Gamescom 2011: World of Warplanes Preview

Shaking off the shackles of oppression and pre-emptive judgement, the free to play MMO genre is growing from strength to strength. With companies proving that not only can they operate within the F2P business model, but at the same time are able to provide a game that satisfies the wants and needs of thousands (if not millions) of gamers, it’s not hard to see why the genre is currently in a stage of boom.  The team at are no strangers to the genre, with their title World of Tanks already achieving continued critical success. Their next release, however, sees you ditch armour plated, track equipped warfare in favour of taking to the skies. At this year’s Gamescom I got to sit down with some of the team from for a closer look at their next ‘World of’ installment.

World of Warplanes allows you to take flight in a number of various types of aircraft, ranging from 1930’s biplanes all the way up to Korean War jet fighters, meaning the historical nature of the game continues to fit in line with the company’s other title, World of Tanks. It’s somewhat of a niche area in terms of setting but that’s not to say it has a detrimental effect on the game, if anything it’s rather refreshing.  It would have been far too easy to have just slapped a load of F16s and B2s into the game and, while modern day fighter jets are no doubt extreme machines, they lack the soul and passion that vintage aircraft have.

Gameplay wise it follows very much in the footsteps of World of Tanks where you’re put into a team versus team environment with the sole aim to destroy your foes. It gives the initial impression of your standard deathmatch affair, but this is far from your run and gun experience. The drone of your engine hums as you bank upwards into the clouds and there you wait. The enemy are beneath you with nothing but the smallest layer of cloud providing you with cover and, like a winged assassin, you strike with deadly accuracy.

Movement is via the keyboard and mouse and from initial outings, the game looks as if it’s going to be highly accessible to first time players. The heads up display surrounding your plane, which provides details on your speed and so forth, also has a line protruding from it that allows you to see exactly which way you’re heading. It may sound like something silly but, for whatever reason, it simply works. Controls may be easy enough to pick up, but there is support for those wanting to go one better and use full flight controllers complete with yokes, throttles and, one would presume, a Biggles style hat.

Combat is a rather intelligent affair as it runs the standard hit-box style combat that fans of FPS games will be familiar with. Shooting a plane in the wing may cause some minor effects to the handling, while a sideways shot through the cockpit runs the risk of embedding itself into pivotal bits of equipment, like your radar. Being shot in the radar may not cause any huge problems with the ability to fly your plane but it’ll certainly play havoc with your mini map. As you would expect, a couple of rounds to the engine is the all-important critical hit, likely resulting in an instantaneous spiral downwards.

Variety is the spice of life and those who are partial to a bit of a change every now and then will be pleased to know that there’ll be more than enough choices in Warplanes to keep them happy. Single engine fighters with not much in terms of weight will be ideal for those who want to experience close combat dogfights, while the heavier options, although not providing as much manoeuvrability as the lighter planes, more than make up for their weight with devastating attacks. Filling out the ranks are what are known as strafing aircraft which, for those wanting to target ground defences, will surely be some of the first on the list of planes to choose from.

One of the nice little extras is going to be how it links with the other games in’s arsenal, with it being confirmed that any gold earned in World of Tanks will be passable over to World of Warplanes, meaning fans of one of the games will be able to dip their toes into the other a little more comfortably.

From the early impressions of the game it’s clear that you can cast aside chants of ‘just a re-skinned World of Tanks’, but it’s more than that. While it does build upon the foundations created by Tanks, drawing similarities from its kin, World of Warplanes is very much its own game and will no doubt appeal to a completely new audience; devoted fans of the combat aircraft niche will be well served. Perhaps there’s something quintessentially British about that era of Warplanes, something that has seemingly been handed down by a generation of grandparents that makes you see the charm and beauty of such majestic machines and it makes you so glad that this isn’t just another futuristic or modern day variant.

There’s no release date as of yet, with taking their time and opting for a page out of Blizzard’s book of “It’s done when it’s done”, but we’ll be keeping our cockpits clear for any further info that emerges from the cloud line, in the mean time we’ll keep making ratatatatatatata neeeeeooow noises to satisfy our lust.

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  1. UselessJack says:

    I’m playing World of Tanks right now which is actually pretty good, so I’m a bit excited about World of Warplanes. Flying is so much more fun than driving a tank if you ask me :D Thanks for the info :)

  2. Lorna Lorna says:

    I’ll hold off for something naval based, like World of Submarines :D That would actually get my dad gaming properly for the first time in an age! I agree, old style warplanes have far more elegance and grace than modern jets, there is a romanticism attached to vintage aircraft that can never be re-captured by modern tech.

    So… when’s World of Submarines coming out? ;)

  3. Ben Ben says:

    We was shown a teaser trailer for World of Battleships but sadly it was just that, a teaser. Only contained but a second of actual in game footage so nothing to write home about, just yet. It’s due to be released after Warplanes so I expect once the birds are out of the hanger we’ll start seeing more of it.

    Not sure if there will be submarines or not but it’s water based, which is a start!

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