Let's be totally frank, I suck the big one at World of Tanks. I'm not just bad, I'm an embarrassment. After each match, I feel like I have to make a heartfelt apology to my team, blame my upbringing, and excuse the rest of my countrymen. I'm that bad. Years of Counter-Strike has left me unable to engage with anything other than AWPs and knife fights. Show me a vehicle and I'll kick out violently, splutter like Hugh Grant, and "gosh" my way to the "Exit Match" sign. It's not a stereotype, we English are like that.
So I spend the majority of my time in-game, rushing in like I'm riding a warthog bareback, or cannily shooting at hills. Often is the case that I pat myself on the back, whilst whispering atrocious things like "I'm the master of the tanks", and proceed to shell the seven-shades of nothing out of a distant rock. It looks like a tank, and it's the nearest I will ever train my crosshairs on one.
But being a journalist does have it perks. While I am unfathomably bad at shooting Shermans, I am amazing at piggy-backing on press accounts. Getting free stuff is why I got into this racket, and with the recent release of World of Tanks 8.0 I was duly given an account laden down by goodies and death machines and let loose on the unsuspecting world (of tanks). The mission? Put this latest patch through its paces and see if it comes out shiny or rusted.
It got me thinking: wasn't it good when games weren't balanced? I mean sure, it wasn't fair, and maybe people couldn't enjoy it fully, but really? Why can't I run around in my special-access, VIP tank killing everyone? It'd make me feel better, and in time you would come to see my point of view. I am the important one right, don't you understand that? Clearly most players don't, because even with a mega-super-special access I died. And died. And died some more.
World of Tanks has gone through some changes since I last logged on and got my big metal butt handed to me. Patch 8.0 has hit, bringing with it a slew of new changes: graphics and physics to name two of the biggest upgrades.
Where the game once felt more static and solid, tanks can now rut like wildebeests. With the aid of a new physics engine, players can now push one another off precarious positions, or instead simply drown them in a flood of water. While it sounds like a minimal change, this addition has transformed how the game feels, as well as forming new tactics, and making some old strategies useless.
And if that wasn't enough of a visual overhaul, the graphics engine has also received a face lift. In all the new aesthetic flurries of 8.0 complement the unrelenting march towards refinement that developer, Wargaming.net, has undertaken. This F2P shell-'em-up might have had humble beginnings, but now it is a polished and rather delicious metallic package.
But what else is new in WoT’s largest patch thus far? There are new achievements, a greater selection of tanks, an improved garage interface, enhanced audio, and the ability to choose preferred battle types.
Another significant change is the redesigned maps. Sand River for instance looks particularly gorgeous with the enhanced graphics, while others have received slight layout changes. Of course altering anything within a tightly balanced online game might jar, but Wargaming.net have managed to pull it off without any significant causalities.
For those like me who occasionally dip in and out of WoT, 8.0 instantly feels like the best iteration of the game so far. The aforementioned visuals make the experience that bit more appealing, while the roster of changes make the game easier to grapple with. This tank-'em-up can be as shallow or complex as you want to make it. Dabbling with the large selection of tanks, customizing, and tweaking is much improved, but the core game, shooting stuff, also remains, albeit benefitting from some very fancy lighting effects.
World of Tanks version 8.0 is unquestionably the finest example of metal on metal action, this side of an Anvil gig. If you like your warfare big, shiny, and full of shrapnel, then you need look no further: this is tank combat at its absolute best, and it continues to get better with every addition.