World of Tanks, as with any PvP game, can be incredibly frustrating; after the third or fourth round of your tank exploding before you’ve even seen an opponent, or ineffectually bouncing a couple of shells off an opponent and then exploding, or having the track of your turretless vehicle shot off so that all you can do is wave your gun around as ineffectually as a Dalek with two plungers before exploding, the dignified course of action would be to make a wry observation to the rest of the team like “There seems to be something wrong with our bloody tanks today“. If human avatars are ever introduced, though, I suspect a more common reaction would be to grab a branch and give the useless lump of metal a damn good thrashing.
Those results are often caused by the matchmaking system deciding it’s really funny to stick you in matches with tanks two or even three tiers above you (if it helps, imagine the matchmaking is being done by SHODAN or GLaDOS; “Look at you, tanker. A pathetic creature of meat and bone, panting and sweating in your tin can. How can you challenge a perfect, immortal Tier X Heavy?”) When you’re up against a heavy Tier V KV in your light Tier III tank the KV is an unstoppable iron monster, and it’s easy to become fixated on getting one yourself as quickly as possible so finally you can turn the tables and beat up bullies ’til they cry “Oh lah! Oh, crikey! Let go, you rotter! Don’t punish me!“. In the research tree of most tanks you can work on a range of upgrades to the engine, tracks, radio, gun and turret, or ignore everything except a mandatory upgrade or two and focus on building up the experience to unlock a tank in the next tier. If you do the latter, struggle through mismatch after mismatch until finally you unlock the KV and scrape together the credits to buy one, the matchmaking system will probably giggle and send Iosif Stalin to obliterate you (the Tier VII tank, not the bloke, this isn’t Stalin vs. Martians). To exacerbate the mismatch your KV is showroom fresh; on the plus side that means it has immaculate paintwork and that New Tank Smell(tm), on the minus side the starting gun is an adequate 75mm rather than the lethal 107mm or comedy 152mm you probably kept being killed by in the past, and the starting powerplant is a lawnmower engine. There’s always something bigger around the corner, at least until you get right up to the highest tiers.
Chopping and changing tanks isn’t a problem in the first few tiers, especially as you try out the different play styles, but around Tier IV and particularly Tier V investing time and in-game money is well worth it. With the money you earn in Tier V the 20,000 credits to instantly train a crewman up to 75% is much more affordable, and the number of battles you’ll need to play keeps crew experience increasing, improving the performance of most facets of the tank. Upgrading components can also make all the difference, as in Warsyde’s post.
I’ve been following the Soviet tank destroyer line, and on the SU-85 I was contemplating skipping the 107mm gun upgrade in order to get to the SU-100 more quickly. That would’ve been a terrible, terrible mistake; the 107mm gun is classified as Tier VII, with reasonable accuracy, decent penetration and great damage. It can take out lower tier tanks in a single shot, chew big chunks out of KV and T1 heavies, and at least cause damage to most higher tier tanks you’ll face (though something like an IS-3 still shrugs off frontal shots). It’s a bit fragile, but with a low profile you’ll normally get the first shot in so long as you’re careful. Apparently Tier V is the optimal point for earning money (before that you don’t earn so much, after that repair and ammunition costs really stack up), and once a tank is Elite status you can bank up a nice pool of experience, if you don’t mind spending a bit of real money for gold. That free experience pool can then really help out when you do want to step up a tier, allowing you to quickly upgrade some key components so you’re not completely useless. There are plenty of well-regarded tanks in Tier V, so if you’re not an aficionado already trundling around in a Tiger, I’d suggest picking a Tier V tank that suits your style and sticking with it, developing the crew up, and keeping it around as a nice money and experience earner.
I feel your pain …
but I do not share it for today I had a spectacular run of 7 victories in 8 battles (not typical sadly). I am stopping now because it can only go downhill from here.
I am playing slowly so I haven’t progressed too far. My highest tank is only level 3. I like to get all the upgrades on a tank and then play it for a while.
I have noticed that there are a few sweet-spots you can settle into where your tank is powerful enough to match up with anything it is likely to be paired against. I have a fully upgraded Marder II tank destroyer for example and it can do decent damage to anything it will meet up to and including tier 5 heavies. The TD is a sniper of course – you cannot take fight anything on head on so you basically need to fire from behind bushes so they cannot see you.
One thing I really like about the Marder is that playing a sniper and using the TDs stealth bonuses means I am often one of the last tanks alive. I have been in several fascinating end game battles where all that was left was TDs and Arties.
Enjoy that SU-85. It is universally considered the best tank of its tier. That 107 is massively overpowered and lets you use the SU-85 like an assault vehicle. Trust me, you will wish you stayed in it as long as possible before getting into the SU-100.
I flew past it to get the the 100 and wish I could go back….hey, wait, I can! Get in!
…and to add, really good post. I was a bit rushed when I posted that. Had a chance to go back and follow all the links- laughed a lot at the Fawlty Towers video! I can totally relate to that both in-game and out!
I too am primarily going down the Russian TD line. Only up to the SU-85B though.
I’ve been refering to the random groupping system as a “roller coaster” to friends. One round you’ll be at the bottom of the list, barely able to dent the enemy. The next round, you’re an unstoppable killing machine. Without even switching tanks.
Exagerting slightly of course, but it sure does feel that way some times (both extremes).
@mbp Very sensible, upgrading tanks and sticking with them. The Hetzer and StuG are nice upgrades from the Marder as well, the 7.5cm on the StuG isn’t as damaging as the SU-85’s 107mm but is more accurate and fires faster, or it can fit a 10.5cm for crazy HE damage.
@Gankalicious Absolute classic, Fawlty and the car, and as they say “it’s funny because it’s true”!
@Masterlooter Yeah, definitely, with the range of opponents you face and team-mates you get results can really veer between glorious triumph and extreme frustration.
I agree completely with the post. Stock vehicles are so painful, but once the components are upgraded and the crew has about 70% (or more) under their belts, things get much more manageable.
My experience in Tier V is that this is even more pronounced than elsewhere. My SU-85 was a laughingstock until I got the good gun and the good engine, now I am a very short, long-nosed apocalypse machine. The German Medium Panzer IV is similar – worthless until you get the best gun (the long 7.5). Now, however, I have frontal armor like a KV (though side and rear armor like a Loltraktor) and the most accurate gun in the tier. My Panzer IV has routinely fought off superior numbers of lower tier tanks when I can protect my flanks and only expose my front armor (like the 7/8 corridor in Himmelsdorf or the far western path in Malinovka). Obviously when facing Tier VIII heavies, my prowess takes a sharp dive into Walter Mondale territory, but I have in the past actually managed to damage an IS-3, so I have hope.
In short, I think the game creates a few “sweet spots,” and though they may vary from research line to research line, I think Tier V is one of the common ones (in my experience, Tier II is really good for light tanks too, since you’re often matched with the Tier I tanks aka “ego inflators”).
Captcha term: “frucking” – I’ve seen some low hanging fruit in my time, but this is ridiculous.