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World of Tanks review: Fire and fury

All you want to know about WoT gameplay, gear, modules, crew, battles, performance, tips, etc. you'll find in this World of Tanks review. This record-breaking game, definitely #1 among tank games and high among RPGs, has been expanding steadily for almost a decade.  

About the publisher, Wargaming 

The history of Wargaming dates back to 1995 and a game called Iron Age. Play by email format by a team of students, led by Victor Kisly. Victor and seven enthusiasts founded Wargaming in 1998. The company mainly specialized in MMO computer games, but they had also been developing other things. For instance, AdRevolver, a system for online ads display optimization in 2001. 

Several further acquisitions included engine purchase by BlueLithium advertising network in 2004,  American company in 2007. Today Wargaming is the offshore company headquartered in Cyprus, while development offices are scattered in Minsk, Kyiv, St.Petersburg, Seattle, Chicago, Sydney, Helsinki, Prague. 

World of Tanks is Wargaming’s proudest and the biggest product, which for many gamers is the whole virtual universe. 

Evolution: Changelog excerpt

Let’s take a look at several significant enhancements to the game, made throughout the years. This is not the exhaustive log, of course.  

Date Version Brief description
January 30, 2010 0.1 Close beta test start. 
August 12, 2010 0.5.3 Release of the game with the USSR and German branches.
May 11, 2011 0.6.4 Level 8 artillery introduced, new maps added and old ones reworked, a number of errors fixed.
December 9, 2011 0.7.0 The Replay function (record the game). Fjords and Top maps.
September 25, 2012 0.8.0 Realistic physics of tank behavior, new graphic rendering.
February 28, 2013 0.8.4 A new branch of British tank destroyers. The Dragon Ridge and Quiet Coast maps.
September 10, 2013 0.8.8 Alternative medium USSR tanks, Premium tanks.
February 11, 2014 0.8.11 New Confrontation mode, new Windstorm, Ruinberg on fire and Winter Himmelsdorf maps. A new Basic Caliber medal introduced.
July 29, 2014 0.9.2 Great addition for clan players, the Fortified mode, allowing to create a base. Battle for resources added, a number of new tanks added.
November 4, 2014 0.9.4 Team battles new format, new Stalingrad map.
May 26, 2015 0.9.8 Personal reserves, Excellence mode, game client divided into two versions: SD and HD.
December 15, 2015 0.9.13 Czechoslovak tanks new branch. 
March 10, 2016 0.9.14 Improved tank physics and game sounds, new Paris map for the “Fight to the Last” mode.
May 30, 2017 0.9.19 The Company battle mode removed, the Ranged battle mode added. Addition of female voice narration.
December 12, 2017 0.9.21 A new branch of French heavy tanks added, a new map for general battles – Klondike.
March 20, 2018 1.0.0 New Core graphics engine, 29 maps converted to HD, new Calm map, new hangar and soundtracks.
May 3, 2019 1.5 Maps blacklist, Premium Account, new branch of Swedish medium tanks, equipment balance, etc.
October 8, 2019 1.6.1 Rank fights change, the ability to change the technology nation.

For convenient gaming, there are a number of servers in Russia, Kazakhstan, Singapore, China, and Korea. Due to high game popularity in the CIS countries, most of the servers are located in Russia. Ten servers totally in Russia, one in Germany, one in Kazakhstan, four in China, two in the USA, two in the Netherlands, one in Korea and one in Singapore.

Modifications

Modifications, to make the game more beautiful, to customize it, are a big part of World of Tanks universe. Modifications can be in the form of:

  • Retexturing and remodeling. Tank appearance (historical or camouflage), remodeling (adding details or completely changing the appearance). Special textures, tank armor, visual contrasting. 
  • Sound mods. Tweaks to soundtracks, gun sounds, engines, voices.
  • Combat interface modifications. Various rear sights, damage panels, markers (e.g. light markers and tank strength points). 
  • Hangar modifications. Similar to combat modifications, these allows to display additional information in the hangar (hours, detailed skills descriptions, advanced crew statistics, etc.).
  • XVM, or Extended Visualization Mod. A global modification impacting the interface and introducing new functionality. XVM is free and publishes its source code under the GNU GPL v3 license. More details on the mod developers site

World of Tanks review 

Besides being free and awesome, WoT has grown into this large-scale adventurous multiplayer online game. With total devotion to tanks and armored vehicles from WWII era, with elements of shooter and strategy games, WoT was released in 2010. 

In 2013, World of Tanks hit the Guinness Book of Records as “Most players online simultaneously on one MOG server”, setting the value of 190,541 people. As for the time of our World of Tanks game review, the number of registered players is over 180 million.

WoT contains 11 nations, more than 500 vehicles (light, medium, heavy tanks, SPGs), over 70 maps, 5 types of battles (random, training, command, battles in the fortified area, and clan battles).

Tank types

Light tank – a nightmare for enemy artillery, because of excellent maneuverability and thus the ability to locate the enemy and retreat quickly.

World of Tanks tank types

Medium tank – good balance of armor, gun power and speed. In a team it can perform both roles of support and offense unit. It’s the main workhorse, so to speak.

World of Tanks overview

Heavy tank – with thick armor and a powerful weapon is a tough opponent on the battlefield. Armor can withstand the blows, however it is better to cover the side and stern.

vehicles in world of tanks

Tank destroyer – designed to destroy enemies from long distances. From a shelter it can hit opponents undetected, though no tower makes it defenseless in close combat. Gun power is key.

tanks in wot

Artillery (self-propelled guns) – an impressive weaponry, able to shoot at any targets on the map. In a well-coordinated team, artillery caan bring a serious blow to enemies.

WoT SPG

The amount of equipment for each tank type by nation is as follows: 

Light Medium Heavy Destroyer SPG
USSR 26 32 36 21 10
Germany  26 31 22 27 11
USA 19 26 17 20 11
Great Britain 14 32 12 20 10
France 22 11 14 13 10
China 12 11 8 10
Japan 5 12 9
Czech Republic  3 9
Sweden  4 10 4 10
Poland  5 4 5
Italy 2 10

Each unit is unique with different characteristics of armor and its forms (angles), interchangeable modules, equipment, crew, etc. This grants plenty of opportunities on the battlefield. All equipment, except premium, can be upgraded by modules.

Modules and their impact

Upgrading a tank is an integral part of gameplay. It can unveil the full potential in the combat, as well as allow learn about a next tank in the technology tree. Each tank consists of a number of interchangeable parts (modules) that can improve its characteristics. 

Depending on the machine model and available modules, there are multiple development options for each tank. The initial set of modules is based on a model, which a player explores for experience, or buys with credits received in battles.

modules in WoT, review

At times, it may seem that one has the worst poor tank. Indeed, WoT gameplay is designed to push players gain experience, and purchase new modules. And it is good when one can transform a combat unit, beyond recognition from its initial form. It makes the game exciting.

Tank gear

Tank gear, or equipment, are the units, assemblies and systems that improve tank characteristics. Gear is classified (by 2 tiers) into regular or advanced, simple and complex. Installation of advanced gear is impossible if standard gear with same effect is already installed, and vice versa.

Properly selected tank gear will reduce the risk from vehicle shortcomings and/or strengthen its advantages. Simple gear can be mounted without restrictions, while complex gear has to be bought with WoT in-game currency. Standard goes for 10 units of gold, advanced – for 200 bonds (both currencies can be bought, more on that in Economics chapter). For example, for $1 you can rent 25 units of complex equipment.

Simple/standard gear. Such simple equipment, including camouflage net, toolbox, etc. can be removed from one tank and installed on another.

Complex gear. Things like springs, ventilation, wet ammunition, rammer, CO2 tank fill, vertical stabilizer. Apparently, it is better to think in advance what gear to get in order not to lose excess credits or gold.

World of Tanks game review

Advanced gear. Can be bought exclusively for bonds. It includes powder exhaust system, stabilization equipment, experimental loading system, wear resistant pickup drives, aligned optics, a set of spare parts. 

World of Tanks game review

Gear tips:

  • To beginners: gear is expensive and at the beginning there are not enough credits for it. This is a normal. When you reach level 5, tanks and tank destroyers are highly profitable to collect credits. 
  • World of Tanks game regularly holds promotions, including a 50% discount on all equipment. 
  • Remember to remove equipment before selling tanks.
  • Note that each piece of gear has several types (up to 20), so when buying it, be careful,  make sure that you buy what you need.
  • Dismantle equipment from machines you don’t use to save money.
  • Ventilation without a “combat brotherhood” skill isn’t efficient.
  • Reinforced springs and analogues do not affect vehicle’s driving performance.

WoT consumables

This type of gear allows to enhance tank/crew characteristics, as well as restore after combat damage. First-aid kits, repair kits and fire extinguishers are recharged in 90 seconds after the use, and are reusable. The limit for one tank is 3 consumables (pieces). Each piece may differ in quality depending on factors such as engine type, nation, etc.

Conventional. The price (depending on type) fluctuates around 3,000 – 5,000 credits. Limitations include no automatic activation, healing one crew member at a time, single module repairs. These consumables consist of first aid kits, repair kit, speed control, fire extinguisher, gasoline, oil, etc.

World of Tanks game review

Improved. The price of each piece is 20,000 credits. These tasty little fellas include octane gasoline, coffee, tea with pudding, chocolate, coke box, bread, fat, spaghetti.

World of Tanks game review

Special personal reserves, called pre-combat instructions, that can be purchased with bonds. 

They are divided into two types: 1) Instructions for enhancing equipment effect (rational ammunition, air purge, stabilizers grease, sight adjustment, optics calibration); 2) Instructions for reinforcing or activating crew skills (shelters, gearbox operation, obstacle course, etc.). For one tank a one-piece limit.

Ammunition

Before the battle starts, tank ammunition must be loaded. Without it the tank will not be able to shoot and, accordingly, will be useless. The number of ammunition that can be loaded into a tank depends on the type of tanks in WoT, and more specifically on the type of gun (caliber) and turret. Different types of ammunition have different properties.

Armor-piercing (AP)
Normal The main type of projectile that almost any weapon can fire.
Causes damage only when piercing the armor, i can damage modules or crew.
Improved Premium armor-piercing shells, found on several vehicles.
Increased armor penetration with the same damage OR
less armor-piercing with more damage. When hitting the armor at a sharp angle,
it ricochets and does no damage.
High explosive (HE) Normal Possesses the greatest potential damage, but slight armor penetration.
If the shell pierces the armor, it explodes inside the tank, causing maximum damage.
Improved Large explosion radius or high armor penetration (HESH shells on some British guns).
If it does not penetrate, it will explode on the armor of a tank still.
Shells can also damage several tanks at once due to the explosion radius.
Armor Piercing Composite Rigid (APCR) Normal The main type of shells for most medium level 10 tanks,
some medium level 9 tanks and some light tanks.
Improved The most common premium shells in the game, installed in almost any weapon.
Operating principle is similar to armor-piercing, though have higher projectile flight speed.
High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) Improved Higher penetration, damage of armor-piercing shells level.
The penetration effect is achieved not by kinetic energy, but due to
the cumulative jet generated as an explosive is detonated at a certain distance from the armor. There are 3 calibers, do not lose armor penetration with distance.

Upon rebound, a projectile does not disappear, but continues its movement along a new trajectory, with 25% of the armor-piercing ability.

The crew

Each virtual crew member affects tank performance. This is another piece of the puzzle, without which any World of Tanks review wouldn’t be holistic. The more experience the crew obtains, the better it is for war mastery. Beside the main specialty of each crew member, a player can acquire  additional skills. Each subsequent skill requires 2 times more experience than the previous one.

WoT players are presented with an array of options with a crew: recruit, discharge, rest, retrain, etc. Regardless of what tank a particular tanker went to, you can always see his track record. If a crew member got a shell shock in battle, tank characteristics will noticeably decrease. If the entire crew fails, the vehicle is considered destroyed and leaves the battle.

Crew specialties:

Commander Affects enemy detection, mostly. A crew under the guidance of a skilled commander, performs better – this is expressed in percentage next to the personal icon.
Gunner Affects gunning speed, overall fire accuracy, tower rotation speed.
Driver Affects tank speed, maneuverability and acceleration.
Radio operator  Affects communication range, and thus enemy detection on the minimap. 
Loader Affects reload speed.

Additional specialization is available to study by a crew member after mastering the main specialty by 100%. When this mark is reached, a plus sign appears in the menu – click it to select extra perks or skills. The average crew usually has no more than 3 skills. For this reason, the question of which perks to develop on a tank should be approached wisely.

Skills. The effect is gradually increasing from minimum to maximum. Skills include repair, concealment, firefighting, jack of all trades, armorer, off-road driving, situational awareness, etc. 

WoT crew management

Perks. Perks begin to have an effect when studied by 100%. These include “brothers in arms”, sixth sense, eagle eye, preventive maintenance, adrenaline rush, call for vengeance. 

WoT crew skills

Tank exterior/disguise

The stylization of military units is a big separate topic, but we could not leave it without mention. Tank camouflage serves not only as an appearance, it also can add bonuses, making a tank more functional. However, bonus amount isn’t much dependant on camouflage skin, rather on the tank type the camo is applied.

+2% Heavy tanks and self-propelled guns 
+3% Light and medium tanks
+4% Tank destroyers

Camouflage can also be applied to turrets and guns, although bonus comes from tank body only. Players can buy camouflage for gold, the price depends on the level and type.

World of Tanks review 2020

Yet the exterior options are not only down to camouflage – there are also paints, emblems, inscriptions, decals, other effects. All of those are divided into historical and non-historical, as indicated by a little icon. Non-historical elements are hidden by default, to enable it go to Settings, Game tab.

WoT economics

World of Tanks has three main resources: credits, experience, and gold. The first two are earned in battles, while the main (but not the only) way to get gold is to buy it for real money. There is also one clan resource – industrial resource, earned in fortified areas for achievements in ranked battles.

Gold, per say, does not give an advantage in battle, but significantly increases rewards for battles. Also note, that moving up the WoT game without gold is possible, even though it requires more time and effort. Similarly, going the other way – obtain high achievements by investing lots of money – is impossible. You will have to gather experience gradually, it cannot be purchased. 

With that said, you can purchase any amount of gold – from 1,000 for $4.7 to 10,000 for $40, 30,000 for $111, or name-a-figure-and-pay. 

WoT game review

Since 2017 upgrades, a new kind of in-game currency has been introduced – bonds. Bonds are kind of a reward for ranking battles, assigned at the end of war stages or seasons. So whether it is a currency or a resource is debatable. With bonds players can get pre-combat instructions and enhanced gear. 

Another aspect in World of Tanks economics is premium account (PA). There's plenty of them to try – from 1/3/7 days to 90/180 days. Typically, what you get with PA is +50% combat experience and crew experience, better missions and maps, more credits. 

wot premium account

You may also find special or seasonal discounts for PAs or PAs for certain items/tanks, e.g. 30-days premium for T34 tank.   

WoT game modes

Currently, the game has 4 permanent modes: random, training, clan battles and battles in fortified areas. In addition to the permanent modes, there are so called “seasonal” modes, for example, ranking battles and the Front line. 

The most common are random battles. There are 3 types of random battles in WoT: standard, assault and encounter. As part of standard battle on 10th level and beyond, there’s also a general battle. 

  • Standard battle – 2 teams of 15 players on a random map. Each team has a base, which is usually located in a well-protected place. The goal is to capture the enemy base or destroy all enemy equipment. With simultaneous capture of both bases, or destruction of both teams in 15 minutes, a draw is declared.
  • Assault – one team defends the base, the other tries to capture it. The defending team has obvious advantages: better position at a height, victory if time is up and base is not captured. 
  • Encounter battle – similar to a random battle, although there is only one base for two teams. Teams appear on opposite edges of the map, and capture speed is reduced. Standard timing of 15 minutes per combat.
  • General battle is the classic World of Tanks gameplay on large maps, where you can fight 30 vs 30 on the tenth-level. To participate in battle one should think of replenishing experience, gold and bonds.

Other modes:

  • Ranking battle – based on Standard battle rules, and is available only for 10th level equipment. The balancer selects teams of participants with an equal game skill, and after the battle players are assigned a rank.
  • Front Line – 30v30 fight on a large special map with an area of ​9 square kilometers. The Front Line is available for tier-8 vehicles.
  • Fortified areas – a mode for clan players. As clan property, the fortified area consists of a command center, directions leading to it, and additional buildings. A fortified area can be created by the clan commander for free.
  • The global map is a strategic struggle between WoT clans for territories, gold and unique equipment. Captured fortified area grants even higher rewards.
  • Training battles – which is quite self-explanatory. Mode selection, maps, teams, duration, etc. are all editable. Training battle has a limit on participants: 15 vs 15, plus additional places in the reserve. Experience and credits are not given out.

Gaming experience (Conclusion)

Having mentioned all the elements of the game (more or less), let’s summarize key points for this World of Tanks review. First, you register online and join the community. Choose a nation and a vehicle, start playing, and you can pretty much pump up to level-5 in about 2 days. 

WoT offers fascinating gameplay, excellent mechanics, engine and shooting sounds, other effects. During the game, you will receive a variety of medals for completing tasks, mastery marks and marks for damage to enemies.

If you play just for fun, and don’t care so much about skills, then levels 1 to 6 will do just fine without investment. Yet, to get to 6 to 8 levels, you will have to go through a series of battles, as well as farm gold and XP to spend on repairs, ammunition, higher-level tanks. It’s difficult to talk about 9-10 levels, since without a PA you will be very unlikely to win random battles in a profitable way.

To improve skills, in addition to watching training YouTube videos, we also recommend trying to get the following modifications:

  • Armor inspectors – this will allow to study the armor weak points.
  • XVM – this will allow to see each player’s statistics, unite in platoons with other players.

The number of modifications for WoT is large, yet some of them are prohibited (e.g. Tundra mod for WoT) and can lead to account ban.

In this humble World of Tanks review we touched on important gaming aspects of the game, but it is far from all. Frankly, if you are looking for a game to kill a few hours, you should not go with WoT. It will require hundreds of hours in order to achieve good results. But on the other hand, this is also a beauty of WoT, isn’t it?

FAQ

Q: What are the system requirements for WoT?
A: For Windows 7/8/10 it is recommended to have 4GB of RAM, 36GB disk space, Intel Core i5 CPU, GeForce GTX660 or Radeon HD 7850 video card, 1024 Kbps Internet speed. For MacOS installation Codeweavers Mac Wrapper tool is required.

Q: How to install mods in WoT?
A: First, you will need a program that can extract WoT modifications (7zip, WinRar). Then, download the mod you want from the official Wgmods.net. Extract, copy “.wotmod” file, go to the root of your World of Tanks installation ("C:\Games\World Of Tanks" for example), and you should see "res_mods" folder there. Open patch folder (0.1.X.X.X), paste ".wotmod" into it. Restart the game.