Preview – World of Warships
During PAX Australia, Save Game was given the opportunity to see a closed doors demo of the upcoming massively multiplayer online game World of Warships produced by Wargaming. Below you’ll find our thoughts.
In the demo, made specifically for PAX Australia, we watched as Sergey Vorobyev, Head of Technology Department / Deputy Director of Development at Wargaming’s St Petersburg offices took us through two very different game modes. During the first game mode, the scenario was simple – play against bots to protect and carry back home an injured aircraft carrier. Sergey selected the cruiser class, which is one of the middle class ships available to play in World of Warships. The cruiser class, as Max Chuvalov, PR and Marketing Product Manager explained, is a more defensive class of warship with multiple anti-aircraft defense systems. After selecting the choice of ship, the game plays a short cutscene which sets up the reason for the player’s mission, and then you’re thrown head-first into the action.
From the outset, I was impressed by the level of detail that was on display on each and every warship and aircraft on screen. On the cruiser alone, the detail of the ship was spectacular. Unfortunately, your ship doesn’t stay pristine for long if you’re not careful, and as Max explained, there are a lot of areas on your ship that can take damage if your enemies land successful hits. Your engine, your turrets and your ship will all show visible damage and can be completely destroyed if you fail to maneuvre your ship out of harms way. Knowing this, however, provides you with key information to use against your enemies, because whatever is a vulnerable area on your ship is also vulnerable on your enemies ships, so targeting these areas will result in more damage done to your foes.
The carrier has different types of shots that can be used to attack enemy ships, including heavy explosives, which have low penetration rate but have a huge possibility to cause the targeted ship to catch fire, and as a result are great to use against light armored targets like small destroyers. Also in the carrier’s ammo inventory are armor-piercing shells, which are meant to cause damage to targets with greater armor like battleships or heavy cruisers. Clearly, the type of ammo you select on each target is part of the tactical element to Warships, as whilst any type of ammo will damage every ship, selecting the ammo that does critical damage to each target will obviously lead to better results.
As Sergey demonstrated, positioning your ship outside of an enemy ship’s weapons range is the best strategy to employ if you wish to stay alive for as long as possible. Whilst destroyers are formidible enemies, keeping your ship clear of their torpedo’s gives you some breathing room and a chance to plan your counter attack. As Sergey initiated combat with the destroyer, Max explained that the main goal of cruisers is to protect their fleet from destroyers, as cruisers have enough firepower to elimiate them, as their turrets rotate and have a very fast reload speed. During the back and forward exchange with the destroyer and Sergey’s cruiser, Max also gave us a tip about the position of the ship, noting that position is essential in the battle, because if your ship is placed sideways, all your turrets can fire, however if you are placed directly head to head to your opponent ship, only your front turrets can engage. Therefore, the player must decide whether they wish to have all turrets firing and therefore increase their firepower (whilst also exposing their hull to the enemy), or whether they wish to have less of a silhouette for your enemy to target, but have less firepower available to them.
Whilst the battle raged, Max discussed the different abilities of each of the class of warships. Destroyers, he pointed out, have smokescreens so they can disappear from the viewpoint of the player and unleash a huge amount of smoke, covering their light ships from enemy fire. In addition, every ship in World of Warships has a special player ability whereby any time a ship is set on fire or damaged, the player can call a repair crew to put out the fire or repair the damaged area. In addition, the ships also have recon planes, which can be launched to increase the visibility range.
Adding to the choice in battle, different armaments are also placed on each ship, with some automatically firing whilst others are player controlled. The main turrets are operated by the player, whilst anti-aircraft guns and secondary turret guns fire automatically when the enemy is in reach. As the player progresses, they will be able to upgrade their crewmembers specific skills following different skillsets and skill trees, including aiming and maintenance for better repairs.
During the battle, I was impressed with just how much action was unfolding on screen, with full battles waging between warships, in addition to aerial battles between warplanes. Wherever you looked, there was something exciting happening, and the action was unfolding in a heartracing, frenetic pace. Thankfully, Max explained that this particular battle was a high tier ships battle and quite a way into the game itself. Therefore, by the time players were faced with what Sergey was demoing for us, they would have already been exposed to all the tutorials and had several battles already under their belt.
After Sergey successfully protected his fleet, allowing his ships to safely reach their destination, we were shown a very different game mode – that of the aircraft carrier gameplay. This particular gameplay was a lot more reminscent of a Real Time Strategy game. Here, the gameplay was a top-down view, with three different camera perspectives available, each of which is optimised to use for specific purposes. Sergey showed us one particular camera perspective which was best used to operate squadrons of planes launched from the aircraft carrier, plotting their enemy intercept course. Another of the camera angles was best for a tactical perspective, as it enabled the player to see the whole of the area at once, therefore enabling tactical decision making. Sergey showcased how squadrons of bombers could be used to attack enemy ships, the player controlling which ships to attack and the angel of intercept. Here, the tactics of war were on full display, as Sergey explained that when using torpedo’s, it was best to attack enemy ships from the side, ensuring the torpedo’s had the largest target to hit, whilst dive bombing squadrons were better used by attacking from the top or the back, as the anti-aircraft guns that would normally shoot down these squadrons had a limited field of vision from these angles.
During this gameplay mode, the player can choose which area of the battle to focus on, with all the action occuring in real-time – so a player who has just launched a squadron of bombers can watch as those bombers engage their target. Similarly, if torpedo’s are launched, the player can watch their trajectory, counting down how many successful hits are landed on each ship. During the battle, planes attack selected enemy ships and then must return to their carrier to restock their ammo shells, meaning a player must consider which squadrons they have available and plan their tactics accordingly.
After watching both gameplay types, it is clear that World of Warships will appeal to both players who like to be in the thick of the action, watching the frenetic battles unfold in front of them, as well as players who prefer a more tactical, top down approach. The gameplay itself is impressive in the level of design and detail on each of the warships, and both gameplay modes looked like a bunch of fun. For those interested in learning more about the game, Wargaming have announced that beta testing for World of Warships will occur sometime in the first quarter of 2015. Until then, the official website has more information.
We would like to thank both Max and Sergey for their time in showing World of Warships to us during PAX Australia.