5.3 Bulletin and Public Test

Huge dump of info today! As it happens, the teaser is exactly what we’ve expected: Team Battles a la World of Tanks, now in WoWs as of 5.3.

WoWsUpdate

The bulletin Wargaming posted today not only reveals a bit about Team Battles, but also goes into some of the AA changes, as well as new captain skills and a whole bunch of other little things, too. I’ve got a full rundown after the break!

Team Battles, the biggest part of the new patch, is more or less the same as in World of Tanks: 7v7 battles between pre-made teams, almost like Clan Wars but on a smaller scale. Most of the e-sports events for WoT are done in Team Battles format, so this is definitely the first step towards making WoWs a competitive multiplayer game on that kind of level.

Unlike Ranked Battles, Team Battles are, again, made up of teams you organize yourselves. However, they won’t be active all the time; instead they’ll be run during a “prime time” period each day. Even if you aren’t in a Party (the WG word for these proto-Clans), you can set yourself to be open to get enlisted in one, or straight-up enter a queue for Team Battles as a “Mercenary” a bit more like Ranked.

Most importantly of all, Team Battles is going to use Elo rating, so equally-skilled teams tend to be matched together, and victories count more towards an overall Elo ranking if a team beats a team with a higher ranking than theirs.

My one wonder with this, though, is if WoWs has a high enough population to support another new battle mode. Ranked already hasn’t got a whole lot of people playing, so would Team Battles have the same problem? I suppose we can only know that once we’ve had a chance to play it in a live environment, really – not the test server.

Team Battles interface
Team battles interface

Captain Skills are kind of getting an overhaul. There’s new high-level (4 and 5) skills for improving AA and secondary guns, as well as one for increasing torpedo speed at the cost of range. Last Stand will be a tier 2 skill instead of tier 4, and a bunch of other existing skills are getting “improved,” no specifics given.

Advanced Firing Training, the much-loved skill for boosting destroyer and light cruiser gun range, might be getting changed in 5.3, this is NOT confirmed 100% yet. Basically, it would be changed to almost how it was in beta, with it only affecting secondary guns of any size as well as main guns of 137mm or less. So, potentially no more fire sniping for light cruisers like Mogami, if this goes as planned.

As a result of the changes, there also might be a free reset for all captain skills. This also isn’t confirmed, but I, personally, think it’s rather likely in light of these changes, especially the changes to AFT.

Finally, AA and aircraft loadouts will be overhauled. Put simply, close-range AA, like 37mm, 40mm, and so on will get a nerf to their DPS, and long-range AA like 120mm and 105mm dual-purpose guns will be getting a buff to their DPS. The cruiser Defensive Fire ability have a smaller damage multiplier, doing about 33% less damage. Designating planes for AA fire with ctrl-click also does less (reduction of 17%) damage. AA in general should be mostly reduced in terms of overall potential damage.

High tier airplanes are getting their health reduced so they’re easier to shoot down, though, and you’ll no longer have jets. Makes me sad, the FH Phantom is a cool plane, but jets were a bit too much for the higher tiers! The really slow, clunky biplanes will also be removed, too.

Now, onto fairly minor changes and additions:

  • Japanese destroyers Hatsuharu and Kagero (and potentially Shimakaze, according to NA?) will get a torpedo reload booster consumable, in the same slot as the existing smoke consumable. It doesn’t seem too useful; right now it’s a bit vague on whether it reduces the cooldown for torpedoes, or if it eliminates it entirely for one reload cycle. You won’t be able to carry it and smoke at the same time, though, which isn’t the greatest of exchanges.
  • Lots more achievements, but mostly for newer players and individual milestones. Simple stuff, like capturing your first base, etc.
  • A new, North Africa-themed map named Tears of the Desert for high tiers.
  • New special camouflages, purchasable with doubloons, for Fubuki, Mogami, Izumo, Shokaku, Fletcher, New Orleans, Iowa, Lexington, Admiral Hipper, and Tashkent.
  • New music! That’s always good, I really do love the music in WoWs.
  • Increased credit and XP gain for several different ships, decreased XP gain for some. Overall a money boost, mainly for German cruisers and Russian/American destroyers.

That’s it! Quite a lot of stuff, definitely some things I’m looking forward to, especially the new captain skills – my Warspite is going to love the improved secondary guns!

Do note, though, that NONE of this is final. All of these things are subject to change, and could be altered before the patch hits. Especially when you get into numbers, things aren’t going to be the same as they’re proposed to be here; little things will get tweaked, plus the AFT skill change may or may not happen in the end, we’ll have to see.

Considering that there’s a public test coming up, I believe the patch should come in one or two weeks, based on previous patch/announcement turnaround times. That’s an estimate, but look forward to it around then!

USS Iowa (BB-61) in camouflage

For getting this far, enjoy a picture of USS Iowa painted in camouflage. Note her black gun bloomers where the main guns meet the turrets: in-game these are beige, for some reason…

Sources: http://worldofwarships.asia/en/news/common/developer-bulletin-053/, http://worldofwarships.com/en/news/common/053-developer-bulletin/

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