WOTBB 52 – Merits

Original date of blog: February 3rd, 2016

Yes, you’re missing blog 51. I miss it too… =(

Since I started fixing my lower tier stats, I found I have an affinity for tier I. I’m very good at tier I, and I very much enjoy doing some sealclubbing there (even made a video about acing all tier I tanks, complete with Benny Hill music). Because, let’s face it, an experienced player in a tier I tank, meeting all the newbies (not to be confused with noobs), is, in fact, a sealclubber.

When you get to the point where most people are in clans I know with experience and stats, every game you play in tier IV or lower becomes sealclubbing. Chances are good that the people that you meet do not know the meaning of “cover”, or “angling”, or “prammo”. As such, since you yourself do have all that information and experience at hand, they stand little to no chance against you. Hence the term “sealclubbing”. When you’re in a platoon while you do this, the enemy has no chance whatsoever.

A lot of people underestimate the lower tiers because of it’s easier to win there and stop playing them as soon as they can. But they have their merit, and it goes beyond the simple fact that the people you meet have no clue for the most part.

In a way, you depend more on your skill in the lower tiers than you do in the higher tiers. You have no armour to support you and with the exception of when you’re driving a specific few tanks in tier II and III, any tank you meet can and will kill you, unless you’re more skillful than they are. That doesn’t mean you have to be super-pro, by the way. Not by a long shot. It can mean you just need to use a rock, or simply keep moving. Just as long as you are more skilled than your opponent.

Because in tier I, II and III, you can not count on your team at all. It’s you, six random people, and 7 random enemies. There’s no order, only chaos. You want to go right? Six other people will go in six other directions. Anyone ending up with someone else somewhere is pure coincidence. And even if you do end up somewhere together, there’s no telling how long they’ll survive or if they understand what the firebutton is.

Which is exactly why I find the lowest three tiers so appealing to play. In the high tiers, you are in a tank with a lot more armour, and when you angle it right, you can be fairly invincible. But players are also more likely to know how to use prammo and how to angle themselves as well. Teams work together more, go places together. More often than not, you end up in a stalemate of sorts, where the team that loses is the team that makes the first mistake.

High tier matches have become hopelessly predictable. Especially when you play against players you know, that you know know how to play. The positions that will be gone to are standard, depending on the tanks they drive, the angling, the prammo, it’s all standard procedure. You’re much more dependant on your team for a victory. The only times that things become exciting again is when you get new tanks, or new maps.

At the same time, you’re more likely to have heart pounding moments in the high tiers than anywhere else, as you measure your skill against the players you meet. Skill, and luck, and knowledge of the tank you drive and the tanks you meet. That, I think, is one of the reasons Filip is so OP. The knowledge he has about tanks is mind-boggling. For me, it doesn’t go further than “that tank will he hard to take down while I drive this tank”, and the skills I possess are mostly instinctive in a “that makes sense” kind of way. He knows exact angles, knows where to hit a tank before he sees them, knows exactly who he can damage with HE and where, etcetera. He’s expert, and I learn from him every time we platoon.

But amazingly enough, he’s not that great in the lower tiers. And that got me thinking. I recently had a weekend where I set out to ace all my tier II tanks. I did just that, and it was a breeze for the most part. The tanks I had the most trouble to ace at tier II were the tanks Filip had no trouble with at all. Which was funny, because that gave me a clue on how to get them. I had to be more tactical. Somehow be more orderly in the chaos.

And that’s really the biggest merit of all when you play the low tiers. It teaches you things about your play style, both strengths and weaknesses, because you’re dumped into a jungle on your own with nothing to defend yourself, and made to fend for yourself. At least, when you’re not in a toon while doing so, that is. Otherwise you’re just a dirty sealclubber out for seal-pup-fur.

The tactics you find in the lower tiers, also work in the higher tiers for the most part. Your team will not always be happy with you (flanking in a big and heavy tank if the situation seems to call for it, for one), but it surprises the enemy more often than not, and has allowed me to have some epic carries. It makes the game unpredictable again, and that’s what makes it interesting to me.

The higher you get, tier-wise, the more serious the game becomes, and the slower it becomes. Where most tier I-III games last around 3 minutes, in tier IX and X you often need double that to get a good game. What tier I play often depends on my mood when I start playing, or on what my platoonmate wishes to play, but in the end, I play all tiers, and I enjoy all of them.

Each and every tier has its own pro’s and con’s, just like each and every tank does. It’s why I don’t sell them, save for three of them. Each fits a certain mood (and a certain tank, if I’m in a platoon), and each teaches me new things.

The point of this blog?

  • Don’t take things for granted.
  • Try new things.
  • But most of all; don’t write off the lower tiers just because the gameplay seems less serious, and do not see playing there simply as sealclubbing, as it can be a lot more (if you solo that is). Those tiny tanks and utterly chaotic battles will teach you to think outside the box, and outside your own set patterns. They will help keep you from becoming predictable, and that, in turn, will help you in the high tiers.

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