If you fancy driving around in big metal killing machines shouting BOOM BABY until your neighbours complain, read on, World of Tanks could be for you.
World of Tanks (WoT) is the new Free-to-Play MMO from Wargaming.Net, which as you can guess, is all about tank warfare. In Europe the game has been in beta for months even though it launched in Russia a while ago, but Wargaming.Net has been taking their time tweaking and developing the game further before unleashing it on the rest of the world.
WoT is set during World War II, and if you paid attention to history lessons at school, you’ll know the tank played a major part in the conflict. But how exactly does a tank title work when you start adding online RPG elements into the mix?
Back in the good old days of tank warfare, tank modifications were all too common with tanks being changed throughout their lifespan and this is a key part of WoT’s gameplay.
Each new player starts with a single tank from each faction; Germany, USA and the USSR. Each time you play you gain experience points, research and credits to enhance your tank arsenal. Each tank also has its own crew who play a pivotal role in your success on the battlefield. How fast you reload, how quickly you aim, how effective you are at spotting the enemy and so on.
It takes a few battles to get up to speed with research points to really start souping-up the tanks via the game’s Tech Tree. The primary aim is to unlock new tanks which can consist of artillery, tank destroyers, light tanks, medium tanks and heavy tanks with the Tech Tree following a logical progression with a bigger gun upgrade leading to a tank destroyer or artillery and so on. Add a bigger engine and it could lead to that super fast scout light tank. You get the picture. Planning a route down the tech tree can be key to getting the right tanks to suit your play style, and there’s certainly plenty of variety when it comes to the hardware.
The game can be fast and furious but also slow and strategic with each game lasting for a maximum of 15 minutes. The objective being to either destroy all opposing tanks or capture an enemy base. Team tactics are key in WoT, for example the enemy may rush ten tanks towards a base supported by massive artillery shells and your team could get caught by surprise and ripped apart. Then there’s the camping matches where everyone is too scared to make that first decisive move on the battlefield. Every game can play out differently depending on hardware in the battle and team coordination.
There are all kinds of battlefields available to players and it’s down to Wargaming.Net’s matchup system to decide which map will be played based on the ratio of vehicles in the battle which helps when trying to balance matches fairly. With each vehicle performing a variety of tank roles based on type, each battle can play out very differently.
With games lasting up to fifteen minutes, at some point your tank is likely to be destroyed and there’s currently two options a player can choose before progressing onto the next battle. You can either carry on watching the game from the viewpoint of any team member or leave this battle and begin a new one. If you leave the battle you’ll still get all the experience and credits you would receive if you waited until the battle is over, but you can’t join another battle with that same tank until the previous battle concludes. You can however join another battle with a different tank, which allows for little to no down-time or waiting between matches. If you do decide to stay and watch, you’re shown stats at the end of the battle which consists of medals, achievements and lists of who you spotted, damaged and destroyed. Information you would otherwise miss if you left early.
The control system in World of Tanks is simple but effective. You can jump right into the game and eventually you’ll pick up on the more advanced controls like holding your turret still when hiding, or preventing the tank from moving when you’re trying to aim your artillery. Don’t expect a full-on tank sim experience, the developers have made sure the game is easy to pick up and play although there are a lot of complex targeting knowlege you’ll have to master to dominate.
Everything in the game isn’t perfect yet though. You can get stuck against the border of the map unable to rotate the tank and you’re therefore trapped in a forward and back motion against the dreaded red line boundary. In some maps it’s hard to tell which bumps in the hills will stop you or merely slow you down. User feedback on some details like your stealth, radio range and view range is sparse, although we have been assured Wargaming.Net are aware of these issues and the development team are working on these now.
The biggest flaw in WoT currently is the chat system. You have no chat history, so communicating with team mates is quite hard. However, Wargaming.net is already on it and has told IncGamers that the current system is purely a placeholder for a more in-depth system.
WoT is free to play but with any game they have to make some cash to keep it online. Wargaming.Net do this via a premium resource, gold, which you’ll need to spend real-world cash on. Gold is used much like credits, but some items and upgrades can only be purchased with gold. Not only that, you can upgrade your account to a premium account which gives you bonus credits, experience and research per battle and allows you to form a platoon.
Platoons are small fighting units of up to 3 who can join a battle together. Be careful though, the highest rated tank of your platoon will determine how the matchmaking system will rank your whole platoon. Having a Tiger II in your platoon sounds good, until you realise you’re in a Leichttraktor and will be destroyed if anything even looks your way.
There’s one more feature you may not be aware of that’s still to come to the game, the Clan Wars persistent world map where players will fight for gold and tanks which won’t be available to players unless they take part in the Clan Wars. We’ll be bringing you more on this upcoming feature here on IncGamers in the coming weeks so stay tuned.
World of Tanks is about to officially launch where Wargaming.Net already hold the world record for the most amount of simultaneous players online on one server (91k). WoT will definitely attract a dedicated audience, and with the addition of the Clan Wars system soon, the game looks like it could prove to be as popular here as it currently is in Russia. Watch out for our full review soon.