World Of Tanks – Review
World of Tanks took the internet by storm since its original Russian release in April 12, 2010. Since then it has grown exponentially, earning a slot in the Guinness Book of World Records in January 2011, for the Most Players Online Simultaneously on one MMO Server, and then just to show off, they beat the record again in April 2012. Wargaming.net, the developers of World of Tanks and the upcoming World of Battleships and World of Warplanes, release updates on a regular basis and have already added dozens of tanks, camouflage, new modes and maps and even a graphical update. It certainly has all the requirements to be a great MMO title, but does it stand up in today’s industry?
World of Tanks is probably one of the most skilled-based MMO titles available online, every shot must be carefully aimed and planned by the player, and missing often results in deadly consequences. Each tank type, whether you’re artillery or a light tank, has different firing mechanisms, guns, accuracy flaws and so forth. This creates a highly skill and knowledge based approach to combat, with the truly skillful players standing out among the rest. Many players will tell you that it’s all about aiming, which is a vital skill to be successful, but it’s not the only factor to take into account. Your location, enemy tank type and surrounding area also play a vital part in survival. Knowledgeable players will ensure that they’ve always got a retreat route planned, should they get spotted by artillery or enemy tanks, but they’ll also know the weak spots of every tank in the game, giving them a huge advantage in combat.
Outside of the combat there’s an in-depth MMORPG style progression system. Players begin with Tier 1 tanks and must progress through the ranks by earning research points, unlocking better equipment for their current tank, or saving to purchase the next one. Tanks increase in strength the higher the tier they belong to, creating a constant driven feeling to get to the next tier. It can create quite a difficult choice in certain situations, do you purchase an improved radio and turret, and wait 10 matches longer for your Tier 4 tank? Or do you save and get it in 5 matches? These choices, although basic, add more variety in the game as many will just drive around in the lowest quality of tank while others are in a pimped out, lower-tier tank.
Sadly, despite the skill-based game-play, regular updates and tons of game features, World of Tanks does have an Achilles Heel, a slightly unbalanced and very expensive item mall. It’s become common practice for free to play titles to use item malls to generate revenue (Known as Freemium) but even for a title as good as World of Tanks, it doesn’t justify the ludicrous prices. At the higher tiers, around 7+, it becomes very difficult for players to regularly play in end-game tanks purely because the ammo is too expensive. Of course, this can be avoided by purchasing premium membership or other items, but would people stand for World of Warcraft charging per end-game instance? I don’t think so.
Overall, World of Tanks has all the ingredients to be an amazing free online game, and judging from the player numbers and stats released on a regular basis, it shows no sign of slowing. If it wasn’t for the item shop approach, I’d rate this title far higher.
by Blaine Smith