If youíve had your head stuffed under a rock for the last couple of years, chances are youíve still heard of World of Tanks. The freemium-based online multiplayer game took Europe by storm in 2011 with its rather simple yet addictive premise - blow the crap out of anything that moves. The best part? Everyone is a tank.
Since its initial release, developer Wargaming.net has expanded on the gameís formula based on player feedback - new vehicles, stat balancing, big fixes, that sort of thing. With the upcoming release of version 8.3, however, players are going to be treated to a taste of the Orient.
Eighteen tanks from the Chinese army will roll their way into the game, adding a new degree of strategy to the battleground. Seventeen of these will be available to anyone that puts in the time to work their way up the tech tree (the Type 62 light tank is a paid-for vehicle, only accessible by becoming a gold subscriber).
The rejigged tech tree consists entirely of light, medium and heavy tanks - there are no tank destroyers or artilleries here - with not an awful lot of emphasis on the latter. The first four tiers are dominated by light tanks, with the heavies appearing as late as tier seven (and are quite rare to boot). The Chinese selection is one that is focused on lightweight, nimble and strategic play.
Wargaming has tried to stick to authenticity when introducing these new models. Chinese tanks have traditionally amounted to heavily re-fitted or re-engineered foreign models bought from other countries - this is reflected in both the performance and variety of vehicles on offer. Even the highest tier tanks, although relatively powerful, are quicker on their treads than their equivalents from other factions.
In battle, the tanks feel great to play. Because of their speed against tanks from rival countries, Chinese vehicles benefit from faster turning, which can be crucial when having to deal the final blow to your opponent. The nippier light tanks can also be used in strategic formation to scout ahead of the larger ones, in order to get a good reading of enemy placement.
However, up against even other Chinese tanks, itís a good idea to always stay mobile. Thatís because what these guys have in speed, they lack in serious firepower. A good Medium and Heavy tank can still stand its ground if tooled up, just not for as long as you may like. The trick is to move around corners of the environment, take a shot and quickly scuttle back to cover before a counterattack can be issued.
Thatís if you decide to go solo, however. One obvious benefit comes from working with your teammates to flank your foes and deliver multiple blows. There are no hero vehicles in the Chinese set - perhaps more than with any other faction, teamwork is especially important to survival, never mind victory.
When the 8.3 update arrives for World of Tanks
(that's tomorrow, according to Wargaming
), you can expect the Chinese line of vehicles to be one that will be best for teams that like to deploy quick, clean and effective battle tactics. For beginners new to the game, they offer a set of great all-rounders too.