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So, at the conclusion of the last one, I said I had to talk about something I didn't like. So, I looked over the tanks I didn't like. Now, there are lots of tanks I don't like, from the under-powered, under-performing, and even the ones that Matchmaking HATES (I'm looking at you Toldi III!) but none of them really made me... mad. Even my least favorite tank, the M3 Lee I'm more "disappointed" with than anything. The M3 could (and should) be an amazing tank, but the way World of Tanks is built, the vehicle suffers- it's strengths all become weaknesses. No, I had to pick something I legitimately hate. So...

The LTP! Oh man, the LTP...

... more
Maklarr4000 Aug 29 '16 · Comments: 2 · Tags: wot, world of tanks, tank, tanks, game, gaming, review, soviet union, ussr, russia, ltp, noob, crap
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 Dec 5 '16 · Comments: 1 · Tags: game, tank, tanks, world of tanks, wot, patriot, mutz, skorpion, camouflage, camo
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
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 '17 · Comments: 1 · Tags: cool, czech, game, tank, tanks, world of tanks, wot, st vz 39, v-8-h, tier 4
While going through my old stuff, I've come across a pile of old brochures from years and years ago. I'm not sure what to do with them, so here they are- scanned in as best as I was able with my Epson V33 flatbed scanner.

Today's entry is the Crossroads Antique Mall, located outside Hershey Pennsylvania. This brochure was picked up by me in the summer of 2005, though we didn't visit then. As antique malls are sort of ubiquitous travel stops, they are of course still open and operating today:

The back is curiously empty with only a simple map. Not too bad as a black and white brochure goes.

Maklarr4000 Jun 25 '18 · Comments: 1 · Tags: crossroads, antique, hershey, cool, brochure, pennsylvania, travel
While going through my old stuff, I found quite a few old brochures and other old items I'd collected over the years, and decided to scan them in for posterity. Now those of you who may be interested in these time capsules to attractions past can enjoy them as well!

Today's entry is a 2007-ish brochure for Mackinac Island's "Haunted Theater".

The actual attraction was closed when I visited the island many, many years ago, but it is still operating as sort of a haunted house attraction today, and is still going strong. Both it's Yelp page and TripAdvisor reviews are very positive.

Their website can be found HERE

No word on whether pets are still welcome.

While going through my old stuff, I've come across a pile of old brochures from years and years ago. I'm not sure what to do with them, so here they are- scanned in as best as I was able with my Epson V33 flatbed scanner.

Today's subject is the Thrasher Carriage Museum, a "hidden gem" in Frostburg Maryland, featuring horse drawn carriages of a variety of ages, sizes, and uses. Their website is HERE. Their TripAdvisor is HERE.

I actually visited this museum in 2005. It's located at the end of the train line for a scenic railway, and it's one of only a handful of things to do within walking distance. It's a nice little place, and it's well signed with information so anyone can understand and enjoy the exhibits for their historical value without needing to know much of anything going into it. I recommend it if you're in the area! 

So, a long time ago I wished for a Mauerbrecher, the tier 8 "mini maus" that could. I eventually wound up getting one not long before the IS-3A fiasco struck, and I quit playing WOT in solidarity with guys like 4Tankers and others. Ultimately Wargaming has amended enough things with enough people I've tentatively come back to playing after a long time away. So, where does that leave me with the "mighty" Mauerbrecher? Well...

The Mauerbrecher (meaning "wall breaker" in German, shortened to "MB" in most chat) is a tier 8 German premium heavy tank, offering super heavy tank aesthetics and similar performance, with an added boost to crew training and credit farming. That's where the good ends really. The MB is a slow, ponderous XP pinata not unlike the TOG II*, but without the DPM. The MB was declared one of the worst tier 8 premium tanks by community wizard QuickyBaby, and I wholly agree with him. This tank is no good. In fact, it may just be terrible. why do I play it so much?

Perhaps it's just my bizarre personality, or my love/hate relationship with the game, but I've come to realize two very important things about the MB. The first, is that with it's giant cannon it is a lot of fun to shoot at overly confident tanks and royally mess them up with it's huge alpha damage. The second, it is incredibly fun to shoot AT the MB. Granted, I don't get that chance too often (as nobody plays this slab of gray garbage much anymore), but when you can shoot at something like the MB and farm one for huge damage, that's an immense credit and XP payout for whoever ultimately bags the tank.

With that in mind, the meta has also shifted considerably- the MB is too slow to lead any charge, so as an MB player I'm allowed much more flexibility to serve as a second-line fighter, or to fill in the gaps in the battle at close quarters as needed- and no one complains. Unlike some more "influential" tanks, I don't feel any stress or pressure while playing the MB- if we win or lose, it's very doubtful it was due to anything I did or didn't do in the thing, especially when it sees tier 10 tanks most battles.

So, I head out there, load my standard rounds, and set a course for my "spot" on the map, usually the heavy tank brawling spot, and I fight there until my team either wins or loses. If we win, fantastic- if we lose, it's fine- I know for sure someone else had a whale of a game taking down my MB, and while it's hard to call that a charitable act, that's kinda how I see it. As a premium tank, unless I fire premium rounds (something I never have to do with a cannon that big), I make credits no matter what, so I'm never losing anything in the exchange.

That, and while it isn't a good tank- it has glaring weak points, a problematic at best armor profile, a slow-firing gun, and a plodding pace- it is still fun to play in a weird sort of way. Landing a shot on all but the heaviest of tanks is almost a guaranteed penetrating shot for big damage- making every pull of the trigger immensely satisfying. The MB is twice as tall as most other tanks, and it has a neat trick for when Soviet tanks decide to move in close- angle that giant gun right down onto the top of their turrets- where oddly enough there isn't nearly as much armor. Almost like the Soviet engineers that cooked them up never expected them to fight against an entirely fictional German tank that would be shooting at them from above. It's the sum of the little things that make the MB an enjoyable thing for me that I play pretty regularly now.

Anyway, that's my excuse for playing this terribad tank, posted in such a way I can link it out to those that ask me what is so terribly wrong with me when I say that I play it on purpose. Many thanks for reading!

Maklarr4000 Dec 30 '19 · Rate: 5 · Comments: 1 · Tags: tank, germany, world of tanks, tanks, mauerbrecher