Wednesday, August 24, 2011

World of Tanks - Compared To Eve Online

Someone asked me once how threatening or disturbing I thought something was and I answered glibly that it was a "a threat level orange on a scale of 1 to Batman". (I so need a graphic for that.) My point being that the question being asked did not make any sense to me as it was perpendicular to the information in question. Like discussing a supercarrier nerf and asking me how it was going to affect the market for small antimatter charges.

So I thought of my little saying when I started thinking of how to write this post. The list of similarities is tiny compared to the list of differences such that comparing them is pointless. Yes, they are both a game played online with and against other players involving vehicles of some sort, but that's it. Eve is a space operatic sci-fi simulator sandbox with a single shard that all players can interact at all times with all others, and World of Tanks is a lobby based death match game where player interactions are extremely limited in scope and duration unless a player goes out of his way to do so.

That being said, we can compare and contrast the Player Versus Player aspects of each game to highlight the differences and which will lead into tomorrow's post.

To recap World of Tanks game play, the main mode is 15 minutes or less battles which pit 15 randomly selected and non-randomly balanced tanks against 15 others in which each side tries to destroy the other or capture their base. You earn credits and experience at the end of the battle, the amount relative to how well you and your team did in the battle.

In Eve, I'll pick a typical PvP encounter in which you and a group of friends/allies start off on a roam through many star systems looking for enemies (or neutrals) to shoot, sometimes catching and killing single pilots or smaller groups which may or may not themselves looking for combat, and occasionally running from a large gang of hostiles, and even more rarely engaging an enemy fleet of approximately the same size and composition. These roams can be short but typically last an hour or two and depending on your area and the other pilots, you may get a lot of kills or you may dock up empty handed. And even if you do catch some ships, there is usually no financial or material gain beyond a few modules on the wrecks, and if your side gets caught you could lose your own ship and modules.

At first glance, the WoT approach appears preferable: instant PvP, lots of targets to shoot, no serious consequence for losing, smaller time commitment, no need to make friends, and consistent rewards even if you lose.

In contrast Eve's PvP roam has slow burn PvP, sometimes no targets at all, you can lose your own ship, you need allies to count on for the most part, and rewards are typically small if any beyond a killmail.

"World of Tanks, sign me up!"

But wait. There is a downside to the easy access PvP World of Tanks offers.

Random battles includes team mates of questionable ability and mental fortitude with almost no compunction to work together beyond "oh, I'll follow those guys". There are exceptions, but you can't be sure how many idiots will be on your team versus the other guys. In Eve, you get to choose who you fly with and in chat and voice comms you can build a pretty serious friendship with these people who you can usually trust to do the right thing in PvP.

The instant battle equal battle and quick resolution means that there is nothing in the way of "Epicness", each battle quickly runs into the last one with only a few bright points coming to mind and statistics being more important than events. In Eve, I can still remember some roams point for point as the thrill of the hunt on a target builds up the anticipation and satisfaction of a kill.

But most importantly, the battles in WoT have no consequences for either side beyond a handful of credits and experience. Nothing is won or lost, no care bear tears, no joy in defeating a superior enemy and taking their loot. In the most intense situations in WoT battles my heart rate did not so much as jump a beat. You know that if you die that in three minutes you are back on the field in another battle and your tank will be returned to your hanger. In Eve there are times I swear my heart is going to jump out of my ribcage when we move to engage a target, and adrenaline shakes come down afterwards. The simplest kills in Eve can give endorphin rushes that last for hours for the casual PvPer like me.

In Eve, because the effort is so much harder and the loss for the loser so much more bitter, the PvP is much more rewarding. That's not to say its perfect, but it scratches a different itch than WoT does.

Don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that Eve is better than WoT and I love the latter because it is a less stressful and more immediate-gratification game. I am saying that comparing the PvP of the two must take into account that they are completely different styles of PvP in the context of the whole game.

In other words, Eve scores an orange and WoT scores an apple on the scale of 1 to Batman.

Tomorrow we'll talk about if and how Eve and WoT can learn from each other.


  1. Reminds me of that JFK quote, 'we do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard'. I've always looked at Eve more like a (challenging) hobby than a game.

  2. The fact that some (majority?) of players in EVE have no desire to ever PVP is still the one thing I cannot understand in EVE. The absolute best thing about PVP in EVE is the finality. The ship is lost, the mods are probably lost, the work and time to build/buy the stuff is gone.

    Whether a SB taking out a Noctis and destroying 5 hours worth of nanoribbons that 4 people had grinded for, or losing the 250M isk Zealot, the loss is real. It hurts. It represents a something tangible.

    WoT and other "spawn" type games, you know you are probably going to die, and it costs you nothing. You get your stuff back, you don't lose hours of grinding isk. It just can not be compared. Each has its place, but EVE's represents something on another level. PVP is a part of the game, not the end all of the game.

  3. I stumbled across this blog entry, and I would like to post a bit of a comment for any future readers that want more detailed comparison between the two games.
    I played both EVE and WOT from the very first day these two games became available to general public, and I did put many hours into these games (obviously I played EVE a whole lot more, because it was around for long time now).

    First, I would like to point a similarity that was missed by author of this blog entry: I always liked that fact that the time you spend training some prerequisite skills in EVE was not spent for nothing. For example training frigates is mandatory for flying cruisers, and flying cruisers is mandatory for learning to fly battleships, and so forth. The time you spend trainig these skills is not wasted for nothing, as you will find ability to fly frigates and cruisers quite usefull later on in the game. Same is true for WOT. You may think that the time you spend battling in lower tier tank is wasted, but this is not so. Aside from that fact that you learn maps that will be used later on in the game, lower tier tank companies are still quite a lot of fun once you get those "end game" tanks. In game like WOW the time you spend getting that superior quality gear for your level 10 character is, in fact, wasted. You will never use that gear again. Naturally all of the "end game" gear you got on final level (be it 60 or 80) becomes useless once next big update comes out.

    Second, some of the negative things author mentioned about WOT are not entirely true. For example author of the blog pointed out that WOT suffers from "team mates of questionable ability and mental fortitude". Nothing prevents you from having to fight in the party composed entirely from your friends using ventrillo. It is called company battle, and is widely practiced. Also you claim that you have nothing to lose when your tank goes kaboom. If you are fighting clan wars, you may lose a large chunk of your time investment if you lose your owned province. Also when your tank dies, you are out of equation and can't help your allies untill the battle is over (unlike WOW battleground where you can respawn). Meaning that if you are holding that pass alone vs five enemy tanks (this happened to me today) you do have a lot of responsibility to shoulder and a lot to lose if your tank dies.

    Third, the fabulous adrenaline rush of EVE... Let me tell you - I had a LOT more adrenaline rushes in WOT then I ever had in EVE. I'm telling you that circle strafing KV-3 in PzIII and getting a kill is actually compatible to Dramiel taking on Drake, only it happens a whole lot more often in WOT compared to EVE. And hour for hour I played EVE hundreds of times longer then WOT.

    Finally, I do have something bad to say about EVE. How about them hours upon hours spend grinding ISK in anomalies, fighting sleepers, exploring, and playing market? All those ISK you need to make up for ships lost in PVP combat? PVP combat that in reality happens probably less then 10% of the time you play EVE? I mean whether you are roaming or camping a gate majority of the time is wasted looking for opportunity to fight someone. In WOT you spend 90% of time doing actual combat. There's no grind in WOT. Time spend doing battles on lower tiered tanks may be called a grind, but it is still PVP combat, and you can make it fun - this is up to you. You can't make running Sanctums for half of day fun no matter how hard you try.

  4. Anonymous7:14 am

    >The absolute best thing about PVP in EVE is the finality. The ship is lost, the mods are probably lost, the work and time to build/buy the stuff is gone.

    I think, I'll disagree. Yesterday, I took my FW alt to lowsecs, orbited some buttons, lost some ships. I'm a poor EVE newbie with like 1.5 billions worth of assets, but loss of five or ten T1 fit frigs means nothing to me. On the contrary, when an officer-fit missioning ship gets lost to gankers, or a industrial with superexpensive cargo, then yes, it's a real loss, and real feelings (good and bad) for both sides. Think is a kind of EVE PVP which I like. But when you go to low or null fully aware that your ship will not survive this trip, and maybe clone too, and you meet people with same attitude, that's not a real loss and not a real thrill. And when you are roaming with 5 friends you can easily roflstomp a solo ship or get roflstomped by a 50-man gang. In WoT there's always 15 vs 15 so you are either a valuable asset and hope for your team, or a deadweight dragging your teammates down. I think there's more need for skill in WoT than in EVE (don't want to boast, but my winrate in WoT is 57% which is awesome). In EVE even if you have godlike l33tpr0PVP madskillz you can do nothing if you're alone agaist 5 man gang with Falcon or what. But i like both these games beacuse they represent different aspects of PVP. "Fair play" battleground in WoT where your tactical skills matter (how to better position your tank, how to aim weakspots, how to hide, which flank to go, etc) and EVE where you must choose the most unfair battle to give yourself an advantage (with cloaking, alts, and difference between 2005 and 2013 character there is no "fair play" PVP in EVE, I think)