World of Warships represents Wargaming.net’s next phase of battle games. With the overwhelming success of World of Tanks and the high flying stunts of World of Warplanes, we now take to the seas to fight it out using historical battleships from all over the world. I've been dabbling in the open beta, and wanted to share my initial thoughts on our way to the final review in a couple of weeks.
I played a lot of Warships in early closed beta and was surprised at how quickly and smoothly the game played back then. Sure it was in the early testing phases though, so it was nice to get back into the game this past week on the eve of official launch. One word comes to mind when I entered back into the game, polish.
The time in which it took me to click on Wargmaing’s website and check the game out initially, to actually driving a ship and firing my guns in the first battle was so fast it made my head spin. Granted I did already have a Wargaming.net account, but that does not take too long to set up either. So it is safe to say that the barriers of entry into Warships are almost non-existent. Having a game be easy to get, authenticate to, and get start is a great start for first impressions.
Next I decided to go into the game with no real world money. I wanted the true free to play experience without spending a dime. This is something so many companies talk about, but as companies have told us, most players cave in and spend cash usually within the first hour or so of playing. I tried to hold strong and was successful in staying free for the week.
The maps I've been able to play are composed of different island formations with two flags to capture. You are given two basic ships to start with: the Erie, a US cruiser class ship and the Japanese Kawachi. As you get started keep in mind that these are warships. They move slow and do not stop on a dime. They were massive machines that haunted the oceans carrying tons of firepower. I would say the biggest learning curve for a new Warships player is getting used to how the ship handles. I jumped right into my first match with the Japanese Kawachi as it was slightly faster than the Erie. However it only has two guns to shoot with. One on the front and one in the back. The Kawachi is very maneuverable in the water and I was able to make a lot of sharp turns and hide well behind islands to surprise the enemy.
Similar to World of Tanks, each game starts with eight players per team. It does not matter what ship you choose, you are put on a team and sent off. There was no lack of games at all to find as I got right into a battle within under a minute. So you are in, you are fidgeting with the controls to move the ship around. A simple mouse click will fire your main weapons, but getting the range right, that is where the real challenge comes. Warships is all about movement and range. In early beta I would drive up real fast hoping to engage ships and destroy them. All that did was get me killed. So this time I was more cautious in my approaches during each battle.
With a more cautious approach you have a better sense of where to coordinate attacks. As I entered the battle I was able to use the mouse to adjust my view. I think shooting from a first person view gives you a much better sense of range on your targets. Yes you can shoot over islands and at very far ranges. In the battle where torpedoes come into play, those are extremely dangerous. They can destroy you very quickly so you must be aware of them at all times. If you are using torpedoes the real fun is knowing when to use them to their maximum effect (predicting where an enemy will be when your torpedoes arrive is hard but satisfying when it works).
The battles are faster than you might think and once you are dead you can go into spectator mode. I find the real fun in Warships is knowing how to use the strategies of your ship. I definitely got better with each game and was able to get several successful wins early on.
So, in my return to World of Warships I found an even more polished combat system with almost instant access to gameplay. Warships takes the heavy strategy and mixes it with the right amount of fun for any player. From Navy veterans to first time sailors, this game makes you feel the power of a Warship at your finger tips. We have come a long way from Battleship that I played as a kid. One last note on these first impressions, all the great fun in Warships I played was absolutely free. I will continue my review of the game as we get deeper into combat and more ships in the next feature. For now it's time to spend some gold on a Destroyer.