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You’re peeking out the sights of one of the world’s deadliest tanks. Everything is completely still – not a sound except the wind blowing dust down the deserted street of the destroyed WWII ghost town. Then, out of nowhere, the sound of an incoming shell. Only seconds after you realize what the sound is, your world is obliterated. Game over. Welcome to World of Tanks.

World of Tanks is one of those massive multiplayer games that includes clans, tournaments, and all the sorts of things you’ve come to expect from the world of Wargaming. If you haven’t even heard of Wargaming before, well then you’re in for quite a treat, because it’s one of the most popular (and getting more popular every day) genres of free online multiplayer games. We’ve covered a bunch of them right here at MUO, including my review of WarZone 2100 Build An Army & Wage War Playing Warzone 2100 Build An Army & Wage War Playing Warzone 2100 Read More . The one game we’ve covered that’s probably the most similar to World of Tanks was my review of BZFlag Enter A Strategic Tank War Game In BZFlag Enter A Strategic Tank War Game In BZFlag BZFlag stands for Battle Zone capture the Flag. It's a 3D tank battle game that's fast paced and at times pretty intense. There is no single-player game - it's all about team-match network gaming. Some... Read More , another tank warfare game.

The thing is, that review when compared to World of Tanks is almost embarrassing. Once I show you this game, you will never look at free online wargaming again. Things have certainly come a long way.

A World Filled With…Tanks

If I had to sum up this game with one sentence, it would basically be that this is a virtual world of tanks battling other tanks. Sounds simple, but once you start playing, it’s a heck of a lot more exciting than you might think. And the nice thing about this game is that it’s not resource-intense at all, despite the impressive and very smooth graphics. Unlike so many other massive multiplayer online games out there, I never felt like I was lagging when the battle was really ramping up.

The install is pretty big though, and it takes a good 30 to 40 minutes or so to download and install depending on your connection speed.

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Once it’s finished, just launch the game and accept the Battle Training window when it pops up. Trust me, it’s well worth learning how to maneuver your tank and the turret before you get onto the battlefield. The online areas are filled with other other gamers, most of whom are seasoned pros who will wipe you off the map in seconds if you haven’t learned how to move and shoot at the same time. Each battle, including the training one, provides you with experience and credits, which you can use to upgrade your equipment and your tanks over time.

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The training session is really well done, and very fast. You’ll be maneuvering and shooting targets in no time, especially if you’ve played first-person shooters that involve the mouse for targeting and “head” movement, and the keyboard for running around. The same controls work here with the tank – the keyboard (WASD) moves the tank where you need it to go. Meanwhile, you turn and target the turret with the mouse.

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There’s also a nice “auto-target” feature so you don’t really have to think much about aiming after you’ve locked onto a target, you just have to try to move so fast that your enemy can’t hit you before you blast it away. Unfortunately, much of that also has to do with your tank specs, which has plenty to do with what your tank is and what equipment you’ve upgraded it with. So, when you’re getting started with your little T1 Cunningham starter-tank, expect to get blown to bits a lot while you’re learning the ropes.

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There is also a good-sized online community that goes along with World of Tanks, and there are even regular “Missions” updated on the site for things like “Tanking 24/7” or “Hunt the Pros”. These are just fun goals you can work toward over time – things that are meant to encourage you to become an addict of World of Tanks like all of the other gamers there!

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When you’re ready to go head to head with other players around the world, click on the “Battle!” button. You can search through the different battle types and find a certain type, like platoon or team, but if you just want to get going without the hassle, just use the big “Battle!” button rather than the dropdown menu under it. The large button immediately launches a random battle with other.

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So, after one training session – figuring that since I was an old pro at first-person shooters and the controls are so identical – I would have no problem mastering this game. I launched a random battle and raced across the battlefield as all of my team mates scattered. The goal of this mission was the capture of the other team’s home base (flag).  I spotted some houses in the valley and raced for them. Structures are the best friend of snipers in first-person shooters, so I figured they’d protect me as a tank as well. Well, let’s just say that the enemy tanks perched up in those mountains in the distance took me out in less than 30 seconds. That’s how long my first game lasted.

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Yes, that’s my smoldering tank. Your tank systems are shown in the lower left during the battle, so you can see what systems are hit and how bad they are damaged by the color. Obviously, red is bad. The lower right has the game map. You can see all of the “friendlies”, but you won’t see all of the enemies all of the time. I believe it depends on your equipment. All I know is that enemy tanks would appear on the map out of nowhere.

After observing my teammates strategy, I tried another random battle. This time I raced to the mountains overlooking the battlefield and perched behind a row of boulders alongside two other teammates who had done the same thing.

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So, the goal is to situate yourself in a defensive position so that you can defend your base from approaching enemy tanks, or if you are the gutsy type and you have a decent enough tank, you can make an attack on the enemy’s base. Being a smaller tank, I took the “high-ground” approach. I definitely survived longer, but still got wiped out by a massive tank on a nearby mountain with a really good shot.

When you get shot up, you need to wait until the end of the round to play again with your tank, so while you’re waiting you can click the mouse button to switch between the surviving members of your team to see how they’re faring. In one round I noticed one guy positioned himself on a mountainside behind a massive stone building. He was definitely the last survivor, until a fast-moving enemy tank came screaming down the street behind him and wiped him out with one shot.

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It seems like an odd (and boring) approach to just sit behind an object and try to survive as long as you can – but that seems to be the strategy of a lot of players. I prefer the action-packed, charge-into-battle approach. So, yeah, I ended up seeing the “Defeat” screen pretty often during my testing of this game!

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Nevertheless, you still get experience and credits – so it’s all good! In fact, in just a couple hours of playing this game, I was able to upgrade to a T2 Medium tank. This one can take a few more hits without getting critically damaged, so that made the game play a lot more fun. I can only imagine the high-end tanks that you can upgrade to make the game an absolute blast to play.

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No doubt, World of Tanks is a really fun online game to pass the time. There’s a lot more strategy involved than other wargames out there, and the ability to keep earning credits and upgrading your equipment and tanks makes the progression of the game more interesting – because no battle will be the same as your equipment continuously gets better.

Think you have what it takes to sit at the controls of one of these battle tanks? Do you have the nerve to go head-to-head against other tanks? Give the game a try and let us know how long you survived your first time on the battlefield!

Tank on Shutterstock

  1. funkspiel
    November 24, 2013 at 2:50 am

    The reason that you thought tanks came out of no where was becuase your radio is poor and or the enemy became camouflaged. That gets quite annoying when your on the reciving end of enemy fire ...but it is very helpful if your a tank destroyer or artillery

  2. Victor O
    November 21, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    There's also world of warplanes (much faster paced) and the upcoming world of battleships (or something along those lines)

  3. atridhr
    November 21, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Been playing it since beta and I was a huge fan. Sadly, I stopped when I reached tier 8. You had to buy premium in order to advance further, otherwise you'll grind for ages. Although I'm not sure if that is changed now.

    I also built some live wallpapers for android, you can check them here if interested:

    http://www.androidrop.com/wot-tanks-live-wallpaper.aspx

    http://www.androidrop.com/ww2-tanks-3d-live-wallpaper.aspx

  4. Tank fan
    November 21, 2013 at 5:19 am

    You do not have to wait until the battle is over. Just push esc and you can choosr to leave the battle.

    • Ryan Dube
      November 21, 2013 at 5:38 am

      Current tank active in that battle actually stayed in the battle until the end, even though I could go back to the main area and pick another tank if I wanted. If you have one tank, it appeared that you do have to wait until the battle is over to use that tank again.

  5. Achyut R
    November 21, 2013 at 2:22 am

    that's not even close to all the features, for example, if you target the treads you can immobilize tanks, and you can upgrade each part of your tank including armor, engines, and view distance. Different areas of the tank are weaker and stronger, for example if you hit the ammo rack on the back of the tank its instant death for the tank, and there is many more spots like theses and there are also hundreds of tanks you can get and upgrade.

    • Ryan Dube
      November 21, 2013 at 2:59 am

      Thanks Achyut - I agree. I was amazed by just how MUCH there was to dig into when it came to the number of tanks, upgrades available like armor/engine/weapons, and battle tactics. I was really amazed watching some of the pros going at it on the battlefield.

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