Daily Archives: February 20, 2010

It’s a World… a World of Tanks

No, not WoW-type tanks.  Real tanks.  Armored fighting vehicles.

Well, virtual armored fighting vehicles.  Darren has the trailer posted over at his site.

I am talking about a free-to-play online game which is all about tanks called World of Tanks.

All tanks and nothing but tanks, or so it seems.

And WWII tanks no less. Everybody’s favorite!

From the site:

World of Tanks is a team-based massively multiplayer online action game dedicated to armored warfare. Throw yourself into the epic tank battles of World War II with other steel cowboys all over the world. Your arsenal includes more than 150 armored vehicles from America, Germany, and the Soviet Union, carefully detailed with historical accuracy.

A flexible system of authentic vehicle upgrade and development allows you to try any of the vehicles and weapons in the game. Whether you prefer to exhaust your foes with fast and maneuverable light tanks, make deep breaches in enemy lines with all-purpose medium tanks, use the force of giant tanks to eliminate opposing armored forces, or become a heavy sniper with long-range howitzers, each unit type has its own advantages and can be extremely effective when operated by a true tank ace.

Part of me really likes the sound of this.  There is a visceral element to a clash of tanks.

On the other hand, the wargaming purist in me finds that their information raises more questions than it answers.  The imbalance of the real world of armored warfare, especially the see-saw game of superiority that took place during WWII, at least on the Eastern Front, makes me wonder how balance issues are going to work out.

150 different tanks sounds great, but why would I go with anything besides a late 1944 Panther (the one with the mantlet that fixed the shot trap problem) if I had the choice?  Or maybe a Jagdpanther if I wanted to just lay back in kill stuff.

A game screen shot featuring a Panther

You’ll note that that screen shot actually shows the late 1944 mantlet upgrade.  It is that lip on the bottom of the rounded gun mounting.  The older, fully rounded mantlet had a habit of deflecting shots down into the thin upper armor of the Panther, which is bad for business.

But then there is that flexible system of upgrades, which I presume is there to make other AFVs competitive with the few late-war choices most knowing players would otherwise make.

Your armored steed isn’t just a tin can on tracks – it’s a living, evolving mechanism that should be treated accordingly. Research your available upgrades and modifications to enhance its performance on the battlefield.

That does seem to contradict the whole “carefully detailed with historical accuracy” part of the equation though.  I don’t recall a lot of living, evolving mechanisms in the annuls of WWII armored warfare.  Design changes, field modifications, and updated tactical doctrines, sure, but evolution?

If they’re talking upgrades that will keep, say, a Panzer 38(t) competitive in a late-war scenario, they better mean converting it into a Hetzer.  (A Hetzer might make my list as well.)

And then there is the whole “world” aspect of World of Tanks.

Intense battles with up to 60 combat vehicles unfold on enormous and detailed battlefields featuring a variety of terrain from open fields with hills and forests to deserts and industrial zones. The terrain offers a wide scope for tactical decisions from aggressive fast-paced thrusts to elaborate flanking operations and diversionary attacks.

That doesn’t sound like it is going to be a virtual world.  That sounds more akin to the Battlefield series of games rather than your typical MMORPG.

Still, nitpicking aside, it is tanks.  Tanks shooting at other tanks.  No messy infantry support or nasty panzerfaust wielding bad guys hiding where you least expect them.  Just tanks.  That should have something going for it.

The game will be free-to-play, so I’m sure I’ll give it a try.

I can go play Combat Mission: Barbarossa to Berlin if I want historical accuracy and pazerfaust wielding grenadiers.  In fact, I think I will.

Of course, since this will be a free-to-play game, that implies there will be some sort of cash shop mechanism. I can hardly wait to see what they will offer.  You want APDS rounds for your main gun?  That will cost you.

More on World of Tanks as it develops.