Okay, this 9.18 update to World of Tanks is huge, y'all. This might very well be the biggest single update I've ever seen for the game over the years. Big changes to matchmaking, big changes to artillery, and the addition of top-tier light tanks (my favorite class of tank, incidentally), plus a whole slew of tank-by-tank, bit-by-bit tweaks that are mind boggling to consider. Start reading these full update notes in the morning and you'll maybe be finished by the afternoon.
Creating solid matchmaking algorithms has got to be the biggest nightmare for any online competitive multiplayer game. I'm not a designer. I wouldn't know. But it's one of the things World of Tanks players have sounded off about for years, years. "Too many artillery units on the opposing side," or "Why am I always on the bottom rung of the match?" and also "There are like over 40 maps—why am I getting stuck on the same ones every time?"
One major point in Update 9.18 is the improved matchmaker, which tries to create a 3/5/7 template. That means it'll put together matches with no more than three high-tier tanks, five middle-tier tanks, and seven low-tier tanks on each side. If too many of one tier are stuck in the queue, then it'll setup one-off matches that, for instance, pit an even number of high- and middle-tier combatants together, or perhaps and all low-tier match.
Another major point of Update 9.18 is an all-around revision to SPGs (that's the long-range support fire vehicle, the sniper, the artillery, otherwise known as "arty"). Getting one-shotted by arty will not be happening anymore. Arty will do less damage, but they'll also be more accurate and reload faster. They've also got a new stun which is going to hose your aiming and movement for a bit. There's also a new targeting view which fits somewhere between the arty's usual top-down map view and the usual over-the-shoulder tank view.
And the final big point of Update 9.18 is the stretching of light tanks into the top tier (Tier X). The new Tier X light tanks are faster, more maneuverable, and pack more of a punch than the previous Tier VII ceiling. Their guns put them just below medium tanks' firepower, and the Tier X lights have enough punch to get through the side or rear armor of heavies. Finally! I won't feel as useless in a top-tier match.
Wow, that's a lot of stuff. I'm surprised this much revision didn't push the game to full World of Tanks 10.0. I know I'd said earlier that I was going to hop back into Torment: Tides of Numenera, but I might just have to fire up a few rounds of World of Tanks instead. It's been over a year for me since I'd reviewed the PlayStation 4 version, though I got the most playtime during my Xbox 360 career, and was even around during its early PC days. What a great game. What a good time.