For the Record: Armored Warfare versus World of Tanks
Hello everyone, if you are following the world of war games closely, you are probably aware of the new upcoming game with modern tanks called Armored Warfare. Recently, there was a video issued – a first part of the developer diaries. Check it out. * * Although the developer, Obsidian Entertainment, is clearly western – as you can see in the video (getting rid of that “some guy with weird haircut speaking Russian with English voiceover added” issue), the producer of Armored Warfare is actually Russian. You might see the “my.com” logo on the Armored Warfare webpage – after quick googling, you discover that the my.com service actually belongs to Mail.ru. For those who do not know, Mail.ru is to Wargaming what Apple is to Microsoft or Sega to Nintendo – something like the main competitor on the Russian market (last year, Mail.ru games made more money off Russians than Wargaming). It is the most influential and widespread Russian internet provider and website owner and their portfolio includes (in Russia) very popular browser games. It is also not their first attempt to “ride the wave” of armor popularity started by World of Tanks – previously, they created what was essentially a World of Tanks clone (with shitty graphics, browser based). After some legal skirmishes the dust settled and Wargaming came out as the winner, keeping its large share of the pie. And now, Mail.ru is back with a vengeance and they are going real smart about it. Let me tell it like this: I was very impressed by the video. I mean… it looks like World of Tanks, just with modern tanks. The inspiration is completely obvious, but there are significant changes too and some of them provide clear advantage to AW. I’ll skim over them quickly (roughly in the order as presented by the video). - the most obvious one is the engine. If Wargaming was using CryEngine, they would be unbeatable, but the tired old Bigworld looks old – and I am not talking about the HD models, that seem to be finally trickling down into the game lately, but everything else – water render, ground, objects, especially flora – looks really bad and despite assurances from the Wargaming developer team that we will see improvements in this area… well, not this year probably. - another clear advantage is the fact that the game uses modern tanks, which means they will not be bothered by any historicity at all. Some of the “lowtier” stuff parameters are known (for example the armor of the T-54), but with tanks like Abrams or T-90, the parameters will be most likely fictional á la Wargame, for example “Abrams has 25 units of frontal armor, T-90 cannon can penetrate 24 units of armor” etc. – this will in one fell swoop allow the developer to balance everything as they see fit and it will also get rid of the entire “historical” crowd, checking armor thicknesses, penetration etc. It makes the development much easier. Plus, you avoid the “oh look, it’s the same tanks as in WoT” effect. - the fact that the game focuses on post-war vehicles on one hand means that the pool of armor is quite limited and nowhere near as varied as the outrageous amount of vehicles, prototypes and proposals from the early and wartime armor development years. This is actually a relatively good thing, because it gives a chance to small European nations to appear very soon instead of having 50+1 branches of American, German and Russian tanks. As you probably know, I am Czech and we had series of very interesting vehicles, especially modified T-55 variants, which – although too new for World of Tanks – would fit this game beautifully, as they do in Wargame. This is enhanced by the fact that by using Cryengine, the game definitely shifts the focus on western audience, since the computers here are better on average than in Russia. While Wargaming was neglecting the EU server nations’ tanks and was feeding us with shit noone wanted anyway (Japanese tanks – least played tree in WoT), AW can seize this opportunity and utilize the untapped potential of EU countries. - map size was what surprised me. The largest World of Tanks maps are 1000×1000 meters big currently and AW is operating with “just” 1200×1200 meters. Considering the modern vehicles can hit targets at many hundreds of meters – in motion, it seems small, but then again, it’s not a simulator. - the alleged use of historical shell velocity is IMHO not true, especially judging from the video, the weather is really beautiful though. - spotting system – here I am a bit disappointed. Spotting system is a pain in the ass and in Wargaming case, it eats ENORMOUS amount of server resources. I am not an expert on MMO’s and the last time I played Battlefield was BF2142 years ago, but – can’t the developers simply make the game like that? Without the spotting system, but for example with the “stealthy” vehicles’ ability to for example switch off their “icons” on enemy HUD temporarily or when not moving? This can potentially be a serious weakpoint if not done properly. - damage model looks roughly similiar to WoT at first glance Conclusion I am hopeful, as this could be a LOT of fun. We’ll see how it goes, but I think that this game will be a more serious threat to Wargaming than the entire War Thunder, simply because – unlike WT – it does not offer the same old content in a different package, or trying to obviously fuel its audience by disgruntled WoT players. As for me, give me a Czech line with Czech crews and I will be very happy. I am really curious, how will they solve the crew system. I mean – is there even such a thing as nationality in the game? Who knows. But yes, I like what I see so far.