World of Warplanes Updated Look
By Remko Molenaar (Proxzor) OnRPG Journalist
It has been a while since we have heard something substantial from Wargaming on their second project, World of Warplanes. While World of Tanks receives back to back major updates and expansions, the planes have been flying stealth in the background, slowly improving without notice. For those that missed my coverage last year, World of Warplanes is a new upcoming military fighter that follows the same formula of World of Tanks but takes the fight to the skies. When I first tried this game out in October, I was astonished from what I had seen. Not only was the game a ton of fun to play, it kept me coming back for a lot of months just like the popular game World of Tanks has done to me.
But apparently the people behind this game thought differently. And they decided to overhaul the whole flight model and some of the controls. These new flight models add more thrills to the aerial combat and a more dynamic feel to the gameplay. And after checking out these changes, I must say that I understand why they felt like spicing things up. In the version I played back in October, the game felt rather tiring after only an hour of playing. Even though the game looked and felt realistic to me, it still had something missing. If you got shot up, you’d see a lot of bullets holes in your plane but the fighter would keep flying fine somehow. You could see your own engine being torn up, yet flying wasn’t a problem at all unless it was blown up. Sure there was smoke coming out of every possible hole, but other than that it didn’t actually do anything.
With their new updated flight models, I felt much more realism with my plane’s controls at various stages of damage. For instance if your plane is shot up now, you’ll be limping through the sky, and if your plane is smoking you know you only have a few seconds to live before you catch the unavoidable bullet. Does the enemy catch a lucky weak point in your plane’s design? You will go straight down. Another problem they addressed was the aiming system. People were always circling around each other trying to land a hit because well, the controls were basically a pain to deal with. And on top of that you also had to try and hit anyone while being chased yourself. Luckily the controls have now changed and this also has had a huge effect on the combat itself. Before these updates, you knew you would be able to take a few hits before you went down, but because it is now somewhat easier to aim, and the models have changed, one well aimed shot can take you down before you even realize where the shots are coming from. This now requires you to think through every step you take and makes teamwork and formations far superior to flying solo and circle strafing.
The graphics also had a major overhaul and the game almost looks like a sequel compared to its past rendition. Apparently Wargaming wasn’t happy with how the game was looking and decided to remake almost everything from scratch. The textures are much improved and the various plane models are more distinct and easier to tell apart at a distance. They are using better shaders than before and this has changed the whole concept of painting your airplane. Every coat of color or even if you have nothing painted on your plane, will look completely different compared to the others and this makes your airplane more distinguished.
On a related note, they have now also changed the camera system in World of Warplanes. Because the game can actually be hectic at times having so many people on your tail while you are dead focused on chasing a target of your own, it was common that a mountain range would sneak up on you and end your match prematurely. Now the camera angle offers a wider view of your surroundings so you can keep an eye on your enemies tailing you, your target, and those sneaky mountain ranges with ease. Unfortunately though the closed beta seems to be getting less popular by the month, and there aren’t many people playing anymore, so I hope if Wargaming reads this and starts throwing out a lot more invites because it would hurt me to see this game die before it actually reaches launch.
Having tested these new updates, I must say that I am glad to see such a major studio taking their time finishing their product that many other players are waiting for. Having many other MMO’s with the same concept I’d say that Wargaming is doing a good thing taking a careful look at each step they take. I was hesitant to jump back into the game after my previous look since devs use these press events often to try to raise additional awareness of their title without actually changing much but comparing the old version with the new updates really is night and day. The whole aspect of the game, the controls, new camera settings and the new models completely add a new feel to the game. It feels like playing a whole different game, and the meta game has really shifted from what it used to be. No more circling around trying to land a bullet on the other plane’s engine. Instead the steadiest aim and best coordinated teams take care of business now as they should.