An interview with WoT Unicum evanb90
A lot of players dream about being “good” at a video game. In the case of World of Tanks, this means being able to achieve a level of play where they can shape the outcome of a game regardless of how teammates perform. However, being good at World of Tanks takes skill, dedication, and patience. Becoming and maintaining the ability to consistently play on a unicum playing level though, requires much more.
Unicum players are those guys. The guys who leave a wake of destruction in Himmelsdorf while the other players struggle to cross the central park, or manage to fend off a wave of attackers (alone or with little support) and overcome the odds. Many are tied to clans or to pro teams and go on to play in high level competition against players of every caliber. However, not every one of these players is interested in going on further. I sat down to interview one of these players, evanb90, not only to discuss his gaming history, and why he has no interest in going on to participating in competitive gaming.
Tell us a little about yourself.
Hi, I'm evanb90, a member of the FORGE Gaming Community and formerly of A Path Beyond. Bit of a tank and video games geek. (okay, "bit" is a lie)
When did you get into World of Tanks? What was your gateway, and why?
I've always been a bit of a history geek, and World War II and tank warfare have always been a draw to me. I noticed the game being discussed on the boards of A Path Beyond, which was a C&C Renegade mod, and it drew my interest. I signed up for the closed beta shortly before the "soft wipe”.
What has kept you in World of Tanks up to this day? What energizes you to return to the garage when you can?
The game hasn't really been matched in today's market yet, and there are just so many interesting tanks and lines to play. Sometimes, I just want to blow stuff up with a tank. Nice change of pace from FPSs and RTSs. Platooning with old friends is also fun, too.
How often per week do you play?
In a typical week now, I'll play up to 6 hours of tanks. In years past, I would often go on gaming binges and pile up 20-24 hours in a week, but changes in my life and interests have cut down on the time and will to play that long.
Could you tell us about your favorite line and how about your least favorite?
The American medium line and German heavy lines are my favorite. Both of them are challenging, filled with tanks that are difficult but rewarding to use. I became a good player by playing American mediums in the open beta. The T23 and M26 Pershing taught me the important of soft stats like gun depression and dispersion to a tank's overall value, and how to offset their relative weaknesses in hard stats like armor, top speed and penetration.
The American Medium Tank Line
As for least favorite, the current branch I'm on with the Japanese mediums has been pretty bad up to tier 6. A whole lot of unimpressive vehicles and it doesn't look like it improves until you reach the end. On that note, the British TD line was pretty frustrating until the DPS monster that is the Tortoise was unlocked. All of the ridiculous weaknesses on top of the crippling low speeds.
The Medium Japanese Line
And on principle, any artillery line.
Could you tell us about your favorite tank?
Of all time? Probably the T23, that adorable little death machine, or perhaps the Tier 3 Luchs. Of tanks still in the game, it's probably the King Tiger. It's an exceptionally mediocre tank for its tier, always has been, but I've been able to make it work, and combine that with its intimidating appearance, I can't help but love it.
The new redesigned TIV Luchs
How did you get into clan wars?
The clan I was initially in, A Path Beyond (APB) decided to give it a shot when it opened. We got brutally murdered by one of Iron Raider's sub-clans trying to land in Western Russia. Long story short, we had two tier 10s, they had more.
Tell us a little about your history with clan wars.
I started with the APB clan, and fought in West Africa after that the opening day; I was one of the first players in my clan to get a Tier 10. We had a number of good players, but there wasn't much in the way of leadership, and we didn't have that much success as a result. The clan wasn't stable, and by late 2011, was collapsing. Most of the good players, myself included, left APB to join FORGE.
In FORGE, I was there just in time for the whole NASA drama and the big war that unfolded there, including the eventual defeat of MLP, the dominant clan of that time. I was present for most of the major wars that FORGE was involved with after that, though my activity has declined in the last year.
What are your current W/L stats? Where do you consider your skill level to fall?
I'm sitting in the low 62% range. I consider my skill level to well above average, but also below what it was in 2011 and 2012 when I was building my win rate up to what it is now. I'm not strategically brilliant, often play too cautious, but make up for it with great situational awareness and tactical skill (IE maneuvering, aiming, positioning).
You had mentioned to me that you were approached for pro gaming in World of Tanks once – when, and how did you respond to this?
When Fulcrum Gaming (Editors Note: Fulcrum is now known as Fnatic) was getting started. They split off of FORGE, and being a somewhat frequent member of their tournament teams, I was asked if I was interested in joining up with them. I said I didn't really have interest in doing so.
Why? What made you respond this way?
The main reason was that while I consider myself a good player, I don't consider myself having pro-gamer ceiling, owing to my shortcomings in reading the broad situation on the map. That, and I don't think I could commit myself to pro gaming, the hours of practice, so on.
It is 2014 now – any interest in going competitive?
None at all.
How do you feel about the state of World of Tanks today?
I don't play nearly as much as I used to, so I can't offer too many great insights...but the NA servers seem well populated, but the (perceived) quality of the average player/team continues to decline, which is a huge deterrent to playing with greater frequency.
The game still has some other issues- low tier seal-clubbing tanks, matchmaker and my personal eternal pet peeve, artillery to name a few, but as my interest in the game has leveled out, these became lesser issues relative to the overall quality of players.
Do you feel Wargaming is handling the product effectively?
evanb90: I like that they are slowing down with the introduction of new tanks and focusing on polishing the existing product- improving balance, graphics, map selection, so on.
I wish they would find a way to change the CW metagame so that there is a greater variety of tanks used, and not just because the first-line tanks are all locked out.