Thursday, May 5, 2011

World of Tanks (WoT) review

       When I first heard of it  I would never think it would be a good game. First - what a silly name! Second  f2p MMO with tanks? Really? But I kept hearing good things about the game so I got into beta last july  .... And  got hooked. 4000+ matches later I am in release, in clan and preparing for a tourney. That is the game I am playing more hardcore than any MMO in past 4 years  and its not even an MMO. Ohh the irony


    To set things straight - its neither "World" nor an MMO.  Its a 3d person tactical tank  shooter with central lobby. Emphasis on "tactical" .The game does not require fast reflexes and split second reactions.  Positioning ,coordination  and tactics are what wins games , not  jumping headshots.  But its not a simulation - lots of things are tweaked in name of balance and gameplay. (such as faster tank speed and  turret turn rates, reload times, artillery is  satellite guided precision weapon )

     There is lots of history and background you  can dig into (did you know there was a french tanks ace who killed 13 tanks alone? can you name top 3 tank aces? -all german of course :) ),  many tanks are fantasy prototypes and its quite interesting reading about them and then try it out in game.

       It has 2 types of progression - vertical (access to higher tier tanks) and horizontal - different tank types (heavy, medium ,light ,tank destroyers ,artillery) of different nations  . If your first thought is" how varied can you really make tanks play" - answer is surprisingly varied.  4 distinct play styles,  tiers play differently as well and each tanks has its unique feel too (if compared to same type/tier other vehicles)

   The main thing - playing tanks is simply fun.2nd  - if you interested in tanks at all (and you will be if you male geek - even if you dont think so at first)  progression will keep you busy .Game is F2P so its worth to give it a try regardless!

     The end game feature is clan wars  which should keep you playing   . Map is Risk like , with players representing stack of chips , each day clans battle for provinces in scheduled matches, owning provinces gives you gold and epeen. You can  check how it goes  on already released in Russia version : http://challenge.worldoftanks.ru/challenge/clanwars/maps/

F2P features - it mainly serves as progression shortcuts. Premium account gives you 50% more xp and credits per battle -its generally the best option to spend your RL money on. There are gold consumables and ammo ,but no one uses them outside of tournaments (since they too expensive to use on regular basis). Gold tanks are nothing special , unless you absolutely need have every single tank in game (in this case you will  also have to spend gold on buying additional garage slots). The only gameplay feature which is restricted to premium users  is option to create platoons (groups of 3), but non-premium user can join any other platoon, so its not  a big deal.  WoT is F2P done right .

Game is a huge success in Russia  ,while having reasonable population in EU,  China and US

Pros:
  • Fun minute to minute ,session to session gameplay
  • Huge amount ( 100+) of  meticulously detailed  vehicles
  • F2P not pay2win
  • Progressing in higher tiers does not make lower tiers obsolete (they still fun to play in their own tier)
Cons
  • Game mechanics and certain maps benefit campers to much. Matches sometimes degenerate into 15 minutes boring draws
  • Developers are slow to implement new changes
  • Playing with randoms  sometimes makes you rage 
  • Tier matchmaking could use some work for lower populated server (e.g. US )
Summary

 Its a great game. And great example how a lobby based  progression project with solid core gameplay could generate solid revenue stream using f2p model.  We need more games like that. If black prophecy follows that model it would be good game too. But its not an MMO  -which is fine, most fun and worth playing games are not MMOs  nowdays ,   if you want game - check it out , if you want world or MMO - you may have to wait much longer .

p.s. Game is using Big World engine for its lobby and session organizer. engine is heavily customized for  physics of tank gameplay.

1 comment:

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