More Than A Wingman: World of Warplanes CBT Preview
Wargaming broke new ground with World of Tanks, bringing a realistic military vehicle combat experience to the MMO market. Now World of Warplanes, the second of Wargaming’s planned trilogy, seeks to emulate the popularity of its predecessor while focusing on aerial combat. While the game’s closed beta is still raging, and regular improvements being made to help polish the game for an eventual release, MMOHuts had an opportunity to get a hands-on look at the title and see how it flies.
There is no new user tutorial for World of Warplanes. With that immediate concern out of the way, there is an option for players to test planes against CPU bots. This feature lets you test out capabilities of new aircraft, but believe us, you’ll also want to make use of the mode to learn how to fly, too.
The game does offer several different control methods, including keyboard-only, mouse-only, keyboard and mouse, and gamepad. The variety is impressive, and allows players to find a style that they can most easily adapt to and play with – crucial in learning to succeed as a pilot.
The Hangar is World of Warplanes’ hub, where you’ll spend any of your time when not in a match. Here, you can select which plane you’d like to use in your upcoming battle. By default, you start with the four basic planes from each of the four countries represented (United States, Germany, USSR, and Japan); additional planes can be purchased from the main Hangar screen.
In order to unlock new planes, you need to have enough experience, plus the credits to purchase them. While purchasing a new aircraft is simple, there are dozens of configuration options available for most planes. You can spend quite a bit of time tweaking engine parts, guns, and other assorted parts to find the right combination of maneuverability and firepower needed to dominate the field.
Into the Wild Blue Yonder
After getting a feel for the game through its AI mode, it was time to venture out and face other players. Each of the planes is ranked according to tiers, and the matchmaking system is designed to ensure that a brand new user will not face off against an advanced fighter jet in their starting planes. With enough variety in configurations, this still lets the game have a strong feel of balance in each match.
The biggest hurdle we had to overcome with World of Warplanes was its heavy focus on realism. Friendly fire is very much a possibility, so you must pay attention to both where you fire and where you fly in relation to your allies. Planes can also collide mid-air, so extra care must be given. You can even blow yourself up with your own bombs if you’re too low to the ground when you release them. Luckily, the game recently widened the camera angle, to allow pilots to see more of the field than before and give a more fluid feel in combat.
Another important touch of realism is how each plane (and configuration) handles different situations better than others. Just like real-world aircraft, some planes are better suited for bombing runs, while others excel in air-to-air dogfights against enemy fighters. The matchmaking system also seems to take this into account when preparing teams, so you can be assured that you won’t be on a team of bombers while the enemy all fields assault craft.
World of Warplanes has also received a recent graphics overhaul, in addition to the widening of the camera angle. The new graphics offer a stylistic, non-distracting environment to focus on your skill and tactics. The sounds in game, too, are accurate, with the whirring of engines and the sounds of machine gun fire putting us right into the cockpit of the plane we were flying.
World of Warplanes suffered early on from poor graphics, a small map selection, and a limiting field of vision. Wargaming, however, has spent significant time improving the game during its ongoing closed beta test. The graphics engine has been completely overhauled, and attention has been redirected to giving the game an accurate, realistic feel. It shows great care and commitment to a finished product when World of Warplanes is finally ready to go live.
The game is simple to get into, simple to play, and full of fast-paced, adrenaline pumping combat. At the same time, it is also difficult to master without spending significant hours in the game learning controls, plane mechanics, and aerial tactics. Fans of flight simulation games may find a lot to love about the realistic physics, and war gaming vets will love the feel and flow of the combat. Wargaming is committed to ensuring World of Warplanes meets the standard they set with World of Tanks, and it shows.
Ready to get into the action? Check out MMOHut’s World of Warplanes Closed Beta Key Giveaway to start your own virtual aviation adventure!
Games mentioned in this article
- World of Warplanes - Take a first look at World of Warplanes, an online strategy game from Wargaming.net featuring historically accurate planes and more.