So, it has taken me a lot longer to write this post than I expected. My principle excuse is that I have been taking advantage of this wonderful summer we have been experiencing in the UK. A secondary excuse would be I have been a bit wrapped up in some of my other gaming as well, but to be honest a lot of the time I used to spend writing (lunch-breaks at work, for example) I have been spending outside.

Anyway, where do I stand with World of Tanks at the moment. I am starting to play a little more regularly, having played very little for quite some time. Looking at my current desires in gaming, it is clear I am going to be playing somewhat less World of Tanks than I have been for quite some time. This is principally to make room for Crusader Kings II, Europa Universalis IV, Kerbal Space Program, and EVE Online. Given I am going to have less time playing the game, I think it behoves me to take a good long look at what I would like to achieve in the game in the short and medium term, but also take a quick round-up of where I am.

To aid in that, a few stats, as of writing.

Games played: 9009
Win rate: 56.64%
Efficiency: 1209
WN7: 1430
WN8: 1524
Battles Survived: 30.34%
Kills/Death: 1.71
Damage Ratio: 1.23

The win rate has slowly been creeping up for months, but most of the other indicators have been pretty flat for a while. I am sometimes finding it frustrating to play, when I find myself doing things I know are probably stupid, do them anyway, and then get it demonstrated to me they are stupid. My usual weakness is what it has almost always been, over-aggressiveness. This remains the one key area of my game I have to work on. I feel if I could manage to boost my survivability up a couple of percentage points, everything else would follow. That remains the long-term goal.

However, improving in the game is not much of a goal – I am sure pretty much everyone shares that goal. No, I want and need some goals rather closer to the here and now.

Tiger II

The first of these goals is, in fact, incredibly easy: get the Tiger II. This has really three parts. Firstly there is affording the tank itself. Then there is affording the equipment I would like to place on the tank. Finally, there is getting a crew for the tank. The first two are really just all about credits. I am going to wait for the tank and equipment to be on discount to acquire it if I can, though I won’t wait forever. This means that the purchase price of the Tiger II will became my credit floor – once I have amassed that many. I currently have just under 1.9 million credits, and the Tiger II at full price costs 2.45 million. For equipment I would probably go for rammer and vents, and then think about v-stabs. Another 1.7 million at full price, but discounts for equipment are semi-frequent.

The crew is more interesting. The crew I am currently intending for the Tiger II is currently in my VK3601H, and currently stands at 86% on their first crew skill (Commander with Mentor, the rest with Repairs). My current thinking is to get them trained up sufficiently so the Commander can retrain to Sixth Sense and the Driver to Preventative Maintenance, and both have Repair back up in the 50-60% range, before retraining the entire crew over into the Tiger II. To this aim I am playing the VK3601H very regularly, and will continue to do so. It is a fairly enjoyable tank to play, if not entirely up to the class of the KV-1S.

Tier X – to grind or not to grind?

This has proven to be a trickier decision, but I have eventually decided to continue currently with at least one of my Tier X grinds, in particular the Panther II. I am certainly not abandoning my other aspirations (the T110E5 line, IS-7 line, and Conqueror Gun Carriage line), but they are definitely taking second place. Indeed I hope to play my entire stable of Tier VIII tanks semi-regularly, as they are the ones at the level where I will find the greatest challenge. I do not see myself often playing the ST-I or IS-4 at the moment though, really only when platooned. This is simply due to the pressure of time.

Japanese Tanks

I now have both Japanese light and medium sub-lines to Tier III. I would very much like to get thorugh to Tier IV and VI respectively, sooner rather than later. Therefore these tanks are currently going to be my lower-tier tanks of choice. However, I have decided to make serious efforts to get the Ace Tanker badge with both before I move on.

Tier V/VI

Generally speaking I have a load of Tier V and VI tanks about, some of which I have not played, and some of which I have partially done. I would like to get as many lines to Tier VI as I reasonably can in the coming months. This is not an immediate priority – training the Tiger II crew – but it is something to start looking at in more detail once that grind is done. That said, it is going to be easy to do some Tier VI grinding alongside the VK3601H.

Crew Training

There is a natural movement here, as I have several crews currently on Tier V and VI tanks I would also like to be trained up to use on higher-tier tanks. In particular my crew currently on the KV-1S is due to go onto the IS-8 as and when I get that. That crew is currently in the high-70% range on its first crew skill. I also have a crew in the low-90% on the VK3002M, which I am thinking of using in the VK3002D or E-50 - depending if I decide to keep my Panther II active or not. Finally I particular I want to use the Stug IIIG to train up a TD crew for eventual use in probably the Jagdpanther II, or possibly the Jagdtiger. Both are a long way off however, as this crew is currently not even 100% in their main qualification.

Overall

Where do I stand? Well, in practical terms this means prioritising the VK3601H and Panther II, then the Japanese tanks, and then other grinds. Naturally some of this will depend with whom I might be platooning with. If they need to play a bunch of Tier VII games I am not going to get in the way – it just means I will be playing other tanks.

 

Lots of really cool things have happened to me in World of Tanks, but two in particular stand out because of how they link to an earlier period of my gaming and internet life. The first occurred on a random battle on Steppes, when someone (I forget whether on my team or the opposing team) suddenly shouted out to me, asking if I were the same person as on the Paradox Interactive forums. Also, when I joined QSF-X one of the people I first started to platoon with asked me the same question. I must admit to a certain warm glow that I was recognised – internet non-so famous! – because for a time I put my heart into a certain portion of the Paradox Forums, in particular the AAR forums.

The Paradox AAR forums are quite unlike anything I have ever discovered elsewhere on the internets, as a community, and has a place to recount the games we have played in a vast variation of styles. Some AARs are essentially full-length novels, whilst others are the barest bones of gameplay – a few screenshots with sparse accompanying text, and everything in between. I garnered a certain reputation there by being a very prolific commentator, to the extent my profile records me having made over 17,000 thousand posts, most of which were made between 2003 and 2008.

When I became ill, I never had the energy to re-engage with the forums as I wished to, so eventually I formally stepped back, and for a few years hardly visited. Along the way I played a lot of EVE Online, fell in love, married, became a father, and amassed nearly 9k games in World of Tanks. However, there was been something calling me back for some months now. The sound was subtle to begin with – really just a desire to once again descent into a Paradox game – in this case Crusader Kings 2.

The original Crusader Kings was always a favourite of mine, despite its flaws, because it was so easy to construct stories from the interplay between the characters. Crusader Kings 2 is a very worthy sequal, being deeper and richer in all particulars. The various DLCs have only added to the depth of the game. I determined I was going to rate for Rajas of India before diving in properly, which I did. I started a game, and now I am thoroughly invested.

My main game at the moment is as Ireland. I began as the Earl of Dublin, and went from there. Part-way along I realised that the reign of one of my characters was so full of incident that it was sure to be remembered, and the spark of an AAR began. Originally I was going to write something based from the point of view of his immediate heir, showing the troubles of living in the shadow of a great ruler. Indeed I stopped playing for almost two weeks, thinking about things, but then I changed my mind. Rather than dilute matters by looking at the heir, I decided to write a series of short entries about the life of this one ruler, in a variety of styles.

Along with starting to write though, I also began to read other AARs once more. Some of these are just pure fun, others have useful gameplay tips, and some are just very good stories (some are also all three). Along with the reading, comes the commentary, and with a wry smile I noticed my post count has started to tick upward once again. I am taking things slower right now, not “pigging out” like I sometimes used to do on AARs. Still I am following a reasonable number of currently active AARs, and I am sure that will increase as time goes by.

Of course, one reason to read – and comment – is that it is only fair to read and comment in others’ work if you wish people to read and comment in your own. And touchingly, I find myself well-remembered on the forums, even by some folks who were not members when I mostly left. Which is quite weird, actually, to think that in this one community I have a certain amount of e-fame. It is good to be back and active in that community though, and I truly hope to manage to be so for another good long stint.

The only game I am hoping to get on the Steam Summer Sale is indeed EU4. HoI4 will probably be in my Christmas list at this rate. Meanwhile I am very much enjoying playing Crusader Kings 2 (including now a co-op game with a friend of mine once/week).

The AAR is Stories of King Sean. If the posting here is a little less, well, that project will be partially the reason why.

Well, that hiatus has proven to be a lot longer than expected.

For family-related reasons for most of the last month I have been sticking generally clear of online games, and also just had a lot less time generally. This period is now coming to a close (I hope!), so with any luck some sort of blogging will occur soon. However, things are not quite settled yet, and my gaming time schedule may be somewhat reduced.

Cross fingers, though. Cross fingers.

I have decided to take something of a hiatus from World of Tanks.

This is primarily because at the moment I am just too tired. My daughter is going through a phase of rather disrupted sleep, and for various reasons I pull the night-time duty. Naturally my daughter is now also waking up relatively early (though generally very happily). Given I sometimes have difficulty getting to sleep at the best of times, this has now meant a relatively sleep deprived couple of weeks, and it is definitely showing when I try to play the game. My ability to notice what is going on in the match, and my ability to make good decisions, are both compromised, which altogether means I am just not having as much fun as I usually would.

So, a break for a couple of weeks to try to refresh and then reset. I won’t say I won’t log in at all, just giving myself an extended freedom not to even if I am feeling “okay”.

This naturally means I will likely playing rather more EVE. What I am doing in EVE generally doesn’t require fast reflexes or quick decision-making. Might also explore some other games as well.

This last week I have had a few days holiday, which combined with the bank holiday meant some really good time with the family. I just want to say that if anyone is based in the general area, Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is a truly excellent place to visit. It is especially good with children of all ages, as they have masses of things to do and areas to play, in addition to looking at various animals from the commonplace to the exotic. We discovered the place last year, and this year we have season tickets.

In gaming terms I decided to take a break from World of Tanks this last week. I returned to the game yesterday, and had a fairly horrible performance. I am hoping better for tonight. I also indulged myself a little with a blast from the past – the not too distant past in this case, namely Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy. A wonderfully casual game, probably my favourite of that entire series. I think the conceit of breaking the game up into a series of missions makes it particularly easy to just play for a set amount of time. Not the most complex game, or the most challenging, but diverting.

My other main game of the last week was EVE Online. Given we had some extended time together without our various works getting in the way both my wife and I managed to get some playtime in together. With Fanfest and its various announcements out of the way, not to mention the hopeful date for the Kronos update, I am very much in holding mode. Mostly this means running missions, partly for isk, partly for standings, and just reconnecting to friends. Also lots of thinking.

Alas, holiday time is over, which means back in the saddle for all sorts of things. I suspect more gaming ahead!

Having concentrated on completing the requirements for the T2 LT on Sunday I had three mostly non-gaming days for one reason or another on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. This did rather impact what I have done obviously, meaning this entire post is going to be rather light – as the blog has been. Only played two games – my offline gaming night being taken up with having a friend over to watch Downfall.

World of Tanks

On Saturday I completed the light tank requirements of the mission, and on Sunday I knocked off the remaining requirements. All in all it was a bit of a grind – or perhaps more accurately the entire process was a bit of a grind. Whilst I know that a Tier VIII is probably going to be available via missions soon-ish, I must admit I am likely not to chase it down this time. It feels like it will be simply more work than I wish to indulge in.

Now that the T2 LT missions are complete though I need to decide to re-focus my WoT activity. Part of this is plain – continue to play at Tier X to improve myself there, and to continue my grinds up the E-50M, T110E5, IS-7, and Conqueror Gun Carriage lines. Also I wish to move up the Japanese low-tiers, and start working my way through the Tier Vs. The priority at the end is going to be unlocking the Cromwell (almost done) and Hellcat (well under way). Finally I have some crew-training projects, and also some partially-played Tier VIs that I wish to work through as well. Which order I am going to do all this in remains undecided however.

EVE Online

Very little in total. I am trying to assimilate the mass of devblogs now posted on the industry changes. Everything is changing, which convinces me not to restart my activities now. I will do so after the expansion. Right now it is Fanfest so a fair bit of stuff is getting announced.

I am intending to concentrate on other isk-making activities for the time being. One area of industry not currently changing, apparently is PI, so I may investigate restarting some small activities there. However I am not sure what will be viable now with player POCOs in hi-sec.

 

Did it.

The T2 LT is sitting in my garage, very prettily if I say so myself now I have spruced her up with a bit of permanent camo. I haven’t yet taken her out for a spin however, as I needed to be getting on.

One the whole I am very happy to have managed to see how the missions. I thought it would be possible, and indeed it was – but if the requirements had been much stiffer then the chances of me getting the tank would have reduced fairly rapidly. I am also very glad I decided, right at the start, to try and get a certain number of wins in both categories. While they got a little out of whack, this slow plugging away did mean that at the end I wasn’t faced by a mountain of light/spg games to play. For that I am very thankful, as I do not excel at either.

I will try to keep playing some lights and arties however. In particular I am very intrigued by the ELC AMX, and I have just had my first great game in it. I cannot wait to get the top gun. Also I have had unexpected fun on the Bishop. I doubt I will be able to play these tanks every session, but perhaps 3 times a week will be possible.

Mostly though I am glad to out from under the Tier IV restriction. I want to push a bit through the remaining low-tier Japanese tanks, but I haven’t wanted to waste precious battle time on battles that would never count towards the mission.

Still, a good end-result for the weekend.

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