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Tanks, Tanks, and More Tanks
Guys know that tanks are awesome. They're big, powerful and make a lot of noise - the ultimate expression of masculinity. But as a gameplay idea, tanks also rule. Tanks are big enough to contain a lot of different parts and an experienced crew. That means it is realistic to give gamers the chance to trick out their tank and the people running it.
This is the concept behind World of Tanks, an online action game from Wargaming.net. You start out with a basic tank and use it to battle others. As you earn victories you gain experience and cash, which you can use to research and buy new tank components as well as entirely new tanks.
Sounds cool, right? But better concepts have been ruined by execution before. This World of Tanks preview takes a look at how the title is shaping up.
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While playing the game for this World of Tanks preview I found there are really two parts to World of Tanks - the configuration and action. Between battles you will configure your tank, research new technologies and manage your crew. There isn't as much to this part of the stage as I'd like to see, however, because there are a lot of tanks with just a few optional components. Configuring at tank is fun if there is a lot to do, but there simply isn't a lot of depth yet introduced.
You do have a lot of tanks to chose from, however. World of Tanks started with Russian and German tanks, and now an American side as been added as well. You have more than just Tanks to choose from, as well - there are also Tank Destroyers (no turret, armed with a big gun) and artillery units (can fire from long distances, but vulnerable at close range).
Once you have your tank configured, you hit the field with a team of other tanks. Your goal is to defend your flag and take the opponents. Additional gameplay modes and maps are set to hit the game by the time of its full release. Charging across a battlefield with friends or strangers is a lot of fun, but you'll noticeable immediately that Wargaming.net is taking a more serious approach to World of Tanks. Firing on the move is difficult, armor coverage is important, and tanks damage to different systems (your engine might be knocked out, for example). World of Tanks is part-sim, part-action.
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The Future of the Client
I don't think it would be right to label World of Tanks an MMO, although that is what some World of Tanks previews have done. The battles take place on large battlefields but are not persistent. They are matches, just as you'd find in a first person shooter.
Despite this, the future of World of Tanks will obviously depend on how well the leveling elements are integrated into the game. The problem that occurs whenever a game places players with different tools into direct confrontation is balance. I had many bad experiences with this when my pathetic newbie tank ran into a massive tank piloted by a veteran player. The tanks piloted by veteran players have armor to thick to even penetrate, but their cannons can destroy my tank in one direct hit. Fun? Not really.
Hopefully this problem will be addressed. The client also needs some polishing before full release, as it is currently a bit choppy and the graphics are average at best.
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A Tank Game Worth Looking Forward To?
World of Tanks is currently in "closed beta." The closed beta is a bit funny, however, because it seems that everyone who applies is accepted.
The game is already set up for microtransactions, so you most likely won't have to worry about waiting to buy the game. World of Tanks is being constructed as a free-to-play title and, barring any sort of major problem or change of hands on the business side of the game's development, will be offered as free game when released.
Is it worth checking out? Most certainly. This is not a game that is likely to feed an addiction in the same way as World of Warcraft or even the Call of Duty series, but tank buffs and those who prefer simulation games will enjoy this title.