World of Tanks is a multiplayer online game developed and published by Wargaming for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The title was released in Russia in 2010, Europe, China and North America in 2011, Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea in 2012 and Japan in 2013.
Some History and Numbers
Although the Belarusian company founded in Cyprus has achieved its greatest success with World of Tanks, it is already known in the field of video games for developing the Massive Assault saga. On the other hand, the game had 7 different releases that vary according to the console, even releasing a card version called World of Tanks Generals in 2016.
The game was originally thought up in 2008 by Victor Kislyi, Slava Makarov, Pyotr Bityukov and Marat Karpeko, the sole members of a small group of developers. Then, the title was officially announced by Warming in 2009, where it was stated that it was going to have a huge budget for such an independent company. A year later, World of Tanks began closed and open beta testing, with the first one finally released that same year and the open beta in the following one. During this stage, the entry received 700,000 players only in its English version.
Upon launch, the game quickly gained a record of one million users worldwide. In addition, in early 2011 it also achieved a Guinness World Record for having the most players on an MMO server, reaching 91,311 users. The next year, the title already had 45 million registrations worldwide. In 2013, it was recorded that World of Tanks surpassed giants like World of Warcraft in revenue, obtaining an amount of $372 million.
All of this led to the title having a base of 160 million registered players around the world by 2018. In addition, it won its fourth “Golden Joystick” award in the category “still played”, a prize that until now no installation had obtained consecutively.
Mobile and console versions
World of Tanks was also re-launched in different versions to reach as many people as possible. Firstly, the release of World of Tanks: Mercenaries was announced at E3 in 2013, which allowed Xbox 360 and Xbox One users to play against each other in 2015. Then, in January 2016, it was extended to Playstation 4 players.
In 2014 also came out World of Tanks Blitz, a version for tablets and smartphones with Windows 10, Android and iOS. This entry received certain variations of its console counterpart. Unlike the classic 15 vs. 15 battles, there are only 7 players per team. Two years later, the game was also launched for PC users through Windows Store in 2015 and Steam in 2016. In 2018, it was reported that World of Tanks Blitz had accumulated over 100 million downloads.
World of Tanks as a sport
Since its launch, the title has quickly established itself as a sport. After debuting at the World Cyber Games 2012, Wargaming created their own official tournament called Wargaming.net League, where they hosted teams from various regions of the world. They held these tournaments during all the following years and by 2016 they had an accumulated prize of US$300,000 for the Grand Finale.
The main game modes
Although in almost every game victory is achieved by destroying all enemy vehicles, World of tanks is a strategic title with many game modes and objectives.
First of all, the player can choose between the most common game mode, called Random Battle. In it, a team of 15 tanks will embark on three types of randomly chosen missions against another team, alternating between Standard Battle, Assault and Encounter. In the case of the first, the rules are simply to kill all the enemies or capture their base within 15 minutes. Then, in Assault there is an attacking team, which must either capture the enemy’s base or destroy their vehicles within 10 minutes. On the other hand, the defending team must survive during this time, also avoiding the conquest of their base. Finally, the Encounter mode exposes a neutral base and two groupings on opposite sides of the map. The first one that conquers this base or beats its rivals, will be the winner.
Secondly, the Great Battles mode can be chosen. Each team can have up to 30 players who can only use X level tanks. Finally, due to the amount of users that will inhabit it, only the widest maps of the title can be chosen. Similar to the previous one, in Frontline there are also teams of 30 players, but with different missions and the possibility of respawning in case of being destroyed. This limited time mode also combines elements of Assault mode, as the defending and attacking teams have different objectives.
The adventure also features a training mode in which, with a minimum of two players, a map can be chosen and practiced on. Without experience bonuses or credits, the objective of this is to learn how certain vehicles and maps work and how to coordinate team strategies. Unlike other modes, in this one there is no pairing, because users create their own rooms and allow other players to enter.
Finally and generally more important, World of Tanks also has its own ranking games. The rules of the Standard game mode also apply here, and only X level vehicles can be used. In addition, all players are paired according to their rank, which is determined by their performance in each game in this mode. This system is also used to place users in different leagues and divisions, with the possibility of showing their achievements to other competitors.
Special game modes
The installment also has special game modes that change according to the occasion. For example, in celebration of various football events, a tank soccer mode was released, assigning the different vehicles defense, midfield and attack roles. It is worth noting that the commentator for these games was Gianluigi Buffon, the legendary goalkeeper of the Italian national team.
The Steel Hunter mode was strongly inspired by the advent of the battle royale style games. Here the objective is simply to finish off all enemies, with the possibility of entering a duel of 20 tanks or seven groups of three vehicles. A great innovation of this interpretation of battle royale is the ability to gain experience and use it in combat. This way, the weaponry can be optimized based on the damage done in the very same game, encouraging players to take much more offensive positions in order to win.
On the other hand, in other modes like Moon Madness, the April Fools’ was celebrated in a match where tanks had to survive meteor showers and craters with burning lava. In the Convoy mode, new vehicles were launched for a battle where the attacking team had to stop an armored car and the defender had to protect it. Last Front was a two week mode where 5 players must hold off a complicated siege of computer-controlled enemies. Finally, Halloween Mode featured ghostly and demonic versions of the vehicles facing each other on themed missions.
Lastly, Clan Wars is the last great game mode and is divided into two components: Fortresses and Global Map. In the first one, each clan commander can build different fortresses with elements that their members win in the different games. While building their fort, clans can interact offensively with others, gaining different experience or credit enhancers for their own members. In addition, participants of different clans can also fight each other, as well as launch attacks and take control of enemy fortresses. Also, the global map is based on real locations in the world. Each clan can be part of several tournaments with different missions where the winner, owns a territory as a prize.
One of the largest rosters of vehicles and weapons
As a game focused on tanks, it is expected that these will be the protagonists of the delivery. With more than 700 vehicles to choose from among eleven producing nations, the title excellently fulfills this premise. Before developing a new model, Wargaming looks for its planes all over the world with the objective of making them as faithful as possible to reality. On the other hand, a few tanks were slightly modified to adapt to the game mechanics, such as the Primo Victoria or the KV-2.
The title has 5 types of vehicles, among which are the light, medium and heavy tanks. Also, the game features the tank destroyers and the self-propelled guns. Besides, all of them are separated according to the nation that builds them, having each one a line of them that goes from level I (1) to level X (10). To progress in it, experience and credit must be obtained after each game. Additionally, this is used to obtain upgrades in weaponry, purchase items and repair vehicle damage after a fight.
Each element of the game is separated by components: the cannon, the turret, the engine, the suspension and the radio. The vehicles can have from 2 to 6 drivers and each one is unique in some way or another. In addition, every one of these types has a different utility. For example, light tanks have the function of detecting enemies while heavy tanks have to do as much damage as possible. All of them have a different thickness of armor, separated by different colors to distinguish the probability that a projectile will pass through them.
Graphics: Combining quality and performance
After three years and in collaboration with Intel, the development team created the Wargaming Core graphic engine. Although it has post-processing effects, lighting and a great shading capacity, its main objective is that mid-range computers can take advantage of it. Likewise, the focus on performance does not take away from the immersive graphics of the game. Having as a main premise the realism of the tanks, both this and the environment they occupy have to be optimized perfectly. Thus, this engine achieves the complicated task of balancing fidelity with performance, two opposing elements in the world of video games.
Maps for every time of the year
World of Tanks also has a large number of maps. Adding up the seasonal, events and even eliminated ones, the game accumulates a surprising amount of 71 maps. Each one of them has its own characteristics, with most of them being in cities, forests or more arid lands. In addition, with the exception of some made for special events, they are located in real locations around the world.
Among all the maps, characterized by temperature and terrain, it can be differentiated that 30 of them are summer maps, 4 winter maps and 3 desert maps. Additionally, another 3 are exclusive to the Grand Battle mode and 2 to the Frontline mode. Finally, there are 9 maps that are used in special events and another 19 that for different reasons were removed from the game.
Servers and updates
The biggest drawback to the title comes from the waiting times on certain servers or the high latency rate in some matches. In the case of Latin American players, for example, one must wait approximately 15 minutes to start a competition. This also happens with some US users, who suffer the same inconvenience because they are located far from the server.
At the moment, the title has servers in North America (Washington DC and San Jose), Europe (Germany and Netherlands), Asia (Singapore), Russia (5 in the country, one in Germany and another in the Netherlands), Korea (Seoul), China (Shanghai, Hebei, Sichuan and Guangdong) and Vietnam (Nội).
These servers have constant support since maintenance work of 45 minutes is done once a week, scheduled for Mondays and Thursdays. They usually fix bugs and improve the player’s experience. Furthermore, there is also a lot of emphasis on content delivery, so new additions are always expected.
In short, despite not having a huge role in the world of e-sport or in the public sphere, World of Tanks has every reason to deserve it. With several years of development, each component of the game is worked on so that it can represent reality as faithfully as possible. With this in mind, its graphic engine ensures that there is no need to own the latest model computer to be part of this experience.
Finally, the title is set in a field where although the market is full of war games, everyone feels similar. Focusing on these vehicles that normally have a secondary role, World of Tanks manages to be a fresh, entertaining and competitive game for fans of the genre.