Personal Experience: If we could only say one thing about the WZ-120, there was never a dull moment. In fact, it's been one of the most exciting three mark adventures to date! Whether it was cursing tiny pebbles or grains of sand for throwing my gun into the stratosphere, or whinging about the funky gun handling or how we slapped that heavy twice in a row for mid 500s, wait, wtf? There was never a minute of quiet on this ride!
In all honesty, the average emotional state for me during this experience was sadness. The WZ-120 is nothing but lost potential, overall its in a solid if not good spot but it will never garner any acknowledgement because of the reputation for bad gun depression. It's not like the community is wrong either, the lack of gun depression to mitigate damage with use of terrain at higher tiers makes for at least a consistently uphill battle and a death sentence at worst. The cold truth is were not a traditional medium and we'll need to adjust our gameplay to cope.
These were the most memorable aspects for me;
Gun Depression: More often than not, we'll end up fighting with the gun depression just to accomplish the most basic of engagements. Wiggling our tank forwards, backwards and side-to-side trying to find an angle or finding creative ways to interact with rubble.
DPM / Alpha: This a best in class combination for tier 9. The reload of 8.54s is enough to reliably out-reload most heavy tanks and the 440 alpha is significant. If we need to slow it down and peek conservatively the 440 alpha can reliably out-trade most enemies on a 1:1 basis. Or if need be, we can shoot our way out of bad situations with our DPM. It can be more than a little surprising how quickly the damage adds up.
Frontal Fuel Tanks: With the exposed frontal fuel tanks, damage is frequent. I would recommend making a habit of angling the side with our driver towards the enemy to make it a little more difficult to get at. Sadly we'll never play perfect and this will get us into trouble from time to time. It's a little RNG, but food instead of fire extinguisher is a manageable risk – Just be aware of what were getting into and how exposed they are.
Dependent on map RNG: Typically this is more associated with lights & EBRs, but were a victim of this too, just in a different way. Otherwise acceptable maps like Redshire or Serene coast with important positions are difficult to play with poor gun depression. I'm normally not so invested in what the matchmaker spits out, but it's hard not to breathe a sigh of relief if we pull maps like Steppes or Berlin, just because the good positions are so straightforward to play regardless of tank.
Personally, I would recommend most markers stay away from the WZ-120 and invest their focus into other tanks. While it is more than possible to play no gun depression tanks in this gun depression meta. It just makes for an unnecessarily emotionally draining experience – I was certainly tilted more than I care to admit by the end of it.
Main Build: With the buffs in
The potential is there, we have a solid framework for success – Strong turret, good reload, good alpha, acceptable gun handling, good pen and good mobility. If we compare the WZ-120 with the CS-59, we mimick them almost exactly except for the gun depression. Which just makes me sad, because without that gun depression we have to make trades more often from our HP pool to accomplish what almost any other tier 9 medium can do with their gun depression alone. The only viable third choice for equipment for me because of this was hardening – Buffing us up to a respectable 1,930 HP which makes us a pseudo-heavy.
This sets us up as something that can sponge a decent bit of damage against heavies and generally out-reload them too.
Optics Build: This was more of an insurance build for "just in case", out of 70~ battles I only used it twice. For Karelia ATK and DEF because there were no light tanks. Hardening was such a useful tool for my playstyle I didn't want to play without it.
Prokhorovka: We don't have the gun depression or accuracy to reliably play the center of the map, we don't have the gun depression to play the 9/0 hill. We do have the camo to operate on the 1/2/3, but this ties us into being entirely dependent on our light tanks.
Airfield: While we have the speed to make it to the cubbies, our gun depression fails us, again. Even fighting heavies at point blank range can be tricky because the tiniest grain of sand will send our shells flying to the moon.
Standard: Only a few are necessary for catching enemies in the side or for the rare instance where we need to overmatch armor but HEAT is insufficient.
Premium: Our bread and butter round, but aside from the 340 pen there's nothing else good about this setup – The gun handling by itself is acceptable, but when paired with poor shell velocity and unreliability of HEAT it just becomes okay.
HE: <4 should be sufficient for general utility. While the pen of 68 is on the lower end, it can be one helluva shock for a Grille 15 or Skorpion to get tagged by one or two of these.
Crew: The WZ-120 needs a lot to bring out it's full potential. Repairs, sixth sense, camo, BIA, recon and situational awareness. All are more or less important, but only realistic at 5+ crew skills.
Pleasant but non-essential luxuries are intuition, firefighting and sound detection. I suspect because we have a fairly weak 45mm armor turret bulge we take a little bit higher damage from glancing hits from SPGs than we really should. Sound detection to mitigate chip damage from arty is an option to deal with that. Firefighting is also incredibly useful because of the frontally mounted fuel tanks.
- Module Durability Increase – Our frontal ammo rack frequently suffers module damage
- Improved Sight – Absolutely worth it for improved final accuracy
- Anti-Reflective Headlights Coating – The trade for improved camo is acceptable
- Sensitive Optics – Losing top speed sucks, but good view range without vents is worth it
- Second Equipment Slot Specialization – Survivability
Good luck, and good hunting fellow markers.