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World of Tanks: Shell or Be Shelled...

Company: Wargaming.net

"I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once. That's how Dad did it, that's how America does it, and it's worked out pretty well so far."

- Tony Stark, President and CEO of Stark Industries

Amen, Tony, amen. While cars can move quickly and guns can cause death and destruction, if you're looking for the utmost in man-driven powerfully destructive war machines, you're in the market for a tank. World of Tanks delivers, with a variety of historically accurate American, Russian and German tanks from WWII and the Korean War... along with some that were made but never actually used in battle.

Tank fans will likely find their favorite here, whether it be a Light Tank, Medium Tank, Heavy Tank or even Tank Destroyer or SPG; there's a lot of firepower and armor to play with here. In order to get access to the higher-tiered tanks, however, you'll have to research your way up to them. The technology tree is handled in an interesting way in World of Tanks, in that each weaponry advancement is placed in historical and logical order, and to go from a tank you have to a tank you want, you'll need to research the upgrades that, essentially, made that more advanced tank possible. There will be other advances you could research, such as improved guns, turrets, suspension, engines or radios, but certain improvements lead to the next tank, while others merely are improvements for your current tank.

You can take these newly-researched upgrades and upgrade your existing tanks, storing more than one tank in your garage. Additionally, it is fairly straightforward to modify your tanks' skins - something which is actually supported and encouraged by the game developers. Some people are using this to make alternate historical skins for their tanks, while others have made skins inspired by movies; one person was making some skins inspired by TRON, while I, myself, skinned up an American T30 tank with a red-and-gold Iron-Man inspired motif, complete with Beyern multispoke blingy wheels.

I didn't know what to expect from a tank-based MMORPG. The online aspect is definitely there, along with the real, live players, both on your team and your enemies. However, you don't have a single "Avatar" in World of Tanks. You may have several tanks in your garage, each with two to six personnel keeping them moving around the battlefield. These soldiers each have important stats and gain skills specific to certain tanks as well as more general skills, such as Firefighting, Camouflage and Repair. You can keep your crew together, or mix things up by switching out different soldiers between tanks to get the mix you desire as the crew of the tank you're currently using, but you don't really identify with a single soldier; you're in command of tanks crews, but "you" aren't specifically represented in the game. All this means is World of Tanks isn't your typical MMORPG game and it's not necessarily targeting the typical MMORPG crowd. It is, however, likely to be very attractive to WWII buffs and, for that matter, anyone who likes to blow things up. Stay tuned for a full review once the game leaves beta and in the mean time, check out the beta yourself.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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