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Maklarr4000
This month saw the release of another American M4 Sherman tank at tier 6, adding to an already crowded harem of M4 derivatives from the heavy and powerful M4 Jumbo, to the pointed and dangerous Easy Eight, over to the rare and unusual FURY! tank. But, how does the Thunderbolt VII compare? Well...



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I bought the Thunderbolt VII shortly after it was released. Positive reviews on the tank, and the notion that it would include a "Zero Skill" Brothers-in-arms crew was an enormous bonus, and for less than $20, you can hardly go wrong. The Thunderbolt itself is an amalgam- featuring very good frontal and turret armor, with a little "shoulder armor" to boost it around corners- though I would compare it more to an up-armored "FURY!" than either of the other Tier-6 M4 Shermans.

I really like this tank for it's sheer "run around in" quality. It doesn't excel in any single area, which makes it a jack-of-all-trades sort of vehicle, able to fight well enough with most vehicles it will face, and defend itself against attacks of at-tier and lower vehicles. It's not terribly fast, but it's certainly not slow either.

As premium tanks go, it's an exceptional trainer with a lot of perks, and is just a lot of fun to play around in. I highly recommend this tank!

Are we still rating these? 5/5, very good tank, can't go wrong on this one.
Maklarr4000
I've been dabbling in OP Soviet heavy tanks lately. So, let's talk instead about low tier British light tanks! Ha ha!

So, today's tank subject is something I haven't played with in a long time, but still find rather enjoyable, the Cruiser IV, a tier-3 light tank with a great top speed, and adequate armor for it's tier.


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The Cruiser IV is a scout, and like most scout tanks, gets terribad match-making. This tier 3 lightweight routinely meets tier 5 KV-1's and their ilk, which you haven't a chance in hell to trade blows with. So, what do you do with it?

The tank is intended as a scout- to move ahead, find a safe spot, and keep eyes on various targets until your tank destroyers can finish them off for you. However, as you have a better chance of winning a lifetime supply of clown shoes than getting placed into a good team in WOT public matches, I've found that to be a failing venture.

So, what do I do? I go crazy. Similar to how the M2 Medium is played, I take this tank to positions where I expect tanks to be setting up. Then I use this tanks 2-shot autoloader cannon (4 shells in total) and ruin their day. A few shots into a medium's snout, the tracks of a tank destroyer, or even into the back of a heavy will put them out of place for a few moments, damaging modules, killing crew, and overall softening them up for the tanks that will follow you. Ultimately, it's a suicide run. The Cruiser IV lacks sufficient hit points and armor to survive more than a few stray shots, and it's reload is not the fastest for an auto-loader.

As I only ever expect to get off between 4 and 8 shots before I'm ruined, I like to make them count- rolling with APCR all the way. It's inexpensive at tier 3, and for the quick grind it wasn't half bad to bolster the experience. All leading into the Covenanter beyond.

Are we still rating these things? Okay.

5/10, good, not great, but certainly not bad.

Maklarr4000
So, it's been a while now, and the Czech tanks are no longer news of any sort now- totally eclipsed by Sweden and the Mauschen mini-maus that was just released in 1.19.1. So, being the weirdo I am, I'm going to take a quick look at the ST vz. 39/V-8-H tank, the tier 4 Czech medium tank, and what you can do with it.



Historically speaking, the ST vz 39, also known as the V-8-H tank, was little more than a footnote in World War Two. Commissioned by the Czech government in 1937, the tank was designed and built by ČKD, who created two prototypes that were tested a few times, managed to survive the war and were then scrapped as most cool things were back then after they ceased to be useful.



But, enough history, what can the tank do in World of Tanks? Well, at tier 4, the ST vz 39 is lightly armored, and packs a gun with moderate penetration and damage- comparable in many regards to the Panzer III ausf. J tank, though not quite as speedy. In terms of matchmaking, the ST vz 39 is a mixed bag, varying from good matchups where it can use it's good penetration and passable frontal armor to bash in the heads of tier 3 opponents, and bad matchups where it has to stare down KV-1s at tier 5.

For me, the St vz 39 was a grind of a tank to get through. It is not a brawler tank, nor does it have the penetration and accuracy to snipe- so it's best just offset the firing line, taking safe shots as it's able. It's armor is not great, so it has to rely on significant cover to survive a battle. However, this means you don't get too many experience points, and so you have to play it over and over again.

To maximize my XP earnings, I loaded a healthy dose of APCR rounds, and pushed towards the top gun as fast as I could. This is not a profitable tank, so I was fine losing the credits on premium ammo. It also makes it much more satisfying to play, as you can (finally) knock holes into more heavily armored targets.

Though it's not terribly fast, I equipped mine with binoculars and a camo net all the same, and did manage to find myself in good spotting positions in some games. When possible, this is another great way to get a bunch of spotting damage XP, which will almost always outweigh the amount of damage you can do in this tank before getting shot to bits.

I know I said previously that the ST vz 39 was one of the worst tanks in the game several times before, and though I've backed it out of the "worst" position (there are some nice Swedish tanks in there now), I do not have fond memories of this tank for the most part. It isn't fast, it's gun isn't great, and the matchmaker hates this tank- placing you in tier 5 and occasionally even tier 6 games, in which case you are cannon fodder and little more. It's more frustrating than bad, much like the LT 38 before it. Thankfully, it does lead to some much more rewarding tanks further down the tech tree, so the painful grind is ultimately worth it.
Maklarr4000 Feb 25 · Comments: 1 · Tags: cool, czech, game, tank, tanks, world of tanks, wot, st vz 39, v-8-h, tier 4
Maklarr4000
Wargaming announced that the M4 Improved would be for sale in a little bit, and as I've owned it for a while, I thought I'd give my thoughts on it, as well as some tips and tricks to keep prospective "M4-Imp" owners alive longer, and making the most of this machine from the beginning.


The history of the M4-Imrproved is unfortunately very brief. It was developed by <!--more--> the Detroit Arsenal as a means to build an "ultimate" version of the M4 Sherman, but it never got farther than a blueprint. A blueprint Wargaming has realized in virtual form, hooray!

The M4 Improved is, technically and statistically superior to the M4 Sherman at tier 5. It is faster, sports much better frontal armor, and well-angled side armor. But, what does that translate to in actual battles?

In my experience, the M4-Imp is very fast for it's size, leaving even many light tanks in it's dust. This means the M4-Imp can find very good positions very quickly, giving you and your team a serious spotting and firepower advantage.

The M4-Imp's biggest failing is in it's gun. While most love the M4 Sherman for it's 105-millimeter howitzer, the M4-Imp is stuck with the tier 4 75-millimeter M3 cannon, which isn't terribly accurate nor particularly powerful against heavy tanks and more heavily armored foes. The accuracy issues involved on the gun, in my experience, is that the shell usually flies somewhat down and to the right of the center of the reticule. It's a regular enough issue that you can usually use it to aim a little better.

The tank also features a remarkable feature, though hopefully you don't ever have to use it. Behind the turret, at the back half, is a glitch of sorts. I have on many occasions had shells pass through the back third of my turret. I'm not sure if it's the model, I'm not sure if it's the gun, but before the global chat was turned off, I was accused of cheating several times, as I'd dart between cover, and the shell would pass laterally through the back of the turret, before flying on to whatever was beyond. It wasn't every time, and I suspect it has something to do with speed and angle of the turret armor, but it's happened enough that I know it is there.

My best advice to new players is to treat this M4 like a scout until you've mastered it's combat quirks, and when possible, engage your enemies close to make up for the cannon's lack of penetration and accuracy. I carry 20 APCR shells for those bad bottom-tier games, which you will regularly see. For equipment, I advise a gun rammer and either coated optics or binoculars. I prefer coated optics, as I tend to be more mobile in the M4-Imp. Unlike other light tanks, this tank is considerably harder to hide.

Hopefully this helps some players who might be looking at the M4-Imp when its in the shop again. Good luck out there!

Maklarr4000
World of Tanks is, by no means, a drab game. Despite being set in a war-torn hell of endless armored conflict, the vehicles and the environments are actually quite vibrant. One thing that has eluded gamers was a splash of color for their vehicles. Though WOT allows players to select camouflage schemes and apply various emblems, the emblems are small and limited, and the camouflage schemes are all historically accurate to the time period. Though there's nothing inherently wrong with this, it meant that there were only about 7 ways you can customize your tank, and by the numbers alone, it meant that your customization was shared by many, many more players. For many years now, WOT has held a hard-line stance on making things as historically accurate as possible... well, that seems to be changing... <!--more-->



I believe the change of heart began in August of  2015 when WOT reversed a change they had made to British desert "dazzle" camouflage. The camo scheme in game had a brilliant blue color to it's blue stripes, and WOT had toned it down to be more historically accurate. Players complained, and they reversed course, keeping the brighter, more vibrant blue schemes instead. This was the beginning.

After that, there was the lovely machine you see above, the "Ripper Patton", now called the "Patton Korea" or "Patton KR". It is historically accurate. In the Korean war, many tank units were permitted to decorate their tanks in ferocious ways, like the in-game Patton KR is- and the people loved it. Though the Patton KR is a fine combatant, the notion that it was this gonzo color scheme in a sea of feldgrau gray and olive drab green meant that it stuck out a lot. Thanks to the game's spotting engine, the camo did not affect performance at all. The notion of "unique" camo schemes seems to have led WOT onto a moneymaker, and they were quick to capitalize on this newfound gain.

Their next attempt came in the form of the more conservative Panzer 58 Mutz, a Swiss vehicle with good stats in game, and a peaceful historical background. The guys at WOT gave it a "unique bear camo" which while not outrageous by any means, was not historically accurate- the first major deviation on the PC version of the game.



So, naturally, a follow-up was needed, this time in the form of the Rheinmetall Skorpion G, a premium tank destroyer. The original "blank" version is below, but they ultimately went with the "scorpion" scheme for all of them across the game, pictured under that. This was an even greater deviation from form than the Mutz, as the base color was no longer historically accurate. Wargaming had finally broken away from just making paper panzers, they were now decorating them in awesome ways too.



So, things were finally looking up, and people began looking forward to more and more outlandish color schemes. Wow, they sure did deliver!

Their latest deviations from historical norms came in the form of the Patriot and Liberte tanks, both very patriotic tanks, one from the USA, the other from France.





This has rekindled hopes that not only will Wargaming continue to make wild and outlandish things, but also take some community input on how to make camouflage even better for everyone. One of the most requested, black, is now available (for a price, of course) but immense progress has been made. Many of these tanks would have been unthinkable less than a year ago. It is good that a game already so vibrant in other ways is getting a much-needed splash of color!



Maklarr4000
Artillery. Self Propelled Gun. Metal Rain. Hand of God. Clickers. Marshmallow cookers. Dead Meat. Slowpokes. Arty.



Just a sampling of names for the unusual "fifth class" of vehicles in World of Tanks, and the subject of my ire. In the game, there are 3 classes of tank, each with it's own unique attributes. Beyond them, are the <!--more-->tank destroyers, the slower, but usually more powerful "heavy hitters" to crack tougher vehicles. Then there is the artillery...

Artillery finds a cozy spot at the back of the map, and fires (rather inaccurately) at targets on the map, hoping to hit them. This is what they see:



It's almost as if we aren't playing the same game. But, this is really only the surface of what I've come to see is really an artillery problem. In order for artillery players to play well, they must destroy targets with their massive cannons. Targets that must be illuminated by other vehicles for them to even see. This means that, especially at the low tiers, Artillery is at a serious disadvantage- scouts are hardly as effective at tiers 3-5 as they are higher up. But, you still have to grind your way through them to get the SPG you want.

Then there's the teams. Artillery battles come in two flavors I've found. Thanks to WOT's matchmaking algorithms, fights seem more and more one-sided than ever, so an artillery piece is either stuck trying to keep pace with a rapidly advancing team (being largely unable to hit any targets), or conversely, left to defend themselves when the team in front of them crumbles to nothing. This brings me to my key argument- Artillery is at best, useless to a team.

For the sake of argument, all further examples will surround the tier 5 German Grille (pictured above), which is a favorite among artillery players and is generally seen as one of the best artillery pieces in terms of mobility, firepower, accuracy, etc. It's also the piece I have the most experience playing alongside and against.

In a "good" game, in which the team does not immediately disintegrate, and the enemy are fighting in a manner that allows the artillery to make good use of it, you'll average 2-3 kills, with maybe 6-8 hits in total.

In a "bad" game, you may not have any opportunities to shoot. Say the team all goes one way, and a sneaky scout or two (Panzer 1c for instance) will dart in and blast you to bits before the battle is even underway.

In a "normal" game, it'll be as I said before, either you'll have limited options to destroy the enemy as your allies rack up all the points, or you'll be the last vehicle standing against whatever angry miscreants managed to wipe out the rest of your team.

Which, 99 times out of 100, will result in the artillery getting wrecked by whatever comes to fight it because the SPG's cannot fight effectively at close range.

Now, this problem is exacerbated as more and more people play artillery, and as matchmaking algorithms deteriorate, teams can be saddled with 3, 4, even 5 artillery pieces per side- each one only plinking away at tanks that tarry too long. It's frustrating to no end. As a scout, I can light up targets that the artillery fails to hit either through inaccurate guns or control, or they're constantly ordering "attention" to areas no one can get to, well away from where their attention is needed.

As a medium or heavy, it's frustrating to know that while trading blows at the firing line, up to 5 possible vehicles on the team are used up by vehicles that likely won't contribute to the struggle at all. It's times like those where I'd trade them, regardless of tier, in for T1 Cunninghams, the American tier 1 light tanks. At least then they could serve as a distraction, or take a hit for a vehicle that mattered.

So, here's my thoughts on the matter- a solution of sorts, if you will. What if, maybe, the Artillery were given a second view mode. Give them the same firing controls as a tank destroyer. The guns are bigger, sure. The reload speeds are tedious, yes. Their armor is, usually, pretty weak. However, this would upset the notion that only "specialty" artillery (Bishop, T-18 HMC, FV304) can keep pace with the battle if needed. It would also give them some means to defend themselves when the end comes- give them a fighting chance so to speak.

My alternative solution is this- what if, for players who are sick of artillery ruining their armored combat, and players like me sick of artillery that don't pull their weight, have an "artillery free" zone. I suspect this notion would be rejected outright- I am confident that once such a thing existed, where tanks could race about without fear of artillery- exploiting hard to reach places and enacting cool maneuvers across open spaces. Better still, there would always be more tanks and tank destroyers on each team. I wouldn't ever have to wonder "would things have gone better if we'd had one more real tank with us?"

I realize not all players can be experts right out the gate. Artillery is no exception, and as it takes ages to upgrade any artillery piece, but it seems wholly unfair to them and to the rest of us that they must be in this terrible limbo where they can't fight for themselves, and the rest of us resent them for it.

What do you think? What's the solution to the artillery problem?
Maklarr4000 Nov 1 '16 · Rate: 1 · Tags: world of tanks, artillery, spg, rant
Maklarr4000
No, they aren't gifted with the power to speak with the dead... no, these are tanks that claim to be Heavy Tanks, but are really just Medium tanks with delusions of grandeur. These are my picks for tanks that should be able to charge in and clean house, but are better left a little behind the firing line...



To begin this journey of mediocrity, we start with the opener for the German Heavy tank line, the Durchbruchswagen 2 (pictured above). The DW2, as it's known ... more
Maklarr4000
In World of Tanks, there are a number of "grinder" tanks. These vehicles are characterized by large volumes of modules or points needed to advance to the next vehicle, or have a feature that makes playing them a chore rather than fun. Tanks like the maligned AMX 40 for example.

One tank that I see gets called a "grinder" tank more often than not is the Tier 3 American M2 Medium tank.



The M2 Medium is a historical oddity. It was one of the largest tanks ... more
Maklarr4000 Oct 24 '16 · Rate: 2 · Tags: tank, tanks, world of tanks, wot, m2 medium, rating, america
Maklarr4000
In World of Tanks, a class system has been in place since the beginning to keep tanks of various abilities matched up properly in battle with their respective opponents. However, this has a few drawbacks as you go down in tier.



Before tier 5, there are no truly robust heavy tanks- they arrive... more
Maklarr4000 Sep 22 '16 · Rate: 5 · Comments: 1 · Tags: wot, world of tanks, tanks, heavy, techincal heavy tank, list, guide, opinion, soviet, french, clone
Maklarr4000
The Czech people built some truly revolutionary vehicles prior to World War Two- and it is a shame that they all essentially were passed into the hands of the Nazis without so much as a shot fired. In the World of Tanks universe, one of the First Czech tanks to encounter (after the Tier 1 Kolohousenka) is the Panzerkampfwagen 35(t), or LT vz. 35. The vehicle is available in both the Czech tech tree, and in the "Czech" section of the German tech tree.



The Panzer 35(t) is... more
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