Monday, April 8, 2013

08.04.13.

- second round of 8.5 test will start on 11.4.2013 apparently (changes are not available yet)
- there aren't so many city maps, because they stress the server more than "regular" maps
- Asian maps (Dragon's Ridge, Pearl River) were introduced in order to satisfy the Asian audience
- maps with rain/snowing effects won't come this year
- the problem with night maps is the implementation of dynamic lighting, dynamic lighting is planned for very distant future
- the 10 second drown time is not planned to be increased
- old render will not be optimized (improved) anymore, only the new one will
- the game will undergo a color-rebalance (SS: filters were mentioned earlier)
- currently, the skill of the drivers is not taken into account when balancing vehicles
- installing high-res skins and other addons can theoretically lower the game performance
- WG doesn't have enough data to buff/nerf British TD yet
- tank balancing is not done automatically, but manually and individually
- the fact HE explosions have little effect on the light tank vehicle movement is intentional
- exhaust vapours will not be made thicker (as they were before)
- T-80 MM spread is not yet decided apparently ("wait for the patch")
- developers are working on improving the account security (maybe including the possibility of "restoring" sold crews after the account was hacked) because there have been more cases of account stealing lately
- 3 arty per team hardcap will not come
- for now, no high-octane diesel fuel consumable is planned (for German diesel tanks)
- open-topped vehicles will not get a buff (SS: connected to the question how some open-topped vehicles were dealt with after they had the "improved ventilation" removed)
- no plans for tier 10 LT's
- SU-100Y is doing normally statistics-wise
- no (torque) difference will be implemented between the diesel and gasoline engines
- post-0.7.0, the armor system has not changed: 16 armor groups for turret, 16 for hull
- ST-I armor angles are historical
- devs have so far not thought about introducing Soviet lend-lease vehicles into the historical battles concept
- if you destroy a low HP enemy by ramming, you will get back the same damage as if the enemy had full HP
-  Storm on patch 0.8.6: "Get ready. The patch will be nuclear. A lot of rebalancing. Will tell more in about a month." It will contain tier 10 arty, amongst other things.
- Poole medal was not rewarded retroactively, because it was harder to implement than for example the Lion of Sinai medal.
- tier 10 alternative German TD will be a "German nightmare and horror" and "something special".
- Q: "Will it be a nightmare and horror for its owners?" A: "For whiners - definitely" and "only for German-lovers"
- generally, the state of module unlock has no effect on that vehicle's MM spread
- second full branch of Soviet medium tanks - "distant future"
- Soviet premium T7 med is not yet modelled
- there are many Soviet archives not yet uncovered
- US premium TD will come next year

Extending german tech tree - artillery branch

Disclaimer: 
This is a purely speculative article that takes into account WOT german tech tree and uses historical tanks to speculate possible new tank additions.
While trying to keep the articles faithful to history some room for inaccuracy is allowed within these rules:

1) No tank or tank part will be 100% made up, at least a mention about tank role and vague specs are needed

2) Components not planned for the tank are allowed, provided it wouldn't create grotesque inaccuracies like putting a gun that would obviously cripple a tank under its weight

3) This will be limited to WWII plans, anything post war risks to be too arbitrary to properly balance

No serious expectation of anything listed to appear in WOT as described is applied, but as we're discussing about implementing history into an arcade game some items will be controversial.
This is unavoidable as WOT tech tree rules need a tank to be better than the previous one and ergonomics are not exactly cared about, meaning that most designs are over-performing their real counterparts.

In this article we will tackle the most controversial WOT tank class: artillery.
Right now there is a full branch spanning from tier II to tier VIII, however we do already know that WG will extend it to tier X, rebalancing tanks in the process.

Starting from this, we'll try to guess how this will happen:

Tier II: Sturmpanzer I

No radical changes are expected other than minor tweaks.
WOT made its gun unhistorically weak and used it as low tier artillery, while in reality, the SIG 33 was a quite powerful gun made for infantry companies.

The heaviest gun in its class, it was a very powerful howitzer, although inferior to rivals of similar bore due to low range. The short barrel was the price to pay for having a high caliber howitzer manageable by non motorized troops, which made it powerful but short ranged.
It ended up being replaced by a copy of the russian 120mm mortar, which offered only slightly inferior firepower in a lighter and longer ranged platform.

The very first attempt to motorize the gun was based on the obsolete Panzer I chassis, but it resulted in an extremely overload vehicle.
Somewhat compensating this was the fact that the original mount was kept, making the gun easily dismountable should the chassis break down (as it often happened).

Tier III: Sturmpanzer II

No radical changes are expected other than minor tweaks.
WOT made its gun unhistorically weak and used it as low tier artillery, while in reality, the SIG 33 was a quite powerful gun made for infantry companies.

Historically, WOT configuration was only moderately more successful than its predecessor.
Production was pretty limited and most Panzer II chassis were converted to use the 105mm L/28 field gun.

Ironically, the Sturmpanzer II with SIG 33 was found to be most effective in a direct fire role, with the 15cm shell angled in a way that made it ricochet over soft ground and explode in mid air, becoming deadly against infantry.

Unfortunately the vehicle was still under powered for the weight and its weak engine ran hot in the African climate, resulting in the following report in late October 1942:

The weapon has proven itself to be very effective, especially when using ricochet fire.
The Panzer II chassis is insufficient and didn't proves successful.

Tier IV: Grille

Unlike its predecessors, the Grille has been upgraded beyond historical parameters.
In WOT it's a tank both loved and hated: it packs a strong punch for its tier, yet the limited traverse makes it difficult to use.

We can also speculate that MM will be made slightly easier and the tank itself nerfed, but how?
Going into a stricter realism path, the 10.5cm LeFH 18 is the closest option in weight and would basically make the tank a faster-firing Wespe (which would be likely rebalanced by lower ROF as well).

A less likely but still possible alternative would be to use the 12cm GrW 42, which actually is a mortar, but it has a preceding case in WOT already (crusader's howitzer was a mortar) and would allow the tank to retain a reasonably stronger punch than the Wespe.

Tier V: Heuschrecke 10



Su-26 OP! Nerf it!
I'm sure most of you read that sentence at least once in WOT.
The Heuschrecke (Grasshopper) 10 was a prototype tank that brought both the concept of self-propelled gun and german over-engineering to new levels.

Not only the 10.5cm LeFH 18M cannon was supposed to be in a fully revolving turret, but it was also planned that it would be dismountable and used as a separate field gun:


Don't be fooled by the pic above, firing while on board was in the specs, which of course made them complicated enough to produce that it never went beyond prototype stage.
The GW Panther in WOT  that many players love is part of the same family of vehicles.

Let's talk specs: 
The base gun would be a slightly improved version of the 105mm L/28 used on the Wespe (and on many tanks in the german tree) and historically an improved (L/35) version was proposed by Krupp.
This would give it lowish alpha for tier V, but one has to consider the advantages of a turret and the fact that MM spread will be lower in a full tier configuration.

Unhistorical but possible options would be the 12cm GrW already discussed for the Grille or the 15cm STUH 43, used historically on the Brumbarr:


This would be a powerful gun, balanced by lower ROF and shorter range.


Tier VI: Skorpion



After planning a turreted SPG on Panzer IV chassis as Heuschrecke 10, an Heuschrecke 12 based on the Panther chassis was discussed in 1943.
Krupp and Rheinmetall both proposed different designs, respectively called "Grille" (which was part of a planned line from 10 to 21, with the numbers being the cm of gun caliber to be carried) and "Skorpion".

The pictured design, classified as Gerät 5-1213 is very close to the original Panzer IV based concept, while carrying a 128mm cannon capable of indirect fire.
This was a variant of Jagdtiger's gun, which was extremely accurate even in indirect fire, to the point that it was often pressed into the counter-battery role.

Again, this would be a design with a lowish starting alpha but decent upgrades.
The starting gun could be the top one of the previous tank (as often with artillery), with a 128mm L/55 as first upgrade.

As top gun, I'd like to consider two options:

The first would be the historically planned 15cm SFH 43, aka Hummel's gun. This would entail a very short grind for seasoned players and give a familiar gun in a very powerful platform.
A less realistic but still not impossible in WOT would be to follow Rheinmetall guns and use their long 128mm (aka Sturer Emil's gun) cannon as alternative.
This would give a very flat trajectory gun with excellent range and short travel time, although with less punch than a 15cm howitzer.

Tier VII: Hummel

No radical changes are expected other than minor tweaks.
Historically the Hummel was  born as an interim solution to the necessity of a self-propelled mount to the 15cm heavy howitzer.

In WOT the tank is portrayed as a well-rounded mid-tier artillery and fulfills its role pretty well with its historical gun.

Tier VIII: GW-Panther

No radical changes are expected other than minor tweaks.
The Heuschrecke 15 (known in-game as GW-Panther) was the natural follow-up of previous Panther-based proposals.

The design in WOT was made by Krupp and classified as Gerät 5-1528.
It was initially designed to use a fully enclosed turret, but as this would have made the design too heavy, a partially open superstructure was chosen instead and use of the Panther II chassis was planned for production.

Gun-choice wise, it was planned to use a 15cm howitzer, just like the Hummel.
A 21cm mortar (21cm GRW 69?) was discussed but it's likely the chassis would have needed to be redesigned for the purpose (plus it would be OP in game or balanced by horrible accuracy and travel time).

Tier IX and X: GW-Tiger and GW-E

No radical changes are expected other than minor tweaks.
Historically the GW-Tiger in WOT is the Grille 17 and 21 designs mixed in one tank.

The project started in mid-1942, where an heavy self propelled gun based on Tiger components was requested.
It was then delayed in order to be redesigned for the use of Tiger II/Panther components and the first prototype was to be expected in mid-1944.
The allied bombing campaign however caused further delays, with the single prototype not yet complete in early 1945, when work on it was ordered to be ceased.

There were plans to extend the Grille series to 30 and 42cm heavy mortars (likely related to the sturmpanzer Bar project, which will be covered later on), but those were eventually abandoned in favor of rocket artillery like the Sturmtiger or railroad cannons, while the Karl-Gerät covered the self propelled siege mortar needs.

IT-122 and IT-130 tank destroyers

Recently, in a new article about the foreign use of the T-62 tank (an interesting subject by itself, by the way) an interesting vehicle was mentioned: the Soviet tank destroyer IT-130 (along with the rather well-known IT-1 rocket tank destroyer), based on the T-62 hull. I did a quick research and here's what I found:

In 1978, a GRU officer Vladimir Rezun, known nowadays under the pseudonym of "Viktor Suvorov", defected with his family to England. Rezun worked as a military analyst. Naturally, he caught the interest of British secret service, whose officers debriefed him. It is not clear whether "Suvorov" was (is) a double agent for the Soviet Union or not, but basically in time it was discovered he made all sorts of shit up, including two tank destroyer designs: the IT-122 and the IT-130.

Now, the name itself is interesting. IT stands for "istrebitel tankov" - "tank destroyer". Wartime and post-war self-propelled guns were generally referred to as "SU" ("samochodnaja ustanovka" - "self-propelled gun"), the "IT" designation was generally obsolete and belonged to some pre-war project (namely for example the IT-45, or "Soviet Hetzer", a small and cheap tank destroyer early war project, scheduled to appear in WoT next year by the way) . Its use for post-war tank destroyer was strange.

It is not known whether the British secret service fell for it or not, but both designs somehow made it to the western literature, including Steven Zaloga's older books (Soviet Assault Guns, 1983). Not much is known on Suvorov's IT-122 project, but in literature, it is often paired with these images:



Seen it before? I thought so, because the vehicle on the images is the SU-122-54, a tank destroyer based on the T-54 from mid 50's, which is already in the game as a tier 9 tank destroyer of the alternative Soviet TD branch. It is my belief (and S.Zaloga's, who later corrected the information)that the SU-122-54 design got somehow mixed into the whole mess, designated IT-122 and made it eventually into various western literature sources. The same opinion is also shared by SerB, who at some point last year stated that the IT-122 is a fake and is in fact a case of mistaken identity of the SU-122-54. Here, a real SU-122-54 picture:


The IT-130 idea came from the same source. In this case, according to Suvorov's info, it is supposed to be a T-62 based tank destroyer from the 60's, equipped with a 130mm cannon, with similiar construction to the "IT-122". The only source of the cannon identity are the sketches from "Suvorov" (the following picture depicts the "IT-122",the  


The identity of the 130mm gun was not clear either, as at that time, the names of the Soviet guns were not really known. It was reported as "M-46", but who knows...

Either way, both of these tanks (under such designations) never existed. There however WAS a real ISU-130 project. Designated "Object 250", it was an experimental vehicle based on the IS chassis from 1944, built at Factory No.100 under the supervision of the famous Soviet tank designer, J.Kotin and equipped with a naval 130mm gun, designated S-26 (the original name was B-13). It was a basically an ISU-152 with a different gun (the gun was equal in power and penetration to the BL-9). Only one prototype was ever made and tested. This is how it looked:

Are You A Noob ? World of tanks statistics and ratings

Leopard 1 Main Battle Tank - BohemianEagle


History of USA Tanks with R. Lee Ermey - Lock'n'Load

Remember Gny. Sgt. Hartman  from Full Metal Jacket? Well he is reviewing tanks now... 


Shell Normalisation


„God damn, I can’t believe that he penetrated me with 175mm penetration at that angle! – that can’t be realistic!” We all know this kind of situation and most probably know the reason for penetration on such occasions:

Shell normalisation.

But how realistic is the way shell normalization was introduced into the game? Currently the value is for both APCR and AP shells between -5° and -4°.

What does that mean? The angle of armor is negated by these values, resulting in less effective armor against AP and APCR shells. Angling your tank at up to 20° barely makes a difference because of this phenomenon – ingame.

History however tells a completely different story. Normalization values of -5° (and the former -10°) have nothing to do with realism. This is a balance feature of the game. Shells are much more likely to bounce of sloped armor because of their shape. AP (and basically any other shell) are formed to have as less wind resistance as possible to guarantee penetration on distance as well. This however gives them the tendency to bounce of sloped armor.

The following graph might explain the key problem with the penetration of sloped armor. The contact forces are calculated with F=p*A (pressure, and contact-Area, a rounded area all around the shell). This kind of 3 dimensional pressure-contact can mechanically be simplified by summing up the pressure of the lower and the upper part of the shell to 2 resultant forces. This is reflected here:
 

For all who want to dig even deeper (link), I prepared the whole mechanical treatment of the shell in the contact zone, something like this is seemingly missing all-over the web. It’s basically the static treatment from above and the dynamic treatment (principle of D’Alembert) – it explains why the shell penetrates armor at all.

The result is quite surprising:

There is no Normalization for AP projectiles which negates armor (the term normalization is misleading mathematically, but to prevent confusion this article will still refer to it). On the basis of “WWII Ballistics - Armor and Gunnery” it is possible to calculate normalization values as we know them. Technically it is uncommon to work with them at all because of the complexity of the shell trajectory. However, these values are fairly good to understand the basics of AP shell penetration:


Gun /  AP shell diameter [mm]
Normalization
against a 100mm plate

plate@30°

57
10,7°

75
8,9°

88
8,1°

100
7,8°

122
7,1°

128
6,9°

152
5,6°







Normalization = Function (Platethickness, Shelldiameter, angle of the plate)


Formula was ascertained analytically, for further explanation contact me
Smp = slope multipler (BIOS 1946 estimations)
Smp = Function (Platethickness, Shelldiameter)

Probably out of blue for the majority of WOT-players: These values are positive. Sloping leads to more effective armor than 1/cos(angle) suggests.  Also new - “normalization” gets higher values with a smaller diameter. In other words: Small calibers are worse against sloped armor.

The normalization value increases significantly against higher angles.

Also this kind of sloping explains most battle reports which were not understandable yet. Just to name a few: The IS-2 had problems penetrating the Panthers glacis on distance (with AP), or the 8,8cm L/71 of the Kingtiger was unable to penetrate the 100mm frontalarmor of the postwar T-54.

Conclusion:


-    Bigger shells were more effective against sloped armor
-    Armor angling was a lot more effective than reflected ingame
-    The conversion of german penetration-data from 30° to 0° went completely wrong

XVM Updater v.2.0


Download Link


This tool allows you to install for the first time the eXtended Visualization Mod or update it to its latest version. It'll automatically download the required files and unpack them in your World of Tanks installation folder, you have nothing to do except clicking one button since the application will detect all the needed settings and directories by itself. Once executed, you can launch World of Tanks from a new shortcut that'll be placed on your desktop (if you check the option of course) and the statistics will be displayed as expected.



This utility should be useful for players who don't want to spend 5 minutes or 2 hours on that installation (depending of your computer skills as well :smile:).

Features:
  • Automatic installation folder detection; even if you don't really know where you installed World of Tanks, my utility will find it easily.
  • Old XVM configuration file backup.
  • You don't like battle win chances? Or you really can't play with them? XVM Updater features ready-to-use configurations without win chances by default, simply tick the corresponding option to enable them.
  • Last XVM version & tests support: simply use the drop-down menu to choose the desired version you want to install.


Q: What do I need before executing this tool?

A: Absolutely nothing; not even your running WoT client, so please close it before launching the process. :smile:


Q: XVM seems to not work properly, even if I install it manually, what can I do?

A: The Dokan library used by XVM to retrieve stats need the following Microsoft packages in order to work properly. Uninstall it from the Control Panel (Programs & Features > Dokan Library 0.8.0 > Uninstall) then install this:

Launch XVM Updater one time again afterwards.



Q: How does the 'Keep old XVM configuration file' option works?

A: Once you update to the latest game version, your res_mods/0.8.x folder is no longer used, so the utility will simply copy your old configuration file and put it back in your last XVM version installation directory. Use this option if you don't want the standard configuration created by the XVM's creators. If you already have a custom configuration file, checking this option will preserve it.


Q: Why a folder with Dokan files appeared while installing XVM for the first time?

A: It's a normal behavior due to Dokan library installation, I can't do anything to disable it unfortunately.

Sniper scope

Sniper scope with info panel

Just copy to WOT/res_mods/


FARSER sniper mod with penetration indicator

With penetratin indicator.


Two row hangar

Just copy to res_mods