One of the very first starter tanks you get to drive in World of Tanks. It has what looks like a bell on top of the turret. It doesn't go "pling pling!" but it should. It really should, and I'm willing to pay "gold" for that modification.
haaaa XD I noticed that bell like topper after closed beta ended (which btw made me feel uber retarded for not noticing earlier x.x) and thought oh my gawd what the heck is that? seriously if that thing gets hit I swear it should sound something like a boxing bell, though it would be hilarious if you could hit a key and all you hear in the middle of the droning of treads and motors is a cute little "prring prring ♫" I'd probably be sitting in the Leichtractor or cunningham thinking "wtf was that?" then laughing my butt off XD
The grinding varies but you will have to start grinding for points and credits sooner or later. Depends on what type of tank you want and also how well you do in each match.
However, there always seem to be one useless tank cutting you off from the next tank that's bigger, better and more fun. I've had one friend that purchased some "gold" at this point to get past it faster while another that simply quit playing, for now. Both choose the tanks of a different nation, so there's no escape.
I think it's deliberate to make you want to purchase "gold" so you can buy a better tank or convert exp from one tank into free exp just to swish past these roadblocks.
It's quite fair with the very first tank. Each nation got a starter tank that will cost you nothing to repair, so you can spend all credits on upgrades as you unlock such with research points on each tank.
These starter tanks are hilariously lousy in a very charming way (see above picture). The pace of the battle matches the speed of these tanks, but you earn enough credits and exp for new upgrades pretty fast.
There is a ranking system and at low levels (tier 1-3) it works quite alright but higher up it's very random and the match making system can decide to hate you all day. This can be a big issue if you want it to be.
When I end up in a really unfair game one time too many I usually go on a rampage and charge straight in, because you gain points for damaging and spotting enemy tanks. When my tank is destroyed I can exit the battle and play with another tank while the previous match continues. Win or lose, I still gain my rewards when that match is over. So if you're unlucky early on in one match there's no real downtime in this game, provided you got an extra tank repaired and ready for battle.
Tried it out now and itīs quite an entertaining little game. And yes, the first tanks are hillariously bad. Slower, weaker and worse armed than anything else. And the MS1... I nicknamed it the dinnerbell (Dinners served, 'ding ding' come get it!) is the worst of the lot. But for some reason it grew on me to the point where i sold of the others.
Of the starter tank i got to say the T1 is the best. Decent gun, good HP and fairly powerfull engine that lets you accellerate and go places rather than the "Iīm stuck in a tar-pit" MS1. And to add to the nicety of the T1 even itīs best gun uses the free ammo.