Tobold's Blog
Thursday, January 24, 2019
A shooter in which you can't damage anything is not much fun

Yesterday I had battle in World of Tanks with one of my heavy tanks, the Russian tier VII IS. Nothing really special happened in that battle: I drove with some other heavy tanks to the area of the map where the heavy tanks usually go, no side had a distinctive advantage, both sides traded shots for a while. At some point my tank exploded. I went back to the garage, and a while later I got a notice that my side had won the battle, so I received some xp and credits. However when looking closer at the statistics of the results, I noticed that I had shot 12 times, hit the enemy 10 times, and did a grand total of 0 damage. Needless to say that battle wasn't much fun. Unfortunately this unfun outcome isn't really all that uncommon.

The main factor in this is the combat system in which armor works the same way as it does in Dungeons & Dragons: Armor determines whether you are damaged at all or not. Now if you look at D&D, you notice that most monsters are relatively easy to hit. If you take a typical armor class of a monster and compare it to the typical attack bonus of a hero of the appropriate level, you'll see that the players have a chance of more than 50% to penetrate armor. In World of Tanks that is not necessarily the case.

Several factors play into this in World of Tanks. One is definitively that the skill of the average player is now higher than it was years ago when I started playing. People have learned techniques like side-scraping or hull-down which minimize the exposure of their weak spots. But Wargaming also modified tanks and added new tanks to the game over the years, and there are now far more super-heavily armored tanks around. Plus the matchmaking system usually results in battles between three tiers, let's say VI, VII, and VIII. Now the tank I was driving at tier VII hasn't got the a very penetrating gun. Which means that the tier VIII tanks I met were so heavily armored, that my chance to penetrate their armor in a regular face-to-face brawls was close to zero. And unless your side has a numerical advantage locally, trying to drive around the enemy and flank them from behind is a suicide mission. Thus when I am in a mid-tier heavy tank and I don't use premium ammo, I run into this sort of battle where I don't deal any damage. That is rather frustrating, and in my opinion bad game design.

That is not to say that every low-tier light tank should be able to damage a top-tier heavy. But if fast matchmaking requires that a battle has tanks of different tiers, a mid-tier heavy tank needs to be likely to do some damage to a top-tier tank. A system in which a big gun hitting an even bigger armor deals reduced damage instead of no damage would be a lot less frustrating to the players who didn't have the luck of ending up in top tier. A shooter in which you can't damage anything is not much fun.


Most people just load up the prammo at that point. It’s worth trying World of Tanks Blitz if you want something more dynamic. They have a good PC/Mac client and +1/-1 matchmaking.
Excuse me if it was said before, but I would recommend you to give a try for World Of Warships. Slower, much more tactical, no gold ammo, more mature auditory. Very good (I would even say, unique) mix of tactical and action gameplay.
There are some good guides on YouTube discussing how to play a bottom-right heavy tank. I would put a couple of links in this message, but blogger might think them spam and junk the whole message. Search, for instance for 'bottom tier heavy tank taugrim'
At what point does the game effectively stop being F2P if you reach a point where you are almost doing nothing as a F2P player?

That's one of the reasons why I stopped playing WoT and opted to play MWO instead. I don't mind spending money on a game I'm enjoying but if the premise is F2P don't make me feel gimped by playing F2P.

Same reason I was so turned off when SWTOR went F2P.
Theoretically you should be able to do some damage by using HE ammo which needs no penetration. However that's just a better feel, doing 15% enemy tank damage in 10 hits. Your options are:
- paying them money for P2W ammo
- quitting

World of Warships is much better game. Not obviously P2W.
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