Tuesday 26 July 2011

Some people say that rappers are invincible; we're vincible

World of Tanks has a number of achievements in the form of medals, much like good old Microprose flight sims. Some are based on career totals of kills, victories etc., others on performance in a single battle.

Individual rewards or achievements can cause friction in team-based games. In World of Warcraft the School of Hard Knocks achievement can play havoc with the usual battleground dynamics; in the real world you might see similar results in a football match if you offered a hefty sum of cash (that couldn’t be shared with team-mates) to anyone who scored a goal (or try/touchdown/point/behind, depending on your local interpretation of football). Fortunately World of Tanks is pretty straightforward, you win a match by either killing all opponents or capturing their base, and you get rewarded with XP and credits for killing (or damaging, or locating) opponents and capturing their base, there isn’t really any conflict there, and medals just show up in your statistics rather than granting any sort of bonus. During the beta there was a myth that killing all 15 opponents netted some sort of bonus, so if you were in a decent position with only one or two enemy tanks left and someone started capturing their base then people would start shrieking “DON’T CAP” in chat and getting frightfully annoyed, to the point of actually shooting a team-mate in a couple of instances I saw, but thankfully that got straightened out and I’ve never seen it happen in the live game. Individual glory-hunting tends to get you killed in pretty short order, and with no respawns it’s a good incentive to at least try and work together. Course there are more than ample opportunities for fifteen random non-communicating strangers to employ wildly sub-optimal overall tactics, but at least they’re doing it of their own accord rather than being channelled that way by in-game achievements.

I’ve got a reasonable smattering of awards; a fair few Top Gun medals for killing six or more tanks (all right so half of them are from a BT-2, picking on poor little Tier I tanks), a decent number of Sniper medals for an 85% hit rate from 10 or more shots (though progressively fewer as gun calibre, and consequently reload time, has increased; I’m not sure I’ve ever managed to get ten shots off with a 152mm gun in one battle, let alone hit with nine of them), the odd Invader and Defender medal for capturing or preventing capture of a base respectively (I even managed once, by fluke, to get the Raider medal for capturing a base without ever being discovered, in a Tier I/II fight where the entire enemy team pelted off down one flank while I advanced alone up the other). I haven’t received a Confederate medal for a while, for damaging six or more tanks that others kill, I think I got all of mine in Tier I or II with a 20mm or 23mm cannon equipped (low damage but great rate of fire), but there are two Battle Hero medals that have completed eluded me so far. One is Scout, for detecting nine or more enemy tanks, not a great surprise with scouting not being my forte, the other is Steel Wall, for being hit at least 11 times during a battle and (the bit I’m having trouble with) surviving. Though theoretically possible to achieve with anything, obviously it’s easiest in a heavy tank matched up against mostly lower tier opposition, and I’m a bit of a late convert to heavies having only acquired the KV and KV-3 quite recently. There have been a couple of battles where I managed the requisite 11 hits, but there was always a 12th, or 18th, to finish me off, though I’m sure it’ll come along at some point now I’m focusing on the Russian heavy tree. In the meantime I keep forgetting that the gun isn’t the only way of causing damage, maybe time to try for the Kamikaze medal for destroying a higher tier tank by ramming. Banzai!

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