Ten years ago, I skipped school to play the launch of World of Tanks. I had bought the Mutant package, which WG assured me would never be sold again (hint: it was) and was ready to go! Over the next week, I played over 400 games (that's almost 5.5 hours a day!)!
I also earned my first kolos!
In my first month, I played 1000 games!
So here's my review of what's changed and what hasn't changed!
MOST IMPROVED/BEST FEATURES:
I would have never in a million years imagined writing this, but after 10 painful years, WG finally got the MM in a pretty good place. The reason I quit the game was the 3/5/7 disaster – as a mid tier player, I got tired of being food for tier 10s 90% of my games AND being punished if I played with friends. Now, the MM is almost always either all tier 8s or +1, which is amazing.
Compare this to beta:
Imagine fighting a Maus as a Panzer III…or imagine having your 2nd highest tier tank be a Tiger. It was common to have top tier heavies be almost completely invincible.
2. Core gameplay / Vision system
WOT's core systems of peekaboom, vision/camo, and gun handling are simple to use yet difficult to master. They have provided a great platform for competition at all levels.
3. Excellent server stability/patch stability
No one ever mentions this, but WOT has been outstandingly stable. I can only think of one major server issue (the warping T-54s issue in beta) and I can't remember a snigle major issue with patches not working, servers going down, or massive lag. That's truly impressive.
4. Limited Pay to Win
Compared to a lot of games, WOT has limited pay2win. This is not to say wargaming isn't all about the money. Loot boxes, grinding missions, OP premiums, premium ammo, season pass, and so on are all designed to keep you banging that skinner box. It obviously works for them. Despite this, WG has found a line between pay2win and pay to advance faster/get things you want. Compared to a lot of game companies, WG is a lot more fair to freemium players because they aren't useless in a fight.
5. Wide variety of Tank nations and lines to play
Its funny, WOT has so many tanks they had to pare it down to make it less overwhelming. But for most of us, the reason we keep playing is we think we need to grind out just one more tier 10 just in case we need 5 different TDs for clan wars…and just to enjoy the different flavor.
STILL DOGSHIT/WORST MECHANICS:
Arty was bad in beta and its still bad now. Its the single biggest mistake WOT has clung to since launch, despite overwhelming, consistent feedback from the playerbase. In some ways I admire WG's courage to be steadfastly wrong despite a decade of evidence, but I can't help but think of how much better the game would have been if WG had flushed this turd long ago.
A newcomer, but still a terrible system. Driving a car with tires as "spaced armor" is just silly. It also appeals to the dumbest of the playerbase – the people who just rush in and die in the first 2 minutes and don't give a fuck about winning. Its also notable that arty at least has historical precedence and value in clan wars, but wheelieboys is just a misguided attempt at trying something new.
3. Tier Powercreep
One of WOT's major flaws has always been the gap between tiers. A tier 5 simply cannot compete with a tier 7. Regardless of the skill of the player or the quality of the tanks, the HP and imaginary penetration values ensure this. Combined with the matchmaker, this has always resulted in a lot of frustration. In recent years, WG has completely abandoned all pretense of fairness and just releases tier 10 tanks reskinned as a "prototype" at tier 8 with pretty much idential stats. This is no doubt a huge moneymaker for them, and the playerbase likes it, but its still rough on anyone who isn't playing a tier 8 prem or a tier 10.
A related issue is premium ammo. Once premium for credits became available, game balance was destroyed. Every top tier player or p2w tryhard could spam gold nonstop, utterly ruining balance for heavies or poors. It also made it so even the most armored tanks can't aggressively attack anymore, leading to much more campy style of play. Compare this to early WOT, where a couple of top tier heavies could aggressively attack and overwhelm lesser tanks with almost no risk. It was a completely different style.
4. Map Design
The first few maps WG made remain their best. Open, realistic, historical maps are by far the best gameplay as long as there isn't a lot of cancer in the game. But given WG's hostility to chemo, WG instead attempted to fix the cancer problem by making maps smaller, simpler, and more like corridors. This significantly dumbed down the game and rewarded gold spamming td/heavies instead of flanking and teamwork.
5. Autoloaders, pastaloaders, doublebalanced commies, so on
When autoloaders were first released, I loved them. They gave smaller, light tanks the ability to be a real threat. I think if autoloaders had remained limited only to lights/mediums with relatively small guns, they would be a positive in the game…but autoloading TDs, cancer, and so on continually power creeped the offensive threat of tanks. This has led to more and more cautious play due to the risk of getting instablapped even as a top tier heavy.
So there we go! Here is an album of some fun pictures from the first month of release:
TL;DR – Thank you, wargaming, for fucking me longer and harder than any woman ever will. Here's to another decade! Thanks for reading.