The public test version of WoT 8.0 has been announced with accompanying patch notes. Without playing it (of course, I doubt I will partake in the public test) here are my impressions, going through things in the order of the patch notes.
We are getting an expansion of the Russian Tank Destroyer tree, with four new additions at Tier VII-X. More tanks to train for :). We are also getting our first British tank. This will be a premium tank, the Matilda Black Prince (which I think historically is a prototype tank). It will be tempting to purchase it, but it may have to wait a while.
We also get a set of new epic achievements. I generally like achievements, even though I doubt I will win many of the ones on offer as they are generally versions existing ones – versions to represent doing even better than the current ones do.
Next we get to game mechanics, and the biggest of these is, of course, physics. The new physics will be utterly game-changing. It will be an absolutely massive change. I really cannot overstate how big a change this will be. It is trite to say it has the capacity to break World of Tanks, though it also has the potential to raise the level of the game to new heights. I am hopefully it will do the latter.
There is also a change to the camouflage system. Hitherto camouflage has been purely cosmetic. Now when one buys a set of camouflage it will come in three different skins, and depending on which map one draws in a match depends on which skin will be displayed. A camouflaged tank will also get a 5% bonus to its camouflage rating. This is another fairly substantial change, but one that can be overstated. I have read at least one person on the forums complaining they will have to pay for all 21 tanks in their garage to have a camouflage pattern. Personally I will probably pay for my Marder II to have a pattern, and then mostly ignore it.
There will also be an option to only fight in Standard battles – in other words to exclude the Assault and Encounter map-modes. I will not be doing this in all probability, and I am saddened to see it in a way. I never really heard many complaints about the Encounter mapmode, for example, yet it appears both sorts are being lumped together.
Then there is a reworking of the quick commands. I must admit I only use these rarely at the moment (though on the Hummel I am trying to get the hang of announcing which tank I am targeting), so this is unlikely to effect me much as I currently play. More importantly (to me) is the number of complaints one can make about players per day is upped from 3 to 5. This is an improvement, though personally I think one should have a base number of complaints and then for every so many battles you should get an extra complaint.
We now move onto vehicle rebalancing. There is not a lot of detail here, but there is a line about many vehicles having been rebalanced and to expect a full list of changes with the final patch notes. What they do include however is the German 75mm guns getting a boost, armour generally being made more effective, and the Panzer IV is getting a nerf. The last makes me quite sad, but in all honesty it is not unexpected. The second turret and best gun are being removed – items that were present to make the Panzer IV effective under previous match-making. I will put this one under “be careful what one wishes for”. I will see how the new Panzer IV handles post-patch, and decide whether or not to sell my current one.
Also coming out in the new update will be improved graphics. Graphics are something I find it difficult to get overly excited about. I regard graphics as “nice” but less important to gameplay changes. That said, they can help sell the game and that is a good thing.
What makes me really excited however is some of the UI changes. Well, one of the UI changes. The tech tree view is being changed a way which, looking at the screenshots, appears to feel much slicker. What I am so looking forward to however is much more detailed battle information which will be available in the hangar afterward. Brilliant! There is also a new method for inputting quick commands, a new radial menu, which doesn’t bother me at all.
There are also some audio changes which don’t interest me, and mention made of various fixes. All in all it is going to be a very large update, with lots to learn.
Of course, all the above will be subject to change in the details. However we have a good idea now of what will be in this update. It promises much. Here’s to hoping it delivers.