World of Tanks Free-to-Play Shooter Playtest (Part 2)

The dramatic conclusion of the Old Pond Regulars' World of Tanks playtest. Will they be victorious? Don't be silly, of course they won't.

In the closing minutes of the match, only SingingBush and I remained. I noted that he had already registered four kills to my paltry one. I'm normally far more effective than that in artillery. I blame the lag.

He called for us to stick together in an attempt to focus fire and win the day, fortunately I was in the SU-26 Russian artillery piece which, although fragile, is not entirely useless in close quarters due to it's rotating turret (a rarity amongst artillery).

As we advanced along the tree-line toward the north-east corner of the map, I was struggling to catch up to SingingBush. Then, unexpectedly, my radio detected an enemy tank destroyer approaching from behind. This could be trouble. SingingBush was too far away to help and I was unlikely to be victorious in a one-on-one, so I took a leaf out of Toenailgoblin's playbook and hid.

A long few seconds passed as the enemy tank destroyer rolled dangerously close. I prayed my positioning and my camouflage net upgrade would do its job and render me invisible. Tensely, I waited.

It worked! He rolled on by and straight towards SingingBush's position. At the right moment, we both opened fire and he was toast. The enemy were now down to their last tank, but we had less than two minutes to find and destroy him or take the flag. It was likely he would go to ground in order to cling to a team victory, so SingingBush opted for an attempted flag capture and we charged for the capture circle.

Sadly, the capture progress bar didn't move quite quickly enough and the final enemy had the good sense to remain hidden, so the victory which was so close slipped through our fingers.

Facing the Meatgrinder

That was the one good match. What followed was a series of soul-destroying and one-sided routs as our motley crew was repeatedly torn to pieces by larger, more organised forces who ominously all shared a single clan tag. It was certainly an education, the main lesson being: have more friends.

In contrast to Planetside 2, World of Tanks is a very segmented affair which I feel works better for a quick pick-up-and-play experience, but for a sustained period of gameplay with friends, it can be frustrating. Especially so if you are one of the first on your team to die and the match subsequently goes on for a long while. This is why I opt for artillery, I get to be a part of the action for longer, even if it's from a distance. If I go for a more traditional combat vehicle, I often find my World of Tanks experience to be:

  • Drive slowly for a minute or so.
  • Fire gun at first enemy target.
  • Explode.
  • Wait several minutes for the match to finish.

Of course, the option is there to go solo to pass the time, but when playing with friends that's not really optimal and can lead to a fragmented team experience. Despite these few misgivings, the occasional battle does give rise to exhilarating exchanges which make it all worthwhile.

Even more so if you're a tank nut.

Next: MechWarrior Online (Part 1)


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Featured Columnist

Broken paramedic and coffee-drinking Englishman whose favourite dumb animal is an oxymoron. After over a decade of humping and dumping the fat and the dead, my lower spine did things normally reserved for Rubik's cubes, bringing my career as a medical clinician to an unexpectedly early end. Fortunately, my real passion is in writing and given that I'm now highly qualified in the art of sitting down, I have the time to pursue it. Having blogged about video games (well, mostly EVE Online) for years, I hope to channel my enjoyment of wordcraft and my hobby of gaming into one handy new career that doesn't involve other people's vomit.

Published Jan. 8th 2013

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