Tobold's Blog
Wednesday, May 04, 2011
World of Tanks

You probably think that I don't like PvP. But absolute statements are rarely true, and the more nuanced truth is that I don't like how PvP is done in most MMORPGs: Twitch-based, and often asymmetrical and unbalanced. Give me a somewhat slower, more tactical, and well balanced PvP game, and I'll be having fun. Case in point: World of Tanks. A friend persuaded me to try it, and I found that game to be excellent entertainment. Maybe not something I'll play for months and months, but fun enough for some time.

Of course World of Tanks, in spite of the "World of" part of the name, is not a MMORPG at all. There actually isn't any world at all in the game. There are only PvP maps, 15 vs. 15 players, with various landscapes from WWII towns to North African desert. Other than that there is only your garage, storing tanks from various nations. There you click on "Start Battle", which usually gets you into a new battle within a minute or two, and the real game begins. You control a WWII tank in a group with 14 other players, against 15 opponent players. Forget historical realism, both sides use tanks from all nationalities. A battle can't last more than 15 minutes, and the side which either eliminates the other in that time, or holds the enemy flag point for 100 seconds wins. Win or lose, everybody leaves the battle with some experience points and credits. Experience can be used to "research" better equipment or other tanks, and then the credits can be used to buy those.

Unlike other multi-player shooters, there are no respawns in a World of Tank battle. If you're dead, you can only watch the rest of the battle (pressing the right mouse-button moves the camera to the next of your still active team mates). You can't even quit early, because then you don't get xp and credits [EDIT: It turns out you CAN quit, but your current tank will remain in battle, so you'd have to do the next battle in a different tank]. Thus there is an obvious advantage in playing carefully instead of gung ho. Tanks can hide behind walls or in bushes, and you need to find the enemy first before you can shoot him. Thus even light scout tanks have an important role, because without them the self-propelled-gun artillery tanks don't have anything to shoot at. Tactical combat, at a not too high speed, I love it! As a bonus, World of Tanks does an excellent job of balancing the two sides.

About the cost of all that I have two good news, and one bad one: The good news is that you can play for free, and that the game doesn't shove the payment options down your throat every two minutes. The bad news is that everything you can buy gives you serious advantages in game. You buy "gold", and can exchange that gold for tanks, better crew, the in-game currency, or even better ammo. You can also buy a subscription and get 50% more xp and credits from every fight. If you play for free you at least advance significantly slower, and some items like the better ammo you can't obtain at all without real money.

I'll keep playing this for a while, occasionally, but at the moment I'm not planning to spend money on the game. The battles are fun as they are even with my lowest level artillery tank, so I'm not tempted to spend money to "get faster to the fun part". Maybe the devs did a too good job balancing the game. ;)
Tobold -

You can quit early - it's called "Grinding". You just won't get your xp and credits until the battle completes, and your tank is released to your garage.

Great way to level up more than one tank and tank crew at a time.

By the by - try to hang on to tank crews. Their skill improvements are the single most useful advancement around, and they can be retrained for multiple tanks.

(if you grab Gold, so far, it's been the best thing to spend gold on, for me.)
You can leave a battle if you are dead. There is no penalty. You can simply play one of your "alt" tanks in the meantime until your original tank is available again. :)
After you die, you can hit ESC and choose Exit Battle to go back to your garage and hop into a different tank. Your previous tank will be locked and unavailable for use until their battle ends. Once it does, you will get any XP and credits due for your performance in that battle.

So there's really no point in hanging around after you die unless you want to indulge in some armored voyeurism.

I played WoT when it first came out in closed beta and am very happy that it has finally released so I can grind my tanks for real this time.
The biggest flaw I see in WoW pvp is the difficulty curve is backwards. When you start out with poor or no pvp gear, it is extremely fast paced, much too fast for most players to learn or implement strategy.

Eventually, when you have much better pvp gear, the game slows down and the strategy element is much more meaningful.

The reverse would be better, a game that starts off slow so that beginners can learn, and speeds up at higher levels.
Thank you for mentioning how to switch your view after you've been defeated. I knew there HAD to be a way to do that, but I never found mention of it. Clicking the right mouse button never occurred to me (it's normally used to lock on to an enemy target).

I think the "you can quit early" has been brought up enough, so I won't mention it :)

One thing that I think is interesting about the World of Tanks cash shop is that if you play long enough you'll reach a point where you have nothing left to spend gold on (unless you really really have to have that premium ammunition). Once you're in a tier 10 tank with a maxed out crew what exactly would you spend gold on?

I've spent a little bit of money, to get my crew skills up faster and increase my xp gain for a little while, but I don't anticipate spending any more, there's really no need. I get my ass handed to me regularly but no amount of gold is going to save me from that.
It took me a while to find it, but the right click also puts you in free camera mode ala a left click in WoW, which is very nice, especially when you have a camo net and turret movement breaks its bonus.

I think the MMO part is that you gather experience. Other than that, I don't see Gold being that much of an advantage. The Gold tanks aren't especially better than the earned tanks, and the people running them generally aren't any good at them, anymore than an ebayer is good at WoW. The only significant advantage is the gold shells, and they are so expensive no one uses them, and maybe the consumables, but they are also a significant expense. Really, the premium account is the most useful, as much for the platoon feature as the time-and-a-half bonus.
The Gold shells weren't worth the cost in the Beta, they definitely aren't worth it now.

I played up to a Tier IX medium in the beta, and honestly, I would still go back and play in tanks of almost every other tier. It's pretty well the same amount of fun at all levels, just with a different experience.

And agree with the Standing Dragon above, if you are going to spend money, crew is where it is at. A 100% crew alone even without the subskills is a massive difference over a 50% crew.
Having played since early closed beta, the payment model is more sophisticated than you give it credit for.

It's not so much about the premium ammo or tanks, but about paying for repairs. Aabove something like tier 6, it starts to become difficult to break even on repairs without a premium account. This means, if you want to play the advanced tanks, you probably will need to pay.

But that's pretty high in the trees. You can easily play with some very famous and enjoyable tanks like the T34, and never pay a cent.

For me, the best part as you note is the pace. It's strategic. Plus tanks don't circle strafe or bunny hop.
That is true to a point, but only if you don't ever want to play with a lower tier tank. If you are good enough to not die in a high tier tank, chances are you will come out ahead on credits anyway, and if you do die, playing a tier-4 or 5 while you wait for the other battle to end will probably break even at the least.
I have to say I'm very much enjoying WoT; I'm glad you wrote about it. Like you, I can't do shooters. I no longer have the reflexes and now seem to get motion sick after more than 20 minutes of play (though not in WoW for some reason). But WoT has a slower pace that allows you to think about the tactical situation and plan how to take advantage of it.

And the situations you face are complex. You need to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the different vehicles, remember enemies that have vanished from your radar and try to predict where they will go, learn to use cover, and understand the complexities of each of the maps. Fun.

As to the cost, you can get a lot of entertainment out of this game for free. If you want to move to the higher tier tanks, you'll probably have to spend some real money, but the lower tiers are still a blast since you generally are facing off against equivalent tanks.

I just got the 'derp' gun installed on my KV, and I'm eager to get back to obliterating my foes.
You can also use gold to get 100% crew at once, exchange gold for credits to get modules and last but not least put on consumables (auto-fire extinguisher is a favorite for me :)). Btw a nice wiki to read up on tanks and the rest is:
Btw have anyone found an english version of this: I can sort of understand the numbers and such, but would have been really nice with it in english.
"The bad news is that everything you can buy gives you serious advantages in game."

I disagree. WoT is one of the only F2P games that isn't "pay to win". Outside of gold ammo, there is nothing a free player cannot do that a paying player can. Gold tanks are mediocre for their tier, and are not there for "pwning noobs", but for earning credits (very low repair cost). Even gold ammo has the same penetration rates as regular ammo - just more damage (and I doubt more than 1 or 2% of players are even using it outside of clan battles).

I am glad to see you're enjoying it though and liked your take on it. I have a feeling as development progresses this game will have enough things to do past end-game to keep you busy for more than a few months.

Not quite the same but it is in English. Between the two sites, you pretty much get all the info you need.
You really need gold for premium and platoons. And even that is optional - I grinded to tier8 medium without any premium in beta ( I was saving gold up for perma prem - early beta was only 150 gold /day or so). We have players in my clan with tier8+ now without premium.

Gold ammo and consumables are not worth it except if you play in tournament

Crew is not worth it either - you can get 75% for credits and they train relatively fast on their own. I think 100 battles is enough to max out crew

So premium is really optional.

Also certain premium tanks are good for making credits for your non premium tanks. Preorder m6 is mad money maker, so is ram 2 . Their performance is nothing special but they do receive bonus in creds/xp and cheap to repair. Farm tanks of sorts
Good to see you grabbing this after I pestered you through the Beta.

I like to equate this game to the early days of counter strike. You find yourself not playing it to unlock tanks and modules, but just because you are actually enjoying the gameplay.

Tanks to steer clear of, as they can be morale breaking for new players, are the American M3 Lee and T1 heavy and the Russian KV (unitl you get the 107 mm or 152 mm cannons).

I assume your on the EU server, so i will not be able platoon with you, but there should be many others of your loyal readers who could. Enjoyment of the game really goes up when with a couple fo friends over voice comms in a platoon. You only need one of the three to have a premium account to form the platoon, then anyone can join.

If by chance you are on the NA server, then hit up Freshmeatv1 for an invite. I promise not to drag your MS-1 into games with my IS-4 :)
Good tip! Somehow i never noticed this game. I like it sofar, for short play sessions (exactly what i can aford nowadays). is it that I keep getting killed by tanks that I can't see.....and on that topic, if I'm 20ft away from another tank, around an obstruction, same tank model as well, how can he hit enuf of me to kill me and I can't even target him???
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