Land Of The Free: World Of Tanks

By Phill Cameron on October 1st, 2010 at 12:00 pm.


Land Of The Free is an ongoing look at the state of free-to-play gaming.

It begins with the crackle of gravel as the tracks roll onward, running over that initial, hesitant silence. The sound slows, before stopping completely, and that’s when the low whine of the servos in the turret start to sing. There’s a clunk as it stops to regard its target. The pause, here, would seem be to provide space for a pithy action one-liner, and it lets you be the one to come up with one: “Tanks for the memories!” Then there’s a sound like broken thunder as it sends a shell towards whatever unfortunate was under the barrel of that particularly wide gun. The explosion, then, is distant. It sounds somewhat anti-climactic. If you’re where the tank is. Alternatively, if you’re where the shell is, I think that’s going to be a little more climactic. A little more final.

That’s a tank, to me. But that’s not a tank to World of Tanks.

You aren’t there, in that world. This is a world devoid of people, and perhaps that should be obvious from the name. The thing is, it’s not until you’re on the battlefield, a dozen tanks on either side, that that absence of people on the ground becomes quite so obvious. It doesn’t last, and once you’re in the swing of things, it doesn’t matter at all, but it seems to go against all your presumptions about tanks, at least at first.

Despite being mobile angry death houses, tanks are primarily to provide support for troops. It’s the tiny heroes that win the war, not their converted tractor chariots. While of course there were some pretty big tank battles in the second world war, they’re more akin to TF2’s snipers than anything; in that, if you’ve got one and the other team doesn’t, it’s going to make a massive difference. Put one on the other team, though, and they all but cancel each other out. I like to think that World of Tanks is that nullification played on a massive scale, while all the troops are fighting it out in Day of Defeat.


But even within all that cancellation, there are different types of tanks, and that’s where the interesting dynamics lie. Some are small and weak, and others are huge and armoured, able to load colossal cannons on their turrets and punch holes the size of watermelons through each other. You’d think this would all gear the game up into a ‘mine’s bigger than yours’ mentality, the ultimate phallus contest, where penetration is king, but really, there’s a place for everyone, however dinky. Angry houses they are, but they don’t discriminate.

Because even though there are some small and weak tanks, they’re also crazy fast. The Leopard, one of the German Light Tanks, can get upwards of 70kph, and trying to track something that fast with a tank gun is nigh on impossible. On top of that, faster tanks can get right up into the enemy team’s face and start radio-ing their positions back to base. And back at base is where the artillery is camping out and hunkering down. The strong but slow class, the howitzers.

Artillery, as you might think, are slow, fragile, and pack the biggest punches in a game of considerably explosive fistycuffs. Except, without a team out there reporting back positions, they’re all but useless. When they do have that information, they can quickly turn the tide of any battle by sky-hammering the baddy tanks into so much scrap.


It’s this cohesion that best characterises World Of Tanks. It allows you to be useful even if you don’t really want to be. There are times when your friends abandon you and leave you to face down the IS-3 with your T-46, but really, that’s usually because they’ve got the common sense to know that they’re not taking that great hulking bastard down. And you’re hanging around to make a pointless stand. So you’re the idiot. Unless, of course, you didn’t really realise that your shells are just going to bounce off. Which means you didn’t swat up on the numbers. So you’re still the idiot.

World of Tanks has numbers. A lot of numbers. Penetration percentage, accuracy offset, suspension weight, engine capacity, armour thickness. If you’re at all interested (and self preservation has a habit of making things interesting), you can figure out the best set up possible to keep you running while they splutter and explode. And it’s this customisation aspect that makes World of Tanks more than just a game about two groups of tanks shooting at one another. It’s two groups of tuned, tinkered, tailored tanks shooting at one another.

So how does that work? Well, playing in a battle gets you experience. Or, more accurately, doing damage to enemy tanks gets you experience, and winning gives you more. You pour experience into research, which unlocks better equipment, and eventually other tanks. Finding your gun, while thick and meaty, doesn’t quite have the penetration you want? Pick up something longer and thinner, and you’ll be able to punch right through. Same goes for your engine, although that’s a far more vertical progression through bigger and bigger horsepower, letting you become an ever faster hunk of dangerous.


Everything can be upgraded, including your radio, and when you’re playing as artillery or anti-tank, it’s all but essential, as radio range dictates how far away your allies can relay coordinates back to you. As your tanks get bigger and better, the weight limit comes into play far more, with you having to trade off one component against another, and really streamline what you’re trying to do with each particular tank.

Progression is a thing that feels particularly tangible thanks to the introduction of a tier system, placing each tank into one of ten tiers, each of which gets pitted against one another when you fight the battles, although there is some overlap. So when you start out you’ll be against tiers one and two, and then you move up to three and four, and so on and so on. The advantage of this, not just in having you enjoy seeing the tanks around you become more impressive and iconic, is that you rarely come up against something you can’t hope to fight. Of course, that’s a generalisation, and with quite so much ability to pick different guns and penetration values, you’re bound to run into difficult opponents. You just have to hope one of your mates has a bigger gun, so you can be emasculated, but still get out alive.


All these guns and tanks don’t come cheap, either, and you earn money in battles just like experience. If your tank gets knocked out, that’s going to cost some to repair. Same with the shells you fire, and the components you equip. The bigger and more expensive the tank, the more it’ll cost to fix up. Luckily, the bigger the tier you’re fighting in, the more money you get from each match.

At the same time, there’s gold available for purchase with cold hard cash (the real pocket-filling stuff), which you can convert into the in game currency, or buy a premium account with. OR BOTH. The premium account gives you increased experience and money, and lets you form platoons (read: teams) and play with your friends. It’s a little bit of a hard sell for a game where if you can act with tactical nous, you do that much better, but at the same time, nearly everything is available for free, apart from a few specialist tanks and ammo types.

World Of Tanks is starting to reach the end of its closed beta now, with a huge patch just on the horizon that’ll add an entire American set of tanks, along with supposedly eliminating the slight issue of teleporting tanks at range. As those additions come in, along with more maps, there’s every reason for this to become brilliantly successful. Just so long as you keep the penetration in mind.

We’ll have an interview with Wargaming.net, the Developers, up in the near future. In the meantime, go get a tank.

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71 Comments »

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  1. Nick says:

    Leopards will be easier to track when they fix that warping bug =)

    Also SPGs are such a massive fun killer that if there is ever a battle without anyway, lots of people usually make a comment to the effect of ‘Yay!’. They are very, very badly designed at the moment and sadly the dev team chooses to ignore the masses of feedback to this reguard.

    • Premium User Badge

      JB says:

      I hear a rumour that at a later date the maps are going to get bigger. Considerably bigger. When they do, you’ll be very glad of long-range death dealing.

      And yes, the warping thing is a real pain, makes it very hard to use a tank destroyer at long range. Which is kind of the whole point of a TD. I’ll be glad to see the back of the tele-tanks.

    • mrmud says:

      I honestly dont see the problem with the SPGs.
      Granted my Highest tank is a VH3601K so its not a heavy but playing as a medium tank its obvious that there needs to be a good way to take out all the masses of IS tanks.

      Its also pretty tricky to play an SPG, in particular one of the lower level ones where you cant really do any damage to the large hulking beasts. And trying to hit a leopard with an SPG from across half the map requires a great deal of skill/luck.

    • Premium User Badge

      Kelron says:

      It can be fun to play without them from time to time, but they’re important for the game. If you’re in a heavy tank and the enemy team has a lot of artillery, it forces you to play smart.

      I also think a lot of the people shouting about SPGs being too powerful haven’t tried to play as one, at least not past the first couple of tiers. Early SPGs have limited range and damage but can fire extremely accurately. Missing a stationary opponent with an SU-26 and its rotating turret won’t happen.

      They then assume that the heavy artillery is an extension of this, with their long range guns and huge damage they do have the potential to kill some big tanks in one shot, and it’s certainly annoying when it happens to you. I own a Hummel, which can fire across any map in game, but the tradeoff for this is very poor accuracy against anything closer than 700-800m (half to 3/4 the size of most maps). Even if I do see a target a good distance away, I still have to train my gun on that spot for 6 seconds before I can fire accurately, plenty of time to move if you realise you’ve been spotted out of cover. Then when I fire, it’s still not perfectly accurate, and only hitting dead on the top of the tank will deal the full 950 damage my gun is capable of. More often than not the shell will hit the side, or land next to the target, which allows the armour to absorb a large amount of the impact.

    • Nick says:

      Its not hard at all to play an SPG, I did for most of the time pre-wipe, leading moving targets is very very easy unless they make sharp turns constantly, which only leopards and luchs and a few other light tanks are capable of doing without losing too much speed. Even then I killed plenty of A-20s going at full tilt. Anything slower is almost impossible to miss unless they stop moving after you fired your shell when leading them, or it goes wide, even then you can take off 600+ health and do multiple systems damage with a miss on the higher SPGs. Not to mention a tier 3 SPG can do 10-15% damage per hit to a tier 10 tank. Can a tier 3 tank or TD? No.. they can’t do any noticeable damage at all to a tier 7 tank, let alone 10.

      Also there are plenty of ways to take out heavies without them, even in mediums. Especially in higher meds like the 3601, just don’t expect to do it solo.

      The bigger maps will have 30 players a side and no, I still won’t be happy SPGs are there if they stay in their current form.

    • Nick says:

      It by play smart you mean spend the majority of the match hiding behind a rock or building, then yes it does force heavies (and mediums, and anyone els who doesn’t want to die instantly) to spend the majority of the game hiding rather than.. oh, I dunno.. driving around shooting at each other in tanks enjoying themselves.

    • DarkFenix says:

      SPG’s don’t force you to play ‘smart’, they force you to not play. The only option with high tier artillery present is to camp behind a building or sufficiently sized rock, rather than use your mobility (y’know, the whole point of a tank). This is why I’ve been suggesting repeatedly on the WoT forums for arty to be changed to an inaccurate bombardment weapon rather than a precision sniper. Oh and let’s also point out that artillery being that precise is about as historically accurate as a Maus going at 90kph would be.

    • phawkins1988 says:

      Devs are looking at ways to change SPGs. There was a thread for brainstorming suggestions on the forum.

    • Tacroy says:

      That would actually be pretty much awesome. The current problem with arty is that you never know what hit you – you’re cruising around, dueling the enemy tank, and then all of a sudden BAMF you’re dead, no warning and no appeal. Playing SPGs is less fun as well – if you miss your shot, you have to wait like a billion hours for it to reload, which is always frustrating.

      If the lower tier SPGs had like 1/3 their current accuracy, 3x the ammo and 3x the reload speed, that would be awesome. They could spam shells at enemy tanks, which would give the tanks warning that they’re being targeted by arty and that they need to spazz out right now. They’d be able to fire more often, which would make playing more fun for them. They could also be put into lower-ranked matches; right now, my Bison (the first German SPG) puts me in matches with huge motherfucking tanks run by people who know how to play the game, which is bad because I don’t.

      The upper tier arty can keep their sniper-like qualities – if you’re fighting upper tier arty, you should know where all the best spots to be sniped from are and how the game dynamics really work.

    • DarkFenix says:

      The game mechanics work badly with regards to arty, that’s why they need changing. The problem is ten times worse with the high end artillery than low end. It’s the high end that needs the change most of all. With an S-51/SU-14 it’s almost impossible to miss because their shells have so much splash damage.

      I agree that artillery is no fun though, I personally would love to be able to rain shells down on an area continuously. As things stand you sit there, zero your crosshair, fire, kill, wait 30 seconds. Rinse, repeat. It’s about as engaging and hands on as a badly designed point & click adventure game.

    • Torgen says:

      @DarkFenix: I disagree. I’ve played SPG, I had a S-51 (the largest SPG in the game) and sold it because its lack of accuracy and slow reload time made it frustrating to play. Have you played a S-51? What would be a sure, on-the-top-of-the-turret shot in a Su-26 wouldn’t even land on my SCREEN in the S-51 half the time. It had a fraction of the accuracy of the smaller arty, even with a 100% trained gunner and loaders.

      When you’re spending over $1000 per shot, get maybe eight to ten shots a game, and hit with 1/3 of them before some leopard rams you to death, the whines of “over powered” fall on deaf ears.

    • DarkFenix says:

      Yes, I played up to both SU-14 and Hummel, so I kinda know what I’m talking about with regards to artillery. I should also point out that there is no appreciable difference in accuracy between artillery guns (with your SU-26 example, the SU-26’s best gun has a 0.40 deviation as compared to the SU-14/S-51’s 0.44 deviation, it makes little to no difference). The splash is much larger on the 203mm, so it makes it very difficult to miss. It doesn’t even matter what the target is, moving unpredictable is basically impossible for something like a tank and the only maneuvers that make you a difficult artillery target make you a bullet magnet for regular guns.

      Oh and if you’re only causing damage with 1/3 of your shots you’re doing something wrong. The average artillery player can manage about that ratio of direct hits, and you don’t even need a direct hit to cause heavy damage.

      Artillery does suffer from the attention of light tanks, but that isn’t a balance problem. It’s a problem with idiot teammates not defending properly.

  2. President Weasel says:

    There used to be a program on (I believe) the History Channel, back in my mid-90s ‘spend a lot of time on the couch’ days, called simply “Tanks!”. It did exactly what it said on the tin. Eventually my flatmate and I got to the point where we could quote chunks from memory as they came on “oh yes, that was a Russian heavy tank – good armour but let down by poor reliability”
    Our nickname for that program was “Tanks for the Memories”.

    Everybody seems to be loving World of Tanks. it’s stolen half my circle of EVEgeeks. With Blood Bowl and Civ Vee and Dwarf Fortress eating my time at the moment I’m scared to try this, or minecraft.

  3. mrmud says:

    “So how does that work? Well, playing in a battle gets you experience. Or, more accurately, doing damage to enemy tanks gets you experience, and winning gives you more. You pour experience into research, which unlocks better equipment, and eventually other tanks.”

    While this is mostly true it is not the entire story.
    You also gain experience from things like:
    Being the first to spot an enemy.
    Spotting an enemy while a tank fires at it outside of its own vision range.
    Capturing bases.
    And a few more.

  4. Mad Doc MacRae says:

    World of Tanks is pretty good right now. Not a lot to do after you get your favorite tanks but play the same three or four maps over and over again in random battles though. Either next patch or by the 1.0 release (sometime around January I suspect) they’ll be adding more persistent clan and team battle thingies, including a map of europe for clans to fight over. Should be pretty good.

    That’s another thing worth noting – WoT is in closed beta (.5.4.1 right now) and so there are lots of issues. The engine they wrote the game in wasn’t meant for long range tank battles so tanks “warp” at long distances – essentially the game doesn’t correct for lag very frequently at long range. This is going to be fixed in the next patch. They’re also still working on the matchmaking system, which is currently fairly wonky. There are some games with no artillery in it and some games where half the tanks are artillery. The former is often fun but the latter never is.

    So yeah. WoT is pretty great despite the gripes (and it’s too early to get really down about those).

    PS Leopards are seriously overpowered for a tier 4 tank.

    • Mattressi says:

      Yeah, I think they should do something about the light tanks. I play as a Leopard and annihilate lower tier tanks, but then get put in a match with the highest tier heavies and mediums and get destroyed. I think they made the Leopard OP for a tier 4 simply so it could be a scout in much higher tier matches too. The problem is, it’s usually either too powerful or completely useless. I wish they’d have put the light tanks into their own branch, instead of just as the first few tanks on the middle branches, then they’d be more balanced.

  5. rebb says:

    In the beta currently, you get a certain amount of gold per day played, this won’t be in the final and you will have to buy gold instead.

    Gold is the only way to increase your Experience and Money-Income per Battle, but even with this, its a horrible grind after the first few tanks.

    So i’m not sure i will be playing this when it comes out.

    • Wilson says:

      @rebb – Ah, I wondered if that was a beta thing. Yeah, without the gold injections every so often I doubt I could be bothered either. I can see they want to make money from this, but I’m not sure if I like the game enough to pay for the gold which makes basic progression bearable. I kind of got bored not far up the TD tree as it is. It was fun, but didn’t quite hold me enough.

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      Tier 3/4 is still brutal. Not sure how they’re going to keep people playing when they go live unless they do something to ease that a bit.

    • DarkFenix says:

      The low tiers were brutal before the current balance implementation, they’re nothing like as bad now. In fact I find the higher tiers to be a lot more brutal than the lower end.

      Oh and play any Korean MMO for a while, that’ll put into perspective just how light WoT’s grind is.

  6. Snall says:

    I love this game though I haven’t been playing much lately. Too many games.

  7. ErikM says:

    I got tired of the beta fairly quickly. At first I thought it was immensely fun. But as soon as I got my t-28 medium tank it started going down hill. The matchmaking never put me in fights where I was engaging enemies of remotely my tier. If I was paired up against a medium tank it would one-shot me. If I shot at it my shells would bounce even though I had bought the most expensive powerful cannon available. For me the fun came to an abrupt halt when all I could do was scurry around like a rat and try to find the one enemy on the other team that was of my tier-quality.

    I hope the matchmaking gets a little more evened out for release, then I’d definitely start playing again.

    • DarkFenix says:

      You’re simply going to suffer in tier 4 and 5 with the Russian heavy line. The T28 is an awful tank; it has no armour, no health and is the size of a fucking barn. Its only saving grace is its ability to fit a very large gun for its tier. You’ll suffer similarly with the KV; it’s slow, a huge target and weakly armoured (for a heavy). Again its saving grace is its huge gun.

    • Torgen says:

      I didn;t have any more trouble in the T28 than any other tank of that tier. I used AP shot on light tanks, and manually-aimed HE into the treads on back of larger ones. The Tiger and KV have such a glacial turret traverse that you can usually stay ahead of it by traveling across their field of vision. Just hit and run, get behind cover and keep running when they target you and most importantly NEVER FIGHT ALONE.

      Even in a T34 or similar tank, the opposition will track and kill you if there are multiples of them and only you.

  8. the affront says:

    Played to Panther and T44 and found the balance between tank “classes” absolutely horrible.
    Light tanks are entirely useless against even higher tier mediums, mediums are nearly entirely useless against top tier heavies – unless you’re swarming them, and why would they let you do that?

    So the only reason to drive anything but a heavy (if you want to drive a “standard” tank and not a TD or SPG, that is) is speed (right, because IS7 doesn’t go 50 km/h.. so there goes that too, just drive those to kill SPGs), because cost to repair and for ammo doesn’t matter at all if you are on premium.
    Without it cost would be a pretty big factor, but buying gold after release and the free gold in beta completely destroys the balance, IMHO. Fucking cash shops.

    Also I just went “WTF!” when they nerfed T44 and Panther horsepower last patch (was it? haven’t played for a while), it was like they didn’t even play their own game.

    That all said: if you don’t want to drive a light or medium tank and yet be effective anyway it is a fine game, especially for a free to play one – at least if there won’t be too many wallet warriors after it goes live that shoot nothing BUT cash shop ammo and just pierce everything with its retarded armor penetration values.

    • Koozer says:

      The premium ammo is ridiculous. Not that it’s good, it’s stupidly expensive for ammo that’s just as powerful as AP shells but with a pointlessly high penetration value. The only use I can see for it for guaranteed pen against something like a Maus or IS-7. But in that case everyone just uses HE.

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      @ the affront – I think you’re painting it a bit more bleakly than it actually is I don’t really think the balance is that off It seems unlikely a light is going to have much effect on a larger tank There are the occasional lucky shots but short of a maxed out Leo or maybe A-20 I don’t see why they’d be able to do much to a higher level medium or heavy.

      That said, if you have a small gun or one with poor penetration HE is your friend. Plus they almost never bounce.

      T-44s still run circles around heavies and can take them out by outmanuevering them. Not sure what your issue there is. Meds. are still the best for not only defending flag but taking out arty. And they are a lot harder to one shot than they used to be. It seems to me that they’re listening and doing a fairly good job.

      @Koozer- I carry 3 rounds of APCR for really tough moments. Many times I never use them – others I wish I carried 7 rounds but I find it cost prohibitive. If someone has the money to fill their tank, especially a tier 6+ heavy then they should feel free to waste that money. Just like how prem. tanks are worthless and people just keep on buying them.

    • the affront says:

      “I think you’re painting it a bit more bleakly than it actually is I don’t really think the balance is that off It seems unlikely a light is going to have much effect on a larger tank There are the occasional lucky shots but short of a maxed out Leo or maybe A-20 I don’t see why they’d be able to do much to a higher level medium or heavy.”

      Yes, I am. That’s because I’m judging it with entirely pre-made fights/clan-wars and the territorial conquest system which are supposed to come later in mind.

      Why would you ever drive anything but a maxed out heavy in that, if you could? I don’t actually believe that an IS-7 is slow enough to make one not pick it over a medium if credits and xp are not an issue, which they most likely won’t be at end-game.

      And yes, I can grant that if you fight a heavy in a position beneficial to your higher agility 1vs1, you can be effective. But that presupposes that the heavy driver is an idiot and his team completely uncoordinated to get caught with his pants down like that, which probably won’t be true later on when winning actually means something besides a little more xp/credits.
      Imagine 3-5 IS-3/4/7 vs 3-5 Panther/T44. There’s maybe 2 places in all of the maps where you could still properly use your agility to benefit on that scale, and even then – I’d not bet on the mediums, personally. As for defense I could see using one medium as a RAMMING SPEED! mobile to line up the shots of your camping IS-4 and maybe TD, but beyond that… I just don’t.

      Also lights should have a completely different role, as currently scouting isn’t really it with the HUGE radio ranges on all top tier tanks. So fix that by giving them much higher radio and/or vision range and/or nerfing it on the others, so having one on your team is actually beneficial besides having a good laugh at that instantly exploding suicidal Leopard – personally, ramming them and maybe having them explode then and there just from that ramming always made me chuckle.

      So, yes, FOR NOW driving a medium might still be viable in random battles… but why would you put all those xp into one BEFORE getting a heavy or SPG once it goes live so you max your efficiency for when it counts? After that, if you really like driving them, maybe, but otherwise just no.

      But then I’m seeing it all through entirely powergamer-colored glasses, so your mileage may very well vary.

    • DarkFenix says:

      You’re basically complaining that scissors can’t beat rock. Medium tanks are supposed to kick the crap out of light tanks, heavies are supposed to kick the crap out of mediums.

      If you stick to your tank’s role and stop expecting it to perform well against a heavier target you’ll do a lot better. Most mediums can effectively fight a similar heavy so long as you play to your speed advantage. And light tanks played properly can scout without dying.

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      @ the affront – I don’t know anything about modes that have yet to be implemented – and never think about it. Frankly, I’d rather they get balance right per battle before working on anything else. I just think what you’re asking for is ahistoric and stretching credulity. There is always some overlap in reality between tiers – but a light damaging something way outside its weight class makes no sense.

      i drive heavies because I’m still learning them and their guns amuse me. That said, as indicated by someone else upthread, the T-44 is the best tank in game. Do I want an IS-7? Sure. However, I’ve been on teams where we ganged up on one – and against a mass they are useless like all heaviies.

      Can’t really see the rest of your argument to be honest. I think we should save the handwringing about what happens at live when we get closer to it – which will likely be mid-November the way things are going. Let’s get match balance fixed first.

  9. tigershuffle says:

    lovin it………now ive got my PZIV to top of its tech…..(my 8yr old has my spare PzIIIA for larks when i let him near my precious)

    still gettin ctds but hey its a free beta.

    lots of minor annoyances but its fun

    Prefer Steel Fury for my tank kicks tbh …especially with SteelPanzers 1.5 mod ;)

    its free and its tanks…….no brainer :D

  10. Koozer says:

    I love World of Tanks so much. I agree playing a light tank can be quite painful, but once you reach a medium it’s peachy. I find playing a SPG or TD is fun at any tier too, you can always dent something. Except early Russian TD;s, those things are bloody awful.
    PS That is the worst selection of modules for a BT-2 I have ever seen.

  11. disperse says:

    Fun game: reread the article mentally replacing the word “tank” with “penis”.

    • Mr Labbes says:

      “Finding your gun, while thick and meaty, doesn’t quite have the penetration you want? Pick up something longer and thinner, and you’ll be able to punch right through.”

      Gotta love it.

  12. Bluebreaker says:

    Leopards are easy to kill. Just put yourself perpendicularly to him, and boom.

  13. BAReFOOt says:

    Just one question: What does mass-murder have to do with heroic behavior?
    Yes, killing, in masses, is always mass murder. No exceptions.

    Of course games, being not real, also aren’t any of that, and not related to reality anyway.
    But I was talking about reality.

    • Nick says:

      Thankfully you aren’t the final word in everyone elses moral compass.

    • Tacroy says:

      If it helps, just pretend the tanks are all crewed by zombies.

  14. mlaskus says:

    I haven’t played the game lately, I decided to take a break from it until the balance gets done properly. I was driving in a two man Luchs/Leopard(both Luchs or both Leo) platoon with a friend. After a few matches together we were usually pulling off 10+ kills per match. Being able to drive around even a large groups of enemies and wearing them down one by one with impunity, felt incredibly exploitative so I stopped playing.

    • Koozer says:

      Don’t feel bad mlaskus, if you can do that they are terrible, terrible opponents. I love driving up the bumper of Leopards in my T-44 and blowing them in one shot.

    • Nick says:

      The fact the leo or luchs gun can and will fail to do any damage to most higher tanks casts a shadow of doubt on that. If you are in those tier 2/3/4 matches then obviously you can do that sort of thing, you can do it in a BT2 as well in tier 1/2 matches.

    • Mad Doc MacRae says:

      Leo gun takes at least a 10% chunk + a system or crewman out of my JagdPanther, a tier 7 tank destroyer. The luchs can’t fight above its tier much, but the leopard can.

    • mlaskus says:

      Anything stronger than I can chew through enters the scene? I just start annoying the bastard and call in the arty or my team’s heavies. It is quite surprising how many idiots will just stop in place and try to shoot me instead of the other guy who can actually penetrate their amour…

    • mrmud says:

      JagdPanthers dies to anything though.
      For some reason it feels like the Stug III with the howizer gun is the only TD thats really, really worth it.

    • Nick says:

      “Leo gun takes at least a 10% chunk + a system or crewman out of my JagdPanther, a tier 7 tank destroyer”

      Hm, rear armour? The thing is it can’t safely stop to get consistant rear hits on anything much, unless there is no one else around. With HE and luck they can take down some things above their tier, but TDs are pretty weak to anyone when singled out by a tank that can get past them and out circle their turning ability. I’ve found the Leo’s HE shells to be very unreliable in terms of bouncing, but that could just be a string of bad luck.

    • Torgen says:

      @mrmud: Really? I cursed Jagdpanthers for many a game, and even in the KV3 or T34 I hate them.

      It’s always funny to hear, no matter what game, the players who use the class/thing you think is a menace complaining how terrible it is. :)

  15. Riller says:

    This game ROCKS! Don’t let the people whining about balance or artillery sway you. Play it for yourself and see. The game balance is much improved from what it was, and I’m sure it will only get better. If you have a light tank, sometimes you end up with only other light vehicles and you can have a great time fighting it out. Or sometimes you’re the low tank on the list and you have to help your team by scouting instead of fighting.

    Playing artillery helps you better understand how to avoid it, because you learn where on the maps you can and cannot shoot. If people driving heavy tanks are upset at you and hide behind a house for the whole match then you are doing your job well as an artillery player!

    Panthers have no problem taking on the heavy or even super-heavy tanks, from a distance. It is designed for medium to long range combat, while the T-44 is faster and great for up-close fighting. There is a tank for every type of play style, you just need to find the one that fits the way you like to play. I can’t wait for this game to go live!

    • DarkFenix says:

      I’ve played up to both the SU-14 and Hummel, and it’s given me the understanding that artillery is horrendously broken. Do you actually think that forcing enemies to spend half the match sitting behind a rock is good game design? It isn’t. Artillery should be what forces people not to camp, it should be smoking them out of their holes, instead it’s the dominant factor is making people camp.

  16. Reaven says:

    I must say Its annoying that in most matches one team totally decimates the other one. It gets boring after a while, specially if you end up being the only one left alive versus the other whole team. (this happens if you are the only high end tank of your team)
    But its way more fun playing with friends.

    • mpk says:

      That’s the way of most online shooters though. It’s nothing particular to WoT. I take it you’ve never been in a game that’s ended with an SU-26 trying to hunt down a Wespe to win the match. Now that’s suspense.

  17. pagad says:

    “… tanks are primarily to provide support for troops”.

    Er…troops support tanks, not the other way round.

    • Serenegoose says:

      It depends entirely on the deployment scenario. On the steppes of Russia, troops supported tanks because tanks needed something just to keep the way clear for them. If you lead with your tanks in an urban engagement, then… well… you’re really rather silly, and I hope you hate your tanks, because you won’t have any after the first couple of hours.

      More relevantly to the game, I’m really just playing it to get a Stug, my favourite armoured vehicle of the second world war. I love Tank Destroyers.

  18. Merc says:

    SPGs are fun, and are crucial in balancing the game. With SPGs:

    1. Light tanks are useful, they can act as spotters for friendly SPGs and can kill enemy SPGs. Their weak guns are good enough to kill SPGs and the weaker tank killers, even if they’re utterly useless against tanks
    2. Heavy tanks are vulnerable to artillery, so they can’t just sit out in the open and wait for things to attack them
    3. The game moves quickly, because you can’t afford to sit still, or you’re an easy target for artillery

    Without SPGs

    1. Light tanks are useless, they can spot targets for the heavier tanks and tank killers, but unless those heavy tanks or tank killers are very close by, they can’t take advantage of having the target spotted because it’s out of range or out of line of sight
    2. Heavy tanks can wander around in the open, knowing they’re almost invulnerable to everything
    3. The game creeps by, because everybody just finds an ambush position and waits there. Eventually someone gets bored and exposes themselves, hoping to expose the other team, and a bunch of shots are fired by each team, then people go back to hiding.

    Think of the name of this site. With SPGs it’s Rock, Paper, Scissors. Heavy tanks are rocks, Artillery is paper, and light tanks are Scissors. Heavy tanks beat light tanks. Artillery beats heavy tanks. Light tanks beat artillery.

    • Heynes says:

      This is exactly why I ultimately can’t find games like this to be fun in the long run – this simple hard counter system which doesn’t encourage individual skill development or innovative means to overcome the enemy.

    • Merc says:

      “this simple hard counter system which doesn’t encourage individual skill development or innovative means to overcome the enemy.”

      It’s not really a hard counter system though. Even though artillery is really weak to light tanks, I’ve been killed in a light tank by artillery plenty of times. If they see you coming and get you when you’re going slow (i.e. driving up a ramp, maneuvering around something) they can smoke you, but it takes more skill on the artillery player’s part, and awareness that they’re in danger, as well as choosing a place where they can’t easily be spotted, and a light tank can’t easily get behind them.

      Similarly, heavy tanks have massive armor and guns, so they’re hard for any other tank to take out, but since they’re slow they’re weak to artillery, OTOH, if you’re smart, you know where the artillery is going to be firing from, and you can put a solid object (a rock, a building, etc) in the way, making you relatively safe.

      The main thing that having the rock/paper/scissors artillery/heavy/light setup does is that it means that no one tank or tank class is the best. The heavy tanks are extremely powerful, and when you’re in a medium or a light tank, you have to be really smart if you want to try to take them on. But even the best heavy tank is vulnerable to artillery if it gets caught out in the open. Nothing’s worse than being in an already slow tank and having one of your treads get knocked off while you’re in the middle of moving from one bit of cover to the next.

      As much as people complain about artillery, if it isn’t defended, it is pretty easy to kill up close. That leads into team tactics. If you rush a few light tanks, they can spot things for the artillery (including the enemy artillery), and you can get the momentum going in your favor, but you also risk just getting the light tanks wrecked before they can be useful. On the other hand, if you play defensively, you can keep your artillery safe, but sometimes that allows the enemy time to set up a solid flanking maneuver.

      The game still needs some balancing. One of the most frustrating things for me is that as soon as I upgrade from one tank to the next tier one, the new tank starts off terrible. I was frustrated with the PzKpfw III, but when I bought the IV the initial version had such a terrible engine and tracks that to turn at all, my tank had to essentially come to a complete halt while I turned at about 5 degrees/second. Also, too often even medium tanks get one-shot. I can see that happening if someone gets behind you and gets a lucky hit, but from the front you should be pretty safe against most other tanks. Oh well.

    • MrBRAD! says:

      If Heavy/Arty/Light is Rock/Paper/Scissors, then the Matilda is the Shotgun :D

  19. Xercies says:

    “doesn’t quite have the penetration you want? Pick up something longer and thinner”

    And In The Game.

    Sorry…

  20. Segal says:

    Playing since Russian lauch. Game is fabulous at the beginning, but gets a little bit repetetive at level 7 – too much grinding even with premium account and premium tanks for my taste.

    But still, it is still one of the best free MMOs on a market :)

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      I am at Tier 7 and about 40k away from researchiing my IS-3 so I hear you. At this level it seems to take forever (as it did when I was running a hetzer before getting the big gun). I think it’s impossible not to do premium when going with heavies above tier 6.

  21. destroy.all.monsters says:

    A lot of the comments make me wonder if people are using HE and training their crews because if you want to hit something outside your own weight range these things are absolutely crucial.

    Also note to peeps running the KV – get the 152 gun and play it like a TD, use only HE rounds. Don’t cry when you get taken out. Move to the 122 if you can’t take the loading time or get a rammer. DO NOT BUY THE KV-1S.

    To the folks bitching about the number of ISes in game – most of us had been playing the european beta for awhile. We earned it – you can’t just use gold to get there.

    I don’t get why people hate SPGs. They’re needed for balance and add flavor to the game. Is it annoying? Obviously. It should probably be tweaked but I really hate the ongoing moaning about it. They make you play smarter and think about what you’re doing. Yeah, sometimes you have to hump a rock – being out in the open in wartime, in any situation, is generally a bad idea. Why should that be different here?

    • Serenegoose says:

      I’m still finding the balance of AP and HE rounds personally. A lot of the times I do have problems with armour penetration (even though I’ve got the biggest Marder gun available, it struggles with the side armour of a PZIV at less than 100 metres, which is hilarious, if infuriating. If I used HE rounds in that situation, surely it’d just go even worse for me?

    • destroy.all.monsters says:

      @Serenegoose – generally the only answer for lack of penetration is HE and crew training. I hope you maxed out your gunner and commander at least.

      You might not do a lot of damage with HE but you’re a lot more likely to have done something to them other than hearing “Bounced off!” or “We didn’t even ding them!”. Give it a shot with HE – it certainly won’t cost any more than AP. And if you’re shooting German tanks the likelihood of causing a fire is pretty good. Plus they’re great at damaging modules.

    • Torgen says:

      I have the 107mm on my KV and now my KV3, and love it, The 120mm just reloads SO slowly. I agree about the KV1S: DON’T DO IT. It only ends in tears. I pimped out the KV and then the KV3, and I’m torn about moving up to the IS. I can make decent profit in the KV3, around 8k with dying on a losing team, and of course more with better results. I’m not sure how the IS is for making money.

      Use AP for smaller tanks, HE for the super heavies, and buy the shell rammer and gun laying gears for the KV3. With lights ad mediums spotting and hold the attention of the enemy, you can rack up the points. (Favorite pastime: One-shotting stationary Leos in the backfield that ignore me because I’m “too far away”)

      Even after the needed nerf, the T44 (which became the T55) is still the best tank IMO. I have the choice of going from my much beloved T-34 (57mm, circle strafe or drive-by) to T-34-85 (almost there)->T43 -> T44; or KV3->IS. I’m going to keep the KV3 and T34 just to make money, because driving the higer tiers is so expensive even with prem.

  22. jimbo says:

    i am a current S-51, tiger, panther, su-100 user and the thing about the higher teir arty is there reload speeds ( s-51 with the 203mm has a ROF of 1.96 and the rammer is useless even with a 100% crew ) yea sure its nice 1shotting a jdgtiger and up to an IS-4 and vk4502 ( yes ive done it many of times with a AP to the engine) the acc is oblonged on the S-51 wich is a pain in the ass unlike the lower teirs wich is a tight little circle i could see them lowering the ROF of the higher teir SPG’s yet again to balance them a little more but it takes a long time to get to the SU-14,S-51 and deserve to 1 shot bigger guys but just make the spg’s play a lil smarter and not hammer out shells its apart of the game guys deal with it

  23. Barman1942 says:

    I think my biggest gripe with World of Tanks is how the game actually plays. I know, I know, it’s supposed to be somewhat arcadey when you play it, but the fact that tanks blast around a landscape that doesn’t really feel like real, open land and more like an arena doesn’t mesh well at *all* with the fact that they use realistic armor/armor penetration values. A Panzer III roaring around a battlefield at near 60km/h? It doesn’t even make sense.

    I rarely see anyone use hull down, a rather common tank tactic, and I hardly ever see proper long-range fights. All the engagements take place around 500m, which is *incredibly* close range for tank duels, and the only reason for this is because the game engine has trouble rendering objects past a certain distance,, they just start teleporting around which makes it impossible to manually aim, which means you resort to the crummy auto-aim feature (this is all because of the engine btw, it’s not caused by lag). IMHO, the devs chose a really bad engine for this game.

    You can have a game be rather simmy, and fun at the same time. Just look at Red Orchestra/Darkest Hour. Large, realistic looking tank maps that afford the player white-knucle, sweat-on-your-brow battles without resorting to being too arcadey.

    Then again, this is just my two cents, and I guess I’m a little biased towards the game.

    Whew, that was a nice chunk of text.

    • Cirno says:

      Didnt play Red Orchestra, but playing Men of War showed me that tanks do much more than hunting other tanks and a good ambush can do much more than remove a few HPs from heavy. It made panda sad.

  24. Segal says:

    I’m paying for premium and diving Matilda to get XP a little bit faster, but it is still quite slow.

    I think it will not be a problem when they launch clan wars and other game modes. Right now with only Random battles and handful of maps it gets repetitive.

  25. Cirno says:

    Being unable to play with my friends made me stop playing it. I felt like I was an advanced bot for those who can enjoy it with friends. Oh screw you, greed capitalist pigs from Wargaming.

  26. WOT says:

    This is a very good game. It’s a new concept on the FPS genre. Using tanks instead of people.

    And if the maps do indeed get bigger then wow, going to be some epic battles.

  27. Zekk says:

    At the moment premium is free (essentially – save up 16 days gold, get a month’s free premium, rinse, repeat). On release, a day’s premium will be about 30p. It’s worth it, to me.

  28. ry says:

    Tanks may well be the first game that i bother with micro transactions for extra slots, immediately pimped crews and sexy mods for prefered tanks and suchlike. I’m clearly also going to sink about £10 on the ultimate BT-2 for great victory.

    That said, the premium tanks so far are a bit shite – and rightly so, money should not equal pwnage – and the premium ammo is ludicrously IRL expensive, so the only whole micro transaction thing may not work out quite as well as WG.net are hoping.