World of Warplanes Review

Hey! You!! Airman!! You ready to chalk up some kills and dogfight your way to immortality? Then you have come to right place to earn your wings!

Welcome to the World of Warplanes Review! Following on from the phenomenal success of their first project, the guys over at Wargaming net have, pardon the pun, elevated their game to a whole new level. These guys have a little bit of experience in MMO combat. Perhaps you have heard of World of Tanks? And its sixty million registered users? Yeah, THOSE guys.

The difference here is that combat no longer begins with the rumble of tank treads but, instead, with the howl of plane engines and the staccato rat-a-tat of machine gun fire. Straddling a very fine line between simulation and arcade combat, WoWP is a tricky thing to define.The game was delayed by Wargaming.net to allow for some final tweaks and balances before release.

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“We are committed to releasing a great title and are doing everything to ensure that World of Warplanes gets the final polish we believe the game needs,” said global operations director Vlad Belozerov. “The extra time will allow the development team to fine-tune the game balance and make sure that every feature is top-notch before launch.”

In the earlier levels I found it extremely difficult to take down my targets due to the lack of maneuverability in my starter vehicle. Flying an old biplane and trying to take down more modern fighters is…..a chore, to say the least. It seems though, that these issues do not occur when playing with a game pad, rather than the traditional mouse and keyboard set-up. After a little research online and on their beta forums, it seems this issue has been reported by many and is under investigation by the developers.

Combat System

The airborne combat is spectacular, if a little tricky to master. Utilizing the same “aim lead” system as seen in previous games , new players will take a little time to get used to the “aim in front to hit the guy” system but, once you get the hang of it, the game plays fluidly and looks amazing. The draw distance is amazing and flying around is a great pleasure. The detail of the land below looks impressive.

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The current build of the game offers a basic tutorial “quest” to get you familiar with your vehicle. This is a “no-fire” zone, so players new to the game can get a handle on the performance and abilities of their beginner plane, before being hounded by the sharpshooting fighter jocks that lie in wait. This eases new flyers into the hostile environs of World of Warplanes much easier than before and means you have a little time to gather your wits before going up against the budding Red Barons that patrol the unfriendly skies. Another “new player friendly” feature is the removal of the oh so controversial “golden ammo” as seen in World of Tanks.

Cash Shop Mechanics

The “pay to win” ammunition seems to be a thing of the past, Wargaming.net clearly have listened to player feedback when it comes to this cash shop mechanic. And this is a good call. Other changes the developers have looked at include a pared back UI, leaving more of the games stunning visuals uncluttered and an easier to understand skill system.

In World of Warplanes, vehicles are divided into light, medium and long range planes.This clear definition gives players an idea of what will be required of them in the open skies in combat. And the combat itself is rewarding, if still a little on the challenging side. There are also a few matchmaking and balancing issues that need to be addressed. In the PvP matches I experienced, my opponents were of MUCH higher levels than me. Obviously, this could have just been bad luck in the queue, but getting ganked 12 times straight wasn’t any fun at all. Too often I found my poor novice flyer going up against players whose experience and equipment levels vastly outstripped my own. This is a problem at this early stage of things. Being outmatched and “out-teched” from the get go is not the way to capture new players.

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One of the ways already in-game to smooth things out is the class system that allows you to pick a type of plane that will suit your skill level. If you are not yet up to Mavericking around in dogfights, set up a few bombing runs. Rather than being all about the kills, WoWPs allows you to assist in mission completion by achieving your objectives. These defined pilot types make it much easier for players to “find their niche” in Warplanes than in Tanks, and Wargaming.net have clearly taken on board a ton of feedback from the beta, as well as from World of Tanks.

Overlap

World of Warplanes is born from, obviously, World of Tanks and there are a few issues from the “big brother” that have shown up in the new product. The grind is present once again, but in a game of this kind, that is almost unavoidable. Each level up brings more aircraft to pilot and ways to upgrade your skills, but it takes some time, or money, to achieve greatness. My issue with the game is its overall identity. It isn’t quite an arcade flyer, nor is it quite a true simulator.

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To progress through the rankings you need to be willing to invest a LOT of time, or a lot of money. And before you start, I know that games of this kind are designed this way intentionally BUT…..it just isn’t fun or compelling enough for me to consider investing wither of those commodities. The array of skins and planes available is impressive. For those that are fans of aviation and its history, this will be a treat.

World of Warplanes is not for the faint of heart, and the frustration levels may be too much for some to bear, but the overall experience is certainly worth a try.

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