WoT: Falling off a cliff with 8.0

It’s apparently official – WoT 8.0 will launch on the EU server tomorrow. A detailed set of patch notes can be found here. In the main there is nothing different here to the public test patch notes that I wrote about previously. The difference is that there is that this we get the tank balancing adjustments.

So, I will recap briefly the main points already covered, and then take a look at some of those aforementioned balancing adjustments.

The main item on this update has to be the new physics. I have not played on the test server, so I am currently only guessing, but I am expecting mayhem to begin with for a week or two until folks figure it out. This is likely to create a large amount of noise for a while as folks adjust. I have some trepidation that this will change the game too much, but I am certainly willing to give it a try. I am trying to approach it as a challenge.

We area also getting four new Soviet Tank Destroyers, and the first British tank (a premium). I am looking forward to facing them on the battlefield. I currently do not intend to get the British premium, and will likely not be in the new Soviet tanks either. In addition we are getting a series of new achievements. Some of these are refinements on current achievements, others are new. The two I particular like are Brothers in Arms, given to Platoon mates when each member of the platoon gets at least three kills and survives; and Patrol Duty given when you help to spot opposing tanks for members of your team and you damage them. This last achievement I think is going to be very helpful I hope in encouraging spotting (rather than suicide scouting) in the game. Certainly something to aim for next time I climb into my Leopard.

There is also a new camouflage system – camouflage will no longer be purely cosmetic but actually will provide a small benefit in the matches. While undoubtedly an attempt to get people to spend real money, this feels to me like a small enough benefit that it is hardly game-breaking. I am under the impression – that could be wrong – one can expend credits to have a camo for a short period of time (as opposed to spending gold for a permanent duration) which also would provide a free-to-play mechanism for this. Cosmetically it will now be possible to place emblems on tanks to help personalise them.

There will now be an option to exclude the Assault and Encounter game modes from one’s gameplay. I won’t be doing this initially, but I know it is going to be a very popular option. The number of complaints one can make in a day has also been expanded from 3 to 5, another welcome amendment. Also the quick commands are being retooled to work via the aiming cursor. As I very rarely use these, this does not effect me too much.

Probably the second largest item in this patch is a reworked rendering system. The improved graphics I am sure will be very popular, but certainly in testing there has been an fps issue. I certainly hope this has been resolved otherwise I am expecting quite a lot of fury in the forums. Whether my machine will be able to take advantage of the new graphics I do not yet know. Will just have to see how it goes. Despite this being a major component of the expansion, in some respects it is also the least important . Graphics certainly help a game look nice, but good gameplay is the most important component to success.

The in-garage UI has also been reworked, with new looking tech trees and research trees. The screenshots certainly look slick. The item though that has me really excited is now post-battle statistics. I am massively looking forward to that, and I will be bitterly disappointed if it doesn’t live up to expectations.

There are a slew of audio fixes which I must admit do not interest me, and the above has been going through the major changes with only a casual look-through. Next however come the balancing changes. I don’t intend to go through every tank effected – just the ones that effect my own play, plus any others about which I have particular comment.

I do not, in fact, have much to say about the changes to the French tanks as mostly I do not play them. It is nice to see the B1 get something of a buff, but odd to see the AMX 38 get a nerf. I also really do not understand why the RenaultFT AC has been nerfed. The slight nerf the Renault UE 57 does seem reasonable.

A whole series of German guns are getting buffed, irrespective of individual tanks. One would hope that this might mitigate the anger against some of the German nerfs, but given that one of the tanks nerfed is the Marder II I am almost certain this will not be the case. It does not help that the Marder II is not just getting nerfed, it getting sledgehammered across all the three guns it fits. Principally these include aiming time increases, reload time increases, and increase target dispersion while moving the turret and/or firing the gun. I, of course, play the Marder II at first, and when I first looked at all these changes I must admit I felt a bit hard put-upon. Looking through them more carefully however I don’t think this will be a gamebreaker. The increased aim time is the most annoying change I think, but should be possible to adapt to. I also think however this highlights the problem with the Marder II.

The Marder II is the favourite tank of a fair few tankers, from all I understand. It is also a low tier tank. You therefore have an effective tank, largely facing up against opposition that is often new or newer players – or older players just quickly researching through a tech three to get to a later tank – but one that is often played by very experienced players who have put hundreds of battles into the Marder II – and thus who have it fully equipped and with a highly skilled crew. In other words, one is not comparing like with like, and the resulting dichotomy makes the Marder II appear far more over-powered than it actually is. Nothing I have read seems to show much understanding of this point. It will be interesting to see if the nerf to the Marder II causes many vets to abandon it – because if they do it is quite possible that we will see the Marder II have a precipitous drop in overall winrate. I personally think the changes are far from insurmountable, and if many other players agree with me I doubt this will effect the win rate all that much because it is player skill that is being reflected rather than the tank itself. We shall see.

Alongside the above however I have to note that the Hetzer is getting something of a buff, which might simply encourage some tankers to move up a tier. The Stug III is also getting a buff – too late now for me to try out. The other big change in the German Tier for me is the reworking of the Panzer IV. This was always due to happen after the revision to matchmaking, and now it hits. Time will tell whether or not the new Panzer IV remains a worthy tank to keep. I am not so bothered by this as I am by the Marder II though, as I think it is a more obvious case of being overpowered.

I really have nothing to say about the changes to the American tanks. The vast majority I have never played. The M3 Lee gets a large increase in gun depression, which is likely to make it tactically more interesting, but given that tank’s reputation I think it will likely be largely ignored. The T2 Medium tank is also getting an overall buff which will make it a slightly tougher opponent. Otherwise though I really have no comment.

On the Soviet side the first thing I notice is that the A-20 is getting buffed! If there ever was a tank that needed this, it is the A-20, and I am sure it will now be a more effective tank. Given I still have the A-20 in my garage, I might even take it out for another spin just to see how it goes. The AT-1 is also getting a mild buff. I have recently just elited it, and am not actually sure it is needed. Otherwise the SU-76 – the Tier III tank destroyer is also getting a buff. That will feed into the conspiracy theories about the Marder II nerf. In contrast the T-50-2 is getting a nerf to its agility, good evidence that Wargaming is not hopefully biased towards the Soviets.

There are a host of changes to higher tier vehicles and artillery I am ignoring in the above. Overall though my concerns I recently posted about stand: I think it is an error go have so many tanks rebalanced at the same time as the new physics, which is likely to drastically change how the maps and tanks play. Ah well, not my decision to make.

Overall, if nothing else I think the length of this post proves I am looking forward to 8.0 despite a few reservations. See you on the other side.

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