For the Record: World of Tanks vs Armored Warfare (Round 2)
Hello everyone, you probably heard of the upcoming Armored Warfare game. For those, who have not – well, it’s basically World of Tanks, but with modern tanks. Currently, it’s in the alpha stage of development, with some footage released (looking at you, World of Warships) and with developer updates coming out now and then. The developers recently released a new video, where they describe the way AW is moving – let’s have a look at it and compare it with World of Tanks. * * Okay, here are the basics. No point in sugarcoating it. It’s a WoT clone. But before you go all “fuck that” – the mechanics are the same (WoT was taken as development baseline), but the declared aim of the developers is to actually build a game without the issues, that currently plague WoT – specifically high RNG, disappearing tanks, current model of artillery and matchmaking. Whether they will succeed, well, that is a real question, isn’t it. Unlike WoT, AW actually has a narrative. Basically, it’s some sort of cyberpunk backstory, where you play as a PMC (mercenary armored company), getting hired by various people. The developers are actually American (Obsidian Entertainment) and they have previous experience with RPG’s, so this might actually turn out really nicely. There’s also the goal of releasing the game with a PvE story mode, something WoT is lacking for obvious reasons (and, seeing the “historical battles” fiasco, probably will for a while more). As a bonus, in this sense, battles of T-55′s versus Abrams tanks are completely possible to fit into a narrative (unlike WoT’s Maus vs STB-1). The engine is a version of CryEngine, but make no mistake… this will not run on the worst shit the Russians are using. As a result, the game developers apparently decided to focus more on western markets instead (note that the game publisher is actually Russian, a juggernaut of a company called Mail.ru), so I guess we won’t see the stupid Stalin shit here. Even on video, the engine looks superior to the aged BigWorld Wargaming is using – how well will that work is of course the question. I actually like how Armored Warfare makes it completely known that the game is (for now, anyway) a World of Tanks clone. This is completely different from (in my opinion) wrong route Gaijin took with Ground Forces – with GF, they tried to make them “realistic” and “we are not WoT” at all costs and the result, while interesting to some, did in my opinion not prove to be successful. But the real question is – why bother? Isn’t it actually smarter to copy what World of Tanks did right (and make no mistake, for all its flaws, World of Tanks is an awesome concept) and improve it? I do believe it is. Anyway, the tanks have the advantage of not being tied to one particular nation, so you have a pretty wide mash-up of various modern vehicles, from BMP’s to Abrams upgrades and such stuff. And yes, there will apparently be a BMPT Terminator – can’t help it, I am a fan of that vehicle. On the other hand, everything comes with a price tag and the price here is that there will not be any “national” branches in WoT sense (WoT solution is actually preferable to me), which makes it harder to identify with a certain group of vehicles and such. The “branch” characteristics will be far broader (basically, Soviet vehicles, US vehicles and the rest), because there are three “arms dealers”, where you use your “XP” (reputation or something) to buy stuff. This solution is probably preferrable for some people, but not for me. On the plus side, according to the preview, each tank will have SHITLOADS of modules, more than WoT has and it will allegedly be possible to create “builds”, tweaked for one particular role by choosing various module setups (not like in WoT, where one setup – “elite” – is, apart from several exceptions, the best). What I do not like on the video… Some of the devs are talking shit. On one hand, they say it’s “really different” from World of Tanks, when it’s clearly a clone. I guess that’s just PR talk, they can’t very well say “oh, we cloned WoT, look” – but still, sometimes it’s better not to say anything instead of lying. Plus, the stupid “blend of realism” crap…. it’s an arcade, for fucks sake. The tanks don’t even have realistic armor values, they have “defense” parameters instead (which is actually pretty smart, because it allows the devs to rebalance stuff without the “it’s unhistorical” element). I think they really should drop the “realism” rhetoric completely. Also, “authentic locations”? That’s NOT the way you want this to go – Syria and Ukraine re-enactments, that’s asking for trouble. The way artillery was shown for like two seconds is the way it looks in WoT. It was however mentioned on forums that this mechanism will be revised somehow, so AW doesn’t end up with fucked-up arty (it was mentioned they’d focus on AOE DPS instead of RNG oneshots). We’ll just have to see. Third thing I didn’t like is that they are mentioning things WG already has (turrets being ripped off by explosions, active suspension) as something new. No, that’s not a feature you brag about, that’s something you HAVE to implement in order to catch up with Wargaming. But then, Wargaming has like 30 HD models out of 300… by the time this game is released, WG will still probably have half of its models in SD. The object destruction looks a bit bland on the video too (and so does the smoke effect), but I guess that’s just an alpha or something, whatever. Conclusion When I saw the first footage of War Thunder Ground Forces and when I’ve read about its mechanics, I was instinctively repulsed, but I do not feel this way here. In fact, it looks very promising. But it will be a very hard job creating something able to beat World of Tanks in terms of sheer fun. So – developers, don’t fuck it up. I am personally hopeful, we’ll see. In absolutely worst case, it will at least keep Wargaming on their toes… Oh, and beta ETA? Q1 2015.