World of Tanks is a F2P MMO, featuring WWI to post WWII armored vehicles of all types in a cross between arcade play and a simulator. It seems to draw in Eve players like a girl on XBox Live does marriage proposals. Obviously the F2P model is going to bring in tons of players, but why is it that this game in particular has developed such a following among those who play Eve?
The first part of that answer is that World of Tanks provides the ability to simply click a button and instantly enter combat. If you die, you can just exit your battle and hop right into a new battle with a new tank and be right back to shooting tanks within a few minutes.
When you have spent hours upon hours in fleets traveling from location to location or waiting in a pos praying for your enemy to mess up so you can engage, it doesn’t take a genius to see the attraction that instant combat offers to Eve players. You also don’t have to worry about getting together with other people before playing, so you can play whenever you want to without waiting for a fleet op to start.
Fast-Paced - Yet Not Too Fast
Eve players are generally used to having a few seconds to think about what they are going to do next, and as such games in the vein of Counter-Strike where you risk getting sniped in the head within the first few seconds of combat don’t generally appeal to us that much.
World of Tanks offers a nice goldilocks pace between the two extremes, fast enough to have the fun of twitch combat but still slow enough that you can have the time you need to think and make good decisions. This lets players have a good combination of fast paced action, but without the ‘oh great I just got headshotted by a twelve year old from across the map' effect of Call of Duty or Modern Warfare.
People who can place precise shots and know where to shoot will be rewarded, and occasionally the random number generator will destroy your tank within the first few shots, but in the majority of your games you can count on not getting blown sky high the moment you spot an enemy.
Short of having your account hacked, you aren’t going to log in one day to find out that everything you have worked for has been taken away from you; you can’t have a bad game and then lose that monster tank you spent months grinding for. The lack of stress and worry in World of Tanks often comes a salve to players who spend time worrying that one wrong move could see their really expensive spaceship blown up.
You can even re-connect to games if you disconnect, a feature usually only included on games that penalize leavers. This feature works wonderfully with World of Tanks because you can always drop out of your game in a flash if there is something happening in Eve, a flexibility you don’t find in games such as LoL or HoN.
A Thinking Man’s Game
There are five different main branches of tank types in World of Tanks. You have Heavy Tanks, Medium Tanks, Light Tanks, Tank Destroyers and Self Propelled Guns. When you consider that each category has at least one entirely different tech tree for each of currently four different nations each of which with differing philosophies of tank design, you have tanks that are actually different from one another rather than the same generic one reskinned half a dozen times.
Players who know and are able to take advantage of the different strengths and weaknesses of the tanks on the field are able to use it to actually make good choices to get a major advantage. If the enemy has more self propelled guns you can avoid open areas and try to flank around the enemy team to get to them. If you have more Tank Destroyers, deploy them to take advantage of any camoflauge boosting terrain features like heavy brush so they can take the enemy by surprise.
This sort of system where every different tank really is kind of unique and different is familiar to Eve players, who are usually able to pick up on it much faster than regular players.
The main feature that draws Eve players is Clan Wars. It’s basically 'nullsec warfare lite'; clans fight each other in a Risk-style map and the winners recive a daily stipend of gold, the premium micro-transaction currency of World of Tanks.
The more successful clans get to shower their members in enough gold to keep them in premium subscriptions, and have enough left over for whatever side projects their leaders feel are appropriate, either handing out gold to make it easier to get to new tanks or stealing it all for themselves so they can dive in it, Scrooge McDuck style, depending on how corrupt they are. This is an entirely familiar situation to Eve players.
Clan Wars is a zero-sum game. As you would expect from Eve, the map is made up of power blocs owning the best real estate, while non-allied clans play the power blocs off of each other in an attempt to live on the fringes. Eve players, especially veterans of nullsec warfare find this cutthroat world very easy to adjust to. The most successful Clan leaders typically have a stint in Eve as part of their pedigree, and it’s often too easy to tell who has experience with diplomacy in a world where everyone is looking out for number one first, and who is just waiting to be taken advantage of.
At a rank and file level, Eve players are usually better than their regular counterparts as well. They already have experience with knowing that you live or die as a team, and that the important thing isn’t if you live or die at the end of the match, it’s if your side won or not. This sort of team first attitude is rare to find in World of Tanks because in random matchmaking you are out to maximize your experience and credit gain by selfish play, and that’s the sort of attitude that most players bring to Clan Wars as well.
As a result, too many teams lose in Clan Wars because their members aren’t willing to fully trust their teammates, and are unwilling to fully commit during the battle, instead preferring to play peek-and-poke with a corner while the rest of their team dies around them.
An Addicting Combination
When you combine all of these factors, its easy to see why many Eve players have a love affair with World of Tanks. It’s the perfect game to cheat on Eve with. It’s quick, low maintenance, and reminds you of a thinner younger version of your significant other (game).
World of Tanks is here to stay, and with version 8.0 coming out soon bringing physics and significant graphical upgrades, Eve players will continue to have quickies whenever they are bored and waiting for Eve to wake up and get in the mood.