Wargaming Rolls Out Their Anniversary Special to Copious Yawning

Lets face it, tanks players are looking for one of three things when it comes to their WoT (or WoWp these days) specials:


1)  x3 or x5 first win bonuses.    There is something about having a nice match and jumping 8-10k XP that just feels insanely good.  And no matter how terrible the weekend is, just one good first win can make up for all of it.


2)  Premium discounts.   We all covet many of the premium tanks – and in an online world that charges $10 for a mount, charting $50 is pretty steep.  We can’t afford as many of those, so its nice that we can save up some money and buy one on sale every now and then.


3)  Equipment sales.  Gear for the tanks is expensive, and its not practical to just move gear from tank to tank for most items.  So we are always looking to save some cash so that we can continue to buy the fun new shiny in the form of new tanks.   I’ve said before (and I think most WoT players would agree) that silver/credits is the single most limiting factor to advancement in the game.  It takes the longest to farm and gets spent the fastest when the price for tanks is in the millions.   So we want to save those creds for buying new tanks, not a 10% loading bonus for a tank we already had.


Wargaming, somehow, after six months of running their mouth about how awesome this sale and special was going to be, have managed to give their player base none of the above.   They did offer a few of the rare premiums, like the KV-5 and German-captured Char B1s, but they bundled them in multi-tank packages available only through the Gift Shop and charged *even more* for them.    Been waiting for that Char, which is a tier 4 premium?   $90.   Ninety.  Nine-oh.   Yes, you get another tier 8 premium, some premium time, some credits, and so on and so forth…but who wants to spend $90?   And the KV-5, which I bought straight up for $34 I think it was the last time it was on sale?  Now its $55 with all the stuff they have added into the bundle.


Not that the KV-5 isn't worth it.  A very rewarding tank for discerning players...
Not that the KV-5 isn’t worth it. A very rewarding tank for discerning players…


Of course, I could be biased.  I was hoping for at least a small discount on the SU-122-44 that I wanted, so maybe its just my personal disappointment peaking through.   But I can’t help thinking that maybe the $30 I was saving up for that SU will now get spent elsewhere.   Because the other great thing about the big sales is that *everything* usually goes on sale.  Without that fourth important component to match with  the ones above, I have no way of knowing when I will get my shot at the tank.    So I might as well carry on in another game and adopt a “wait and see” approach.

Hitler Was Wrong

About a great many things, but most recently, in my meanderings, about this:



I haven’t had a bit of trouble with the ARL V39:




I do a lot of damage with it, get a fair amount of kills, and have found it to be overall, quite awesome.    Hitler complains about the tumor, but the truth is, his assistant there is right – you should be sniping from afar.   And a 2.3 second aim time is hardly in the arty range.   Now, I do use the 105 instead of the 90.   I lose a half second on the reload and a bunch of penetration, but pick up a 20% faster aim speed and 25% boost to damage, with a pen value that is still plenty high enough to take care of anything you run into.


And if I break even tonight with a 1-1 split, I will be at the minimum needed to qualify for noobmeter’s “best recent” list, where I will be the current #7 on the NA server.  So…I think I will hang on to this one for awhile.


I guess I shouldn’t be surprised in any case.  I mean, Hitler also hates the SU-100M1, and…yep, you guessed it:




Noobmeter’s lists there have clearly not been updated – I should be in the #2 slot on that one.  So…I think I will hang on to this one for awhile too.


Incidentally, I give our former clan leader a hard time about this tank as much as I can.   When the summer campaign was at tier 7’s, he pulled me into a match with it just to fill a hole, and then ditched me as soon as he could get someone else in, which turned out to be the next match.   He said it was a  terrible tank and I was ineffective.   Of course, I was third in damage dealt and we won, but hey – who’s counting, lol…


Looks like I’m not the only one who has had great success here either:


All Quiet On The Summer Front

I’m gone again next week.


And outside of one LotRO and one Star Trek session (still trying to decide what to buy in the sale – if you have any suggestions, put them here!), I have played only World of Tanks.  Unfortunately, only the big daddy computer runs The Secret World, and my wife has had some late nights working on those nights when I have not had, wait for it, late nights working.


So my play time continues to be pretty unvaried and boring, and I don’t really have a lot to write about.


Add into this information that my wife and I have been chatting about finances.  There are a couple of “home projects” that we’ve been wanting for awhile, so we are trying to be a little better about spending so that we can perhaps get those done in the near future.   So, I am doubly grateful for that F2P world that we live in right now.


And add into that the fact that I have begun P90X.  Its a long (and rather hilarious) story that I can’t go into now, suffice to say I’ve had the materials for over a year now and am just now getting the impetus to start the program.  I am eight days in, and while it does kick your butt totally, if you are one of those people that wants to see some clear evidence of improvement sooner rather than later, its a good one.


So,  yeah, boring summer from a gaming standpoint.


And because this is a boring post, I thought I would leave you with a fun screenshot:  this is how lucky I got in tanks last night: a shell came within six inches of finishing me off, and instead just peeled me like a grape, lol.


Turning the other cheek does work on occasion.
Turning the other cheek does work on occasion.

Cash Shop Black Hole & the WoT Shopping List

Do our desires have some sort of soft boundary on them?  Particularly when it comes to the cash shop and real currency?


I can’t tell you what a relief it is to grind 600 thousand credits instead of 6 million.   As I shifted a bunch of tanks from Tier 8 to Tier 9, it seemed like I was perpetually grinding cash in the millions to buy new tanks.   But now that I’m done with that, I have some scratch cash available for things like camouflage and equipment.  For those who don’t play WoT, the average match time is around 5 minutes, and the average cash you can clear in a good premium is around 30-35k.


So we are talking about the difference between and hour and a half grind and a grind lasting a week or more.


The feeling is so good, with a sort of immediate gratification vibe, that I started thinking “okay, what else do I absolutely want, lets buy it now and stash it away so I can keep feeling this way.”   Then, along the same lines, I had the bright idea of making a list of things I wanted in the cash shop, and it started to get expensive.



But I realized something as I made that cash shop list.   When I totaled it up, a voice in the back of my head said:  “That’s too much, take something off.”  I did this a couple of times, carefully eliminating things that I felt I wanted less, or were cheap and I could pick up later.   It was an interesting counterpoint to Rowan’s post about gambling and lock boxes.   Rather than feeling and urge to put more money in, I had an urge to spend less.


Is that what happens to for you too?  I figure that unless you are one of those people with a spending problem, you at least prioritize a list, either by what cash you have available or what you are wanting most and willing to save for.


Anyway, for reference, here is my current wish list for WoT:



Indien-Panzer          2,530,000
Type T-34 w/ Upgrades    650,000
Jagdpanzer IV        991,000

Total:          4,171,000   (139 battles)


Exp Conversion*        7,106
FCM 50t            11,900
SU-122-44        6,750

Total:        25,756    ($100+)

As you can see, the credit side of things is not too bad.   Especially since I will probably save the purchase of the Indien-Panzer until my brother’s internet situation gets straightened out (giving me a couple of tier 8’s to roll with him and my dad).


Its the real word money that gives one pause.   If I give up on the FCM, and not convert ALL the experience, I can get buy with a $50.  Even that is a bit steep, but I do have a birthday coming up, so its doable.   Particularly if the premiums go on sale next month in the big Wargaming 15th anniversary party.   But even then, I’m sure for some people, putting down $100 to pull in everything they want isn’t that bad a proposition.  After all, I did that with the Hex Kickstarter just last month!


What about you?  What’s on your shopping list in your games of choice these days?


*Experience Conversion is just to clear out the closet.  I have a over 177k free experience saved up that just needs to be converted.   That is a host of upgrades and saved pain on equipment grinds, and would mean that I can start every tank I still want to grind in its elite config rather than stock config.  Which means more power, more wins, more cash, etc.


So I did some brief calculating.   I’ve only been able to play two of the last fifteen days, and only one of those was a full evening of gaming – the other was just a one hour drop-in on TSW to grind out a bit more of the starting Solomon Island area, which has become very unfun in my third time through it.


And to add insult to injury, I specifically checked last night to see what the weekend special on World of Tanks was that I had missed, thinking that though it was late, I could log in and buy something if anything relevant was on sale.   I didn’t see anything, and then realized today that it was named for the same as one of the ongoing specials (so I didn’t realize there even was a special this weekend – not unusual for them to skip that on the week of a major release, in this case, .8.6).   And that part of that special was the premium tank destroyers were all *half off*.   I had been eyeballing the SU-122-44, but I didn’t want to spend any more money.   But with the half off sale I could have bought it with my remaining gold stock and been none the worse for wear.   Oi.   I’ve really enjoyed that line so far, and having a premium in the line is always great for crew training and grabbing extra credits with a tank style that you enjoy and/or are skilled at.


In any case, I now look to have a meeting tonight, which means yet another night with limited or no gaming.   Same thing Wednesday.   Summers are supposed to be easier, dangit!   Not to mention I have at least one more week of travel left to go.


And I still haven’t seen the new Star Trek movie either.     Somebody take my Gamer/Geek card.  I’m not worthy!

Summer Campaign Blues

I’m approaching my one month anniversary with my new clan, Vorbild Panzergruppe.   And I continue to enjoy the people in the clan, the opportunity to platoon (err…group) with some really great people, and the new found fun of Clan Wars.    I’ve made it into four battles thus far, with a 2-2 record.  The most recent of those came with my return to town and gaming this week, as we take part in the Landlords Summer Campaign, with the  carrot at the end of the campaign being the otherwise-unobtainable M60 for the top 5 clans of each “stage” and the top 30 clans overall (provided you meet the participation requirements – 5 and 10 battles, respectively).




I have no idea where we are in the standings, as apparently Wargaming, as usual (and like Sony) dives in first without putting together all the loose ends (there are still unanswered questions about what counts as a participation battle, for instance).  But before the campaign launched, depending on which stats your parsed (it always comes down to that, doesn’t it?)  we were somewhere between 26 and 32 in the rankings.  So there is at least a shot there.


There were, of course, the usual riots over an otherwise unobtainable piece of “gear.”  And while Wargaming set the campaign up in such a way that all tiers 1-10 each had a time period of use, it was clear from the beginning that only the best were going to get this tank.   What was (and is) unclear is to what extent the top clans intended to rig this contest.


Early on there was a semi-joke thread that the big clans should get together and decide among themselves which 5 would get their tank in each phase, and then drop out of the running.   And apparently, at least some of those clans thought – hey…that’s not a bad idea.   In any case, we do have a small advantage in that we have a rather unique diplomatic position.


VPG is not a top clan, of course, but it is a stable and quality unit with some excellent alumni.  You see, quality players come to VPG, learn the ropes, hone their skills, and then invariably move on (by invitation or application) to a top clan.   As a result, we have good relationships with a number of the clans through former members.  And nobody wants to screw us over because we keep finding, grooming, and sending on quality players to refresh their ranks.   So we are often in the middle of horse trading for territory, or watching someone’s back, and so on.   Believe me, this makes life much easier, and gives us a leg up.


In fact, the only real problem is that we got on a losing streak the week before the campaign started.  And while we shook it off long enough to pull down a couple of territories, its reared its ugly head again.  Unless we have a solid outing tonight, we may end this campaign without any victory points, and that will probably be a hard deficit to overcome.   Here’s the map as it currently stands – you can just barely make out our red stylized “V” down in South Carolina:


current map


Personally, I have a deficit to overcome as well.   Last night was my first summer campaign battle – which means I need nine more to qualify if we make the top 30.  And I’m going to be gone two of the next four weeks.   Ouch.   Not to mention that with the kids off of school, our usual bedtime/nighttime schedule has shifted backwards a bit, often running smack into game time.   Double Ouch.


I’m trying not to worry too much about that though, and just show up as much as I can and contribute as much as possible.  If I end up with an M60 – great.  I had no idea that was coming when I signed onto a clan, so its just gravy.   And if I don’t…well, at the very least, I can say that World of Tanks is making for some interesting summer gaming!

State of My Game: June

This is a nutso week for me.  I was gone for three days and came back just in time for my wife to fly out for four days, and then we can have a nice peaceful two days together before I’m gone again another week.


So, I don’t have much time to write.  Or play.  But here’s a general rundown on where I am right now:


World of Tanks:  Unfortunately between travel and single-parenting, I haven’t gotten much of anywhere lately.  And all our Clan Wars matches have been super early.  And my client crashed on my laptop.  So I upgraded my desktop drivers to the new 320’s.  That worked…for a day.  Then they started crashing again.  I guess I just got a lemon video card.  Oi.   Anyway, so now we are back to laptop play.    I haven’t made any significant progress on my tier 9’s  About the only thing I can say is that I have fallen in love with the SU-100M1.  It is fast, has nice angled armor, insane travserse speed.  And the upgraded gun is super accurate and drills out shots every six seconds or so.   Tier 9’s are sometimes and issue, but the game is so accurate and the tank so fast, that even getting the best of them is not often a difficult prospect.  I can relocate, and on occasion I’ve even circled them to great effect.  Great tank that I will be holding onto as I continue to climb the line.


The new camo's are pretty awesome, btw...
The new camo’s are pretty awesome, btw…


Star Trek Online:  The new Romulan content is great, but I’m stuck with analysis paralysis.  I really don’t know whether to go KDF or FED.  And so I haven’t done either.  Really, despite the new content, what I would like to do now is go back and play all the KDF missions with my level 50 engineer.  I leveled solely through Duty Officers with him, mostly because the UI was such a RED EYESORE ATTACK.   Now that this has been fixed, I’d like to run the actual content.  Oh, and I think I will be shelling out for at least one of the Romulan refit ships.


Hello, gorgeous. I would trade my pointy ears for you.


Uncharted Waters Online:  I dinked around a bit last week, but that’s about it.   I really want to go finished the advanced schools and start doing some exploring…


Lord of the Rings Online:  I think we finished up the Lone Lands this past weekend.  It has been slow going with my travel, but we are still enjoying ourselves.  We talked about trying one of the 3-person instances soon.  That could be trouble though since I can’t even hold aggro on regular mobs, must less boss monsters.  We will see I guess!


The Secret World:  I’m back, and I rolled a Templar.  Surprise!  While I have never really been a self-modeler or self-biographer in my roleplaying, there was one thing the Templars offered that nobody else did that I decided I absolutely couldn’t live without:


I can only dream of being this stylish IRL...
I can only dream of being this stylish IRL…


Plus it goes with a healer build.  Right up my alley.


Anyway, this may be it for the next week and a half.  Game well everyone!

End Game Sighted

So last night I only fought a few battles in World of Tanks, and the first match of the evening, at first glance, would seem like any other match where I played decently:




Until you start to look a little closer, and realize that all my targets were in the same clan.  And that my clan tags are different.  And then you get that as of last night, I am no longer a person on the outside looking in (or up) at Clan Wars:




A little under two weeks ago, I took the plunge and dove into a clan that I’ve had my eyes on for a long time, Vorbild Panzergruppe (Model Tank Group).  The name has meaning, and they aren’t kidding – they are one of the few active CW clans that I have nobody on my ignore list from.  Every match I’ve been in or against them has demonstrated skilled players who were as good at holding their tongues and playing nice as they were smacking down enemy armor.


I had originally told myself way back when that once I hit 5,000 battles I would look at getting into Clan Wars.   I felt at that point my skills would be good enough and I would have a solid enough garage that I could handle it.   But when I was honest with myself at that point, I realized I still had a lot to go.   I set a new target at 6,000 battles and figured I would have to put my nose to the grindstone just to get there.   I was just hoping that I could round out that tier 10 wing of my garage and maybe make the jump before the end of the year.


But as it turned out, while working on becoming a better player, I discovered a few things.  Like the fact that I wasn’t very good with tier 9 and 10 tanks.   I pondered them if I should shelve them and work on my tier 8 skills, watching and learning, or go ahead and jump into a clan and hope to learn from them.  I did both.


Over the last seven weeks, I put my big boys aside and concentrated on grinding my tier 8’s.  The IS-3 and King Tiger are both done (but I kept both…great tanks) and my Centurion 1 is upgraded (but I’m not keen on going further up the line, so I’m done there).    I picked up the American arty line to relearn how it works and hope to improve that facet of my understanding of the game.  (That has helped considerably by the way – if you think arty is a killjoy, play them for awhile and learn their strengths and weaknesses, it makes a clear difference).   And I dipped back down into tier 5’s just to have some fun and not be all “TANKS R SRS BIZNESS.”


The results speak for themselves:  My win rate has jumped from 51.01% to 51.70%.  My efficiency and Win6/7 scores are up, along with my K/D ration and damage output.   But I was getting lonely.   With my dad on hiatus until arty is “fixed” and with my brother in an area of unreliable internet, I lost my usual platoon mates.   So I figured it was time.


VPG has been wonderful as well.   And they helped with the other half of the equation.   Back on April sixth, my ST-1 was 13/33 (39%) in the victory column.   As of right now, its 39/78 (50%).    Yep.   I’ve won 26 of my last 45 matches in it and brought the win rate up that high.   I would never have thought that possible.   But when you platoon with other tier 9’s who have good (or at least decent) skills and have good communication with them, everything changes.


And all of that culminated last night in my first Clan Wars battle.   I’ve been on deck a couple of times, but its up to the Field Commander to pick their team and tanks and lay out the strategy for a given battle.   And I’ve had to learn some of the ins and outs of those game systems – where to go for the match, how to declare myself ready for it, etc.   Last night with a bunch of people listing their heavies, I decided to list up my T-62A, thinking that might give me a better shot at getting in.    And as it turns out – we were one Bat Chat short.   So in I went.


I was not the hero of the battle.   But I held up my end of the court, had decent damage output, and damaged four of their tanks while spotting three of them.   So I did what I was supposed to do.  It felt good, and the battle was pretty lopsided when all was said and done.


As icing on the cake, after that I check the list and saw that one of the tankers on the other team was a guy I knew and respected from regular matches.  And I think that’s when all the hard work clicked and I went – “hey, I *am* good enough to do this.”   I’m glad I made the moves I did, and its fun seeing hard work pay off.    Its what Syp calls “Satisfaction” and the game gave me some last night for sure.


And while I’m here, a shout out to Cool_Man, who found me in game last night and said terribly nice things about my blog.  We got a chance to run some tanks together ourselves.   Thanks for the platoon Cool, hope we can do it again in the future!

Making Sense of the .8.6 WoT Changes

If you have kept up with any of the leaks or even official info…there are a lot of changes coming for .8.6 and some of the ramifications of them are a little difficult to unwind.  I’m going to see if I can break them down a bit for you.  There are essentially three major changes:  Arty Nerf, Accuracy Buff, Stopgap Camo Revision.   There are also rumors of a major change in the game economy, and a confirmation of the removal of a previously unknown XP penalty to SPG’s and TD’s (in other words, SPG’s and TD’s were gaining experience slower than regular tanks – this is something WG had previously denied but are now confirming….)  Anyway, in order:



Arty Nerf:


Basically, along with the rebalancing and addition of new SPG’s to bring every tier into the normal 2-10 parameter, there will be some nerfing going on.  All SPG’s, across the board, have essentially had their Rate of Fire and Accuracy coefficient nerfed by and average of %40.   In other words, if you were getting 1 shot off every 20 seconds before, now it will take you 28 seconds.  If the accuracy was .5, now it will be .7 and so on.  Please note: this is in general, and the specifics vary from vehicles to vehicle.

And yes, I know what you are thinking.  This makes arty virtually unplayable.  And it would, if not for the XP buff, which is really removing the XP penalty.  SPG’s will now earn 50% more XP per battle.  There are hints that there is still something more to compensate, but mum is the word now.  Early whispers are some kind of accuracy buff for shots within a particular area –  much like zeroing in is done in real life.  No idea if that’s true or not.



Accuracy Buff:


Right now, when you pull the trigger, your shot will be somewhere in that circle, right?   Well it turns out there where within that circle is indeed based on skill, but it follows a standard distribution curve.  But it  turns out, instead of the normal 3-sigma on a typical bell curve, the outside of the circle is a 1.3.

Yeah.  So to help visualize, here is the normal curve:

Basically, anything from 1.3 onward on this table, in the game right now, is the “edge of the cirle.”  Something like 19% of your shots are landing there.  With a fully trained crew.

In the new update, the “edge of the cirle” will be where the 2 is now.  The end result – many more of your shots will land much closer to the center of the circle, and very few (less than 1% if I remember correctly) will land on the edge.   This is a tremendous buff to accuracy.  There are some changes coming to penetration to compensate – basically high end tanks are having their penetration numbers nerfed, and HEAT shells are being reworked to be less powerful and penetrate less.   Some tanks will be receiving an HP buff as well from what I understand.

As I understand it: this change will not apply to arty.  Read on to know why.



Stopgap Camo Revision


Developer Q&A’s have confirmed that the .9.0 patch will bring a complete overhaul of how camoflage works, but for now two rather significant changes are being made.    The first is hard to pinpoint the result of – every tank in the game is having its camo coefficient redone.  There is a hidden fudge factor for how easy it is to hide a vehicle in the game.   In other words, even if you have a full on camo trained crew and a net, its still tough to hide a JagdTiger…its just too darn big.   Likewise, its much easier to hide small tanks like the T71.

That is being combined with a change to how camo nets and the camo skill work.   Basically anything that was multiplied into the equation is now added or subtracted before.   Camo nets used to raise this base value by 25%.  Now they just offer a flat .25 bonus.   The long and short of that is that vehicles that didn’t hide very well got a buff, and vehicles that hid too well get a nerf.   Also the ability to gain a bonus from bushes has been nerfed.

The end result:  engagement ranges should increase across the board by 15-20%.  And there was much rejoicing.  Incidentally, this is one of the reasons for the severity of the arty nerf – its now easier to see and tougher to hide and tanks will be detected earlier.   This would only make arty more powerful, and the hope is that the nerf along with not granting them the changes to accuracy will result in an overall nerf.

Those are the major things, and if you have questions, I’ll try to answer as best I can.    And if you are in the know and I missed something, feel free to correct me.


TLD;DR:   Arty will be harder to play, Tanks will be easier to spot and hit.  Skill makes more of an impact.


Zero Damage Bug Proof

This has been a long time argument in the playerbase.   And though I have been told that it has been admitted as a bug, there are still players that continue to deny its existence.  Generally the counter-argument is that you have hit spaced armor, and it is true that this is overwhelmingly the case.  Both because players don’t understand what is considered spaced armor in WoT and don’t understand what tanks have it.


For example, if you shoot a tank’s gun mantlet and get a penetration with hole, but no damage, that’s “spaced armor” – the shot has penetrated the mantlet but not the turret armor behind the mantlet.   Of course, this gets out of hand sometimes too.  For example, the IS3 has storage bins build into the sloped side armor.   Hit one of the compartment covers, and this counts as “spaced armor” and may give you the same zero damage result.    This is also true of the wheels on a tank, which is why some player guides suggest turning your side to the enemy rather than front.  A careless enemy will not aim for the weaker side armor, and there is a decent chance the shell will hit a wheel, “penetrating” but doing no damage.


But the zero damage bug itself is real, and since people in almost every argument demand proof from me, I am making this post as a reference.  Here is the post battle result:




As you can see, I hit the KV-5, and did critical damage, but no hit point damage to it.   This is of course possible with de-tracking (tracks are an “external” module), but in this case, something else is going on, something that players have suspected for awhile.   Here is the actual penetrating hit I scored.




Notice where it is.   No spaced armor, and it is directly where the driver is located.   I had no other penetrating hits on the tank in the match, just a couple of glances off the stronger turret armor before I got popped.   So that has to be the shot that caused the critical damage.   Somehow, I took out the driver, but did no hit point damage:




And that has been the suspicion for awhile.   Somewhere along the code lines there is a bug.   Basically, a shell should do a certain amount of damage to the general health of the tank, and then have a % chance to damage the internal modules, be they crew, or a gas tank, or an ammunition rack or what have you.  But in some cases, it seems that when you hit a tank, and make the % check to damage the module, and you destroy the module outright, the game forgets to credit you the damage to the general health of the tank as well.


This may seem like nothing more than an irritant, but the truth is, it can sometimes swing the outcome of a match.  I have had a tank one on one, whoever-shoots-next-wins situation at the end of the match, and pulled the trigger and had this happen.   And I’ve had matches where I should have been able to  get the kill, which would free me up to move to another flank, or keep them from killing another tank, or so on, in places where it has tipped the balance.


So, for my two cents, this is happening more than it should be, and it is affecting gameplay.   It needs to be fixed pronto, but since its been hanging around for a long time now (a year at least if memory serves) there is no guarantee that it will be removed anytime soon, if at all.


This has been and continues to be my biggest disappointment with the game.    I guess if that’s true it means I love the game overall (which I do), but it also makes this all the more irritating to deal with.