A Public Service Announcement: World of Tanks

01 Jun

Have you played it yet?  I found myself immensely bored with World of Warcraft last night, and was in no mood to paint Hessians (or anything else) so I downloaded the client for this currently free to play MMO.

What a fun time!  World of Tanks is an MMO first person shooter game, only instead of sneaking around with your M-16 ala Call of Duty, you’re driving around in any of about 60 tanks.  The game matches up forces with similar vehicles and drops the two opposing teams into any of several maps.  The environments cover the range from long range, open country duels to close up knife fights in rubble strewn urban areas.

WoT is a progression game.  You start out with only 3 light tanks available to you, one each from the German, Soviet and US arsenals.  The Soviets get the MS-1, Germany the Leichttraktor, and the US has the T1 Cunningham.  All of these vehicles were experimental, proof of concept designs and I don’t believe any of them saw actual war service outside of training units perhaps.

You earn experience points and money through completing missions, with bonus points awarded for being on the winning side of a battle, scoring kills and other notable achievements.  You can then use these points to research and purchase upgrades for the tanks you have in your garage, better guns, engines, radios etc.  Also you can buy auxiliary equipment to install on your vehicles; things like fire extinguishers, repair kits and anti-spall linings all contribute to your survivability.  The tech trees are quite deep and it will take a lot of playing and point accumulation to see the end of them.  But there are some very nice goodies at the end.  Germany of course has the King Tiger there, but also the massive Maus, truly a land battleship.  The Soviets see the IS-2 at the end of their tree, but also the post-war T-54 (classed as a medium tank oddly enough).

World of Tanks is no history lesson and you won’t be recreating the Battle of Kursk.  I rolled into battle in my German Leichttraktor flanked by Soviet T-26’s, BT-7’s and American Stuarts and T1’s.  The team we faced off against was similarly mixed.  There are enough people online at any given time that it should be possible for the game to create balanced forces, i.e. German vs US or what have you.  But, the primary goal seems to be matching forces of equal capability, so that Pz II’s aren’t facing off against T-54’s and there doesn’t appear to be any attempt to group by nationality.

I fought in nine different engagements last night after waiting for the nearly 2GB download/install.  My tank was destroyed 8 out of the 9 times and my teams won 5 of the 9 fights.  I destroyed only 1 enemy tank, a BT-7 and damaged 5 others.  A Panzer Ace I am not.  Yet.  I find aiming to be extremely difficult with my old eyes and reflexes.  But fiddling with the mouse sensitivity may help with that.

The game is free to play at the moment.  It’s totally worth the download even if it isn’t hard core history.  You get to fight in a lot of vehicles that will never see the tabletop in your Flames of War game and stalking enemy tanks through the city streets is a surprisingly nail-biting experience.

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Posted by on June 1, 2011 in Computer Gaming


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