Well the 9.3 update of World of Tanks is coming out on the EU cluster tomorrow, and there is the usual fairly hefty set of patch notes. What follows are just a few comments of things that most matter to me, and should be treated as an exhaustive overview.
The first and most obviously selling point of the patch is the introduction of a slew of new light tanks, which can really be seen as tidying up matters in the tech tree from previous updates. Every since the Chinese joined the French in having a Tier VIII light tanks it felt only a matter of time before the other major nations were given a similar line. Now Germany, Russia, and the USA all get a complete light tank line ending in Tier VIII. For the USA this also means the overhaul of the last of the trio of old Tier V lights, the Chaffee. I am not going to be playing any of these myself any time soon, but I will find it interesting to see them in the battlefield.
Whilst the light tanks are the headline change, the one that is probably going to have the greatest impact on the greatest number of players is the much anticipated change to the dreaded KV-1S. I think the split in the new Tier V KV-1S and Tier VI KV-85 is very interesting. Having watched a number of reviews it looks like both are going to be very interesting and viable vehicles. I would have loved to have gotten the new KV-1S for free, as they have done in the past (with the VK3001H/VK3002M for example), but c’est la view. I will be purchasing the new KV-1S when I can, and I am thinking of using the 100mm on the KV-85 with the rate of fire nerf to the 122mm. Overall I am muchly looking forward to this change, and I am hoping it will introduce a bit more variety to the Tier VI heavy landscape. In particular I think this is likely going to be a boost for the M6 and T-150, but I could be wrong.
Speaking of nerfing OP tanks, back in the depths of Tier II the T18 is also getting a nerf. This is long-deserved because I would struggle to name a vehicle more overpowered Tier on Tier than that little beastie. The Hellcat is also getting a nerf, but from the looks of things it will still be a very dangerous vehicle in the right hands. The FV304 is also getting the nerf-bat, and I think the most important element of this is the rate of fire being reduced slightly. This should make it harder to keep an enemy perma-tracked, which always used to be the most annoying element of coming up against them.
Another change I am looking forward to, as someone who plays a lot of German tanks, is this new concept of separating transmission from engine, and thereby cutting down on the number of fires. This is an indirect buff to a number of vehicles, which I think should help level the battlefield somewhat. It may leave certain vehicles a little OP (E75 I am looking at you), and if so I am sure the nerfbat will come down hard in due course.
Two other changes which will have a widespread impact is the new version of Murovanka. Personally I have always quite enjoyed Murovanka, so I didn’t actually feel a change was necessary. Nevertheless it will be fun to have a new dynamic on the map, and I will be interested as ever to see how long it takes new meta to evolve. The other development is the new hangar interface. I feel like this is probably overdue for some further work, and it looks reasonable from what I have seen, but will have to withhold judgement until I am using it on a daily basis.
There are introducing a bunch of easily obtained battle awards. I find this quite a fun addition, and generally a good thing. It feels like it will enable “intermediate” accomplishments to be marked and noted, and thereby help cater for the majority of the WoT playerbase for whom a Battle Honour is a relatively rare event.
A more subtle change to game mechanics is that ricochets will now have the potential to do damage to other tanks. This could make choke-points very interesting indeed, and means standing behind a side-scraping behemoth may be a dangerous place to be :). Overall I like this change – though I believe it will naturally favour better players at the expense of less good players (like shooting through soft cover has), I also believe it is subtle enough not to be a problem.
The final change I am going to single out is penalties for afk players and players who leave the battle early. I think this is a great change, and fully support it. Whilst occasionally I myself go afk if there is a need to look after my daughter, from everything I have read I hardly get the impression one game here or there is going to be a problem. Whilst I expect there will be afk players it is nice to see that action is being taken against them. It is a shame that they haven’t managed to get the automatic process on suiciders worked out, but better delay that rather than catch people incorrectly. After all, in certain places of some maps it is perilously easy to end up in the drink (mutters Windstorm under my breath).
There are of course plenty of other changes, but these I think are the mains ones for me right now.