Thursday, 11 November 2010

Welcome to v. World of Tanks

The long awaited v. patch has arrived in World of Tanks and I know you are all dying to know the first impressions of how this patch is going down...
An M3 Lee and T1 Heavy join a Hetzer on the offensive
To start with, the biggest drawback of the game which affected most of the tank vs. tank combat in v., the warping. I am happy to say that most of the warping has gone and that shots register much better than before. You can line them up and shoot them down so much easier, without the fear of 'bag take that!!! ... oh you warped over there... BANG!!.. oh warped again". I did notice one instance of warping but that tank was on the periphery of my screen and had not grasped my fullest attention so it could havemoved naturally, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt. This change has made Tank Destroyers, in particular ones that have read my Tank Destroyer Guide, very deadly. They are becoming the real power that they should be. I have witnessed and performed some very nice long range (400m+) sniper shots whch were rare/lucky before.

The M6 tier 6 Heavy Tank
The auto-balancing system which placed tier 4 light tanks in with the behemoth tier 10 tanks without mercy or fear of being chastised has seen a slight improvement to it's placing. Teams overall feel slightly more balanced and I haven't been put into a situation where I felt like I was just going in to die... except in my KV where I was in the bottom two tanks... but that's normal in a KV :)

Artillery or SPG's were a huge bone of contention in the previous iteration of World of Tanks. They were supposedly so imbalanced (imba) and overpowered that most matches were totally ridiculous. So far I have not seen many mass artillery games and I have not found them to be that much different to previous. I have tried the American T57 SPG and it felt the same as when I used the Russian SPG's back in my earlier playing days. Any good arty boy (or girl) will quickly adjust to the change in projectile speed and retain their status as a fearsome opponent. The extra 10% dispersal rate on artillery guns is definitely noticable and a welcome addition in my opinion. A near miss occurs more often and serves to make the game more interesting. You can chuckle as you watch players go 'oh s***!' if you land a shell next to them and they panic, so artillery still has the shock effect on top of it's obvious damage potential.

A T29 spots it's prey in the distance
 Just a few points worth mentioning that have no deep discussion value or at least I can't think of any! The graphics performance has improved noticably with a marked improvement in frames per second compared with pre-patch and they have introduced some new musical scores which are very good, fit well with the mood of the game. Pings haven't really changed much at all but I haven't see the peak busy time hit yet so we'll see how the server handles the heavy load times.

Spotted! The T29 is ranged by enemy artillery
The US tanks... everyone and their auntie is playing them at Tiers 1-4 and they are rather fun. The feel quite squishy and have reasonable guns. The M2 Medium Tank has an awful 75mm Howitzer which can, if aimed correctly, nearly one-shot another M2 Medium Tank (80%). I have seen a couple of heavy tanks but never faced them in combat thus far. They seem to be very capable machines and an interesting twist to the normal tank fights we see. The M3 Lee when fully upgraded flies light lightning and could compare to the A-20 or Leopard in scouting terms, perhaps even surpass them.

New maps? I have seen Sand River so far and it's interesting. Similar to Murovanka in that it is quite open with some town as cover. It plays as a very fast map and players will definitely enjoy this one. Abbey is another new map and I have to say it is AMAZING. Not only does it look simply beautiful, it has many different tactical zones to create havoc for any team. Definitely keep some tanks back for base defense on this one because the artillery can be awfully exposed if adequate defense is not provided.

The American T57, a Tier 2 SPG on the battlefield
Finally and the biggest, most exciting thing today for me was fighting alongside our famous developer, Overlord. Sat in a Churchill (poor soul) Overlord claimed 1 kill and successfully rescued my JagdPanzer from the advances of a rather ravenous T-44... only after he shot me in the side armour! OUCH! Friendly fire! I did get an apology from him which is the expected norm in accidental FF situations. After this incident, I followed Overlord's Churchill where we overpowered a heavily damaged enemy Tiger II but unfortunately Overlord did not survive the encounter. It was great to see a Moderator, especially THE head moderator enjoying the game and after the match we had a few words which was great... the guys near the top paying some attention and chatting with us.

The fight I was in alongside Overlord
That concludes my first impressions of the v. patch for World of Tanks. It has been a pleasure writing this up and the game is looking in much better shape. Here's hoping for the future!

Check out my other World of Tanks previews and guides