The Average Gamer

World of Tanks: British Tanks!

The following analysis is a guest post from our roving tank expert Frank Wyatt

When World of Tanks was first developed, there were distinct styles of play across the national tank ranges. Russian tanks were inaccurate damage dealers with high alpha damage and good sloped armour making them excellent short range brawlers. German tanks had good ranged accuracy, low alpha, mostly flat moderate armour that made them good snipers and support tanks. American tanks were mid-way between the two; reasonably accurate, moderately good damage, occasionally excellent armour dependent on the situation making them good all rounders without excelling in any particular arena. This was the general situation with the game in Beta and at launch.

Then the French were added with good alpha, fast firing with autoloaders, mobile and very weakly armoured, bringing a fourth style of play into the game, and with so many different lines of vehicles being added in each national tree since then, we have such a cornucopia of vehicles that the national distinctions are blurred and remembering all the armour weak points becomes a struggle without crib notes. This has been the case for a long time. Learning the strengths and weaknesses of each vehicle is just a matter of playing it enough, no vehicle is training for the next one.

Enter the British tanks!

Introduced in update 8.1, this line is singularly different from the other national launches in that it doesn’t feel like it has a distinct flavour at launch. As ever, opinion on each tank is aggressively divided on the forums, and one man’s meat is another man’s poison. However the sub-tier 5 tanks all seem to have some strong asset in their favour, from the 40mm 4 shot pom-pom to the Matilda’s 3” derp howitzer. None of them rely on their armour however, which is average at best and awful at worst. Those tanks that lack mobility are easy meat with precious few bounces among them.

Further on up the tiers, the vagaries of the tank designs start to show more distinction. We arrive at the Churchill heavy and Cromwell medium and go on to the Comet, Centurion, Caernarvon, Conqueror and a handful of FV codes that top the tree. These all seem to offer reasonable gunnery, hugely varied mobility across the range, and poor armour, although relative to the tier, so if you’re top tank in the Centurion I at tier 7, your experience will be markedly better than being mid tank in the Centurion VII that succeeds it.

The Cromwell deserves mention on its own. I enjoyed this tank tremendously. At tier 6 it’s fast, well armed and reasonably protected for a medium, although the Cromwell’s derivative on the next tier, the Comet, is a weak copy. It might be a subjective opinion, but most of the British tanks even up to the highest tiers seem to offer relatively small alpha with high ROF and good penetration.

The Churchill variants also deserve a mention in being fairly unique to play, like a VK4502 Ausf.B, you have to bear in mind that about 200 metres of tank emerge before your turret when you’re playing peak-a-boo round a corner. A lot of this length of tank is track, however, which in some cases can work for you.

The biggest downsides are the relatively slow manoeuvrability, with some notable exceptions, quite distinctively large sizes and weak armour. The Centurion tier 8 medium has a good gun, moderate speed and manoeuvrability but this comes in a massive package for a medium, with pretty weak armour even on the gun mantlet (which, as is traditional, is either way too weak or may be bugged).

This is a big problem in what needs to be a fast, flanking tank. Nobody will miss you coming on this bus and compared to the T44 at the same tier it feels like you’re driving an articulated lorry. Obviously the armour question at the top tiers is less of an issue, because power creep has left many of the tier 9 and 10s with such high penetration that anything other than a rolling blockhouse or T95 can discard a lot of expectation of bouncing shots, even when properly angled.

For gunnery, the following comparison is a good example of the type:

The Caernarvon tier 8 heavy has 226 penetration with normal ammo, which compares well with the KV4 at 227 and the Tiger II at 225, the difference comes with the damage being British 230 against the other’s 320 but the ROF being 7.69 per minute base against the 5.46 for the German and Russian.

In summary, the British tanks are a bit of this and that, some good armour, some good guns, some manoeuvrable. There are two or three shining examples of all three stats converging and those really only shine near their own tier because of the alpha. Like so many other tanks in WoT, it’ll be a case of “if this tank suits your play style, then you’ll suit this tank” and as that never works all the way up the tiers of one nation, I predict you will cherry pick some tanks you love, and try and try to forget the grind on the rest.

The British tanks are available in World of Tanks now. Update 8.2 went live today and adds the British TOG II prototype heavy tank to the repertoire.