As WG is seemingly aware of light tanks becoming less competitive as class, I decided to interview some EU players about their feeling on what the issues are and what should be improved.
The sample was pretty small (15 players), but then I wanted opinions rather than statistics so don’t take it as a huge poll capable of influencing WG.
The players ranged from Bad WN to Unicum levels with an average of 1294 according to noobmeter.com so relatively skilled players (not unexpected given that active forums posters usually are the better informed and skilled part of the community) and definitely better than yours truly, which is average at best.
So, what did those players think about it?
The main concerns seems to be view range and match making, one being seen not enough of an edge VS high tier mediums and TDs and the other too punishing for some tanks.
Mobility and camo rating are also seen as insufficient especially compared to high tier mediums while some players would also like improved firepower.
How much of this would be possible in WOT considering historical requirements?
Top tier light tanks have comparable or worse view range to many other tier X vehicles, making them as disadvantage when it comes to active scouting and allegedly not enough even for passive in some cases
Would this be possible to improve? Yes and no.
The maximum view range in WOT is 420m and reserved to open-top vehicles, while enclosed ones usually top at 390-400m. As trying to push WG into changing mechanics is pretty hard, let’s see the historical route to circumvent the problem and look for open-top designs.
Those are indeed available at least on the German side but they have two downsides:
1) They were usually SPG/AAA turrets
2) They look bigger and aren’t exactly made to be pleasant to the eye, let’s take the top German scout hull as example:
Not exactly what you could call camo-friendly, right? This is also one of the reasons why I always argued against a scout Panther but even other choices would entail big turrets detrimental of camouflage, so possibily not an ideal solution.
Mobility:A mix of soft stats and power to weight ratio is what gives agility in WOT and this is a field where much is possible.
Aside from considering making light tanks better on most terrains, I think more powerful engines could be available for most high tier lights, worst case bending history a little bit.
On the German side, AFK Panther could for example mount the 1150 HP GT-102 gas turbine although that would mean a much bigger engine module and a very vulnerable one at it, while the lower-tier VK 2801 could be upgraded to its heaving variant, mounting the Maybach HL-230 in a slightly larger, 34 ton chassis.
The topic is pretty tricky as in most cases all light designs already topped their historical designs or went over them.
A potential solution could be to take the compromise route used in the Panzer II and let the flak cannons be used in AT role or alternatively lift partially the smooth bore cannon ban for the low velocity HEAT guns such as the PAW series on the German sides and similar guns for most post war designs, although the downside would be a flood of requests for designs such as the Sheridan which is likely over the top.
This part is trickier as WG seldom listens of mechanics proposals.
Here the most frequent request is a return of the strong environmental camo (translated as bushes can hide them better) for light tanks or lessened activation times for camo net and binoculars.
Match making for lights is also a very strong issue as it’s seen as being too harsh in many cases (and I personally agree for some tier IV lights at least), both for bringing unskilled players into battles where they have no idea on how to influence the outcome and in high tier lights seeing too often battles where they are out-matched by tier X mediums in the active scouting role and many heavies are also seen as too agile to be outmaneuvered by light tanks.
All in all, rebalancing light tanks won’t be an easy job for WG, especially as their original task of artillery hunting has decreased in priority.
Still, I personally highly appreciate when a light driver does a proper spotting job as it can seriously bring the upper hand in a fight.
I cannot count the matches where I was forced in a TD or heavy tank to do the spotting by myself (often with very bad results), so a proper revival of a class that promotes team-play more than most would be highly welcome.