Crusader Kings II

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.

Got afflicted by the common cold earlier in the week, though thankfully that seems to be passing. Had some very pleasant family diversions over Easter that impacted gaming somewhat, as indeed did the cold, but still managed to do a fair bit – just not all that I had hoped. The fact gaming whilst having a cold meant I was not always in the best frame of mind has meant at times some great frustrations.

World of Tanks

I will be very glad when I have completed the April missions. Almost there! I have just 10 qualifying victories to go with light tanks and SPGs, and about eight to go with mediums, heavies, and TDs. I am aiming to complete them this weekend. I would have said tomorrow, but this evening has mostly been taken up with problems associated with my Sky box. The light/SPG missions I must admit are beginning to get a bit wearing. Both lights and SPGs suffer from the reality they are rarely able to exert as much influence on the battlefield as the other three classes – SPGs because they are too random, and lights because they are too fragile. Part of this comes no doubt from my own general inexperience at both classes, but also because I think Tier IV scout tanks must be one of the least influential tanks in the game. It is not all doom and gloom, however. I have managed some very successful matches, and I have also started to play the ELC AMX. It is not properly upgraded yet – which does make it a bit tricky – and its crew is not yet even at 100%. Both those situations are temporary however, and I can see myself really enjoying this unique little vehicle as time goes by. I am also now most of the way to unlocking the Chaffee on the M5 Stuart. I will persevere with that grind even once the missions are complete, since I am now so relatively close. My M5A1 Stuart crew is also getting nicely into its 1st crew skill, ready for sometime transferring to a higher-tier light. Finally I am enjoying the Bishop, and really starting to appreciate the very high shell arc of British SPGs. I am very much looking forward to the FV304, another unique vehicle. I have also managed to get the Ace Tanker medal on the Crusader (replay), which was quite satisfying.

The concentration on the missions has meant I have played far fewer higher-tier games (I can see the impact of this in my stats). Once I have the mission done I am going to have to get more serious again with my bigger grinds. I am also going to have to nail into a Tier V and Tier VI respectively I wish to push up. So many options!

Crusader Kings II

I could write a very long post about my play session in Crusader Kings II. Much has happened, but in a way what I would mostly write about is something that mostly has not directly involved me. At the end of my previous session I was beginning to eye the four counties in the duchy of Ulster, all independent. In one of these – Tyrone –  I manufactured an easy claim to, and conquered it as it was the only one without allies. Then the earl of Tyrconnel died, and about eight claimants to the throne spread themselves around every other Irish court, mine included. I went to war to install the claimant in the court (under the mistaken impression he would become my vassal – I had misunderstood a game mechanic). This was the start of the Tyrconnel Wars, as I named them in my head.

You see, once I had smashed the Tyrconnel army and taken the holding, and installed my own man, another Irish count declared war against Tyrconnel with his favourite. Tyrconnel didn’t have an army to defend itself. A second Irish lord did so at the same time, and after one’s claimant was installed the other promptly fell to and ousted him installing yet another. This went on for, I think, five or so six goes, and in the process largely exhausted the armies of the various counties of Ulster. This allowed me fairly easy conquests of the other two Ulster counties, after which I proclaimed the duchy of Ulster (really the Petty Kingship), and then persuaded the latest Tyrconnel claimant to swear fealty to me. Along the way, however I had gotten into a war with the Earl of Desmond – the south-westernmost province of Ireland. He had a claimant to the county of Ulster, and had declared war whilst I was sieging the holdings. After I overthrew the previous holder, the war carried over to me. I marched down to that end of the island and subdued him, but since I had no claim could not take the territory.

After all this I declared the Kingdom of Ireland, which is more or less where I left the game. However, it was just fascinating watching – and taking part – of this very turbulent 10-15 year period of history. Along the way my King has acquired the epithet “The Just”. The great love of his life alas died young, so he remarried for a third time to a Princess from Denmark. The two appear to get along reasonably well. Meanwhile the heir is now a grown man, with children of his own, and looks like he will be a competent ruler when his turn comes.

Whilst King of Ireland there are still four provinces I do not control. Connaught I think will most likely voluntarily swear fealty, but it appears that Munster will not. The wars of Irish unification are not over yet, and I am going to try to get them all done with during King Sean’s reign. That would be fitting, and a fitting journey for a man who came to power by killing his cruel and capricious father, but is now known throughout the world as a kind and just ruler, and as a scholar, the man who tamed his irascible people and brought them into the twelve century!

Or something like that 🙂

Kerbal Space Program

KSP is one of those really neat games where you can “play” it without actually logging in. By that I mean I spent plenty of moments this week thining about the re-design of my interplanetary rocket. I am trying to decide whether to go for another un-manned mission, or whether to send Jebidiah out again to possibly get stranded on an alien world. I am also toying with several different rocket designs. At some point I will move from the theoretical and into the construction, but probably not this week.

EVE Online

EVE was very much on the backburner this week, and was the game that suffered most from the limitations on my time. I did get some Distribution missions done on the sly. Not earning great isk of course, but doing well enough in the standings gain for a particular corporation I will likely do again at points. I also started what will likely be a slow laborious process of locating and selling off scattered assets. Largely these are bits and pieces of mission loot lurking around.

Once again though EVE is going to take a backseat this weekend, a decision made easier by Burn Jita (though in all honesty I would not expect to be particularly troubled by BJ3 on the whole, unless some Goons get very lost). It is depressing though. I checked Dotlan today about 1400. Burn Jita 3 appears not to have stared early, but right on downtime. From roughly 20-30 ship kills/hour and 20 pod kills/hour, give a take a few, for the days prior, between DT and 1300 there were about 250 ship kills 60 pod kills. Between 1300 and 1400 about 570 ship kills 150 pod kills, and this is where it so far looks to be stabilising, and perhaps now dropping as the EU timezone signs off (I am writing this at midnight). Sometimes I look at my fellow hi-sec dwellers and shake my head.

Otherwise I am engaged in that other EVE activity – trying to work out how the hell the devs are going to try and break the game in the forthcoming expansion. I would say improve it – and they might well! I mean, it has been known to happen – but six years of watching CCP allows me to exhibit a certain distrust of CCPs follow-through. 🙂

So the blog has been very quiet this last week. There has not been very much reason for this, other than generally being busy at home, and busy at work. Oh, and I have totally gotten out of the habit of writing which doesn’t help anything.

World of Tanks

My tanking this last week has been totally dominated by the April missions to get the T2 LT. This has meant I have played a lot of Tier IV light tanks. Indeed out of the 89 games I have played this last week 41 have been split between the T-80, the M5 Stuart, the M5A1 Stuart, and the Covenanter. This has had some benefits. The first has been lots of practice in scout tanking – to admittedly variable success. It does been I am slowly grinding out the Chaffee, as well as getting the crews of the T-80 and both Stuarts further trained (38 games between just those three). Both the T-80 and the M5A1 are about to 100%, and the M5 is in the mid-90s. I have also managed to get the Ace Tanker on the T-80. Indeed, having got it once I soon got it again in another match. Personally though I think the first of those matches was the most impressive, with probably some of my best ammo selection ever in game (tip – when facing Tier V heavies in a T-80, use premium ammo).

In other tanks I have played a few games on the GW Panther, but I am finding this mostly an exercise in frustration at the moment, though not one without high spots. In comparison I have absolutely stunk in playing the Alecto. I cannot get that tank right, almost no matter what I try. I finished eliting the M4A3E8 Sherman, and otherwise continue my grinds. I have been concentrating on the T29 this week, which continues very nicely. I have also gotten in some games in the IS-4, including this game which probably counts as my best Tier X game so far – despite a couple of absolute terrible shots at the end. Although hardly the best stats, what I liked about it was what I achieved. Lakeville Encounter, north start. Pretty much the entire team charged off into the town, as did I initially. Pretty soon though I reversed course and guarded the valley. First one, and then enemy T-62As came by, joined by a WT-E100, but I managed to hold them off long enough for support to arrive and stop their flanking move. Helped, I must admit, by the WT player who apparently couldn’t aim properly.

My concentration on the missions is so far working – I am very much on schedule. I am also intending to try and get some benefit this weekend from the Anniversary missions.

Kerbal Space Program

I mucked around with building a new rocket for an interplanetary probe mission. It was not successful – not enough oomph to get into orbit. I am going to redesign the launch vehicle because my interplanetary design I do want to test. Basically I need bigger rockets – fortunately I was still using the FT-series rockets so I have plenty of potential to upgrade.

To keep things ticking along however I sent another mission to Minmus using my now proven design, which was another success. I am considering amending that design to try and grab one of these Near Kerbin Objects that have been added in the Asteroid Redirect mission update.

Crusader Kings II

My second king was called the Cruel, possibly quite aptly. He certainly became fairly loathed. He did manage though to expand Tara’s reach in Ireland, by forming the Duchy of Leinster as well. Eventually he had something like three murder plots against him, and the one that succeeded was led by his own son and heir.

Which meant I got a Kinslayer as my ruler – a new experience. In many respects the son is a very capable ruler, in particular with absolutely stellar Stewardship. On the downside when he inherited he was heirless, or rather his heirs were his nephews who were of another dynasty. His ever loving sister, deciding her sons are better than brothers, has a plot for his death. So far he is still alive. Fortunately he and his wife managed to tolerate each other long enough to beget an heir a few years into his reign as well (it appeared that they generally disliked each other). That was actually the start of things looking up – the Pope absolved him of his Kinslaying (apparently removing Daddy wasn’t all bad), a further county was added to realm, and a new town has been founded in Dublin province. Oh, and his wife died of an illness, which mostly allowed him to marry the daughter of the Holy Roman Empire. Just before I stopped playing another child was apparently on the way.

Unfortunately I did miss a dynastic possibility of expanded in Desmond province, but I have managed to get a cadet branch of my dynasty to inherit the Duchy of Orkney.

The Kingdom of England so far has had a very interesting history. I started with William the Conqueror in charge. Eventually he fell to one of Harold II’s sons, one Godwine, who had been sheltering at my court. He in turn was later ousted by his brother, one Magnus, who also had been sheltering in my court. He in turn was challenged – but defeated – an attempt by another brother to seize the throne. I get the feeling that England’s dynastic complications might run on for quite a bit.

Otherwise the first Crusade against Jerusalem has just been called. I am basically going to ignore it at the moment. I think I am next intending to expand into Ulster.

EVE Online

I am still very much enjoying my return to EVE Online. A large part of my EVE activities this last week has been researching CSM candidates, plus yet more changed game mechanics and refreshing myself on other mechanics. I think this is going to last a while.

My activities though are starting to have more direction. For example, last night I started some courier missions on one of my characters that wants to be able to use a particular research agent. It will be a bit of a grind that, but courier missions have the advantage of being things I can walk away from (by pressing the dock button) very easily if Melian wakes up.

I really hope to write a couple of EVE posts in the next week.

Managed quite a bit of gaming over the last week, despite various health troubles. Getting some sense of how playing both World of Tanks and EVE is going to work.

World of Tanks

There is a chance this month to get the Tier II premium T2 LT tank for completing a series of missions. I am going to try to do this, and it appears to be achievable. It does require playing rather more SPGs and light tanks than I have been doing recently, but this is not perhaps a bad thing. It has meant some frustrating, and some enjoyable games so far on my GW Panther. Also some more practice with scouting.

Otherwise I have now had my first game on the Panther II. That was a disappointing loss. I have also managed a few more games on the IS-4. I am still getting used to the higher level of competition there. I really am going to try to play at least one game in it a day, however, as I figure playing Tier X is just a good way to improve overall. I am also have good success in training up a crew on the VK3601H for the VK4502 Ausf. A. My ordinary grinds though have already been somewhat disrupted by trying to fulfil the missions for the T2 LT, and this is likely to continue throughout the month.

World of Warplanes

Played some with my friend on Monday. On the whole not the most successful evening. Mostly I am just credit-grinding for the last piece of equipment for the Bristol 146 – and in the process also researching the Spitfire Mk I.

Kerbal Space Program

Well, the Asteroid Redirect Mission update has been launched. Certainly something to consider doing in the future. However, one of the great things about this update is that it is now possible to speed up time whilst in the Space Centre, and also in the Tracking Centre. A very great quality of life improvement.

I got Keldos back to Kerbin safely from the top of Minmus. Actually I happened to land him safely on the southern ice-cap, which was quite fun. I also made a simple design change to my current rocket series (by adding a probe control module on top of an empty command module) and rescued Jebidiah from where he had been stranded on the Mün. I put the launcher down just 2.6km away, which meant a relatively easy ride using the jetpack. This was, however, the second attempt. The first attempt … well, I forgot to extend solar panels so the batteries powering the probe module went dead. The inert probe is now leaving Kerbin orbit to spend a long time floating in an orbit somewhere between Kerbin and Eve.

I am undecided whether to next attempt to get an asteroid, or whether to do an interplanetary probe. I am leaning towards the latter. Or maybe even do something like purposefully strand Jebidiah on the surface of Laythe or something.

EVE Online

Still very much in re-orientation mode. I have spent some time mining, some more time missioning, but mostly just travelling around picking up bits and pieces. I wish to get back into T1 industrial activity, but I am unsure of where I want to setup my market. For certainty not one of the big market hubs, but somewhere a little quieter.

Another aspect of this is going to have to be re-organising my production spreadsheet. The “Spreadsheets in Space” meme does have a certain truth to it. Having cast around some of the other resources, I still think my old spreadsheet generally fits my purposes best, but it does require updating. In particular ship BPOs have a set of extra mineral requirements. While this may seem like “work”, it is in fact going to be a good way to get a better handle on what things are and are not profitable right now. Also of course there are some more modules in the game, and a handful of new destroyers and a new frigate. I have picked up some BPOs for those, and I will need to see if there are any others I require.

I also am going to go around and try and pick up some of the random stuff I have lurking around so many places. There is quite a bit of isk tied up in some stations that I might as well realise.

Crusader Kings II

With both Sons of Abraham and Rajas of India acquired and installed, it was time to start up a game. I have started up a game in 1066, William the Conqueror start, as the ruler of Dublin. A nice place to try and get a handle on this marvellously complex game. So far I have inherited Leinster from my father, claimed and conquered a third, and have just laid claim to a fourth. Along the way I am now on my second ruler.

This is very much a training game, as I am not sure yet who I want to try on to first try and play through to the end.


NB: Consider this post, if it ever gets published, a way of thinking aloud. There is much navel-gazing ahead. You have been warned.

So I am taking the opportunity of a near-fortnight break in World of Tanks to think about what I am doing, and what I want to achieve in the near, medium, and long-terms, in particular since one long objective for me has now been achieved (third crew skill for Marder II crew).

I am quite clear in my head that over the summer I haven’t really had that much of a plan, more like two or three objectives, and then just a morass of whatever. There are good reasons for that – not least amongst them a highly pressured situation at work. While that has eased off somewhat, there are plenty of changes afoot which is going to keep work being somewhat pressured for some time yet.

I think on the average weekday night (when I am not platooning with a friend) I can expect to play somewhere in the range of 6-12 matches. On the weekends I will often be able to play more. My gut feeling is that Saturdays and/or Sundays are the best candidate for high-volume tanking given, but that in most circumstances I would only devote one of those days to such high-volume tanking. Given that constraint it seems reasonable to try to get a list of what I would ideally like to achieve, and then work out how best to meet those objectives, prioritising as necessary.

Of course, there are also games other than World of Tanks I wish to explore, in particular right now Kerbal Space Program, Crusader Kings II, Skyrim, and Tropico 4. Now, I simply cannot do all of this at one time, so I am going to have to prioritise. In particular I think Tropico 4 just drops from the regular schedule for the moment, perhaps remaining in reserve for “light relief”. Kerbal Space Program offers gameplay totally different from anything else on offer, so I would like to muck around in that at least once a week. Skyrim/CK2 is an either/or sort of choice, and I think I choose Skyrim for the moment.  I am so far along, it seems silly not to keep on going through the various storylines to completion. World of Warplanes feels like it may become a regular feature with one friend of mine, and other occasional gameplay.Now, my brother has a saying that no plan survives first contact with the enemy, and it is certainly possible that first contact with reality will alter these intentions.

If that is the wider gaming context, now onto World of Tanks, which will remain my primary game. I currently have a garage chock-full of tanks. Fifty-three of them if memory serves, with two spare garage slots. These largely fall into four groups: keepers, premiums, being researched, and being parked. That last group covers several situations, from the Panzer V Panther which I got on special offer and just haven’t yet gotten around to playing, to the KV-4 which I was waiting to sell when I got the ST-I, to the SU-85B which I want to train the crew up a bit for when I slot it into the second Soviet TD line. I don’t have a particular problem with the fact that I do not play even half of my tanks any given month – I consider the great thing about having a garage like this is the flexibility it offers. Indeed, while I have been unable to take advantage of this recent offer’s discount on garage slots whilst I have been away, I do intend to expand my garage a bit further soon as I intend to get the Durchbruchswagen II and the second German TD line.

Also currently in World of Tanks I find I am rarely playing two whole groups of tanks: Tier IV+ scout lights and SPGs. This has to negatively impact my overall gameplay. In the most basic way – playing artillery is a great way to find those arty-safe and arty-safe-ish spots. Likewise I would expect greater experience with scout tanks to improve general map-knowledge and also positively reinforce some medium play. Being realistic I may not be able to do this all at the same time, but maybe this is something I could alternate. Anyway, it means I have my first item on my list.

1. Play more SPGs / scout tanks

Another goal I set myself quite a few months ago was to try to play through all the Tier III non-SPGs. The truth is that I haven’t gotten really all that far with this – I still have at least four Tier IIIs left to go. I also had the idea of doing the same with the Tier IV non-SPGs non-scouts (ie T-50), but have done even less with that. Now, when I play these lower tier tanks I try to play at least a minimum number of games with them – fifteen for a Tier III and twenty for a Tier IV. In reality usually I have the Tier III elited before I reach that number, and with Tier IVs sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t (largely dependent on what I have prior researched from other tanks).

Now generally I have given this a somewhat low priority as I have wanted to devote more time to higher-tier Tanks like with playing through both Tier VII Tigers. However, there are now certain things going on which make me want to re-assess. In particular I note that the Wrecking Steel missions both this special and last special were both concentrated on Tier V vehicles, and it feels like Tier V vehicles are the most regular entries in the various special offers, so it makes sense to have a large range of possibilities available.

Alongside side is the realisation that grinding out both the Tiger H and Tiger P at the same time was a massive higher-tier timesink which then impacted everything else I wanted to do. I do not want to entirely stop my higher tier battles, but for the time being I think I am going to have to be less ambitious. Now, I have generally tried to play one German tank, and then progress through the Soviet KV heavy tank line. The Tiger Project disrupted that, but I think I will move back to it. Also I think I should select my German tank with a view to being aware of monotony. I mean, a line-up of KV-4, KV-5, Tiger H and Tiger P is a lot of heavies in a row. Given in the latter part of October I do want to start finally on the ST-I this may mean postponing the Ferdinand for the time being in favour of something else.

2. Increase Priority of low-tier tanks
3. No more than 2 Tier 7+ projects active at any one time
4. Try to avoid monotony of tanks

One aspect of my current garage is a large-ish number of premiums (though with one exception all Tier V and lower). Now it took my a stupidly long time to realise how crew training in premiums worked, but since then I have successfully used this facility a few times. It is something I want to try to do more however – if only because I have spent real money on a lot of these vehicles so it just doesn’t make sense for them to be gathering dust in my garage. Now I cannot use them all of them at once, but I feel on a “good” day I should be able to use at least one to help train a crew along.

Crew training is a little quirky however, because unless I intend to retain the tank I do not see the point in over-training crews for Tier III or IV. Even at Tier V – unless I intend to retain the tank – it seems silly to go beyond getting the crew to 100% and maybe some “spare” experience for retraining onto the Tier VI vehicle. However, for other crews that I am already playing it seems logical to get the victory on the regular vehicle, and then go for a victory on an associate premium vehicle if available (ie, ST-I and KV-5). However, I would also want to keep the option open to train up a specific crew, either for a tank I intend to purchase, or in preparation to play that tank – like I have been doing with the Ram-II and the M4A3E2 crew.

Also when it comes to crew training, taking a serious look at my crew skills, I see one particular glaring weakness: a lack of crews with Sixth Sense trained. In most circumstances this is for a simple enough reason: I have lots of crews which do not yet have the first crew skill at 100%. However Sixth Sense appears to be such a powerful skill my lack of it is becoming painfully obvious. Time to right this weakness where practical.

5. Try to use premium tanks more often for crew training in conjunction with Tier VI+ regular play
6. Try to train more crews in Sixth Sense
7. Try to incorporate crew training projects to be in a better position when starting new Tier VI+ tanks

The other item I have in my garage are tanks I have retained because I want to keep on playing them. Chief amongst these of course is the Marder II, which is the tank that really is reasonable for the fact I am still playing World of Tanks after 18 months and that I am approaching six thousand battles. However, there are at least seven others (the precise status of the VK3001H and VK3002M being undecided). So I definitely want to keep on playing that. I also want to play around with the above two tanks to decide what I want to do with them longer-term.

Turning to the other vehicles I have retained they are the Panzer III, Hetzer, Cruiser Mk III, Leichttraktor, M4 Sherman, KV-1, and KV-2. I retained each of these for various different reasons: the Leichttraktor and Cruiser Mk III because I wanted a regular Tier I and II respectively, and Panzer III, Hetzer, and Sherman just because I had so much fun in each of them. The KV-2 because of the mighty derp. The KV-1 I kept because at that time it was my most played tank as I had grinded through the old KV pre-7.5 to benefit from the reworking of the Soviet heavy line. It has my third most skill crew (working on the second skill) but I must admit I rarely get it out now. With most of the rest I make an effort to get them out to benefit from any relevant special offer – but not really with the KV-1. Therefore I want to get some games in on the KV-1 to decide whether I do indeed want to keep it still, or whether to move on and use this crew elsewhere.

I also want to continue to “progress” on the other tanks here – which in reality means advancing their crews, some of which might happen “naturally” through special offer play, some of which might be deliberate as part of general crew training.

8. Continue playing Marder II
9. Work out what to do with VK3001H and VK3002M
10. Decide what to do with KV-1
11. Try to play more with the retained tanks

So that concludes looking at what sort of tanks I have available, and I have ended up with eleven goals. Next is to see what is achievable with those goals. I think the way to approach this is to budget my games. I said at the start on an ordinary weekday I would imagine I would be able to play 6-12 games most of the time. Sometimes to be sure I might be able to play more, and sometimes I might play less or not at all. Then for at least one day at the weekends I will play quite a bit more – maybe up to 20-30 games range. What these estimates do is give me a budget. Also it means there are some things I am just less likely to be able to do mid-week but which I might well be able to do at the weekend. So it is time to try to prioritise those goals.

Also I have something of an opportunity in that I do not intend to head back into full-time “regular” play until the latter part of October as I have another few days away in the middle of the month, meaning I can devote time to some of my other desires, such as getting some games in with the KV-1.Ignoring this time period for the moment, here is how I envisage my rotation working out from late October:

1+ games in Marder II
1-3 games with ST-I
1-3 games with Tier III/IV non-SPGs
1-3 games with German project
1-2 games with SPG/scout tank
1-2 games on training project

Generally I stop playing one tank after getting the first victory bonus. Now obviously if I only get in six games on a weekday evening it is very unlikely that I will carry out of all these aims. The idea will be to alternate playing SPGs/scouts most of the time. Generally I would not play a vehicle after a second defeat unless other items were already met. Also for the ST-I and German project it may also include a battle or two on a premium adding extra training to those crews – though I would likely play those games further down the list. The following gives some idea of how this might look in practice:

1-0 Marder II
1-1 ST-I
1-0 M8A1
1-0 Panzer V Panther
0-2 VK1602 Leopard
1-0 Ram-II (training M4A3E2 crew)
0-1 KV-5 (with ST-I crew)
1-0 T-25 (with Panther crew)
1-0 T-15 (with VK1602 crew)

So, what do we have here? Eleven matches playing scout tanks rather than SPGs. Eight of those matches take up covering the six areas, with the last three matches come from playing premiums with crews already used. In the above example I have given myself a 7-4 record, but if I had a losing record there would be fewer (if any) matches dedicated to crew training. I am fairly happy with this.

Of course, the overall plan may be adjusted to take advantage of various special offers or seek to pursue a particular mission. Also I think I might choose one “extra” research project for when I have extra time to do such things – right now that would most likely be the M6.

However, I will not put the above plan into action right away – in the next couple of weeks or so I envisage playing the Marder II, KV-1, VK3001H, VK3002M, and a selection of Tier III tanks, possibly with an odd match thrown in on the Tigers.

So, that feels like I have now managed to think through what I want to play. Now it is time to do something else: look at how I play. This shows looking at my weaknesses.

The first of these has to be being over-aggressive, with the associated lack of survival. As several different sources say, once you are dead you lose the ability to influence the battlefield. My survival is as of writing is about 29.7%. I have spoken before of the need to boost this. Of course the trick is increasing survival whilst not becoming passive – because if one is passive you get the same effect. Thinking about things, whilst I do hold my over-aggressiveness at times to be at fault, that is only part of the story. Twinned with this are two other causes: impatience and ‘just trying to get in one more shot’.

Being patient is not easy. It means waiting until you can make the most effective impact. In real-life combat it is not easy. One way that Wellington won several of his battles against the well-trained French armies was by being patient – getting his troops to wait until the French were close enough so that their volley had a lethally dramatic impact. Exploiting an enemy’s impatience – getting them to attack before they are ready – is another time-honoured tactic. Impatient foes are likely to make mistakes. That is certainly what happens to me at times – I make myself vulnerable for no good reason, trying to force something that is not perhaps there. Instead I should wait and let the enemy make those mistakes. Or something like that – this is far easier to write about that put into practice.

What makes it complicated is that there does come a time when breaking cover, charging across the valley of El Halluf (for example) is the right thing to do. What I really need to start thinking about is when I make such decisions.

On the other side of the coin is knowing when to stand back, knowing when to stop pushing one’s luck. There are more times than I care to remember when I have shot an enemy tank, and thought ‘I can get another shot in’. Oftentimes I am right – the thing is I have also just allowed them to get a shot in at me, and sometimes that shot is fatal. Essentially I need to learn to fall back behind cover more often.

A related point to both of these is knowing when to fall back entirely. When for whatever reason (lack of team mates for example) one is faced with a situation where you cannot hold a position. Now, in certain positions it will be a do or die situation, where there is no good route of retreat or retreat just means defeat by surrendering the base. In other situations though it should be possible to try to conduct some form of fighting retreat – and if it does look like one is about to die to try to make one’s death to be expensive and for one’s wreck to be as inconvenient as possible. I remember one match on Erlenberg Assault where a defending KV-4 basically won the match by making sure his wreck blocked the northern bridge.

While I may be too aggressive in general gameplay a lot of the time, there is one part of the game where I am far too timid. Since premium ammo for credits was introduced I think I have purposefully fired premium on only about a dozen or so occasions (as opposed to premium loading first when the battle starts, and me idiotically not realising this for a time). This no doubt impacts my win potential. I can quite easily think of a few matches were a well-placed premium round or two could have made all the difference.

Of course, premium rounds or not one has to know where to aim. My average tier is 4.6 or so, and I know most of the weak spots of the Tier VI tanks and below as one would hope from that. Tier VII and VIII tanks are somewhat less well-known, but still there is some familiarity. Far less so Tier IX, and especially Tier X tanks. Even on lower tier tanks however there are sometimes weak spots, or other tank characteristics it is useful to know of which I am ignorant. Essentially when it comes to tank knowledge I must admit to having been coasting somewhat. Time to hit youtube and start watching some videos, and maybe twitch to see some streams, to garner ideas of how to improve my play. In actual fact I have already started this, and picked up a number of useful hints which I hope to start deploying in the coming weeks. However, there is still much research to do.

It is important however not to try to do too much at a time – and not to overwhelm myself with details. If we distil the above discussion to a list we get the following:

1. Try to reduce recklessness
2. Try to increase patience
3. To fall back more often
4. To make each death more expensive for the enemy team in terms of damage and time
5. To make use of premium ammunition
6. To do more research

That seems like a reasonable list of things to be working on.

Of course, as I start to work on all of this I expect just one thing to happen – my win rate to reduce a bit and quite possibly the other stats as well. In particular playing more SPGs and scout tanks is likely to involve a period of adjustment – as is starting a new tank in the ST-I. That is alright so long as it does not last overlong and I can see signs of improvement in other areas.

There are certain things I am unable to do at the moment, seeing as I am on holiday and all and away from my home computer. Chiefly this is remember all the intricacies of my garage – ie the precise status of all my crews, especially for tanks I play less often. One of my tasks when I get home will be to take a census of my garage finding out that information for deciding future crew training schedules. I am thinking of putting some of that info into my monthly updates so I can regularly track it, though that would make those posts even more time-intensive. Something to think about for another day.

I know it has been a couple of weeks since I last did one of these, but for various reasons July appears to have ended up being a rather interrupted month as far as gaming is concerned, and the first half of August looks like it will be the same. I should make plain that generally I have enjoyed the interruptions, but all the same they are interruptions to established routines, and remember Aspergic folks generally prefer to have a routine. Generally I am able to manage, but this rather extended streak is having an impact. The state of play at work is not helping either – it is just insanely, in large part due to the incompetency of others. Also, I have a number of other games I am playing at the moment, all of which are single-play, which is a great advantage since Melian often wakes up in the evening/night at the moment as she needs a drink. This leads me to the final reason – the gorgeous summer we have been having here. Nothing like it since 2006, and so I continue to enjoy the Outside as much as I can (given I am very prone to sunburn).

Given I am doing rather more than just World of Tanks I have decided to change the Weekly Roundup to include other gaming I am doing too. Also, given how disrupted July was for me I have decided not to construct my usual monthly WoT report – that will wait until next month.

World of Tanks

Well, not very much tanking done the last few weeks in truth, and I have had something of a losing streak for the last half of July as well. The Marder II crew is about to hit 97%, whilst the two Panzer VI Tiger and Tiger P continue the grind to researching the next two vehicles in their respective heavy lines. I am still putting off buying the ST-I, but that will likely happen some time in August. The Tier III I am working through now is the Valentine AT, and I have just researched the howitzer. Finally I have decided to retain the regular M4 Sherman for the moment, and to train a new crew to 100% on the Ram-II. My other research vehicle right now is the SU-85.

Omerta – City of Gangsters

I have completed Act I, and have done a couple of missions at the start of Act II. I very much suspect I will play this game to unwind in a very casual manner.


Crusader Kings II

My Irish game is going well. On my third generation, and probably soon to go to my fourth. I started off as Earl of Dublin, and inherited Leinster from my father. Managed to fabricate claims on Kirkade on form the Petty Kingdom of Tara. My second ruler expanded that to Ossory too and formed the Duchy of Leinster. Also he managed to have quite a few successes on the marriage market, marrying the Heir of the Welsh kingdom of Deheuberth and getting a matrilineal marriage for his own child, a daughter, to the Heir of the Duchy of Flanders.

The only problem when she came to the inherit however was there was an ongoing outbreak of heresy, which she had adopted. Dealing with the after-effects of that took up the early portion of the reign. Shortly thereafter, however, I took over the province of Desmond, joined a Crusade to retake Hungary. Lost my army to the infidel, rebuilt it slowly, fought two more small wars in Ireland further expanding the realm there. Inherited Deheuberth, for the vassalage of another petty Welsh kingdom, and then fought a war with Gwynedd for another Welsh province that traditionally that I could claim by the Ducal title I held. The Crusade ended and I took over another Irish province, which gave me enough to form the Kingdom of Ireland. Accepted the vassalage of all but two of the remaining lords. Also the Kingdom of Scotland currently holds a single Irish province as well – will have to do something about that but not now.

My current ruler – Queen of Ireland – has had her son inherit the county of Brugge. Her father-in-law and then husband managed to lose most of the Duchy in the fairly constant French civil wars and Franco-German wars. Really, France is an absolute mess. However, I also have strong marriage alliances currently with Scotland, England, and Germany – hopefully leaving me free to pursue my other aim of establishing the Kingdom of Wales. However, that might have to wait until the next generation.


Faster than Light

Played a game on this – managed to be successful on the basic Federation Cruiser and unlocked the variant layout for the Federation Cruiser..


Next week

Quite a bit is due to be happening next week, so I am figuring my gaming time is going to be limited, and will probably have more single-player games like the above, but we shall see.