The Garage Overfloweth

I breathed a sigh of relief and joy last night when I crossed yet another item off the list of goals for this year – and gave myself some fun to look forward to. It’s time to say goodbye to the ST-I and hello to the IS-4.

tier-ten-garage-update

Yes, ST-I. Apparently not the ST-1, as I assumed when I first bought it. The tank has been at times a grindfest, and its taken me a lot longer than I thought to get through it. But then I kept getting distracted by new shinies. The truth is that this tank was everything it was advertised to be. Really tough armor that bounces a lot of shots, an excellent gun, and decent (at least among the heavies) mobility. I think I am going to sell the M103 instead and hang on to it, though the real problem there is that I’m already hurting for Russian heavy crews. But then, that’s why I have The Beast, to train new heavy crews.

The question is where to run from here. The general consensus among the players I know is that the optimal play is to have three tanks in rotation. And generally, for me, one of those is going to be a premium tank because I’m constantly after credits for this or that. One of the reasons this line too so long is that I went a little nuts and was back to, at one time, working on six lines. I’ve cut that down again. Right now the primary focus is on the new tier 10 medium Object 140. I hadn’t intended to, but its a nice twin to the awesome T-62A, which I happen to also love. And since it comes from the existing T-54, which I already had elited, it was just a matter of the final grind. So I’ve already been working on it a bit and am about %15 done. So I have room for one other line to do serious work on. I have three choices basically.

1) I can continue with the stated goals for the year and finish out the IS-7 line. I need about 171k to unlock it, and the IS-8 is already in its top configuration, so its fairly smooth sailing – outside of the fact that the IS-8 is fairly weak for its tier.

2) I can instead pay out some free XP for modules and begin the E-75 grind to the E-100. This has become a solid choice for Clan Wars and the E-75/German Heavy line is right up my alley anyway. The downside is burning free XP for the turret, which is pretty much a necessity. The good news is that with the 8.8 changes, the extra top engine is gone and the mobility increased at the same time, so this will be a fun grind. But it will be much longer – more than 300k when you take into account the top guns for the E-75 and the E-100.

3) It occurs to me that I’m stocking a lot of heavies in my garage – when my specialty, my bread and butter, my best tanks – are mediums. And my brother will soon begin his game again, where he is working on some mediums. So I could continue the trek in the Chinese or US medium line, with an eye towards finishing one or both. The bonus is that my rotation won’t have to involve a change in playstyle since my other main grind will also be a medium. Catching up to my brother’s tier 7 Russian medium shouldn’t be too hard (75k or so), or I can pop into the US line, knowing that I will need to drop some free XP and/or cash to make the M46 Patton grind bearable. The downside of this is pretty easy – the top tier Chinese and US medium tanks are not really CW tanks. So I’m not benefiting the clan any. On the other hand, getting the Object 140 squared away is a big clan asset. So it all evens out.

Any of these are good options really. Right now I’m leaning more towards three, but I’m sure I will bounce around a couple of days before settling on something.

And of course, I will need to take a match off every now and then to drive my shiny new IS-4…

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:

 

arl

 

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:

 

m1

 

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:

 

Credits:

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

Total:          4,171,000   (139 battles)

Gold:

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.

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:

 

blog1

 

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:

 

blog2

 

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!

Day Five: My Workspace

Astute readers will notice that I skipped my favorite in-game item.   I don’t have a picture of it and so I wanted to hold off on it without gumming up the whole series.  Its kinda like my kids year end school testing – if you hit one you don’t know or that is difficult, press on and come back to it at the end!

 

So, the congregation has outgrown its building, but doesn’t have the money to expand just yet.   So my space doubles as the dump/item collection area/storage space/library/tech lab/youth room.   I’m just telling you that because if you were expecting something professional, you won’t be completely shocked.   Here’s a picture of it on the anniversary of my first five years with the congregation.  Pranksters that they are:

 

185932_334116780012687_202947077_n

 

That laptop is my usual gaming computer as well.  I have the new beast of a desktop, but for some reason it glitches out on WoT and beyond that my wife is often working late in the home office or editing her photos.

 

I generally call this space my study rather than my office.  There’s a framed picture just off the left that explains why I’m not a “professional,” so I don’t merit an office.   Some weeks I occupy that chair for a lot of time, and some weeks I barely warm it.  It all depends on what else is going on.

 

The congregation is aware that I enjoy gaming (I did a sermon last month around the term “noob” even).  A few of the youth play WoW (all of them do it for the PvP – anecdotal evidence, sure, but evidence none the less!)  and a couple of the adults have played WoT off and on.  The youth won’t let me play console games with them anymore though.  Apparently losing to your pastor in Halo and/or Soulcalibur is embarrassing, so I have been permabanned.

 

And…you didn’t hear it from me, but…every now and then, when its been a hard day and I’m done, I sneak into the sanctuary and hook my laptop up to the video projector for a match or two of World Of Tanks: Giant Edition.

Recapping the Weekend of Tanks

In between fun family time, as Spring has finally arrived to our neck of the woods, the start of soccer season for my son and myself, and work, I did manage to pound out a decent weekend of the 2nd anniversary of World of Tanks.   I caught an hour of the Livestream on Friday morning, which was quite entertaining, though my name was not called when they handed out five Type 62’s and a MadCatz gaming headset (just as well on the last one, I have not had good luck with MC products in the past).

 

I decided after my musings last time that I would stick with mostly tiers 7 and 8 and try to refine my skills, though I did pull down 5x’s for the ST-1, for the sole purpose of cutting down on the free XP I would need to go ahead and unlock the final gun on it, which I think will help tremendously.  That also helped with credit influx for the weekend so I could make all the purchases I wanted to.  I had two primary goals:  finish up the Comet and purchase the Centurion while it was on discount, and finish outfitting my tier 10’s with equipment while it was discounted as well.   Then there were some smaller secondary things I wanted to be doing – unlocks for some individual vehicles I’ve been working on and so forth.

 

And I have to say that overall it went pretty well.   There were certainly some lopsided matches that were very frustrating, in particular Saturday night seemed to be hideous, and I eventually gave up.   But there were also quite a few matches where I was on the team that cleaned up.  In this respect my experience was not unlike Wilhelm’s as he pounded his way to through the weekend or Mrrx’s as he cleaned up in his Tier 8 heavies.  Those matches seemed to be so cathartic for players there was a certainly bloodthirsty edge to tracking down and wiping out every last tank.  Some of those were so lopsided I was in the thick of fighting (and my dad as well, who rolled with me some) and we came out unscratched.

 

Chat text censored because *nobody* needs to talk like that...
Chat text censored because *nobody* needs to talk like that…

 

I’ve always assumed that these lopsided matches were the result of people who don’t normally or regularly play coming out of the woodwork to try and get some quick and easy leveling done, but that didn’t seem to be the case.  Having my limited version of XVM up showed that there were quite a few “reds” (very low efficiency score players) in many of the matches – some of whom were so new their stats weren’t recorded yet (accounts probably not more than a day or two old).   But there were also plenty of high score, veteran players mixed in as well.   And their placement seemed to have no effect on the battles.  Perhaps with extremes colliding, its hard to good players to effectively utilize their skills, while new players act as a wildcard element that is hard to account for.  I was on one team with a platooned group of purple, unicum (top .01%) players who had over 50k battles experience between the three of them, and we got absolutely steam-rolled by a team that had plenty of “below average” players.  I also note here again:  efficiency scores are not the be all end all indication of a players skill.   I always take it with a box of salt and this weekend was no exception – there are plenty of good, smart players whose score doesn’t reflect what they are capable of in a match.

 

Comet: not as bad a tank as most people think.
Comet: not as bad a tank as most people think.

 

So, anyway, long story short, thanks to some of those lopsided matches, like the one above, I do now have my Centurion ready to go.  With the release of 8.5 in a week or two here, I have enough XP saved on the 3002Db to move immediately into the IndienPanzer.   So I will have six tier 8’s to run, including my two premiums.   By the time  I finish all those up, hopefully I’ll be ready to dip my toes back into the world of tier 9’s and 10’s.   If not I’ll keep running my Type 59 and T34 until I do.   If nothing else, it will get me plenty of credits for buying the new tanks.

 

cash

 

This weekend, those matches did get me all the equipment I needed as well, so overall the weekend was a great success.   And as frustrating as it is, WoTLabs.net says I actually did pretty darn well over the 7 days (most of which was played over this weekend).   So maybe the frustration is in the eye of the beholder.

 

weekend score
Green: better than my average, Red: worse than my average

 

And perhaps most exciting of all to me, I’ve been wanting to get that elusive TWR score up, so I’ve been a bit more bold in my matches, pushing a little to try to make a bigger impact on the game, and so even better, for me, than new tanks and gear, my TWR stat is up almost a full point to 49%.

 

But if there is one thing that I regret – its not pulling the trigger on buying the KV-5.   Yes, it is big and ugly and has glaring weak-points, but perhaps because of that, I wanted it for the challenge of learning to play it and seeing how I could do with it.   But I just couldn’t bring myself to spend another $44 on a third tier 8 premium.  Maybe next year, because I am already regretting not buying the big lug.

 

Wish I had taken down thisl player's name, he knew how to play the KV-5 to its fullest potential.
Wish I had taken down this player’s name, he knew how to play the KV-5 to its fullest potential.

WoT Second Anniversary Extravaganza

I was wondering when they would release it and what it would consist of.  And its a doozy.   In summary:

 

5x Experience gain on first win, all consumables equipment (thanks BlueFletch) and training/retraining 50% off.

Tier 8 premium tanks:  15% discount to purchase

Tier 8 tanks:  %30 credit income increase,  %30 discount to purchase

Tier 7 SPG:  same

Tier 5 medium and heavy tanks: 100% credit income increase

Tier 5 light tanks and SPGs:  50% credit income increase

Gift Shop Packages:   The return of the KV-5 and the Type-62, as well as some hefty discounts (only $85 for a year of premium status)

 

All this starts at 6:30 AM Pacific time Friday*.   Remember that because of the way the server resets happen in the evening here in North America, if you can skip playing Thursday evening and instead play in the afternoon/day on Friday, that will get you an extra 5x bonus (Friday before reset, Friday, Saturday, Sunday).

 

* Except the Gift Shop packages, which for some reason start Thursday night (11pm Pacific) and run to Saturday night (11pm Pacific)!