Last week, World of Warships launched version number 0.6.6. Among the numerous changes, it brings with it a new type of cooperative battle mode called "Operations". This new mode pits players against a horde of AI controlled ships which attempt to ruin your day while asking the bespoken players to fulfill various objectives along the way. Read on for a brief glance at what to expect from World of Warships: Operations and how it changes how you can experience the game.

Warships: Operations for Beginners

After grabbing the patch and firing up Warships, Operations is now one of the available game modes one can queue for. The first one, dubbed 'Defense of Naval Station Newport', allows Tier 5-6 ships to take part. Great, out comes the Fuso usually kept around for ranked battles, fully upgraded and with a decent enough captain. Should I pack premium consumables for this? Nah, this is PvE, how hard can it be? (Hint: Very hard)

World of Warships: Operations starting out Something something Japanese. Let's assume it said the same as it spells above the timer.

If you act similar to the above and have the game set to use nation specific voice overs for in-game communication, you might end up slightly confused from the outset because the mission objectives will be announced in correspondence to the flag waving high atop your mast. Since my Japanese skills are, well, non-existent, this little attention to detail had me wondering just what they would have me do. However, it also indicated that World of Warships: Operations are not just a 'tacked on' thing. The extra effort to include proper voice acting gives a small glimpse of how serious Wargaming are about this new game mode. It's an entirely new way to experience the game. But more on that later.

Action Stations

For now, we're dumped into the waters near Naval Station Newport, and enemies abound on the horizon. Thankfully, the Japanese instructions are displayed in a localized fashion on the top left of the screen shortly thereafter. Primary objective: stay afloat until the cavalry arrives. Secondary objectives: a lot. Keep enemies out of your base, protect every building in your base, destroy all enemy ships before the main attack starts, don't lose more than three ships the entire match, and so on and so forth.

The first waves of low tier cruisers and battleships are quite handily dealt with, however, it becomes clear rather swiftly that this will not be a walk in the park at all. Sure, AIs are predictable and stupid, but there's so many of them, and their gunnery & torpedoes are actually quite dangerous, especially as they range close and dodging becomes difficult.

During the first phase of the mission, you end up shooting at bows a lot. The enemy ships rush straight at the base to breach your defenses, which in turn triggers the next stage early and makes holding out until the main fleet arrives significantly more challenging. Crafty captains will attempt to outflank the enemies rushing in, and it certainly sinks them faster, but more than a few of these crafty captains ended up with holes in the sides of their own ships, roughly the size of a torpedo explosion. Bottom line: Risk vs. reward ratio seems about right.

[caption id="attachment_79021" align="aligncenter" width="560"] How hard can this be?[/caption]

Being a Hero Pays Off, for Once

From my limited experience so far, the chance to win even the basic mission with a complete PUG is roughly 50-60%, and to complete a significant amount of secondary objectives you need to luck out on the matchmaking. And those secondary objectives is what you want for rewards, as more stars earned reward you with successively better stuff. It starts all harmless with a couple flags, but the final reward tiers include a rank 10 captain as well as a free day of premium. Regular rewards in terms of XP and credits are modest to put it mildly, about what you'd get for a regular AI match. If you fulfill the primary objective, that is. If you don't, you get peanuts of pity, as well as a bill attached to the restored wreckage of your ship.

While we're at the negatives: after a battle, your ship will be unavailable to do the operation again for another 30 minutes. Unless it 'receives an order', which sounds vague but it's really just a credit sink as you need to pour in 75.000 of those to get your ship back for operational use instantly. I'm not sure what exactly the design philosophy behind this is, but the silver lining is that this doesn't impact regular battles at all. Even a ship awaiting orders for operations can be driven into a random battle.

[caption id="attachment_79020" align="aligncenter" width="560"] So close, yet so far. Thanks for the SALTY/SOUR 4-man premade for making this possible[/caption]

A Whole New World of Warships

Warships: Operations give players a new way to experience the game, and it's a welcome change from the regular PvP heavy game modes. As discussed, the bots aren't particularly smart, but they're many and the secondary objectives are quite harsh. Oh, and they get tier advantage as well at later stages. If you play the scenario well, you get rewarded by facing off against an Izumo Tier 9 BB in your Tier 5-6. Talk about gratification!

Personally, I especially enjoy being able to explore and play around with new lines of ships that I found ill-suited for my own style in PvP. Or, in short, my Gnevny and Leander have some things to do now. Though don't read these as recommendations for what ships to bring. If you want those, I say bring a Warspite for the armor overmatching potential it has against cruiser snouts. As mentioned, you'll be seeing those a lot. An Independence helps as well because the ability to strike things far away is very handy for some of the secondary objectives. And actually, Leanders are good for taking out the DDs.

[caption id="attachment_79022" align="aligncenter" width="560"] That's a pretty long week actually.[/caption]

While mastering the first Operation in Warships will already give you quite a deck full to do, it's only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. More different scenarios loom on the horizon, poised to change weekly and offer players a variety of missions with promising names like "Killer Whale" and "Raptor Rescue". Maybe more ominous is the implication of a "Hard" setting that we'll be seeing sooner or later, which is not something I'd say Warships: Operations need at this point in time. Still, the new game mode is a welcome addition and is certainly going to keep me in the game for a few additional hours.