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Does the idea of driving around in a steel death machine armed with a massive cannon excite you? Good, that means you’re normal. If, for whatever reason, you’re not normal you can read on and…

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PC Review

Tough love, tank style: World of Tanks [Review]

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Does the idea of driving around in a steel death machine armed with a massive cannon excite you? Good, that means you’re normal. If, for whatever reason, you’re not normal you can read on and I’ll try to help you with that.

World of Tanks (WoT) is the record smashing, Free-to-Play Action MMO from Wargaming.Net which sees you take control of a Tank, Tank Destroyer (TD) or SPG (Artillery) in small skirmishes. In what are normally 15 vs. 15 battles, your objective is to defend your base whilst at the same time capturing the enemy’s. Already released online, Wargaming.Net has just released the game in boxed format today. Meaning that (although we’ve been playing it for months) now is a fitting time to post our review.
Just before WoT was first released we covered it in detail in our preview, the game hasn’t changed too much since then; the core concept is the same so if you want more details about how the game plays, go ahead and read that. I’m going to focus on the newer things and the those that have changed over the past few months.

A few problems still remain. The chat system, for example, is horrible for a game that rewards teamwork. There is no way of knowing the effective radio ranges or how well your stealth is working. Further, the post-game stats still aren’t shown to you unless you wait until the battle finishes which prevents people from seeing how they perform if they take advantage of the drop-out-and-join-another-game ‘feature’.
These are all minor problems in the grand scheme of things but they are annoyances that could be fixed pretty easily.
On the flip side, many new features and improvements have made their way in. From minor ones like the way spotting and detection are calculated to big ones like ‘Clan Wars’.

The graphics have been massively improved since the online launch, the maps really feel alive now; each one very distinctive and offering varied strategic combat zones. Your mini-map has also received a massive cleanup, being made much sharped and easier to read. This is largely thanks to different types of tanks getting their own symbols, allowing you to quickly see which blobs are your TDs and which are SPGs.

Lots more tanks, cooler sounds and music have also really improved the game in helping create that feeling of epic power which only the power of tanks can. Oh and did I mention there are even more tanks now?
Lastly, and most significant of the updates, is Clan Wars. Although no longer ‘properly’ new, it’s new since we last commented about WoT. Clan Wars is a persistent world map where clans fight for control of global territory. A small snippet of the things you can do include Espionage, Invade and Defend. As a Clan leader you can promote your members to take control of the finances, the war council or even just a platoon. These features make controlling clans relatively easy even when you have large numbers of members.
Successful invasions give your clan a spot on the war map which then generates gold for your Clan. The only negative to Clan Wars are the ‘no limit’ battles. Some tournaments have limits on the amount of forces you can bring to each fight which would’ve been a great to have included on the Clan Wars map. However, as there are no limits, every battle boils down to the game’s best tanks which removes any significant variation. Despite this, Clan Wars is the feature that will keep players hooked, even if you’re not a lover of tanks.

There is an inherent quirk in the way WoT works (and tanks in general): if you have a big tank, little tanks just can’t hurt you. Sure, there are weak spots on tanks but when a large tank’s cannon can kill you in one shot from anywhere getting close enough to take advantage of weaknesses is an issue. I’m sure vets of the game will just call me a ‘noob’ but it can sometimes leave you feeling a little frustrated and underwhelmed when you’re not able to make an impact in battle.
The matchmaking system does a pretty decent job of preventing this, but it does happen. What results is a desire to become a bloodthirsty killing machine wanting access to ever bigger hardware. But when you get that bigger tanks you realise the grass is not always  greener and that there are always more powerful war machines out there. Still, the idea of improving your tank arsenal does make for an addictive game.
Wargaming.Net has been releasing quite a few updates since the online launch and the new 7.0 patch (out soon) will allow for the recording of battles to watch in replays. A much desired and potentially useful addition to the game on top of the new maps and new skins for tanks.

If you like RPGs, strategy or even action games, you’ll love this; it looks great and it’s pretty addictive. The free-to-play model means you’ve got nothing to lose by trying it out. Whatever the case, this is one of the finest free-to-play MMOs to date.


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