War Thunder patched to 1.41 last night, with various plane improvement but the main show is tanks going open beta, so I gave the tank arcade battles a good trial run. I had a lot of fun with it. Never played World of Tanks, so I don't have that comparative lens.
I did notice some bugs. The most annoying one was getting a connection failure to the battle server right after a match starts. You get scored as a drop out and can't rejoin. It is not a problem when solo, but bad when squared, since you have the choice of waiting out a whole game or dropping squad to keep playing. There should be some provision to rejoin after a connection failure if you have squad mates in a game. The other notable up is that if you touch ammo mods during a game before spawning a tank, it gets confused and thinks you have an extra load of shells to allocate, and if you listen to it and do so with a balanced load, you will only have the first kind, since the new number will be a full real load. Just ignore it and play on once you've assigned some shells of the kind you want, and dropped some others to make room in the real count.
Tactically, I like hugging low ground, with the perfect engagement beinget a spot with a high impassible flank cover towards the enemy direction of approach so I get flanking shots at advancing enemies that are going around the end of the hill. If there is a bit of a hull down to my front and a way to break LOS by reversing it's perfect. Then just hope the flow rate of enemies is fast enough to stay busy but one at a time in LOS. Until in a good spot or taking decent shots at least keep moving, halting to shoot at any but very close range, using the gunner's sight. Snapshots from third person commander view are good when shooting on the move while very close.
The early tanks pick up their upgrades very quickly. The Russian ones seem to be a bit buffed relative to historical performance. Their KV1 stat sheet looks like they are making it a bit too fast, for instance.[Turns out that was a bad example. Whatever the stats sheet says about max speed, the KV1 feels suitably sluggish at accelerating, decelerating, hill climbing, and turning, so it does not feel like a fast tank.].