World of Warplanes CB Preview
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor), OnRPG Journalist
Airplanes have always been fascinating machines in my eyes; since I was a little boy I liked to play around with my airplane toys and pretended it was me flying high in the skies. When I got into the closed beta for World of Warplanes I was full of joy, reliving my younger days in a much more high tech and interactive way! What can be better than that? Of course these planes pack heavy lead to shoot down the rival fighters in the sky. It’s no longer kiddie games and imagination, WoWP has brought the experience to life!
From the makers of World of Tanks, World of Warplanes throws you your pilot goggles and thrusts you straight into your first plane. After a quick but challenging tutorial that is. In the first tutorial you will learn the basic controls of the game and your skills are tested to see if you are capable of flying a plane on your own. Your plane will be completely controlled with the use of your mouse, an odd feel for those used to more average FPS titles. I recommend people with a lower sensitivity setting on their mouse to crank it up because flying a plane is no joke. In the tutorial I had a tough time adjusting, often letting the test pilots escape in embarrassing fashion. Luckily slowing down or speeding up the plane is done with the W and S buttons, two vital operations that you’ll be glad aren’t related to the mouse considering how much control is already given to it. Mastering this unique control system is vital to overcome other players in this PvP focused title where every second can mean the difference in victory or defeat.
When I finished up my third run with the tutorial I was happy to test my skills against real people and see if it was as hard as I thought. At first you start off with a simple plane; you are given three types of airplanes that belong to three nations. You are given a plane from the USSR, the Germans and the USA. All these three types of planes branch off into three type of planes that all have a different use in the game: there are fighters which are mainly used to shoot at the other enemy airplanes, and then there are heavy fighters which do have more firepower but usually have to compensate in speed, and last there are the ground-attack planes focused on taking out heavily fortified ground objectives that can win the game for your team under certain conditions. All these airplanes start out as rank 1. The ranks are really important when you are going to search a battle. Since everyone starts out in the first rank you will have no trouble finding any match whatsoever, but if you have played for a while and have a plane in the higher ranks you might want to reconsider sometimes and take a lesser plane to the battlefield to find a match faster.
After I was done admiring the smooth details of the three planes it was time to see which one suites me best so I could plan out my future upgrades. I’m a big fan of the fast-paced action the fighters bring to the table so I researched their tech trees first. In the techtree you can find the airplanes of the same nation that you can unlock if you play with one of the planes. If you have gotten yourself enough points with one of these nations you are able to unlock higher ranked planes (usually representing the evolution of each nation’s planes through the 20th century. There is however one important choice you have to make because each one of the nation planes branches off into two different playstyles: the first one is usually focused on the Fighter airplanes and the other branch usually is focused on one of the other two. I decided to go with the USSR because of their small frames and sleek design.
In my first game I played I was shown that this game is not to taken lightly and that it is absolutely no joke to fly your own plane. World of Tanks was always known for its hardcore competitive audience and many of them seem to have transitioned well into this second rendition as even the level 1 opponents were going full force against me. Stick with your team at all times or you’ll find yourself isolated and barraged with led as soon as you find yourself flying in the wrong direction. In the start of a game each team is set to a flying start on one side of the map until everyone is loaded into the game.
The second the timer reaches zero your adrenaline will rise up and you see your fellow comrades flying with you in a V-line. Unfortunately this is also the moment you need to be on your game the most because some people just want to see the world burn and will veer off in random directions, resulting in immediate crashes that take you and them out of the battle. So if you want to have a good time and enjoy a good fight, please watch out for each other as it’s hard to overcome a brutal start with 2 to 3 of your teammates going down in flames before a single bullet fires. When you are in range of the enemy, hell breaks loose, formations falter, and most planes break off into 1 on 1 or 2 on 2 firefights with plenty of tail chasing. I quickly learned why they circled around because flying in a straight line will get you killed, and unlike the tutorial, your enemy knows how to shoot back this time.
Bullets are flying left and right of my plane as I try to bring someone in front of me down while some German plane is on my tail. It’s difficult to describe in words the challenge of shooting down a plane while dodging bullets yourself as your guns and evasion maneuvers are both functions of your mouse. It can be done properly, but believe me when I say this game has a steep learning curve and high skill ceiling. After a couple of minutes I managed to get the hang of it and I got to land a few money shots.
One thing that is absolutely amazing in this game is the realism. If you hit someone you will actually see the bullets go right through the carcass of the plane, and if you hit them right in the engine, smoke will come out and give you a sign that your enemy might be in big trouble. When smoke turns to fire you can safely assume your kill is secured, however this sense of victory is often short lived. People that are behind you and on your tail are extremely hard to get rid of without help from teammates. If you find yourself in a 1 on 1 situation, my best advice is to just fly like a maniac, looping loops and dusting close to the ground in the hopes that your opponent makes a fatal error before you do.
World of Warplanes is an absolutely amazing and worthy to share the same grounds with World of Tanks. The detail in this game is something I haven’t personally seen before in this genre, and every bullet that deals damage is shown in realistically as your opponent’s plane struggles to stay in flight. With my killer computer I still had trouble running this game on the highest graphics, even though it is still in closed beta, you will require a proper computer to run this game. I am sure they are tweaking with graphics settings and code to improve the experience for lower end PCs prior to launch. To run World of Warplanes you will need the following system requirements:
Operating system: Windows XP/Vista/7
Processor (CPU): 2.2 GHz
Memory(RAM): 2 GB
Videocard: GeForce 8600GT or ATI HD 2600 with 256 MB
Internet connection speed: 128 Kbps
As you can see, anyone that has bought a computer in the last couple of years will not have a problem running this game; it does still ask something out of your system so try to avoid too much multitasking on your processor while playing.
Even though World of Warplanes is still in closed beta, it looks like a finished game. I personally had a blast flying around in my plane shooting led at the enemy while dodging all sorts of incoming attacks. As an airplane freak I really liked all the types of airplanes Wargaming has painstakingly recreated based on the real things. As a graphics fan I was greeted with a beautiful looking game that properly renders any damage dealt to make your planes feel like real vehicles and not just metallic placeholders with an HP bar. If you consider yourself an FPS master and want a new challenge, or have just been waiting for a higher quality F2P fighter plane title to emerge, the wait is over. Wargaming is set to score another strategic victory when World of Warplanes emerges commercially later this year!