Maklarr4000's blog

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?