Our first stop once the E3 floor actually opened was Wargaming. I don’t think I’m the only one that was incredibly excited to get our first look at the pre-alpha build of World of Warships. Alas despite it looking more polished than any naval title I’ve seen before it, the ever perfectionists at Wargaming refused to allow us to film the event! So allow me to paint a visual image of what so few across the world have had the pleasure of witnessing.
First of all, think about the UI, tech tree, and categories that differentiate tanks in World of Tanks. These concepts transfer straight into the World of Warships as expected; with the exception that now we’re dealing with destroyers, cruisers, battleships, and carriers. And no there will not be submarines. The reason given? They’re too slow and detracted from the fun and flow of matches.
Destroyers, cruisers, and battleships function in a rock paper scissors style based on what each brings to the table. Destroyers are speedy little assassins that can’t take many hits but can drop a payload of short range torpedoes that can cripple multiple vessels at once if well timed. Cruisers have devastating mid-range firepower and fast enough reloads to be the ideal weapon to protect your battleships from destroyer attacks. They’re the rather well rounded unit that sacrifices some speed for survivability.
Battleships are ideal for clearing the way for your destroyers by outranging and outdamaging cruisers with firepower that will make World of Tanks artillery jealous. It’s damn exciting watching these behemoths unleash their full payload across an island to take out an unsuspecting destroyer in one barrage. Finally the carriers are an interesting damage over time artillery unit that is controlled by placing markers on the map in which a fighter plane squad leader heads to. Countless other fighter planes will follow the leader and engage in nearby ships as well as enemy fighter planes at the location you specify. Of course you’ll need to keep an eye on the skies as well as your own ship to keep afloat as long as possible or your team is going to take a beating as air superiority becomes lost over key points.
The game plays similarly to World of Tanks in that each ship has a manually fired main weapon with long reload times and accuracy improvement systems depending on how patient you are. Players use a rudder system to perform half turns and hard turns with efficiency in turning dependent on cruising speed as well as mass of your ship. Ships also have size that needs to be considered when sailing through narrow islands or nearby the shoreline as you can run aground in shallow water if you’re not careful. Depending on your ship, you will also have secondary guns controlled by the AI that fire at nearby ships or fighter jets. Speed is controlled via an adjustable rolling wheel with max speed and acceleration again dependent on your ship’s specs and weight. Your ship’s admiral will also comment on the surroundings occasionally to give you an extra eye on current events since there’s a lot to keep up with at once in this game.
All ships in the game have two health bars. One represents damage sustained while the other represents buoyancy. Any damage done above water takes from the primary health bar while under water attacks like torpedoes take out the enemy’s buoyancy. I’m sure plenty of strategy will come into play and certain ships will be far easier to remove from battle by focusing on one health bar over the other.
Matches play out exactly as they have in World of Tanks except the maps are far larger so recon plays a much larger role in strategy. Battleships are expected to literally fire blind as if playing the boardgame attempting to land a hit on B5 to secure radar location on the enemy. Various land structures offer defense both from long ranged arching artillery fire as well as shallow waters to give smaller boats some maneuverability advantages when forced to enter 1 on 1 situations with a higher tier vehicle. Various modes typically associated with capturing a central location or the enemy’s starting location are also present. The UI is roughly the same with your ammunition types listed on the bottom left in a hotbar setting next to your speed, turn, and health management bars. And the economy system will be tied in with World of Warplanes and World of Tanks, further unifying the three titles.
If you look at the CGI trailer for this game and imagine it’s a lot of marketing hype with no substance, you’re sorely mistaken. The in-game graphics are already almost on-par with this and even the small hut towns on the various islands have more detail built into them than some MMORPG towns that actually involve gameplay on land! The intricate detail on each ship just leaves you saying wow and when you witness them blown to bits with damage reflecting the type of attack sustained. Players can expect 15v15 as the maximum number of admirals in a battle and somewhere between 100 and 140 ships across multiple nations at beta launch with a planned total of 500 ships in production.