Ten Ton Hammer's Chief of Tech ventures into the column writing world in today's Reloading... to answer the age-old question "WoT or WoW?" And by age-old, we mean a few months old.

Welcome back to the 84th edition of Reloading...!

Bill Pirkle here for John Hoskin, who is probably somewhere getting his teeth knocked out as his limp body is smashed against the wall of a hockey ring.  And that's just by the parents of the kids he coaches.  Today I'll be sharing my experience as a World of Warcraft (WoW) player who's recently taken up World of Tanks (WoT).

First, just for fun, here's an explanation of why Obi-Wan didn't use Force Speed to charge in and help Qui-Gon fight Darth Maul:

I'm a pretty loyal kind of guy.  I've been with Master Games International, Ten Ton Hammer's parent company, for over twelve years.  I've been married for over twenty years.  (Yes, consecutively, and to the same woman.)  I still live in the town where I went to high school.  All that is to say:  I don't shift loyalties lightly.  So when I found myself changing my game of choice, it was a big deal.

Since shortly after its launch, and despite trying a number of other games, I've remained a WoW player.  I'm in a large social/casual guild.  Mostly, I just enjoy spending time in WoW - running a dungeon, helping other people through quests, chatting while I mine ore, or whatever.  But I've recently found myself spending much more time in WoT than WoW.  I finally stopped to ask myself why.

For anyone not familiar with WoT:  two randomly-grouped teams fight until one team wins or fifteen minutes elapse.  Then, you resupply/upgrade/change your tank, and do it again.  The same thing.  Over and over and over again.

Sound repetitive?  I thought it would be too.  (To be fair, more battle types are promised.)  My expectation was that I'd play WoT for a week or two, then get bored.  That was a few months ago, and I'm still not in a big hurry to get back to WoW.

So what is it that I find so appealing about WoT?  First:  it is simple.  You can log in, finish a battle, and log out in less than twenty minutes, guaranteed.  Second:  it isn't simple.  Learning the nuances of each tank, the details of teamwork strategy, and the quirks of each map are neverending.  Third:  the gameplay is engaging.  You're facing real humans in PvP, so every battle is different and skill truly matters.  Fourth:  WoT doesn't suffer from the "geek factor" that most MMOs do.  I have friends that'll never play a glittery fantasy-MMO elf or pick up a sci-fi MMO ray gun.  But drive a tank?  They'll do that.

Surely there must be some downsides, right?  So far, at least, it isn't very social.  Stopping between battles to chat in the global room slows down XP gain.  And during battles, everyone is busy enough that conversation stays focused on the fight.  There just isn't much opportunity for "Barrens chat".  (Hmm, maybe that isn't a downside after all...)  I'm not yet in a clan (the WoT equivalent of a WoW guild), but I usually play in a platoon with friends (kinda like joining a WoW battleground as a party).  Even so, we talk more about the game IRL than in-game.

Customization options?  There are none.  My Hetzer looks like everyone else's Hetzer.  I can buy a bigger gun or pick different training options for my crew.  But none of that really personalizes the look of my tank.  Am I really saying that WoT is more cookie-cutter than WoW?  Is such a thing even possible?  Surprisingly - yeah, I guess I am.

What about storyline?  Nope.  Even if WoW's attempts at making me feel like an epic hero aren't exactly convincing, they at least try.  Maybe if I ever get into Clan Wars (an endgame activity - think the old Risk board game with tanks) I'd get some of that feeling.  But I'll never get to save the world.

Those are some big downsides.  So why do I like WoT, again?  The simplest answer is that it is just - fun.  And this is a game, after all, so fun matters.

Where do I go from here?  Will I unsubscribe from WoW?  And to tie this back into the video at the top, I've already preordered a collector's edition of SWTOR (or SWEATER, if you prefer).  Will I balance the three games?  My guess is that I'll try, and I'm not sure how it'll work out.  But at the very least, I expect WoT to continue being a great change of pace when I'm feeling burned-out on the traditional MMO format.

Now if I could just find a way to roll my T1 Heavy into Blackwing's lair and start blasting him with HE shells...

What about you?  Have you tried World of Tanks?  Did you love it?  Did you hate it?  Are you still trying to make up your mind?  What other MMOs-but-not-really have you tried?  Let us know.

Until next time,

Bill Pirkle
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Last Updated: Mar 13, 2016