I hate pay to play games, or pay to win as they are so called. I understand developers that create free games need to make money some how, and I completely understand that. However, pricing victories is not only annoying, but frustrating to people who are loyal to the game, and just want to enjoy it through the ranks. I have played through quite a bit, notably Planetside 2 that just felt a bit off to me. Playing it, it felt like a free game, with money add-ons in. I wasn't a fan of that.
World of Tanks is a different beast in itself. In it's nature, it is a freemium. You can buy 'premium' tanks that are a bit better than the rest, as well as premium ammunition, but this doesn't make you the superior player. It just makes you a bit different. That, and World of Tanks is modest in it's structure. You will NEVER be hit over the head with, purchase this, or buy this to get this. You play, and if you want to earn more points, you can purchase a premium membership and earn it. Being a non-member can be a bit time inducing, but the differences in premium is slight, but worth it.
So, on to the actual gameplay. Like fighter plane games, tank games are of particular interest. Not everyone will like this game, and not everyone will hate this game. If you adore the Call of Duty structure of online gaming, you will become confused, out of place, or simply frustrated. World of Tanks is a delicate game, surprising, considering the enormity of it's subjects. If you wish to succeed in World of Tanks, you need to be smarter than your opponent, not only flanking, and advancing on better positioning, but also be aware of your tank's armor components, and how to best deflect incoming fire.
Call of Duty, and even more notable, Battlefield, build around the player's horoscope, how they play, and what they like to play as. World of Tanks is no stranger to this, with different types of tanks that best sculpt to the player. If you want to run around the battlefield, spotting tanks, quickly, you can be a light class tank. If you want to muscle your weigh in, big gun, slowly churning, you can be a massive heavy tank, if you want to sit back, snipe, you can be a maneuverable but lightly protected destroyer. Each style can be built around your wants, even explored with upgrades. You can upgrade the tank's speed, armament, and even hull. It's a nice system that allows you to grind to advance where you want, but it never feels like a grind. It just feels organic in nature.
The core gameplay of 15v15 is extremely fun. Xbox One hasn't had an online venture suck me in yet. I have had fun single player journeys, ones worth noting, but very few memorable One times that make me smile, like I did on the X360. World of Tanks changes that. Battles can be slow tempered, imagine a pot set to boil. Everything is slow, but as soon as things get in position, it heats up, before the inevitable blow up. Tanks operate sluggish, as a tank would, and guns feel powerful, measured up to the tank's proper capabilities. You will see monstrous tanks one shot tanks effortlessly, and then small tank battles that ravage on for several moments. One match has never been enough to fulfill my want to play this game. Sitting down, I always want to play several, just to feel achieved. A rare thing, especially in a freemium.
So, all this talk, and a rating of 8, where does the game fault? The maps can be a bit reduced, while plenty to pick from, it never feels like the rotation is on it's best. Graphics are solid, but nothing worldly, especially for the upgraded system. Since it's an online venture, depending on the community can be a bit frustrating. Teams can be cooperative, fully communicative, and then be completely useless, inept, or downright rude. Not only that, but sometimes you will be a the upper handed tank, the clear victor in a match, and simply not win. Also worth noting, the initial Xbox One launch has came out buggy, multiple times I spawned in the middle of the water, dead. Other times, the loading screen has ran for several minutes, never spawning me, but with audio indicating the game has started.
Understandably these flaws are slight. Whether or not they drag the game down to an 8 is one you can figure out on your own. World of Tanks is far from perfect, as it's only build was to be a simple, freemium online shooter, but even still, at it's very core the game is entertaining. It's matches can go from minor battles, to all out brawls that elevate hilarity, and even awe. I enjoy the game, and I will continue to play it.