The concept of a free to play title getting a retail release may seem like a bizarre one, but it has several helpful effects: it helps raise the profile of the game among players who may not have explored the growing free to play market online; and it also provides an alternative means for players uncomfortable with microtransactions to get access to some of the game's premium content without having to pay online.
Such is the case with the retail release of the otherwise-free World of Tanks, a massively multiplayer tank battling title that Julian enjoyed very much. The $19.99 package comes bundled with $30 worth of premium content, including a T2 Light Tank; one week of premium account access, which provides a 50% increase of experience and in-game currency gain for that period; 1,050,000 of the game's "soft currency" of credits, which can be earned through battles; and 1,800 of the game's "hard currency" of gold, normally purchased with real money.
In the U.S. you'll be able to pick up a copy of the retail version at GameStop, Walmart, Best Buy, Fry's, Microcenter, Eurpac-military commissaries, Amazon.com, Newegg, Fingerhut, Fred Meyers and J and R. Canadian players will be able to grab a copy from Walmart Canada, London Drugs, EB Games-GameStop and Future Shop.
World of Tanks recently reached 5 million registered players, with a peak of 172,000 concurrent users playing at once. This means that you are very likely to be able to find someone to blow up with your trundling machine of death. Try out the game for free here.