Wargaming.net announced this morning that the go live date for World of Tanks will be April 12th of this year.
The key part of the press release:
World of Tanks Release Date Announced
London (17th March, 2011) — Wargaming.net is glad to announce today that its highly-anticipated free-to-play action MMO game World of Tanks is set to launch on 12th April, 2011 in Europe and North America.
With this announcement, the company reports World of Tanks to be gradually entering the release phase after nine successive months of closed and open beta testing that let the game recruit an impressive number of players building up a strong and responsive community that helped the development team enhance and polish the game by providing valuable feedback and reporting issues.
World of Tanks is one of the most recognizable vehicle-based MMO games where players fight action-packed battles driving historically accurate WWII-era armored machines. The game’s stunning graphics, destructible environments, a wide variety of military hardware with a vast choice of upgrade options along with captivating and well-balanced gameplay make it a must-try for almost every gamer.
“Our team has been working really hard to create a unique blend of action, strategy, simulation and RPG elements in World of Tanks, and now the moment all fans across the globe have been waiting for is right around the corner”, said Victor Kislyi, CEO of Wargaming.net. “We are delighted to be finally announcing the release date for this ground-breaking title and invite all veteran players and those new to the game to enjoy tense and uncompromising armored warfare on World of Tanks battlegrounds”.
Now, the usual press release puffery is obviously in play here.
I am totally with them when they speak of stunning graphics, because the game does look very good. And bits of the terrain are, in fact, destructible. It can be quite satisfying to bowl through some poor peasants cottage at full speed with your BT-7. And they do have quite an array of hardware and upgrades. You could spend a lot of time getting yourself to your “perfect” vehicle.
Well-balanced gameplay is a tough one. When player skill is involved, it is tough to judge balance and you hear a lot of people griping about a lack of balance, especially when a match goes badly for one side.
It seems, to me, to be about as balanced as one can hope for… and the random match making system does pretty well at putting together roughly equal teams. Often one hot shot can dominate a match, and then the complaints start. But that doesn’t seem, to me, to be a balance question so much as a variation in skill. You will run into a virtual Michael Wittmann now and again.
My main my concern about the game is if there is enough there to keep people interested long term. Right now the random team on team match can be a lot of fun, but I could see the “do a match, collect points, do a match, collect points” become a drag over time.
To that end, Wargaming.net has also announced the beta for their Clan Wars feature, which is supposed to give the game more strategic depth, and which they describe as “Unprecedented.” Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
The key quotes about clan wars, from yet-another-press-release
Clan Wars concept revolves around the Global Map divided into a number of provinces each providing a particular revenue stream, with hundreds of clans fighting for gaining control over them. Comprehensive diplomatic and economic systems will provide a wide array of options to wage war for global domination not only on tank battlefields but at bargaining tables as well.
“Clan Wars is not just a new game mode, but rather a separate gameplay layer or meta-game designed to provide years of fun and action for those fond of strategy thinking, politics, alliances and intrigues,” said Victor Kislyi, CEO of Wargaming.net. “We’re very excited to start enrolling people now thus making the launch of the Clan Wars closer.”
You learn that whole “every press release must have a manufactured quote from the CEO” when you get your degree in marketing.
Now how this will work out, and how it will affect the average player who may or may not be a member of a clan, we shall see. I fully expect to see the Goons create a clan and dominate any meta game that might actually occur. (And why is there no Wikipedia entry on the Goons?)
For me, the open beta has been fun and I have been happy that Wargaming.net has resisted the temptation to take money during a beta, unlike so many other companies. (e.g. EA with Battlefield Heroes or Zynga with… well… everything they have ever done.)
I do hope they can give the game more depth. Right now it is a fun game to pick up and play for an hour, and I enjoy it a lot, but I could see myself easily deferring playing it for something with which I am more deeply involved at the moment.
Something like the EverQuest Progression server.
I haven’t played a lot of World of Tanks since that launched.