Monday, April 29, 2013

Not Dead But Close

Everything requiring mental power is on hold as my lung infection has transformed itself into Pneumonia and I'm feeling juuuuuuuust a tad under the weather. A new round of medication may hold the answer but till it kicks in I am very tired most of the time, and am getting in more napping than my 11-month old baby.

Be back soon.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Losing Streak Officially Broken and Other WoT Ramblings

I sort of took a page out of Mrrx's playbook last night and switched up my tanks after each battle though I will confess to playing both my Jag 8.8 and my Dicker Max twice in a row in an attempt to get a win. It worked, and all the other matches were wins as well so in true gambling professional form I 'quit while I was ahead' finishing the night with a modest 8-2. Sometimes you've just got to cut your losses and with the final episode of Broadchurch on it was easy to walk away from the computer. I don't often recommend police dramas but this is indeed one worth watching. It was broadcast on ITV so if you're in North America I recommend you find it from a torrent site (if you're into that sort of thing). Top notch acting with an extremely realistic script (for the most part, I won't get nit-picky) it's one I highly recommend.

My two week average is still below 50% in WoT, but that will even out, once again, in time. I note that the new patch will hit the EU server on Wednesday, and finally make it to us in NA on Thursday. There is apparently a pre-patch thingy you can download. This patch will see the introduction of premium consumables for credits, and a new line of German medium tanks featuring, as the ultimate goal, the Leopard I. I didn't even realize until I was at the Tank Museum that this tank was purchased and used by Canada for a very long time. I doubt I will ever get to the this tier 10 tank, but I do have 81k of experience on my VK3002DB waiting to unlock the Tier VIII Indien Panzer. I've seen mixed reviews of it, and although the front is so sloped as to make it virtually impenetrable, the shots all apparently bounce straight up to the un-armored gun mantle and take out the gun. Not exactly a desirable outcome in a fighting vehicle I must say.

My trek toward the Patton (Tier IX American Medium) continues (I'm 45k away) though I continue to wonder why. I like the challenge of the Pershing mostly, because I'm not looking forward to Tier IX. My last experience with it was the E50 which I rage-sold after 60-odd battles. It was a good enough tank, but I was sick of the matchmaker pitting me against heavies. My last battle with it saw 4 E50's as the top tank on my team against 4 IS4's (when it was the Tier IX monster). The fact that I can still remember the map, and the details of the battle, are a testament to how mad I was.

The patch following (8.6) is going to be a rather big one with the re-distribution of artillery and the addition of Tier IX and X arties. Basically the Tier VII and VIII's will get pushed up and new ones will take their place. I've played around with various artillery (1300 or so battles total) and find that I generally prefer the Russian line when I play them. I've unlocked the Object 261 (?) which is the Tier VII artillery and will likely buy it before it gets bumped up to Tier IX and becomes that much more expensive (I'm assuming though I think it's already around 3 million credits so maybe it will stay the same). I don't have the urge to play arty a lot but I do have fun when I play it. Like Quake Riley said in one of his videos, it's like a 'point and click adventure'. Nice and relaxing and the added tears in general chat are a bonus!

I also have the GW Panther but it just doesn't appeal as much. I know it's a more accurate piece, and the mobility is nice but to be honest when I play arty I'd just rather sit still and make a few things go BOOM before I get killed. I also prefer the high arc of the Russian line which digs those pesky campers out from behind their rocks. Yes, I said it, arty PREVENTS camping and that's a fact. Don't believe me? Try facing two Jagtigers sitting hull down and completely blocking a choke point with no arty to back you up. I use this example because I was one of those Jagtigers and an entire column of heavies died trying to get passed us. One arty on the team would have made that a very different fight. As for the argument that people are afraid to go out into the open when arty is around I really don't know what to say. I was killed last night by an arty shot and it was only the second time that happened in over 100 games. It was a nice shot by a GW Panther and I didn't begrudge him his kill any more than I would have if it had been an 'invisible' tank destroyer who had got me..... or a fast light.....or a heavy..... I guess what I'm trying to say is, um, L-T-P?

Monday, April 22, 2013

World of Tanks: Still Doing It

I am still playing World of Tanks despite a vicious losing streak which was finally broken last night when I quit just after getting 8 wins and 7 losses. The last week has seen me losing regularly with nights of 5-15, 10-15, etc wearing me down. I tried loads of different tanks, including some old favorites with high win-rates like the KV-1 and the SU-26 to no avail. I turned off encounter battles as well as assault mode due to so many teams not having a clue as well. Some nights I just played premiums to minimize the pain of losing (they make good credits) and saw nights with 500-650k credits gained. All was not lost I guess. On the bright side my efficiency/WN rate stayed high (1200-1300) so I can console myself that the static factor in these losses was not, in fact, me.

NVIDEA's World of Tanks (and Planetside 2/Hawken) giveaway has been a boon for me. Between ebay, and some game-trading forums I've managed to pick up a whack of coupons and loaded up with gold and premium time. I spent an awful lot, in the end, but basically doubled the amount of gold/premium time I would have otherwise bought with regular purchases. I've paid, on average, $26 for one month of premium and 7500 gold...... several times over. The abundance of gold, bought cheaply, has loosened my purse and I've picked up some new premium tanks including the FCM-50t French Heavy, and the Super Pershing. Though I've played them only a handful of times I am happy with them thus far. The 50t is good fun and very mobile so it is a good earner.

The Super Pershing is by far the best value for money I've seen as it earns the same as my Type 59 (and the FCM-50t) on average and is the cheapest Tier VIII premium out there. As you are slow as heck you do need a good idea of where to position yourself to maximize enemy contact which will maximize your damage and credits. So far I'm losing a lot (35% win rate) but the cash is still flowing (85k is my top game so far and nothing less than 20k).

I'm struggling at the moment as I'm not really grinding anything in particular and so I bounce from tank to tank pretty aimlessly. I will sometimes focus on earning credits with all my premiums but with nothing I want to buy it feels a bit hollow. I have turned my attention to the Pershing as I've decided (after seeing it at the tank museum) to give the Tier IX Patton a go. The problem is I know that I won't play it much because the upper tiers don't draw me. I don't have a lot of fun in them as the credits dry up, and the chances you run into a top clan platoon increase and this means, when they are on the enemy team, you get stomped pretty hard. Looking at my stats it seems Tier VII is where I really shine with every medium tank I've played at this tier having around a 1400 efficiency (except for the T-20). All my tier VIII mediums, on the other hand, are sitting at about 1100 efficiency as are my Tier IX tanks (E50, IS-4, and Object 704). Interestingly all my arty are quite high as well with the GW Panther being the lowest at around 1200. Maybe I'm a natural arty player....

WoT's model of adding new tanks as game play has backfired in a way. Whenever I look at a tank I ask myself why would I want to play it? What can this tank offer that another in my garage can not? In most cases the answer is nothing. The Type 59, for example, is a good Tier VIII tank that earns me credits and doesn't see Tier X battles. It plays like the Russian line as well as the Chinese line so I don't bother with those lines at all (same with the French now that I have the FCM). I haven't touched the Chinese line, and have only done lights from the French (and a few arty) and a few td's from the British. I have over 32 tanks in my garage atm so grinding for new tanks seems pretty pointless unless they are fun, or cool looking/historically interesting. Playing the upper tiers also seems a bit pointless- I like a challenge, sure, but I don't find the upper tiers to be any more fun than say Tier VII. Playing something like the VK3002 DB with it's awful gun is a challenge enough (and one I'm meeting with a 1400+ efficiency lol). There's just something about that tank that suits my style I guess (similar to how the KV-13 did when I played it).

I guess, on the other hand, their new premium tank model (where the premiums are actually good now and rather on par with similar, non-premium tanks of that tier) has worked as I continue to buy them for real cash. I remember when the premium tanks were simply stock versions of in-tank games that just made more money. Now I think many of them are great tank in their own right and when combined with the special MM and extra credits they are by far better (The Type 59 being a great example). From their point of view I would say me buying tanks and not grinding them is rather a success.

Ah well, the same old complaints- I guess I have to re-visit them every so often in case anyone is listening. Apparently 9.0 is going to have some huge changes but they are keeping a lid on what exactly it will be. I do hope it's something interesting before I get desperate and (shudder) try to join a clan again or something.

As for my You Tube endeavour I have received some nice requests to continue and I do appreciate that. I am thinking of coming back to do some low-key videos. My problem is that I can't stand the trolls and random comments from people passing by. I like having discussions with regular viewers/subscribers but everyone else is a drain on my energy. In the future I would refrain from doing 'reviews' as they tend to bring out the worst critics. You take a couple hours to play a tank on the test server, and then post a 'review' and months later guys who've played tons of battles in the tank post critiques and insults of your game-play. It's just not worth it. Previously I was posting videos to get maximum attention (my 'review' videos of the test server, for example, would get 1000+ views) but in the future I think I'd rather not do that. A small but interested audience is better than a large, trollish one! We'll see, in any case, once I can speak without hacking up a lung as my infection continues.....

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fortuitous Friday: So Long Ireland, Thanks For The Lung Infection

If you've never travelled a great distance with a baby let me be the first to tell you don't. Just don't. It's more work than you can imagine especially if you plan your trip thinking like you used to in pre-baby times. After finally arriving at our family's home in Edinburgh we both looked at each other and said: 'Never again.' It was tough, but we will, of course do it again but this time smarter. Much smarter. I will fly from my home city to wherever we are going and stay there- no matter what the cost. A seven-hour drive followed by a nine-hour flight, followed by a three-hour layover, followed by an hour long flight, followed by an hour long drive (plus time to go back to retrieve forgotten pasports) equals a looooooooooooooooooooong day. Stupidly long. Without baby- doable. With baby- hellish.

So lessons learned and all that. The trip was great overall. We got to see loads of friends and did a lot of catching up. I snuck away to Dublin following the wedding in Belfast and walked to nearly every shop, pub, and sentimental spot I knew. I did around 6 miles of walking and only had two pints (very restrained I agree). Dublin appears the same but much has changed. Empty office blocks and 'for lease' signs are everywhere. Archaeology mates are working for 50% of what they used to get and some are barely getting by (one friend turned on the heat 'in honor of my visit'). All of then are very jealous that I got out and managed to start again elsewhere. It was nice to go back, both to reminisce, and to verify that leaving was the right decision.

I made it to the Bovington Tank Museum (pics to follow in another post) and spent a day in London as well. The British Museum was rammed with large groups of students (off for the Easter Week) and they over-booked the Pompeii exhibit which severely impacted my ability to enjoy it. It was so full you could barely move and I was very, very disappointed with them. They were timed bookings and I think they just got greedy and over-sold. At 15 pounds a ticket (and the fact I went all the way to London just to see it) I felt very cheated.

I then had the great fun of trying to make it to Gatwick Airport from Central London (Soho) via public transit at rush hour. Yikes. As it was a one-off for me I was able to be a 'detached obsever'. I have no idea how people live their lives like that. It was busy, congested, stressful, expensive, and horrible. After being away, and returning, I finally 'get it' though. All those unwritten social rules of British society- don't make eye-contact, avoid talking, don't smile, be polite when bumped into- finally make sense. You just simply have to close up to survive. Too many people. Where I live you will often say hello or smile to people you pass by in the street but that's because we don't have the congestion. I drive to work (by myself) every day so I have privacy and space (and it only takes 20 mins lol). Saying hello to someone isn't a bother because I don't see all that many of them. In London it's wal-to-wall people and you just need your internal space. Besides, only crazy people make eye-contact or chat to you- and only tourists smile :)

In the end, it was a great trip and my only souvenir is a lung infection. Yes, that's right, the land of damp has struck at me from afar. It started as a sore throat, morphed into the flu, and then settled into my chest as an infection. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, phlem. I wonder which one of those, approximately, 7 million people I must have encountered passed it on to me? Bloody Brits, living like animals, packed into their commuter trains like cattle, jostling each other with murmurs of 'sorry mate, sorry'. Yea, I'll bet their sorry.

Happy Friday Everyone!