Before I get going here let’s look at a few terms and definitions.
MMOG – Massive Multiplayer Online Game
A massively multiplayer online game (MMOG, or more commonly, MMO) is an online game with large numbers of players, typically from hundreds to thousands, on the same server. MMOs usually feature a huge, persistent open world, although some games differ. These games can be found for most network-capable platforms, including the personal computer, video game console, or smartphones and other mobile devices. MMOs can enable players to cooperate and compete with each other on a large scale, and sometimes to interact meaningfully with people around the world. They include a variety of gameplay types, representing many video game genres.
MOBA – Multiplayer Online Battle Arena
Multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA), also known as action real-time strategy (ARTS), is a subgenre of strategy video games that originated as a subgenre of real-time strategy, in which a player controls a single character in a team who compete versus another team of players. The objective is to destroy the opposing team's main structure with the assistance of periodically-spawned computer-controlled units that march forward along set paths. Player characters typically have various abilities and advantages that improve over the course of a game and that contribute to a team's overall strategy. MOBA games are a fusion of action games, role-playing games and real-time strategy games, in which players usually do not construct either buildings or units.
BRG – Battle Royale Game
A battle royale game, also spelled battle royal, is a video game genre that blends the survival, exploration and scavenging elements of a survival game with last-man-standing gameplay. Battle royale games challenge a large number of players, starting with minimal equipment, to search for weapons and armor and eliminate all other opponents while avoiding being trapped outside of a shrinking "safe area", with the winner being the last competitor in the game. The name for the genre is taken from the 2000 Japanese film Battle Royale, which presents a similar theme of a last-man-standing competition in a shrinking play zone.
That information out of the way now let’s get to the actual games. Massive online games have existed in some form or another for a very long time now. Usually relegated as RPG’s they really kicked into their first-person shooter notoriety back around 2010, or at least, that’s when I noticed them really bending toward that particularly genre of games. I was never good at Call of Duty, or Halo and beside the fact that my son is fairly good at Overwatch and Fortnite I am terrible. They’re all a little too fast paced for me to come to grips with. I’m getting old. Either my reflexes aren’t as fast as they once were or perhaps my eyesight just isn’t what it needs to be to compete with these young whippersnappers.
A couple years ago though I began playing World of Tanks. The original WoT was released in 2012 and I just ignored it as I did most games of the online arena style, but then a year later they released World of Tanks: Blitz for the mobile platform. I downloaded it and the graphics were good but I couldn’t stand playing it on my tablet. Too small of a screen and the controls were a little too clunky. Then in 2015 the mobile version showed up on Steam and one day while I was just looking for something else to play it popped up in my suggested games so, since I already had an account I figured I’d try it at which point I was hooked. Well, that’s not entirely true. I didn’t really get into the game until just about a year ago but I play it pretty steadily now.
The vehicles are divided into five classes. Light, Medium, Heavy, Tank Destroyer (TD) and Self-Propelled Guns (SPG). Each class has its strengths and weakness. Light tanks are very fast but sacrifice hitting power and armor. Medium are solid all-around vehicles able to take some hits while putting out a fair damage count. Heavy tanks are exactly as they sound. They completely give up speed for armor and firepower. This means they get hit a lot but generally they also punch a huge amount of damage on the things they hit. TD and SPG vehicles have extremely powerful guns at a very long range and tend to have a good mobility, however they sacrifice their armor for these benefits putting them on par with light vehicles in terms of survivability and the guns are almost always fixed with no turret or very little traverse ability, though this is not always accurate. There were and are many SPG’s that are just as tough as a Medium packing the big cannons that have a good amount of armor.
The games on Blitz are random built matches pulled form a pool of everyone online waiting for a game and divided by vehicle class. The matches fall into a couple different scenario’s. Every scenario can end if you eliminate the opposing team but there are also matches where you can win by capturing a control point by sitting in a circle for 100 seconds and somehow not getting shot, or a control point style where there are multiple circles that take about 30 seconds to capture and then earn you points on top of points for killing enemies, where the first team to a thousand wins.
The game has a lot of interesting mechanics. Since you’re driving an armored vehicle, like those in the real world, you depend on a lot of separate components to operate correctly and the tank is no different. Armor penetrating shots can disable many systems on board. The engine, transmission, tracks, turret, gun and on the same hand they can wound or even kill crew members of your tank hurting your performance at their stations as well from driver, loader, gunner and tank commander. The crew will generally fix broken systems over a short period of time but they will no longer work at peak performance unless you use a repair kit or medical kit which cost in game currency.
Let’s talk about why I enjoy the game as much as I do.
- The graphics are good. They aren’t amazing, but that’s not anything I would consider shocking as most online arena games aren’t insanely good, but just normal good. I think there’s a line you have to walk on bandwidth with these games.
- The controls are intuitive. The game is a WASD game for regular movement. The turret controls are all on your mouse and you really don’t have to try and look anything up really. When I started playing on the PC I never once looked at the manuals or options, I just pushed buttons and everything works. Some of that is just copying the overlying button and key scheme from eery game for the past fifteen years but hey, the point is it was easy to get me in.
- Instead of a single person winning which can very much be a testament to someone’s personal skill (though I usually find it can be a combination of skill and a hefty amount of luck in my opinion) you play WoT as a team. This means you can work together to overcome possible shortcomings in skill levels, not to mention vehicles strengths and weaknesses.
- Regular WoT is a 15v15 game where Blitz is a 7v7 which makes the games go a little faster in my opinion. Honestly, I’ve never played regular WoT so it’s hard for me to say this is a justifiably valid statement, but it feels like doubling the players would double game length.
- Tanks. I feel like I shouldn’t have to say any more than this, but considering my penchant for World War II history and recently taking up Flames of war it really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone reading this. The game does an amazing job at representing historical tanks from the eras of WWI all the way up through the 1960’s from a large variety of countries and currently has over 400 armored vehicles in its playable database. My favorites are naturally the Sherman’s of any flavor, of which there are a few even though they are arguably not the tank I am best at driving.
For as much love as I have for the game there are of course some downfalls to it as well. Primary among them is the Freemium model. The game is completely free to play and I’ve never put a dime into it myself. That said though I have hit the cap on some spots. The tanks are ranked from Light tier 1 to Heavy or TD tier 10. My biggest tank is my Sherman M4A3E8 at tier 6. The next tank up from this one costs an amount of experience and coins that seem incomprehensible to earn without paying money for it. Vehicles and their upgrades cost two different kinds of currency. Money and experience. You can spend cash on in game currency, (gold and silver). You earn silver every game you play and have to spend some of that to fix your tanks and resupply them with ammo and consumable things like repair kits and you can even earn gold though it’s in small amounts relatively speaking. You earn experience in every battle, though some experience is earned to a free bank while other experience is earned only for the specific tank you were driving. In the instance with my M4 it cost 14K experience and I don’t recall how much silver but silver isn’t difficult to obtain. The next tank up the line though for me is 48K experience. It’s going to take a while. A long while.
One of the things you can spend your gold on is premium account status. This gives you bonuses to your money and experience earned in every match. I have absolutely no basis for the next prat I’m about to state other than gut feeling but it also seems like when I have earned free premium account status through completely and collecting mission objectives or spending some of the gold I’ve earned that it places you into more favorable matches. Like, maybe the computer racks everybody on a ladder ranking and pairs premium players up against lower ranked players. It just seems that when my premium status is active I tend to win more games than lose. Again, this is just a feeling, I have no proof or basis for that statement.
In the end, I can see myself eventually spending some money on this game. Not a large quantity, but given that I’ve already milked the game for probably fifty plus hours free game-play I feel like they’ve earned a little cash from me. Let’s face it, I’ve paid way more for miniatures that I’ve probably never even used and sit on a shelf.
Taking everything here said into context I have really enjoyed the game a lot. If you’re a fan of WWII history, or just a fan of tanks and want to drive around blowing people up then I highly recommend giving it a try. Head on over to WorldofTanks.com or look it up on Steam or your mobile device. You might just find out you really enjoy it.