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World of Planes

Review: World of Warplanes

Dec 21 // Chris Carter
World of Warplanes (PC)Developer: Persha Studia, WargamingPublisher: WargamingReleased: November 13, 2013MSRP: Free (with microtransactions) [Wargaming provided us with a press account for testing, but for the vast majority of the review, I spent my time with it with a good old fashioned free account to best judge the experience for readers.] Wargaming makes it particularly easy to pick up World of Warplanes. All you have to do is go to the game's site, download the client, and within minutes, you're basically up in running in your first dogfight. For those who care, the cost of the free-to-play scheme is essentially an always-on DRM trade-off, as you have to be constantly connected with their servers to play. After a short and enjoyable tutorial you're basically throw out into the wild, with the ability to select instant matchmaking team deathmatch fights. Pretty much every control scheme is supported here, from a keyboard, to a mouse, to a gamepad, to an elaborate joystick and throttle setup. Mouse movement is ideal in my opinion, as the plane moves in the direction of your device, giving it an incredibly simplistic and easy-to-pick-up feel. It's like telling the plane what to do rather than playing a standard flight simulator, if that makes sense. It fits the arcade nature of the game perfectly, and since all you really need to do is click to fire your machine guns and use consumables, it has a great learning curve.  But Warplanes is just that -- arcade-like in nature. Don't go in expecting a fully-fledged realistic simulator, because you're going to be disappointed. World of Warplanes is a relatively simple game, and the flight physics operate on a similar pared-down manner. Concepts like losses of speed when making impossible turns and rolls don't exist, and you can just fly around unfettered by the wind and the laws of physics in general. In other words, you'll hardly ever stall, and you have more time to keep shooting people. Good thing then that it's fun to just fly around and take down otherss in a 30-player setting, as it leads to some particularly tense moments. Flying straight into the path of enemy planes and escaping by the skin of your teeth is easy enough to do on a consistent basis, and the different types of planes all have varying play styles to master. Getting outnumbered is another scenario of note -- struggling to stay alive can be strangely addicting. In terms of the barriers of entry, while the visual style of Warplanes may not be on par with high-end PC titles out right now, it'll run on nearly any machine, which is a smart strategy for a free game. Now, on to the free-to-play parts (I can hear the groans now). World of Warplanes has three types of currency -- XP (performance based), Credits (earned in-game), and Gold (real-money currency). XP makes up the bulk of the game, as this is what you'll essentially use to unlock all of the game's content. Credits can also be used to facilitate purchases, from planes to cosmetic upgrades. This operates very similarly to IP and RP in League of Legends. Gold is used to basically flag "premium accounts," which are in a way like MMO subscriptions. You can earn more XP and credits, to unlock more planes at a faster rate. So how is this fair? Well, Warplanes matches you with players of a similar rank, and outside of the planes, you can't buy any substantial combat advantages. So while premium players may be playing their own games with tons of unlocks with other similar crowds, you're not in their game getting wrecked by their super planes. Having said that, you can unlock everything on your own, but you will move at a very slow pace by design -- lest you pay the exorbitant prices involved to unlock them before their time. Early on you'll start unlocking things left and right, but it slows down after around 10 hours of play. If you're okay with flying the same planes on occasion and not making a whole lot of progress you'll be fine, but personally I could have used a bit more variety -- all it would need to do is look to its older brother World of Tanks. Another problem is the lack of variety. I had a lot of fun playing Warplanes, but if you're not keen on going in for dogfight after dogfight (constant team deathmatches, basically) you're going to get bored a lot quicker. I don't really have any complaints on the solid netcode that supports 30 players, but a lack of different modes really hurts the longevity of Warplanes. It doesn't help that the maps mostly feel the same, with early levels feeling particularly bland. I would love to see some ravine-type maps or death races through canyons in the future. World of Warplanes has a studio that prides itself on supporting its games long term, so I have no doubt that Wargaming will continue to improve upon the formula. In the meantime, it would be a good idea to give both Warplanes and War Thunder a try and see which one you like best.
World of Warplanes photo
A world worth visiting, for free
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World of Warplanes soars out of beta

Go fly planes and shoot the things for free
Nov 13
// Hamza CTZ Aziz
World of Warplanes is out of beta, and now taking flight as a full on release. The free-to-play MMO is just like Wargaming's other major money maker World of Tanks, except this one has you flying planes. Obviously. What the h...

World of Warplanes official release date: Sept 25, 2013

North America/Europe: Sept 26
Aug 20
// Dale North
Wargaming's upcoming airplane dogfighting MMO, World of Warplanes, finally has a release date. CIS countries will see the release on September 25, with North America and Europe to follow the next day, September 26. Over 100 ...

World of Warplanes flies right onto my radar

Aug 05 // Dale North
World of Warplanes (PC)Developer: WargamingPublisher: Wargaming.netTo be released: Fall 2013  There's something to be said for instantly accessible, easy-to-play, free online games.  World of Warplanes is exactly that -- pick an aircraft, jump in a match, shoot or be shot at, win or die, lather, rinse, and repeat. There's no cost to you other than your time, being a free-to-play title. You can spend a free few minutes getting a match or two in, or spend all day trying to dominate. It's totally open and up to you on how you use it. From what I can tell so far, that's the brilliance behind Warplanes. I hopped right into matches against other games media as well as the lucky members of the MMO's beta test. Though I was dazzled by the varied selection of a completely unlocked demo, giving me access to craft spread across all ten levels of the game, I thought I'd start out by piloting a tier 1 prop job, just as a first time player would. And though I never played before, I took to the skies with confidence. I was shot down immediately, going down in flames over the ocean.  My fiery death had less to do with a lack of training and more to do with going up against some seasoned beta players. A quick game tutorial showed me that Warplanes is quite easy to control, actually. The mouse controls movement -- moving up turns the plane upward toward the sky, and moving down has it diving. Simply put, your plane goes where your mouse does. There are a few keyboard commands, but they're minimal. The W key uses some of your plane's limited boost (don't overheat!), and others are assigned to secondary weapons. You'll mostly just fly around with the mouse and fire your primary weapon with the left mouse button. I saw pre-teen boys pick this up in a match or two, so you should have no problem. Vlad Belozerov, Director of Global Operations, told us that things weren't this way at first for Warplanes. They tried a control scheme that was closer to a flight sim at first, but found that the game too difficult to get into. He said that they were initially too sophisticated, which required players to play too many games to learn. The game was delayed for about half a year to rework the control to the way it is now. From my time with the game I think they did a great job in making it easily accessible.  Of course, there is joystick and joypad support for those that prefer it. But those going in expecting flight sim-like controls will be disappointed. Wargaming has worked hard to make Warplanes as easy as possible to get into. Each plane has its own feel, but once you know how to control the game, learning individual planes comes easy. Getting into a game is just as easy as the control is. Matchmaking happens automatically, with grouping coming from players using similar tiered aircraft. It's as simple as picking a plane and waiting for a match to start. From there it's a deathmatch where you'll work with your team to shoot your opponents out of the sky or take out ground targets for dominance. Battles can be up to 15 on 15 in size. Essentially, everyone is in a massive dogfight, and those with the best aim and maneuvering skills will win. For each of the ten available tiers you'll pick from one of three classes of planes to suit your mood or play style. Fighters, ground attackers, and carrier planes all have different strengthsand weaknesses, making for a sort of rock/paper/scissors balance for Warplanes. Each craft has simple stats that show its attack points, damage power, weapon power, and maneuverability. For example, pick a heavily armored fighter and you'll be able to take some hits, but don't count on being able to get out of the way and hide when the opposing team gangs up on you. I had a good time going up the ranks to try out a variety of planes from every tier. Admittedly, the most fun was had at tier 10, where I had access to the most modern of the group. This level is where jet engines, high speeds, and heavy fire come into play. I found myself giddy at the power some of these craft offered. Beta players thought that I was a bot until I started celebrating my kills over chat.  Battles are pretty short, which is nice. They top out at about 15 minutes, but many I tried were less than half of that, especially against skilled players. There is nothing in the way of take-offs or landings, and there are no waypoints to follow. It's just jump in, find an enemy, kill or be killed, and then jump back in again. Pure action.  Expect over 100 planes ranging from the simple prop jobs of the World Wars to the early fighter jets of the 20th century, from all of the world powers' air forces. The wide range of craft really fits with the pick-up-and-play nature of Warplanes. If you're feeling aggressive, pick a plane with huge guns and go in for kills. Want to be sneaky? Get something fast and quiet and hide in the clouds. Those that just want to get in and blow stuff up can hop into one of the ground-focused bombers and play their part as well. It all ties together nicely when a team works together to pick what kind of craft would be needed for each member for victory. World of Warplanes looked great on what I'm assuming were high-end gaming PCs. The maps, which ranged from icy Arctic missions to dogfights over the Golden Gate Bridge, all looked nice, with fantastic visuals to pick out while you're not being shot at. The skies and clouds, as well as the mountains and plains below, are all near photorealistic. The aircraft are the main attraction, though. They're all very highly detailed, especially in the hangar. I spent quite a bit of time zooming in to see the detail of some of the sexier tier 10 jets, and it seems like Wargaming didn't miss a beat on any of the aircraft. World of Warplanes is so accessible and enjoyable that I'd suggest that anyone with a gaming PC try it out this fall. I came away pleasantly surprised at just how easy it was to get into. With it being a free-to-play title, your only cost is some hard disk space. Those that do decide to spend on it will have no advantage over free players other than faster leveling, mind you, so jump in with confidence. I'd dare say that after a few dogfights just about any competitive game would be easily hooked. Try it out when it launches this fall.
World of Planes preview photo
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