World of Tanks Commander’s Guide Review
World of Tanks has left its tracks on many other platforms since its arrival on PC in Europe and North America in 2011. Mobile and console gamers had to wait another three more years before they could get ‘tanking’, with the game’s first console debut on Xbox 360 and on mobile (as World of Tanks Blitz) in 2014. Today’s current-generation consoles finally got some WoT love this year with some exclusive time on Xbox One in July, featuring cross-platform play with other Xbox 360 tankers. Towards the end of the year PlayStation 4 gamers were able to join in, Beta form, with an expected final release set early in the new year.
With so much coverage of the game, there is a strong chance World of Tanks has caught either your own attention, or perhaps an interest in giving the free-to-play digital tank warfare game a try. Before you do though; you may want to learn a few tips from the experts before you get your derriere handed to you on the battlefield.
With over 150 million registered users, there are plenty of skilled players foaming at the mouth, waiting to take a piece of your armour, and turn your tank into a flaming metal coffin. Thankfully, the ‘Commander’s Guide’ from Carlton Books delivers a wealth of knowledge in World of Tanks to teach you enough to make you look less like a noob and more like you’ve been playing for at least a few months.
World of Tanks has quite a diverse groups of players, ranging from trigger happy teenagers to much older veterans, some who may have even driven these tanks themselves, back in the day. Written by Bristol-based games journalist, Tom Hatfield, who has written for PC Gamer, GameSpy and The Guardian, the ‘Commanders Guide’ caters for this broad span of gamers, with factual book of pages that have enough information for those who1 want to consume as little or as much information as they desire.
Tom has spent four years mastering the game, and has written this guide with a variety of helpful tips sourced from himself, and his friends who have all been involved in high-level competitive matches. The guide takes you through the first initial steps of wining your first starter match, to hanging out in the mid-tier, to fighting as part of a large clan. On top of all this, the guide covers the reality behind the game, featuring insights into the history of tank warfare and near to the end of the guide there is a photo gallery of real-world tanks provided by The Tank Museum in Bovington, UK.
The guide first kicks off with a brief history of real-world tanks,featuring a timeline spanning World War I, through to the end of World War II. A period that saw many tanks evolve in their design, each making their own mark in history.
After a light overview of the history of the game, we are introduced to the Battlefield section. Here we learn all about the meat and veg of the in-game interface, as well as learning about some vital hot keys and shortcuts, game consumables, equipment, tank statistics, upgrading and making post-match repairs.
Gunner crews, player experience points, credits and gold sections round up the high-level areas of the game. These are all key elements to your own progression in the game, and these can also be areas that your wallet should be very careful of – I know a few people that has spent a few hundred pounds of the queens money on virtual gold and premium tank deals in this game.
The guide then goes on to cover why your most likely to be flipping through the pages – the tanks. In the begging, Tom goes through each of the light, medium and heavy tanks, the tank destroyers and artillery categories, before diving deeper into each tier class and specific tactics based on battle type by map, tactical manoeuvring and working alongside your platoon. He describes ways to give cover during co-op play, through to crossfire, spotting enemies and laying bait to your foe.
Tank tech-trees feature in the next major section of the ‘Commander’s Guide’. However with the game constantly evolving, you may view these tech-trees a little differently once you log in today or months from now. The basics at least here though, and Tom goes over each countries’ tech-tree.
In the Achievements section, in-game medals and ribbons are detailed with full graphics of each representative icon and an at-a-glance description of how to obtain each one alongside them. A nice touch here is that it also labels what version of the game the achievement was added in the game.
The Vehicles section has pages dedicated to each country, with full colour images of each tank available. Each section of tanks is grouped to each category; light, medium, heavy etc. It is a nice way to see all the tanks in the category, and with each countries’ tanks spanning a single page, it’s a good way to see the differences of their exterior design between each country.
Clan wars is a tricky subject to cover in an offline paper guide, because it really depends on how you approach clans, their skill level and how professional and organised they are. So coverage of Clan wars is covered very briefly here. There are some tips on starting your own clan and an introduction to Strongholds, a recently added feature in the game.
Like most MMOs, the game has seen players participate in competitive, highly organised matches against other World of Tanks players, with the potential of winning some big money prizes. Tom talks about the growth of e-sports and the official Wargaming League, listing its rules and their various leagues in Europe and North America.
Closing the rear end of the Commanders Guide, you’ll find in the Real Tanks section. 30 pages of historic photos feature here with a summary about the history of each tank being pictured. For those just seeking information on the game, this is an area you’ll most likely gloss over once, but anyone interested in the history of the tanks you play with, there are some good detailed photos and information on them here.
Finally, the last few sections feel like a showcase (advert) for The British Tank Museum, plus Wargaming’s other titles, World of Warplanes, and just recently released out of beta, World of Warships. These pages thankfully don’t take up too much of the guide, and if you’re already aware of World of Tanks, then there’s a strong chance you’ll have already heard about their other titles.
Although the ‘Commander’s Guide’ is a richly crafted and well written guide, it leans more towards a beginner’s guide than a guide with enough detail suitable for experts. Its content can seem light on information for a World of Tanks player who has already earned his collection of medals on the battlefield. If you fall into this category there is little else to learn from the guide other than to glimpse over the various tanks in the game – which I felt much easier to do than to flick through all the menus in the game – but on the flip side, the guide doesn’t feature much more information other than the tank’s name.
If you’re just about to climb into this game yourself or know someone who is about to, or perhaps you want to introduce someone else to the game, then the World of Tanks ‘Commander’s Guide’ is a great read, with a wealth of knowledge and tips for anyone whose wet behind the ears, and can’t wait to climb into their steel box, roll out and dominate on the battlefield.
RRP £16.99 (On Sale – Jan 2016 for £9.99)
Published by Carltonbooks