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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

World of Tanks – An Honest Review

If rolling around in huge 150 tonnes steel beasts with massive guns duking it out is your kind of game, then World of Tanks is likely what you are looking for. Although not a new game, WarGaming have delivered regular and substantial updates over the last 8 years. Just recently the graphics engine was given a total overhaul bringing tired maps back from the death. WoT is starting to show its age but the last 8 years of updates have created a content rich free to play game with mostly reasonable micro transactions.

Large scale 30 vs 30 battles on a new 9km2 map

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The most popular and standard game mode is random battles which pits two small teams against each other in skirmishes over objectives. Frontline is back and increases team size to 30vs30 with one team attacking and one defending. The current map pool wouldn’t support this, so there is a new 9km2 battleground split into 9 sectors. The map for frontline isn’t anything special but the gamemode makes up for this minor gripe. can respawn and battles feel more immersive and team based. Frontline is just what World of Tanks needed to give players something new but still in line with the content they are used too. At the moment access to Frontline is limited but I can see in the future this becoming a permanent feature as players really seem to like it.

There are hundreds of tanks across 10 tiers from 9 different countries to research. Each tank has an upgrade path, although in reality stock tanks are pretty much always useless. In a bid to further improve upon your tanks performance you can purchase equipment giving reduced reload time, better aiming on the move and so on. Each tank has a virtual crew who can be trained in skills, further complementing your playstyle. Without outright buying your way through tiers 1 to 10 you will be spending a fair bit of time grinding. Getting to tier 10 isn’t a rush and many enjoy tier 8. Some of my favourite tanks are T8.

The game has a decent amount of maps in rotation but could really do with some kind of map vote at the end of each round. At the moment you just hit battle and off you go to a random map. The maps have never looked better after the recent graphics engine overhaul.

Gets plenty right around micro-transactions but also some wrong

Operating a free to play/freemium business model, micro transactions are to be expected. Purchasing a premium account increases income and reduces the grind. You can also purchase premium tanks, further boosting your experience and credit income. The most controversial micro transaction is the issue of gold ammo aka premium ammo. Way back in the day, you could purchase special ammo with increased penetration but only if you were willing to pay. This was later changed giving players the choice to also purchase gold rounds with in game credits. Over the years, with the introduction of thicker and thicker armour sometimes the only way to deal any damage is to purchase the vastly more expensive ammo variant.

The gameplay is solid, with each and every battle taking its own course. For a game that is often referred to as “arcadey” the game has more progression and mechanics than many full blown MMO’s. Although the grinding time is intentionally inflated, there is something satisfying about working towards and unlocking a new tank. I am pleased to announce that my biggest concern (premium ammo) is being reworked in 2019. Players who have been around for years have likely got millions of credits leftover which gives them a clear advantage in being able to afford premium shells without blinking. For a new player, the cost is pretty damning and you have to weigh up winning between making a profit. This is something a combat game should never do but it does appear as if changes are in the pipeline.

At its best World of Tanks is an amazing game you can spend a spare few minutes or even hours on end. With War Thunder bringing some real competition to the genre, WarGaming will need to keep quality content flowing and fix some of the main issues surrounding the games business model. For a game which was released back in 2010, WarGaming has proved you don’t need a massive AAA studio behind you to create, maintain and even add new content whilst keeping the micro transactions to a reasonable level. World of Tanks is a perfect example that gameplay; progression and attention to detail beats flashy graphics and cinematic scenes hands down.

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