And then came update 8.1. Gold ammo was offered for in-game silver and of that I had a hoard that would make a fair-sized dragon happy. With 10 million credits saved up and no real desire to spend it on anything I decided to go ahead with my idea. There hasn't been a lot of serious talk about the Pay To Win aspect of World of Tanks. Syncaine offered up his opinion in the comment section of Tobold's blog once, or maybe had a post of his own (I can't remember), and there are a few threads on the official forum but not much comes up with the 'ole Google search "World of Tanks Pay to Win".
What I am trying to answer, simply, is can you pay to win buy using premium ammo? Winning is defined by actual wins of course, but as a stat-monkey I will also look at overall performance including kills, damage, and the oft-controversial efficiency rating which is available from the WoT Dossier Tool (not an official World of Tanks tool). I have selected two tanks for this:
1. The Type 59 Chinese Medium.
This Tier VII premium tank is a good earner. It is not overpowered and quite frankly I'm sick of that topic but regardless of that I am experienced with it. With 515 battles my stats with this tank are pretty set. I have a 50% win rate and 508 kills which, I think, makes me a bit above average with it, but nothing spectacular. Most importantly is the long track record of battles which will make a great base-line for my performance without premium ammo.
As a premium tank the Type 59 will also help offset the cost of the ammo (4000 per shell) for this little en devour.
2. The Tiger P German Tier VII Heavy
I think this is a good support tank and my stats show I'm an average player. I have at least 100 battles which is a pretty decent track record and I can say I am, at least, comfortable with it's play-style. Will premium ammo help me get more wins?
For the record I've never believed, over all, that a single player can make that much of a difference in your average random battle. If you get a sucky team you're pretty much done for. I don't think the use of premium ammo will actually translate to wins and I don't think World of Tanks is Pay To Win. It has a very good pay model which encourages you to Pay For Convenience (with premium accounts and premium tanks) but none of those things are power items. Premium ammo is a power item (as are the premium consumables) but in the end I'm not sure how much of a difference it will make. We will certainly see soon enough, however! Now I don't think my little experiment will be the end all of this debate. Wargaming.net, of course, know the answer as they have all the stats but they aren't likely going to let us know are they? Well, actually they will in a way. If they can the option to buy premium ammo for silver we know it likely is causing an imbalance.
If you're watching the video's thanks for tuning in, and do check back here for my updates on how things are going. If there is enough interest eventually I may expand the experiment to other tanks chosen by you guys n gals- so long as the 'gold' rounds continue to sold for silver and I can continue to afford them :)