WOTBB 5 – Platooning, part one

Original date of blog: December 20th, 2014

If you are looking for someone to platoon with, the chat is a great place to start. Just state your level, and/or your tank-preference, possibly which language you want to play in, and just wait for someone to reply. The other way to go about it though, is to just have battles. With the second to last update, it is possible to view the profile of players after a battle. So if someone impresses you with their tanking skills, or you just work really well together, you can go have a look and see if they’re for real, or if it’s just a fluke. Lots of times, it’s the latter, but there are some rare gems out there. You can add them as ‘friends’ (I use the ‘ because just like with facebook and the likes, calling someone a friend just because you add them doesn’t make them a friend in my eyes. It makes them an acquaintance, at best), and chat away, or invite them to platoon. Usually, I drop them a message to explain why I added them, as I think that’s the polite thing to do. I delete friend requests from people who don’t send a message along with it.

Anyway, platooning will be well worth the investment you put in it in the form of conversation and waiting time while your platoon mate brb-d for whatever reason. Teams with platoons usually win a lot more fights than teams without them do. I’m quite certain I owe most of my winrate to my platoon mates, and the battles we’ve fought together. I hold no illusions there. Of some of them, I still don’t quite know for sure why they platoon with me at all. When we first started tanking together, my winrate wasn’t far above 51%, and theirs was already near or above 60%. I’m not sure I would have taken the risk, because a bad platoon mate can lower your winrate quite rapidly too. You sort through them quickly enough though, and you’ll get favourites because of it. I must have done something right in order for them to still want to play with me. 😉

As you enter battles together, and you do this often with the same person, you start to get a feel for the battles you enter. Most especially for the maps. You learn, without having to talk it over, which way to go, depending on the map, but also on who your enemies are. There’s a certain predictability to the tanks you’re fighting and you can choose to either meet them head on, or not. This doesn’t always work, mind you (especially in battles with the lower tiers), and you might run into the entire enemy team on your own. Only, you’re not on your own, you have a friend with you that can and will help you. For each platoon mate, you get a dynamic that works, whether it’s hiding behind one another, taking turns to peek-a-boom around an obstacle, or having one take up a position that will allow them to cover their mate.

Now, I spend some time chatting with one of my platoon mates to think up some aliases for my regular mates. Then I had another conversation with a different one and their names changed completely, lol. But they fit them well, all the same. So those two shall henceforth be known as Turtle and Panda. The rest will also get animal names.

Leopard is the one that started it all for me. He helped me learn how to be good at this game. Even if he let me hide behind him, I learned a tremendous deal from him. Such as never to just rush in with a tank destroyer. I still do that, at times, but now it will be a well founded decision instead of blatant disregard for my tank’s life. Under his care, my winrate started to climb, and I learned just how nice some people can be in the game, and that just chatting can be (almost) as fun as battling together. He’s a polite man, too, with nearly impeccable English, something I very much appreciate. I’ve found that, aside from a few Dutch people I ‘befriended’ over time, I only have ‘friends’ that speak proper English.

He knew what it meant to drive a tank destroyer, even if he didn’t tank with them himself, and it was because of him that I started to look at the differences between the different kinds of tanks. I really hadn’t paid any attention to that before. It didn’t go much further than understanding that a battle with lots of medium tanks meant I might well die and might not even get a shot in, though. Being able to hide behind Leopard saved my life loads of times, until I started to develop some common sense that meant I started tanking better.

Through the chat, I added some more people over time to platoon with. Not all of them are note-worthy, but some definitely are. There’s Owl for one. I added him pretty early in the game, but hardly ever platooned with him. I have a tendency to think I might be bothering people when I talk to them, so I was hesitant to talk or just send an invite for a platoon. I’m not sure how it came about, but one night, Owl sprouted a crapload of tank-facts at me. I had no idea what to do with the knowledge I mostly didn’t even understand, but it got us talking.

He’s now my tank-expert. He knows so much about tanks it almost scares me. The armour, the gun, the penetration.. He knows it all, and much, much more. He enters a battle and manages to tilt his tank so expertly he lasts entire battles without taking a single hit, despite a lot of shots being fired at him. They just bounce off. He’s not a perfect team-player, but I think that might be me more than him – I don’t know him or his style well enough to know what he’ll do in a battle. On the other hand, it is an absolute joy to watch him tank. I’ve seen him battle four or five enemies on his own and come out on top. And it’s not even luck – I’ve seen him do it three times in a row when our team sucked and I managed to get myself killed pretty quickly too. And he doesn’t even lose much health doing things like that. He’s definitely the one I go to when I need advice on a tank. He has a tendency to challenge my mind when we’re chatting about more personal stuff, and I really like that, too. And all the facts he springs at me are useful – as far as I can understand them, lol.

On a night that neither Leopard, nor Owl were online, I found another platoon mate in the chat. I had met Turtle by then, but just like with Owl, we didn’t platoon much at all. I met Duck that night. He was a Dutch guy, searching for other Dutch players to platoon with. He was one tier lower than I was, but I didn’t mind. We had several nights of awesome gaming in a row. We didn’t always win or survive, but it was fun. It was quite strange to have the mentor-role for a change, being the more experienced player of us two. But platooning while driving the same tank and causing general mayhem was a lot of fun.

He’s also the platoon mate I’ve learned the most about during our conversations. We had several nights of playing Thousand Questions, and ended up talking more than we tanked. He had no trouble talking about his real life, and that was quite refreshing. Most people in the game are quite secretive, and though you can have deep conversations with them, they’re not likely to share anything really personal. To me, it made it more real, and as a result, the tanking you do together changes too.

And there’s Chimpanzee. Chimp is an epic player, with an incredible winrate, that I’ve only platooned with two or three times. He’s also Dutch, and it’s not that we don’t want to tank, but when either of us asks the other to tank, the other is usually already in a platoon. I haven’t played with him often enough to get a good idea of how he platoons, but I’m sure that’ll sort itself out in time. I have met him in battle – while I was in one platoon, and he was in another and part of the enemy team. That was quite funny. Sometimes we pwnd him, sometimes he pwnd us. But it was never ‘just’ a victory or a loss..

There are some other people that are great players that I haven’t played with enough yet to write about. I blame Turtle and Panda for that – they take up almost all my time. Next entry will be all about them.

Battles fought: 2,713
Winrate: 55.88%

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