Wargaming.net’s already popular PC MMO was announced as a free game to play on the Xbox 360 during E3. I was immediately interested in this game since my poor laptop was unable to run the PC version. Upon hearing there was a World of Tanks Beta I signed up and waited patiently until I got my call to arms.
The premise of this game pits you against another team in all out tank warfare. So far in the Beta they offer three game types for your heavy armor addiction. The first is Standard Battle, where two teams basically fight each other until the other is completely destroyed or you capture the enemies’ base. Next is Encounter where there is one flag in the middle of the map that opposing teams compete to get control of or destroy the enemy tanks completely. Finally there is Assault, where one team defends the flag while the other tries to take it over, or destroy all the opposing tanks to win. The game play in these matches are not your typical Call of Duty type, but are more thought out and team-based matches where the different types of tanks play a crucial role to victory. If a team can’t work together utilizing its strengths it will surely fail when a more coordinated team tactically out maneuvers them or works together.
Included in the Beta are three very different maps that offer a variety of terrain and cover to conceal and organize attacks and strategies. Cliff is a Russian map with sprawling hills, little villages and plenty of choke points making for intense battles in any of the 3 game modes. Mines is another Russian map that has a large hill in the middle and plenty of places to get into position to attack the opposite team. Finally Sand River is a desert map full of dunes, Middle Eastern style villages and clear vantage points letting you make use of long range war fair and heavy artillery. Each of the maps are well thought out and perfectly suited for tank VS. tank warfare.
The vehicles included in the Beta are very accurate models of World War Two armored vehicles. They include Light Tanks or scouts, used to spot enemies and scout the opposition while moving quickly across terrain. Next are the Medium Tanks used for assaults and scouting, generally they are more powerful than the light tanks and better armored, but lack the speed. Heavy Tanks are your used for all out assault and pack a mighty punch taking out light armor with ease and inflicting massive damage on heavy armor. If you love playing defense and sniping style action then the Tank Destroyer class is right up your alley. And finally there is Mobile Artillery that is used for support and as a force multiplier for the team. The use of each of these vehicles is important when working together to spot enemies for the artillery and knock out pesky assaults on your base. All vehicles have their own attributes, strengths and weakness, but the key is to use each as best as possible with the rest of your squad. Every match grants you XP and cash based upon your in game feats which allow you to upgrade and purchase new tanks as you progress. In the PC version you are allowed to upgrade certain parts of your vehicle, such as gun, engine, tracks, etc., but on the 360 version the developer has made packages where all the upgrades are available in one purchase.
Gameplay generally runs smooth, but every once and awhile you will run into a little lag. At times this can be frustrating while playing since it’s very noticeable, but the developers have been keeping the testers up to date with information on new beta updates and server scheduled downtime to fix these issues. The actual multiplayer combat is intense and sometimes can be quite chaotic, with shells zipping over your tank and pinging off your armored sides, sometimes damaging you or disabling your tracks rendering you helpless until repairs can be made. The name of this game is all out survival because once your tank is knocked out you are done and have to wait until another match.
Controls are simple to learn as well as the monetary system which deals with Gold, Silver and XP. The gold can be used for purchasing premium tanks and premium accounts that will give you double XP during matches. Silver is basically cash that can be used to purchase tanks after you research them with the XP you earn while playing. So far the developers have been dishing out two hundred and fifty gold a day so you can try out the premium tanks and purchase a one day premium account so you can get a taste of everything World of Tanks has to offer. Gold can also be used to customize your tank with camouflage, emblems and flags allowing you to personalize your experience.
The only problem I’ve experienced to date seems to be a glitch in the Beta that doesn’t allow you to upgrade your tanks to the better weapons. The developers are aware of this and have let everyone know they are working on this issue and hope to have it sorted out. What makes this beta unique and refreshing is the developers attention to their testers feedback about what needs to be fixed and what should be added, something a lot of big name developers have failed to do in recent years. Also I find the community of gamers playing this to be a much more mature crowd which is a great breath of fresh air from the nagging players found in other games.
Overall the Beta is shaping and tuning World of Tanks to be a very great addition to a lacking genre for the 360, and with the support provided by the developer so far this game can only get better. If you’re into World War II, armored warfare, or tired of the same old FPS games then I highly suggest you sign up for a Beta token and give it a go.
Preview – by Jerry Wise