I quit War Thunder for almost a year but have been brought back by the Festive Quest. It seemed easy enough and I've always wanted to further my American tank line, my highest BR was the M18 at 5.3, so I got to grinding. At first things were going pretty well, I'd get lucky enough every few matches to get the 6 kill streak needed and then only have to play to have fun, 20 kills and 15 caps is how I've been getting my badges so far alongside the kill streak one.
After getting my first machine gun decoration I saw that there was a second event going on as well, an event to light the tree. I looked at the later rewards and didn't pay much attention to them, I don't care about the Iron Duke or another American plane, the STRV-81 and P-47 will always be my one true loves for their respective nations. But the chance at getting another machine gun? That truly interested me. I'll admit that I'm a bushbag (never got the 6-packs, sadly) and it'd be nice to actually decorate my tank with some cool guns instead of bushes.
So, I looked at the tasks. I thought to myself, "Kill 150 tanks? Easy, I'm doing that already!" "Kill an enemy 1 BR higher than yours 10 times? Easy, the M18 gets uptiered out the wazoo!" Then I saw the task that would forever change me as a human being, "Set 50 enemies on fire." That looked simple enough, I already had about a dozen under my belt so how hard could it be?
That's when it started, at that moment I took a conscious oath to shoot to maim, not to kill. I was no longer there to support my team, I willingly took shots at engine bays when I could've easily instead shot the turret and saved a friendly. I wasn't a savior, I only contributed to the suffering, and I delighted in it. The high I'd get watching those Tigers panic as I shot at them from discrete corners of the map, watching them pop smoke to conceal themselves from the front while I was far, far behind them. I'd count in my head, "One, two, three, he's out of FPE, move onto the next victim." I'd knowingly kill myself just to get another fire under my belt, heading back to the hanger with glee as I watched the numbers rise.
I remember… oh god, I remember it all! It was a match on Volokolamsk, I was on the North Eastern side towards the frozen lake. I had taken out the flanking Germans and moved into a sniping position to watch over the southern tree lines. That's when I saw it, a Hetzer that looked like he took a wrong turn at Sinai. He was all dressed up in his nicest desert camo but didn't get the memo that we were in a winter forest.
I pulled the trigger on instinct. My round tore through his vulnerable side armor and struck the engine, starting a fuel fire. I watched in predatory silence, waiting for the fire to be extinguished so I could set a new one. But it didn't go out. I sat there, watching this poor Hetzer burn in front of me and I didn't give him the mercy kill he so deserved. He was stock! He was stock and I watched him die like a stock Hetzer, alone, afraid and on fire with an enemy tank 100m away just letting him suffer.
This event changed me, I have a feeling it has changed us all.
© Post "The Festive Quest, Or Rather, How I Became A War Criminal" for game War Thunder.
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