Tobold's Blog
Friday, November 15, 2013
 
World of Warplanes

Man, I miss my old Competition Pro Joystick. That was the input device of choice for games on the ZX Spectrum and Amiga back in the days where games that involved flying were still popular, e.g. Elite. This week, a quarter of a century later, I installed the freshly "released" World of Warplanes, and playing that with WASD and mouse just feels wrong. And as I am already at an age where fighter pilots are in retirement, I'm not really good at World of Warplanes either. Even the level 1 airplanes you fly at the start are considerably faster than the tanks you play in World of Tanks, and having a third dimension to deal with makes orientation more difficult. Combat is a lot faster, more reaction based, and a lot less tactical than in World of Tanks. As far as I can see World of Warplanes isn't a bad game, but it sure isn't the game for me.

What I liked about World of Warplanes was that outside combat the system of tech trees and upgrading your planes is the same as in World of Tanks. As I once had a press account for World of Tanks and received free gold every day I logged in (until they wisely decided that I wasn't of much use to them any more and canceled that), I was also happy to learn that the gold carries over from World of Tanks. I think that is a very good idea. Many games have currencies you buy for real money and then spend for goodies in the game, but they all suffer from you never being able to buy exactly the amount you need. A currency which is good for more than one game is an improvement.

Overall I think that World of Warplanes will have it harder than World of Tanks. It already has a viable competitor in War Thunder (in open beta), and it is not just a cheap clone. And the number of games that work in similar ways but use different sorts of vehicles is growing as well. With World of Warplanes needing a very different set of skills than World of Tanks, it isn't even obvious that they can draw upon the same customer base. Personally I will just play a bit more to try to fully understand the game (right now I don't understand what the ground installations are doing in the game, they were never explained in the tutorial). And then I'll wait for World of Battleships and return to 2 dimensions and slower, more tactical movement.

Comments:
I tested it yesterday evening and it's just a case of "a friend plays it" that I didn't uninstall immediately.
It's EXTREMELY arcade-y. I tried to play with a joystick, but it doesn't cut it. There's no flight model, you and up with your joystick controlling pitch/roll/yaw and it's a matter of using those 3 axes (actually, 2: pitch/yaw) to put your aim marker over the precalculated anticipated position marker of the enemy plane. It does not feel at all like a flight sim or one of the old combat sim I was used to play.
So I switched back to mouse and I just ignore the fact it's a plane and I just aim and shoot. But the lack of terrain makes the game a lot less interesting than WoT, so I don't think that I'll play it as much as WoT.
 
Another major competitor for World of Warplanes is SWTOR's new Galatic Starfighter expansion. The game play is VERY similiar (even with the tech trees) and you get the John Williams music and 'Star Wars' graphics.

The combat is even faster than WoWarplanes.
 
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