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.