Beer with the Chieftain

June 24, 2012

Last Wednesday I had a few beers with The Chieftain, a US community rep for Wargaming.Net, who was in New Zealand to present a cheque to the RSA for $30,000.  There was some media coverage of this:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/technology/7139244/Gamers-donate-30-000-to-RSA/

http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/rsa-donation-concerns-peace-advocate-4939435

There were about eight people at the Wellington meetup, Auckland had a larger turnout.  Most of the conversation was about wargaming.net’s various games.

World of Planes

This is going to require a joystick to play, and the gameplay is significantly harder than in World of Tanks.  Unlike WoT, commands are executed server side, not client side.  This means that NZ connections kill planes as lag causes you fly into hills.  People do need to remember that an Alpha is not a finished game, but the people at the meetup who had playtested it were skeptical that WoP would be as popular as WoT.

World of Battleships

Don’t expect anything before 2013.

World of Tanks

English tanks are perhaps two patches away.  We said it would be nice to have a Bren Gun Carrier option, and someone mentioned the Bren Gun Carrier at Tobruk that had an Italian fighter plane’s 20mm cannon attached to it.

There was quite a bit of discussion of Clan wars.  This is not something I do but I was struck by how much like WoW Raiding it is.  Its endgame content – i.e. must have Tier X tank to take part, must have VOIP, must pay for consumable gold ammo, must have minimum performance (500 xp/battle average), and must make time commitment.  ANZAC clans need unemployed people and students to compete effectively against other clans overseas.  It would be nice to have a bit more social interaction with the game, but I can’t really commit to a clan, not while I’m still raiding in WoW.

Other bits and pieces:

  • we got a bonus card for some gold and the Tier II T2 Light Tank (which hits 70 kph at top speed)
  • don’t expect the T-50-2 to stick around
  • hacks: don’t really happen, the system is pretty secure
  • screenshots/fraps, yes they really help when dealing with abusive behaviour (pity the poor person charged with looking up what the words mean)
  • Team Killer system, has to be automated.

A difference between WoT and most MMOs, is hardcore realism (to a point), e.g. critical hits, players don’t understand the physics of how module damage does not always lead to big HP losses.  But they whine because games like WoW have conditioned them to expect BIG numbers when they score a critical hit, rather than just equipment degradation.  As well as being a US Army Captain, the Chieftain comes from an old school gaming background full of charts and tables.

Hearing that the next Tank Destroyer up from the JgpzIV is fun to play was good, not so much that the Ferdinand is a long grind to get its good gun.

The training tip I learned: if you buy a premium tank, you can swap similar crew (i.e. heavy tank crew in a heavy premium) to take advantage of the accelerated experience gain for crew in premium tanks.  A related tip: don’t train perks first, as they require 100% skill.  Train something of immediate use, like Repair.  After mastering Repair to 100%, then drop and retrain the Perk.

Patch 7.4

I am really enjoying the new assault and encounter scenarios.  They liven up the old maps.  Assault is significantly harder than defence, but not impossible.

I am really enjoying the Renault UE 57 Tank Destroyer (pictured above).  Its tiny!  It can travel forward reasonably fast (30 kph) but it turns very slowly.  The small size is an advantage in some encounter maps, like El Halluf, where it can nestle under the big rock next to the flag, safe from most enemy fire while scoring flag capture points.  The exception is if a clever artillery goes all the way down the east/middle side for a flanking shot, or the enemy hold the western hill.  Fragile, but packs a big bang that reloads quickly.  Already had one player in a Tier IV tank call BS on my killing him…

I also treated myself this weekend by buying the IS-3.  I sold the IS and transferred the crew across, paying gold for immediate 100% skill proficiency.  Then I installed Gun Rammer (10% loading speed bonus), Vertical Stabiliser (faster aiming when moving) and Improved Ventilation (5% bonus to all crew skills).  Its a lot of fun, faster than the KV line, a nice low profile and sloped armour turret.  Like the IS, a good urban brawler.  Even without the upgraded 122mm BL-9 gun its doing a lot of damage.  Like all high tier tanks, a bad game sucks for repair bills.