World of Tanks has changed somewhat since the last time we visited it and there’s a lot to go over, so I’ll try to intersperse that somewhat with my discussion of what’s happened in their recent update to version 8.1.
Amid these changes has been a vast update to their rendering engine and tank physics that cannot go without comment. Not only does the game provide just a little bit more feedback about acceleration and motion over terrain—including a little bit of showing tracks skipping or hitting bits of rock—but tanks will also interact more “realistically.” In fact, no few people have enjoyed being able to slam a heavy into a light and push them down an incline or over a cliff (a little bit of a situational use, but still enjoyable.)
I wonder how many people have obliterated their tracks by throwing them off a cliff in a vain attempt to fly (or at least see how the physics engine works.)
The new rendering engine is also quite capable, in fact I played a few games in the Port map and I’m still impressed at how the rendering works.
The Arrival of British Tanks
The British thundered into the battlefield on treads and steel in September, deploying an entire tree of 22 new tanks representing the battle armor of Britannia. This makes a total of five tech trees in the game for players—US, Britain, Germany, France, and USSR—and it added a staggering number of new tanks with interesting statistics to the field of glory.
This includes legendary British tanks such as the Cromwell and Conqueror—the Cromwell was a cruiser tank from WWII using a Meteor engine, first seen in action during the Battle of Normandy. The Cromwell appropriately comes after the Crusader in the tech tree (which it is an upgrade thereof.) As with every other tech tree in the game, there’s a wide variety of tracks, attachments, and guns that can be affixed to the tank; most of them are fairly fitting to what the tanks were originally outfitted with.
Amid the British tanks, a tier 5 premium medium tank previously appeared called the Matilda Black Prince—it has a sweet name for a nice little medium that happens to roll with a Cromwell turret. Like most premium tanks it’s otherwise unexceptional, allows a versatile variety of play, and sits in a role a little unexpected for its class if the player desires to make use of it.
The Black Prince is slow, and heavy for its type, but it packs a real solid punch with high accuracy when a vulnerable point is picked out on an enemy tank. I quickly racked up two kills in my first game of the day, flanking tanks my teammates were harassing.
Lots More Customization
The team over at Wargaming.net have gone out of their way to listen to player requests for the ability to customize and paint their tanks. Not only can players add a myriad of emblems to their tanks (one per side) they also can inscribe particular pre-chosen phrases onto the chassis as well as choose camouflage. No pink camouflage, though—sorry kids, no My Little Pony tanks this round! (Of course, World of Tanks prides itself for authenticity of historical representation when it comes to tanks rather than silliness.)
The customizations put you into a menu where you can choose them and pay with gold. Camoflague chances cost about 125g each for three different environs: winter, summer, and desert (for a total of 375g). Each of the two possible emblems cost 75g and the two inscriptions also cost 75g.
Amid the emblems there’s a wide variety of odd symbols most of them animals of various stripe: lions—largely lion rampant such as seen in British heraldry—griffons, spiders, horses, a stylized bee. The emblems appear on either side of the turret housing for the tanks.
Inscriptions run a strange gamut of single words such as “DESTROYER”, “DREADNOUGHT”, “PHANTOM”, and several more wordy “GOD SAVE THE QUEEN”, “Wrath of Heaven”, Greetings to Our Allies in USSR.” No doubt some of them more readable than others when not swapping paint with another tank on the battlefield.
World of Tanks Still a Blast
I don’t have as much time as before to play World of Tanks with all my other duties; but given the chance to go back for a review of where it is and where I see it going—taking back to the game was like riding a bike. Although random-battle groups lack much communication, and sometimes you end up with terrible players who rush in and die, often by the end there’s a small core of dedicated strategists aiming for the win.
I found myself again-and-again remembering why I enjoyed this game originally: the easy-to-understand UI, the simple interface that gave me all the information I needed to assess my situation, and even the call-outs from teammates.
In addition, I noticed something I hadn’t before—an orange light bulb as a warning that I’d been sighted. This is an effect of the sixth-sense skill (something I rarely have trained to its fullest due to my extreme number of tanks I play.) It’s a really enjoyable addition to the game and actually saved my bacon the moment I realized what it meant—which was seconds after seeing it…I narrowly avoided taking a direct hit on at least one occasion.
I’d say, if you dropped out of World of Tanks for whatever reason the game is still great and only getting better. As Wargaming.net rolls out 8.2 there will be upgraded maps, more tanks in the American tree, as well as even further design updates and maintenance. So you can expect the game will just keep getting better.