World of Warships is the latest offering from Wargaming, the mad geniuses behind the free to play successes World of Tanks and World of Warplanes. This time they’ve taken to the water and while we were at Gamescom, we managed to get hands on with the game and was guided through it by producer Mike Fedorov. The BigWorld engine has created some wonderful graphics. Aside from the ship detail, the world around it is just as good looking. The water, whilst not yet complete, looks amazingly fluid and responsive to everything around it. Apparently it’s going to get better and more transparent come beta release so that’s even better. The sky is just as good. Apparently members of the public were asked to tell the difference between real world skies and skies in game. Some people pointed out what they thought was the real sky. They were actually all in game, so if it can fool people then you know it looks good. The atmosphere that the engine provides is vital to World of Warships given the lack of land based battle. If you don’t feel immersed in the areas then you won’t get as in to the game and if you’ve played World of Tanks, you know that authenticity is one of the things they pride themselves on. That is no different with the warships either. This time you’ll have two nations to start, Japan and the USA, expanding to include the British, Soviet and French if not more in future. The game will run ships from the turn of the 20th century as far forward as they can. Meaning that you’ll have effectively 120 years worth of naval military history to play with. Although it’s not going to be a complete recollection of this, you won’t have whole lines of ships, but you’ll have enough ships of historical relevance to be completely lost in. The ships fall in to four basic classes. The biggest ones being the airplane carrier and Battleship, both of which suffer from low manoeuvrability but have ridiculously big guns for flak and shelling everything in your path. The middle class is the cruiser. They are also armed with flak cannons but has a weaker defence. It also have more precise gunnery so you can sharpshoot any weak points of your enemy, if you so happen to know them. The final class, the one we played with, was the Destroyer. A small, snappy vessel with small guns but armed enough to do damage and with quick manoeuvrability. What’s so good about the detail in these? Everything. They look fantastic and each ship has around 500,000 polygons. Even a gun turret contains more polygons than a single tank did in World of Tanks. They also evolve, being historic and subject to changing design and accompaniment over the years. So if a ship had some new guns installed between World War One and World War Two then that will be reflected in the ship in game as well. The team of historical advisors, as with anyone with a passing interest in military history, are meticulous. The blueprints for the ships have been used along with archive material and pictures from all throughout history to get everything just right. There are even “paper ships”. These are ships that were never actually constructed but their blueprints were drawn up. Consider it history plus. Just like World of Tanks, World of Warships is very easy to control. A simple WASD format will speed the ship up or down whilst turning port or starboard. The mouse controls the direction of your fire as well as shooting. You will also have additional buttons to change your gun rounds from normal to armour piercing and when it comes to torpedoes, you have a secondary sight guide. The guiding of you shot is trickier than a lot of games like this. You will have to accommodate that not only are you moving at a rate of knots but so is your enemy. You effectively have to judge how far ahead your shot needs to be. This gets even trickier when you’re firing torpedoes as ships can alter course and you’ll miss. This is made even MORE tricker by the fact that you are moving and you need to pay attention to where you’re going at the same time, or else collide with some land or another ship. Thankfully there is a navigational map where you can plot your courses if you want to take that particular element out of the equation. As long as you don’t blow your allies up. Friendly fire is always on and might land you in a bit of trouble if you’re not careful. At the moment the game is in Alpha and the Beta is expected before the end of the year. As opposed to World of Tanks, Warships adds a bit more of a tactical dimension given the nature of the warfare arena you’re playing in. Everything from missing a jut of rock to working out where that sonar beep is coming from telling you of your impending doom. Finally you have to be very mindful of your allies and enemies given how the area is not as closed compared to World of Tanks. It will be a lot easier to make a mistake and blow up one of your friendly escorts. But that challenge is one I suspect regular players will rise to and champion, along with drawing other new players to it as well. Just before we played the game, I remarked that the last naval warfare game I had played was the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis) game 688 Attack Sub. A game that whilst frustrating was also very tactically nuanced and reminded me a lot of Crimson Tide and The Hunt for Red October. Since then, I haven’t really found a naval game that really gripped me or that I found myself playing. Even the Battlefield naval missions didn’t really hit that level of challenge enough for me to be truly gripped. I get the feeling that World of Warships may well solve that missing whole in my gaming experience. [divider] [divider] [author]
World of Tanks 360 launched on Wednesday 12th February for the Xbox 360, funnily enough. The PC MMO war game comes to the console, keeping the free to play model so it doesn’t cost a thing.
We sent Sean Cleaver to check it out and speak with Marvin Hall, the EU Community Product Specialist for developers, Wargaming.
World of Tanks for 360 game launched yesterday, how has it gone so far?
It’s gone really, really well. I can’t speak enough about our EU community right now – we hit a CCU of around 35,000 on our first day so it’s really, really good.
Have you seen any dip in the PC because you’ve gone on to console or is it still very steady?
The PC is a completely different element. We’re not expecting people to drop their PC version of WoT and jump on Xbox. The whole point of this project is to catch people who we haven’t caught yet.
This is just on the Xbox 360 at the moment. Do you have any plans to go on to other consoles in the future?
Not for the moment.
So what’s different between the 360 and the PC versions if anything?
The 360 version is a real console experience. It’s in your living room, you have your wireless control pad, if you have a big TV or a really good sound system it really immerses you in to the game more.
I’ve already played a bit and its controls are really easy and intuitive, have you had to adapt the gameplay to make it more console friendly?
Yeah definitely, our development team went out of their way to really make it its own title. The game is inspired by WoT (PC) but it’s its own title. For the control scheme we use, we really went out of our way to make it console friendly. Everybody from experience console gamers to people that maybe play Call of Duty once or twice a week can get the controls and play it straight away.
One of the biggest benefits of this is its free to play, like the PC version. How do you expect that to carry on? Obviously Xbox Live is charged and you can’t avoid that element, and there are extras inside the game too. How realistic do you think it is to keep it free on the Xbox Live Arcade?
It’s going to continue to be free, that’s our business model and we’re going to stick to it. The Xbox Live gold thing is a requirement that Microsoft has so we respect that. But for free users you can get a seven-day trial of the game. So if you want to upgrade after trying the game for seven days then you can.
With this, you have the opportunity to expand the game as well. I know you have World of Warships and World of Warplanes planned to come out, is there plans for these to come on console as well?
There’s no plan, no. We went with World of Tanks, as is it our flagship title. Everything else is in the future.
The biggest question is probably Next Gen. As you said there’s no other console plans at the moment, how are you looking to Next Gen with this kind of model?
It’s a very attractive prospect right now, but we’re very focused on the 360 and our current player base. One of the reasons we didn’t go over to next gen to begin with is because the 360 has a player base of over 48million Xbox live users and that’s why we went with the 360.
It’s already been said that you’re looking to capture as many people with the target being 48 million. Do you think it’s a realistically achievable thing to get that many people involved in the game like this?
I think it’s realistic. If something is available and it is free then people will try it. With Microsoft backing us, with the correct promotions, why not!
Playing it myself I found a lot of comparisons to Battlefield 1943. How do you feel you’re going to compare against very established online gaming with games like Battlefield 4 and Call of Duty? Do you think you’ll be able to take some of those players away from that and bring them in to your fold?
Possibly. I think players are always looking for something new and with this coming on to the Xbox I think it’s quite refreshing because it’s AAA and it’s free to play. So I think users will find that very attractive.
What’s your favourite part of this game?
Probably just playing with medium tanks. It’s my favourite type of tank and you can get everything. You can shoot scouts you can kill enemies easily… It’s very versatile.
Anything you want to add?
Just basically thank you to all of the community. We’re going to continue to push more in game content in the near future so eventually we’ll have all of the content that the PC version has so there’s a very long lifespan to this title.