World of Tanks: Review
2011-08-21 20:18:23 ET

Not that anyone really cares about my opinions on games but I feel compelled to post my thoughts and feelings on the game. Might do this more often.

So the game is World of Tanks which supposedly focuses on tanks form world war two, but we will ignore the fact that many of the tanks didn't even show their face on the drawing board until well after the end of the war. But we will get back to that annoying fact in a bit. For those people who like tanks and nothing but tanks this game should be the one for yah. I say should because there are some nagging and rather glaring issues that become more and more apparent as you gain levels. But suffice to say the game is rather straight forward in an interface of point gun at enemy tank, pull trigger, repeat until all the enemy are dead or you explode.

The three races are Germany, Soviet Union, and America. Now because there really are not enough tanks that were put into production to make a real tech tree for progression. So they added in a lot of paper tanks and other experimental tanks. This is fine but gets rather annoying when you start rolling through some parts of the tech tress and realize that none of these tanks ever made it into a prototype stage.

There are 5 tank types, supposedly some of them are better at doing some jobs then others. But in reality it really comes down to the fact that if you don't have a turret you are kind screwed right off the bat. Even the highest level tank destroyers are very easy to murder once you have their flank. But again the game is very heavily focused on the high end vehicles and barely makes an attempt for the player to enjoy the other classes of vehicles.

When you get into the game it quickly becomes apparent that all the talk of ballance and fairness is really just a smoke screen for good old fasion Russian nationalism. Russian tanks often have a better armor configuration, better guns, and better speed for the same tier as their counterparts in the other 2 groups. In fact that are many Russian tanks that are combat effective against targets that are 5 tiers higher then the tank itself. But I digress.

The game has 2 modes, random battles where the game tries to put multiple tanks of roughly the same tier into a battle (15 on 15) and have them fight it out. This makes games that are laughable as tanks that have no hope of damaging anything on the field are pitted with tanks that fire VWs and have battleship hull plating for armor. The other option is a company battle, where people get together and make a pre set formation and try to work as a team. This is by far the more enjoyable part but suffers from being very very hard to get a team together and it often takes a very long time to get a battle rolling. More often then not you are likely to fight the same team over and over.

The maps are steadily improving. They are trying really hard to make the maps more dynamic and give more options to people. But a few elements are rather conspiquasly absent. There is no weather, no day time or night time, nothing to make each battle a bit more dynamic. It would make the very buggy vision system have a coniption fit and die, but it would make the grind for tanks a bit less intolerable. It really comes down to the fact that a lot of this game feels rather incomplete and forgotten. Simple game mechanics seem to be missing, like the ability to trade tanks, or to do simple things like turn off you engine to increase your cloak. The game also likes to hid stats. For example its not only armor thickness that matters but its angle. And the game tries really hard to hid those stats. After digging through the game data it is rather easy to see why. In the name of game ballance the developers have changed the angle of a lot of the tanks armor in game. King Tiger have nearly flat armor compared with some Russian tanks which have a suprisingly angles armor plate considering their model shows them to have nearly flat armor.

Again the theme or Russian tanks come up a little to often. Having driven all 3 races I can tell you that Russian tanks are by far the easiest of all of the races to drive by far. But that is not the biggest issue in the game. Because of a silly concept they have come up with for game ballance, namely because some tanks had paper armor but made up for it in shier numbers, and that becomes a limitation of only having 15 players per side. They have decided to boost the effectiveness of some tanks by giving them more armor then they would have ever had and to give them much more damage or rate of fire then is humanly possible. This becomes a massive issue then you come to artillery. In this game they have ballanced artillery to have the same effective firepower of 5 artillery pieces. This ends up making artillery the most powerful units on the map. And with a very easy to sue aiming system anyone can easily rack up kill at an alarming rate. This may not seem so bad, but in reality it makes all other vehicles on the field nothing more then moving targets. Instead of making the artillery supporting the other tanks, they end up becoming the main fist of the force.

The game continues to suffer from what can only be described as poor planing. Tanks seeming to operate well outside their tier, poor match making mechanics, lack of game types, a rather poorly designed tech tree, and a complete bias for some tanks. The developers seem to be more interested in new features then fixing the ones already in the game. In addition, I have never seen a group of developers abuse their player base as much as the World of Tanks team have. Anyone who does points out rather glaring issues in the game and possible ways to fix it are more often then not gagged on the forums. Only to come back a few months later with game changes that had been suggest by the player base and is now being toted as their original ideas. The last few MMOs that have treated their player base like this did not last beyond 2 years.

It would be really nice if they could make each battle more interesting. Keeping the fighting tiers closer to each other so that the fights are more interesting. Increasing game types for a change of pace. Recently the developers introduced Clan Wars, basically think of risk with tanks. The Clan Wars mechanics frankly sucks. Players form clans and fight for sections of the map that give them in game money. Each area is valued differently. Unfortunately its all about who has the biggest tanks and nothing els. But that is not the only issues I see with the mechanic. It suffers from the fact that the maps are too small and the number of players on each side too few. They really need to add more game types and increase the number of players per side before clan wars would be anything of interest.

Overall the game had a lot of potential, but rather glaring issues with ballance and bias seem to be strangling this game before it has a chance to do anything. Serious changes are needed to really make this game into something that everyone can enjoy instead of a road side attraction.


2011-08-22 03:56:25 ET

while I do agree that this game was perhaps puahed out into a wide beta instead of a real release, the fact remains that it is f2p. I've played through six iterations of the game, and I have seen signifigant improvement in matching and vehicle balance. yes, a Tiger will always obliterate an m3 Lee in one shot to the front, and said lee can only wish to hit a crew member, track, or rear armor on a tiger, but the instances where these two tanks meet are the fault of a Lee driver who cannot read the tactical icons on the minimap.

I feel this game is more about positioning, ambush, concealment and cover than aim, but in the ase of artillery, it's all about aim and prediction of motion. i can hit a moving target 1/5 times AFTER he's disappeared from my spotters view.
Aditionally, as soon as you get to tier two artillery, a disparity develops, as you will be matched againat tanks up to tier 5, and occasionally find yourself getting an engine hit, for only 15% health.

I don't pay for the game, it's not solid enough, and my biggest gripe is that as a non-premium player I can't squad or clan up. The simple fact remains that for aix or seven quick rounds a night, it's fun!

2011-08-22 08:01:54 ET

if they had a mod that made them look like l4d tanks... then i'd consider it.

now pocket tanks... that is one i love.

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