So the public test for the 8.8 patch has been open for a few days now, and this is the first time I have been able to write about it. Overall I am quite excited by a number of the features of this update.
Headlining the update is the introduction of the second Soviet medium tank line. From the patch notes it appears that the line actually goes from Tier VI to Tier VIII, being researchable from the T-34, and then merging into the Tier IX T-54, with an addition second Tier X medium tank being added from the T-54. On one level this does not mean very much for me – I am not really playing around much with Soviet mediums – but by happenstance I am actually prepared for it, inasmuch as I currently own both the T-34 and the T-34-85. I was going to transfer the T-34 crew on, but instead I will just create a new crew for one of the Tier VIs and retrain the T-34 crew into the other.
The German heavy line is also being renovated, with an impact on the German Tier VI mediums. A Tier IV German tank is being introduced, the current VK3001H is being moved to Tier V and converted into a heavy, and the VK3601H is also being converted into a heavy. Meanwhile a new Tier VI German medium is being introduced. According to For the Record owners of the VK3001H (like myself) will have the new Tier VI placed into their garage, with a free garage slot, and 100% crew. Not bad. I have to say I am really looking forward to playing with the new German vehicles.
Quite a few other higher-tier German vehicles are having their engines changed and otherwise being tinkered with. While I am sure some will scream nerf at this, from what I have been able to ascertain the paranoia is unwarranted.
There are also two new Chinese premium vehicles being added, but I am not currently interested in them. I know there has been a fair bit of talk that one of them is a bit overpowered – I guess we will just have to see.
The update will also see the return of some old maps: Serene Coast, Komarin, and Swamp. I have very fond memories of the last two from when I first started to play the game, and I will be interested to see how they reworked all three. There is also an Encounter map-mode being added to Mountain Pass, which I think could also be a lot of fun. In addition a new map is being added called Tundra.
There are then a series of “minor changes” some of which I do not think are so minor.
To begin with there is apparently going to be a reworking of the stats page, with one very significant change – a reworked Global Rating system that sounds like it is designed to function along the lines of the Efficiency or WN7 ratings. I wonder if this is an attempt to supplant them, but my gut feeling is it will take publishing the formula for that to happen - which apparently Wargaming is not going to do, so we do not even get to the discussion as to whether the formula is sound.
National voiceovers are also being introduced, though apparently the Americans and UK will share a single voiceover. I have to say I have a slightly wicked temptation to indulge in a little “Wargaming is anti-British” rhetoric. That may in fact be the case, but I am more inclined to believe Wargaming just couldn’t be bothered to create a second set of English voices. Also I have the horrendous feeling anything they would create might be over-the-top British: “tally-ho chaps let’s give Gerry Hun a darned good kicking” kind of English. Otherwise I am looking forward to this change. Whether I keep the national voices on all the time is another matter, but I might just do that.
What I think is one of the real treasures of the update is that if you earned a Battle Honour, Epic Medal, or Platoon Medal and are on the losing side you will still get the 1.5 bonus to credits and experience that the winning team get. If there is one weakness of World of Tanks it is that a poor team can negatively impact your own earnings. Well, this sounds like the start of righting that wrong. While I wish it would go a step further – there was a mission a while back that made the top three damage dealers also get the winner’s bonus which I would love to be permanently implemented into the game. This is a step in the right direction however.
Speaking of missions apparently there is going to be an interface to track progress for doing various missions, by which I take they are going to become an increasingly prominent part of special offers.
The final change which I am going to mention is another favourite – spall-liners are getting a new function in that they will reduce the chance of crew injury – the larger the spall-liner the greater the effect. I imagine this is going to make the heavy and super-heavy variants especially be more competitive when it comes to deciding what equipment to use.
So all in all I have a lot to look forward to this update. Some new tanks I am looking forward to playing, and a few small changes to the game which I think will very much improve my enjoyment.