World of Tanks, a different style of PvP

Not so very long ago I decided I would try World of Tanks. A friend highly recommended it, even though he knows I am not a fan of PvP.

He said it’s different than World of Warcraft’s version of PvP, and its a lot more fun.

He could not have been more right.

I have played about a thousand matches now. Not enough to be an expert by any means, but enough that I have a decent grip on the basics. I’ll be going over those in upcoming posts. For today, I just want to take a look at the two games I really enjoy, and see where the differences lie.

First off, I am only going to address the PvP portion of WoW, as compared to WoT. I can’t compare the character development, side games, or role playing aspects when only one game has those. Simply put, for PvE, it’s WoW all the way.

In each game you control one unit on a digital battlefield.

In each game there are different types of units. Granted, one group is made up of fantasy characters and the other of armored vehicles, but the underlying concept is the same.  Unlike Starcraft for instance, where you control all the units.

In each game, in theory at least, the individual units are relatively well balanced against one another. Some are better equipped or slightly higher in level, but once again the concept is very similar.

One glaring difference is that each player in WoT gets one life per battle, whereas in WoW you get unlimited lives thru respawning. The closest WoW gets to this is the reinforcement counts in some battlegrounds that limit the total deaths per side.

This causes a very different mindset when it comes to the game. With only a single life per game, it matters much more how that one life is spent.

Another difference brought about by this is the way matches are scored.

In WoW, generally, it’s a capture the flag style game. You need to achieve an objective while at the same time holding another. Even in Alterac Valley, you need to kill the enemy leader while defending yours (though he can defend himself somewhat as well).

In WoT there is the capture the flag element as well, though the flag captures are more like capturing a graveyard in WoW PvP, where you hold the position until it becomes yours. Do that, before the enemy caps your flag and your team wins.

The other way, and the way perhaps 80% of the WoT matches I have been involved in end up, is with extermination of the opposing team. Most battles last about 10 minutes or so, though they time out after 15.

In both games, the matches are a lot of fun. I do think that WoT is more balanced, but since thats the only thing they balance for its much easier to do, in my opinion.

One of the largest differences, other than the single life per match, is how advancement is handled.

In WoW you can have up to 50 characters per account, 11 per server. In WoT, as far as I know you could have every single tank in the game. It would be prohibitively expensive since you start with 5 or 6 garage slots and have to buy more with meatspace money, but you could do it if your pockets were deep enough.

The biggest difference is in WoT you get to keep your progression.

There are 10 tiers of tanks in this game, and generally you will be facing tanks within one or two tiers of yourself. I say that to say this.

Lets just say, as a for instance, that I level a WoW character up to a given level bracket. Lets just say 19 to have a number. I can then take him out and gear him up, increasing his relative worth in that bracket.

However, I have to choose whether to stop advancing with him or not. That choice affects who my opponents will be as well. Now, lets say I would also like to play in the 20-25 bracket. I have the option of leveling another character, or progressing the one I already have.

If I go up, everything I have is useless, and I am now locked out of playing in the lower bracket.

If I level an alt, I now must grind my way up to and past the other character in order to get where I want to be. In short, I’m not doing what I want to be doing (PvPing in the 20-25 bracket) I’m out in Durotar questing my way to 20.

In WoT on the other hand, the leveling system is different. Once you buy a tank at whatever tier, its forever at that tier. It can be improved thru playing however. As the tank gains XP you unlock improvements to it, and the crew gets more efficient. Eventually, you have enough XP to unlock the next tank in the line.

If you decide to buy that next tank as well, congrats, you have a new one that needs some love to get “geared up”. You also still have your old one, crew and all. The next patch won’t come along and make you regrind all your equipment again.

I think for someone who PvP’s as casually as I do, WoT is just a better model. A can, and have, walked away for five or six months, only to come back and pick up right where I left off.

Now, this post is already about twice the length I thought it would be. To avoid tossing out a whole book all at once, I’m going to stop here, after just chatting about these gameplay differences.

I could easily dump another thousand words on the financial differences of a subscription modal and a free to play with microtransactions model. Thats a post for another day though.

Until then, keep your head down and your powder dry.

See you on the battlefield.