Four years ago, Wargaming released World of Tanks - and subsequently began expanding in a fashion that positively encouraged lazy invasion metaphor. Their armour rolled across continents and set up new outposts in each. Their troops parachuted into North America - capturing Chris Taylor’s Gas Powered Games and MechAssault types Day 1.
In that time, they’ve also made another game: World of Warplanes. But tracked vehicles, not winged ones, continue to fund the overwhelming majority of the company’s enlargement.
World of Tanks has come a long way since its inception, but 2014 looks to be quite a game-changer for the free-to-play game. Wargaming is developing some notable improvements to the game, with a great focus on wrestling away the dominance the big clans have on the game, and evening the playing field so smaller, less experienced clans can still have fun without inevitable defeats.
New game modes are the way forward for Wargaming’s plan, and a whole host of new abilities that means your tank isn’t the only thing to rely on in battle.
Tracked vehicles have rarely entered into eSports since Counter-Strike practically invented the idea in the late ‘90s. That’s possibly because nothing about mile-long lines of stationary armour says ‘fast-paced teamwork’.
World of Tanks might be changing that. Less a historical sim than an approachable competitive shooter, the game has merited a $10m investment in eSports from its creators, Wargaming. And their community have answered.
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Wargaming.net’s League Grand Finals are taking place in Warsaw, Poland next month, between the 4th and the 6th, with the seeding taking place on March 24th. There’s a prize pool of $300,000 up for grabs, but the real prize is going to the people of Poland, because they’ll be able to meet our Jules, who we’re shipping over there in a crate.
Wargaming’s World of Tanks is set to become increasingly more complex and realistic as 2014 moves forward. The tanks vs. tanks wargame already realistically models things like tank armour, shell penetration and a plethora of other details that demand players pay attention, but now the in-game physics is getting a major overhaul.
The developer has put together a diary explaining all the upcoming changes. Expect crumbling buildings, flipping tanks and flying turrets.
One of the longstanding joys of playing games about historical fighting machines has been hopping into the impossible prototypes - the experimental designs that were only made once or twice because they exploded a lot, or a war ended.
That spirit runs through World of Tanks like a squishy person from a tracked vehicle, and now extends to the structure of the game itself. Wargaming.net have introduced Confrontation - a dangerous, exciting, experimental combat mode so new that it hasn’t been balanced yet.
Wargaming have been generous enough to supply us with 100 codes for World of Warplanes, which grant new and existing users with a snazzy plane plus some gold! The Supermarine Type 224 was the predecessor to the famous Spitfire. It’s fitted with a Goshawk engine and supplemented with two Browning Mk.II machine guns. The code will also net you 300 gold to spend on whatever you like.
World of Tanks has more than a few fans worldwide, but it's in Russia where the online tank-on-tank extravaganza has its most ardent fans. Last year WoT set a new record for most concurrent players in one server, a Russian one of course, with over 190,000 players in Russia fighting each other.
Back then Wargaming boasted a peak concurrent user figure of over 800,00 in Russia alone, but as of January 19th, it's smashed that figure into the ground, presumably with a tank shell.
While Wargaming.net is best known as a purveyor of addictive, skill-based tank, plane and ship combat games, it recently showed its softer side when it joined War Child UK in securing the safety of children in regions threatened by conflict through the Real War is Not a Game campaign. War Child is an international charity with teams in Afghanistan, Iraq, Uganda and other nations affected by war where they provide aid to child soldiers, homeless children, kids that have been locked up in prison and girls at risk of rape.
Back in September, Wargaming sold three charity packs to their customers, promising a quarter of the sales to War Child UK. This has amounted to €100,000, which Wargaming recently presented to the charity. This sum won't just protect children from the immediate effects of war - it will also be put towards education, helping families and giving young adults the opportunity to learn skills that will allow them to earn a sustainable income.
During World War II, tanks like the Type 95 Ha-Gō were seen only on the Pacific Front. But in Wargaming.net’s flagship game, Japanese tanks meet Russian tracked guns meet British armour in impossible deathmatches - an unfeasible tribute to the 20th century’s most memorable machines.
At the even hazier edge of the game’s heavy metal fantasy are the prototypes: the tanks that were never fielded. For update 8.10, welcome the Type 5 Ke-Ho and friends.
Wargaming have gone from nothing to everything in the space of a couple of years. World of Tanks is massively popular and certainly providing the Cyprus-based developer with a strong financial backbone. Strong enough to support another developer it would seem. GamesBeat are reporting that Wargaming are bankrolling a new start-up based in Seattle.
Till now World of Tanks has been lacking the up close and personal nature of mechanised cavalry. Talk to anyone who’s seen armoured combat and they’ll say that there’s nothing quite as cosy as bedding down with a tank at night. Well, the 8.9 update adds a new 14 player game mode to counter the impersonal 15v15 grudge matches.
That’s not all the update released earlier today brings.
GTA V’s drug run missions have taught me the two basic rules in piloting: make sure the nose is always at least 90 degrees from the ground, and don’t make the same mistake with the wings you did with the long parcel and the doorway. Oh, and a third: don’t ever land, if you can help it. You’ll only muck it up.
Wargaming.net reckon there’s more to be said, though, and have put together a seven-minute tutorial for budding dogfighters coming to World of Warplanes.
The Pacific Front of the popular imagination isn’t populated by columns of tracked armour, but bayonets and bunnyholes. It’s much the same in videogames. But Wargaming.net know where to look for tanks, and they’ve found 10 tiers’ worth of very large Japanese vehicles for an incoming World of Tanks update.
World of Tanks 8.8 brings new tanks, a new map, more explosions and a fair few bug fixes. What more could you want from an update to the premier tank vs tank shooter? Hats?! Get out of here. This game clearly isn’t for you.
World of Tanks developers Wargaming have posted an announcement on their front page that they will be re-introdcuing tank emblems that make reference to Stalin after concerted fan feedback on the Russian servers.
The EU server has reacted to this somewhat political statement with shock...