Tobold's Blog
Sunday, June 30, 2019
Keeping tanks

Progress in World of Tanks revolves around tech trees. You start with a tier I tank of a nation, and work your way up the tech tree up to tier X for several different tank types. At each tier and type you need to play the tank a while to gather the necessary xp for improved tank equipment, and then research the next tier of tank. Invariably you thus end up in a situation where you have done everything you need with a tank and could move on to the next. But what do you do with the old tank, keep it or sell it?

I must say that when I started World of Tanks in 2011, I was firmly in "keep it" mode. Thus there are some tank lines where I have many or all of the tanks from tier 1 to 10. However that method has several disadvantages: You can't use a tank without crew, and any given crew member can only be proficient in one specific tank. Only for premium tanks you don't need a specific crew. So if you have all 10 tanks of a tank line, you end up with 10 tank crews, all of which aren't very experienced, as each of them is only used a fraction of the time.

So the alternative "sell it" version that I am doing now involves sending the crew of the old tank to the barracks, selling the old tank, and putting the crew on the new tank, retraining it with gold. That way every battle along the whole tank line gives the crew experience that improves their skills and perks. In the end you have only one tank with one crew, but that crew has several skills and perks, and performs a lot better.

My problem with the "sell it" plan is that sometimes the higher tier tanks aren't the most fun to play of a line. I had cases where after reaching top tier, I went back and bought back a middle tier tank of that line, because it was just better for its tier than the top one. And then I needed to decide whether to keep the top tier tank, and whether to put the good crew in the top tier or the medium tier tank. However right now I don't enjoy the high tiers all that much. They aren't really suited to more casual players or people like me who took a 7-year break from playing.

And there in a nutshell is my problem with quite a bunch of multiplayer online games: You progress towards a point where the other people playing with you are far too serious, have all the toxicity of the usual hardcore player, and are frequently frankly not the kind of person you would want to hang out with.


You progress towards a point where the other people playing with you are far too serious, have all the toxicity of the usual hardcore player, and are frequently frankly not the kind of person you would want to hang out with.

But is it your progress that's being hindered by those who "are far too serious", or is it your enjoyment of the game that's being affected by them? Your first four paragraphs detail the problems you've found within the game itself over the years, but you then place all of those issues squarely in the laps of other players with your last paragraph.

A game will either let you be the photographer, or the model. The coach, or the player. But not both at the same time. You'll either embrace being the person behind the spotlight, or you'll long to be the person lit up on the stage. The game itself should define the social contract between players via UI/Interactivity elements. If you find yourself in a situation where a certain player is hindering your progression, or negatively affecting your enjoyment of the game, then there should be a mechanism in place to allow you to ignore that person and never be grouped with them again.

In meatspace we have effective means to weed out toxicity in our lives, yet the majority of multiplayer games are still developed as if the whole world will lovingly embrace each other in some form of short-sighted and myopic nirvana, and it's ridiculous.

The hardcore types you speak of - do you think that they are other "premium" players who spend to bypass the grind elements, or do you think they are the basement dwelling, no lifers who earn things with a time investment? Perhaps a mixture of both?
The progression from tier to tier is pseudo-progress only. There is no need to keep climbing to tier 10 all the time. The tank in the next tier is not better than the tank you are abandoning to reach it, in most cases. You are abandoning a fully upgraded tank whose strengths and weaknesses you well understand for a stock tank of the next tier whose playstyle, strengths and weaknesses you haven't yet experienced. And for what?

I fought 400 battles in the little MS-1, which I enjoyed. I only bothered getting a tier 2 tank out of envy. The T18 was almost impervious to my fire and could one-shot my little MS-1. So I got one of them, and had the greatest of fun in it, until it was removed from the game in some patch or other. And so it went, I only moved to a new vehicle when I became envious of its awesome power. Otherwise I was happy to stick with what I enjoyed.

Of course, there are reasons for having tanks in high tiers. A year or two ago, low tier games were restricted to a few small maps, so they are not fun for me any more. For public matches, several tanks at tier 8 are great for Frontlines and tiers 8 and 10 for grand battles, while clan wars and strongholds require particular tanks at tiers 6, 8 and 10. I enjoy those modes, so I try to acquire the tanks I need for them. But otherwise I play whatever tank I'm enjoying, with no particular desire to 'progress'.

As for when to sell tanks, I only do that when I stop enjoying them. Some tanks that I've ground out, I never enjoyed at all, and was just working my way towards a tank that I wanted. For instance, the ISU-152 and I never got on with each other, and I was just playing it to get to a tank I did want to play. I sold the ISU-152 as fast as possible. On the other hand, I liked its predecessor, the SU-152, and kept it.

As for crew, I will often transfer my old crew into a new tank and buy new crew for the old tank, if I'm grinding for a particular tank. The crew that started in the SU-100 was always destined for another tank and passed through SU-152 and out the other side. But if I'm just playing a tank for the fun of it, I've no need to move the crew because I'm not trying to grind out a different tank.
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