The great rework of the Japanese heavy line – is it possible and how can we do it?

UPDATED with fixed grammar.

The Japanese heavies. Probably one of the most controversial line of tanks in the game after artillery. Both hated and loved, maybe more hated than loved. A very common subject to talk about, discuss and even whine about. But why?

Japanese heavies are very, very unique vehicles. Multiturretted, and some of them are the biggest tanks in the game with very odd looks and huge guns. There are no such vehicles in the game, neither design-wise or gameplay-wise. The French super-heavies, which have been close to be introduced multiple times, are probably the closest you can get to these.

That being said, having such a unique line of monstrosities can cause problems, however. These are the main reasons which cause controversy among Japanese heavies:

1) Armor with no weakspots (which encourages premium ammo and in return becomes weak after gold begins to flow at them and worse yet, they lack the ability to angle for most part expect for Type 5 Heavy after 9.17.1)

2) Derp guns, makes them even more “noob-friendly”, though this wouldn’t be as bad of a point if they didnt have such armor that makes you want to just sit in the open.

3) Historical accuracy (ERMAHGERD JAPANESE TANKS SUCKED @SS IRL, NO WAI JAPANESE DESIGNED SUPER-HEAVIES, WHY THEY INTRODUCED STUPID NAPKIN TANKS!!1!!11!!ELEVEN!)

4) Other things (arty magnet, gold magnet, O-Ho’s 10cm or Type 4/5 being poor, unfun to play before buffs, Type 4/5 derp gun being pay to win gun etc etc…)

If we want to fix the line in the first place, we have to take a good look at these problems. The second point is especially common problem with the recent armor buffs. This kind of armor with the lack of proper weakspots, sometimes known as “retard-proof armor”, did major debut with the introducion of Japanese heavy tanks in 2015.

Before we start, lets jump back in time.

Introducion of Japanese tech tree, heavy tank rumors, “O-I mess,” line introducion etc.

The Japanese tech tree arrived in patch 8.10, back in late 2013. It caused a bit of confusion and maybe even disappointment, as it contained only one tank line (and minibranch of lowtier light tanks). Up to this point, when a new tech tree was introduced, it always contained two lines: medium and heavy-tank lines, so naturally, it was expected that Japanese tech tree would also have heavy tank line. However, that wasn’t the case. And for a good reason: information was very lacking at that time. Good thing that the Japanese heavy line didn’t come in 2013, because if it did, it would have been almost completely unhistorical, as majority of information from that time was somewhat incorrect.

It was known that Japan did have a super-heavy tank design, known as the “O-I”. What the O-I was, however, was not clear. There was said to be quite a lot of designs of it, but funnily enough, no one practically knew about the actual O-I (aka the 150 ton O-I with 150mm howitzer). The O-I was obviously a very interesting tank design – multi-turretted super-heavy tank with thick armor. Like I said however, there were tons of unclear information, rumors and misconceptions. It was thought that no actual drawings existed about the O-I. This eventually led into somewhat misleading drawings, basically being imaginations of “what the O-I actually looked like”.  These eventually formed into a book, the Imperial Japanese Army Ground Weapon Guide 1872-1945. This book contained quite lot of “information” and “drawings about the O-I”,  stuff like this:

“O-I 100”

“O-I 120”

Those designs what you see above are basically designs used for tier 7 and tier 8 Japanese heavy tanks, the O-I 100 and O-I 120, later (incorrectly) renamed to O-Ni and O-Ho.

Names and designation changed from time. Sometimes, the O-I 100 was used for basically what is the O-I 120 but with “less armor” and “3 turrets instead of 4”, while sometimes it was used for the design that resembles the O-Ni in-game, which also sometimes has been labeled as “Mi-To” (which is actually the historical designation for the O-I before being named as O-I, meaning “first super-heavy”).

Then we had crazy stuff like the O-I 120 with 120mm gun or even the O-I 140t with essentially no evidence of them existing.

Basically, the line was a mess, it was imagined to be something like this:

  • Tier 5: Mi-To 1 with less armor
  • Tier 6: Mi-To 2 with more armor
  • Tier 7: O-I 100
  • Tier 8: O-I 120
  • Tier 9: O-I 120 with bigger gun (120mm)
  • Tier 10: O-I 140

In around new year of 2013, things changed a bit with the Type 2604/2605, which eventually came into the game in the form of the Type 4 and Type 5, which were found from Russian archives. “Russian” archives caused lots of controversy, as one would expect.

These pics contains engine, transmission and cooling system, and rough drawings of the tank itself. Not much was known, apart from the fact that it had a very, very big gun (back then estimated to be 150 – 200 mm!) and was even bigger than the Maus.

After this, common belief was just to remove one O-I 120 variant, down tier O-I 140 and use “Type 2604” as tier 10. Back then, no one thought about splitting the Types into two tanks.

After that however, almost nothing was heard about Japanese heavies. It was postponed and postponed. Suddendly, in the early months of 2015, WG thought about adding them. Not much longer the Heavy Tank No. 6 appeared on super-test, with the main purpose to be the crew trainer for the upcoming heavy tank line. I assume this is when FineMolds, a company that “owns” lots of documents about the O-I (reportedly even video footage about the O-I’s prototype being tested), probably got into partnership with Wargaming (I dont know for sure), and thats when information of  an actual O-I design started to finally appear.

I guess this was the perfect opportunity for WG to introduce the Japanese heavy tank line, which was, even though it now feels odd to think about that, probably one of the most requested tank lines if not the most requested tank line. That design was used at tier 6, and for some extent, tier 5 (which is 95% fake as it goes). However, back then the O-I was still not clear, at least for the public and probably for WG as well. It was now thought that “O-I” is the original O-I design, with the “O-I 100” being possible upgrade to it while “O-I 120” being the “2nd O-I” design.

However, Eun Ae Sun, also known as Mai_Waffentrager, who now has done lots of research when it comes to War Thunder’s Japan’s Ground Forces tech tree, got access to the documents of O-I and was allowed to publish it:

https://forum.warthu…per-heavy-tank/

It was also confirmed that the O-I 100 and O-I 120 in-game are false designs and never existed. What this means is that the O-Ni and O-Ho are now practically as fake as the WT E100 or FV215b are. This is certainly a problem.

And that’s where we are now, after few balance changes of cource. Now we are struck with a very questionable tank line that is also…not very well balanced.

Historical accuracy:

And due to the stuff above, the historical accuracy of the line is unsurprisingly often questioned topic. There are stuff like “FAKEST LINE EVER”, “WG IMAGINATION LINE” or “NAPKIN LINE”. How true are those? Sadly I have to say that those are not that far from the truth.

Here is a chart of historical accuracy of the Japanese tech tree:

The medium line is probably one of the most historically accurate lines in the game. However, the heavy tank line…not so much.

Okay, here is an explaination for these:

Tier 2-4. All built, and pics exists. Won’t go there deeper.

O-I Experimental: This one is almost completely made up by WG, but it has some basis (think of the T28 prototype). The O-I was built, and when it didn’t have turrets and full armor (aka additional 75mm armor plates), its weight was around 97 tons. Due to very powerful engines, it was able to reach 40kph top speed on road. The lesser armor and greater speed of the built prototype was enough for WG to create a tank to fill the otherwise (back then) unfillable tier 5 hole. They took random guns to fit into tier 5, changed miniturret designs…to something that resembles Ha-Go turrets, changed size a bit, and ta-daa, call that the “concept” of the O-I, and ta-daa, a different tank to fill out tier 5 hole.

O-I: This one is basically completely historical, and the true O-I. It was build and tested, but later scrapped. Until very recently it was widely known that no footage of the prototype exists, but I got to know yesterday from reading WT forums that there actually is film footage of the tank’s testings still in this day, but it is kept private as the O-I’s documents are bought by some kind of company or something. Who knows, maybe we someday see it.

O-Ni: Originally known as O-I 100, WG changed name to O-Ni (which doesnt make sense at all by the way, as O-Ni would mean 4th super-heavy), this tank has already got covered and it’s fake. However, we cannot blame WG for it, because it was legitimately thought back then that this was one of the variants of the O-I. The built prototype of the O-I, which was rounded 100 tons heavy, caused likely even more confusion.

O-Ho: Originally known as O-I 120, again, WG changed name to O-Ho (this doesn’t make any sense either, it means 5th super-heavy). Just like the O-Ni, the O-Ho is fake and never existed in any form.

Type 4: According to this: https://www.reddit.c…per_heavy_tank/ , the Type 4 was the second super-heavy design, continued from O-I that was rejected in around 1943. At least one turret was built and it was possible that a hull was built as well. Nothing is really known about it, except it was shipped into Koto defenses as bunker, with the turret most likely being moved into bunker later on. Remains of the turret and reportedly the hull were found by Soviets after the war, and they were blown up. However, due to the lack of information when it comes to the hull of the tank, WG has mostly made up the hull as well as armor, so technically it also could fall for “modified design”.

Type 5: Proposed upgrade to the Type 4, the main difference being just the lower engine department, likely to save weight. Only existed in drawings, but it is a real design. However, just like with the Type 4, WG modified the hull shape and armor values.

So, apart from the O-Ni and O-Ho (again, we can’t blame WG for that), the line has at least some historical basis, but lots of historical errors. However, this is possible to make a bit better with changing a few things.

Historical accuracy is not the main problem, though. Historical accuracy is important, but WoT is not a simulator, it is an arcade. We always have to keep that on mind, and gameplay is priority over historical accuracy.

The main problem is the armor layout and guns.

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The line rework proposal

With all the stuff in my mind, here is how the Japanese heavy tank line would look after the reworks:

Shortly:

– O-Ho and O-Ni are fake, but they stay. There are no suitable tier 8 heavy tank for the line, expect maybe the Chi-Se (which was classified as medium anyways), but better save that for potential 2nd medium line. The O-Ni on the other hand, while still being fake, can take a slot as a Japanese tier 8 premium as there are no other candidates. The O-Ho and O-Ni are sitll better than any random fake because they have “history” in that regard of what we thought about of the O-I in past. Both of them get renamed to “O-I II” and “O-I III” to represent the idea of “upgrading” the O-I. I will discuss more about them when we specifically talk about each tank.

– O-I goes up a tier and gets buffed.

– O-I Exp. gets removed, unless none of the new heavies fit tier 6. If that’s the case, O-I Exp. gets buffed and becomes tier 6.

– Type 91, Type 95 gets downtiered. Type 95 gets its historical designation, AKA Type 95 Ro-Go. They are overtiered anyways. Type 91 might be okay with Chi-Ha’s top gun at tier 3, but with historical configuration, it has no business in tier 3. Type 95 is, even after major buffs, so poor in tier 4 that it is widely considered to be one of the worst tanks in the game.

– Otsu gets removed and replaced by the I-Go, which gets significant DPM nerfs to fit tier 1. This removes the situation of a broken tier 2 with overkill DPM, aswell as tier 1 having another Renault FT clone.

– New heavy-tanks are added to tier 4-6. Currently no information available to the public. David Lister, or Listy, will feature them on a book that features lots of obscure tank designs. Until then, we can just hope they fit into tier 4-6.

But no worries. The rework could be “still” done without new heavies. That’s why I have a “placeholder variant”, which is the version 2.

On version 2…

– tier 7-10 changes and tier 1-3 changes are exactly the same as on main variant

– Ro-Go leads to Chi-He

– Chi-He now leads to new tank, which is Chi-Ha with 120 mm howitzer.

The Chi-Ha 120 was chosen, because it shares similarities with Japanese heavies in the regard that it has a pretty big gun. It is a “link” between mediums and heavies. Playstyle-wise, it would be similar to other derp mediums at tier 5. It would pack bit more of a punch than other derp mediums in the tier, but at cost of having very low shell velocity, thinnest armor and bit worse mobility.

– Chi-Ha 120 leads to O-I Exp, which is tier 6

We still havent addressed the main problems, armor and guns. Now, we take look at each tank specifically.

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Lowtiers

Lowtier changes are quite simple and straightforward, so I put them into one package.

I-Go has poor mobility, poor armor, poor shell velocity, penetration and accuracy. All in all, it is pretty much tier 1 material. Think of something like the Medium I: big gun on otherwise poor platform. However, it was balanced on tier 2. What WG did was that they gave the I-Go brutal – I mean really brutal rate of fire. The tank has over 2000 DPM at tier 2 with 75 alpha gun. Yes, this thing fires practically as fast as the T-34 and does about as much damage, and the T-34 is already known to have brutal base DPM for tier 5. It can basically 2-3 shot tier 2s and kill them in a few seconds. Of course, it’s tier 2, which is full of guns that can kill in few seconds. The I-Go would be a perfectly fine tier 1. Just decrease the DPM considerably, as well as the HP, and you got a fine tier 1 vehicle. Think a bit like the Medium I.

Type 91 and Type 95 are commonly stated to be underperforming, especially the latter. Their historical weapons is basically the 75 mm gun. For Type 91, keep just that gun, remove the 57 mm gun and downtier it into tier 2 and balance it. You basically now have a tier 2 KV-2: very powerful HE shells but everything else is mediocre. Type 95 in return can keep the current top gun – just reduce the DPM and HP pool. Think slower, less armored M2 Medium with somewhat strong AP shells for its tier. Also, rename the tank into Type 95 Ro-Go, which was the historical designation of the tank.

New heavies & O-I Experimental

There were more Japanese heavy tank designs; these being:

– Type 96

– Type 97

– Mitsu 104

– Ishi 108

The information is extremely limited. The only image available in public is this sketch of Type 97:

DSCF2758.jpg

And that is just a sketch and it very well might be inaccurate. Design-wise, it seems to be lot like a Type 95 but with single-turret and two guns in front and back of turret. I assume this or Type 96 would fit into tier 4 slot.

This was said to be the Mitsu 104, based on the drawing that has been found from some archives (quite many countries actually have mentionings of these tanks in their archives):

http://live.warthunder.com/post/552865/en/

75 mm gun, 60 mm frontal armor, top speed of 30 kph and weight of 39 tons.

However, even this was stated to be very inaccurate, so it is very well possible that the Mitsu 104 didn’t even look anything like this.

But that might give some inspiration of what the tank would be. If WG would give it stuff like the 75 mm gun of the Chi-To as top gun for it, we would have a tank that would play a lot like a Japanese VK 30.01 H.

Like I said, Listy’s book will feature information of these tanks. There are enough information of them, just not publicly available. We can only hope we can see these tanks as soon as possible. The book was stated to be published maybe even this year. That’s something to look forward to.

As for O-I Experimental, it is hard to balance a conceptually and practically WG creation. If the Ishi 108 fits into tier 6, O-I Experimental has no place and it will be removed. However, if it doesn’t anyhow fit there, we can just use the O-I Experimental to fill the hole. As for the tier 6 O-I Experimental, my idea is just to simply give it pre-nerf stats, increase its penetration to about same of that the O-I has now with 10 cm, and buff its health to 950.

O-I 

The true O-I, the 150 ton giant, housing a 150 mm howitzer with 150 mm armor. One of the most controversial tanks ever introduced. Having 150mm armor means it is immune to lowtiers, and if they try to attack from behind, they are surprised by an also 150mm rear armor. Then they get oneshotted by the 150mm howitzer. It was essentially the KV-2 with better gun handling and super-heavy armor. Unsurprisingly, it got nerfed, but it still has this armor and this derp gun. Wouldn’t the best solution be just to give it weakspots? Or just remove 150mm gun?

Well…it is not that simple.

Despite all the talk about “105mm” guns on the O-I, the one and only armament proposed for it, among with the smaller caliber guns in miniturrets, was the 15cm Type 96 Howitzer. It’s the historical armament, and it should stay. It’s not really that big of a problem…the KV-2 already has it on tier 6, right? But the O-I has loads of armor. The KV-2 really doesn’t.

Unfortunately, the O-I’s armor is actually historical:

The O-I’s armor layout is a big problem, and that’s where WG got liberation to all higher tier Japanese super-heavies. One would nerf it, but it’s quite hard, actually. The shapes of the O-I turret, poor side armor etc. means that it really can’t angle the armor effectively at all. It can’t even angle the front from corners without exposing a flat, 150 mm armor zone. So after certain penetration, O-I can say goodbye to its armor.

The O-I is basically not even that much slower than a KV-2, especially if you factor pre-nerf stats. This means that the O-I is more or less a KV-2 with significantly thicker armor. That alone should be good enough justification that the O-I should be on a different tier.

And that’s why I propose idea of moving the O-I to tier 7. Armor certainly doesn’t sound that amazing on tier 7, does it? Well, we can buff other attributes instead.

Compared to the O-Ni, the O-I has worse armor obviously, so it has to make up for having better other statistics. One option is giving an engine upgrade to the O-I – there reportely was a wooden mockup of  an O-I that had a 12 cylinder Daimler Benz diesel engine instead of the current twin engines it has now. This would be a potential (and historical) upgrade. The top speed was estimated to be 30-35 kph with full weight, so there is that as well.

HP and gun stats should be buffed to be around the same level as the O-Ni’s. The 15cm howitzer is historical, so it stays as the stock gun. As for gun stats, it should be somewhat similar to O-Ni. Regarding the other guns, O-I receives an (albeit unhistorical) 10cm gun just like the O-Ni, but with a bit better DPM and gun handling.

Lastly, the armor is still “immune” to lowtiers, so to give them just a slight chance, the cupola armor of miniturrets and the main turret gets nerfed to 120mm from 150mm. They are very small, however, so they are still unreliable weakspot at most distances. It is unhistorical…but it does change things a bit.

After these changes, the O-I is a different vehicle. It is very heavy, carries lots of health and a strong gun. The armor starts to become somewhat okay, but it isnt particularly amazing. O-I’s survivability relies on health and gun. It’s like the Tiger I with more alpha damage and a bit thicker armor, but it’s twice as large and also bit slower. Derp gun is still an option, and still an option to derp around, but O-I with derp gun is overall worse than current O-Ni with derp gun. Compared to the current O-Ni, it has better gun stats, but worse armor.

O-Ho (O-I III)

The O-Ho, or O-I 120, never existed. However, there are no other viable tier 8 replacements – expect O-Ni, which equally never existed. In one way, this is good thing – the armor can be manipulated into anything to balance the vehicle into tier 8.

First change is that the O-Ho gets renamed. O-Ho sounds funny and as it is my favorite tank in the game, it is a quite iconic name and even after the name change I would still call it as O-Ho. However, as name, it makes absolutely no sense. “O-Ho” means “fifth” super-heavy…what? Where is the second and third, then? The name was made up by WG, so there is that. The O-Ho and O-Ni won’t get renamed into “second” and “third” super-heavies. The “true” second super-heavy is Type 4/5. Lets just assume O-Ni and O-Ho were just “ideas” of upgrading O-I. Thats why, they will be renamed into O-I II and O-I III. Somewhat dull names, but whatever.

The description also gets reworked into something like this:

One of the ideas of improving the O-I. One of these ideas was O-I III, which had considerably thicker armor and different guns. However, all of these ideas were cancelled in favor of the Type 4 super-heavy tank. This tank actually never existed.

“This tank actually never existed” is already being used on some of the descriptions of Chinese TDs, which, atleast most of them, are creations of Kongzhong, the company that runs the Chinese World of Tanks server. Similarly, such description should be used on the O-I III.

As for the O-Ho (I’m just referring the tanks with their original names to make sure what I am talking about), it is probably the most balanced Japanese heavy tank. It has thick armor but it is actually penetratable by same tier heavies, especially if they aim a bit. Its derp gun doesn’t do excessive damage like the tier 6/9/10 ones, and it has a major flaw with gun depression, so you need a slight amount of brain activity to play it. However, the O-Ho is still not perfect – it still has an armor layout that is immune to lowtiers and many same tier tanks – and against higher penetration, O-Ho has low capabilities to defend itself. Though it is still a bit better than other Japanese heavies, as the armor has lots of trollish autobounce angles thanks to the miniturrets and angled upper plate.

Just do a simple change: nerf the LFP armor, and buff the upper frontal strip + cheeks to like this:

As you can see, I adjusted the armor so that the armor strip on the front is now 230 mm instead of 200 mm, but LFP has been nerfed notably to around ~180 effective. Mantle has been significantly buffed to 270 mm – aka don’t shoot me here zone. Cheeks are 230 mm instead of 200 mm to increase sidescraping capabilities. Cupola has been nerfed significantly – however, it is tiny and hard to hit.

Overall, while the O-Ho gains a bit of angleability, and enemies have to aim a bit more, the armor is a bit nerfed, especially against those who can aim. However, there is still a problem which is that the non-derp guns generally suck.

Firstly, 15cm becomes the stock gun just like on the O-I. Stock 10cm gun gets removed. As a true top gun option, I propose the 127mm naval gun from the Type 4 Heavy:

At 450 alpha and 230 penetration, this gun would be scary for the tier 8 superheavy. The accuracy would be moderate, but as a trade-off, DPM would be very low to compensate, otherwise it would have almost a TD level of parameters. Due to not having a huge additional mantlet like the 10cm or that breech below the gun like the 15cm, the O-Ho would be able to depress the 127mm gun more than the other two guns.

The current 10cm stays, but gets moved so researching it is optional. The 127mm gun takes its place before the Type 4 Heavy. The 10cm gets premium ammo with 240 mm penetration, and the gun depression is also improved on the 10cm so that -3 areas become -5. However, the 127 mm still has an overall better gun depression.

The O-Ho has now 3 gun options. However, the 127mm is overall the “best” and preferred gun option. The 10cm is just there if one hates its DPM, while the derp gun stays just so the O-Ho can derp around, but it no longer is the “easily” most competitive gun.

With these changes, the O-Ho changes considerably. It has to be bit more careful when it comes to its armor, as the lower plate is huge and relatively weak. However, it gains a new gun with alpha and penetration being among the best in class/tier, at the cost of having a long reload. Think VK 100 with less armor but with more mobility, more alpha and penetration. The 127mm also does not have a too limited gun depression unlike 10cm and 15cm.

The derp gun stays as an option; however, if one opts to use the 15cm, the tank no longer can just go from corners with its front due to the lower plate while still having to deal with depression. While you do not need to “aim” at weakspots, it still requires brains to play as you need to position it carefully as sidescraping and hiding LFP is very hard with limited depression, making it hard to abuse the parts of armor that got thicker. 10cm is an option if one hates the low DPM of the 127 mm gun. Having two now at least as viable guns as the derp will mean that its significance will be lot smaller as well. The O-Ho also is the last Japanese heavy tank with a derp gun option.

O-Ni (O-I II)

Soo… if the O-Ho stays at tier 8, O-I becomes tier 7, Types also stay in their tiers – why does the O-Ni, that never existed – just like the O-Ho- still stay in the game? Simple – it becomes a tier 7 or 8 premium tank, as there are no other candidates as a higher tier heavy tank premium (and I will not count those anime abominations that will be SEA server exclusive, anyways). And I would like to see something else that isn’t just a stock Tiger I a tier lower.

Just like the O-Ho, the O-Ni gets renamed into “O-I II”. The O-Ni’s descprition will be also changed similarly to the O-Ho’s:

One of the ideas of improving the O-I. One of these ideas was O-I II, which had thicker armor and different guns. However, all of these were cancelled in favor of the Type 4 superheavy tank. This tank actually never existed.

There are two options. Either keeping the O-Ni at tier 7, or making it tier 8.

The tier 7 O-Ni is much simpler to balance. Just take the fully upgraded O-Ni, make it heavier (100 tons does not make any sense for such a tank) and the nerf armor of miniturrets and the cupola, but buff the side armor to 105 mm so it can actually angle properly. And there you have it, a premium Japanese superheavy. Compared to O-I, it has better armor, but worse mobility and the miniturrets are weakspots like on the KV-5, but they are hideable when sidescraping.

Alternatively, the O-Ni can also be buffed into a tier 8 premium. With this change, a similar concept should be kept, expect that the frontal hull armor should be increased considerably. However, keep the concept of having weak miniturrets. The gun shall be the 10cm from the O-Ho with good DPM. HP would be increased to around 1700 – 1800. Just like at tier 7, the side becomes a bit thicker and the tank gains weight. Compared to the O-Ho, the tier 8 O-Ni has better overall armor, but is a bit more sluggish and does not carry a powerful 127mm gun.

Type 4 Heavy (O-Ro) and Type 5 Heavy (O-Ro Kai / O-Ro II)

And finally, we get into the top tier Japanese superheavies and now, especially the Type 5, being quite a hot topic due to recent (over)buffs. I handle them together because changes I propose for them are overall very similar.

There are certain problems with the model. The turret is known to exist by looking at photos; as Russians did take a photo of the bunker with a Type 4 turret:

 

(before you call it photoshopped due to someone trying to prove that Type 4/5 existed, this picture has been around the internet before WoT even existed…)

The only known drawing of the Type 5 (Type 4 is more or less this with a higher engine deck, going on a straight line along with the hull below the turret like Chi-To or Chi-Ri):

Note the hull shape. It differs actually quite largely from the in-game model:

– the hull front shape is clearly different – it looks like it is divided in UFP and LFP.

– no hull cheeks.

– upper hull does not extend in front of the turret.

And other things, though keep in mind the sketch is likely not very accurate either, as the turret is a bit different from the picture (but similar enough to see that it is supposed to be the same). However, the current hull is not any more historically accurate, as there are no existing accurate pictures of what the Type 4/5 hull actually looked like.

There is one thing on the sketch, though – it has the LFP and UFP divided. And no hull cheeks. Conclusion? Just use the actual design from the sketch for Type 4/5, and rework the LFP armor so it is actually a weakspot. However, with the removal of hull cheeks, the tank is now capable of sidescraping actually properly and by hiding that LFP. The upper flat front plate will get buffed to ~300 mm on both tanks. Front turret gets nerfed on Type 5 to 260 mm, and side armor gets reverted to 140 mm. Cupola becomes smaller but much weaker, now being around 200 mm effective at center (still trollish at sides) but it is a bit smaller target than it is now.

Type 4’s armor:

Type 5’s armor:

Now their UFP and upper flat armor plates are roughly equal to the upper plate armor of similar tier German heavies. Cupola is a weakspot, the mantlet is much tougher and spaced (aka don’t shoot here zone), but turret cheeks are slightly weaker.

Type 4 and 5 generally have quite similar armor layouts. Type 5’s LFP is a bit stronger and the turret is slightly stronger. Apart from that, their armor is mostly the same. However, Type 5 makes up for other things – it is a bit lighter and thus has marginally more mobility, and has more health. That is a not worthy enough upgrade for tier 10, isn’t it?

As for guns, the derp gun will get just removed. Currently it is obviously broken, and would be fixed with the removal of gold rounds in terms of being pay to win, but I’d rather see it being completely removed. The concept of the line should not be a full derp gun line, even if many of them would have derp guns as options. Also, I think that tiers 9-10 should be kept for the most part derp-free, apart from some exceptions like T49/Sheridan.

On the Type 4, the 14cm gets better accuracy, pen and a bit better gun handling. Accuracy gets increased from 0.42 to 0.39, and pen gets buffed to 258.

To truly differentiate Type 5 from Type 4 and make it actually an worthy upgrade over Type 4, I propose of giving “Kai” a version of the 14cm. Accuracy gets increased to 0.37. Like the 10cm on O-Ho, the “Kai” uses gold rounds as standard rounds – and gets gold rounds with 310mm penetration. New penetration is 282 / 310mm. This makes Type 5 one unique vehicle – the gun is almost like a mix between TD and heavy guns. DPM is on the low side, though. As an another advantage, the tanks have great depression and a high HP pool.

Compared to Maus, Type 5 has worse armor, is bigger and has worse DPM and gun handling, but has better gun depression, slightly better mobility, higher penetration and higher alpha. With the changes, it would be an interesting vehicle. Think of a mid-tier Japanese medium tank with improved armor on steroids. Lots of steroids.

And my balance changes might not be perfect, but hopefully you get the idea of what I am trying to achieve. Of course, if necessary, WG would change other stats like DPM, HP and bloom statistics to balance these tanks further.

And lastly, since Type 4 and 5 were the “second” super-heavy designs, the designation “O-Ro” would be logical. Type 4 would be named as “Type 4 O-Ro”, while Type 5, as being the improved version, would be named either as “Type 5 O-Ro Kai” or “Type 5 O-Ro II”. However, neither of these names were known to be used, so it is not necessary. The in-game description is also inaccurate:

The Type 4, also known as the Type 2604, is a variant of the superheavy O-I tank that was developed during World War II. The vehicle was designed for breakthrough attacks on enemy fortifications as well as for coastal defense.

Type 4/5 are not variants of O-I, they are their own tank designs.

Rather, the descriptions should look somewhat like this:

Type 4:

Type 4 super-heavy tank was developed during the end of WW2. The design was meant to fix some faults of O-I shown in the tests of the vehicle; such as the single-turret design. The vehicle turret was used in bunkers at Koto Defences. After the war, the Red Army destroyed the abandoned turret.

Type 5:

Type 5 was a proposed upgrade to improve the Type 4 super-heavy tank. Compared to Type 4, the Type 5 has a lower rear part of the vehicle in order to save weight. A prototype was never built. Existed only in drawings.

——————————————–

Conclusion

This changes try to fix these problems:

1) retardproof armor

2) derp guns dominating when it comes to gun choices

3) historical accuracy

4) frustation to play

These changes give the tanks weakspots, but also a bit more usable armor, stronger non-derp guns, trying to improve historical accuracy a bit (or, at least make them look more logical) and make the tanks a bit more comfortable to play.

As for lines, the first tiers contain heavies with poor mobility, low armor but strong, high caliber guns. At midtiers the situation is a mystery, but I expect strong guns and average-ish armor, basically heavy-versions of medium tanks in the respective tiers. Tier 7 is mix between past and future, and at tiers 8-10, we have superheavies whose speciality is high alpha guns with the best penetration in their class, high HP and pretty good armor, but being larger than their German counterparts and having worse DPM and either worse armor or mobility, depending on which tank (E 100 or Maus) is being compared.

——————————————————————————————

TL;DR:

– I-Go, Type 91 and Type 95 get all downtiered; Type 95 gets renamed to Type 95 Ro-Go.

– O-I Experimental gets removed.

– O-I becomes tier 7 with mobility, health and gun buffs.

– New heavies are added at tier 4-6.

– O-Ni gets renamed to O-I II and becomes premium at either tier 7 or 8, gains buffed side armor but nerfed mobility and miniturrets become weakspots.

– O-Ho gets renamed to O-I III, gets an 127mm gun, the 10cm gun gets gold ammo, also gets some strong armor spots and weakspots too.

– Type 4 gets reworked armor with addition of weakspots, but cheeks are removed, derp gun is removed and 14cm accuracy is buffed.

– Type 5 gets reworked armor with addition of weakspots, cheeks are removed, side armor changes reverted to 9.17 values, derp gun is removed and 14cm penetration is considerably buffed, as well as accuracy.

TL;DR of TL;DR:

Generally the addition of weakspots, armor becoming a bit more usable with sidescraping etc., non-derp guns becoming much more viable, derp guns removed from tier 9-10. Overall, armor gets nerfed against good players, against bad players it stays the same or becomes better.


Thank you for reading this proposal. I don’t think this is an absolutely perfect rework – but I am sure it would at least help the situation a bit. I just want to improve this game – and I am sure there is some possibility for that.

Also, special thanks for Mai_Waffentrager for her research. Without that, the rework would have been very hard to do properly.

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37 thoughts on “The great rework of the Japanese heavy line – is it possible and how can we do it?

    1. It did not have miniturrets. It is logical to assume it didn’t, as at that point most nations were going off with multi-turret concept. I would expect after trials of O-I Japan would do the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. About the higher Tiers: the problem is that baddies represent a much more signifiant portion of the playerbase than the good players, thus those would become better against more players than before.

    Personnally, I’d vote to:
    -make their armor quite strong (but not retarded like it currently is, so consider a front armor nerf, but unlike what you propose, no cheeks buff to compensate)
    -removal of megaderps like you said. Playing in Tier 10 should require a bit more of skill than point&click
    -add a bunch of hp so they become TOG-like and can soak up a lot of damages without necessarily bouncing everything thrown at them. Now arty doesn’t click heavies for full health anymore, this seems perfectly doable to me.

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    1. I meant mostly against terrible players. I would say that even sub-par player has some knowledge at weakspots, especially at higher tiers.

      Also, it would further encourage them to become better.

      Like

      1. I understand the reasoning, however this is sadly kind of utopic. A few crucial parameters must be taken into account:
        1) a lot of players just play 4 fun. They don’t give a damn fuk about becoming better, even if they get stomped. (and it doesn’t even concern bots only)
        2) Especially when they can swap to magic ammo
        3) a lot of others will never admit the problem comes from their own. If the shell doesn’t penetrate heavily angled armor, then they throw gold. If even gold doesn’t penetrate, then the opponent is using cheat mods.

        it’s their fault and they will pay for not learning, but they will fail as a part of your team. And I honestly think this is a much more spread thing than what you would think. Hown many times have I seen players with 20k+ battles throwing their shells into the flanks of my sidescrapping KV-4, despite having reached Tier 9-10?
        The only weakspots that are universally known, even by sub-par players,are those found on the AT line and the Liberté, and those are known only because they are so stupidly obvious and easy to penetrate.

        Now, if you tell me the whole bunch of miniturrets and cupolas become soft-skinned, then I agree with you (although the Tier 9 and 10 have none, but that driver hatch and gun port are obvious enough).
        But I disagree on giving them better sidescrap abilities, as it would make the addition of weakspots pointless.

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        1. Having some sort of weakspot is still better than having literally no options but press “2-2”. You cant always cant sit in sidescraping position, and you actually need brains in order to do that. The tank might eventually need to push, which exposes weakspots. Also there is still cupola on Type 4/5 to shoot, even if it sidescrapes.

          Armor-wise i though somewhere between E 100 and (pre-buff) Maus, maybe bit closer to that of an E 100. Honestly, i dont remember people minding armor of E 100 or Maus (as for latter, before it got buffed).

          Like

  2. Quite an in-depth article, maybe a bit too much to read in one go. I suggest breaking these sorts of articles in multiple smaller ones.
    Also, legga, you desperately need a proofreader.
    Just sayin’.

    Like

    1. Yes, it was long and I thought about splitting it into two, but wasn’t sure where I would actually split it from, so

      The Japanese TD line article will be split in three though, no worries.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m looking at ‘heavy’ type 97 and i immediately see Chi-Ha.
    Are you sure its not Chi-Ha, mistakenly identified and drawn by someone who never draw before on his life?

    Like

  4. I can understand why some hate the line due to the type 5 armor buff and gold derp etc. But once you play them, you understand how crap some of them are past tier 6. As most of them are useless as they can’t multitaks. And none of them are good with their AP guns, even as top tier. Type 4 grind with the stock gun was a pain, only to realize the top AP gun was even more useless. So it needed a derp. of sorts.

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    1. The difference is, is that the Czech tech tree is mostly historical. Mostly…

      I was told that the O-Ni and O-Ho are artist’s impressions of the O-I from someone very prominent in the O-I research group. So basically, two confirmed fakes?

      Type 4 and Type 5? I have some doubt whether they exist

      Like

    1. Quite many ideas of this has came up as early as few months after introducion of the line aka in 2015 (Type 4/5 changes are almost exactly the same, idea of uptiering O-I and making O-Ni prem also was there, and giving O-Ho viable AP gun)

      I collected quite alot of information and knew for long time I would eventually do this but with recently the Jap heavies becoming even bigger topic with Type 5 buffs as well as the fact there are more Japanese heavy tank designs i actually thought about finishing the idea i had planned up for ages.

      Like

      1. NO WAI “JAPS” DESIGNED SUPER-HEAVIES. Please use the word Japanese not your choice of abbreviation. World of Tanks is a game played by people from all over the world. Try to keep it professional.

        Like

        1. It tried to go into mind of typical pubbie with expectation probably being exactly like that. Anyways, thanks for pointing out, i will fix that.

          Like

  5. Except the main feature of this line was supposed to be :

    1) insane front armor for their tier. These tanks are SUPPOSED to have no frontal weakspot. And they make up for that with huge size (arty magnets), very poor mobility (easy flank) and very weak side armor anything can pen. Armor must stay otherwise there is no point in having this line. If WG didnt overnerf arty these tanks would be fine as arty was a natural counter to them. Now they barely do any damage, the arty nerf is what made SHTs OP, nothing else. Currently you see these tanks in rididulous situations they would never have survived a patch ago.
    2) derp guns. Even if I find it gamebreaking a bit, having a whole line of derps is unique just like having autoloading TD and arty was unique to the french tree. Just remove the pay2win gold and thats it. Remember these guns will do 300 dmg every 20s if they don’t pen, and they have 75mm pen…

    Here you want to take away what makes them special (230mm LFP really… At tier X as a superheavy… Have you seen the size of these plates ??) ; and replace “questionable designs” with other questionable designs for the sake of replacing things…

    Your idea is too turn a line of super-armored SHTs with derp gun option into a line of decent (at best) heavy tanks handicaped by their size and speed, with no distinct feature other than being as effective as TOG II* is right now.
    Remember the game is still mostly in a MT meta where some tanks go twice as fast as these HTs, with sometimes autoloaders making the old T92 AP seem like shit, spamming nothing but a gold ammo that can pen Type5’s UFP if unangled, while being sometimes very well armored.

    Let’s put things simple : you cannot hope to rework a line to make it balanced in a game where core mechanics are not balanced.
    As long as gold, autoloaders and maps are like they are now ; everything that is “balanced” will underperform and be underpowered.
    Balanced armor ? Easy pen by everything.
    Balanced mobility ? Outplayed by other tanks.
    Balanced HP ? Say hi to autoloaders.

    The JP HT line is WoT’s smallest problem right now. They are map dependent and gold still makes them useless. You an counter heavy armor with gold ; you cant counter gold with anything balanced.

    Like

  6. Thank you very much leggasiini for this proposal – even if it never gets implemented it’s definitely an interesting read. I’m eager for Listy’s book as well – hopefully there will be lots of pictures of the blueprints and/or prototypes for the various tanks.

    One little note, the Type 91 and the Type 95 Ro-Go didn’t have a 75mm gun historically. The Type 91 had a short 57mm gun (not sure which one, either the Type 90 or Type 97 gun, there wasn’t much of a difference between them IIRC) while the Ro-Go had the short 70mm Type 94 gun. As those tanks are right now, the Ro-Go has the 70mm as a stock gun, which is probably fine for Tier 3. The Type 91 on the other hand doesn’t have either 57mm gun. A simple fix for the armament choices after the tanks are down-tiered would be to give the Type 91 the same options that the current Type 89 I-Gou has, while removing the 75mm Type 99 gun from the Ro-Go and giving it the 57mm Type 97 as a stock gun.

    Like

  7. The fucking noobs crying about Super Heavys cos they can’t pen this tanks in front. Cry more. Now talk about invisi meds gold spammers with 260 pen and APCR and then start talk about Super Heavy

    Like

  8. that photo of type 4 turret with 2 russians is clearly photoshopped lmao

    who’s dumb enough to believe that THAT is a historical photo from WWII era xD

    Like

  9. Very interesting read thanks for that.
    Sadly i don´t think WG´s balance department is very interested in that…

    Like

  10. Great read! I really doubt wargaming will do anything, but I am really curious as to what Warthunder will do, as multiturret works in there game.

    Like

  11. So much bending and twisting the facts on the historicity side, I don’t even want to go there and call you out.

    Nice article, non the less. Honestly I don’t think WG will put much thought into reworking those tanks. WG is more than happy when a line offers “unique” gameplay (and JPN heavies certainly do).
    Game balance is no concern here.

    Like

  12. Great work. Very good looking update to the Japanese heavy line, I am very interested in this Japanese second medium line that you speak of, could you do a write up on those tanks? Would the implementation of secondary guns on the secondary turrets also help the Japanese line?

    Like

  13. Thank you for your work. Good article.

    While I generally agree to your suggested tree proposal, I would like to keep the current Tier 1 and just rename it. I often read about it as a clone and while sharing a lot of parts with the FT, it is an own design: “Renault NC27” (official name for export) or “Renault NC1”. Japan called it “Otsu-Gata Sensha” (Type B). I would only change the auto cannon into the french 37mm. (The tanks were bought with the 37mm)

    Maybe the “I-Go/Chi-Ro” could become part of another medium line or become a premium tank.

    I’m not sure, but when I look at the Type 5 drawing, I can clearly see hull cheeks in the front and in the rear.

    About your removal of the derp-guns at Tier 9 and Tier 10:

    1. Yes, you should have to aim for a weak spot to do damage, but “2-2” does the same thing in many cases, without reduced damage, like a non-penetrating he shot.

    2. If you got penned in your grille, LT, BC or whatever paper/open top tank, you either got unlucky (445m+ snipe, that hit) or your “skill” drove you in front of a derp gun.

    3. Derp guns are a good solution to tanks who sit hull-down and are nearly immune to fire and your arty cant’t shoot them (often the case, cause heavies prefer the arty safe zones)

    Derp guns should do less damage than a normal gun with a non-penetration hit and more, if it penetrates. The Tier 9/10 derp gun does to much damage: 1100 (p2w: 1400) becomes roughly 550dmg (p2w: 700dmg) – armor. (Exact formula: http://wiki.wargaming.net/en/Battle_Mechanics#HE_Shells)
    Wargaming should use the damage values of the light (also caliber 152mm): 910 damage with HE and only increased pen on its premium rounds. Maybe consider heat ammunition.

    Accuracy should be lowered in form of aim time/dispersion values

    They should loose a 1vs1 against another heavy tank, even with their thick armor (should have weakspots), but should be feared by all soft-armored tanks, that got cornered and isn’t agile enough to outmaneuver the type4/5.

    Like

  14. I am french and i use google trad

    This is very good work, it’s about,
    But there are things that are not possible,

    – the Chi-Ha 120,
    It must be considered as a TD, not like a medium tank,
    According to WG its short barrel 120 mm must hit 450 damage per shot
    As a TD, it must have less sight and less life than a tank medium which counterbalances its enormous firepower,
    Which balances it correctly for the tier V

    Type 4 and Type 5

    WAHT THE FUCK ??? !!!!
    What are these frontal armor values of furious ???
    300 mm frontal ???, 330 mm frontal ???
    Make the front armor inoperable to the base shell and difficult to pierce to the gold
    But it is completely stupid!
    The problem of Type 4 and Type 5 is not that their armor is too weak
    It is the golds that are completely OP

    You want us all to be full gold shells in Tier X, is that it?
    Ah bravo, bravo the pay for win …

    Like

    1. On the other hand the table which shows by color code the historical credibility of the tanks

      This is just excellent!

      Like

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