We’re just one day away from the WGLNA Season 2 Finals at Treasure Island in Las Vegas. Several of the world’s best World of Tanks players are already gathering, strategizing, and preparing to face off in the hopes of taking home some of that sweet, sweet prize money. And with $100,000 in prizes up for grabs, the stakes are appropriately high for a Vegas showdown.
We sat down with a few players from several teams to get a sense of why they love competitive gaming and what makes World of Tanks special.
River of Blood
We were curious what attracts these players toward competitive gaming. Was it competitive drive, the love of the game, or the intangible satisfaction of winning? Read on to find out!
Was there a moment when you were playing multiplayer games where you realized that you were significantly better than other players? And what makes you love competitive gaming/eSports?
fej_: There’s something primal about it.
Endo: I first recognized I enjoyed competing seriously when I played [first person shooters] in a league. It was my very first competitive league, and I played in it for a year. During that time, I created my own team, Netwarriors.
That moment did have a lasting effect. I still use the name in World of Tanks for tournament teams. Playing competitively is fun, and I love competitive stuff. It’s a lot more fun for me than pub matches. When you win, you know you beat a team that’s just as good as you that’s trying just as hard to win.
fej_: I look at things differently. It’s not a humble thing. I’m always looking at people who are better than me, because there will always be people who are better, even if not overall, at least in some aspect.
This is true in all types of games. There are always people ahead. I rarely take a step back to take it all in [overall ranking compared to other players], because I don’t think that’s constructive. Stroking your ego gets you nowhere. That’s what’s fun: the desire to be better, not so much about bragging rights, but to be in a position to have bragging rights is fun.
Canaduck: I haven’t really played another competitive multiplayer game. I suppose I have a natural competitiveness and I’ll make anything competitive. I always want to be the best. It feels good to be the best. Along with that comes the consistent drive to get better. When I see someone better, I want to get better; I feel the need to improve. I always want to be at the top, but there’s always a better person that makes me want to improve.
Zakume: I don’t think I’m very good at any game, actually. I played many FPS games in the past, some free-to-play ones. Usually, I try to research everything first, figure out what the game is, what best tactics are, learn maps, rather than focusing on headshots and quick twitch skills.
I’d get pretty good, and people would say I’m good. I don’t really think I’m all that good. Every once in a while, some random person without any tactic, but with better twitch skills or aiming would play against me in a totally predictable fashion, but that player would still kill me due to faster aiming and shooting skills. It was a physical limitation that couldn’t be overcome.
With World of Tanks, I think of it as kind of like in relation to golf: there are very little physical abilities necessary. If you know [the strategy], you can do it. This is different from a game like Starcraft -- if you can’t click fast enough, you lose. That’s why many pros retire at 30. They know what has to be done to win, but physically, they cannot do it [click fast enough] anymore. World of Tanks, like golf, you can be competitive at any age.
Do you find that competitive World of Tanks players have a lot of big egos?
Endo: You have to think of yourself as a team. It’s not like [some first person shooters]. In [FPS games], one good player could one-shot everyone. In World of Tanks, no. If one guy messes up, that’s the game. You have to work well as a team.
Probably my favorite thing about World of Tanks from a competition standpoint is that there are no hacks for it. I would say it’s the main reason I play the game. Again, with [FPS games], there were wallhacks, et cetera, that took the skill out of it. Some even were using hacks in the competitive leagues. They would be caught eventually but it was too late.
fej_: The way we function as a team, we all have a weakness. Other guys are there to cover them. It’s a different challenge.
Canaduck: One person can’t win or lose it all. If you have a big ego on a team, you’re not going to find yourself on that team very long.
Zakume: I don’t get involved in all that drama. World of Tanks can breed that sort of a person. With such thorough stat tracking, all your mistakes are history, and anyone can see them.
Do you have any advice you would offer to new players interested in playing World of Tanks competitively? Any advice you wish you had when you started?
fej_: Study; don’t worry about mechanics. Mechanics can be learned. They’ll come. You need to understand the flow of play; how strategies run out. Take a look at the big picture first. Don’t get tunnel vision.
Endo: World of Tanks is all about numbers. It’s completely statistical. Lots of players YOLO [rush out alone and quickly get killed], not even caring, and failing to realize, “I want to play this game seriously.”
Good Clans and good teams want good to decent numbers. Review strategy, look at mechanics, play thoughtfully. Don’t say that you don’t want to be competitive or don’t want to be in Clan Wars, because it will be hard to overcome that later.
Always be networking, talking to players. Make sure to be reaching out to good players.
Canaduck: Don’t give up. There’s a ton of different variations in this game. It takes time to pick up, because there are lots of different mechanics. It can’t be learned in a day.
Take the time to learn mechanics, and learn everything that’s going on. Keep at it. Practice.
My first game, I jumped into World of Tanks and got Himmelsdorf. I drove right out to the middle and got wasted. I thought, “I must be doing this wrong.” That’s when I started figuring it out and learning how things work.
Zakume: Even before downloading or playing your first battle, look up information. That’s how I approach any game. Try to learn everything I can about it to get that leg up.
Don't forget to catch all the action of the Season 2 Finals to watch these players and others compete for the $100,000 prize pool!