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World of Tanks

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By NeonAnderson29-08-2012
Leigh Cobb (editor)
StuntmanLT (editor)
World of Tanks

The Defence

Developer:
Wargaming.net
Publisher:
Wargaming.net
Genre:
Strategy, Action, MMO
Release Date:
12-04-2011

The Prosecution

CPU:
Intel 3 GHz
AMD equivalent
VGA:
Nvidia GeForce 8800GT
AMD Radeon HD 3850
RAM:
3 GB
HDD:
6 GB
DirectX:
9.0c

The Case

 

World of Tanks promises fun-filled action in a unique setting, and tanks! The developers’ motto is to pack as much action and fun into as few minutes of playing time as possible. World of Tanks is also free-to-play (F2P) game, using premium accounts and premium in-game purchasables as its funding source. Take tanks, add action, add multiplayer and add F2P and you get World of Tanks. But the question I ask myself today is, “Does this formula work?” or is this yet another game to add to the ever growing pile of failed F2P games.

The Trial

 

After going through the simple process of creating a new account (beware! This game is heavily region split and has 6 completely separate game servers each with their own separate account system) and downloading/installing the game, you are set and ready for action. Once in the client you start with four Tier 1 tanks, one Tier 1 tank for each nation currently in the game (France, Germany, USA and USSR). As you play on each of these tanks, you gain experience points (XP) you can use to unlock upgrades for each tank (experience in this game is separate for each tank). You will also earn in-game currency (credits) with every battle to use to buy ammunition, equipment and new tanks. The amount of XP and credits you earn will depend on how well you performed in the battle and this amount will be doubled if you have a premium account. A premium account can be activated when you want to use the in-game real money currency - Gold. The cost depends on how long you want to activate a premium account for (24 hours all the way to a whole year) and also on which bundles of Gold you purchase it (ranging from 7 Euros up to 99.95 Euros and equivalent in all other currencies).

YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

YOU SHALL NOT PASS!

The interesting thing to note here, is that each tank really counts as a separate tank. Meaning, if you take for example, an MS-1 into battle and you die - but the battle is still going - you can either stay and keep watching the battle, or leave the battle and take a completely different tank into a new battle. You can do this as often as you want and you get each tank back as soon as that battle is over (you also get XP and credits earned). Once you have gathered enough XP to have unlocked your way through the tech tree on the Tier 1 tank of your choice (or on all if you want to), you can then choose which tank tree you want to continue into; be it artillery, tank destroyers, light tanks, medium tanks or heavy tanks of that nation. By now you are probably wondering, why does it matter which type of tank you take, or even what nation. Well the fun part here is that each type of tank and each nation has its own unique strengths and weaknesses and will suit a unique play style. For example, Russian heavy tanks are big bruisers that can just get up in the middle of a bunch of enemies and kill them off. This is due to a combination of a powerful hitting weapon, well-sloped armour and thick armour plating – all of this on top of the fact that it has small weak spots compared to other tier 10 heavy tanks. But even here there is a lot of variety in how different people can use each tank. Some people like to use the Tier 10 German Heavy tank (the Maus) as a base defender, others like to use it as a front line support tank. There are many possibilities here to keep trying out new things. With so many different nations and tank trees going to tier 10, players will have the chance to switch between many completely different tanks. Currently there are four different nations each with completely different tech trees - light, medium and heavy as well as artillery and tank destroyer trees.

Beyond the gameplay difference between the different types and nations of tanks is of course the visual aspect. To make this aspect even greater, people can purchase camouflages for each tank using either Gold or Credits to make their tank stand out between their allies. Beyond camouflages and premium accounts, the game also has premium consumables, premium tanks and premium ammunition. The first of which I will discuss a bit are the premium tanks. These you can buy with Gold, the cheapest being a few Euros, the most expensive being 30 Euros. Some of these are just there to have fun, others are there to have both fun and earn more Credits. There are no real issues with the premium tanks, as they are well balanced and are just fun tanks to play. Premium tanks are also slightly weaker than normal tanks (less armour, less strong guns, etc...).

Intensity at its best

Intensity at its best

The worst part with the real money purchasables is, as you can imagine, the premium ammunition. Premium ammunition is as you could already predict, a form of pay-to-win that should never have been implemented into the game. Premium ammo is mostly used in Clan Wars and competitions (such as the ESL). If a team goes into battle with the normal ammunition versus a team with premium ammunition, it is almost guaranteed that the team with premium ammunition will win as it is vastly superior. I, like many other people, am very much against any form of pay-to-win and of course really hate that premium ammunition in this game as it ruins the balance and it completely destroys the competitive scene. Premium ammunition is also perhaps my biggest complaint about the whole game.

Gameplay wise WoT is solid and fun. Each battle lasts for 4 minutes on average and is really fun. The control scheme is smooth and practical and the game has a lot of room for skilled players to show what they’re worth. While most of the game will boil down to common sense, this is surprisingly uncommon among. If you have a solid tactical mind, you will be able to really shine on the battlefield. The control scheme is using the mouse and keyboard (WASD to move, mouse to look around, aim and shoot). The game is mostly played in third-person view and you can activate (or scroll to) sniper mode which is aiming down the optics of the cannon. While one skilled player can only do so much alone, as the battles are 15 versus 15 and the matchmaking could use some work. Be prepared to be in a Tier 5 tank and land in tier 8-9 battles! You can also team up with a maximum of 3 people in total to make a platoon to go into matchmaking together, which is of course always fun. It is just too bad you can only team up with 2 friends. I would very much appreciate to be able to team up with more friends.

Graphically the game is nothing amazing, with many simple textures. The best looking textures in the entire game are on the tanks, which arguably is where the graphics matter the most. The engine however, is very outdated and doesn’t even use the full power of the PC. For example, the game only uses one core and does not use the full power available in DX10-11 GPUs. Due to this, if you have a Dual of Quad core CPU you will likely have disappointing performance. Despite my PC being far stronger than the recommended specifications, it struggles with the game, while a game like Crysis 2 at max settings with the high-resolution DX11 texture patch is no problem at all. All that being said, the developers have just released a video detailing the upcoming update to the game that will make improvements to the graphical engine.

The inevitable end to a well fought battle

The inevitable end to a well fought battle

The audio quality of the game is sound but flawed. The audio quality could definitely be better and the game suffers from some audio and visual issues. But it is also flawed in the sense that not every gun sounds unique. On top of this, no matter what tank you are driving, the commander’s voice will be in American English, this, as you can imagine is pretty weird if you are driving a German, Russian or French tank. You can also play this game in other localised languages but there again; the same issue persists as the voices are only in the localised language regardless of the tank you drive.

Perhaps the biggest issue with World of Tanks is that the developers are not the best at listening to player feedback. The developers do not especially hold player feedback in the highest regard and this is definitely reflected throughout the game and its patches. There is also no competition to this game at the moment. It is the only multiplayer tank game in existence and it is a pretty darn fun one at that, despite its flaws and developers. However, the game still has the potential to be so much more if the developers would value player feedback just slightly more and would focus on creating a new or improved engine that at the very least makes it so the game performs well.

The Verdict

 

World of Tanks is not the best balanced multiplayer game out there nor is it by any standard, perfectly made. Yet despite its flaws it really is worth playing for those moments where you are the last man standing, facing off 8 or more enemy tanks alone and manage to kill them all and win the battle for your team. It is just too bad the developers are not more active at fixing the issues in the game and removing the pay-to-win ‘features’.

Case Review

  • Content: Between all the current tanks and the tanks that will be added in future updates there is plenty of content to keep any gamer busy for a long time.
  • Gameplay: The gameplay is both smooth and intense, amounting to a fun-filled game.
  • Variety: Each tank feels completely different to use and each tank will suit a unique playstyle
  • Scale: 30 players all fighting each other on one map
  • Premium system: There are many things the game wants you to spend real money on.
  • Audio: Voices really need to be dependent on the tank you drive and more cannon sounds would not be a bad thing.
  • Graphics: An outdated engine that has poor graphics at poor performance
  • Pay-to-win: This is never a good thing and is something that many F2P games really need to work at.
4
Score: 4/5
Adrenaline filled tanky-goodness, free of charge!
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