This article was original published in PC Gamer UK 230.
World of Tanks can be intimidating to the newcomer, so I decided I'd try to learn the ropes by grouping with a high level friend. This turned out to be a terrible mistake. The game generally has pretty good matchmaking, but our wildly different levels have confused this system. I'm put into a high tier game in a 'Loltracktor'.
This is what World of Tanks players call the German starting tank. They call it that because a) it's really called the Leichttraktor, b) it looks like a tractor and c) it is absurdly awful. Still, at least I'm so pathetic most players will just ignore me, right?
A message comes over the voice chat:
"Kill the Tier 1!"
The game kicks off, and every tank on the other team immediately heads straight for me. There are important targets all over the field and strategic points to hold, but no-one cares anymore. Tanks five times my size plough straight through brick walls trying to get to me.
I scramble away, firing wildly only to see my shots bounce off their thick armour. Somehow I manage to lose them and find cover behind a sturdy building to catch my breath.
Seconds later I violently explode. The enemy artillery has targeted me. Artillery packs a big punch but fires incredibly slowly. They usually go after big, slow targets but instead he took careful aim and shot the most useless tank in the game. The shell used to kill me cost more than my entire tank.
Eventually I get the hang of the game and rise through the ranks. Two weeks later, I'm in a sleek Leopard scout playing in a high tier game, when suddenly I spot something out of the corner of my eye.
A Loltracktor? Kill it!