Tuesday, June 14, 2011

World of Tanks blitz review

I never thought I would see myself getting into an online PvP game but here I am, talking about World of Tanks. If you've been reading my blog for a while you are probably aware that I hate PvP in World of Warcraft. It's just not my thing. Games like Counterstrike? Bring it on!

I'd heard about World of Tanks vaguely but what attracted me was the fact that the game is Free To Play (F2P) and it has tanks. I kind of enjoy the World War II setting so I thought that since it's free, I might as well give it a try.

World of Tanks is a simple game taken at face value. Essentially there's only one game mode: capture the enemy base. You can also win the game by destroying all enemy tanks or by attrition after the 15 minute timer expires. Under the skin, however, lies a very complex combat simulator which revolves heavily around physics, line of sight, camouflage, terrain configuration and so on.

The best way to play World of Tanks is with friends, because you can get everyone to implement a common strategy. For lack of friends (as in my case), the game creates battles between evenly matched groups of 15 players. This mode pits together tanks which are roughly in the same class, so you won't ever get tier 1 light tanks with tier 8 heavy tanks.

I have only played World of Tanks for three days but I'm already hooked. I've only gotten so far as a level 2 light tank but I want to persevere until I can upgrade to something nicer.

There are two resources in the game: credits and XP. Both are gained in battle but you can lose a game and still win plenty of them. XP is gained in lots of cool ways, for example based on the damage you do to enemies but also on the number of enemies spotted and many other ways that I haven't yet discovered.

Strategy plays a large part in World of Tanks and I have a lot of learning to do. I have already had some glorious battles, including one where I helped capture the enemy base with only 2 "health points" left (out of 90). Scouting plays an important part in the game, as well as protecting slower tanks, spotting enemy tanks for the heavy artillery and also sniping.

Playing the game is fun but if you want to advance, you either need to play a crapload of games (because XP and credits come slow), or buy gold. Gold is a resource that can only be bought with real cash and it can be used in various ways. You can use it to buy XP or credits, or in exchange for various other benefits such as an extra slot in the garage.

Here's where I'm starting to really appreciate that this is a F2P game. I can enjoy it without paying, or, if I want to progress quicker, I can go ahead and spend some cash. I'm very tempted to do that in fact, except that I find it harder to explain to my wife that I need to buy "gold" for some game than to pay a monthly subscription (as with WoW). To be fair, World of Tanks does have a monthly subscription but I'm not yet clear as to what benefits that brings.

The graphics are very good and the game runs well on my machine which is about 2-3 years old. The sounds are also good but I'm starting to wonder whether all the guns sound the same. The game client itself is lightweight for this day and age, at only 1.8GB.

I'm afraid I haven't been entirely coherent with this review but give me a break, ok? :) I'm a little bit stoked after discovering such a cool new game. And you know what? The game hasn't even reached version 1.0. Talk about innovative.


latusthegoat said...

Couldn't agree more, this game is just pure awesome. I found it when I quit raiding and it really helped me transition. I've slowed down since then in WoT, but I'm around the tier 6 now in the German tree, loving it to bits.

Darth Solo said...

Yeah I dig the German tanks for some reason, think I'm gonna specialize in German light tanks and then perhaps Russian mediums.

latusthegoat said...

As a personal experience type warning, getting the Leopard wasn't the culminating moment I thought it would be. That thing gets pitted against tier 7, 8 and higher and dies very quickly. I've had maybe one game out of ten in which my Leopard does well. It's definitely something to strive for and it's fun to barrel down the map at 60+ km/hr, but it might be a rude awakening when you still get one shot easily.

I've got the Germans for medium tanks (next tier I get heavies I believe, haven't played in a few days), and the US for artillery.

Gyldenfeax said...

From what I can ascertain the monthly subscription is just a months worth of extra benefits bought with in-game gold. To quote someone on the WoT forums: "Premium is just something you buy in game with gold. You don't buy Premium or gold."

It looks like you're rediscovering the joy of playing different games, Darth :).

Echo said...

Two things that I actually loved in your article:

1) is Free To Play (F2P) and it has tanks
2) explain to my wife that I need to buy "gold"

Awesomastic review anyway, I'll dig into it :)

WoT Leveling said...

I played the game extensively, when I gave up WoW, pre-Cata, and waited for Rift to come out.

The leopard was easily one of my favorite tanks of all. Few people can understand how to play some of the tanks, but the purity of the game is awesome.

I remember fondly, taking a valentine into battle, and scoring 4 kills. Yes, it's a stock tank, lol. I even scored 5, with a churchill. Take it from me, a guy who knows his tank, even a stock tank (in any game), is gonna kick your arse, in PvP.

Check out these World of Tanks Guides.

Darth Solo said...

@latusthegoat I'm going for the PZW III for light tanks and then moving on to the IV for medium. We'll see how that goes. The PZW III is very quick and I'm gonna try my hand at some scouting.

@Gyldenfeax I'm all for different games! There was a time when I felt that it wasn't worth playing another game because WoW offered me everything. Well, that was a long time ago. At any rate, WoT is a change of pace.

@Echo haha thanks! If you like tanks you should definitely check this one out. You'll be hooked. I don't know if there's a better tank simulator out there at this time.

@WoT Leveling thanks, I'll check those out!

latusthegoat said...

PZW III is a god among men. Or tanks. Whatever. I love that little engine.

Darth Solo said...

Heh heh, I just bought it this morning but didn't have time to try it yet. Now I'm off to give it a spin!

sadatoni said...

To answer some questions, that you may have figured out by now....

The guns will sound different. I love the sound of the 88mm on my VK3601. But the tier I and II tanks guns all sound about the same.

The "subscription" (premium account) will net you 50% more XP and credits earned in each game. It also allows you to create platoons of up to three people, instead of just being able to join them.

Darth Solo said...

Thanks sadatoni!

I'm at tier 3 only, with a PZWIII Ausf.A
It looks like I might go the VK3601 route too, who knows, maybe in a couple of years I can get to the Maus :))

Yeah, I finally understood what the subscription does. It's cool but I'm in no hurry to gain a lot of credits and XP because the joy of this game (for me) is to raise through the ranks.