, but it’s so quick and nimble you can still run circles around people.

Well, most people. The FCM is also in a very different place now than when it was introduced. It’s also a classic Medium and it can do classic Medium jobs. It won’t hold a position as well as a Löwe or a Glacial, but it can sidescrape a bit, and bounce off the turret.

The French 90 mm is actually pretty similar in stats to the German WW II 105 mm, aimtime, accuracy and dispersion are all roughly the same. Alpha is lower, but you will reload almost 2.5 seconds faster, and in the end the DPM is the same.

The FCM lends itself to careful and methodical flanking gameplay, but it will also find itself in situations where it can bully people or use some of it’s special characteristics; like having over 20 hp per ton and doing 55, to make an unexpected play and turn the game around.

It’s strange, really, that such a big and funny looking vehicle can be so successful, but that of course just makes it even more suitable as a Löwe replacement. It’s readily available from the tech tree in contrast to the 112 Glacial, so other than being a Medium tank it ticks a lot of boxes.

 

Tentative Conclusions

You realise of course what we are talking about here is a first world problem in the extreme. When Wargaming buffs your favourite elitist tank too much, what to you do?

Well; you drive something else, waiting for either the meta to change or further balancing. Sooner or later something will happen.

It turns out it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to find a replacement vehicle in case you got disillusioned with your gold noob premium. Even managed to find one in every price range: available for gold, available free, and unavailable at this time.

Just as well too, because I think out of the three my money is on the FCM 50t as a new Löwe.

I mean, if nothing else, it’s French!

 

IrmaBecx says drive yours today and find out.

See you out there!

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