World of Tanks: wage war against your enemies! Game Review

World of Tanks (WoT) is a game of many names. It has been called an MMO, a strategic shooter, a simulator, an RTS, and even an RPG. In the end, though, it comes down to a single thing: taking control of giant war machines and reaching the pinnacle of vehicular combat! And that’s exactly what made it so popular.

A fresh take on the 20th century armored warfare

From the very first day, it was clear that World of Tanks was special. The massive multiplayer online game from Wargaming offered a unique blend of genres that you simply couldn’t find anywhere else. And as the name implied, the focus was on tanks. WoT players got an opportunity to mount armored vehicles from the 1930s-1960s era, which covered events like World War I, World War II, and Cold War.

This, combined with the free-to-play business model, made the title an instant classic, and millions of players hit the World of Tanks download button to take part in its large-scale battles. At the time of writing this article, WoT is available on Windows, but you can also play the World of Tanks console version on Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4. Finally, there’s World of Tanks Blitz that was specifically developed for Windows 10, Android, and iOS mobile devices.

In this review, we’ll cover World of Tanks history, basic gameplay, and esports tournaments. So strap yourselves in, and let’s get to it!

The History of World of Tanks

Paving the road to glory

World of Tanks was released on 12 August 2010 exclusively for the Russian market. The game became a smashing success, and 700,000 players hit the World of Tanks download button in a matter of months. Afterward, its developer—Wargaming—prepared an English version of the game, which was released on 12 April 2011 for players in Europe and North America.

Fast-forward two years and WoT has over 60 million registered users. Not only that but the Worlds of Tanks EU became the second-biggest region in the game. The mobile app also gained traction, and the Android version of Worlds of Tanks Blitz quickly hit 1.1 million downloads (as of February 2015). The title even branched out to China, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea. And while World of Tanks Asia isn’t as big as other regions, it’s popular enough to sustain a dedicated server. In the end, the title never really stopped growing, which is a testament to the depth of its gameplay.


Preparing for the massive vehicle battles

Whether you’re playing the World of Tanks console version or its PC iteration, it’d be unwise to roll out straight onto the battlefield. Because your journey starts with the garage. Here, you can set yourself up for success by equipping different consumables (repair kits, first aid kits, fire extinguishers), training your crewmembers, making upgrades, picking ammo, and researching new machines. Most importantly, you can choose your tank.


© Wargaming

At the time of writing this article, World of Tanks has over 400 war machines from countries like Britain, China, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, the Soviet Union, Sweden, and the United States. All of them come from different parts of the 20th century, so they’re broken up into tiers from I (lowest) to X (highest), depending on how advanced they are. There are also different tank types:

  • Light tanks (LTs) are scouts. They’re swift, nimble, and they excel at traversing the map and providing vision and information. Light tanks are quite squishy, so they have to rely on speed and game sense to survive.
  • Medium tanks (MTs) are jacks-of-all-trades. They offer a good mix of armor, speed, and firepower, and different medium tanks can be used for scouting, supporting teammates, and even attacking the front lines.
  • Heavy tanks (HTs) are vanguards. They overwhelm their opponents with powerful guns, and their thick armor allows them to survive a crossfire. They’re pretty slow, though, so they depend on teammates and smart positioning to avoid flanks.
  • Tank destroyers (TDs) are snipers. Their weapons are insanely powerful, but they’re often lacking in armor and mobility. Hence, they use cover and foliage to hide their presence and pick off their enemies with long-ranged attacks.
  • Self-propelled guns (SPGs) are artillery. They’re even more vulnerable than TDs, and they don’t deal the largest amounts of damage. However, they can shoot from a very long distance without requiring a direct line of sight. And their ability to ‘stun’ enemy tanks makes them perfect for supporting teammates.

As you’ve probably figured out by this point, each tank type presents a very distinct playstyle. So choose carefully. Because the tank you pick will dictate the way you approach the game.


The ins and outs of vehicular combat

For this section, we won’t be talking about World of Tanks Blitz, but rather examining the PC and console versions. Both iterations offer a plethora of game modes like random battles, team-training battles, tank-company battles, team battles, stronghold battles and special battles.

Random battles are by far the most popular ones. As the name implies, players clash on a random map in an all-out 15v5 brawl. The goal? Eliminate the enemy team or capture their base before they can capture yours. The match lasts 15 minutes, so you have to complete one of these objectives within the time limit—otherwise, it’s a tie.

Sounds simple, but there’s a lot of depth to it. For one, every match tells its own narrative, as you’ll have a different mix of machinery on both sides. The map also changes the way you approach the game. There’s a wide selection of battlefields, including mountain ranges, city landscapes, and desert plains, and the best WoT players are great at finding the quickest routes and the most advantageous positions. In the end, World of Tanks rewards knowledge and decision-making. So whether it’s rushing to the front lines, setting up flanks, or preparing ambushes, it’s important to know what to do and when to do it.

Another key part of WoT is vision. You can’t shoot what you can’t see, and every tank has a view circle that allows it to spot incoming enemies. Of course, if your foes are hiding behind cover without making any unnecessary movements, noticing them becomes much more difficult. Still, if you spot an enemy vehicle, everyone on your team also gains vision of it. And once that happens, it’s all too easy to take out your opponent with a barrage of shots.

World of Tanks also puts a strong emphasis on historical accuracy. Everything behaves exactly as it would in real combat: projectiles ricochet, crewmembers die, tanks catch fire. You won’t find any Hollywood-like shootouts in open fields, as leaving cover is akin to throwing your life away. What you will find, though, is players working together and using advanced tactics to take down enemy forces.


© Wargaming

World of Tanks Esports

The longest journey to competitive excellence

Whether you’re talking about World of Tanks EU or other regions, it’s clear that the game enjoys a lot of success. But the same can’t be said about its esports scene. WoT has been trying to establish itself as a competitive title since the 2012 World Cyber Games, however, these efforts have been unsuccessful.

Esports matches had a sluggish pace, and the 7v7 format of professional matches felt alien to the majority of the player base. So much so that the publisher put the official League on hold in order to figure out a different way to approach the competitive side of WoT. Even so, World of Tanks players are passionate, so there’s a constant stream of unofficial tournaments and show matches. And in the end, it’s the fans that make esports tick.


Esports in full glory

There’s no other way of saying it: WoT is huge. And with how much attention Wargaming is giving to the title, it’s not going to get smaller anytime soon. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing World of Tanks console, PC, or mobile matches because you’ll always countless armored warfare opportunities!