Checked the WoT subreddit for the first time in weeks and stumbled upon this post about changes coming up in 10.0.
The video posted is from QuickyBaby and it deals with the new changes coming to tank visualization. In short, previous visual enhancements such as emblems, flags, etc. that gave no in-game bonus now do. I noticed this when I jumped on the test server a while back but wasn't sure if it was new in this patch or had been around since I took a break from the game and no one noticed or cared. Turns out it is not yet released. Let's hope it isn't.
In its current state it's a clear move towards P2W on WG's part. Even QB, who many complain is little more than a WG cheerleader, is calling it a terrible idea. That says something right there.