Almost three years of tanking in World of Tanks... I think that's the longest amount of time I've spent on any online game I've ever played. What is it about this game that keeps me coming back for more? A more interesting question, why the hell am I suddenly posting a journal entry on my practically inactive dA account? The last journal entry was over a year ago (also about WoT, as it happens). Well, to be completely honest, there's gold (in-game WoT premium currency) to be won and I want it. So I have to write something up for a chance to win it. Hah!
I can almost sense that the reader is wearing a cynical expression right now. I reckon the reader is currently thinking "Oh riiiiiight, I bet amade is gonna start gushing praise for the game and brown nose the people developing it just so he can get his grubby little hands on some gold". Fear not! This journal is not a review of the game... rather, it's a reflection of all the things I've experienced as a result of my foray into World of Tanks since early Closed Beta (before the NA/EU server split), until the present day where I now have accounts in both NA as well as SEA server. Holy cow, I have TWO accounts on two separate servers. AND I've spent hundreds of dollars on both accounts. The amount of money and time I've spent on this game is mind boggling!
Moving on, I find it extremely remarkable how much WoT has affected my life. Yeah, I know that sounds corny as hell, but it's really true. For better
I was introduced to World of Tanks sometime in the middle of 2010 by members of a certain North American gaming clan I was (and still is) a member of. I still remember my first battle, using the ubiquitous tier I loltraktor, in the map called Lakeville. Actually, it was in a training room... because I didn't want to go into a real battle acting like a complete noob and get laughed at/scorned by 133t veteran players (the term unicum wasn't invented yet I think, they have to invent efficiency ratings first). Basically, I really didn't know what to expect out of the game.
So my first battle went like this: it started with waiting for several minutes until finally another newbie to entered the training room I had created (server population was still very low back then). Since the match could handle up to 30 people at once I thought I should wait for more people to turn up before starting the match. A few more minutes went past and the lone player who joined my room got fed up of waiting and left. I decided I should join someone else's training room instead but it turned out all the battles in the other rooms were already in progress, and noticeably all the rooms had only two players each. So I recreated my room and waited yet several more minutes for another newbie to join. As soon as one turned up I quickly placed him into the opponent team roster and started the battle immediately before my victim could escape.
Finally! I'm playing World of Tanks! Ohmaigawd, the graphics are awesome. Look at that beautiful lake! See that town over there! What a tall mountain! The tank is so detailed! Alright, lets see what this baby can do... HOLY **** this piece of **** is ******* slow! Okay, never mind that. The controls are surprisingly easy though. Lets go into town, I bet that's where you can get all the best tanking action. So I crawl my way down to town, slowly turning round corners expecting the evil MS-1 on the other team to appear and spew hot lead on my sexy tank. After cautiously peeking around every corner I found no sign of the enemy. Nothing, nada, zilch. Feeling rather disappointed by the slow pace and lack of action I then made my way to the enemy base which was on the other side of town. As I was approaching closer to the enemy base a red bar appeared at the top of my screen. The enemy is capturing my base! The sneaky bugger! Instead of going into town and duking it out with me in a dramatic battle on the city streets he had gone through the quickest route to my base to capture it! As it was impossible for me to capture the enemy base before he captures mine, I was forced to make my way back to base. Then, just as the base was about to come into my view the capture bar filled up and the battle ended.
So much for my first exciting battle.
It wasn't the worst first impression I've had for a game and I usually stick to a game long enough to give it a fair trial. So for my next battle I figured I should just jump straight into a real battle with full teams. Back then in early Closed Beta, WoT did not have Match Making as we know it in its current form. Instead there were 2 modes of battle: Standard and Recruit. In Standard, tier I tanks can and will go up against tanks of all tier, all the way up to tier X. Tier I and II tanks don't have to enter Standard Battles, but some brave people bring them in regardless and are occasionally team killed by irate players. The matches are balanced by giving an equal number of each tier (more or less, it's a bit more complex than that). I knew I wasn't ready for that yet so I joined a Recruit Battle, which is basically the same as Battle Tier I in the current WoT MM; only tier I and II tanks can enter Recruit Battles... however this included tank destroyers and SPGs. I hoped for the best and clicked the big red "Battle!" button.
I was hooked.
I got hooked real bad that I spent hundreds of battles in the PzKpfw II because I wanted to be PERFECT before I move up to Standard Battles. There was so much depth to the game that I resolved to learn everything there was available about it before I go face the veteran players (the majority of which actually have only played a few hundred battles as well as it was VERY early Closed Beta). I stayed away from trying out the SPG for quite a long time because of the prevailing animosity towards it by many players at the time plus I was afraid I would suck at it, but soon I tried it out anyway because I didn't want to be ignorant of what the SPG gameplay was like. I was very late at trying out the TDs as well because the lack of turrets did not appeal to me back then. Eventually I sampled every class and it wasn't long before I developed a fetish for collecting tanks.
When platoons were implemented, the game became several times more fun now that one could play with friends without having to count down and click battle together in the hopes that we get into the same battle. A very large majority of my games on NA server were played with my regular platoon mates from the gaming clan I mentioned earlier. Without them I probably would've stopped playing on NA and would only limit my gaming on the SEA server. 90% of the time I play on SEA is done solo because I haven't really established any long term connections with anyone yet to platoon regularly.
It's been two years and 7 months since I got into World of Tanks. I'm still playing the game, still stalking the official forums (both NA and SEA). Nearly every morning the first thing I do when I wake up is check the forums and play the game, because mornings are the best time for playing on NA server when the ping is pretty decent. It's a good thing I'm self-employed, I can start work late, procrastinate or skip work completely any time I want! I must admit this does bring terrible a toll on my productivity. Work was neglected, clients were pissed off and had to be placated, self-promises were made to work harder which were inevitably broken over and over.
I've spent so much time on WoT I've made custom skins, created skinning tutorials, collaborated on player made mods and apps, and even do official work on localization of the game client (which repays me more than what I had invested into the game by several times over!). I've learned more about tanks over the years than I thought I ever would, and more about military history than I thought I ever cared for. The game has burned me out a few times and I've taken a few weeks off from playing each time but after a while I always come back to WoT. I often tell myself, one day I'll eventually give it up, just as how I've given up various other online games I used to play when I finally get bored and could no longer derive any further satisfaction from them.
Right now however, I'm content to just continue enjoying World of Tanks and let that one day remain in the very distant horizon.
I CAN HAS GOLD NAO PLZ? KTHXBAI