Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Easy 8, I think I love you

In World of Tanks, I suffered through the M5 Stuart.  Scout tanks just aren't for me, I don't think I have the right mentality.  They go really fast, and can have fun taking out artillery, but if you actually play an active scout role you're almost guaranteed to die.  Maybe better drivers than I can do ok, but I suppose I lack the skill.  On the plus side, it was only a tier 4 tank and didn't take that long to earn the xp needed for the next tank up.  On the down side, it was a tier 4 tank and so often found itself in matches with tier 6 and 7 medium and heavy tanks that could destroy it with a sneeze.  I got into the M7 medium tank as soon as I could.

Then, sadly, I suffered through the M7.  The text calls it a medium tank, but really it's just a light tank with a bit more armor and hit points, but also larger and easier to hit.  It was certainly no match for other tier 5 medium tanks, and it didn't take long for me to realize why the M7 is relatively rare compared to the M4 Sherman. By tier 5 you rarely see more than one or two poor light tanks on a team, which is the main thing the M7 would be good at dealing with.  The thing is as fast as most good light tanks, so should make a decent scout, except of course I suck at the scout role and the M7 is fairly large and easy to spot.  It certainly had its moments (and was more enjoyable than the M5 Stuart) but overall it was fairly miserable to play.  Once I had my double xp win for the day I wouldn't touch it again until the next day.

You're fun to play!  Thank you! *hugs*
Then, finally, I unlocked the M4A3E8, a late war variant of the famous M4 Sherman used so widely in WWII.  It's a true medium tank, slower than the scouts, faster than the heavies, more armor than a scout, less than a heavy, and so on.  It's good at almost everything, excellent at very little, and bad at virtually nothing.  And it's FUN.  I don't get lots of kills, it just doesn't have the firepower for that.  But I get lots of assists, and it's an excellent flanking tank.  The gun reloads and aims so quickly that it's excellent at popping out from behind cover, making a shot, and ducking back before the enemy can even respond.  I can consistently beat the German VK3601 in duels despite it having much thicker armor and a more powerful gun thanks to the M4A3E8's maneuverability and fast firing.

I've heard the M4A3E8 referred to in game on multiple occasions as the "Easy 8".  I assumed that was an in-game slang that evolved from it being an easy kill or something like that.  I was surprised to learn that it's actually a WWII era nickname, that it earned thanks to an advanced suspension that gave it a very smooth (or easy) ride (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M4_Sherman).  One of the fun things (for me anyway) are all the historical references in the game, and the way so much of the tank modeling and balancing reflects the reality of the time.  Reading through the wikipedia entry I referenced above, it's interesting to see how many of the tanks they reference are both in the game and meet the performance expectations described.

So, it's only taken dozens of tanks and ranking up to tier 6 in a research tree I was often not quite sure I should be spending time in, but I've finally found a tank I just enjoy playing, win or lose, whether I do something useful or get one-shot within the first 3 minutes of the match.  For the first time I'm not at all concerned about advancing to the next tank (the tier 7 T20) and am just happy to play with the tank and not worry about the numbers.


  1. I truly think this game could be great at any tier if they fix the matchmaking system. They say that they are going to completely revamp it but there is no timetable on it. In any event, once you hit tier III, tanks are thrust into battles with tanks that could be as much as 4 tiers higher than them depending on the server population at the time.

    I think that if tanks were kept within 1 tier most any tank could be fun to play in. Only time will tell what the devs have up their sleeves though.

  2. I'm almost finished with my 3601 (about 10K XP until the final engine upgrade). To be honest, I am disappointed with it. I loved the PzIV with it's incredibly accurate, penetrating gun, and I hoped the 3601 would serve a similar role with upgraded armor/HP. Unfortunately, though the gun is solid, I haven't found it to be the terror of the battlefield like the PzIV. I'll have to look into the Easy 8...

  3. @Pid, I almost completely agree, in that matching against tanks 3 or 4 tiers higher is for the most part ridiculously unfair. I would much rather they tighten up the matchmaking and make us wait a little longer, as waiting a bit longer for a fun match is better than instantly getting into a hopeless match.

    That said, I have fun in my M4A3E8 even against teams stacked with Lowes, etc. They can of course easily destroy me, if they can hit me. I managed to earn over 1000xp in a battle last night shooting Lowes and Tiger IIs in the back (no kills, just damage, lol).

    @Juzaba, I've really liked my Panzer IV as well. I'm about 4k xp from unlocking the VK 3601, and I'm sad to hear it's not as good as it seems. I did have one advantage with the Easy 8, in that i went up the US heavy tank tree first (currently at T29) and so had all the M4A3E8 gun upgrades researched before ever unlocking the tank. Getting the best gun it can have was as simple as researching the suspension and turret. I have no idea if the stock tank is any fun, since I never played the stock version.

  4. You didnt mention the M4 Sherman which I assume you played prior to the Easy 8? I like the Easy 8 but I'm a little dissapoinnted in it- I had built it up in my head to be a great tank and that's part of the problem. I agree that it is a good tank which is usefull in many roles.

    I found the M4 Sherman (T5) to be a killing machine compared to the Easy 8. Matchmaking, and the ability to mount a 105 on the M4 likely play a large part in that.

    I gave up the Ram II (premium) which was my favorite tank to play the Easy 8 (took out the crew and modules and transferred them) and I am somewhat dissapointed by the Easy 8's low kill rate. The Ram II racked up a lot of kills for me!

  5. Actually I never played the M4 Sherman. You can get to the M4A3E8 either via the M4 Sherman or the M7 Medium. I went up the scout tree to the M7 and then the M4A3E8. Going up the other U.S. tree I took the T1 Heavy instead of the M4 Sherman. If the M3 Lee wasn't such a sh** tank to play I'd have researched both, but I needed out of that thing as soon as possible.

    I think tier 6 tanks in general tend to see a decrease in kill rate because you're far more likely to be tossed into matches with tier 8 and 9 heavies, and hardly ever in a match thats only tier 6 or below. In my tier 5 Panzer IV I seem to get lots of matches where all the players are tier 5 or less, which makes it easy to rack up kills.

    That said, I've typically managed to get 2 kills per match unless I'm stupid or just unlucky, and I've been getting a lot of "Sniper" awards. In my last battle last night I took out a VK3601 and did about 50% of the damage to (and got the kills hot) on a Tiger I.

    I find the Easy 8 seems to fit my desired playstyle perfectly. I have heavy tanks and I just plain suck with them. I will never be an "ace" player, but I at least feel competent in the M4A3E8.

    I'm glad to hear the Ram II is good. I thought it was, from seeing it in battle and looking at it's stats, but you never know. Since a friend and I mostly have tier 5 and 6 tanks, I'm trying to convince another friend to drop some money on a Ram-II to group with us.

  6. I don't think your friend will regret getting the Ram II...its a lot of fun... Good armor and the highest rate of fire in the game - 30 standard, plus rammer plus +5% crew skill means it rocks!

  7. NA Server "Balue" Reporting:

    I have tanks in all four categories through tier 8 and am almost ready to unlock T9 Tank Destroyers. I have dragged my way through the French arty and have the B.Chat 155... Unless I am only on for a game or two for XP Grinding purposes, there is not a single gaming session where I do not play My Derpy 8 ..... several times. Having the experience in all tank types does NOT make me squirm if I am low man on the totem pole... I hang around base for awhile picking off the scout rushes and then push out a little further as a heavy scout and either wreck havoc in the weakest flank, or push past the main battle group and throw off the enemy momentum while shootin and scootin in and out of the whole battlefield. Because of my Arty experience and depending on the flow of the game, I sometimes find I find a nice hull down position and "snipe" over the ridge lines...as long as I can see an antenna, I can do it :)..... Watching my shell arc over the hill and hearing "gotem" is quite satisfying....If I ever get into trouble, I just fly off to any kind of safety to lick my wounds until they turn their attention to someone else and the pop back out... rinse and repeat until death... The E8 can take a lot of abuse..but NOT sitting still.... I am often one of the last tanks standing in a team Defeat..

    Here is the simple clue to success... IT IS NOT ABOUT HOW MANY -KILLS- YOU HAVE --- IT IS HOW MUCH DAMAGE YOU INFLICT --- Running around the battle field targeting and spotting tanks also gets you bonus XP points. Many of my games net at least 700XP and in the top five. - Cheer up... everyone can get killed in the first two minutes - just ask that Lowe how he feels when four Bat Chat 155 rounds smash into him one minute after game start..... Cheers!