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I must admit to rather liking the title of this weekend’s special, which runs the standard Saturday morning to Tuesday morning. Mostly this offer is about Tier VI tanks. The one fly in the ointment there is not really all that much to appeal to newer players this week, as even the non-tank related portion of the offer is something more experienced players will care more about. All tanks involved in this offer are available for a  50% discount and have a 40% earnings bonus.

To begin with there are three Tier VI heavies involved – the T-150, M6, and ARL 44. I have not yet played any of these tanks – I missed out on the T-150 as I already had the KV-3 researched when the T-150 was added due to the re-organisation of the Soviet heavy tank lines in 7.5. As luck would have it I bought the M6 during the 2nd Anniversary special – but I think I am still ahead as my savings from the equipment sale are more than my savings from the tank being on sale this weekend. I might well take advantage of the earnings bonus and get a few games in on the M6.

There are also three Tier VI mediums involved – and they are the VK3001H, VK3001P, and VK3601H, the traditional trio of German mediums. All are pretty effective tanks in the right hands, though the VK3001H is my favourite – and I will probably play a few battles in it. If you are faced by which to get the simple consideration is the VK3001P is a sniper, the VK3601H is a brawler, and the VK3001H is a skirmisher.

There are four Tier VI light tanks available – the 59-16, AMX 12t, T21, and VK2801. I could theoretically acquire the VK2801, but most likely will not. I do not have any experience of these myself, but having faced them I was say the AMX 12t and VK2801 seem to be greater threats on the battlefield than the other two – even post-nerf.

There are also three Tier VI tank destroyers included – the AT 8, Churchill Gun Carrier, and ARL V39. Again I have no personal experience of any of these. I will probably use this opportunity to acquire the ARL V39, which I have opposed a few times in battle and can be quite effective if it does not get flanked. The two British entrants I have not really seen much on the battlefield so I cannot really comment.

Finally two Tier IV SPGs are included – the SU-5 and AMX 105AM. No interest for me here personally. I have been killed by the SU-5 enough times to know it can dish out the damage very effectively – the AMX 105AM is encountered much less often so has not stood out in quite the same way.

So that is the tanks wrapped up, but there are two further items to this offer. Firstly each Confederate medal awarded comes with a bonus of fifteen thousand credits, and secondly there is double crew experience for the duration of the special.

So overall a good selection of vehicles involved, but the extras generally speak to more experienced players with not much for the newbie. Otherwise a very good offer – B.

Over in western Europe we are currently in the middle of the Six Nations tournament – a rugby union tournament that takes place between England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, and Italy. This weekend’s special offer in World of Tanks in the EU forum is clearly a nod to this tournament in the name. There are also, of course, six nations currently represented in World of Tanks. How else though to link the offer into the name – well clearly to make it about Tier VI tanks as this offer has a wide selection of Tier VI vehicles from all nations. As per usual it goes from Saturday morning to Tuesday morning.

The vehicles involved in the offer are all light, medium, or heavy tanks. They consist of: 59-16, Type 58, AMX 12t, ARL 44, VK3001P, VK3001H, VK3601H, Cromwell, Churchill VII, T21, M4A3E8, M4A3E2, M6, T-34-85, T-150, and KV-2. That is a lot of tanks to be involved in an offer – sixteen in total. All these tanks are available at a 50% discount and will have a 50% bonus to credit earnings. I have three of these – the KV-2, VK3001H, and VK3601H, and certainly I am intending to try to use this opportunity to increase the credits a bit. In addition there is 50% discount on the following premium vehicles: Ram-II (Tier V USA Medium), TOG II* (Tier VI UK Heavy), Churchill III (Tier V Soviet Heavy), Panzer IV Schmalturm (Tier VI German Medium), and FCM36 PaK40 (Tier III French TD). I am tempted by the Ram-II (and yes, in real life this was Canadian, but in World of Tanks it counts as USA) – but I probably will not be able to justify the expense right now. I already own the Churchill III (good fun) and have no interest in the others.

The medal involved in this offer is Invader – and each one earned will give fifteen thousand credits. This is unlikely to be relevant me – I have only ever won one and though I am not averse to capping out rarely do I do so alone. Additionally there is a 50% discount on acquiring emblems (using credits or gold) which does not interest me at all, but if you like the cosmetics it makes sense to spruce up the vehicles. Finally there is double crew experience for each tank for the duration of the offer, and this does interest me. Will definitely make use of it!

So there you have it – overall I think a great offer with a strong internal theme. A solid B+.

The finalised release notes for the 8.2 update have now been published (for the EU server) and they can be found here. Some of this is already fairly well known. A new line of American autoloader tanks follows on from the M7 MT (Tier VI light T21, Tier VII light T71, Tier VIII medium T69, Tier IX medium T54E1, and the Tier X T57). Three new premium tanks have been added (British Tier VI heavy TOG-II, British Tier VII tank destroyer AT-15A, and French Tier VIII heavy FCM 50t). Also four maps (Ruinberg, Prokhorovka, Redshire, and Erlenburg) have been adapted to the new rendering system. These are the big additions highlighted on the features page.

In addition there is a new group of medals called “Commemoratives” which can be granted to any number of players any number of times, so long as they quality (I think). Currently there are only four commemoratives, and I imagine more will be introduced in the future. An achievement has also been added for destroying 100 Patton vehicles.

In the realm of game mechanics there are four changes that I find particularly interesting. Firstly there is the fact that fallen trees will now provide the same cover as bushes – and I foresee this meaning a lot of new tactical gameplay opening up. The effect of small ground objects and rails and the like has been much reduced on movement – no more will driving over the railway tracks in Ensk feel like one is on a bouncy castle. The Brothers in Arms perk will increase the effect of the Mentor skill – important for me as I have just retrained my crew in my Marder II to give them Brothers in Arms (they went from 70% on the third skill to 60% with a credit retrain). Finally it will not be possible to buy crew for tanks that you have researched, but do not have in the garage. This is not something I do, but  I know many people do and then put those crew into a premium tank of the same nation and class, where they will not receive a penalty. Thus they can train that crew up whilst earning credits before actually purchasing a tank. It doesn’t bother me as I say – it is not something I do. Others though may be upset by this.

In terms of interface the tech tree has been reworked to display more of the tree on one page. Destroyed modules will now display an interface about how long it will take them to be repaired. This little interface change is likely to greatly effect gameplay and particularly (amongst better players) mean they can use their various repair kits more intelligently. There are some other tweaks there, but nothing that immediately springs out to me.

There is quite a bit of vehicle rebalancing. A whole series of tanks have had a small error in their armouring correcting, mostly concerning the observation device. It is a long list that I will not copy here. Various tanks have had a very minor single change – again I will not list, but it basically these are minor details. Some tanks, however, have been reworked on a larger scale. The infamous Type 59 has had a host of changes, which to my untrained eye looks like an overall boost though it includes some weaknesses (the turret armour increased, for example, but the side armour reduced). The Type 62 has been massively changed, including a move to Tier VII, and I really cannot comment anymore than that as the changelist is so extensive. The FV215b has also had some fairly extensive changes – in particular its turret appears to have substantially increased armour. Tier X tanks remain a mystery to me so I cannot comment in detail on those changes either. The IS is having an armour nerf in the turrets. Likewise the KV-1S and T-34 are also having an armour nerf to their upgraded turrets. I now await the cries of people saying that Russian tanks never get nerfed.

Finally there is the usual bunch of fixes, none of which jump out at me.

The 8.2 update was, of course, meant to include the Chinese tanks. It does feel a bit light without them, but actually it strikes me as a solid enough update. Given the pace of change recently – the addition of French TDs and SPGs, the new physics engine, and the arrival of British tanks a smaller update is probably no bad thing.

There are now a few more details available regarding the forthcoming 8.2 update, in addition to the launch of Chinese vehicles.

Firstly, there is an addition to the American tech-tree. The M7 MT will no longer lead onto the rest of the current mediums via the XXXX. Instead it will open up a new line consisting of the T21 (light Tier VI), T91 (Light Tier VII), T69 (Medium Tier VIII), T54 (Meduim Tier IX), and T57 (Heavy Tier X). This feels like another calculated marketing decision – in an update which is being sold as the Chinese expansion, through in a few tanks for the Western (and especially American) audience. There are also three new premium tanks being added.

Four more maps are going to be reworked for the new rendering system – a process which has been ongoing since the 8.0 update. The upgraded maps will be Prokorovoka, Redshire, Erlenburg, and Ruinberg.

We get some further interesting details from a post over at Overlord’s blog. Here we learn that the tech tree is going to be modified slightly – I think in line with some feedback Wargaming have received. There is also further work optimising the client and the new graphics. There are some tweaks with the physics – and a wonderful hint they have reduced how bouncy railway tracks are!

Most interestingly though there is the following line: “fallen trees will now impact visibility system.”

Currently fallen trees are purely cosmetic – they do nothing for camouflage or anything else. However, if they are now going to be able to act as a form of cover such as bushes the like, well, some real opportunities open up. Without knowing exactly how this will work, the mind suggests purposefully knocking down some trees to create new places to hide and the like. Really this one little sentence has got me all excited.

Finally damaged modules are meant to get a repair speed indicator – meaning we will now know how long the tracks will be blown off or the turret will not turn before having to spend a precious small repair kit. Another relatively minor change that I think has the potential to have a great impact on the game – at least for the players who take advantage of it.

So, an expansion who main marketing thrust is the addition of the Chinese tanks actually has a little more under the bonnet than originally meets the eye. Very interesting indeed.

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