IL-2’s mobile AAA vehicles arrived with some controversy in the community but now that we’re past that initial point and we’ve seen the latest efforts by 1CGS and by Digital Forms to bring these two Collector Vehicles to life in the series, I thought it was a good idea to reflect on what kinds of gameplay and options that they might open up to the community and what the bigger picture is. Here are my thoughts on the GAZ-MM 72-K and Sd.Kfz. 10/5 Flak 38!
Decoding the controversy
In the moment, there was controversy and initial dismissal by parts of the community on the announcement of these new vehicles. Rarely has anything announced by 1CGS been met with such negativity. Although I can’t speak for the whole of the community or even part of it, I can speak for myself that there was a bit of a tease that “something” was coming and a great many of us started speculating. I was just as guilty with my piece here about something new that was about to be announced though I did caution about getting too worked up.
Although these vehicles weren’t top of mind as to what the community was expecting, sometimes something new and unique takes a bit of getting used to when it doesn’t meet our initial expectations. I think that is very likely the case with these two new vehicles and I think they will have an interesting impact on the series. Here’s how.
Affecting gameplay on the ground and in the air
1CGS is very good at straddling the line between the hardcore simulation experience that many of us crave with something that is also fun and with an eye to accessible gameplay at the same time. That isn’t to say that IL-2 isn’t a challenge to get into but it’s curve is a bit (if only a bit) less steep than some other sims out there.
So, whenever 1CGS releases something new, it’s clear to me that they have thought through both the simulation aspect as well as the gameplay aspect of how it might fit in. Or at least, how they think it might fit in.
Ever since the announcement, I’ve been playing along in IL-2 multiplayer and I’ve come across some times where I think these vehicles might very well fit in. I think the format that Finnish Virtual Pilots – Dynamic War server has operating is a good example of how these vehicles could work (but they aren’t the only ones). Their server has an all out dynamic war scenario with key frontline points scattered around the map. They have incorporated tanks into their gameplay and they will surely be enabling these AAA vehicles too.
In one instance, it was clear that objectives were being picked off and some sort of resistance was needed. I could spend the time to takeoff and fly there to engage the enemy or I could hop into one of these trucks and see if I could dissuade or even shoot down the attacking aircraft. In another instance, I knew the enemy were over our base and were damaging things on the ground (vulching is allowed here) and starting up a AAA truck to defend the base would be a way to try and engage with the situation.
I also want to consider another scenario. You had a couple of friends are going to attack the enemy with some tanks but you know that enemy tank hunting aircraft might be a problem. While two or three friends push on in tanks, another hops in of these AAA trucks and provides cover.
Not too long ago I was on the Finnish Virtual Pilots server flying the Hurricane Mark IID with the 40mm anti-tank Vickers cannons and I came across three human controlled tanks. Had these vehicles been available, I probably would have given attacking them a second thought or at least considered the possibility that they could be guarded by another vehicle. The mere possibility changes the whole experience.
Tank Crew entry point?
With Tank Crew – Clash at Prokhorovka selling for a regular $79.99 USD, it isn’t exactly a cheap product to buy and so many aren’t sure if they would like the experience or not. At $24.99, GAZ-MM 72-K and Sd.Kfz. 10/5 Flak 38 aren’t very cheap either, however, consider a year from now where they may be available for a sale price bringing them into the range of lunch out at a restaurant and making it easy for someone to make a snap purchase. These vehicles could offer the ability for many people to try out vehicles in the IL-2: Great Battles Series, have a unique experience, and potentially grow to like driving vehicles around enough to become interested in adding some armor to that experience – enter Tank Crew’s ten tanks.
Once the initial disappointment had worn off, I can see a range of gameplay possibility that affect the whole of the IL-2 multiplayer experience and potentially the single player experience too as these unique class of vehicles in the series start to make their presence felt.
Maybe they will have a smaller impact than I expect but at this point I’m encouraged that it will change things opening up more possibilities, more excitement, and affect both the ground and air war in the series. Time will tell of course!