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  1. As some of you know, today is the final stress test for AW before it releases into open beta (effectively, live). You can try the game for free for this weekend only, and if you do, you get a free premium tank and 7 days premium. This is the last time you can buy the founder's packs, as well. 1. PvE Mode AW has PvE missions where you and 4 pubbies capture an oil refinery protected by some bots, or something similar. It can be easy, but its fun and a nice alternative to cutthroat pvp, especially on those days when pubbies are being retards or you are in a stock tank. I went into AW expecting to not care, but in reality, I find I play PvE more than PvP. I enjoy it, and it looks to be improved quite a lot. BLACK COMPANY, STHAP THEM! 2. Less RNG When I play WOT now, it feels like I am fighting the RNG, not the opposing players. I aim perfectly, and it flies out of my barrel at a 30 degree angle, low rolls pen, and zero damage crits. AW has a much lower RNG factor, plus far more accurate guns and such to boot. The final effect is a lot more skill and a lot less frustration. I was never a big one to bitch about the RNG when I played WOT, but after seeing how much better 10% is than 25%...damn...I can't believe I put up with that much RNG for so long. I don't think I can tolerate the RNG deciding I will miss a perfectly aimed shot ever again. 3. More dynamic gameplay Tanks in AW are FAR faster, more agile, and higher DPM. They also spot further, snipe better, and hit harder (in terms of DPM, one shots in AW are extremely rare). This means tanks are just way more capable, especially on attack. Tanks can relocate, flank, and push much easier. This has several positive effects. First, its just more fun to be in a faster, more aggressive tank. Second, camping pubs get a lot less advantage from sitting in a bush behind cap waiting to one shot someone -- that tactic ALWAYS fails in AW. Third...it also naturally makes things like arty less cancerous. Because you actually can dodge shells, and don't need to slowly slog through a corridor, cancer has far less of a negative impact on gameplay. Its just more fun. MBT, the slowest class in the game, are more agile than a T-62A, and it only goes up from there. There is nothing equivalent to a T95 or some such shitter that spends half of the game uselessly out of position. Again, more capacity = more change for your skill to influence games, and less time sitting around. In WOT terms, the meta plays a lot more like the meta from 2012 (without cancer). More open maps, more vision, more flanking, less corridor brawling, less gold2winning. In general, higher tier MBTs have very few weak points in the front -- the game is less about knowing weak points and outbrawling and more about outmanuvering your opponents and hitting them from the side (or conversely, rolling over them with your MBTs). And that's a good thing -- actual tank tactics, actual teamwork. 4. AW maps are grossly superior. AW maps look far better -- they appear to be realistic locations/buildings/etc. They are also much more destructible and varied. Practically every map has close range fighting areas, some vision/sniping areas, and far more open areas (remember its a lot easier to actually move through open spaces in AW without getting instablapped). They are also far larger. Maps are not just tiny corridors; they feel a lot more realistic, varied, and playable. Now, to be fair I can't comment on PvP balance. But I'm reasonably confident they can keep that under control, and that leaves maps far better. 5. Less tier imbalance In AW the final plan is to move to +1 tier MMing. In EA, it was +3 due to low population. But even at +3, it was better than WOT. Because all the tanks are reasonably modern, all are pretty high capacity. They are also pretty close to each other in HP and DPM. On occasion, lower tier MBTs get face fucked by higher tier ones, but usually, a lower tier can hold its own just fine against a high tier. Think T29 vs a Lowe instead of T29 vs an E-75. 7. Less play to win - specifically, no gold rounds All ammo in AW is bought with credits. Most tanks have 3 types of rounds (AP, HEAT, HE) and several levels of upgrades in each category (base AP might do 300 dmg, middle might do 310, max might to 320). HEAT has lower penetration, but more damage and so is best against weaklings, while AP works best against hard targets and sniping but will overmatch if you hit a weakling (does less dmg). This means picking what ammo to use is a constant juggle of penetration vs. damage (and vs. what countermeasures they have). This is better in several ways. In addition to the unfairness of pay2win, its just better for balance. You know what to expect when you see a T-54, not wondering if its a useless AP player or a god mode purple stet padding heatspammer. This means they can balance tanks better. 8. Inexpensive to play Premium account costs a bit less in AW than WOT (~$10 a month), but that's just the beginning of the story. Gold goes way further in AW. Premiums cost 3750 gold (not 12000), 1 gold converts 125 exp (not 25), etc. So spending $50 in AW gets you a lot more stuff than WOT. This is obvious enough why -- they want to win away your business, and that's all good for us. 9. Modern Tanks I enjoy history, especially WW2. But WOT isn't really a WW2 game. A lot of the tanks are old, worthless shitter bad designs that are in just for curiosity (Wargaming are true tank lovers, gotta give them that). That's all good, except when it comes time to grind out french heavies and you have to play through hour after hour in these shitlord turds fighting cold war pay2win platoons. AW is almost completely modern tanks. The majority are still in service, and that means they are interesting. New things like missiles, APS, ERA, and so on will affect gameplay. Not to mention you can turn on your headlights. 10. It puts some pressure on those shitlords at Wargaming. Let's introduce those communist bastards to the miracle of capitalism. Competition forces change and improvement. In empowers the community to get what they want. You've already seen WG start jumping -- fixing arty, dropping the "working as intended" arrogance, trying to fix what players want, etc. Its no coincidence that WG started sweating once AW starting winning customers -- they knew they could safely antagonize you before, because you had no choice. Now you do, and either way, that means that the more AW is successful the more WG will be forced to improve to stay alive. So let me put it like this -- spend this weekend trying out AW, not WOT. Toss some money at AW, if you think its worth it. Either you will find a new game that you enjoy or WG will shit their pants and scramble to make a game you enjoy even better. Either way, you win. But you won't win if AW fails -- WG will go right back to mocking and ignoring you. So even if you plan on staying with WOT, its in YOUR interests to give AW a serious look. Now lets make that smug bald bastard sweat, friends. That alone is worth my entertainment money. ___________________________________________________________________ And to be fair, here are the three biggest knocks against AW: 1. Arty is still cancerous. AW arty has low alpha, but it can still hit tanks pretty much at will. It still has the same annoying effects -- bypass armor, angling, and skill, force people to hump walls, random, low skill gameplay that can't be countered, etc. In short, it still sucks. Why they insist on having it, I'll never know. But still, AW arty is low dpm, low alpha, and larger maps combined with much more dynamic gameplay means arty has a lot less negative impact on gameplay. Plus the community hate and shun cancers, so its a tolerable level. 2. Grinds can be very long Stock tanks are not bad in AW. Think of stock as uncustomized, but not really shit. They still have adequate pen, for example. But the grind in high tiers is very long -- longer than WOT by far. I think this is their money model -- encourage people to use gold for free exp where WOT tries to make gold converting to credits/buying prems. Its fine if you enjoy the tanks, but it can feel really long if you don't (swingfirecough). 3. Sunk Cost I get it. You have 20k games in WOT. You have great crews, tons of tournament gold, a good, active clam, friends to play with. You know all the tanks, you have most of the good lines unlocked...why go play another tank game? First off, because its fun. If you don't enjoy playing tank games why are you playing tank games? If you seriously are playing to maximize your stats or whatever, you are mentally ill and need a wakeup call -- one way or the other, no one will give a fuck about your wn8 in 3 years. Stop stressing about it and doing unfun things to get some stupid score. On the other hand, if you actually enjoy tanks...what does it matter if you enjoyed another tank game before AW? All that matters is that AW is worth playing, or not. I think its worth playing, and so I ditched my WOT account with 30k games, 9 months premium, tons of gold, etc. AW is simply better, and playing a worse game just because I have time invested in it makes no sense. ____________________________________________________________ So there's my sales' pitch. Give AW a look, imo. P.S. Silentstalker, I expect a generous gold payment on release. Thx.
  2. Garbad's Guide to AW: Consumables, Refits, Equipment, Commanders, and Crew This guide is intended to help people decide how to gear their tanks, which lines to grind, and which commanders to prioritize. Given the limited information we have (release was today), some of this may later prove incorrect. Nevertheless, I thought it might be helpful for those of you who are unsure what to grind – and the AW grinds are toggishly LOOOOOONG. CONSUMABLES: Note that fires happen far less than WOT, so FE is not mandatory. However, food will drastically cut into your profit margins. I suggest running food on your top stat padding tanks, and your grinders go without. Likewise, pve field packs are too expensive to be used except in emergencies. Perhaps the best strategy is to have a gold medkid + repair kit + X + field kit and then just never use them, unless you are in dire circumstances. REFITS AND EQUIPMENT: FIREPOWER: The most basic and obvious improvement is to improve your firepower as much as you can. In this regard, alpha > reload, aim time > accuracy. This makes your MBT into an extremely hard hitting, fast aiming peekaboomer. Snipers will be discussed later. A good example of this effect is the MBT-70. The MBT-70 is a good tank: excellent mobility, great frontal toughness, great alpha...and horrendous fire control and terrible reload. But it has two universals and a damage slot, so.... Using only t1 refits, I improved my aim time from KV-2 levels down to Type 59 levels. That's a tremendous jump in peekabooming lethality. IMO, this is the ideal setup for most MBTs and most tanks in general, unless they fall into one of the niche categories below. The best damage mods are, in order: Exp Prop Damage T-90Mag Act Damage + Aim time M109Gyro Reload + Aim time GvodiskaChrome Damage + accuracy Leo 2Because firepower is so key, I included four options. Only three will be on any given tanks, but some tanks will want to proritize aim time over anything, others will want alpha. CANNON SUPPORT FIRE: This includes both Tds and Light tanks. Despite their different playstyles, both have basically the same gear requirements – camo and firepower. Firepower specifically wants accuracy and alpha, with less focus on aim time or reload. Vision, mobility, and hit points are less important. Significant upgrades include smoke (critical), laser rangefinder (accuracy), air conditioning (crew), and damage or universal retrofit slots. Most Tds have poor refit slots. The biggest one I am aware of offers two damage/universals and one tech. I think this means you want to stack damage and only damage, running: Exp. Prop Damage T-90Chrome Damage + acc Leo 2Coms Crew Skills ChieftanI think crew skills would be slightly more optimal, but one could argue for vision instead. STRONK DEFENSIVE MAN TANKING: Certain tanks, notably the Abrams, the Chieftan, and Leo 2AV, are extremely tough to kill. The ideal method of boosting these tanks is to max out their hit points and defensive systems. Key upgrades include improved armor, armor/universal upgrade slots, APS systems, smoke, and fire extinguishers. APS and armor upgrades are by far the most valuable of these. Several higher tier tanks have options for improved armor. Note that if the upgrades are in a line (see XM8) the upgrades are cumulative and stack. Only use the best one. However, if the upgrades are parallel they are mutually exclusive (see Warrior). Pick the best one – typically Cage > ERA > applique. The heaviest upgrades are two armor + universal. I debated about the value of running 3x HP vs 2x HP and one damage mod. I prefer the 2x + damage, but most like to see the insane 3k HP on their tank. Your milage may vary. Spall liner vs Pure HP is a good debate, but having crew resistance + a gold med kit makes your crew almost never die in a cost effective way. I consider it better than pure HP. Spall Liner HP + crew resistance BMP3MInternal HP Stingray 2Reinforced HP + ammo rack US MBTNote that the best defensive mods come from distinctly non defensive lines. Go figure. SCOUTING: Scouts want to get maximum view range and camo, and anything else dumped into survivability or firepower. Vehicles get several upgrades that help make a scout effective. First, look for the AFV class bonus – ideally you want a recon package (80m while stationary). Troops are only 40m. Second, you want 10% bonus to view range. Third, you want infared (improved spotting in camo). Fourth, you want base level view range (which excludes almost all light tanks) and camo. Finally, you want technology or universal upgrades. Technically speaking, a few scouts have three slots (ET, BMD-4). However, each of these has base level flaws which lead me to reject them as the perfect scout, and instead, I think they should diversify. Accordingly, the max number of scouting upgrades we need is two. The perfect scout is the VBL at tier 6. With max base view range, 0.40 camo, recon package, infared, view range 10% mod, and two tech slots, the only possible improvement it could get is three tech spots. Other notable conteders include: XT8000 (low tier abuse), Weasel (shit upgrades), BMP3M (troops only), ET (its a light tank), BMD4 (no infared), and warrior (no base view range, kind of poor camo, but high HP/firepower and cage <-- clearly the best scout that can fight back). A scout wants to stack view range, which is: Optics view range BMP3Enhanced sight view range + pen VBLOptics might also have value on a camo abusing TD (Zhalo) or even potentially a light tank that is set up for scouting (ET). In general, though, this is an AFV speciality. MOBILITY: You may notice I haven't said a word about mobility. That's because all the mobility upgrades are awful. Never use a universal on mobility. Only use a mobility if you have to. When you do, I find there is only one decent choice. Air cleaner Acceleration + Turning Leo 2General agility is helpful, and most of the other offerings literally aren't worth the credits. BALANCED: Many tanks are not a super specialized beast like mentioned above. In that case, I tend to stack damage as much as I can (including all universals) and then round out the other picks using the top choice listed under each category. For example, VFM has Univ + Armor + Mob + Tech. My ideal setup would be: Aim Time + Damage, HP + crew, Accel + turning, crew skills. That's the best all around blend, given the tank's poor aim time and otherwise good generalist performance. COMMANDERS: So here's the deal...although I had all the commanders unlocked in EA and Stress test, I don't have them unlocked now....so I can't check the accuracy of my notes. I believe this is right, but things might have changed a little bit. MBTS: Let's face it, none of the commanders are ideal for MBT. However, after maxing out all of the commanders, I felt like the best were either Juan Carlos (gvodiska line) or Freja (M109 line). Both have basically the same relevant skills – 10% faster reload + 10% faster aim time + questionably valuable conditional mods. Still, aim time and dpm are key stats. Note that if you unlock Juan and Freja, Freja can be speced to specialize in autocannon spikes and JC can be your MBT commander. COMBAT AFVS: This refers specifcally to the Terminator/Ramka/Bradley, and to some degree BMP/BMDs. These tanks do not care about camo sniping, and instead want to rely on missiles and gun support. The ideal missile commander is the handsome iranian dude, Rashid (unlocked from Sheridan). He features 10% faster missile reload, 10% faster gun reload while close to allies, and semi useful things like faster turret traverse. CAMO SNIPERS/TDS/LIGHTS/SCOUTS: Sabrina Washington (black woman, unlocked automatically) is your bae. Featuring improved aim time, view range, camo, and camo while sniping she is ideal for scouts, camo snipers, and really anything. Her only flaw is lack of damage improving skills. SHITLORD TANKS: The preorder commander gives 10% improved rep, crew exp, and a few other lackluster skills. He isn't good, but 10% reduced grind adds up, especially on crap tanks you want to level up past quickly or premiums you want to convert. He's worth using for those, if nothing else. NOOB GRIEFERS: Ionnas Santio can be unlocked from the TD line. He features lots of conditional skills (chance to cause fire, etc) that are completely useless...except for one thing. You can stack them with the loader skill causing increased module damage and use the scorpion Hesh spammer. This cases massive module/crew destruction, which can be fun to grief people in noob pvp. LOSERS: Phillip Holz and Viktor whateverhisface are both available at the start. Both are terrible. Don't use them. PH gives accuracy, view range, and conditional crap that might kind of work in a light tank. VK gives crap. He used to be the MBT king but they nerfed him into the dust. CREW SKILLS: Crew skills are easier than it looks. I think there is a clear winner unless you are running a specialist build. Driver: Smooth Ride 20% less bloom Off Road 10% accel on bad ground (<-- 90% of the time) Gunner: Quick draw 10% faster aim time Sure start 20% less bloom Sure start if you are a brawler such as an MBT or an AFV. If you are a sniper, use sharpshooter. Note that sharpshooter will make you take LONGER to aim in fully, but will give you an accuracy boost. Loader: Rapid Fire 5% dpm Safe Stowage 40% less ammo racks Note that you can use the module damage guy here to stack with certain commanders in specialist builds. CONCLUSIONS: So what lines should you grind first? Hell, its so spread out that the question is really which lines DON'T you need to grind. As I see it, the following lines are mostly optional: Tank DestroyerRecon VehiclesUS MBTBrit MBTFire Support VehiclesThe following lines unlock useful commanders and upgrades: M109 – unlocks key MBT upgrades and a good commanderGvod – unlocks key MBT upgrades and a good commander (only need 1)BMP – unlocks optics and HP/crew modsLeo – unlocks damage/accuracy mod and mobility modVBL – unlocks optics modT90 – unlocks damage modLight tanks – unlocks HP modI tried to rank those lines in order of importance, but obviously your priorities will depend on what classes you enjoy most. That's obviously a lot of grind, as well, so most of us are resigned to playing for months and months before we get max stat gear. Plan on using temporary gear until you can round out your choices. Questions or comments welcome. Sponsored by: zombiemachine
  3. I figured this was worth its own thread for visibility. AW is coming out quicker than expected: http://aw.my.com/us/news/general/introducing-open-beta - 1 Oct = Head start (preorder peeps) - 8 Oct = full release, f2p for anyone _________________________________________________ And here's the question on everyone's mind: Should I preorder? http://aw.my.com/us/founders-packs The cheap pack is worthless, don't buy it. IMO, the 2nd pack is ok. The best thing about the pack is the commander (he gives 10% extra exp, nice for grinding) and the zhalo (a good pvp tank, crap pve - its a camo sniper, some love it many hate it). Zhalo gets mixed reviews. I love it and think it dominates pvp, good earner. But a lot of people hate it. LOW is a great buy in terms of bang for the buck. Its like $200 worth in wot equivalent, or more, and some of the things are preorder exclusives. I wrote reviews of the various preorder tanks. Everyone agrees they are all good and varied. More importantly, if you don't buy a founder's pack, you can't get it ever again. I would personally do it either: 1) Buy the LOW pack if you have money to spend and are reasonably confident you like the game. Its a great buy for the buck. 2) Try it F2P, and if you like the game, buy some gold and buy the MBT70. MBT70 is the best prem. You miss out on early access, the commander, and the other tanks you won't ever be able to buy, but you might save some cash and get to try before you commit. ______________________________________ AND ALSO: You pubbie shitters are all invited to G ts for a launch party. On release I will be playing probably mostly 5 man hard mode pvp with our premium tanks. Zhalos can tag along too, or we will probably unlock other tiers pretty quickly too and start grinding them. We usually have enough for at least 2 platoons, and spots open all the time, so stop by, hang out, and grind some tonks.
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