For the Record: E3: World of Warships – First Impressions
Thanks to WARLOCK360100 for sending me this. This text was originally published on another site and I am not its writer (the author of the text was one of the few lucky ones who apparently saw the E3 playable WoWs demo). However, given the fact that the aforementioned site copypastes FTR stuff without so much as asking on regular basis, I do not feel in any way obliged to post the original source here. World of Warships was one of the most impressive demos we saw at E3 2014. While Wargaming.net first showed a recording of pre-alpha footage in a theater presentation during last year’s show, this year the company demonstrated real-time gameplay against AI opponents in the current alpha build. What we witnessed makes us fear for our free time: World of Warships is likely to devour our lives when it releases, much like World of Tanks first did. The premise of WoWS is similar to both World of Tanks and World of Warplanes; if you have played one of these Wargaming.net titles, you will instantly feel at home. There is the familiar out-of-battle interface, tech trees with up to ten tiers for a number of nationalities, instant-action PvP, and maps with base capture mechanics. Ship classes include destroyers, cruisers, battleships and aircraft carriers. The gameplay we saw focused on cruiser combat, generalist vessels with moderate speed, maneuverability, firepower and a mix of torpedoes and guns. The cruiser used in the demo had a seaplane scout aircraft, which was launched at the start of the battle. Aircraft are flown by AI but follow waypoints selected by the player on an overhead map view; the first phase of the engagement involves ships launching their scouts and hunting for the enemy fleet. In the 2013 version of World of Warships it was possible to fire a ship’s cannon with two modes: sniper and artillery. Artillery mode, which used an identical method to that in World of Tanks, has now been removed. According to the developers, artillery fire incentivized players to hang back and shell one another rather than engaging rapidly, so now all ship cannons work only in a direct fire mode. Camera options have expanded: there are chase cameras for both your aircraft and torpedoes, allowing players to see through their scout’s eyes directly, or to watch as their torpedoes slam into the hull of a target. This is very impressive to witness, and adds to the grand cinematic feel of the naval combat. While a ship’s cannon have a traditional crosshair/zoom targeting system, torpedoes have a dynamic spread mechanic. A player can adjust the width of the spread of his flight of torps, with a narrow spread when at close range and high accuracy fire, and a wider spread for long range, less accurate shots. Torpedo salvos when combined with the optional chase camera have a nail-biting ‘will or won’t it’ effect as you watch them close in on their target. Vessels now have two metrics for health: hit points and buoyancy. If either bar hits zero, the ship sinks; some weapon systems will have more of an impact on buoyancy than on hit points. The ship models are impressively detailed, as we have come to expect from Wargaming.net and their penchant for archival research and blueprint-based modeling. The ships we saw ranged from the pre-Dreadnaught era (approximately 1905) through World War II. The ship classes appear to be a classic rock, paper, scissors scheme, with aircraft carriers as an intruiging real-time strategy gameplay wildcard. Destroyers are quick and hard-hitting with torpedoes yet very fragile; Cruisers are generalists with cannon, torpedoes and scout planes; Battleships are slow and heavily armored with the iconic main batteries. Meanwhile, the Aircraft Carriers can command their aircraft squadrons along waypoints from a top-down RTS-esque map view, and must remain protected by their team against direct combat. We know of four types of planes available on WoWS’s carriers: scouts, interceptors, dive bombers and torpedo bombers. No kamikazes, no submarines. Despite the stately pace of naval battles in the real world, the developers were eager to demonstrate how rapidly the opposing teams meet and clash in World of Warships. We saw a first engagement time of approximately one minute before contact from hostile destroyers and combat gameplay. World of Warships is easily one of my most anticipated PvP titles on the horizon. We spaceship enthusiasts are often naval warfare buffs, and we haven’t seen a quick-fix naval combat MMO since the venerable sprite-based Navyfield. WoWS is stunning to watch, and grabbed me viscerally; the E3 alpha demo already looks better than many published games. Wargaming.net has stated that they hope to have WoWS in closed beta later this year.