I have a suspicion they changed the tech tree because, under the old format, it was starting to become challenged in the width-department as they kept adding more tank lines. I suspect the awkwardness of sideways scrolling is as much to do with it being different as anything - give it a few weeks and I imagine most folks won't notice. Onto your list I would have added that camouflage patterns now have an in-game effect.
The massive World of Tanks 8.0 Update is finally out, and you can find the detailed notes here.
After spending 8 hours streaming yesterday, I’m surprisingly enthusiastic about the patch. Low teir games are filled with adorable newbies throwing themselves off any jumps they can find and exploding, while in high tier games there is much of the same, with a bit less explosions. The AP/APCR normalization has made the IS-7 a lot more annoying, and it was very hard to make snap-shots on its front and is probably the most noticeable balance change.
Second to that is the performance of the 50B and E-100 overall. Both tanks are much improved and are definitely worth a second look for those who discounted them as a viable line for grinding. The E-100 is now comparable to a pre-buff Maus in durability, and with more survivability the argument can be made for use of the 50B over a Batchat.
Only one thing qualifies as a disappointment as a long term player: the new tech tree. The old one really didn’t need changing, but this comes with the improved garage interface. It could be seen as a wash overall, but if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it. Fortunately, many long term issues with the game have been fixed in return, so in the end it’s not so bad. Before you get too deep into the new patch though, here’s some things you should know.
1) To disable Encounter and Assault battles in Solo Matchmaking, go into Settings and look to the upper right corner of the menus. This will turn off whichever modes you choose while you queue alone. Unfortunately, this is not included when platooning (Which should be arriving in 8.1)
2) Similarly, “Vibration in Sniper Mode” has been toggled back on by default. Turn this off while you’re in that menu.
3) Physics is finally enabled. The only invisible walls on maps now are the limits themselves, feel free to drown or plummet to your death (Pushing people into water or off cliffs does not count for damage or kills).
4) Graphics are completely different! However, if you want you can fiddle with your settings and return it to pre-8.0 looks. While there are a lot more particle effects and extreme bloom at times, performance on average does not appear to have been affected by this.
5) A lot of tanks had their stats heavily changed. If you don’t understand the breakdowns in the patch notes, WoT forums user Tupinambis has broken them down here.
6) AP and APCR rounds received a slight normalization nerf. This means that they won’t penetrate sloped armor as easily, and you should take more care aiming. Tanks with steep slopes like the Object 704, strange turrets like the AMX-50b or piked fronts like the IS-7 have benefited greatly from this.
7) A lot of maps got redesigned, but not all of them. First Generation maps like Lakeville, Sand River, Karelia, Mountain Pass, etc have been redone this patch, with Second Generation maps such as Ruinberg or Seigfried Line have only had re-done lightboxes.
8) After battles, a detailed breakdown will be shown in the garage, including comprehensive stats for all tanks in the battle. You can now openly mock people who play horribly and prove it. To review it, again after closing, you can go back into the messages window in the bottom right and click on “details”
9) The tech tree has been re-vamped, and seems to be the only downside of this patch. It feels a little bit clunky, and could use some work. The side scrolling in particular is awkward.
10) Chat and the messages system have been reworked. Instead of needing to select “All”, “Platoon”, or “Team” with every new message, it now remembers. After two years, I do not know why they felt this needed to change. In addition, to mark targets or do pings like “Reloading!” or “Help!” you can now hold down Z by default and press a corresponding F key, or move your mouse in the direction of the desired response. For example, if you press F8 you will say “Reloading!” and a reloading circle will appear on your tank on the minimap.