Review: World of Tanks (PC) – Part I

World of Tanks (WoT) is such an in-depth game, we’ve decided to split the review into two parts. In this first section, we’ll be covering the premise of the game as well as the basics of its gameplay.

WoT is a game as unassuming as its name. You have a garage of customisable tanks that you use to fight with other players’ tanks. With models ranging from the 1930s to the 1950s or the Vietnam War era and gorgeously landscaped maps of different battlefields, WoT caters to the military enthusiast, or in the developers’ words: males aged 12 to 45. It’s truly a boy’s game, but we’ll get into that in the second part of the review.

The game does away with the server and level restrictions that have become commonplace in most MMORPGs. You only have to log in and hit one button before being matched to a game. You can also exit a battle the moment you die, pick another tank from your garage and jump right back into the game. It sounds commitment free and easy enough for a quick half hour’s entertainment on a work night.

But it’s not – though WoT requires little effort to actually get into, the learning curve in this game is pretty steep.

What? You might ask, incredulously. What’s so tough about shooting a tank with your tank?

The answer lies in the tanks itself. Though World of Tanks has been described as a ‘CounterStrike with tanks’ by its CEO Victor Kislyi, it’s anything but. The only thing it might have in common with FPS games is one of its three camera angles and its WASD movement keys.

Piloting a tank is nothing like strafing back and forth looking for the enemy. It’s awkward and it’s clunky. You can’t make sharp turns, nor can you scuttle out of sight to reload. You’re a sitting duck, especially if you play a heavier (read, slower) tank.

Each team in a game also has 15 players in its battalion, so that’s 15 people with an assortment of light tanks, medium tanks, heavy tanks and frightening long-distance artillery bearing down on you! Most tanks also require reloading after firing a single round, so you really have to make your shots count. Meeting a single enemy tank also spells death, for the entire opposing team shares vision. What one tank sees, the rest do as well.

World of Tanks, in short, is not a game for the trigger happy. CEO Kislyi mentioned that while starting out with WoT, Wargaming.net wanted to make a game for older, more discerning players. The play style of WoT seems to fit their targeted audience – it takes a mature man to hang back and plan his shots, instead of rushing into battles firing a BFG.

Definitely not a game for those looking for a quick skirmish, though most tank battles are timed to last approximately 7 to 8 minutes on average. You can try that out for yourself over at worldoftanks-sea.com and let us know what you think!

In the next part of our review of World of Tanks, we’ll be covering the customisation options in WoT, and how it holds up against other freemium MMOs we g0t to play. World of Tanks is an European made, so it’s interesting to see how it holds up to the expectations we’ve come to expect of mostly Asian-developed MMOs!

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