you might have noticed the new poll on the main FTR page, regarding the premium vehicles (if you haven’t voted yet, cast your vote, please). This poll is there for a reason actually. Last night I had an interesting chat, was also reading some articles, looking through some books and realized, how tough it is actually to come up with a decent premium tank. There are some pretty strict categories and conditions to follow, when you make such a proposal. This can be very clearly seen on the case of the American premium tank destroyer.
Not that Wargaming drops historical requirements the lower you go by tiers, but first and foremost, I think it’s obvious that tier 8 premium tanks are the most “watched” tanks in World of Tanks. For example, recently (on 8.11 test), the shape of Type 59 armor was changed. It was changed in a completly insignificant way (the angle changed by half a degree or so, resulting in a few milimeters of shift), but there have already been voices saying “Oh, you changed Type 59, will there be a compensation?”
Changing hightier premium characteristics later on is something Wargaming wants to avoid at all costs (look at the Superpershing mess not so long ago), that in best case can annoy players, in worst case it can cause significant damage to the game economy (gold gets reimbursed, players suddenly have free gold, resulting in some sort of WoT inflation equivalent and monetary losses for Wargaming). Currently, the Jagdtiger 88 doesn’t have historically correct speed (and LFP thickness if I recall correctly), but the shape is alright and so Wargaming decided not to touch the vehicle in order to avoid this stuff.
So, what are the hightier premium requirements, the way I understand it?
- obviously, it must be a historical and should be a documented vehicle
Nope, no Krokodils allowed. This might not seem like an issue, but it’s difficult to build a tank around one sentence in one book. These paper-ish projects noone knows are generally problematic and Wargaming seems to prefer real (prototype-built, described) vehicles to the complete paper variants.
- it should be a prototype or a paper project, mass-produced vehicles are not desired
This one might sound obvious too, but anyway: putting mass-produced vehicles on premium spots can create a nasty backlash amongst the community. At one point, it was (falsely) assumed (a long time ago) that the Firefly would come as a premium vehicle. Naturally, the response was overwhelmingly negative (“WG wants to make money on popular vehicles”) – it goes with the fact that most mass-produced vehicles are “popular”. This obviously can be bent too, but for US tank destroyers for example, it means putting (a) Hellcat on premium spot wouldn’t be a brilliant idea. There are however mass-produced vehicles, that don’t fit anywhere in a regular tree (ASU series, M56 Scorpion), so I wouldn’t consider this rule unbreakable
- the vehicle shouldn’t fit a regular tree
This is a very, very strong rule in my opinion. You see, there are tons of candidates for tons of premium spots. Theoretically. The thing is, this rule sort of interferes in many cases. To fit a regular tree means to actually have module options. Specifically, this goes for turrets and guns (hulls too to a degree). This sort of scraps a lot of options. Take the American T53 GMC (90mm AA gun on a Sherman chassis) for example. I thought it would be a great candidate, but I recently learned it has option – various turret configuration. Well, there goes the possibility to make it a premium. The same thing applies for the T78 tank destroyer project (Chaffee hull, mated with a M36 turret) to an extent. Another way of “not fitting” in a tree would be the time factor: some vehicles are simply “not right” for their tiers even in the game (the Hetzer precedes the StuG, despite historically it was a later project), these do make good candidates for premium spots, simply because they can’t be put in any serious branch.
- it shouldn’t be a copycat of an already existing vehicle
While more vehicles are good in general (the more the merrier), it shouldn’t be a carbon copy of a vehicle, that already exists in the game. Chieftain recently mentioned a Hellcat project, where the 90mm gun was installed in the original Hellcat turret. Apparently, it was just a paper proposal somewhere, but do we really need two identical Hellcats? It’s obvious this rule is not very strong, considering the fact Wargaming is considering adding YET ANOTHER T-54 (the “light”) version into the game. Or the three T-44′s (T-44, T-44-85, T-44-122). Or the various Type 59 variants. Etc.
- it shouldn’t be butt-ugly
Sounds weird? But “factor of cool” sells. Come on, who of you would buy a Bob Semple tank, even if it did fit WoT? Well… I guess I would… but anyway :)
So, what does this all mean for US tank destroyers for example? We sort of discarded various very paper fantasies (“T28″ variants), vehicles, that could be used in regular branch (T53, T78), copycats (90mm Hellcat), vehicles noone knows anything about apart from the fact they existed (again, 90mm Hellcat project), so what is left for the US tank destroyer branch?
The M56 Scorpion.
Count with me.
- it existed
- it looks cool and is popular
- it was mass-produced (eg. no paper BS, photos – even vehicles themselves – exist)
- it actually fought
- it doesn’t fit any line (it’s too new for its possible tier)
- it doesn’t have any options regarding alternative turrets/modules
On the downside, it literally has zero armor (like, really – zero) and the gun properties are a bit odd too, but I think there is a way around that using the Japanese tests for the M36 guns. All in all, I think this is possibly the best US TD candidate there is to date and certainly the coolest :)