Sunday, May 13, 2012

My favorite tanks

After the intro to my garage it is fitting that I talk about the tanks I love best. I don't like all of them but there are 2 reasons I keep the ones I dislike. First, I don't need the garage space right now. I still have free slots so there's no need to sell those tanks. Second, it is possible that more tanks will be added at some point in the future, which branch off from some of the ones I already have. If I sell them, I won't be able to research those new tanks unless I buy the previous tanks back. Granted, this last scenario is becoming more unlikely as time goes by, especially since the Russian tree, for example, is full, and so is the US tree. But enough chit-chat. Here are my favorites.

Tier VI
M4A3E2 "Jumbo" Sherman
I like to run the "Jumbo" with the 105mm howitzer. Why? Because that gun can deal damage even to tier IX-X tanks. While the 76mm M1A2 gun is very sweet with its fast firing rate, it will never penetrate tanks VIII and above from the front. Yes, I know you're supposed to flank but that's not always an option, especially when the Jumbo isn't the fastest medium tank around. I prefer the Jumbo over the simple M4 because the former has some very nice armor that can often bounce shells from high level tanks, while the M4 has paper armor in comparison.

M18 Hellcat
The Hellcat is a fairly recent acquisition and its crew is only 94% or so. Yet, I prefer it to the M36 Slugger (which used to be one of my favorite tanks before the M18) and that's mostly because of the speed. There's a huge grin on my face when my Hellcat goes 72kmph. This makes it perfect for quick hit-and-run scenarios. Unfortunately it does have some weaknesses, namely the average acceleration, slow turret turning speed and paper-thin armor. The 90mm gun, though, is a monster on that little tank and it can put some serious hurt to high level tanks.

Tier VII
This is by far my favorite tier VII tank and it is a strong contender for my favorite tank ever. Strangely, I run this tank with the 90mm gun instead of the 105mm. Why? Because the 90mm is a lot cheaper to operate for a non-premium player. The 105mm is a very nice gun but I found myself losing credits whenever I used it. The funny thing is that the higher penetration of the 105mm doesn't guarantee that the shell won't bounce, meaning that each failure to penetrate costs me 1000 credits. I only run this gun when there's a weekend promotion or such. But the main reason I love the T29 is because the turret is nigh-invincible. The hull might be weak but the T29 excels at hull-down and that's how I love to run it. Using hull-down and the "puny" 90mm gun I have defeated much stronger tanks. Apart from this, the T29 is fairly mobile for its size and can equip a Vertical Stabilizer which allows it to scoot-and-shoot very effectively.

Tier III
Marder II
The Marder II is in the top 3 of my best tanks. This little tank destroyer is a beast, when played right. It has the widest gun traverse of all TDs (with the exception of turreted TDs, of course) and the 76mm gun is incredible for its tier. Besides, the matchmaker is kind to it, most of the time matching it up with tier V tanks or below. There aren't many tanks which the Marder II meets in battle that it can't penetrate. With the Marder II I've had some of my best performances, including 9 kills in one battle, and it also has my highest win ratio, at 61%. One other advantage of this tank is the excellent camouflage, especially with a Camo Net.

Tier V
Panzer IV
The Panzer IV was an iconic tank in WWII and it is one of the best tier V tanks in World of Tanks. While the armor is weak and the mobility is low, this tanks excels in the role of sniper, and that's how I play it. The 75mm L/70 gun is very accurate, loads quickly and can penetrate most of the tanks it faces. The PzIV also manages to camouflage very well.

Tier VI
GW Panther
The GW Panther SPG is my newest acquisition but the crew is at 97% (in addition to 55% Brothers in Arms) because I transferred it from the Hummel. While the Hummel was a fun (and occasionally frustrating) tank to play, the GW Panther is even better. I love it primarily because it has the widest gun traverse of all SPGs, which makes for accurate and quick re-targeting. The top gun is decent and I love the fact that I can hurt tanks all the way to tier X, though I can't normally one-shot them, unless I land a very lucky shot. If push comes to shove, the GW Panther can also switch to TD mode, almost as good as the Hummel.

Tier VII
Panther and Tiger
I will mention both these tanks together here because I love both but not as much as I love other tanks. However, they are both iconic WWII tanks and each of them has a very sweet gun. The Panther's 75mm L/100 and the Tiger's 88mm L/71 are both incredibly accurate and make these two tanks great snipers. Unfortunately, they both suffer from poor armor and must be played in a support role unless they are top tier. Even then, it's not advisable to lead the charge. Whenever I have a Tiger in my GW Panther's sights I think "poor little Tiger".

Tier VI
ARL 44
In only have 3 French tanks out of which I only kind of like the ARL 44. The truth is that I like other tanks more but I felt like I should at least mention the ARL 44. The tank itself is quite weak, especially the turret. The hull can take a few hits and it can even bounce some from the front. The tall tracks can also absorb hits occasionally. But the top 90mm gun (DCA 45) is very accurate and its 212mm penetration is the highest of all tier VI tanks. Then again, this is a tier VIII gun on a tier VI tank. I love the gun but this heavy tank must be played as a sniper, or in a support role because it can't take too many hits.

Tier III
The SU-26 is the only SPG in the game that has a 360 degree turret and that's the main reason why I love this little artillery. The tank does have some serious flaws, including a very slow speed, reduced attack range and low shell damage, but it makes up for these with the accuracy of its gun, the turret, the fast firing rate and the high shell arc. This little SPG is a lot of fun to play and the matchmaker is generally kind to it, though I've had plenty of games in which I was matched with T29s. However, the high shell arc makes it easy to target the top of the hull, where the armor is thinnest.

Tier V
I've heard many people hating on this tank destroyer but I'm not one of them. I love the SU-85 because it has decent mobility, good camouflage and the 107mm gun hits hard. It is not the most accurate tier V gun but when it hits, it hits like a truck. I've had many glorious battles in the SU-85. Besides, I saw one in real life.

Tier VI
Until last week, this used to be called, simply, the KV. But they rightly split it into KV-1 and KV-2. Unfortunately the KV-2 was moved from tier V to VI and now faces higher tier tanks in most battles. It was good while it lasted but the KV-2 is still one of my absolute favorite tanks due to the 152mm howitzer gun. Yes folks, you heard it right, I rock the 152mm "derp" on my KV-2 and I've been rocking it for a very long time. This gun makes the tank play like no other and it also racks in the credits. The massive 700 damage from the HE shell will hurt even tier X tanks, which means that I don't have to worry about penetrating their thick armor. Yes, the tank is slow as molasses, the turret even more so, and the gun takes ages to reload, but if you know all these limitations you can easily work around them. For example, I run Improved Ventilation, Gun Rammer and Gun Laying Drive. Because shells are expensive, I take my time to aim and then hide immediately after I fire, until I finish reloading. Many tanks, even high tier ones, get scared when they see me round the corner with the 152. But thanks to this gun, if I can get even 1 good hit in a battle, I am guaranteed a profit. While profits used to be higher before the split, they are still very good now.

So these are a few of the tanks I like best. Many of them are parked though, and I only play them rarely, when there's a 5x experience promotion. These days I mostly play the GW Panther, KV-2, T29 and M18 Hellcat.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The tanks in my garage

After my short intro in which I explained why I love World of Tanks, it is fitting that I present all the tanks that are currently in my garage. Once again, none of them is higher than Tier VII but I love most of them nonetheless.


Tier IV
TD - M8A1

Tier V
MT - M4 Sherman
TD - M10 Wolverine

Tier VI
MT - M4A3E2 "Jumbo" Sherman
MT - M4A3E8 "Easy 8" Sherman
HT - M6
TD - M18 Hellcat
TD - M36 Slugger

Tier VII
HT - T29
TD - T25AT


Tier III
TD - Marder II
SPG - Wespe

Tier V
MT - Panzer IV
SPG - Hummel

Tier VI
MT - VK 3601 (H)
SPG - GW Panther

Tier VII 
MT - Panther
MT - VK 3002 (DB)
HT - Tiger


Tier III
LT - AMX 38

Tier V

Tier VI
HT - ARL 44


Tier III
SPG - SU-26

Tier V
MT - T-34
HT - KV-1
TD - SU-85

Tier VI
HT - KV-2
HT - T-150

Tier VII
HT - KV-3

As you can see, there are some garbage tanks here coughamx38cough but also some good ones. Tier V is, of course, the sweet spot for making credits when you're not a premium player.

There's only one Light Tank in my stable, the AMX 38 which is atrocious. I keep it only as a placeholder, in case the French tree is expanded in the future and I need it to branch into other tanks. I just don't like Light Tanks, sorry. I never got the hang of scouting.

Some of these tanks I don't play anymore and they are just parked there. I'm not sure if I should sell them or not but since I still have a few spare slots in my garage there's no harm in keeping them.

The funny thing is that now when I have listed all these tanks on "paper" it seems like there aren't too many, but in the game my garage looks positively crowded. Oh well, it is what it is. For what it's worth, I'm proud of my little stable.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Intro to The World of Tanks Blog

Hi. I am known as Darth Solo and I've been playing PC games for close to 20 years, and World of Tanks for about a year. When I stumbled upon it, World of Tanks was a revelation. Back then I was playing World of Warcraft but WoT took me completely by surprise. Here was a free-to-play game that was completely open to both paying and non-paying customers, with great graphics and excellent gameplay, simple to learn but hard to master. And it was all about WW2-era tanks! What dude doesn't like tanks, eh?

I have always been a non-social gamer at heart, hence my first gaming blog WoW Alone. World of Tanks is perfectly suited to my style of play because I don't have to know anyone to play it and I can play it for as long as I want, whether 15 minutes or 3 hours a day .

I love this game to death. I should have started a WoT blog a long time ago but I kept postponing it. Finally, realizing that there aren't many World of Tanks blogs in English out there (if you know any, please point me to them), I decided it was high time I started one. Hence, Yeah, the name sounds a bit redundant but it's the best I could come up with thanks to squatters who grabbed better sub-domains and never used their blogs. I mean, seriously, your first (and last) post was in 2001???

Over the past year I've been involved with a few other games here and there but nothing major. I quit WoW for good and now I'm over-hyped about Diablo 3. I've been busy with my other blog, It seems that each major game in recent history has inspired me to start a blog dedicated to it. What can I say? Something inside me compels me to discuss the various aspects of these games.

Even though I'm gearing up strongly for Diablo 3, I still have a lot of stuff that I want to share about World of Tanks. All this will be from the perspective of a non-premium player. Oh, I have spent a bunch of money on the game, it's just that I don't play it sufficiently (and exclusively) that it warrants a monthly subscription. So I don't have high tier tanks. In fact, my highest tanks are tier VII. And I'm perfectly fine with that.

As of now I have a little over 5300 battles under my belt. My overall win ratio sits at 51%. These numbers will tell you that I am not the best player our there, nor the most dedicated and certainly not the most hardcore. But I do have a lot of experience playing the tanks in my garage.

Let me tell you what else I am / am not. I'm not the best, nor the worst player. Sometimes I make stupid mistakes, other times I take heroic action. Sometimes I get killed in the first couple of minutes, other times I lead the team to victory. Sometimes I barely manage to hit one enemy, other times I destroy half the enemy team. Sometimes I die stupidly, other times I make a heroic last stand. Sometimes I say stupid things and sometimes I even hit team members by mistake.

The point is that I have lousy battles and then I have amazing battles. I am human and sometimes I make mistakes. Please remember that if you see me in game. Please don't judge, lest ye be judged :)

Speaking of which... my handle is darthsolo. Up until now I've never given the names of my in-game avatars to strangers, because I value my privacy. But World of Tanks is sufficiently disconnected from these so-called "social" aspects that I don't mind if my readers encounter me in game. In fact, one guy did say hi to me once, in game, after he asked whether I was the same Darth Solo posting on WoW Alone. That encounter made me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

One last thing. If you DO encounter me in game, please don't send me clan invites or such. I like to play on my own and I don't want to team up or platoon with anyone. It's nothing personal, just my whole "playing alone" doctrine. I also don't engage in Clan Wars or other competitive types of play.

I find World of Tanks very relaxing after a day's work. Luck and skill are both involved and I just love it when the tides of battle turn in your favor in the face of certain defeat.

Going forward I will post plenty of thoughts, vehicle reviews, personal strategies, snippets of wisdom, WoT anecdotes and whatever else comes to mind.

Thanks for visiting and don't forget to bookmark me if you like what you see here!