On April 1st, I wasn’t made a fool. However, I did let my friends talk me into trying out a new game. Sometimes, this can be a foolish thing to do. But as of yet, I’m not disappointed with the game World of Tanks thus far. It’s fresh, it’s new, and (my personal favourite) it’s historical. World of Tanks brings players back to the past to relive tank warfare of the 20th century.
World of Tanks, or WoT, is a free online multiplayer tank combat game. Players fight each other in tanks from the pre-World War II to post-Korean War eras. There are seven countries to choose from all with different designs, strengths, and weaknesses: the United States, Britain, Germany, France, the Soviet Union, China, and Japan. Lastly, there are five classes to specialize in: Light Tanks, Medium Tanks, Heavy Tanks, Tank Destroyers, and SPGs (self-propelled guns). With so many tanks to choose from, every player can find the tank that fits their play style.
Most games are random battles with 15 players to a side. These battles focus on capturing the enemy flag, a neutral flag, or eliminating all the enemy team’s tanks. More often than not, teams opt to destroy the other team’s tanks. Matches are played on pre-made battlefields that either resemble or are exactly designed on historical locations. As such, battlefields have varying geographical features, towns, roads, forests, and other details.
Tanks have both armor and health points. The more armor, the less likely a tank’s weapon can penetrate and potentially cause damage. The more health points, more penetrative shots it takes to blow up a tank. Low tier tanks have low armor and hit points, making them susceptible to most guns and potential damage. High tier tanks are not often hit and if they are, they can survive more damage.
Also, the type of tank used determines your vulnerability. Light tanks have weak armor and low hit points, but are fast, stealthy, and can scout enemy positions best. Heavy tanks are greatly armored and have high firepower, but lack mobility, speed, and stealth. Medium tanks incorporate the speed and mobility of light tanks with more armor and firepower like a heavy tank. Tank destroyers specialize in dealing damage to tanks, but lack armor in return. SPGs also specialize in dealing damage to tanks from a long distance, but are incredibly weak and inaccurate when encountered up close.
Strategy and luck play a big part in successfully winning. When it comes to strategy, it’s important to know the likely gaps in an enemy’s formations on the battlefield and how to exploit them quickly and effectively. In most cases, charging the enemy guns blazing does not result in a win, but rather a crushing loss. Instead, methodically planning out an attack or defense could be all the difference. At the same time, winning also involves luck…shots causing damage against the enemy and shots not damaging you in return. Accuracy and damage, while player-controlled, also require luck sometimes.
What I like about WoT
There are not a lot of tank combat games in the market today. World of Tanks fills this void. Not only that, but WoT does so from the standpoint of past tank warfare, not modern. The biggest difference between past and modern tank warfare is that in the past, there was a great deal of variety, development, and originality whereas today, the designs, materials, and weaponry are similar and static. In this regard, World of Tanks offers a dynamic experience,
The developers have spent a lot of time working on tank models and battlefields. This pays off nicely in terms of realism and historical feel, two things I’m always keenly interested in. The sights and sounds of tank warfare of the past provide the biggest fun and excitement factor for this game. Sure, you can experience this in a documentary or old war movie, but being able to play as a tank from a different time is a cool experience.
What I don’t like
WoT lacks consistent balance. Part of this balance problem lies in WoT’s matchmaking system. Matchmaking is based on a few factors. The game has a tier system, ranging from 1-10 (10 being the strongest). Tanks can play against other tanks two tiers above them or below them. Tier 3 tanks (pre-World War II) typically find themselves matched against Tier 5 tanks (World War II tanks). What kind of issue does this cause? Well, not only are tier 3 tanks out-gunned by further developed tier 5 weaponry, they are also out-armored meaning their weaponry becomes ineffective. This makes it virtually impossible for tier 3 tanks to contribute in a tier 5 battle.
Matchmaking should only allow tier matching of + or – 1 level (e.g. a tier 3 could only face tier 4 tanks at most, but nothing less than tier 2). This would allow for much more fair and consistent match play. It may not be perfectly balanced, but it would be much better than the current system. Games that involve tiers or levels need to have a fair matchmaking system. Otherwise, the game becomes less enjoyable and turns players away.
WoT is everything a gamer could want from a historically based tank combat game. It has the modeling, the sounds, the battlefields, the realism, and it’s free. Well… free with a pay-to-win element, but that’s to be expected from most free online multiplayer games these days. Although the matchmaking system isn’t balanced as often as I’d like and the game play can be VERY unbalanced at times, it’s not impossible to find enjoyment in it most the time. My recommendation is to at least give it a try like I did. You don’t have to go in loving it from day 1. Just try it out and see what you think. The beauty of free games is that you don’t have to spend money before playing. World of Tanks is definitely worth checking out, especially if you like vehicular combat.