WoT: First impressions of 8.6 – the skilled player buff

So 8.6 has been out a few days now, long enough to get some opinion of the changes.

Firstly, a little mea culpa. In my weekly round-up last week I said that the Westfield encounter felt like an Assault – that is because it was Assault! Viewing it that way I think this is a much more interesting setup – so far it seems advantage is with the attackers, but I do not know if that is simply because people are not yet used to it. The Encounter mapmode on Mines seems like a lot of fun – but I think the northern team has a slight advantage on starting position around the town. Again though, as people get more used to the map this may change. Sacred River is a lot of fun, but I do find my fps suffers initially.

On the whole I am enjoying the accuracy buff. I think early it is seems the greatest beneficiaries of this will be the highly-skilled players who know what weakspots to aim for – and also snipers who will now have greater confidence at being able to hit at distance. However, in random matches at least there are very many players who have an imperfect knowledge of weakspots (myself included) so this does not negate the advantage of armour.

Speaking of armour, in my KV-5 I am enjoying the Super-Heavy Spall-Liner. Had a couple of matches where I was bracketed by artillery shells, and it seems quite clear that they were rather less effective than they had been previously. From the other direction you cannot tell if someone has a Spall-Liner fitted of course, but the arty changes have not in any way hamstrung SPGs. I suspect the less skilled / more impatient SPG players may abandon them – the longer reload times are quite noticeable. The changes to shell flight time seem quite easy to get used to, however. Generally I think SPGs will be played by the more skilled players now, and by newer players who did not know how things were before – and that while there may be a short-term drop in their numbers longer-term I think SPG numbers will rise once again. I suspect the arty-whines will increase again over time as well.

I have seen rather fewer derp M4 Shermans and Panzer IVs out there, which is to be expected with the HEAT nerf. However I can happily report the derp is still nicely effective if used properly. I have had some good success with the Hetzer and Panzer III derping. Again, I suspect this is a change that more skilled players will adapt to very nicely, but less skilled players will end up using fewer derp as a result.

Overall there does seem to be a theme with many of these changes: life has gotten harder for a number of less-skilled player groups, while better skilled player groups are mostly unaffected, or buffed. In particular I think the accuracy changes speak to this – in effect it boosts the abilities of skilled players over unskilled – widening the gap between the two in game. Now, World of Tanks is a casual game, there are lots of players who now and then fire up the game to waste some vehicles. What I do – playing regularly every night 250-300 games a month is actually quite exceptional. Looking at it another way, according to wot-news.com’s server statistics for the EU server, 88% of players on the server have fewer than 1000 battles, and more than 96.5% of the server playerbase have fewer battles than myself currently. These guys are the lifeblood of the server however, because without them folks like me would not have a game to play – frustrating as it can be to be on a bad team. These changes disadvantage them – but because they are casual players they probably will not know about it. Nevertheless I think Wargaming have to be careful not to unbalance the game too much towards skilled players – the less skilled need to have a good game now and then too otherwise they just will stop playing (though I do not think we are anywhere near a tipping point yet).

Just a thought I had while playing my Marder II.

 

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3 comments
  1. Shun_Tzu said:

    Hi there,

    I just hope that I will not pollute your nice blog with my comments, so fill free to delete it if is the case.

    Just my two cents about 0.8.6 changes:

    Accuracy.
    First I don’t think that “the greatest beneficiaries of this will be the highly-skilled players who know what weak spots to aim for”, my opinion is exactly opposite. I don’t consider that weak spots are rocket science, each tank have lower glacis, commander cupola, turret ring or machine gun hatch (ok, are many more specific like R2D2 on KV5 or the tubes on top of T26E4, etc.). Now every noob (myself included) can hit the target, no need to wait until the aim circle is full shrink so is easy to flank and you can snipe with derp guns.

    For an example in 0.8.5 I rage sold my KV-1S, after one match while aiming on side of other tank at 50 m with the last 122 gun, wait that aiming circle to full, wait a second more, fire and nothing. Then wait more 13.50 seconds, do the same ritual, fire and nothing. I thought that I will throw my keyboard trough monitor. Calmed down a little, wait another 13,50 sec, the aiming circle has stopped to shrink, wait a little more, fire and nothing. Power off the computer and go for smoking.

    Now In 0.8.6 I had in my IS with same gun as above, a fight with a Tiger P at over 200 meters. Hard to win this one in the past on same skill level, Tiger P have better frontal armor(you can’t pen it with 122 gun), better accuracy, better penetration, shorter loading time, but I had exactly 4 consecutive shoots in commander cupola.

    I don’t became better player in two weeks between these events (even I hardly wish that this thing to be happened), in my opinion is a big buff for hard hitting low accuracy tank, guns.

    SPG
    Good until now for heavy tank player, no more 5 arty per team, but I wait to see if the number change is stable or not.

    XXL Spall liner
    At 750k credits? No way to test it yet. I’m glad to hear is useful.

    Overall more damage, credits and XP due to increasing accuracy and less room for RNG.
    One wish: WG to disable the auto aiming feature, this dumb the game hard.

    Good luck and have fun,

    Shun_Tzu

    • Not polluting the blog at all!

      Our difference of opinion is precisely because I do think weakspots are something of a mystery to a very large part of the playerbase. This is brought home to me something like every other battle I play in the KV-5. The KV-5 has one of the most famous weakspots in the game – the radioman turret – and in most battles certainly I will find folk aiming for it (the KV-5 radioman has to have the worst life-expectancy of any crewmember in World of Tanks 🙂 ). However, plenty of times as well I find myself facing players who insist on shooting my tracks and side – even other KV-5 players with thousands of battles to their name.

      Heavens, sometimes I think there are plenty of players who have trouble with the concept that frontal armour is the strongest armour – the number of times I have seen players uselessly shoot at the front of an AT 2, or T18, when they could easily be flanked … well it happens quite a lot.

      You may be a newer player, but you already have more battles than something like 90% of the playerbase. Never under-estimate just how casual many folks who play this game are.

      As for the spall-liner, it feels useful for further game-playing will be necessary. I should say, even in the slow heavies, I never minded the 5 SPGs per side. I always figured it was a change to get a Pascucci or similar 🙂

  2. Shun_Tzu said:

    Hi again,

    I think you have right about the players game base.

    I consider myself a newer player in WoT due to the fact I just started on 29th March this year to play this game. I have two accounts on EU server “Xantya” started on the above mentioned date with 3927 battles and “Shun_Tzu” started later on as an experiment with 1270 battles.
    Accounts names comes from my two only 90 level characters in World of Warcraft, two rogues: Xantya on the Horde and Shuntzu on the Alliance, raised only for arena. I quitted WoW (played since 2005) two weeks before 5.2 because my arena partner left the country to work on vessel and anyhow I become tired of it.

    I heard about the WoT since the beginning, but I talk to myself: one FPS game? I can’t stand the genre.
    Later on, some friends told me that is not just FPS game, is more complex and it have a lot of strategy. I was lured to try it and even I sucked hard on the first games I bought the premium account on next day.

    I started on German tech trees and with WoW conception, where the game begin at maximum level, I put me on race to tier X (just E-75 atm). Playing many games with stock tanks and new crews (I didn’t know at that time that crews can be transferred) my win ration dropped hard and I arrived at King Tiger just to discover that I don’t know anything about the game.

    As I do in any MMO I play, I start reading the guides, I learn about weak spots and maps strategy, I read the blogs, I follow my statics, I ask myself after battle what I did wrong and what can be improved, I watch replays made by best players in order to learn the ropes and I found that this game is not a race and if you play bad at tier II is not any chance to play better at higher tier.

    Inspired by your planning and reports, I start the second account “Shun_Tzu” where I played 200 games on tier I, 500 games on tier II, 600 games tier III and I hope this weekend to start tier IV on all tanks lines. Two days are needed, you cannot sell more than 6 tanks per day.
    As I played more carefully and with already something learned, my win ratio and statics are much better.

    I remember my best game ever succeeded in WoT on 5th June. In my VK 36.01 H equipped with Konisch gun, in Siegfried Line – Assault as defender I had 11 kills, 3960 dmg, Mastery badge , Kolobanov medal, Pool’s medal, Steel wall, Top Gun, Sniper and 4910 XP (as first victory of the day x2). This after battle screen shot is my desktop theme at work and I’m very proud of it.

    Now I come back to players base, If I don’t have played against a bunch of noobs how the above result was possible.

    Good luck and have fun,

    Shun_Tzu

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