Eurogamer Hands On: World of Tanks

By Quintin Smith on August 9th, 2010 at 9:49 pm.

My cousin was going to name his kid Tank if it was a boy. It wasn't.

Anyone interested in upcoming tank battle MMO World of Tanks – yes, both of you – should skedaddle over to Eurogamer, who today uploaded my hands on impressions of the beta. The game’s actually a bit good, with lots of tension and keeping your eyes peeled for the enemy and then Oh, Mercy, Would You Look At The Size Of Him, and then BANG and then JESUS CHRIST. The highlight of the preview is probably this:

By contrast, your first impression of the tank garage is much more likely to make you feel you’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere. Yesterday I was, no word of a lie, looking over my PzKpfw III Ausf A and wondering whether to swap the 3.7cm KwK36 L/46.5 for either the 5cm KwK 38 L/42 or the 2cm KwK38 L/55. I was also eyeing up additional grousers and some APCR shells.

In reality, this is all simple stu- oh, my goodness! Are you crying? Please don’t cry. It was only a stupid example and the tank development isn’t like it sounds at all. Let me explain.

Well, if the Eurogamer commenters will insist on being very rude to my articles then I’ve no choice but to make insinuations about their masculinity in my copy, have I?

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55 Comments »

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  1. Dyst says:

    I tried the World of Tanks beta. Something about it just felt distinctly wrong.

  2. Peter Radiator Full Pig says:

    Ha, just uninstalled the game today.

    Good enough game, though i found that only the tier 2 tanks any fun.
    After that, it bored me.

  3. billyboob says:

    I had fun with this for about a week or there abouts. Leveling up was quick and easy. Didn’t really take any notice of which bits and bobs I was upgrading, just felt like I was in a race to top tier armory. Half way there I lost all enthusiasm. Distinct lack of hats on the battlefield maybe.

  4. Premium User Badge

    Kelron says:

    I’m still going, if anything I’m playing more than when the beta started. Best game I’ve played for a while.

  5. pepper says:

    I played it for 2 days, and then I realized the combat mechanic are crap if you need to play it for a prolonged amount of time. They should have worked better on the feeling of the tanks and the combat instead of the arcady thing it is right now.

    • Premium User Badge

      Kelron says:

      Did you only do recruit battles? They don’t have much depth when everyone has small guns and light armour, you mostly drive around using autoaim.

      Once you get into the standard battles it’s a lot tougher (which puts some people off), but also a lot more interesting. Smart use of the terrain and aiming at specific systems on tanks for best effect become far more important. E.g. shooting out the tracks on a fleeing tank, or aiming at the base of a turret to try and disable the turning mechanism.

    • pepper says:

      I am a tank nut, but I cant bring it up to stay in those battles when I was looked at the time I was going to need to spend to get to the next tier. I hate games in which I need to grind, so I said goodbye and farewell to WoT.

  6. stahlwerk says:

    PzKpfw

    Just in case you were wondering, I’m german, and I couldn’t pronounce this for the life of me. The Nazis were horrible, even with their abbreviations.

    • mandrill says:

      Its an abbreviation ofn “Panzer Kampfwagon”

    • stahlwerk says:

      yup, but that’s not the point I was making. Its just a really screwed up way of abbreviating things, which is paralleled by german codes of law, for example the Jugendschutzgesetz – JuSchG, or the “Gesetz zur Vermeidung und Bewältigung von Schwangerschaftskonflikten” (Schwangerschaftskonfliktgesetz – SchKG). I’d like abbreviations pronouncable, else they only help the beaurocracy to save on paper and to obfuscate processes towards the hoi polloi. Things like US PATRIOT Act, that’s something I could get behind! ;-)

    • stahlwerk says:

      Actually, reading up on the PzKpfw III on Wikipedia, obfuscation may have been a primary goal in that naming scheme, because germany was still officially adhering to the versaille treaty and they didn’t want to set off any alarms while secretly rearming the “Panzerwaffe”.

    • DJ Phantoon says:

      Ho ho ho! A German getting behind the Patriot Act.

      Jokes about stereotypes go here!

  7. Kingy says:

    Been playing since beta started… Play 3/4 nights a week and have a nice jagd and hummel..
    The game mechanics are not as you say arcady.. Im having fun even though i’ve had the ferdi unlocked for a week or so i cba to save 2.5million credits.. Will be deffo subscribing when released.. Oh and i’ve had around 1250 Battles without losing an iota of interest Ta

  8. Auspex says:

    Did you just suggest that crying was directly linked to a lack of masculinity?

    Poor John. :(

    • Dozer says:

      John would doubtless say that a real, emotionally-whole man is unafraid to cry, and that to shut down your emotions is to emasculate yourself.

  9. Koozer says:

    I love this effing game. It’s got tanks in it for god’s sake.

    Tier 1 and 2 are fun because it’s new and shiny. Tier 3 is horrible, being dumped in with the big boys at the bottom of the heap. Things get much more fun at tier 5 upwards. Don’t play it for the ‘grind’ to the next tank, enjoy every battle as it comes, just like the good old days before these achievements and levels and hats.

    What’s wrong with the combat mechanics that make it unplayable after a ‘prolonged amount of time?’ I have to say that subsystem damage from HE shells needs a bit of a nerf but your above comment confounds and confuses.

    • Koozer says:

      PS. Why is every player other than me in a German tank? Where’s the Soviet love?

    • Hentzau says:

      @Koozer – I suspect the usual German military fetishization that goes on in online WW2 games is playing a large role there.

    • Premium User Badge

      Kelron says:

      I see plenty of russian tanks around, but the German ones generally have heavier armour until the highest tiers. People seem to like being hard to kill more than they like having a big gun.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Actually Koozer I’ve sworn to myself never to touch another German tank. The bastarding things seem to catch fire the moment an enemy looks at them. I’ve had dozens of deaths to fire in my German machines, but in all my battles with Russian tanks I’ve died to fire once.

    • Kommissar Nicko says:

      Interesting about the fire. I never touched a German tank (look at my fucking name and guess why) and lo, I too have reflected that fires are rarely a problem. And here I was getting worried that all the Soviet tanks sucked or something, although the KV boxmobile I’ve been puttering around in is pretty horrid.

  10. Warduke says:

    It’s been more fun that I was expecting although survival feels a bit of a coin toss at times.

  11. Auspex says:

    Saw this in the Eurogamer comments but as any sane person avoids them thought they might be of use to some here.

    Go to http://www.curse.com/keys/world-of-tanks/default.aspx if you want beta access.

  12. Hentzau says:

    Yeah, the Tier 3 jump is the major flaw in the game as it stands. In your first standard game you simply won’t be able to hurt 95% of the other tanks your come across thanks to the game’s curious pseudo-simulation mechanics – your gun is just too weedy to even penetrate their armour. So hurting stuff is out as a method of gaining XP, leaving just spotting to drag you out of the Tier 3 pit. This takes a while, and puts a lot of people off the game.

    (The other flaw being that there’s currently no method of joining games as a group, meaning that a team is made up of fifteen random strangers and there’s almost no coordination at all. And this is a game that screams for organised tactics beyond half the team blindly driving at the enemy tank destroyers or breaking formation to chase a single light roaming around behind the lines. Still, that’s something that’s almost certainly going to be added in time.)

    • Premium User Badge

      Kelron says:

      Next patch is adding the ability to join games in groups of 2-3, release will have other ways of organising full teams before battles.

    • Kommissar Nicko says:

      Imagine my dismay when I went from being a god among men, a veritable Bronze Adonis, bringing ruin to mere mortals in my first SPG, to getting my second SPG and watching direct hits on anything from scout tanks to fucking Tigers do absolutely nothing but illicit a “BOUNCED OFF!” from my jive-talking radio voice man.

      Fuck you radio voice man, I can see that shit, I don’t need your jive.

  13. mandrill says:

    Theres a big update to the beta due in a couple of weeks. and you can still get Beta Keys from Shattered Crystal.

    I’m finding this to be immense fun and the word is that an American/Allied tech tree will be added before it goes live.

    The current gametype is restricted to random battles that can come out being a little unbalanced, and the accuracy of artillery needs to be nerfed somewhat when using indirect fire but all in all it looks very promising.

  14. Marcin says:

    I’ve been enjoying this quite a bit. Looking forward to squads and tier battles, as grinding out the starter mid-level tanks against a bunch of highbies is not particularly enjoyable.

  15. stahlwerk says:

    I even had a vision of a Sims-style life sim that was like Dinosaurs but with tanks; the dad tank coming home from work with a tie hanging off his gun barrel, the kid tanks playfully ramming his treads.

    The motionless 30 seconds at the start of each match gives everybody time to shout at you if you’re in a crap tank. It’s like being back at school. Tank school.

    I loled long and hard, not unlike a tank’s gun.

  16. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    I’m playing the beta, tank destroyers only, and it’s a blast.

    I was in fairly early in the beta so I was never too far behind the furthest ahead players, but the jump from tiers 1-2 (the “recruit” tiers) to 3+ is pretty tough. They’re going to add tier-limited battles eventually (maybe even next patch within the next 2 weeks) and that’s going to make things a lot easier for newer players.

    Even if you can’t get into it now, I think it will be better at full release, and hopefully RPS will feature something about it then to remind chaps here.

  17. WiPa says:

    I’ve actually been playing this quite a bit recently. Good game, easy to get in to but hard to master.

  18. GCU Speak Softly says:

    It is a bit grind-y and utterly unbalanced at the moment as all of the tiers can end up in the same battle and some of the high tier tanks can just walk through the opposing team. When I say team, I mean a bunch of unrelated tank drivers, who wouldn’t know strategy if it came up and shot them. Which it usually does.

    My main drag is the small number of maps and the tiny sizes they cover – a high tier tank can shoot the length of them and don’t even get me started on the Artillery! If the maps could be bigger and more in number, I’d happily play all day.

    I’m looking forward to the full US / Soviet / German tech trees and the structured battles, as well as the Clan Wars idea where your Clan will be allocated a stretch of the map and left to defend it and attack others.

  19. DarkFenix says:

    I’ve been playing this (after randomly getting a key off Shattered Crystal) since the EU open beta began, and I love it. I’ve so far had a little under 2,200 battles and still going strong, trying out as many different types of vehicle as I can.

    A lot of the criticism I see levelled at the game focuses on the unforgiving nature of the battles, with people often labelling perfectly decent tanks as useless (and by extension labelling the progression to the next tier up an impassable grind). The most important thing in this game is to know your tank’s role and stick to it. It’s frankly depressing how often I see tiny Panzer III Ausf A’s engaging frontally with Tigers, or seeing an IS-3 trying to engage in a circling duel with another heavy. Almost any tank can be good played right (except tier 3, those actually do suck with basically no real possible solution).

    The game has plenty of problems; broken matchmaking, lack or party system (which is inbound next patch), map stuck bugs and major balance issues (particularly with HE shells and artillery) but this is a beta months short of release. It’s quite remarkable how well functioning the game is, given the usual broken state of games at release nowadays. It’s a bit sad that I give credit to a game for being “functional” but that’s the state of the industry.

  20. Mr Bismarck says:

    Steadfastly refuses to run on my machine. I can run TF2, I can run Just Cause 2, I can run a nicely beautified Oblivion, but World of Tanks gives me an ATI crash requiring a hard reboot inside of 60 seconds.

    I am sad.

  21. Tacroy says:

    I’ve been reading Dan Abnett’s Titanicus recently. That made for some interesting chats.

    “TREMBLE BEFORE MY GOD-ENGINE, MORTALS” as I roll out in my teeny little starter tank, and right into someone’s high-caliber shot.

    But it really felt like that. I can see myself playing a lot more of this game.

    • user@example.com says:

      The Titans in Titanicus are more battleship combat than tanks, I always thought – I liked the whole sensors scene early on where the Warlord’s hunting down an enemy Titan, trying to spot its sensor signature, and pretty much ignoring anything smaller than a scout Titan as irrelevant. There really should be an Adeptus Titanicus MMO as well as the 40K one. Upgrade your crew! Wear larger and larger banners! Charge the plasma annihilator!

      Of course, Space Marines don’t have Titans, so they’d never make one unless it was Adeptus Titanicus/Aeronautica Imperialis and let the Marines play with their silly little Thunderhawks and the Tau have their Mantas.

    • RogB says:

      @tacroy – i lol’ed, that would have been great to see.

      and yes, Adeptus Titanicus sim please, indie devs! (because lets be honest, no AAA developer or publisher would go anywhere near it…)

  22. frosty says:

    love this game, & found that using yer daily budget of gold wisely helps with the grind

  23. thebigJ_A says:

    What I want to know is, is armor penetration modelled? Like, if a shell has just enough energy to punch through my frontal armor, BUT I’ve positioned myself at an angle, in real life the shell would bounce off.

    Or is it just a dumb health bar?

    Oh, and don’t get the 2 cm gun. That was just an autocannon, fine for soft targets, but you might as well spit at an armoured vehicle. Well, in RL anyway.

    (Can you tell I like tanks?)

    • Kommissar Nicko says:

      I think it does model that. Sometimes the GIGANTIC 152mm gun I had mounted on my KV would punch clean through somebody and wreck their shit instantly, and sometimes against the same type of target it would “bounce off.” In those instances, vigorous swearing is the only thing I could do for about 30 seconds while the damn thing reloaded.

      So yes, I believe the armor is fairly realistically modeled.

    • Koozer says:

      Penetration depends on the type of shell you’re using (AP or HE), the thickness of the armour, and the incidence angle (hence slope too). A square on hit on a Panzer IV will most likely penetrate, but a glancing shot to the front of a T-44 will probably bounce.

      I don’t know how realistic this is (probably not at all) but the best use for autocannons in standard battles is to annoy the hell out of people with rapid-fire HE shells. Each one has a chance to cause subsystem/crew damage, regardless of calibre, armour etc. I think.

    • Premium User Badge

      Kelron says:

      Penetration of AP shells also falls off over distance. HE is often used against larger tanks when you can’t penetrate the armour, because the splash damage gives it a greater chance of hitting a critical system. That’s the main thing I’m not sure is accurate to real world damage.

      It’s also pretty scary when a small tank starts hitting you with explosives, because the explosion sounds like your fuel tank or ammo going up, even when there’s barely any damage.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Armour penetration is modelled, so are the locations of key systems inside the hull. Knowing where to aim on certain tanks gives a definite edge over them.

      Tanks do have a ‘health bar’ but that’s a quite necessary concession to it being a game. It wouldn’t be much fun if the first shot to hit you always killed you.

      The 2cm gun does indeed have about as much effect as spitting at any decent tank. However bear in mind that many of the early tanks are pre-war pieces of crap with tissue paper armour. Spitting at them will actually penetrate their armour :P

    • thebigJ_A says:

      Oh man, you guys are making me want this. Stop, I’m too poor to have yet another game on my radar!

      (location of key systems modelled, yummy!)

    • Rob says:

      Err, no it isn’t. Penetration is just a dice roll based on the difference in your guns penetrating strength and the enemies armor thickness, for some obscure reason High Explosive rounds are incredible against thickly armoured opponents however AP rounds are terribe against anything but tanks far lighter than you.

      Put it this way, I spent my Tier 3 doing nothing but the most brilliant of tactics. I set up ambushes, outmanouvered my opponents and did a whole manner of crazy stuff. I always went hull down and faced my front armor to the enemy yet I was beaten every time, I was matched against Panthers and King Tigers, in one battle I snuck up behind a Panther and sat unloading about 20 shells from a 5cm gun into it’s rear armor which would have killed any tank of the war (20-30mm rounds can and have penetrate the rear plate of many modern MBT’s http://www.acig.org/artman/publish/article_279.shtml). Someone then kindly informed me that I should use a High-Explosive round, notoriously terrible against armored vehicles. When I used t his I was able to inflict decent damage onto heavier tanks.

      Basically it’s an arcade game, tanks have hitpoints and bigger tanks have more hitpoints. There isn’t a penetration system per se more a random chance of damage BASED on armor thickness no more. Combat breaks down into two sections, two tanks run at each other and ram into one an other then just unload into each other at point blank and don’t really bother manouviring to face their thickest armor since it has little effect. The game is dominated by artillery which if you are low-tier can 1-shot you with ease from accross the map and heavier tanks can even be severely damaged by artillery.

      If the game is to be any good then the matchmaking needs to be severely altered, although I can accept lighter tanks being given a scouting role its more of a backdoor used by people to swat away criticisms of the game since artillery and heavier vehicles can pretty easily hit a scouting light tank and you will probably lose your tracks and instantly die. There also seems to be some lag issues which prevent you from ever hitting a moving tank, the shell trail just passes straight through them.

  24. Devan says:

    I haven’t been following this game very closely, but will have to try it when it comes out.

  25. RogB says:

    when showing this to one of my colleagues he said ‘can you get out of the tank?’

    why would anyone NOT want to be in a tank!? ITS THE BEST PLACE IN THE WORLD

  26. GigaFuzz says:

    A much better use of gold is to save up for some premium account time. A day’s worth of premium account can net you hundreds of thousands of credits, much more than the 60k I think you can buy with a day’s worth of gold.

    It’s obviously much more efficient to save up and get a week’s worth or even a month’s worth if you’re patient enough. With a month’s worth, once you’ve got started, you’ve effectively got a permanent premium account, complete with a chunk of free spending gold.

  27. westyfield says:

    Quinns, can you inform your cousin that tankettes are real things? Thanks.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tankette

  28. pagad says:

    I love this game. I’ve got up to a T-34/85 so far and while it’s not a god engine of death it’s still reasonably good.

    As a bit of a treadhead this game is pretty much perfect for me.

    For a beta, it’s fantastically shiny already. I can’t wait for the full release.

  29. goo_on_shoe says:

    I think this is a reflection of the fact that WWII German tanks ran on petrol, which is entertainingly flammable, and Soviet tanks ran on diesel, which which is less so.

    The petrol-powered Sherman got a couple of unflattering names, such as “Ronson” and “Tommy Cooker”, due to it’s enthusiasm for incinerating it’s crew when hit.

    Good times!

  30. Ed says:

    Unistalled yesterday.. theres something totally wrong with the game.

    The devs dont give a crap about the sugestions beeing made to improve the game either.. so.. its a pit.. no point investing time in a game that will prolly fail in a few weeks after release.

    The tanks, all of them with the exception of high lvl hvy tanks, seem to be made of paper.. completly idiotic.. The artillery is so overpowered that is a joke.. plus you can shoot with artyllery like you were on a satelite looking down and pinpointing what to kill. Totally irrealistic.

    The costs of repairing and buying armor are so insane after a point that theres no way ppl will be able to reach high end tiers.

    The battles after tier 2 are open to all tiers, wich is a joke. You get a few guys using high end tanks that are probably beta testers for several months now, blowing up everyone else with 1 hit kills making impossible people to reach those high end tiers..

    The lag is constant.. there seems to be a games flaw about lag. The auto aim feature that could be used to bypass the lag issues doesnt work either.. wich can make impossible for some ppl to hit tanks unless they totally stopped.

    The moderators in the beta forums dont let people express their opinions either.. For instance, if you want to create a new thread the moderators have to aprove it .. total nonsense and a way to clearly control the bad reactions to a game that has more cons than pros.. If a company cannt deal with constructive criticism, shouldnt be on the scene trying to make mmos..

    Anyway unistalled the game and never looked back.

  31. Peter H says:

    Been playing this none stop for about 2 weeks, it’s great!

    It’s true that once you get out of recruit battles, it’s unforgiving for new players. But you can grind past tier 3 in about 2 hours, and tier 4’s nowhere near as bad. And in any case, in the next patch (ETA 10-14 days) the balancing system is being overhauled, and the new system apparently works very well on the Russian beta.

    Will deffo be playing this on release.

    Ed says:

    “The costs of repairing and buying armor are so insane after a point that theres no way ppl will be able to reach high end tiers.”

    – People have already reached the high end tiers. The devs want the very top tanks to be uneconomical, so that you also have to use less advanced tanks. Game’d be no fun if within a month every battle was nothing but IS-7s and Maus’.

  32. Kidon says:

    The constant lag in the beta is so annoying, even if an enemy tank is driving straight onto your position on flat terrain its only luck when u hit it.

    I’ve tried and tried and tried (and tried even harder) to hit an moving enemy from the distance which let me almost bite into my table, cos it seems quite impossible.

    It seems only possible to hit a non moving tank, often u just see the tanks “teleporting” towards u because of the lag.

    Theres no sense in using ur tank in any tactical way, like to use ur tank destroyer in an ambush position, either wont u hit an enemy when it comes into your sight or u will be crushed by enemy artillery once you’ve been spotted.

    Most of the times the kills count falls to the artillery or to the players who use a light tank with a gun with high firing rate who just rush forward a drive circles around the slower ones and spray them (belive me, i saw this in every game i joined). To hit those “circle drivers” is made almost impossible by the game mechanics and the constant lag.