Thursday, May 16, 2013

Uggg. No, Wait, I Meant ARGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGH.

So many disgusted noises I could make this morning, or alternatively bad words I could use. They are all floating around my head, never fear, but I'll spare you having to see them in print. It's not, after all, your fault... or is it? Not unless you were one of the skill-less asshats valiant teammates I got facerolled fought with last night. Over, and over, and over. In one of my most frustrating sessions in a very long time I ended the night with 7 wins and 23 losses.

Not bad enough, having to suffer the losses, I was (on several occasions) subjected to a wide variety of abuse and/or strategic advice from team mates who had died. With XVM running I noted that in 99% of these cases said team mate had a sub 950 efficiency and a below 50% win rate. Post game stats showed the vast majority of them would have done more damage by flinging wet noodles at the enemy. There were no breaks last night. I loaded into battles twice with platoons of top-ranked players from top-ranked clans (win rates in the 60-70% range and efficiencies topping 2500) on my own team, and we still lost.

The Gods of Tanking were against me last night and the writing was on the wall early as I sat down at the computer. I had a post on one of my You Tube videos where the commenter stated: "You shouldn't turn off in-game chat because you won't be able to read what intelligent players are saying'. Yea, right. Hardy-fucking-har.

So as not to brood all day (yes, I'm like that) I'm trying to put a positive spin on it so I did manage to have my best game ever in my T71 (a tank I struggle with) and, in fact, one of my best scouting games ever. I know the T71 isn't necessarily a dedicated scout but I currently have a bush-scout set up (camo, binocs, camo-crew, and premium camo) so when I loaded into Malinovka there was only one thing to do: sit in a bush. Well, many bushes to be exact and the enemy deciding to leave their western flank open (I loaded from the buildings side) was rather nice. Once we secured hill I relocated to hunt down those pesky arty. Having 4 arty per side was a boon in this case (especially the T92 who was one-shotting tanks I was spotting) and I managed to get 5400 in spotting damage and earned pile of credits. (I'll edit this post later with the screen shot) along with the scout and patrol duty medals.

I also managed to earn 600, 000 credits as once I could sense the losing streak was going to be bad I switched to premium tanks. As an added lol, out of sheer frustration I suicide-scouted with my Type 59, and even though we lost I still earned 41k (for 30 seconds of work) in profits and killed an arty. Maybe I should do a suicide scout experiment in the Type 59 to see if that makes a difference to my win-rate or earnings. In any case, all was not lost I must grudgingly suppose.

But wait, I'm not done. This morning I read about the upcoming changes to penetration and HEAT ammo on For the Record and was struck by just how much the game is biased toward (no, not Russians though I bet you were waiting for that) fast tanks. The new 'nerfs' which see the penetration of HEAT (also known as 'gold' or 'premium') ammo go down while the cost goes up. Way up in some cases. While reading through all the details (yes, I read them all) I was struck by two thoughts.

First the increasing cost of premium ammo begins to negate the so-called 'removal' of the pay to win aspect of World of Tanks. By increasing the costs you may deter some players from using it so often, or you may shift the balance to those of us (yes that includes me) who have either money to spend on actual gold rounds (not me) or who have a lot of premium tanks, and premium accounts (yes, me). Remember my earlier statement? I made 600k in 30 games (23 of them losses) with my premium tanks/account. For the rest of the week I could easily spam HEAT in my Hetzer or M4, (or IS4 for that matter), and not go broke. The point of making 'gold' rounds available for credits was that it was accessible to everyone. That accessibility is now removed to a certain degree.

The idea is to make armor meaningful again but, and this is the second bit, it is clear that the game favors fast-moving tanks. Maybe the devs (or player base) feel this is best as it means games are fast and exciting, I don't know. What I do know is that a Tier IX medium tank having 330 penetration (with HEAT) while a Tier X heavy tank has 340 pen (with HEAT) seems a little unbalanced to me. I play with some medium tanks that have dreadful penetration (VK3002DB with 130 in tier IX games is a bit challenging I will say) and do very well (1400 efficiency). It makes me wonder what I could be doing with the T-54 and its 330 penetration. Officially the T-54's HEAT goes from 350 to 330 pen while the IS4's (and IS8) HEAT goes from 400 to 340. Lol, what?

I'm deliberately not discussing the upcoming arty nerfs yet as I'm waiting for the full announcement. I know that accuracy, splash radius, damage, and rof are being nerfed (GW Panther goes to 7.1 accuracy lol) but they keep saying there is something 'good' for arty. I'll remain skeptical until I see it.

Online games are ever changing. I've played my share of MMO's so I know that. I do think Wargaming is doing a good job overall but I worry that their model of 'add more tanks' as content is beginning to take it's toll. Powercreep (where each new tank has to be just a bit better than the last to make people want to play it) is not just evident, but is becoming a way of life in WoT. I'm pretty old. I remember when the Object 704 and it's dreaded BL-10 was, well, dreaded. Now the 750 damage it can (when it hits) inflict isn't that scary at all especially when you can just flank the old dinosaur in your fast light and pen the shit out of it with your auto-loader which dishes out 900 damage in half the time it takes the Object to reload.

Balance is difficult and the more tanks you add the harder it becomes. The newest German additions getting match-maker re balancing (my precious VKDB and new Indien Panzer get lower weights) is just an example. I wish they would have sorted out the HEAT/Arty issue before adding more un-balanced tanks to the pot. Do people really want more tanks? Is this fun? I know that every once in a while I do want to try something different but surely having the different classes of tanks (medium, heavy, light, spg, destroyer) mixed with different tiers is good enough isn't it? I haven't even touched the Chinese line (and don't plan on it) and just dabbled in a couple British Tank Destroyers. I really do miss the old days where each end -game tank (and there were only a few) played very differently and took a different set of skills to use. The IS-7 was king of the fast heavies while the Maus was a force to be feared. The US tanks sucked (but now they are all that's required in the end-game to win), the few Object 704's you encountered shook your rivets in fright, and medium tanks had to wolf-pack to succeed.

Rose-colored glasses or fact? What do you think?

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