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E3 2011: World of Tanks Impressions

Joe Iuliani Posted:
General Articles 0

Last week at E3 I had the chance to speak with some of the folks from Wargaming.net who World of Tanks.  World of Tanks has certainly been on the rise since last year's E3, boasting one of the more impressive showings at E3. Just check out some of the photos on our site to see for yourself. Their booth isn't the only massive growth WoT has seen, boasting an increase in subscriptions from three thousand to three million. From its beginnings in Russia, WoT is currently running rampant through Europe, North America, and now China. This may very well be one of the best games out there that you’re not playing.

For you history buffs out there it is important to stress that WoT is not a historically accurate game nor does it pretend to be. While the tanks themselves are authentic, the battles however are not. This game is not about history, it’s about being competitive, using cutthroat tactics, and most of all: tanks.

WoT is a free to play “MMO” with a fairly quick leveling system and is exclusively PvP. There are currently hundreds of tanks available to play as well as a variety of modifications available for each.

Some of these modifications consist of communications, ammunition, horsepower, boosts, outside armor and tank components. As described by the WoT team, “Tanks are complex machines with thousands of parts.  We want to allow you to modify many of these.”  Not content with the tanks currently available to play, the team has the intention to have more tanks available for play by the autumn. British tanks will be considered exotic, while Japanese tanks will be considered “super exotic.”

Gameplay is pretty straight forward for WoT; kill your enemies or capture their flag. At its most basic players generally hunt down and kill the opposing team members. Capturing your opponents’ flag also ensures victory for your side. This method seems popular when you have a lone tank holding its own and hiding somewhere on the map. The environment plays an important part in WoT.  Players can hide behind walls and buildings for cover, depending on the structure. Additionally there are plenty of the environments that can just be run over, such as wooden buildings. This will force players to add a little strategy to gameplay. For example a light-armored quick moving tank may seek cover in order to take down one of the more heavily armored opponents.

But maybe hiding isn’t your thing and you want to play a more damage-dealing tank.  You’ll need to keep in mind the longer reloading time of the strong machines. No one tank has been designed to be the “ultimate” and each has their own strengths and weaknesses. The game physics are designed to be as accurate as possible. This comes into play with both the maneuvering of your tank as well as your attacks. This precision will allow players to take the equivalent of 800 meter shots at your opponents.

In addition to modifying your tank, your tank crew has personal statistics as well. As they become veterans of tank battles, they will be able to offer benefits to your tank. These benefits may seem minor at the time, but will be valuable to seasoned players. A medal system has been implemented for this process. The more medals you obtain, the more you can tweak your crew members.

For the most part the maps are randomly generated with some symmetry to them. This decision was made not to give one side or the other a clear geographic tactical advantage. Will this change in the future?  I’m sure if it adds a demanded element to the game it will find its way into WoT.

Clan Wars

Adding more of an MMO element to World of Tanks, Clan Wars allow players to form Clans of up to one hundred players. These Clans will vie for territories around the world. Currently the map of Europe is the most active theatre of combat. There are plans to break down the remainder of the world into areas of occupation. Just as in the real world, there are more desirable areas to control. The bonuses your Clan receives depend on the areas your Clan controls. There are boosts to currency and raw materials and both will be useful in advancing the level of your tanks and crew members. Clan Wars is browser-based as well, allowing you to check on the activity of your Clan and your rivals from pretty much anywhere. Clan Wars has only been active in North America since about two weeks prior to E3. As time progresses the team wants to make three world maps for Clan Wars, ranging from Easy to Hardcore. There is only so much room on a the map, the guys told me and WoT does not want to exclude some of the less hardcore gamers from enjoying Clan Wars as much as some of their more fanatic counterparts. As with any Clan/Guild system be prepared for some politicking to be involved.

The Future

WoT is considered a never-ending project by its creators.  They have a very strong vision that will take them through the next seven to ten years. One of the biggest problems facing WoT is the increasing demand to expand their infrastructure. The influx of new players has been nothing short of overwhelming. While not at liberty to discus all their plans for the future, the following are a few ideas that the folks at Wargaming.net are planning for the near future.

Garage Battle Mode

Rather than just the single tank you normally battle with, you will be able to select five from your garage. Not only does this extend the length of each battle, it also brings a strategic element to the game. You’ll need to select what order you send your tanks into battle. Do you start off with a quicker scouting tank or a heavy hitter? Each time one of your tanks is destroyed, you move to the next tank in line in your garage to continue the battle.

Survival Mode

It’s like King of the Hill, only with tanks.  What more do you need to know?  Players will face wave after wave of enemy tanks. The goal is simple, survive as many waves as possible.  The last glimpse of the future from Wargaming.net is World of Warplanes. With hundreds more plane types to choice from, I’m sure it will be a game to keep an eye on.  For the price of the well… free, there is no reason you shouldn’t be at the very least trying this one. It’s a solid, quick, fun, and surprisingly addictive game to play.


Joe Iuliani