World of Warships caps off the triad in Wargaming's library of classic war-themed games. We got our first look at gameplay and watched a combat demo in their dome theater at E3 2013. Fans of naval combat will be surprised at the fast-paced approach but also the robust visuals and RTS-like strategy of combat. You are not just sailing toy boats around a map in this game. The experience is much more in your face and immediate.
The demo we saw was pre-alpha which Wargaming explained still needs polish and work, however the core gameplay is now working and developers have been able to battle it out. The focus was on two types of ships the Cruiser and the Destroyer. Both have different play styles and connect into the game's rock, paper, and scissors play style. Two teams of six first battled on the South Pacific map. There will also be fifteen vs. fifteen battles. Even though the scenery was nice, the map has a lot of features to be aware of. Ships not only take damage but have to account for buoyancy and shallow waters.
The player controlled UI drives the ships for speed and direction. The green bar shown accounts for health, while the blue bar counts for buoyancy. The first stage of combat is deploying your scout planes to do recon and find out where the enemy is hiding. There are islands and obstacles to hide behind or maneuver around for the best strikes. Once your planes find the enemy the battle begins. You have some great viewpoints on your ship which allows for control. Not only can you sniper fire your big guns, but you can get wider view to launch your torpedoes. The speed of the ships plays heavily in combat and controlling such a colossal machine can get heavy at times.
The Cruisers are the faster strike ships with big guns and are easier to control. The Destroyers not only carry guns, but can launch a torpedo salvo which does a lot of damage to enemies. During the match it is clear that the teams have to work together. We watched a Destroyer speed in front of his allies to head off a torpedo barrage and protect the other ships. Most ships worked in pairs to try and support each other. If you come within range of an enemy ship an alarm sounds across your deck as warning.
The next map we saw was the War Theater in the North Atlantic near Scotland and the Orkney Isles. Here we saw the different methods in which you can fire your guns and torpedoes. The underwater missiles have three settings at which they fire. You can do a focused attack, a mid range strike, or a wide burst of fire. The guns have a long range salvo attack which can cross the maps and target ships far away. All of the guns on the ships are designed to feel like the large guns on the WW2 ships of their day. Each ship also has anti-aircraft fire to take out the recon planes in the beginning of most battles.
There is also a game within a game for the recon planes and how you use them. This can give teams a huge strategic advantage on how you search for an find your enemy. On the two maps we saw, it was hardly open ocean combat. Every area had rocks and islands in the way, while the South Pacific was sunny and had shallows. The dreary North Atlantic had large waves and dark skies.
We got to see ships from the U.S., Japan, and Germany go to war. Wargaming did not say how many nations would be in at launch nor how many maps. What we did learn from the demo is World of Warships has a much more intense style of naval combat than other games in the niche genre. Very sorry to announce that there are no submarines in the game... yet. Still the demo offered a strong first look at the game and fans will be honored to sail some of the most historic ships in our navy. In a way, World of Warships looks like the most intense game in the Wargaming stable, which is something we didn’t expect at all. Strategy fans will likely be blown away by the action, and a beta is not far away, we’re told.
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