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Published November 28, 2012

Chinese Tanks removed?

Yesterday, Wargaming announced that Chinese tanks will not feature in the 8.2 content update for World of Tanks in this press release.

In a message posted on the official website, they provide an indication that the implementation of Chinese tanks may have been rushed. This doesn't come as much surprise to many of the players who've tried them out on the test server. 

However, everything else that was slated for 8.2, including the new Premium tanks, map revisions, and the new US tanks, will still see the light of day when 8.2 is released. 

So what did they say exactly?

The official response from Wargaming:

"The World of Tanks team has been gathering a large amount of statistical data from the first iteration of the Version 8.2 public test.  We have thoroughly analysed this data, and as a result, we have decided to postpone the release of the Chinese Tech Tree from Version 8.2 to the next update. This is so that we can take some more time to make corrections and improvements to them in order to give you the best gaming experience.

In the meantime, the rest of the changes that will be coming in the 8.2 update are still taking place as planned.

With the release of 8.2 update, the American Tank Tree will receive a separate branch of new vehicles. The main feature of this new branch is that the three top vehicles will use an autoloader device system.  These vehicles are the T69 and T54E1 medium tanks, and the T57 Heavy Tank.

The list of premium tanks will be enriched with three new original vehicles: the Tier VI British Heavy Tank TOG II, a vehicle which became popular among public testers soon after the test started and also received many funny nicknames for its appearance; the Tier VII British Tank Destroyer AT-15A, which is distinct from other tanks of its Tier by its thick front armour; and the Tier VIII French Heavy Tank FCM 50t, which has strong features similar to all top French vehicles: good manoeuverability and excellent dynamics for a heavy tank.

As well as these new vehicles, we are continuing to rework and improve our maps to make best use of the new render. In Update 8.2 we’ve significantly reworked and improved four maps: ‘Prokhorovka’, ‘Redshire’, ‘Erlenberg’ and ‘Ruinberg’.

A more detailed coverage of the changes and specifics in Version 8.2 will be given by World of Tanks Producer, Michael Jivets in the next ASAP video.

Good luck on the battlefields!"

So there you have it.

What was the real reason for this delay?

Wargaming, never a company to tackle difficult questions from players, hasn't given a clear message as to the exact problem with Chinese tanks, and in all likelihood never will.

The feedback on the Chinese tanks has been mixed; many having turned out to be essentially carbon copies of existing Soviet tanks, as many suspected they would. The only difference is that they have slightly different armour characteristics, are generally faster and have incredibly high damage guns.

An easy tank to pick a hole in is the Chinese Tier X Heavy, which appears to be an IS7's hull with an IS4's turret, mounting a relatively low penetration, but fast firing and high damage, gun. Add in to the mix the fact that its mobility is comparable to the T62A and you have a tank which makes all existing Tier X tanks (Mediums and Heavies alike) redundant.

Questions once again are being raised about the suitability of the test server.

It's often been pointed out by players that the World of Tanks test server in its current state is not the platform to perform game balancing.

At the start of each iteration of testing players are rewarded with enormous amounts of free experience, credits and gold. This creates an environment where players are using Premium ammunition and consumables during testing; testing which is used to gather statistical data to finely balance tanks prior to final release. 

It's akin to CCP allowing endless supplies of Dead Space or Officer modules & ammunition on SiSi, the EVE Online test server. Who's going to use the cheap version of an item when the very best variant is available at no cost to the player? 

Another issue is player behaviour on the test server; it is nothing like what is experienced on the live server. Players often head straight for the highest Tier tanks meaning the matchmaking is not representative of what would happen on the live server. There is no motivation for a player to behave or play as they would on their real account since there is no real consequence for negative actions, or reward for doing positive things.

But this has always been a problem with the World of Tanks test server and Wargaming has shown little sign of changing this. So it begs the question: how can Wargaming balance tanks, let alone now claim that a whole new Tech Tree of tanks needs to be pulled from a release, based on data collected in an environment which is unsuitable for game balancing. 

We'll never know, because that isn't the sort of information Wargaming is likely to release.

Knobber
I'm a QA manager by day, avid World of Tanks and EVE Online player by night. Having worked on AAA MMO titles in the past, I bring the perspective of both the gamer and former games industry professional.

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