World of Tanks: Five Years On
2016 is an important year for Wargaming. With World of Tanks having launched in the West in April 2011, its fifth birthday is rapidly approaching. But 2016 is significant not just for virtual tanks but for physical ones as well, marking 100 years since the first ever use of tanks on the battlefield, specifically the British Mark I in the Battle of the Somme. In recognition and celebration of these milestones, the publisher held a small event in Bovington at the Tank Museum
, with which it has very close relationships.
Click to enlarge - There are worse places to have your fifth birthday party than the Tank Museum in Bovington
The presentations were somewhat self-congratulatory in tone, but given the success Wargaming is currently enjoying that's easy to understand – since World of Tanks was released it has rapidly grown to include 16 offices worldwide, employing over 4,000 people.
Click to enlarge - The British Mark I tank in the Battle of the Somme, September 1916 #nofilter
World of Tanks now has over 110 million registered players globally for PC alone. What started as a game with three nations and around 100 tanks now has eight nations represented by over 400 tanks, each crafted with historical accuracy. One of the latest, the M46 Patton KR, had its real-life counterpart on display at Bovington. Also, to celebrate 100 years of Tanks, Wargaming has promised various in-game events for 2016. Meanwhile, update 9.14, for which the public test server is now open, is set to bring a whole host of technical improvements to the game's physics, sound and models – you can read our interview with a World of Tanks producer exploring this in more detail over the page.
Of course, PC isn't the game's only platform. World of Tanks Blitz now has over 45 million registered players, while Xbox sign-ups have crossed 7 million. The latest platform is the PS4, which hit 1 million registrations within a month of launch.
Click to enlarge - The M46 Patton KR in RL
Let's not forget World of Warships, for which there are now more than 6.5 million accounts and, as of last week, a new Team Battles mode looking to spur on co-operative play in what is essentially the digital imagining of Battleships. And on the theme of hits and misses, World of Warplanes was conspicuously absent from discussions.
Wargaming continues to make investments in competitive gameplay too. The EU finals for the Wargaming league were held recently in Cologne, with the international Grand Finals set to take place in Warsaw this April. You can see our own coverage of the event last year here
and if you're not convinced about World of Tanks being an esport then this top 10 moments video might change your mind. Maybe.
Also spoken of was WG Labs, Wargaming's platform for exploring and publishing interesting third-party ideas as well as its own in-house projects outside the field of military warfare. It is through this that it will be rebooting the classic 4X strategy game, Master of Orion. It has just announced an all-star sci-fi cast voicing the game, including Mark Hamill, Alan Tudyk, John De Lancie and many more. A collector's edition is being produced, which will include the original three games as well as additional artwork and the soundtrack. It will also allow you to access the game through the Steam Early Access program on February 26 (very soon if you haven't checked your calendars) and a new trailer for this is reproduced below.
Wargaming takes military history very seriously, and has its hand in a number of projects designed to showcase and conserve it. For example, it has helped produce digital exhibitions onboard the USS Iowa museum, and sponsored the restoration and conservation of the world's only surviving German Dornier Do-17, a WWII bomber raised from the British Channel in 2013. Naturally, it is also close with the Tank Museum, sponsoring and helping to create exhibits like the current Fury one, virtual reality tank experiences and, of course, the annual Tankfest. Lastly, the company will be paying tribute to the Mark I tank this year with something big and exciting in London - stay tuned.
Click to enlarge - The Pope isn't messing around with the next Popemobile
We'd like to extend our thanks to Wargaming and especially to the Tank Museum for hosting the event. The museum has an awesome collection of international merit, well curated exhibits and staff that are friendly, passionate and knowledgeable. We can definitely recommend a visit for any history buffs yet to visit – you're sure to love it.