I edge my tank into position, just at some foliage. This will give me enough camouflage so that I am not spotted by my enemies.
I wait with my engine idling; waiting for the enemy to crest the hill and become my latest victim. Suddenly my tanks rocks as I am hit by a shell, I reverse out of my now defunct hiding place and try to locate my attacker. As I move, I swivel my turret and get off one shot. Success! I knock my opponents armour down by 50%. My panicked backtracking to find my attacker has alerted other members of the enemy team; another shell hits my tank and knocks out my left tracks. I can’t move, my crew are now trying to repair the track but before the repairs are complete another shell hits my rear amour and it is goodbye tank.
I wait for the end of the battle, after the battle I go back to my garage, I spend some credits to repair my wrecked tank and resupply it with ammo. I hit the big red ‘Battle’ button and I am back into the fray, ready to destroy some tanks. I think I may like this game….
World of Tanks is a free Massive Multiplayer Online tank combat game where take control of a tank from the 1930s to 1950s from Germany, USA and USSR. You are then pitched into battle with a bunch of team mates against another team in a fight to the death. In this game the Sherman tank could be in the same team as a Panzer or a Soviet T-34 as World of Tanks attempts to give you an epic battle regardless of time period or historical accuracy.
When you first start the game you are given three light tanks. These are contained in your garage which is the hub for the rest of the game. The garage contains the menu items which allow you to research new upgrades and new tanks, barracks which allows you to train your tank crew which will increase your effectiveness in battle, the depot which allows you to view equipment and tanks that you can buy and statistics such as your performance in battles and the medals you have won. The tech tree meanwhile allows you to review the various tanks weapons and upgrades available in the game, but the most important part of the whole game is the big red battle button which (depending on the game mode) will drop you into battle with other tanks.
In the World of Tanks there are several game modes. The first is Standard Battle which randomly matches you to a game. Training Battles are the same as standard battle, but with no experience or credit increases. This mode allows you to practice the game without any of the penalties. You can play Tank Companies which allows you to invite three friends to play in the same battle tank and then Create Platoon which allows you to create a team and start battles with other teams.
There is also another game mode called Clan Wars. In this mode you can gather your clan and take part in a global campaign where the goal is to conquer and dominate the other clans taking part. This mode uses the web browser to view a map of Europe where your clan plan attacks, carry out espionage to uncover your enemies strength and carry our diplomacy to forge alliances. These actions are all carried out in a turn based manner where any action (such as moving) takes about a day in real life. All combat will be carried out in the main game using the Standard Battle rules. This mode reminds me a little of boardgames like Risk or Diplomacy and it seems to add a bit more grand strategy to the game. Unfortunately I could not test out this functionality of the game as I would need to join or setup a clan to take part in this mode. I would imagine that this mode would add some much needed extra depth to the game for experienced players.
The actual combat element of World of Tanks is fairly accessible, the tanks is controlled by the standard PC FPS controls we all know and love (W, A, S and D) and the turret is controlled by the mouse. The left mouse button fires and the right mouse button locks on target. Apart from a few other hot keys for communication with your team mates that’s pretty much it. This makes World of Tanks a very accessible title for pretty much everyone. You don’t need any specialist knowledge and you don’t need to read a 400 page manual, you can just jump in and you are pretty much good to go.
While this simplicity of control might be off putting to strategy game vets, the game actually has a fair bit of strategy to it. Do I move in and support the attack? How do I use the buildings and terrain for cover to protect my tank? How do I use the strengths of my tank to support my team?
The game is all about using terrain and surprising your enemy. Your choice of tank determines what kind of role you are going to take. If you are a light tank you will be at the vanguard of the attack helping you team mates to locate targets because when you spot the enemy it will appear on all your team mates’ mini-map. If you pick a medium class tank you are a jack of all trades. You can support attack and defence and large tanks where your greater armour and greater fire power should be used in attack. A tank destroyer meanwhile should be lurking, waiting in cover to strike attackers or if you pick artillery (Self Propelled Gun) you will want to sit back and lob high explosive shells at the enemy.
One of the interesting things about World of Tanks is that the developers have made the game free to play and revenue is generated via micro transactions with the players buying Gold. This Gold can then be converted to credits which can then be spent in game. You can still earn credits in battle, but the addition of gold can allow upgrade your tank that bit quicker or allow you to buy that new tank with the big shiny gun you have always wanted.
World of Tanks is a game with hidden depths. While the subject matter may only appeal to ‘tread heads’, the accessibility of the controls will hook you in and the tactical depth of using the strengths of your tank will keep you hooked. With the game being free to play there is no reason not to give it a try. If you do then watch out for me lurking on the battlefield!
7 smoking wrecks out of 10