While I have been quite the public test for the 8.10 update has gone live, and is now on its second iteration. Presumably the patch itself will hit just before Christmas. This update has, as its main feature, the introduction of Japanese tanks. I know some people have looked in askance at the introduction of this branch when some more Russian/German/British/European branches appear to be in higher demand. Myself I see this partly as a commercial decision by Wargaming, partner of the introduction of Chinese tanks in growing World of Tanks’ global appeal, and not something to get annoyed about. After all, those folks who do not want to play the Japanese get a free garage slot out of the exercise :D.
Onto the tanks themselves. Well, I will not be trialling them on the live server, but there are essentially two lines. A medium tank line that goes Tiers II-X, and a light tank line that goes Tiers I-IV before folding back into the medium line. Without having any experience of any of the tanks my intention is to progress up both lines, but we shall see how things go. One thing I will note is how small this introduction is. There are even fewer tanks than in the Chinese tree. One comes to the conclusion that Wargaming is finding it harder to create new lines from new nations now that the “biggies” of the time period are fairly well developed.
Both Quickybaby and Jingles have done overviews of the Japanese tanks. The basic verdict seems to be that in the early days the lights appear superior to the mediums, that the mid-tier mediums are almost like poorly armoured heavies, and that the line really starts to step up around Tier VIII. The other overall impression is very good gun depression, generally (though not always) reasonable to very good firepower, but also generally poor armour – the Tier X being a partial exception.
These are not the only tanks being introduced however. There are two high-tier Russian mediums completing that second line.
There is the intention to introduce a new map entitled “Hidden Village” – though the wording of the patch notes very much gives Wargaming leeway to postpone the map. There are also reworks of Karelia, Mines, El Halluf, Airfield, and Steppes. I haven’t had the chance to really find out much about those changes due to the reasons I haven’t done much tanking for most of the week, but I do know the El Halluf rework is actually quite extensive in an attempt to reform it from its campy ways.
There is however one rather significant gameplay change, which I think will have far-reaching consequences, albeit with a time delay as folks adjust. Basically it will be possible to shoot through some smaller objects such as fence-posts and the like using AP and APCR ammunition. The penetration value of the shot will be deceased for each object it hits on the way to the target, making it more likely to bounce, but it does mean a bit of fencepost or a car is no longer a one-shot shield. My initial feeling is that this would be of most benefit to heavies and tank destroyers getting rid of the cover which smaller tanks might hide behind, but the more I think about it I am not entire sure that is the case. It may make certain forms of scouting harder, but on the whole I am now thinking this will make the job of defence slightly harder – partly in the tactical sense like protecting one’s lower plate, and partly in the larger sense as it an attacking team will have an easier time of disrupting a defensive setup.
There are several graphical updates too – including a motion blur affect that looks really nifty on a nice computer. I am not sure if that is something I would like or not, but depending how it impacts my FPS it may be irrelevant anyway. There is the usual batch of very minor adjustments and fixes, none of which particularly sparks my enthusiasm.
Overall this is clearly a smaller patch, but I think it will be a good one. With the exception of Italy – which I believe is going to be rolled up in the European tree – this will mean all the major participants of World War 2 are now represented in game. While not “complete” it does make it feel like that is a good place now to conduct some of the further modelling upgrades that are being talked about for 2014, giving the game a facelift. Roll on.