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World of Tanks

World of Tanks: Modern Armor - A mission report from the developers at Wargaming

We attended a briefing held by the Wargaming console team to discuss the upcoming Modern Armor update coming to World of Tanks.

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Wargaming is welcoming the next era of World of Tanks to the console version of its popular free-to-play game, and to see what we can expect when Modern Armor launches on April 27 on Xbox and PlayStation consoles, I recently attended a press briefing to get an early look into what is coming.

World of Tanks

Designed as a standalone part to World of Tanks for console, Modern Armor is bringing tanks from the 1950s to the late 1990s to the game. At launch, this will consist of 18 tanks split over two tech trees, the Western and Eastern Alliances. This means we can expect to see armour from the Korean War to the Cold War and the Afghanistan War periods all in one place, separated from the WW2-era machines.

At the moment, the two tech trees take us all the way up to the Abrams and T-72 tanks, for the Western and Eastern Alliances, respectively, although there are plans to add more in the future. And, since Modern Armor is taking us into a new era of warfare, driven by innovative and creative solutions to tank tech, we can expect the game to play a little differently.

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Now that composite armour (a way of layering materials to achieve better protection yet with smaller armour thickness) and ERA (explosive reactive armour) as a couple of examples, have taken form, the way penetration works has been tweaked and the combat, in turn has become less about angling a tank to utilise armour thickness to your advantage. With tanks now having more powerful weapons, better mobility, and a revamped armour design that essentially makes the front of a tank invincible, the game plays a little faster and promotes movement rather than holding down a location in fear of being shot at by a more powerful gun.

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This very concept is elevated by the fact that Modern Armor currently doesn't have artillery. The developer has stated that this may change in the future, and that the community will drive its involvement, but for the time being, it didn't have a spot in the title. Stack this up with the fact that tanks can now see all the way across the map without the need for spotting ranges, you get a version of World of Tanks that plays considerably different to the WW2 version.

Of course, this design choice of making vision unhindered is powered by the capabilities that new-gen consoles offer. Modern Armor is still available on last-gen consoles, but it is better than ever on new-gen. The loading times are faster, the draw distances are longer, there are more buildings and foliage, the maps themselves are also the biggest ever created, and the game looks better than ever thanks to dynamic resolution. PS5 users will even get to experience DualSense integration to make combat that bit more immersive. The point is, all of the features allow Modern Armor to deliver a World of Tanks experience that is similar at its core yet packed with enough unique features that it can stand as its own product.

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On the topic of similarities, there are still upgrades and consumables to enhance your tank and crew, even if these have seen some modern tweaks. For example, you can now use smoke to obscure vision and provide a viable option to retreat or reposition during a fight. You can also, for a World of Tanks console first, heal actual hit points using another consumable. To build on this a little further, you can also level and upgrade your Commanders (who now have 3D models) to suit your playstyle, and to promote continuity between Modern Armor and the main game, you can even transfer Commanders back and forth between the two.

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It's not just Commanders who are shared between the two modes either, Gold and Premium Time are also shared, and so are the new maps. So essentially, even if newer armour doesn't tickle your fancy, there is still a lot of new content coming to the game.

To cap it all off, Modern Armor is also introducing a PvE cooperative mode that will never pit players against other players, if PvP isn't your style. This can be played with other players as allies, and will reflect the PvP experience in terms of match sizes and game modes, but offers an alternative way to enjoy the game.

As World of Tanks: Modern Armor is an addition to the console version of the game, this will not be coming to the PC or mobile version anytime soon, since it has been developed by the console Wargaming team on their specially designed console game engine. This doesn't mean Modern Armor will never make it to PC, but as was mentioned in the briefing, that is up to the PC studio to decide if that will be the case.

World of Tanks

Looking to the future, we can expect more maps, consumables (we were told to "stay tuned" when anti-tank guided missiles were brought up), Commanders, and tanks to be added to Modern Armor. The team essentially told us, if it existed in some capacity during the time period, then it will probably be explored at some point, but that adding new tanks will take time, as a lot of the information for modern tanks can be challenging to acquire, as a lot remains as classified information. Either way, if you're a fan of World of Tanks, and a player of the console version, this is looking to be one of the biggest and most exciting additions to the game in its history.

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REVIEW. Written by Mike Holmes

"On the outside it might just look like big, metallic monsters brutishly blasting away at each other, but there's actually a refreshing amount of tactical depth here."

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