When one ask about massive online multiplayer games on the 360, one would usually think of twitch based multiplayer games such as Call Of Duty and Halo however developers Wargaming have decided to jump right into the fray with a port of their tank based multiplayer game World Of Tanks. I was lucky enough to be able to preview the online beta of the game and it was a unique experience for me.
The game is much like any multiplayer centric shooter which means there’s little to no storyline or narrative to speak off; which to be honest, is quite fine with me, I just want to jump in, kick ass and take names. WOT started out by showing me the garage which is essentially your main menu where I could view the various info about my profile e.g currently selected tanks and their stats. Upon opening the store/vehicle tech tree, the military nerd in me started salivating at the massive number of tanks I could chose from – from antique WWI tin cans they call tanks all the way to the all powerful German Panzers, I was spoilt for choice – that is until I saw them being grey out which means I could either buy them with real cash or unlock them with hours and hours of gameplay. This form of micro-transaction I can personally get behind – it doesn’t really give paying players an actually advantage over non paying players, it simply just reduces the grind.
The tanks are divided via tiers, with stronger tanks being on the higher tiers while the smoke puking tin cans populate the entry tiers. Let me be honest, I don’t think there’s a single chance in hell that a tier 1 tank would be able to destroy a tier 8-9 tank in 1 on 1 combat which begs the question, how will such an imbalance affect gameplay balance . After consulting a friend whose a veteran of WOT on the PC, my initial doubts were quelled; higher tiered tanks are statically more powerful however unlike COD where a highly skilled player with a correctly customised gun would be able to take 5-7 opponents at once, numbers actually matters in WOT; a single tier 9 tank would have a hard time against 4-5 tier 3 tanks, firepower means naught when you have teamwork on your side. Knowing the competition and excellent team communication is just as important as having a top tier tank.
As a veteran of console FPSs, I jumped into a match with the exact same mindset as when I’m playing Halo – kicking ass and taking names. The match started and actually felt the heave of the tanks, it wasn’t the speedy and snappy controls I was familiar with, each movement, each turn of the barrel was slow and lumbering. Needless to say, I brush off the initial unease with controls and rushed straight into the middle of the map, looking for victims – which unfortunately backfired on me as I was killed not long after reaching the middle of the map. After consulting some hardcore WOT players, I finally understood WOT albeit slightly more than I had. A friend of mine explained the gist of WOT in a sentence “Driving tanks in WOT is unlike BF4, tanks here behave like their real life counterparts, slow and cautious play is the only way to prevent death; which comes faster than you can swing your barrel “. Learning from my previous mistakes, I adopted a more cautious approach – some would say a more “ArmA” like approach. Instead of rushing off, I stayed near my team mates and we took up defensive positions in the higher ground until the enemy drove into our sights, with a squeeze of the trigger; BOOM… I landed a clean shot right into the enemies side armor. With our combined weight of fire and superior positioning, we were able to claim victory!
The controls in WOT would be quite familiar to players of Battlefield 4 where the LT would enter “Sniper mode” and the right trigger to fire while the right stick controls the turret while the left controls movements however in WOT, you’re able to lock the turret by hitting the right bumper which allows you to stay mobile. Hitting the frontal armor of Tanks would usually result in minimal or no damage however, flanking on to the sides and back would result in massive damage to the hull while striking them on the treads would damage mobility. If you think that’s complex, ammo type and armor slopes would also affect the resulting damage.
All in all World of Tanks offers addicting and unique gameplay that most casual players can get into while being deep enough to keep players playing.
by Chen KangYi
© POPCulture Online 2013, All Rights Reserved