Friday, June 28, 2013

Fortuitous Friday: Bureaucracy Gone Mad

I don't much like bureaucracies and not just because I always manage to spell it wrong when I first write it. I'm a big believer in common sense, and the lack there-of seems built in to every bureaucratic charter. I remember studying them at university- how they become bloated, self-serving entities that only exist to perpetuate their own existence while forgetting what they were meant to be doing in the first place. I've worked for a few and I would agree.

So just a quick quote today from a work memo circulated which shows the bureaucracy never fails to not know what the hell it's doing:

All new eemployees are required to take this mandatory training..........Please keep in mind that approval is required to attend the course.
So much for it being mandatory I guess.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tiger II Project Complete and Other Tank Musings

I've been on a bit of a tank hiatus of late. Shortly after reaching 10,000 battles I finished my Tiger II project and hit a bit of a wall. I enjoyed the Tiger II game-play well enough but a bit of burnout set in and I just couldn't find anything that I wanted to do- despite having a ton of projects/tanks I do want to get around to. I even tried 'scheduling' my game-play but it was to no avail (during 'Hellcat' Week I only played 11 matches).  8.6 hits today for us slow-pokes in NA, but I have checked it out in test, and on the EU server so I know what's coming. I am looking forward to trying out my arty to really see how they are (SU-14 and up seemed fine to me) especially at the lower tiers. I've read mixed reviews of the patch overall, so we'll see. I wonder how my little SU-26 will play after it's ginormous (and deserved) nerf. I may have to hunt down another lol-machine for crushing noobs (I have a few in mind already) when I need to blow off steam.

So, back to the Tiger II. It was a tank I really messed up with do to being very new at the game. I sucked hard with it, and eventually rage-sold it. Coming back to it as a WoT vet was nice. It's a nice tank, alright, and capable of pushing when it has to, or devastating opponents from afar. I managed to raise my win percentage by 6%, and more importantly, up that efficiency to 'green' status by pulling my damage per game, kills, etc out of the red. I did complete the 'grind' for the E75 in time for the On Track Event and picked that one up. I'm looking forward to the E75 as I haven't played a Tier IX heavy seriously in quite some time (the IS-4 grind pre-Russian Heavy patch was the last one).

I'm a bit frozen in place atm, however, as I have only two German heavy crews. One is pretty new (bought for the Tiger II project), and the other is my crack team working on finishing their third skill. That crew is currently in the VK4502A which I'm trying to decide if I want to keep. I have all the top modules now, but absolutely no interest in unlocking the next tank. I just want to know if I like it enough to keep it before moving that crew out. The other problem is that I want a crew back in my Tiger P which I've decided to keep after noting I finished it with a 1300+ efficiency rating. I like tanks that I do well in statistically. It shows they suit my play-style. That's important for a guy like me because I'll often get stubborn and play tanks I'm not good with which gets frustrating. The stats let me know which ones I'm not so great with and should likely avoid to keep my blood pressure down. Yea, I know, pretty nerdy but I have a hard time letting 'fun' lead the way.

The top crew will obviously go into the E75, and that leaves me with one crew and two tanks. The VK4502A is alright- it plays like a medium which I like- but with so many tank in the garage, do I really need another one that I'll likely not play that much? Tier 8 is getting a bit crap, to be honest, and I spend a lot of time there with my Tier 8 premiums. Having yet another tier 8 doesn't appeal at all at them moment so we'll see. Realistically I'll likely not get around to the VK4502A 'project' for some time. With 8.6 about to hit here in NA (yes, we are always last) I am going to dust off my Object 704 and do some tank-destroying. The new camo and experience changes have me excited. I'm also going to focus on my Tier 9 arty- partially because I'm curious, and partially because they want less people to play arty and that makes me want to play it more!

Right, so. So long Tiger II. I had some truly epic games in that tank and hope to get the replays up...someday.

In the beginning, there was a noob.....

...who became a man.

6,000 XP is from X2, plus extra for an event- but still, it looks good!

This is one game I must get recorded and uploaded to You Tube.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Fortuitous Friday: Reflections on Father's Day (Nothing to see here, move along)

So it appears from the various calendars that I encounter that Father's Day is around the corner. I keep getting asked what I want and the answer remains the same: nothing. It's supposed to be a 'special day' where dad gets thanked for all the things that he does: a recognition, if you will, for his hard work. I think it's ridiculous, personally, because all those things that a father does, he's supposed to do- especially for his kids.

I take the Chris Rock approach to Fatherhood. If you haven't seen his 'Bigger and Blacker' comedy show (available on DVD and various internet sites) I highly recommend you check it out. In it he makes fun of fathers who make a big deal about 'taking care of their kids'. I've always liked his response: "N***er, you're supposed to take care of your kids."

Don't get me wrong- I'm not opposed to those of you who will take the day to escape and get some me time in. If you get a few extra hugs, a funky tie, and some macaroni-pictures for your fridge, I won't begrudge you those. I get it, I just don't want to participate. Being a father, for me, was a long time in coming (42 y.o. when she was born) and it's something I wanted. I don't need to be thanked for doing what is both natural (being a parent) and enjoyable. I suppose there are a lot of Dad's who stumbled into all this, but not me. I can't think of anything I want because I don't feel that my life has been altered, or hindered in any meaningful way.

Before becomming a father my life was dominated by games, chllin' with the missus, and heading out for pints and food once in awhile. I still play games daily, I still chill with the missus, and though it doesn't happen as much, I still get out for the odd pint when I want to. I like being a father and I see it as my job to do everything I can to be the best that I can be. Thanking me for doing my job is silly. It's like winning the lottery and then getting thanked every year for buying a ticket!

But holy shit it's tough sometimes, isn't it lads? Ha! Enjoy your Father's Day in whatever form you choose and Happy Friday Everyone!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Man Can Not Live On Tanks Alone

No, it's true. I've been primarily playing WoT for a long time now, but I'm always on the look out for cool games to play. I've made a decision to never pre-order, or pay full price for any game so I often wait a long time to try out new ones. I will, however, try really interesting looking indie games that are reasonably priced (less than $15).

I am currently trying Sang Froid, A Tale of Werewolves (half price Steam Sale purchase) which is a unique tower defence game from a Canadian company. I couldn't resist the call of Canada, the 19th century setting, and the supernatural as the baddies, and the price ($8 in said sale). I have next to no experience in tower defence games but I do like this one. The story is hokey (twee) but  I did say it was Canadian and if you have any experience with Canadian T.V. you'll know what I mean (Beachcombers anyone). That said, who plays a tower defence for the story? It's not that bad, however, and it does server to get you from night to night where the real game is.

The real game sees you defending an increasing amount of buildings against wolves, werewolves, sprites, and other nasties. In addition to traps, you can melee, or shoot (with 19th century rifles) the baddies and level up your character (there are two in the game). A lot of good reviews are out there on You Tube, so check them out. It's awfully refreshing to play a game where you're loot is .60 cent for completing the night (19th century prices) instead of purple gear and thousands of gold. I've been too tired lately to play much of this one but so far (6 nights in) I highly recommend it.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fortuitous Friday: At Least You've Got Your Health

An old phrase and a dumb one I always thought.....untill recently. Eight weeks, four doctors, one lung specialist, three antibiotic prescriptions, two inhalers, thirteen vials of blood, one jar of urine, two lung x-rays, and fifteen sick days later, I'm still not better. It's ridiculous. I was initially diagnosed with pneumonia but now they aren't sure, and they can't rule anything out- including cancer due to my previous smoking history (quit years ago, but still). The chance it is cancer is slim, but there does seem to be a nasty infection 'somewhere' in my body (X-Rays keep coming back clean) with the concern being it may move into an organ, or my bones or something and THAT would be baaaaaad news indeed. I remember working on human remains (bones) that had evidence of nasty infections in the bones and thinking, 'ouch, that's what likely killed this guy'. Hmmmmm...

There is a sligh chance I'll be hospitalized (yikes) this weekend, but more than-likely I'll stay free (and sick) until I get an 'emergency' CT-Scan. I say 'emergency' with the parenthesis because as an outpatient that still means at least a two-week wait. Yes, free universal healthcare is wonderful but you do sometimes pay for it with time (waiting). The plus side to being hospitalized is that I'd get all my tests done very quickly but the downside is.... well, I'd be in a freaking hospital. On days like today where I feel so bad (I was up from 2-3am with chills/sweats, and cough) I think it would be best, but I really hate hospitals (don't we all). Never fear, I've got some coverage above and beyond the basics so I wouldn't be thrown in with the sick and dying plebs on the 'free ward' but still. How would I play any decent games? With everything being on Steam, or online these days, I've lost the art of playing games without an internet connection.

Yes, even sick I worry about my gaming. And speaking of, I've only just realized I played my 10,000th World of Tanks battle last night. I was checking my stats today and saw that magic number. I can't even remember which match it was lol, but I do remember it was a win simply because I always quit on a win.

I've also gone over to the dark side as She Who Will Be Named Later and I have got I-phones (so long Android). So far, I'm not impressed. It's not very intuitive and getting stuff set up is a pain in the ass. The wi-fi range is a joke and needs tweaking so we can use it throughout our own house. I've always said that if soooo many people like something, it must be shit (farmville anyone) and I may be right. Time will tell, and since we have a two-year contract I have to lump it. Maybe I'll grow to love it as much as the other brainwashed idiots apple users. Who knows.

Happy Friday Everyone!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

8.6 Arty Matchmaking. Premiums, Prepare to Get Crushed

Premium tanks enjoy (usually) special matchmaking. Tier VIII premium vehicles, for instance (my main bread winnners) never see Tier X tanks. Since many of them have really bad guns, this is good news. With the new arty tiers, however, they will now be seeing arties they normally wouldn't. What the heck am I talking about? Here is is:

Premium Tier 8 tanks like the Jag 8.8 and the Type 59 are in battle tier 8-9.

Current Tier 7 arty is in battle tier 10-11.

This Tier 7 arty is becomming Tier 9 arty in 8.6.

Tier 9 arty in 8.6 is battle tier 9-11.

Result: Get ready to meet tougher arties.

In addition I note the Tier VIII, IX, and X arties almost ALWAYS share the same top gun. The ROF and aim time changes but not the damage so guess what? That's right, you're gonna get crushed. The new Tier VIII German arty has the same gun as the GW Tiger. That's 2000 potential damage for battle tiers 8-10 which, by the way, includes Tier 6 medium tanks. ROFL. I'm not sure my Easy 8 can take that kind of damage ;)

Despite this being the 'big arty nerf' I'm looking forward to playing MOAR arty. Get ready to shed them tears gentlement. Oh, and the new French Tier 9 (with fully rotating turret) plays like the SU26 of the upper tiers. I may use free experience to get it because so far it's lots of fun and it looks bad ass.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Secret of My Success

Well it's not so much a secret if I'm about to explain it, and as to how successful it is, I really don't know. I was asked recently how I managed to bring some degree of success to my Tiger II play so I thought I would attempt to answer. First let me say that being successful in a tank in which you previously sucked really, really bad in, is quite easy. Merely being average in the Tiger II means I am twice as good as I was!

I have played around 7k or so games since I first tried my hand at the Tiger II so to say I've learned a lot would be an understatement. That experience is critical to my better play. I know the maps better, I know enemy tanks better, etc, but there are a few patterns I tend to follow based on:

  1. Map.
  2. Position
  3. Enemy Composition

Where I am in terms of the line-up (top tank, middle, bottom) affects how I approach each map. If I am top tier, and there is a city-component to the map, I head for city. In my experience the top heavies usually battle in the city portion of any map. This is partly to avoid arty, and also to take advantage of cover and tactics such as side-scraping. I know the Tiger II is lethal at long range, but if you are the top tank and you sit back, or head for the open portion of the map, you are leaving your team imbalanced in town. The Tiger II is more than capable of handling itself in town, especially if you side-scrape. It really, really works and though it's something I am just learning (see, still a noob after 10k battles). I can't stress how effective this technique is- with any tank. Learn how to do it.

If I am middle tier I tend to look at the enemy teams composition. If there are a lot of mediums or fast heavies I would tend to go toward the open area of the map to assist our own mediums with long-range firepower. I don't obviously want to get too close to a pack of mediums as they will do the 'ole flank and spank on me but I wouldn't 'camp'. I'd move to where I could support the mediums/lights who engage the others. If there aren't a lot of mediums I'd likely go town to support our top tanks. Conversely if our top tanks aren't brawlers I may go city to beef up the armor (ie French Tanks on the top) with the hopes they go toward the open area (because they are fast).

If I am bottom of the pile (in a Tier X battle) I focus on long range support. The Tiger II really is lethal from a distance, especially if you are angled, or side-scraping (you can do this with terrain as well as buildings). I've wracked up nearly 3k in damage as a 'support' tank in these types of matches. I've also been face-rolled with only 300 damage inflicted.....

In general terms I think it's important to know your tanks capabilities. The Tiger II relies on armor- be it from a distance or by angling- for instance. The VK4502A relies on flanking and maneuvering, the IS4 relies on angling (I think, I suck with this tank atm) and getting the enemy to shoot your sides. You need to have a good idea where the enemy tanks are likely to go, and the best way to do that is to play all tank classes. I have over 3500 battles in medium tanks (obviously my favorite) but I also play Heavies (1700 or so), Tank Destroyers (1700ish), Arty (boo, hiss, 1500ish) and lights (1200). Know thy enemy!

Side scraping and angling are very important to your defence as well as knowing where you are weak (I didn't know enough to hide my lower plate when I first used the Tiger II). You Tube will provide help on this. As for your offence, you need to know those weakspots. I use the hit-zone skins from time to time to refresh my memory. I also carry at least 5 premium shells and use them whenever I need them. I have plenty of premium tanks for credit grinding so I have no problem losing money in a match, especially if it helps me win. Make sure your tank has all the bells and whistles (rammer, vents, first aid, repair, etc) and having all the top modules unlocked will certainly help so sticking with one nation for a while at least will help. Thanks to my horrific Tiger II grind way back when, I have enjoyed top engine/gun/radio modules in my Tiger P, E50, and others.

The last thing which I find is helping me immensely is my attitude. I am a stat whore and often get quite upset when I can't get wins in tanks I have a good efficiency with, or when I can't get my efficiency up in tanks I like, etc. I'll actually get pissed off if I start to lose a lot of matches and stubbornly keep playing, and wracking up the losses instead of stopping. In the Tiger II, because my stats are so bad, even if I go 50-50 (or a bit worse) on the night, I've still upped my stats! I know that I'm going to play the Tiger II until I have the E75 unlocked so I don't worry about how I do in any given evening. I need to play a certain amount to get it done before the On Track Event is over so I play them without worrying about wins/losses. I play around 5 battles with it a night and hope for 3k in experience to go along with it.

It's always nice to see an improvement and with stats as bad as mine on the Tiger II, it's not hard. With tanks I struggle with it's harder to keep a positive attitude when thing aren't going well. I've sold off a few tanks because they frustrated me and that's probably good. With my time as limited as it is I'd rather just play tanks I'm good with, but the desire to try something new always pushes me forward. I'll have 'projects' I'll work on (unlocking this and that), and then take some time to go back to older tanks, or better yet, muck about on the test server (when it's up) just to try everything consequence free!