So the IS-3A has been around for about a month now, let's talk about it
On paper, it looks like an IS-3 that trades mobility, gun handling, and some token amount of turret protection in exchange for superior DPM and a faster standard shell. In practice, that's pretty much what you get: a sluggish IS-3 that has a clearer threat factor due to the superior reload, but falls behind once the breakthrough it's trying to achieve happens.
I mean that makes the IS-3A sound like a pretty decent side-grade from the IS-3, right? Right, so first here's a video where I talk about the tank and show off a bit.
I have some problems with it that I didn't really get to talk about much in the video.
There is no RU HT that shares the same crew layout, and at best it will train 75% of an IS-3's crew, so it's not exactly a crew training powerhouse.
We kind of have enough RU HT premiums around now, but I suppose this fills in the void left by the removal of the IS-6 and KV-5 from permanent sale - except this one can't train full crews.
My main issue with it (and really, kind of the same issue I have with the Bromwell, and, I suppose, with the T34) is that it's not a clear downgrade from its tech tree counterpart, or at least isn't meaningfully less powerful. I do get that with the phasing out of preferential matchmaking, Wargaming is trying to make whatever new premiums they release more appealing, but are we seeing a revision of the previous premium tank philosophy that they should be better than the stock tech tree equivalent tank, but worse than the elite version? As I understood it, this was intended to make sure that you couldn't just buy your way to a tank that would put you on an equivalent footing with players who'd actually taken the time to grind up the tiers (of course, preferential MM kind of breaks this, but that's probably a discussion for another time).
With the recent pay2win emblems scandal still fresh in everyone's minds, it seems rather odd that premiums like the Bromwell and IS-3A are slipping under the radar, because these are tanks that, while they have clear disadvantages compared to their tech tree counterparts, these disadvantages are either so marginal as to be meaningless (as in the case of the Bromwell) or are offset by pretty powerful advantages to a degree that the premium could conceivably be treated just as an "alternative" version of the standard tank (as in the case of the IS-3A). A good argument is that they need to perform close to the tech tree equivalent tank since they don't have the benefit of preferential matchmaking, but what about older premiums like the Löwe, which have always been pretty clear downgrades and never had preferential MM?
So, what do you guys think? Are these "sidegrade" premium tanks slipping under the radar because WG is transitioning to a new premium tank design philosophy, or is this just a result of the typically poor balancing that WG tends to have for newly released vehicles?