WOTBB 55 – The IS3 Defender

Original date of blog: May 8th, 2016

It’s been well over two months now since I last blogged. Trust me, it’s not been voluntary. I love blogging. I have started one quite a few times, but then I’d reread them, pull a face, and consequently deleted most of them. Welcome to writer’s block. Life has been quite hectic and it’s not been all good. I’ve always been creatively inclined and it’s a lot to do with my state of mind. When I feel happy, I love to write. When I’m not, I feel like drawing. Photoshop has been seeing a lot of me lately, and as such, my blogs have been completely neglected. And even now, I find that I’m doing other things in between and not focusing on what I’m writing.

Since I last blogged, we’ve had a lot of new things in the game. New tanks, new prems, new profitability, new matchmaking. It’s a lot to write about. Not going to do it all at once, and I think I’ll begin with the IS-3 Defender.

Now, this was another mission grind, where you needed to grind one heck of a lot of XP in order to get the tank – that, or spend a lot of gold on it. Not only that, but Wargaming actually only made a number of the tanks available across all the servers. I believe 60k. Considering the EU server holds about 40k players online on busy nights, that doesn’t seem like much at all.

And in the beginning this had the desired effect – people panicked and thought they’d have to gold it if they didn’t want to miss out on it. I asked David, the guy behind our lovely stats-site Blitzstars.com if he could check for me how many people had gotten the Tankenstein back in October. This turned out to be around one in sixty. And then suddenly the 60k didn’t seem like that few at all.

We spread the words amongst the clans, and that helped settle the panic-feeling, for those who hadn’t thought of the same thing earlier. So when the event came about and we could start the grind, the first day, we ‘lost’ around 1k. These were the people that’d gold it anyway, so that wasn’t surprising.

And I drove the thing on my press-account. And unlike the Tankenstein (which still collects dust on my account, but that I have driven on the press accoun by now as well), this tank was actually worth the grind. It has an autoloader, with 3 shells. The reload between the clips is epic long, but in the Defender’s case, that’s actually quite fun.

You can’t drive this tank like a standard IS-3, or even like a standard tank. There’s nothing in game that compares to it. And it makes for very unique gameplay. I’ll not say that I really love the tank – I don’t. I think that the reload between the shells, or the really long reload, needs to be shortened. But overall, it’s a really fun tank to play. The armour is like that of the IS-3, and it has a very elegant black colouring.

There’s an engine in it with electrical currents that start up when you start driving, and if you stand still, they disappear again. This makes it look really cool, and almost makes me regret snipermoding my whole games. Almost.

In this tank more than any other at its tier, it’s important to make all your shots count. They do around 400 damage per shot, and you need to land them all, because if you miss or bounce, it brings you one step closer to that very long reload and you’ll not have done anything yet.

And that reload means you’re out of action for about 20 seconds. Of course, you’re not helpless – you’re an IS-3 Defender and you have decent armour and troll armour. But using cover wisely is a quite a must too. If they’re fully aware you’re having your very long reload, they’ll rush you, and you’re as good as dead.

But again, I like how that makes you think properly about driving around and doing whatever it is you want to do. It’s interesting gameplay, and keeps the game itself interesting.

So, as said, this was a tank that was actually worth the grind, unlike the Tankenshit. So I played a lot more than I really wanted to those days, to avoid having to gold the thing. The counter started crawling backwards, so the only thing that pressured me to do so was the time allowed to get it. But, with this grind, Wargaming also introduced tokens. With each mission you completed, you got a number of tokens that’d work towards the full amount you’d need to get the tank.

And that helped a lot. Skipping a mission cost only 50 gold, so when I finished a big mission, I’d just skip that to the next one, and the grind went quite quickly with that. I think in the end, the I believe 15k gold tank didn’t cost me more than 500 gold that way, and I didn’t need to gold any of the stages. So I’m happy enough with that.

By the time I got there, with four or five days to spare, there were still around 30k or so of the things available, to give you an idea how few people actually went for the thing. And after the two week period, there was another period where people could complete the rest of it with gold, to get the tank after all, if not through grinding. I believe that in the end, they never sold all of them. Which is both good and bad. Good, because it shows that 15k gold for a tier VIII tank that even though it looks spiffy and makes for special gameplay, isn’t all that special is asking too much, and bad because the tank is fun and it means that people will miss out on it.

Across four servers, there’s less than 60k of these tanks around now, so even if you don’t really like the tank itself, it’s a nice collector’s item to have sitting in your garage. But unlike the Tankenshit, I do actually drive this thing, and find it fun to do as well.

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