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Posted by Raine Hutchens on Jun 22, 2011

Review – World of Tanks (PC)

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Once E3 had hit, I had been hearing a lot about a new Free-To-Play MMO by the name of World of Tanks. The game comes to us from the masterminds at WarGaming.net, and it’s powered by BigWorld Technology. Once I had some time, I got the download client and decided to give this tank shooter a shot, and little did I know I was in for a surprise.

Graphics and Presentation

When I started to get into the game, I went into it with the “it’s a F2P game, so don’t expect much” attitude. What I was greeted with blew me away. Don’t get me wrong, the game doesn’t project itself with crystal clear graphics, but it is very far from the worst-looking F2P title out there. I was very surprised when I laid eyes on the game’s interface, gameplay graphics, and in-house display.

In the game’s main hub, or what’s known as the player’s “Garage,” you see a wide room with your selected tank in the middle. The tank shows much detail, all the way down to each indention in the tank’s treads. The tank’s crew (which I will touch on more in a bit) all have their own portraits, each with distinct features. No two crew members look alike in the slightest. Best of all, each portrait is believable in its own right.

Once you navigate through the hub interface and get to a battle, the game’s graphics engine revs up. Throughout the game’s many different selections of maps, players are taken from scenes of wooded basins and grassy plains to sandy deserts and run-down towns in ruin. Each map looks better than the last, and with combat tearing the land apart, that’s a tough feat to accomplish. Everything in the game’s world is destructible. Need to move past some trees? Run them over. Gates blocking your way? Trample them. This is a great way to present the battlefields that make up the game’s world in a way that shows how each player can make their own mark across the virtual land.

I ran the game in full-screen, and experienced almost no clipping or lag whatsoever. Simply put, though this is a F2P MMO, don’t let what you expect fool you. World of Tanks is one great-looking game.

Gameplay and Features

At its core, World of Tanks is a team-based MMO shooter. Whether it’s from the gunner seat of the tank or in a newer third-person viewpoint, players will be throwing themselves into epic tank battles to fight for their right to claim supremacy. The objective of each battle is simple. Either be the first team to capture the enemy’s base, or annihilate all enemy vehicles. Each map has two bases, which consist of either team’s spawn point. The game is heavily focused on teamwork, and that’s what it will take to win.

World of Tanks introduces a dynamic approach to combat which includes a unique level-up system unlike other MMOs of its kind. The game introduces RPG elements through this level-up system such as unlocking new equipment, vehicles, tactics, and skills. As you complete battles you will earn experience points that are used to research new part upgrades for your tanks, as well as new tanks all together. There are five tiers of vehicles available in World of Tanks, those being Light, Medium, Heavy, Tank Destroyers, and SPG. Players will start out in the Light tier and unlock new tiers as they progress in experience.

In addition to researching new parts and vehicles, experience points can also go toward your tank’s crew. Each tank comes with a crew, consisting of about three to five men, with each member having their own assigned task. Crews are constructed of a driver, commander, loader, and sometimes a gunner and radio tech. As you gain experience, your crew gains it as well in an effort to become 100% efficient at their assigned task. Once their cap is reached, they can obtain new skills such as repairing damaged parts of the tank, becoming more efficient with the turret, and more. On top of this, while your crew gains experience, they become better at their tasks, making them aim faster, maneuver the tank more quickly, and perform better as a whole unit.

One great feature in World of Tanks is the extensive map variety. Unique places from all over the world become battlegrounds for all out war. Players will hole up in locations such from the narrow streets of small German towns to the burning deserts of North Africa and back. With each battle a new location comes to explore. What is great about this is that the map rotation takes a while to reset, so you’re not playing the same maps back to back, which keeps the gameplay fresh.

World of Tanks offers the usual team deathmatch mode, but takes it a step further. It is an MMO after all. The game also offers a global map, divided into provinces that are ready to be dominated by players from all over. Teams will fight for glory, power, and the top position on the leaderboards. Of course this takes teamwork, because in World of Tanks, victory doesn’t just go to the tank with the biggest gun or heaviest armor, but to the clearest head and most effective tactician.

The only real issues I came across when playing the game were limited. First of all, let me inform you that World of Tanks is a very unforgiving game. From the beginning it throws you in and expects you to sink or swim. There are no tutorial battles, no training levels, and no beginning stages to start you off on. This left me literally dead in the water on the field. Other players were swamping me right out of the gate, all while I was trying get the hang of the controls. I eventually remedied this, due to something I found on the game’s website. World of Tanks has a great portion of its site dedicated to new players. The section offers tutorial videos, and even a digital version of a game manual. Once I spent some time looking over the videos and checking out the manual I was ready to go in no time. I jumped right back into the game with a new-found prowess, and started racking up the experience.

The Verdict

All together, I was extremely surprised and pleased with World of Tanks. It’s a new MMO title that breaks the mold which other MMOs have set in place. With nonstop action, a great team-based combat system, and endless features at your fingertips, this is a title that won’t leave you bored any time soon. I definitely recommend this game to anyone who is looking for a great game, but can’t afford a monthly fee. After playing World of Tanks, I am surprised that it doesn’t have one. For more information about or to download the game, head on over to its official website.

[UPDATE:] I have since found, through reader comments and playing the game, that you do not have to sit while the battle finishes once you’re taken out. Actually, you can hit escape, exit the battle, hop in another one of your tanks, and get right back into another battle. This makes things a lot more fun and keeps up the pace. The only stipulation is that you cannot use the tank you were in as long as it is still technically in battle. Thanks everyone!

The Good

  • Free-to-play game
  • Great visuals
  • Exciting combat
  • Unique leveling system
  • Great to play with friends
  • Hard to put down

The Bad

  • The game can be quite unforgiving
  • Steep leveling curve
  • No tutorial levels (though some videos are provided, which sort of makes up for it)

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