There was a time when I was a kid that I was absolutely crazy about tanks. I mean, who wouldn’t be? Being able to command 30 tons of steel and weaponry combined with the massive boom that comes with firing a tanks’ main gun is every pre-teen boy’s fantasy. Now there’s been a few tank simulators in the past, and some first person shooters have made tank levels on their titles, but there’s never really been a true tank based, massively multiplayer game until World of Tanks arrived.
World of Tanks is a free to play game that allows players to compete in a PvP setting with 2 groups of 15 players duking it out in a variety of maps, from close quarter city battles to sprawling deserts and hills. There’s a variety of tanks available from 3 main factions – the Germans, Russians and Allies. There are 3 classes to choose from regular tanks, tank destroyers and self propelled artillery. Regular tanks do most of the hard work, and depending on your tier (level), you can use light tanks (arty spotters and recon specialists), medium tanks and heavy tanks. Tank destroyers are direct fire and ambush specialist, able to penetrate armor from afar. Self propelled arty rain indirect fire, though they can be used to shoot at other tanks directly if need be.
The game requires a delicate balance of different tanks to work, and teamwork to win. There’s a definite learning curve involved in playing the game and just like any other free to play online game, there’s a lot of grinding involved. You start of in 3 light tanks from each faction, which you can upgrade by researching new parts and eventually unlock new tanks from the tech tree. Your tank is also manned by different crew members, depending on the tank. My Russian AT-1 TD needed a crew of 3 – a gunner, commander and a driver.
There’s a unique damage system in place in WoT. Each shot is computed depending on a bunch of factors – the overall damage capability of the gun firing, the ammo loaded (regular anti-tank, high explosive anti-tank and premium rounds), the armor of the target and the angle of the tank being fired upon. This is where some of the tank classes differentiate themselves – a TD usually has high frontal armor and a powerful main gun but lacks the mobility to go toe to toe with regular tanks, etc. In addition, several tank modules can get damaged by shots, from the tracks and engine getting hit resulting in your tank being immobilized to your crew being injured and/or killed due to spalling damage.
The game survives on micro-transactions, and there are several benefits of buying gold in exchange for some real money. One, it allows your account to become a premium account, which allows you to organize parties and earn more experience and money than a regular account. Gold also allows you to unlock some premium tanks without having to go and research them. You can also exchange gold for in-game currency to beef up your purchasing power.
Probably the biggest flaw in the game is its matchmaking system. Since free accounts don’t have the ability to create parties, you’ll always be assigned to a team with strangers. This makes teamwork tricky, especially since the game is so focused on working together to win. Another annoying issue is that you’ll sometimes be pitted against other tanks that you won’t be able to damage with your gun.
Still, WoT has proved to be an enjoyable experience, especially when you opt to make your account a premium one. It does have some flaws, but the game is constantly evolving, and it’s definitely worth a download. You can download the 1.8GB installer from www.worldoftanks.com.