The sky’s the limit
With more than 30 million registered users around the globe, free-to-play action MMO World of Tanks has proven to be nothing short of a phenomenon. Now, Belarusian developer Wargaming.net is looking to duplicate that success with World of Warplanes, a new aerial combat MMO that’s more ambitious and polished in just about every regard.
War Sometimes Changes
The core design ethos of World of Warplanes is quite similar to that of World of Tanks—spectacular online battles that blend light simulation elements with action gameplay. By its very nature, though, aerial combat offers a much faster pace than tank battles, and that’s a welcome change for impatient folks like me. The flight mechanics are streamlined enough to be accessible to newcomers, but deep enough to allow for gradual mastery. That means your first dogfight will be plenty exciting, but you’ll gradually find yourself learning more advanced techniques and pulling off more impressive maneuvers the longer you play.
World of Warplanes offers three different control, and each one carries its own distinct advantages. The mouse allows for the most precise aiming, the joystick offers the most control over your plane, and the keyboard sits somewhere in between. All three options are incredibly intuitive, meaning you should have an easy time staying competitive no matter what you choose. I was most impressed by the keyboard and mouse setup, which places the mouse cursor inside a circle around the targeting reticule. As you move to the outside of the circle, your plane will automatically turn in that direction. The system takes a bit of getting used to, but after a few minutes, you’ll be surprised how natural it feels.
Wargaming.net has put a great deal of effort into building a massive, historically accurate suite of planes for players to choose from. That should hardly be a surprise to anyone who’s played the similarly meticulous World of Tanks, but it’s nice to see that authenticity is still a major priority. The team even employs a dedicated historical consultant whose sole duty is to scour archives looking for new planes and ensuring that the in-game models are as true to real life as possible. With hundreds of planes dating from the earliest days of military aviation all the way through to the Korean War, World of Warplanes should give history buffs plenty to drool over.
…With a Twist
But don’t think that the game’s dedication to historical authenticity means there won’t be a few surprises along the way. Wargaming.net has taken great care to ensure that the lineup of planes is as eclectic as possible. They’ve included a number of experimental designs and prototype aircraft that look like they’d be more at home in a ’50s sci-fi B-movie than a historical battlefield. Throw in the ability to customize the appearance of your planes, and you’ve got more than enough variety to keep those of us who slept through history class entertained.
To coincide with the release of World of Warplanes, Wargaming.net intends to launch a unified online service in the vein of Blizzard’s Battle.net. You’ll have one centralized log-in for all of Wargaming.net’s games, present and future, meaning your stats and social features will carry over seamlessly. The service will also support Open ID, allowing your account to carry over onto partner and fan sites as well. It’s a big play, and more proof that Wargaming.net is looking to turn their success with World of Tanks into a full-fledged MMO empire.