gamescom 2012: Wargaming Showcase
I don’t think I can fully convey the feeling of guilt you have when responding to a developer who asks “so, have you played this before?”. Admittedly this is a fairly rare occurrence as it’s often going to be the case that the game in question isn’t out yet, so of course you haven’t played it before. For WarGaming, World of Tanks has been around since 2011 (2010 if you are from Russia), the game’s entirely free to play and so in this case I really don’t have a good excuse.
Yet here I am, with Oleg Gotynyan, Development Director and Frazer Nash, UK PR Manager, and my instant apologies are just as quickly dismissed. Up on the screens of our sit down session is the second addition to the WarGaming label, World of Warplanes, announced in the summer of 2011, still in Beta. It’s been such a long time since I laid eyes on a combat flight sim, and even though I was never especially skilled at them I was trying to give Oleg the gaming hungry eyes to let him know that I was ready to take over whenever he got tired of barrel rolling his way through enemy fire, dive bombing a high value ground target or just plain showing off in his USSR Bomber.
“For a free to play game” is a phrase of injustice that has no doubt dogged WarGaming in the press. Our presentation covered the infrastructure of the game’s currency and level system, perfectly tailored to allow those with the time to really sink their teeth into it and see that translated into an appropriate reward, balanced against those who value their time less than their money and are willing to drop some moolah in order to get straight into the cockpit of there favourite plane. My interest really peaked with the level of customisation on offer though. Being skilled on the stick will certainly keep you alive and having the time or the money to keep the XP rolling in will help you stay competitive for the top spots, but customisation struck me as where you’ll edge out your opponents in those one on one situations.
perfectly tailored to allow those with the time to really sink their teeth into it
As impressed as I was with the the economy of the game, visually it is on par with a console release (ironically a market of gamers who are definitely missing out on this new generation of Freemium titles). Geometry is detailed, engine fires create distracting smoke trails, and the planes themselves are so detailed that you’ll struggle to avoid sneaking glances at Wikipedia to see if the designers have overlooked anything. They haven’t.
The Devil really is in the details and as we switch now to World of Tanks, you can see that this philosophy really is something that radiates at the core of WarGaming. Fraser’s smiling as he takes over from Oleg, asking just how much we know about British tanks. Apparently, this wasn’t a proud era of British engineering but has still been an often requested feature by the World of Tanks community. With a few tweaks and balances, however, these have been made just as deadly as there Allied and Axis counterparts and still give you the Mo Farrah Olympic pride as they storm across the Battlefield, with echoes of Churchill’s great addresses stirring in the back of your mind.
Not being content at the ongoing development of Warplanes and the continued development of Tanks, Wargaming are still looking to further expand the franchise with Warships. Whilst not on show today, the twinkles were very much alive in Fraser’s eyes as we teased him for details of the naval war title. What we do know is that fun is very much at the core of the design. Anyone who has played a naval warfare game would know them to be slow and dull affairs, then when put in the hands of gamers generate cries of “Ramming speed Mr. Sulu”. Submarines, for example, are currently off the table in order to avoid issues such as this; nobody wants to engage in a two hour skirmish of Silent Hunter… nobody.
So what have I learned today GameJar?
I’ve learned that I’ve made a mistake in not signing up to the World of Warplanes beta. Dog fighting online in short and sweet; PvP match-ups are just what you need to unwind at the end of the day and Wargaming has got you covered, and then some with this addition to their free to play catalogue. WarGaming are really helping to lead the charge against the stigma.