Check our video out to see all the changes to premium light tanks after 9.18 patch in World of Tanks.
We at AltChar are knee deep in tracks, armour and boom sticks this week, as we join our contributor Mr Congo and his Little Red Terror - the Chinese Type 62 light tank.
The release of patch 9.18 for World of Tanks in the past few weeks has brought some radical changes to the game - the different way artillery functions now, and the improved matchmaker are the main ones. We're not going to talk about the new tier 10 light tanks because Altchar doesn't mock the afflicted. We'll only offer one tip on that subject - just get a BatChat instead.
World of Tanks: Bat.-Châtillon 25 t
However, we are going to look at one of the consequences of the changes to light tank tech trees the introduction of the blind-as-a-drunk-mole and can't-hit-a-barn-door-with-a-banjo tier 10 LTs has brought.
Ladies and gentlemen, deviants and dilettantes, we bring the you the rise of the Tier 7 premium lights.
You remember the AMX 13 57 as a bit of joke with an an inaccurate autoloader that simply compounded the existing problems of the French light tank line? Not any more. Now it's a fast firing, reliably penetrating, super manoeuvrable alien-turreted little god of the battlefield. It still has that stupid Wargaming logo on the side though. But just compare the penetration against the AMX 13 75 using standard ammunition.
Or the Type 62? The WZ-131's poor country cousin - with gun handling like firing peas through a wet toilet roll. While you could stick a 100mm gun on the 131 and put some meaty alpha damage out, you could only hope that the "bang" the Type 62's gun made would scare the enemy, because the shells wouldn't. Not any more.
With the nerfs to most of the tech tree tier 7 lights, or the introduction of the woeful Russian LTG, the two premium lights, French and Chinese, are now in a good spot. If you bought either of them with your hard-earned real cash, the investment is paying off in 9.18.
A quick comparison of the Type 62 and WZ-131 shows the main reason the premium tank is now so much better. The Type has a rate of fire that comes in at 13.5 rounds a minute with a 100% crew. That's against the WZ-131 with 8.53 rounds a minute. So 2,430 damage per minute for the Type versus 1,707 for the 131. You can paint me khaki and call me Bob but you can't tell me that's not a massive difference. It simply is a better vehicle - especially when dispatching lower tier tanks.
"Ok," I hear you say in a muffled voice from inside your tank, "the 131 still has better ammunition."
Yes it does. Marginally. But I'm firing what, 60% more shots than you a minute? And if sniping is the major part of your light tank game play at tier 7, you're probably doing it wrong. If taking down some scrub lord charging at you in a Cromwell is the mission, then I'm taking the Type 62 every time. And even if you are sniping - or god forbid, actually doing your job and spotting the enemy - the Type has a better base view range.
Add the fact that the Type 62 and AMX 13 57 can both now fit Vertical Stabilisers for improved accuracy, you're seeing previously so-so premium light tanks outstrip pretty much any rival in their class except the American T-71, which we're calling the Bulldog Mark II now.
And of course, as we know, Wargaming can't do anything about this. If you bought one of these tanks, then you bought it with a specific set of statistics and any alteration of those stats would be breaking the original terms of the purchase. Not that Wargaming care of course, real money is real money after all. Being good in World of Tanks still matters more than having the money for premium tanks and ammunition - but we can't help but feel that margin is getting narrower.
How are you enjoying patch 9.18? Are you roaming free now that the Sky Cancer is in remission - or do you still keep getting teams made up of 50 year old drunken bus drivers? Maybe you're a drunken bus driver? Let us know in the comment section below!