New stuff

I’m taking a break from DDO, insofar that I’m not playing it several hours a day like a week or two ago. Right now I’m instead knee deep in another F2P game – War Thunder a game similar to World of Tanks, that is Post WW 1 to circa 1950s – 60s tank and air warfare.

Before I make a comparison between WoT and WT I want to point out several differences. First, WoT is more of an arcade shooter with some basic simulated stats. Tanks have HP, some basic characteristics but both movement, aiming and shooting is too fluid to be ‘real’. Yet it tries to ‘simulate’ the idea of tank combat with some penetrating critical hits, crew that can be wounded and armor that bounces but often just crumble.

WoT is also without air combat, there’s a World of Warplanes (WoWP) that deals with that aspect alone, but WT does both and sometimes (as I will explain) melds them both into the same combat mission.

Even the arcade option within WP – the ones that provide somewhat faster repair time, easier to aim and some more hud options is different from the WoT gameplay so it gets a little wonky to try to do an apples to apples comparison. Partly because most key aspects are so different. But lets point out the most obvious one – other than a wonky Battle rating system that can put early 1940s tank up against light American 1950s tanks, the system is functionally a lot better as a Rock paper and scissor game than WoT is. And mostly because of one feature that I couldn’t really articulate before and that is, no HP.

The current problem (mentioned several times) with WoT is siege artillery in small scale combat, with no consequence or ability to counter along with premium ammo in fast shooting tanks. Putting the idea of slower firing, heavily armored tanks at a disadvantage. You’d think the same would be true in WT where the same slow tanks exists and you can research what amounts to the same type premium ammo.

But here is where the actual comparison ends. In WoT you have HP. And no real consequence other than a few critical effects to getting a penetrating hits. So hitting a tank in WoT generally only means losing HP. Premium ammo greatly reduces the protection of armor and makes each battle into a numbers game, where the slower firing heavy tank might get in a few hits per minute and some that hit for say 300-500 in damage in average but where the medium tank does 300-400 but twice as fast. In other words, the pure math is in favor of the one with the faster shooting cannon. And that is why premium ammo is such a terrible idea in WoT. You don’t do more damage using it – it’s the same as AP. But the pen factor is much higher.

In WoT there are premium type ammo as well. Something you unlock through research. But it functions differently and provide a complete different edge. First, most premium ammo have a slightly better pen rating, but the really good penetrating ammo does less internal damage. That is because it’s so rigid that when it pens it splinter into less pieces inside the tank. Unlike explosive or regular AP.

Second, in WT first strike is always the desired effect. Hitting first, and penetrating guarantee internal damage, many time fatal to crew and often damaging important component. You can do that in WoT too, but more often it has less crippling effects on the tank than in WT. And most importantly you have repair kits and heal kits; offering a way to get all or some damage fixed and all or some wounded back in action.

There’s no such thing in WT. Most stuff you repair remain somewhat broken and repair means you stop moving and you have to repair for however long it takes to get it fixed. Which leaves your tank in a pickle, often at the front of combat lines.

Now I mention that premium ammo is not a problem in WT when it is in WoT. There’s a simple reason for it; HP. The greatest consequence to flanking dashes by smaller tanks in WoT is the loss of some HP. HP a undamaged tank often can afford. Combine that will premium ammo and we’re right there trading HP, often with the heavy on the losing side as the med circles around it firing. In WT hits comes with consequence. So having a harder hitting tank, like a heavy with larger caliber gun can cripple or destroy a tank outright. So dashing around a flank comes with consequences as any hit can turn any tank into a burnt out husk.

True, the light and medium tanks do have speed and mobility on their side, but it only takes one bad hit to end it. And that’s something that often decide peoples behavior, compared to in WoT where mad dashes often pays off breaking any semblance of balance.

And that’s why I like WT. Sure – the same type of inexperienced, not very tactical players that you find in WoT also exist in WT. But the consequence, similarly frustrating is a little bit different so relatively inexperienced tankers can still take their autoloading tank and attack your flank with devastating effects.

WT avoids that by not releasing a lot of ‘concept’ tanks. Meaning a flood of strange and exotic tanks that was either never built (basically crude sketches or concepts) or in very few numbers before the program was cancelled.

So you won’t find a super dominating autoloaders or mega tanks. There are also no arty units. So no siege arty type sitting behind lines terrorizing the opponent with 200+ mm ammo. What you have is instead artillery barrages (imprecise barrages that saturates areas with explosions but most of them won’t do much in damage) that can be avoided since the interface warns you when they’re about to hit. Perhaps the most frustrating part is the air to ground air units in ground combat missions, but many times you can get a chance to shoot them down with fighters, effectively countering air to ground attacks before they have a chance to strike. Again; a great way of adding some unpredictability, to root out campers and with a way to counter it.

My suggestion is that you try it out. If you have some basic interest in shooters you can get both ground and air combat in one game. Yes – it can be frustrating to be one shot by other tanks, but with limited respawns you always get another shot and getting back in the game. And if ground combat isn’t your thing you can try out air combat.

Right now WT covers Germany, Russia, England, America and Japan. England and Japan are air only while the rest is both air and ground.

No keep in mind that the game is balanced using 5 tiers and a battle rating of each tank with basic crew/player skills. So it is possible that you’ll end up fighting a tier above you with only stuff in the tier below the quest. And for some nations that can be frustrating. Like Germany in early tiers but also like Japan in air combat.

And other nations are way to dominant. Like Russia. Because on paper their tanks and airplanes were good. Except for the fact that there were several limitations based on real usage and something few if any games ever take in account.

Like lack of proper visual aid for Russian tanks, lack of spaced compartments and cramped conditions for the crew. That generally leads to slower firing rate and harder time (and longer time) to aim. But on paper the sloped armor and great mobility makes nations like Russia stronger. Yet in reality Russia lost 96000 vehicles over the course of WW 2 whereas Germany lost 30000. That’s a 3 to 1 advantage, not reflected in the actual game.

If you keep these things in mind and that there are some frustrations to be had dependent on what nations you pick, you will eventually end up having a fun time. Russia will be the easy button nation to pick. Good early tanks and great airplanes. Germany is si and so. Good airplanes but weak tanks. America seems like a good average choice of okay tanks and okay airplanes.

Late tier German airplanes and tanks get stronger and will greatly balance out the continued strength of Russia both. And Americans remain competitive. Japan unfortunate will continue to struggle and England – nice airplanes, tend to have issues as well, but none as tough as Japan.

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