Tin Can Warfare

Warning: Caution when operating heavy machinery not required.

It’s safe to say that during my time playing World of Tanks, I’ve learned a couple of things. First off, life as a tank is hard. Like, really hard. One minute you’re safe and sound in your garage, with only the occasional sound of drilling to break the ambience. Bucket and sponge at the ready, you’re spoiled by custom paint jobs whilst browsing a catalogue of equipment upgrades, like that shiny Wright G200 engine you’ve always wanted. You know, the one with 960 engine power and the 20% chance to set on fire? …wait, what?

Soon enough though, you’re thrown into the thick of it. Lumbering along a remote coastal path somewhere in mainland Europe, suddenly, your entire right side is blown away, peeled apart like the oversized tin can that you are. Was it the hulking Russian KV behind that rock? Or maybe that German Tank Destroyer across the river? Most likely though, it was the American artillery across the other side of the map.

The second thing I learned is, life as a member of a tank crew is even more daunting. Sure, they might be nestled cosily within the cocoon of steel and raw firepower that is your pride and joy. But soon enough, you’ll appreciate their plight. Sitting a few hundred feet from an opposing tank, you’ll take a hit right on the nose. On the plus side, you survived with 50% health. Unfortunately, your gunner has been knocked out, and your crew inform you they are now ‘firing blindly’ in retaliation. Promising.

 I’d advise against the convertible roof upgrade. 

This is the frustratingly abrupt welcome to World of Tanks that many of us have endured after heading into battle for the first time, and whilst I’m aware that this might be a turn off for a number of gamers, it shouldn’t be.

Many could be forgiven for looking at World of Tanks and seeing a simulation game inaccessible to those of us lacking a detailed knowledge of the 140 vehicles it features. Well, before you set off for the local library to brush up on your tank history, I bring good news. World of Tanks is a shooter, plain and simple. It boasts a simplistic control system familiar to veterans of shooter titles, using the WASD keys for movement and the mouse to aim and shoot. Is that an enemy vehicle on the horizon? Who the hell cares, you’re a tank. Aim the cursor over their flashy red outline and click away to seal their fiery doom. The learning curve is virtually non-existent, and whilst there are advanced features to get to grips with, you’ll do so with ease as you flow with the moderate pace the game sets.

For new World of Tanks players, you start with a limited arsenal of basic tanks to choose from. Currently, the game features four nations: the USA, USSR, Germany and France, with future updates set to incorporate both the UK and China. To begin, players will roll into battle in one of the four entry-level light tanks available at the top of each nations tech-tree. In order to climb their chosen tech tree, players will have to enter battle within their current tank to earn experience, a process that most gamers will be familiar with. Enter a battle, eliminate the opposing team and capture the enemy base to claim victory. It’s that simple. Win enough battles and you’ll soon be on your way to upgrading your tank via equipment upgrades, and eventually unlocking newer and more powerful tanks.

‘He tried jumping to light speed but I got him.’

Before you start to worry, no, you won’t be cannon fodder to experienced players in top-tier vehicles, picking of the new guys. World of Tanks has an accurate and fair matchmaking system that ensures players will only ever come face to face with enemies driving tanks comparable to their own. Similarly, the same applies when you’ve made it to the big time too. Shame on you.

As you work your way through a nations tech tree, different types of vehicles become available to research and purchase. Ranging from light, medium and heavy tanks, to artillery and tank destroyers. Players are free to choose which vehicle to work towards. Ideally, selecting one to suit their play style. Enjoy dominating other tanks with brute force? Go with a heavy tank. Prefer to pick off enemies from a distance? Hang back in an artillery. Or for you strategists out there, take a light tank and zip around the map in order to scout enemies for your team and capture the enemy base. If at any point you feel like trying a different vehicle, or want to see what other nations have to offer, you can. Players are able to advance through as many nations technology trees and progress towards as many vehicles as they wish.

Progressing through World of Tanks is as simplistic as it is engaging, offering players action packed, strategic combat, along with an in-depth experience and upgrade system, that’s sure to keep gamers involved. It’s this strategic and in-depth approach that World of Tanks utilizes so well that has led to over 5 million players signing up.

As a free-to-play title, World of Tanks allows players to take full advantage of all its features, without paying a penny. But players shouldn’t be surprised if they feel tempted to spend a little money at some point. Investing a few pounds here and there can offer players benefits such as increasing the size of their garage from the default capacity of 5 vehicles or transferring earned experience between tanks. Players are also able to upgrade to a premium account at a cost, which offers an increased amount of experience and credits earned from battles. None of these options provide those players purchasing in-game gold with an advantage over those who don’t, but it certainly speeds up their ability to unlock newer vehicles and branch off into other tech trees. Simply, it’s all about the individual gamers experience. There are benefits for those willing to spend and only minor limitations to those who choose not to. Either way, the game maintains a balanced and fair experience for all players.

World of Tanks is the kind of game that will grab your attention and play keep away with it. Quick and easy to get in to, its simplicity along with its sheer depth and extensive customisation will keep you gripped for hours whilst you annihilate your enemies on the battlefield, only to wash away their charred remains from your war machine and charge into the next battle. World of Tanks is a blast and a game that everyone should give a shot.

Greg Lockley

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