WoT: 8.5 is almost alive

Sometimes I manage not just terrible puns, but terrible rhymes. This rhyme is brought to you by Charlie and the Numbers, one of Melian’s favourite “shows” on Baby TV.

In the event, we now have the patch notes for the 8.5 update, which is going to hit the EU/NA servers probably sometime next week, and the Russian server tomorrow. In the main this follows what we already knew.

The primary feature of the update is the second line of German medium tanks. This will go from the Panzer II Ausf. G and include both the Panzer III/IV and VK3002DB, all to way up to Tier X which is crowned with an early version of the iconic Leopard 1 tank. In addition there is a German Tier VII light following on from the VK2801, and a new set of Soviet light tanks at Tiers II, III, and IV.

There is a new map being added called Pearl River, and several “gameplay fixes” for Redshire, El-Halluf, Karelia, Prokhorovka, and Sand River. More intriguingly there is also mention of improvements for Assault mode for Malinkova, Karelia, and Sand River. Malinovka Assault was removed from the standard rotation in 8.4, so I wonder if this means it is coming back in 8.5.

The other big feature of the 8.5 update is that premium consumables will be purchasable for credits, at the 1 gold = 400 credits exchange rate already in game. This means at full price a premium consumable will cost twenty thousand credits – pricey, but if used intelligently along with the regular consumables I think will offer something extra for random battles. However I imagine the driver of this change is are Tank Companies and Clan Warfare – as it means the last direct “Pay to Win” element of World of Tanks is removed. Now it becomes “Pay to Compete with Less Grind” which is more of a mouthful. Note that the proposed fire-extinguisher changes are not going to happen in 8.5. Certain restrictions on non-premium accounts are also being removed: non-premium accounts will be able to form 3-man platoons and create tank companies. On another tank, temporary camos and inscriptions will have their credit price reduced.

A potentially significant change is the matchmaker is being tweaked – ‘Scout’ Light tanks are now going to be balanced against each other in a match in a similar fashion to SPGs (but will not be under the dynamic arty hardcap). I am looking forward to this as having 3 scout tanks on one side and none on the other can be very un-balancing. What is a ‘Scout’ tank however – well the patch notes include a full list, but essentially all Tier VI+ light tanks, and all Tier IV and V light tanks which can participate in higher-tier battles than the regular matchmaking.

There is some tank rebalancing, but nothing that massively stands out. Some new after-battle stats are being added, but again this reads like an incremental change more than anything else. The usual list of fixes.

Overall this looks to be a good solid update. My own plans are to start work on the new German medium line fairly soon after release, and to play around with perhaps carrying a premium consumable in place of a regular consumable on some vehicles. We shall see how that turns out.

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