There is a distinction, and here it is… While this free to play massively multiplayer online shell-em-up never exactly strives for ‘breath-taking’, content instead with the goal of ‘pleasingly moreish’, very much to Wargaming.net’s credit, World of Tanks steamrolls it’s every objective with an appreciable and clinical professionalism.
Clinical professionalism – Doesn’t sound like high praise. And in any other genre, it wouldn’t be. But the fact is with all MMOs, once the central conceit of the game is nailed down, the bulk of the work is ensuring players get as smooth a ride as humanly possible. To this end, World of Tanks is a snappy, responsive, bug-free MMO.
Ironically, there is a subtler game at play here than the TANK motif would have you believe.
You start with three tanks. You’ll be able to afford more after 2 matches.
You’ll be tasked with capturing areas and exploding foes, more often than not.
You can achieve this by doing tanky things – pivot, shoot, bulldoze, be slow.
You can absorb roughly two shells, more if you angle your armoured front correctly.
You are encouraged to use elevated terrain and light bending shrubbery to your advantage.
You get booted from the match with every death, but can jump into another, with an alternate tank within seconds.
Participating nets you silver (paying nets you gold) and new models, shells, tracks, armour, radio, turrets and miscellaneous equipment can be bought with the intention of further blitzkrieg. Matches can potentially last 15 minutes, with every game mode redundantly concerned with the holding of bases. This immediately descends into outright slaughter and regularly matches conclude in under five minutes, with one side obliterated. This frees up your tank for additional matchmaking.
While the gameplay is purposefully slow and methodological, painstaking and pragmatic (a perfect alternative for the nippy, spray and pray frenzy of most online multiplayer) matchmaking, upgrading, outfitting and selecting is, by contrast a speedy affair. Essentially you’ll spend your time in a tank shooting a tank as opposed to lobbies and upgrade paths.
Wargaming.net guiding hand is felt, rarely seen.
I didn’t really like World of Tanks. It just wasn’t my bag. A bit too slow. Too few canned takedown (tankdown) animation, perhaps?
But despite its pace, it didn’t lack for energy, albeit a deliberate, funnelled kind. It’s easy to pick up (I got my first assist in Match 1, first kill in Match 3) and injects just enough variety without warping the two-shot-kill foundation. The lack of respawns is initially jarring. But kills feel that much more meaningful and, overall, the time spent waiting is ultimately less.
If my language reads a bit formal, that’s because it reflects my stance on World of Tanks.
I have a formal respect for this MMO. Microtransactions don’t unbalance it. There’s no subscription fee. There’s no lag. The 360 version uses its own servers. I don’t any particular love for this Wargaming.net offering, but you might. As such I recommend it.
But only in a formal capacity.