It all started with a project called Iron Age back in 1995 and today consists of offices all over the world responsible for (among other incredible games) the fantastic World of Tanks franchise. The "it" being described here is notorious games developer Wargaming, a company that has gone from strength to strength, and has in the last decade been responsible for a staggering number of high-quality games, a majority of them based online, including the many World of Tanks iterations as well as World of Warships and World of Warplanes. This is a profile of the prolific developer that covers a little about their company as well as explores the sublime and successful war games that they are responsible for.
If you want to go back to where the magic truly began - the 1998 founding wasn't actually the first activity of the company that went on to be officially formed as Wargaming - then you need to go back to 1995. This was a year that involved the company's founder, Victor Kislyi, working on developing an amateur tabletop game called Iron Age, which was a turn-based multiplayer strategy game with global domination properties a la Risk, but with elements of Sid Meier's Civilisation titles and a traditional hex-based format.
Move forward to 1998 and you finally see the official founding of the company by Kislyi. This was the year that gave the company's founder the motivation to transform a tabletop miniatures rule-set he encountered while in America into a game for the PC. The game that resulted a whole 2 years later in the year 200 was called DBA Online after the ruleset of the game that helped inspire it, De Bellis Antiquitatis. The intention of the game was to achieve a likeness to tabletop miniatures gaming but on the PC platform. You can even still download DBA Online from the official website at a file size of just 126mb.
From TBS to RTS
Majority of the decade commencing at the millennium was spent by Wargaming focusing on the real-time strategy genre. This involved working on a number of turn-based strategy projects between 2000 and 2009 including Massive Assault, which went on to be a prolific turn-based strategy with an extensive online network and multiple iterations between 2003 and 2006. Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power was another turn-based title released in 2007 before the company appeared to take a two- year hiatus from releasing games, during which time it turned out they were re-shifting their focus from turn-based strategy to real-time strategy with an MMO framework.
Before there was World of Tanks there was Order of War, a real-time strategy based around the World War II period that saw players commanding troops on a company-level basis. The game stood out with its grand-scale battlefields and unusual waiving of the usual responsibility of having to deal with resource collection or construction management. Order of War was also expanded upon in the following year with the now-defunct Order of War: Challenge, a multiplayer expansion of the original Order of War that was removed from Steam entirely in 2013 after its servers were finally switched off by Square Enix.
Finding Global Success
Though already a successful games developer by the end of the millennial decade, Wargaming truly produced a smash hit that went on to be a global success in the form of 2010's World of Tanks. Released initially in Russia in 2010 and then 2011 for Europe, China, and North America and finally 2012 for the rest of the world, World of Tanks marked Wargaming's true shift in focus from turn-based strategy to real-time strategy informed by the massively multiplayer online format.
The business model of World of Tanks is a freemium one, offering players the chance to experience a multitude of tanks from the early to mid-20th century. Its focus on delivering detailed, virtual reproductions of tanks that were historically accurate in a thrilling online-battle format made it an extremely successful game for the company. The "World of.." franchise has continued to be lucrative, with World of Warplanes and the upcoming World of Warships covering wartime aircraft and sea-faring vessels respectively, as well as console-based iterations of World of Tanks and an expansion in the form of World of Tanks: Blitz.
Wargaming Games Roster: A Closer Look
DBA Online is the project that really started Wargaming's developing journey. Inspired by the tabletop miniatures game of the same name, this online version of De Bellis Antiquitatis possesses over 300 club members; it still has around 25 tournaments running to this day. The step-by-step DBA Online instructions page is a perfect place to start for newcomers to DBA Online as well. Whether newbie or veteran however, DBA Online is undoubtedly an impressive project that set Wargaming in good stead for its future endeavours.
Massive Assault Series and Galactic Assault
Continuing its pursuit of developing high-quality turn-based computer games, Wargaming released the original Massive Assault in 2003. Still a long way from the fully 3D MMO action of World of Tanks, Massive assault plays out in a very similar fashion to a tabletop miniatures game with the map consisting of a hexagonal grid and gameplay based on a set of very simple rules. A score of 77 from Metacritic reflected the game's originality and quality.
There are further titles to the Massive Assault series, with Massive Assault Network and its successor, Massive Assault Network 2 being the most notable. Massive Assault Network and its successor are turn-based titles but belong to the MMO genre due to their online nature. The titles continue the Massive Assault series' military simulation, which is set in the future and involves buildings/resource management and action-packed warfare. This fantastic hex game can still be accessed at http://www.massiveassaultnetwork.com/man2/.
Galactic Assault: Prisoner of Power was Wargaming's final foray into the strictly real-time strategy sphere. Released in 2007, the game wasn't particularly successful and was criticised by many critics and fans for lacking in compelling gameplay or notable storyline.
Order of War
This World War II strategy series consists of one standalone title and this title's expansion, Order of War: Challenge. Order of War is a WWII real-time strategy and is the first time that Wargaming as a developer tried a significant change of direction in terms of the games they were producing. Order of War was the first dedicated real-time strategy game from Wargaming, released in 2009. The gameplay involves taking command of entire armies or forces on a grand-scale battlefield, a feature that sets it apart from many other games of the genre. The game's multiplayer expansion, Order of War: Challenge fared pretty well with critics but its servers were shut down in the latter half of 2013.
This is where Wargaming truly made a name for themselves, and it involved another slight change of direction towards the MMO genre. World of Tanks was the first MMO of this kind of scale from Wargaming, and to this day it is an extremely successful free-to-play title that anyone can download without paying up front.
World of Tank's appeal lies not only in its epic gameplay but in the massive selection of WWI, WWII, and post WWII-era tanks and fighting vehicles. Gameplay involves progression from running and operating some basic-level tanks to earning experience points through fighting battles in order to upgrade your vehicles' parts as well as purchase better vehicles.
The World of Tanks gameplay focuses largely on PvP (player vs. player) combat in matches that consist of other players from all over the world. It's one of the top mmo tank war games available to play on any platform. There are light, medium, and heavy tanks available as well as self-propelled guns and tank destroyers, among others. The game can be downloaded through the official World of Tanks webpage. As if this wasn't enough tank action, Wargaming released World of Tanks: Blitz in 2014, which brought a truncated version of the much-loved gameplay to mobile devices. The official World of Tanks Blitz website can be found here: https://wotblitz.eu/.
Not content at simply providing players with a vast quantity of land-based vehicles for PvP MMO combat, Wargaming also released World of Warplanes in 2013, which features over 100 planes from various powers including Soviet, British, Chinese, and American planes. Players get to progress through a tech tree similar to that of World of Tanks, earning upgrades through experience points and dedicated economic system. World of Warships is a title that is soon to be released, representing what was the only next logical step for the series.