Replies to Reddit - "World of Tanks to MWO"

This is a reply I made to a Reddit thread inquiring about what to expect from MWO after switching from WoT.

Welcome! I have some time so I'll give you a wall of text comparing both.
First, let me say that you'll have a hard time as a beginner. There's so much to learn and you won't start in a "kindergarten tier" like WoT and WoWs throws you into where you learn the game in very underpowered tanks/ships. You'll need to learn how 'Mechs and weapons work, google about some obscure "under the hood" stuff, spend time looking at spreadsheets on Smurfy's Mechlab and try to come up with meaningful builds, learn about bazillion 'Mechs we have in the game right now and I'm not even talking about gameplay stuff like positioning, situational awareness, threat assessment and so on.
The matchmaker also doesn't really care about tiers right now, so you'll be thrown in with people tryharding in powercreep stuff and grizzled veterans that will kill you in seconds at the slightest mistake. 
That being said, if you manage to get through your first few days without ragequitting and find out that you enjoy stompy robots; you'll find the gameplay very satisfying. That satisfaction will only grow as you get better and understand how the game works. Heck, it's been 4 years for me and I'm still improving myself. The core gameplay is well designed; it's casual enough to be instantly enjoyable, yet it also has some simulation elements to it that adds considerable depth. The combat is absolutely brutal; you get to dismantle your opponents piece by piece and see its effects. It also adds another layer of depth where if you know the 'Mech and the build of your enemy, you can target their weak point to take them out. Some builds are one-sided (so you shoot the side with the weapons), some use XL engines (essentially a gamble), some sacrifice leg armor (so you can leg them) and so on. They did an amazing job with the core gameplay. 
Though I think the best thing about MWO's gameplay if you're coming from WoT is minimal RNG. Where you aim is where you hit. There's no obscured RNG feature that messes up your perfect aim and turns the game into a slot machine. The only times the RNG will screw you is getting critted (destroying weapons/equipment without blowing off the component, doesn't happen very often), Ultra Autocannon jams (you trade random jams for massive DPS bursts) and getting screwed by the matchmaker (incompetent teams). 
One of MWO's biggest strengths is the customization. Especially at the "end game" where you're decent at the game and have a 'Mech collection you're happy with. Then all that remains to you besides pugstomping is experimenting with your 'Mechs. Coming up with builds that are optimized for different situations is just too much fun. In WoWs most of the ships only have a single "right" configuration (captain skills and upgrades) but in MWO you can build a 'Mech to be a godly brawler or a great sniper. Sadly the upcoming skill tree is changing this and they're putting a hefty tax on customization. 
When it comes to the economy (I play WoWs), I think MWO is grindier than Wargaming titles. It's especially comparable to WoWs economy (the prices of ships/'Mechs and credit income is similar), yet there are so many 'Mechs that if you failed to grind it from the beginning like me or blow hundreds of dollars on 'Mech packs, you'll end up with only a handful of 'Mechs after months of regular gameplay (1-3 hours a day). So if you're a completionist, the grind might piss you off. If you're happy with just the best of the best, then the grind is obviously much less so long as you stay away from Clans and heavier 'mechs. 
MWO also doesn't have tiers, it only has 'Mech classes; lights, mediums, heavies and assaults. So you can buy the biggest, baddest stuff right in the beginning instead of having to play through 'Mechs that you absolutely hate to get to the good stuff. That's another huge advantage of MWO's economy. You can buy anything you want, provided you have the C-Bills or the $. 
That being said, by going this way, PGI chose to treat each 'Mech as equal. Which means, a Commando (25T light) is treated equal to a Kodiak (100T assault). Heck an Orion (75T heavy brawler, very hard to work with) is also treated equal to a Night Gyr (75T heavy omnimech, supreme powercreep). So 'Mechs are not exactly equal. They also handled the balancing quite badly (glacial pace of iterations and sheer incompetence with quirking) which threw the game in cycles of overpowered 'Mech dominance and killed the diversity. 4 years into the game's life cycle we have a completely new skill system coming up that will change the balance all over again, so that should tell you how competent they've been so far. 
When we compare the developers, at first I loved them but after 4 years I don't think PGI is much different than your "retarded" WT devs. Their community interaction is mainly made through the president's Twitter account (lul), their Community Manager does not interact with the community at all (I have no idea what she's doing TBH) yet a "totally not PGI and independent" third party community group behaves like their CM, their design team is disconnected from the community and come up with convoluted and head scratching concepts every year, they half-assed a game mode with massive potential (Community Warfare, Faction Warfare) and may have killed it with recent changes, during the past year they've been shifting towards shady Wargaming style powercreep stuff that stays $ exclusive for months and overally they seem to be trying to monetize the game even more to milk the playerbase even more to fund MW5. I'm a bit salty about how things turned out. 
The community is amazing though. Inside the game you'll find a generally positive ambiance, toxic players are very rare. VOIP is used often and people will listen most of the time. Outside the game it's full of talented people putting out great content and people racing each other to help new players. 
So yeah, it's not exactly roses and sunshine here, but if you can ignore the bad parts and focus on the good parts (easy to do in the beginning), it's a damn fun game. The 'Mech combat is incredible. I hope you'll find it good enough to stick with it!
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About Rak

I'm an engineer who likes to write extremely long articles about games that border simulation and mainstream.
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