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E3 2011: Conquering the world with World of Tanks


The free-to-play MMO is making great strides across the world. And if you were to ask the CEO of, Viktor Kislyi, he'd tell you his F2P game World of Tanks is bigger in some countries than World of Warcraft, particularly his home nation of Russia. As he told us when we talked to him at E3, "[It] beat the crap out of WoW in Russia." He backed that statement up by saying there are over 155,000 concurrent players in Russia daily for his MMO.

With the introduction of Clan Wars earlier this year, World of Tanks appears to be quite literally conquering the world. Kislyi boasts that the Russian server has over 6,000 active clans, and over three million players are actively playing world-wide, which he claims is better than the stats of most of our favorite MMOs. He says if you combine the peak hours of all the servers across the globe, World of Tanks hosts 300,000 concurrent players. That's a staggering number. Pop past the break as we dig deeper into the discussion with Kislyi and find out why this game is storming the world.

"This is my dream coming true, and it happened to be a good business, bringing in a good income," Kislyi said with a smile. How can it not be a dream come true? He has a wildly successful MMO that is loved in nearly every country with internet. He tells us that he has received great reviews in America, Europe, China, and of course, Russia.

He attributes part of this success to the low barrier of entry: It's a free-to-play game without a cash shop. That's not to say there are no microtransactions -- there are. "There's no list you can browse through," Kislyi explains. "You browse through only with the intent on how to spend your money. We did it cleverly and transparently. We spread the money-spending part of the game so you can see what you're buying when you actually need it." If you come to a point in the game that you need a new part for a tank or a power-up, that is when you will prompted to spend real-life money.

"What we don't have is a shop, because who likes to shop? Women do. This is a boy's game," Kislyi says.

He backs up the claim that this is a "boy's game" by citing Female-Gamers, a Dutch website that focuses on reviews of games from the feminine perspective. Kislyi jokes, "What's funny: two weeks ago, we got a review that gave us [an overall rating of] 5 out of 10 and fun [rating of] 2 out of 10! We're like, 'WHAT!?' This happened to be the Netherlands association of female gamers. RIGHT ON! TO THE FRONT PAGE! TO THE FORUMS! NOW! That was the best advertising ever!"

We asked whether he was proud of that low score, and he quickly replied, "Absolutely!"

The future of World of Tanks is all about expanding the conquerable world and getting better tanks to conquer with. North America is the next landmass to be added to the game. Kislyi mentioned that he was just excitedly looking over the artwork for the American territories. Along with the American nations, the devs are adding American destroyer tanks; French tanks will launch in September; and British tanks will land near the end of the year. Eventually, in 2012, he would like to add Japanese tanks, but he doesn't have an exact time for that yet.

As for other additions to the game: We can look forward to cross-server battles, new maps, and a one-off game called a Garage Battle. This is a 15v15 map where each player pulls five tanks from his garage and places them on deck. If the first tank is destroyed, the player can re-enter the battle with one of the tanks from his pool.

Kislyi is clearly excited about where his game is and where it is going, but he says the real pride is in the players. "The possession of a territory gives you gold," the proud designer tells us, "but that's not what they are playing for. They are playing for fame. We can see their strategy. They want to hold Moscow, hold Berlin. They want to hold Israel and London. In the forums and in the face-to-face meetings, we can tell that these people are very proud about controlling these parts of the world."
"What's to stop these clans from completely controlling a server?" we ask. "Nothing," he replies, "They deserve it." Clearly, Viktor Kislyi has some very different ideas about what makes a game great, but who can argue with success. It appears to be working so far.

Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 6-9, bringing you all the best news from E3 2011. Whether you're dying to know more about Star Wars: The Old Republic, RIFT, or any MMO in between, you can bet we'll have it covered!

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