Some Hard Facts: Back to the Future – Part 4

Links to part 1, 2 and 3.

Thanks to TollhouseFrank for allowing me to repost this.

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a great weekend as I sure did. We once again return to the miniseries where you do some reading, I do not offer you a TL;DR, and people reminisce about how much better World of Tanks used to be, because every single patch that WG has ever brought out has been the death-knell for the game, and it will never recover and people will abandon the game in larger and larger droves.

Though to be honest, if patch 9.0 couldn’t kill the game (and trust me, it seriously tried), then all the others will not kill the game. Just look past the hysterics and the fear-mongers and hate-mongers and realize that the average person just loves the game and just wants to play and make something go BOOM.

Sorry for being so long-winded. Where was I? Oh yes, this time, I will go over the year 2015 and why it was the downfall of WoT and why nobody plays this game at all anymore. Ever. The numbers in the queue are Alternate Facts and made up.

Patch 9.6 We start off 2015 with the first patch in February. Artillery Strike and Airstrike are introduced to Strongholds. Reddit Main posts videos of them being used to hilarious results on Mines.

This patch was a nerf to the Accuracy/Sigma change that made tanks super-accurate. The amount of shells going towards the center of the aiming circle was way too high, so WG nerfed this a bit so that fewer shells flew directly at the center.

Dragon Ridge removed from the game (and no indications yet as to if it will ever return. I personally hope so). STA-2 and CDC are added as premium tanks. WG changes how the Contact List works in garage, allowing us to categorize/group people, and also massively expanding how many are allowed to be on the list.

Despite all of the above, this patch was known as The Day the TD’s Were Struck Blind. Prior to this patch, TD’s often had the best viewrange in the game in each tier. They didn’t need anyone to spot for them, and hunting down a camo’d up TD was an exercise in frustration/futility, as he would see you and snipe you long before you got close enough to break his camo.

Patch 9.7 Upgrades to the game engine aren’t often talked about, but this was a big one. In changing the engine, WG did a lot of optimization to the game. This patch also maddened a certain subsection of the playerbase that we only refer to in hushed tones as Those-Who-Shall-Not-Play-Vanilla. The method for how mods interacted with the game was changed, and we were mod free for almost a month as mod creators hurried to update their content.

Just like the prior patch reduced the viewrange of TD’s, this patch reduced the viewrange of SPG’s. SPG’s went from having competitive viewranges, to often being the worst viewrange of any vehicle in the respective tier. This made SPG’s much more dependent on teammates for defense and spotting.

This patch brought in a bunch of new low to mid tier french tanks, and the new AMX 30 1ER and AMX 30B. We were also introduced to something else french – the Overlord Map. A map dedicated to the D-Day invasion. It was lauded as one of the most unique maps to be added to the game in years. People eventually did get jaded because of the Beach goers – just like the valley goers on Lakeville – but still, it has remained a nice map. It is supposedly getting reworked in a future patch.

Patch 9.8 Will talk about Domination/Steel Hunt (Rampage Mode) in the 9.9 section, but suffice it to say that Domination came in this patch, Steel Hunt in 9.9. I decided to discuss both of them together, which is why I pushed off Domination to the next patch discussion.

This patch shook things up with Personal Missions. 36 separate personal missions were changed, as WG’s statistics showed the greatest amount of players got stuck on them. Infamous missions like LT 15 (now includes assistance/tracking and your own damage, not just spotting), MT 12 (made it a lot easier to get this uber-rng burn mission), etc.

Another shake-up, and just as positive an addition to this game, if not moreso than making the Personal Missions easier, was the addition of Personal Reserves. This patch alone made it possible to make grinds of tanks/crew/credits much easier.

Seal-clubbers got to squeal with delight, as low tier auto-cannons were given a buff and now can reach 400 meters before they do no damage, as opposed to the approximate 300 meters before.

Komarin is removed again. Only time will tell if we will ever see it again or not. Northwest was not only removed, but all assets were deleted (it likely is NEVER coming back).

Patch 9.9 This patch brought both critical acclaim, and critical condemnation for a highly anticipated game mode(s). This game mode has been gone now for quite a while, but it caused such a huge ruckus, raised such a huge stink, and started such a massive witch-hunt that WG quickly shoveled it/them to get rid of it. For those that never played those modes or are new since those modes were removed, I am talking about Domination/Steel Hunt.

People ended up banned. People lost their (depending on server) wink wink nudge nudge “hard-earned” Tier X T-22. To this day, people still don’t play their T22 (whether one of the handful that earned it legit or one of the many that earned it by rigging matches) because of the constant Unsportsmanlike Conduct complaints that get them auto-banned by the system. This was probably the 2nd biggest PR disaster that WG has had with its own playerbase (it was straight up the biggest, until Rubicon was announced, but that is for later). These issues with both modes to earn the T-22 persisted until they were removed.

The Ravioli, Skorpion, and T-28 F30 were added. AwfulPanther replaced with the SP 1C. Heavy Tank No. VI added to the game as the trainer for the next patch’s Japanese Superheavies.

More technical magic with the Improved Render. This was big for upping the graphics of the game, and many GPU’s suddenly were able to run much higher settings from the optimizations.

There were buffs to tanks such as the M46, M48, and STA-2.

Patch 9.10 September of 2015 brings us the Japanese Superheavies. Domination and Steel Hunt were still “going strong” with people now allowed to use their own vehicles, and not just specific rental vehicles. The amount of rigging starts to go up massively. Reddit itself is full of complaints about riggers. The local pitchfork and torch emporium sees an uptick in sales.

This patch also brings us a change to how maps are chosen. Certain maps now are only seen in certain tiers or while they can be seen in all tiers, are more likely to be seen in certain tiers. This helps people see a lot of different types of maps, but still doesn’t fix the issues of the way the servers are programmed, they can only have about 7-10 maps at a time chosen to be running during their time period (which seems to be a little more than an hour, but a little less than 2 hours).

For new players, there is now a Garage Tutorial.

Patch 9.11 aka Patch 10.0 aka Rubicon Not much to say here other than (up till now, as of February 27, 2017), the most resisted, most outspoken near-revolt of the playerbase that WG has ever dealt with in a patch. While the usual handful of suspects on Reddit complain about P2W in this game, it still IS NOT Pay-2-Win. It is still Pay-2-Progress-Faster.

However, if Rubicon would have hit the servers as it was presented, Pay-2-Win would have been a reality. It took a revolt of all of the servers for WG to realize the errors of their thinking and for them to pull back almost all of the changes. However, WG also went a little Politically Correct in their numbering scheme and skipped 9.11 as a patch number.

To channel Forrest Gump: “That’s all I have to say about that.”

Patch 9.12 To fuel the tinfoil-hat crowd, WG adds in bots for new people to play against while learning the game. This of course fuels conspiracy theories that the rest of the game is full of bots. Thanks to a variation of Dunning-Kruger, parts of the playerbase just cannot conceive of the notion that there are people that are just not very good at this game and that those same players really don’t care how good they are as long as they get to log in and drive a pixel tank and shoot at other pixel tanks, because that is cool/fun/awesome/choose-your-description.

This patch also gave a HUGE change to the meta, as the max draw range changed from a box into a circle. While we technically have MORE available space to us in our view range circles, the prior, amazing, 707 meter corner shots that you could pull off with the prior square render/draw box were gone. This changed some maps a lot, as certain sniping/scouting/camping spots no longer worked and new ones opened up.

IS-8 became the T-10 upon going to HD. It suddenly went from a blah/poor tier 9 to one that is highly sought after. Some lowtier american TD’s (like the T18 and T82) were removed from the game as TD’s and reintroduced as SPG’s. Thus ends the life of the favorite seal-clubbing machines for many. FV4202 is removed from tier 10 and changed into a tier 8 premium. Some servers have a mission to earn it for free if you had it researched prior. NA server players were given them for free if they played at least a match in it (thus, I earned another premium without buying it). It is replaced by the Action X Centurion, to much applause. The Caernarvon and Conqueror both got massive turret buffs, and while it sort of helped the Caernarvon, the Conqueror overnight became one of the more powerful tier 9’s, thanks to the upgraded turret buff.

The South Coast map was removed from the map rotation, and Hidden Village and Province both had their assets deleted.

Patch 9.13 We close out the year of 2015 in December with a very tiny patch that brings almost nothing to the game. Alright, I misled you again. We are introduced to a new nation this patch, and say welcome to Czechoslovakia and their tanks in WoT. We are also introduced to a Czech map named Pilsen. 37 different vehicles were ‘rebalanced’ (buffed and/or nerfed) this patch.

Tiers 4 and 5 got an expanded map pool to play on. Probability to play Stalingrad got reduced by over 4 times. South Coast map got removed completely from the client.

Rampage Mode (Domination and Steel Hunt) get mission paramaters changed to be easier. Rigging was still happening and the Pitchfork and Torch Emporium had to expand in order to keep up with demand.

I hope you all enjoyed this trip down memory lane, especially combined with the prior 3 in the series. The next part will follow soon.