Hello everyone, today we’ll have a look at the Sturer Emil, or Pz.Sfl.V, as it is called in game – the new tier 7 tank destroyer. There are two principles of game vehicle balance that relate to the Sturer Emil – in fact, Sturer Emil confirms their existance. First is: one trick pony tanks are much harder to balance than regular vehicles. Second is: just because it has a huge gun doesn’t mean it’s a good vehicle. Where to begin. Sturer Emil is much like Dicker Max. In fact, the both vehicles have pretty much identical gameplay – the main difference is that every aspect Dicker Max has, Sturer Emil has – but brought to the extreme. DM’s mobility is somewhat meh – but SE has even worse. DM has a big gun for its tier – and SE has even bigger. DM has poor gun traverse – and SE has even poorer. DM has limited ammo capacity – and DM has it even worse. And so on. Sturer Emil also proves another principle: the more hype there is around a vehicle, the less it will live up to it. Some of you might remember the “old days”, when the first version of the second German TD branch (still in a vertical tree, the one with Dicker Max as regular tank) was released. The hype was enormous, some people were practically drooling with anticipation: Sturer Emil with a 128mm gun at tier 7, that must be overpowered as hell! It took more than a year (hell, almost two years if I recall correctly) for this vehicle to appear, but the hype hasn’t disappeared in the meanwhile. If anything, it was multiplied. And now that the tank is here, I guess a lot of people were expecting something different. Why? Because the Sturer Emil is the ultimate one trick pony. It has a huge gun, but nothing else – and I mean it. Yes, it has the gun depression (I consider that to be a part of the “big gun” advantage), but it’s struggling everywhere else and the result of the hype is one of the most uncomfortable vehicles to play with in the entire game. I tested it (as usual) with full camo crew, a camo net, a rammer and binoculars (people asked last time why I use binocs instead of coated optics – simple: because it “fires up” up at the same point as the camo net – and because if you spot enemies when moving, you’re doing it wrong). Armor As with the previous vehicles, armor is non-existent, especially for its tier (at this point, the damage from high-power HE shells is starting to become a real problem). Frontal armor is 50mm (including the superstructure) as advertised, side armor however is NOT 30mm thick – the most exposed part, superstructure side, is only 15mm thick. The mantlet is 50mm thick, but most of it covers a hole for the gun (so it doesn’t combine with superstructure armor) – if you aim at the mantlet, aim close to the gun, not on the rims, those are thicker (100mm), because the armor combines there. In praxis however, this has little effect as almost no shells bounce off the mantlet and certainly no shells bounce of the hull. This vehicle has also one more very serious flaw armor-wise: it has a HUGE breech: A breech (the grey boxy part in the vehicle) is a part of the tank gun collision model, but unlike the gun itself, it has no nominal armor. This means that pretty much ANY shot (especially from sides) will penetrate the hull and hit the huge gun module (breech) – and if there is no successful module saving throw, your gun will get damaged even by shells that flew nowhere near it. This is very annoying and yes, in praxis, Sturer Emil has a huge problem with this (the gun gets damaged very often). It also makes armor angling of any sort practically useless: by exposing the thin flanks, you are risking not only “regular” penetration, but also gun damage. The good news is the vehicle doesn’t burn easily and I never had any issues with ammo rack (but that’s also because if something heavy penetrates you, you won’t live long anyway). Oh yes, one last thing: the XP pinata effect is back. A powerful gun combined with zero armor makes you a juicy target and everyone and their grandmother will be shooting at you the second you get spotted. Mobility Mobility? The tank weights 36 tons and has a 300hp engine. On paper it doesn’t sound so bad, but it is. The mobility of the Sturer Emil is terrible. Its maximum speed is 25 km/h, but you’ll be going 20 at most on flat surfaces. Its climbing ability is terrible (to the point that if you start turning while climbing, the vehicle will stop) because of the bad power to weight ratio, so if you are to climb somewhere, you HAVE to know what you are doing, because once you get there, you won’t have time to change positions. This is the part where I will refer back to the Dicker Max: in my opinion it would make much more sense to put it into the game as tier 6 regular tank (an alternative to the Nashorn), because it would be a perfect preparation for the Sturer Emil: Nashorn and Sturer Emil are two very, VERY different vehicles and it takes time to switch your game style from being able to maneuver to… well, not being able to maneuver :) And it gets even worse: along with mobility comes the ability to ambush. The problem with poor mobility is not the fact you are just slow, it’s essentially two issues in one: a) you are so slow that you will never, ever run away: once you get spotted and targetted, you are simply dead, unless there is some very good cover closeby – like the huge stone on Malinovka b) when the battle starts, it also means that you won’t be able to get in a good position before the enemies appear: this is especially annoying on El Halluf (by the time you reach a sniping spot, there will already be an activity in the valley) and – even worse – Sand River (during defense, you will NOT reach the usual defensive spots in time and by the time you do, there will again by an activity nearby and you will get spotted). Normally in such a cases (where you know you won’t make it to the sniping spot in time) it’s better to wait a bit (a Continue reading →

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