We're been here before - but World of Tanks North America are showcasing some interesting improvements to graphical quality. Are they really going to enhance our heavy metal fun?
World of Tanks North America have released a new video with a further glimpse of improved graphics using the new Havok game engine - and we don't think it's a coincidence that this information is coming out of the Land of the Relatively Free.
The video, which was shown during this developer livestream, here and here, certainly looks great. With greatly enhanced landscape detail and new terrain features, those of us who like to stop and sniff the flowers while on a reload will find these improvements do add to the general game environment.
We all know World of Tanks' playerbase is largely in the former CIS, but we also all know the players with disposable income are mostly in western Europe and US. And here is Wargaming's problem - players in the west in general have much better PC specifications. Consequently they expect, if not miracles, but the game to at least look up-to-date.
So the Havok engine should really have been with us a year ago, two years ago - but it just didn't happen. It's good to see WoT showcasing such improvements, and on the livestream it was promised the improvements would come with the introduction with the introduction of the Tier X light tanks in some mega patch.
The reason we think WoT NA was so candid with the players is one of culture. Americans by nature are more open and questioning, the fact that Wargaming is at heart a Russian company means it has been less than transparent with the playerbase, because that's just how they are. And it's their bloody game after all. Nevertheless, if WoT NA are pushing for more transparency and higher quality, then we can't see the downside.
Well, at least until US tanks get their very own "Hand of Roosevelt" special mechanics anyway.
The other interesting part of the livestream, hosted by Meathead Militia, was on the matchmaker. Again, a huge improvement in MM mechanics is promised in the mega patch. WoT's developers have identified a 3/5/7 team ratio as being optimal. That is, three top tier, five middle tier and seven bottom tier. This would of course make top tier tanks a much more valuable team asset and enable the bottom tier tanks to "goon swarm" the upper tier ones, at least sometimes.
Easentially, Wargaming have to achieve the twin goals of speed of matchmaking, but also fairness of matchmaking. It's not so simple. Although Dmitry Fedoruk, the developer in charge of the new matchmaker system, did mention a +2 MM had been looked at too. Hmm.
Also mentioned was an improvement in platoon matchmaking. The current system matches platoons with platoons within the +3 tier boundaries. As we all know, that can translate to a platoon of gods in Object 140s vs a platoon of drunken Greeks in T34s. Not ideal. The developers are aiming to fix this, or at least reduce the frequency of such events.
And last but not least, it was said they are working on increasing map rotations.
Until then, we'll be camped in a bush on Prohorovka.