So i’m a returning player after a LOT of years, probably 4-5, and back then i already had 11k matches in the bag. I always was a true frontline heavy brawler at heart, but i grew a bit in other directions too.
Anyways, one of my favorite tanks was the IS-6 back then. Making cash while doing some amazing frontline super angling and juking three dudes, turret turning wildly to avoid weakspot hits, and bouncing them all was amazing. The preferential matchmaking was important as it avoided seeing t10s which could be unplayable against with 175mm of pen as a frontliner.
So i returned to Wot, and while i saw it getting buffed, the entire meta shifting with a lot of stronger tanks both armor and pen-wise appearing over the years has left the IS-6 behind. I feel the same way returning to grinding the ancient M103 now, looking decrepit in gameplay, from an age where Wot tank design was aiming to be at least semi historically accurate, with gameplay following, not the other way around. Plus given the skew of how many players play T9 nowdays and it’s getting harder and harder to get into T8 straight matches with the IS-6, and that saw me feeling like i should retire the poor thing. Just isn’t as competitive versus the newer tanks that it has to face.
I came in late, about the start of last month and i started on the progression. I played a lot of tanks, spamming also the AMX 50 B due to the stage reward bonuses, and i was just not having that much fun. The AMX 50 B is another tank which got left behind when stuff like the Kravang, let alone the Italian auto-reloaders came out. In any case i managed to almost fill the second stage of the progression, which gave me enough reward points to get a tank. After due consideration, decided to pick up the 777 II and.. well.. it reminded me of the IS6 and more.
Firstly it’s a beautiful side scraper and allows me to juke players into shooting the side with a butt wiggle. The turret is almost as reliable as the IS6’s around the same circumstances. The gun doesn’t need 0.32 accuracy when the reticle is the entire side of the enemy tank or 3/4s of its lower glacis. Reload is eh, but it feels like you can control the pacing of the engagements so it’s never too big of a deal. It’s low profile allowing me to really use the terrain to my advantage, any incline, any workable wall. The special repair kit bonus and free ressuply is also neat. Doesn’t make it a premium but saves me a bit of cash.
More than anything though, it feels like the enemies are reacting to me with the same amount of hesitation and fear as when i used to play the IS-6 back then. You can see them trying to lob shots and try to work you down. That’s the feeling that made me love WoT back then. Just get into a position and just work your tank, work your enemies, and progress through the flank, one tank at a time, bouncing shots and penning plates. But more than that, it gives me the /confidence/ to do it. With the pen-boosts and gold ammo proliferation, it feels good to play a tank that i can reasonably /rely/ on its armor again. Heat gets soaked in the generous tracks covering most of the side, and APCR suffers from the normalisation on the super round turret. Again, it’s wonderful that it feels like a tank i can throw into the fray and as long as i’m not stupid, it will work with me as much as i work with it.
I’m about 20 games in with it, and got my ace tanker i think my second game. Don’t think i’ve had more than one ‘bad’ game with it yet. Also for some reason i see it be top-tank more often than not, and even when it isn’t, it doesn’t feel like it’s not competitive. I mean, compared to a 175mm pen, 220 effective frontal, and totally overmatchable top on the IS-6, facing monsters like the IS-3-II, 50 TP or VZ.51, the 777 V2 feels in their league. It just feels really great leading my team to victory again, knowing i have a tank that can face off and push off the enemy from a position, instead of fucking around with the scouting/spotting meta.
In any case, while i feel sad to retire my 550 games IS-6, i’m glad to have a new favorite sidescrapey true frontline heavy tank to play. Armor-play was the reason i really liked World of Tanks and i’m glad to have that back. Sadly it’s not a premium tank, but given the StrvK, i assume we’ll get some prem T9 heavies soon enough.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk. (and yes i have other heavies in my stable, IS7 is still good, but T10 is very eck as a meta and i’m behind on bond/bounty equipment and again, some feel from a different age, the E75 is absolutely humongous comparatively 🙁 )