So I was finally able to cull down the heard of tanks in my garage. I’m almost done with the SU-100, and I finally scraped together enough cash for the ST-1. While I’ve played it a bit on the test server, which is what convinced me to go this route, I did have some second thoughts about dropping that 160,000+ Free XP to leapfrog over the KV-4. But I bit the bullet and did it anyway, and I am glad I did.
Incidentally, this is why I play the test server. It is a great chance to try out those tanks and their respective lines (as well as potential premium tank purchases) to let you know if you are headed in the right direction. What could be worse than grinding for months only to find the tier 9 or 10 tank you were looking forward too is just not fun to play?
Initially the ST-1 doesn’t give you a whole lot of thrills. Stock its slow and the gun is a leftover from the previous tiers. Its not until you stick the giant bobblehead turret on it that you can get the really good gun, and its one of those tanks where you can’t even do that until you upgrade the suspension. But all that overlooks the strength of the ST-1, which is really in its well-angled and thick armor. While only 140mm thick on paper, the angle gives you more effective thickness and makes it tricky for people to break through without well aimed shots.
Those gouges on my front plate are from direct hits from an IS-6, SU-122-44, and IS (all 175 pen) and a Pershing (180 pen) before finally taking a hit from an T-54 (219 pen) and an M103 (264 pen). And those last two still left me with plenty of my 1900 HP left. I also found that I was an instant threat – not something I am well used to in my usual role as a medium tank player. As soon as I appeared on the scene, enemy tanks scrambled to react to my presence. Firepower was diverted, positions shifted, artillery fire was lifted from other places to target me. I found that I didn’t mind. A little creative dancing and thread, along with the damage I was putting out, actually helped my team in a significant way. Part of that was that I didn’t arrive along the same axis as the rest of the team. The map was Highway and I entered the city from a different sidestreet. Though I was alone, the split angles and the fact that I’m so slow the main force had already engaged created a bit of a distraction that my team mates used to good effect.
All that is to say, it gave me a new appreciation for the role of heavy tanks and what can be done with them with a bit of team work. Usually my job is to pick them apart and find their weaknesses, or dance around them. Being one was a nice change of pace. That sounds a bit like I haven’t played heavies before, but I have. Its more that the heavies I’ve played at top battle tiers previously, the US line, are not exactly fear inducing. The T34 was the tier 9 tank back when I was doing that line, and it was junk on wheels – no armor and a mediocre gun. Nobody was scared of it. The ST-1 is another beast entirely.
So, I have no complaints about the initial outing. And I’m looking forward to getting to know this tank even better.