Original date of blog: December 16th, 2014
One of the things I really like about the game are the medals and achievements. Some are fairly easy to get (first battle, first victory), but most take practice and luck to achieve. But, most importantly, all the medals and achievements have a historical reference behind them. So, while blasting your opponents, you learn bits and pieces of history, mostly about WWII. It’s not always that impressive, but some of the stories have me in awe.
One such medal that I was granted after an epic victory was Kolobanov’s Medal. It’s awarded when you stand alone against three enemies and win. The historical reference turned out to be “Colonel Zinoviy Kolobanov was a Soviet tank ace who destroyed 22 German tanks, 2 guns and 2 half-tracks with his KV-1 in battle on August 19, 1941”. People, he did that in one day. Seriously, I’m impressed. Up ‘till now, it’s my favourite medal to ‘own’, despite having gotten the Pool’s medal (killing 6 out of 7 enemies in battle), with the historical reference “Lafayette G. Pool is widely recognized as the U.S. tank ace of aces, credited with 12 confirmed tank kills and 258 total armored vehicle and self-propelled gun kills”. To me, that just isn’t as impressive as Kolobanov.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. When you get seven kills (out of seven) during a battle, you get the “Raseiniai”-medal. The story that goes with that is “Grigory Nikolaevich Naidin was a sergeant commanding a BT-7 tank and a hero of the Soviet Union. On July 25th of 1941 near Rudyashki village (Lithuania), he destroyed a column of enemy armored vehicles which consisted of 15 tanks and 10 guns of the19th Wermacht Tank Brigade. This stopped German forces for 2 days, allowing the proper defense of Vilno city”. I still haven’t managed to get one, and I really want one. It’s an impressive feat. Before the game, I didn’t even know that had happened, but then, that is the case with most of these achievements.
And there’s the mastery-badges. You have 3rd class, 2nd class, 1st class and Ace Tanker. The latter is a pretty golden emblem. You can earn these for each of your tanks. First class is awarded for gaining more XP than 95% of the players that drove the same tank as you did during a whole week. For the Ace Tanker badge you need to earn more XP than 99% of the players that drove the same tank as you did during a whole week. Needless to say, it’s hard to achieve. Your service record also shows how many Ace Tanker-badges you managed to achieve for the tanks that you’ve got. When you get 2nd, 1st or Ace while driving low-level tanks, the game sometimes offers you a premium account for 125 gold, instead of the usual 250. It also tends to do this when you’re driving a new tank and you do well in the first few battles.
I made the mistake of selling a premium tank I had, that I didn’t like. Not because I wanted to keep it, but because I no longer have the chance to get a perfect record on my Ace Tanker achievements. I had just started the game back then, and generally had no clue whatsoever what I was doing. It helped get me my Stug III, but still..
Aside from those achievements and mastery-badges, there’s also medals that deal in classes, always ranging from class IV to class I. One of those is Knispel’s medal, with this historical reference: “Kurt Knispel, a German tank ace during WWII, participated in battles on both the Western and Eastern Fronts fighting on PzKpfw II, PzKpfw III, PzKpfw IV, PzKpfw VI Tiger, and PzKpfw VI Ausf. B Tiger II.” It is the only achievement named after a German that I’ve been able to find. And I think that’s a pity. Yes, of course, the Germans were on the wrong side of the war, but the game is about tanks, and not about the political side of things. This is proven by the large number of German tanks available in the game. I simply can’t imagine Knispel is the only German to do something notable (and whether or not driving in a number of tanks is in itself notable is something you could question) during either World War.
Though it might have to do with the fact the Germans lost. Because they lost, it is less likely that heroic deeds would be noted as such, or even noted at all. I’m sure they’re out there though. But it’s a slippery slope. People nowadays are still very sensitive to the German side of the World Wars. I wonder if that’ll change in forty years, maybe fifty, when the last survivors of those times have died and there are no living memories anymore. People seem to have a hard time letting go of the past, but I have hope, when I see a French soldier and a German soldier that fought against one another hugging at the memorial service earlier this year and told the world that after the war, they had become the best of friends. Aside from our lone German fellow, the historical references involve people from the USA, USSR, Finland, France, the UK, Romania and even Italy has one.
There’s also a bunch of honorary titles that do not have a historical revenge, but are still fun to have, or get. There’s the Survivor token, which means you have survived ten or more battles in the same tank in a row. I hadn’t been trying for that, having figured that I’d never get it, until I suddenly got it at the end of a battle. I had no idea I had survived that many battles. And just in time too, as I was blasted quite quickly in the match that followed.
You can get the Scout-token fairly easily; just go in a different direction than the rest of your team and hope to run into the entire enemy team there (or at least five of them). I have never gotten it any other way. And when you get the Spartan, it means you most likely just got lucky. You get it when you have less than 10% of your health left (read: any shot can kill you), and a shot fired at you ricochets off you instead of kills you. But the Lucky token is something you get when someone explodes less than 10 metres away from you instead, so they named it Spartan. It would be more fun if you could get a token named Sparta(n) for pushing an enemy off a cliff, which you can do in some maps.
But, my favourite token has got to be Kamikaze. As the title suggests, it involves hurting yourself. You get it by destroying a tank by ramming it. It is one that is especially funny to try and get on the lower tiers, because most often the explosion from the enemy tank kills you as well, making it a good and proper kamikaze.
Battles fought: 2,671