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Published February 18, 2013

8.4 is nearly upon us. It contains both new content and the usual balancing changes we've come to expect. 

So, what's in the bag? To begin, we have the first branch of the new British Tank Destroyers tree. I say 'first', because rumor has it that another branch will be released at a later date. We're also getting some new German low tier tanks including the classic Panzer I. Certain German light tanks are being moved up one Tier, and the new Soviet Tier VI SU-100Y Premium Tank destroyer is being released. 

We'll also see some changes and updates to existing maps, while Dragon Ridge is being put back into development, as is Serene Coast. 

Lets have a look at those new Tank Destroyers then...

The new British TDs certainly seem interesting, with the bulk of these being never-serialized prototypes developed as part of the 'AT' program. I'm not sure what Wargaming is doing here, but we'll have to assume that the second British Tank Destroyer branch will feature the serial production turreted Tank Destroyers like the Firefly and Achilles.

So what's with these AT series tanks? The British armored vehicle manufacturer Nuffield was charged by the British Army to make a series of designs for a new Assault Tank with the express purpose of breaking through German defenses. Thus, the designs are all quite similar: thick armor, low mobility, and a case-mate gun housing. They also all share the same basic hull and similar drive trains; the differences are armor layout, thickness, gun and gun mountings. 

In many cases the original designs and what WG will implement are a little different as the AT series was a collection of designs, with each successive design featuring changes, rather than "upgrades" to the existing design. WG has done a little imagineering to make them work, in some cases mounting weapons they were never designed to carry.

Anyway...

Tier II Universal Carrier 2pdr


This is a simple little vehicle, based on the most-produced armored vehicle of all time, the Vickers-Armstrong Universal Carrier, better known as the Bren Gun Carrier. It mounts the quick-firing 2 pounder cannon. 200 were built, but were only used in training.

We can expect a very lightly armored, small, and highly mobile platform. The gun should do about 50mm of penetration with standard rounds. Crew is likely to be 3 or 4. 

If you've played any of the other British tanks with the QF 2-pdr you'll know what to expect: a rapid rate of fire but on a platform with no ability to take damage. I don't think the T18 has much to worry about with this one!

Tier III Valentine AT

Up next is an experimental version of the venerable Valentine light tank. It was basically a QF 6-pdr field gun bolted onto the Valentine hull... a design that was immediatelly cancelled, as the QF 6-pdr could be mounted in the Valentine's turret, making this conversion utterly useless.

We can expect a well-armored hull with a rapid firing gun. This could have quite a bit of potential at Tier III, the only downside being the inherent sloth of the Valentine. Wargaming has provided two main gun options, both of which are quite viable, the 6-pdr and 3.7inch Howitzer (which looks to be an excellent "gold derp" gun).

Tier IV Alecto


Few details exist about this little vehicle, other than that it's based on what originally was a modified Tetrach light tank. What is known is that it was a small, open topped vehicle which could mount a wide variety of weapons, from the QF 6-pdr, to the QF 25-pdr or even a 32-pdr howitzer. 

Wargaming's take on this will likely be a relatively fast and agile vehicle. On the test server, it's mounting a 25-pdr howitzer or the QF 6-pdr. On paper, the howitzer doesn't look that great due to low penetration and accuracy. Even the Premium round offers only 92mm of penetration - that is, not enough for a slightly angled KV-1.

Tier V AT2


The AT2 is a paper tank - it existed in drawings only. Wargaming's interpretation of it is consequently more important. What we do know is the AT2 features a case-mate construction, mounts the 75mm HV cannon (a higher performing analogue of the QF 6-pdr) and has 203mm of armor in the front and 101mm on the sides. At Tier V that's clearly an immense amount of armor for a non-Soviet tank to have, so it remains to be seen how WG will balance this tank. It's likely that mobility will be terrible. Also, it can only mount a version of the QF 6-pdr and the 3.7inch howitzer. These two weapons mean this tank is under-gunned and over-armoured.

Tier VI AT8


If you're into British wartime AFVs, the first thing you'll pick up is that the model number in no way corresponds to the effectiveness of the vehicle. The AT series is no different. The AT8 has a unique casemate design on the AT basic chassis and historically mounted a 6-pdr cannon. 

Tipping the scales at 41 tons, it's the same weight and has similar armor to the other case-mate style AT vehicles, 203mm. To set it apart from the AT2, the weapon can be upgraded to the QF 17-pdr. This is a particularly fine tool for a Tier VI tank, being extremely accurate (0.32), with high rate of fire (16.7) and good penetration (171mm). The damage is only 150 but the rate of fire ofsets this.

Tier VI Churchill Gun Carrier


What can be said, other than this is a Churchill with a cannon mounted within a case-mate where the turret used to be. The real vehicle was produced: 50 were built, but only served with the Home Guard. 

Expect a slow but well armored hull with an 88mm thick case-mate, capable of mounting the very effective QF 32-pdr. If you've already moved up the British Heavy line, many of the upgrades for this tank will already be researched.

TIer VII AT-7


Continuing with the development of the AT series is the AT-7. Using a similar hull, the gun can be upgraded to the QF 20-pdr AT gun, seen on some of the higher-tier British Mediums and Heavies. 

Stats will be similar to the other AT series tanks, with 203mm of armour in the front and poor mobility - but firepower won't be lacking. The QF 20-pdr AT gun is a fast-firing, highly accurate cannon and powerful for a Tier VII.

Tier VIII AT-15

The AT-15A has become one of my favorite tanks in WoT; despite its lack of mobility, it has monumentally thick armor and an accurate fast firing gun. It makes one wonder what the AT-15 could possibly bring.

From the stats, this tank looks like a complete beast. The top gun will be the Tier IX QF 20-pdr Barrel B AT which has 226mm of penetration, RoF of 14rpm, 230 average damage, 0.3 accuracy and 1.5sec aiming time. The alpha is poor, but these tanks are meant to use the first shots to detrack the opponent and then pummel them. 

The armour is equally impressive, 228/151/101mm, and it appears that the opening for the gun has been beefed up a little bit, reducing its most obvious weak point. A view range of 370m and signal of 750m round this TD off. I expect that this tank will be appearing in Champion Company Battles.

Tier IX A39 Tortoise


Most of the AT series never made if off the drawing board. The designs were either impractical, unwanted by the Army or were outdated before production. The A39 was the final evolution in the AT series and 6 prototypes were built. Technically classed as an SPG, it was found to be a powerful and reliable gun platform. Before production could begin, though, the conclusion of WWII ended the need for the AT series. This is a tank so reliable that one of the prototypes is still maintained in running order and can be seen in action at Bovington Tank Museum. 

The vehicle is similar to the US designed T28 and T95, designed to take on heavily fortified German positions, and so mounts a 32-pdr cannon in a limited traverse ball mount. It has 225mm of angled armor on the front and 172 on the sides and rear; the whole package weighs nearly 80 tons.

What can we expect? Remembering this is a very large tank, the stats for it are pretty good, it's just a shame that it is Tier IX and not Tier X. 2000 hit points, an armor configuration of 225/225/176mm, 390m view range, 20kph maximum speed and it will be able to mount the 120mm L1A1 used on the Conqueror.

The L1A1 really makes this tank special: 8.45rpm, 269mm penetration (352mm with Premium rounds), 400 damage, 0.31 accuracy and 1.7seconds aiming time. That's an average DPM of 3380. 

Tier X 215B


First off, it's worth pointing out that this is the 215B; the current tank in the Tier X Heavy slot is a purely fictional vehicle made up by someone in Minsk because they couldn't be bothered to put an early model or prototype Chieftain in World of Tanks. Hopefully they'll rectify this, but that's another discussion.

The 215B is a Caernarvon/Conqueror hull, with a rear mounted limited traverse turret housing a massive 183mm naval cannon: the sort of gun that would feature as the main armament on a Heavy Cruiser. The real gun was capable of lobbing 92kg shells up to 19km.

So what is known for certain? Right now in the 8.4 test the stats look like this:

Tank:

  • HP:1960
  • Weight:60
  • Speed limit:34km/hr
  • Turret armor: 256/51/51
  • Hull armor:256/76/76
  • View range:400
  • Signal:750

Gun:

  • Rate of fire:2
  • Standard Penetration :310
  • Standard Dmg:1150
  • Gold Penetration:275
  • Gold Dmg:1750
  • Acc:0,4
  • Aim time:3,4

It looks very powerful, but it is worth pointing out that compared to the JPE100, its frontal armor is thicker but the angle is smaller. Also, the rate of fire is 0.33 RPM lower, its accuracy is lower, and finally its Premium round is... HESH. 

For those that haven't tried HESH or only on the test server, it is absolutely unworkable. HESH stands for High-Explosive Squash Head. It works by hitting the armor, then exploding on the outside causing spalling on the inside. HESH is defeated by spaced armor. Basically it doesn't penetrate to work, but has to hit armor that isn't spaced. The problem with HESH in WoT is that it has to penetrate to work. As such, it performs like a lower damage, higher penetration HE round. 

The problem, in my experience with the FV4202 (over 160 games now), is that HESH rarely works; when firing against armor it should clearly penetrate (i.e. sub 200mm at point blank range with no spacing), damage after penetration is rarely more than 150, which is an indication that it has exploded on the outside of the hull, despite the penetration message. 

The other issue with the 215B TD is that, as with the 215B Heavy, the 254mm of frontal armor means almost nothing. The angle is too low and what's behind it is too soft. There is a possibility that the 215B hull has been reworked because of the obvious hit box bugs, as previously the side armor could be penetrated at literally any angle, including over 70 degrees. To cut a long story short, the overmatching and normalisation on these hit boxes appears to be completely broken.

So, the Germans also get some tanks?

Yes, the Germans are getting some new lower-tier tanks. There's been some "Why are WG giving us useless low Tier tanks?" comments. Personally, I find that those comments are daft; Tier II is just as fun as any other Tier. 

Tier II Panzer I


Why did it take so long for WG to implement this tank? While utterly outclassed at the outbreak of WWII, its use in the German Army in the previous years helped the Wehrmacht learn about the intricacies of armored warfare and all the logistical problems associated with that. 

What is for sure that at Tier II this tank will require an armament upgrade over the stock MG13, which is a 7mm machine gun usually mounted as a defensive weapon on Luftwaffe aircraft. It is to be armed with the Breda 20mm. Armour will be 13mm and speed will be 40km/h. Really, it's nothing special for Tier II.

Tier III Panzer I Ausf. C

The Ausf.C is an all-new tank that shares the same chassis as the Panzer I but mounts twice the armor. It was a dedicated scout/recon tank mounting a 7.92mm autocannon. At Tier III this might be a little lacking, so WG included the 2cm Flak 38 and 7.92mm Mauser autocannon as an option. 

Really, though, there is only one thing worth mentioning about this tank: its speed. 79km/h. This tank is a must-buy for that alone. 

Tier III Panzer II Ausf. G


This take on the Panzer II fulfilled the purpose of a fast recon tank with the development code VK901 (MAN), featuring a Schachtellaufwerk  wheel configuration and torsion bar suspension. The real tank was armed with a glorified machine gun, so WG has had to take a few liberties with this tank's armament to make it fit in at Tier III.  WG decided to give it quite an interesting little gun, the MK103. This was actually a weapon originally intended as an aircraft mounted dual purpose cannon. Mounted on a tank, it's never going to do that much damage (and is quite inaccurate) but with a penetration of 90 and a RoF of 39, it's quite effective in a brawl.

Other stats are good too: 65kph top speed, 44 degrees turret traverse and 42 degrees track traverse, 330m view range and 700m signal means this could be an immensely fun little tank. Just don't look at the armour stats. 

More Panzer IIs is a good thing, but there's plenty of real subvariants that could have been included without WG shoe-horning in something ahistorical. The Ausf.F immediately springs to mind, a "Tier III Tiger."

New Premiums

The new addition for this update is the SU-100Y, a Tank Destroyer based on the T100 chassis mounting a 130mm naval cannon. The T100 was a competitor design to the KV series, but when assessed was called archaic, clumsy and various derogatory names. It must have been really terrible, as the original KV required a lump hammer to change gear. (Really, it did.)

Right now the stats are pretty good:

  • HP:700 
  • Engine:890HP
  • Speed:35 km/ph
  • Traverse: 30
  • Hull armor 60/60/60
  • Standard Shell damage 330-550
  • Standard Shell Penetration: 147-245
  • RoF 3.75
  • Gun Traverse: 26
  • View Range:350m
  • Signal:440

The gun gives a choice of ammunition: 510 Damage and 171 Penetration with Premium rounds and 440 Damage and 196 Penetration with standard rounds. Even with the 3.75 RoF, the gun is decent for Tier VI and perfect for the more experienced player.

Its downside is clearly the 60mm armour. Most tanks from Tier III up can penetrate it. The signal range of 440m is also quite terrible.

Anything else I need to know about?

Yes. The Luchs, VK 1602 and VK2801 are all moving up one tier and their statistics are remaining the same. It's not so bad, as they already have matchmaking for tanks one tier higher.

Complete content addition and change list

  • Added a branch of tank destroyers to the British tech tree: Universal Carrier QF 2 pounder, Alecto, Valentine AT, АТ 2, АТ 7, Gun Carrier Churchill, АТ 8, АТ 15, А39 Tortoise, FV215b(183).
  • Added three new German light tanks: Pz.I, Pz.I Ausf.С , Pz.II Ausf.G.
  • The following German light tanks have been moved to Tier IV, V and VI to match their rebalanced characteristics:  Luchs, VK 1602, VK2801
  • New USSR premium tier VI tank destroyer available in the in-game shop: SU-100Y.
  • New US Tier VI SPG added for testing: Sexton.
  • The following maps were reworked for improved graphics: Steppes, Fisherman's Bay, Ensk, Live Oaks.
  • Dragon Ridge and Serene Coast maps removed from random battle mode for re-working.
  • Game and visual fixes for the following maps: Cliff, Prokhorovka, Abbey.
  • "Assault" mode has been temporary disabled for the following maps: Malinovka and Westfield.
  • Fixed rounding on roads and crater textures for the Ruinberg map.
  • Battle tutorial for beginners has been added (tutorial mission has its own map).
  • Game supports NVIDIA SLI configurations.
  • Reduced slope of the lower nose plate of the Pz. V Panther to 55 degrees.
  • Reduced slope of the lower nose plate of the T-44 to degrees.
  • Fixed minor bugs with the damage model of the following tanks: AT-15А, Matilda Black Prince, Matilda (USSR), Grille, AMX 13-75, AMX 13-90, AMX 12t, Churchill I, VK 4205B, M12, M41, Object 212, Caernarvon, M46 Patton, Maus, Е-100.
  • Improved the protection offered by the joint between lower and higher nose plates on Caernarvon, Conqueror and FV215b tanks.
  • Fixed bugs in visual models: IS-3, Churchill LL, М41, Т69, KV-3, TOG-2, SU-14, S-51, Hetzer.
  • Fixed mixed up left and right tracks in the damage model of the WZ131 tank.
  • Fixed camo costs for Chinese T-34-2.
  • Fixed appearance of the final drive cover for Т-34 and vehicles built on its hull.
  • Removed the restriction of the “external view” button for vehicles with incomplete crew.
  • Added the possibility to choose addressing system in battle chat: with or without auto save of the addressee.
  • Tanks with auto loader system will reload the whole cassette/drum instead of one shell when the “Intuition” skill is triggered.
  • Fixed the loss of performance on some configurations while using server reticle in sniper mode.
  • The FPS rate in hangar is forcibly limited to 60 FPS.
  • Reworked and optimised tank engine exhaust effect.
  • Returned the option to train crew members for tanks missing in the hangar. A separate warning window has been added for this purpose.
  • Added a windowed full-screen option (maximize button in the right top corner).
  • Fixed barrel scoring and turret turning after a hit.
  • Fixed after-shot rattle in the left speaker for some configurations.
  • Fixed the ammo order during a turret or gun change.
  • Fixed barrel scoring in some cases when targeting a close obstacle.
  • Fixed some bugs in the visual models of surrounding objects and building damage.
  • Fixed client crash when pressing "Update Device" in the settings menu.
  • Fixed wrong output for FPS values, ping and lag indication for the Logitech G19 keyboard.
  • Added new pictures to the login screen.
  • Complemented description of commemorative medals.
  • Fixed a bug which mixed up the command order "Affirmative!" and "Negative!" for tank destroyers in some situations.
  • Added additional effects for destroying big tanks.
  • Added the ability to remove heavy weight equipment and modules and replace them with lower weight ones when the chassis is overloaded. 
  • Fixed some bugs in the display and update rate of dynamic shadows.
  • Added display of the drowning timer and module repair indicator in the post mortem observation mode.
  • Fixed a rare client crash after fast quitting and then connecting to the game.
  • "Damage upon detecting" in the after-battle statistics renamed to "Damage upon your detecting".
  • Fixed audio interruptions during the voice chat test.
  • Implemented restoration of voice chat functionality after disconnection.
  • When the client is minimised, the icon now blinks five seconds before the battle starts rather that at the start.
  • Fixed glitch with "Sniper" achievement when damaging allied tank with HE shell.
  • Fixed inconsistent amount of credits received for selling a vehicle being displayed in both vehicle selling window and following system notifications.
  • Fixed complaints in the post-battle statistics for players not involved in the platoon. 
  • Fixed camera in-tank-entry when you are close to some objects.
  • Fixed failure "10 calibers rule" for internal ricochet
  • Fixed some bugs in achieving Kolobanov's medal for cases when the members of both teams quit to the hangar before the end of a battle.
  • Fixed the display of a sold tank showing as not researched in the tech tree.
  • Fixed a rare client crash when going to the tank research window.
  • Added information on "potentially received damage" to the post-battle statistics. This considered all the potential damage that a tank could receive from ricocheted or non-penetrated shells (including side skirt armour).
  • Fixed damage from falling received by absent turret for TDs and SPGs.
  • Fixed display of team damage and team kill for the post-battle statistics window when allied tank was destroyed by fire after your hit.
  • Fixed descriptions of the "Sniper" and "Steel Wall" achievements.

Want to take part in the test?

For EU players, you'll want to look here.

US players, your entry into the 8.4 test is here.

Knobber
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.