World of Warships – Review
World of Warships was a hit from the beginning and that was partly due to the popularity of the already successful World of Tanks. Wargaming, the developer behind both games, without a doubt acquired a wealth of knowledge from their time spent developing World of Tanks and this knowledge was definitely a key ingredient in the process of developing World of Warships.
World of Warships could have been an entirely different game to what it is today. It would’ve been very easy for Wargaming to take World of Tanks and switch out the terrain for oceans and the tanks for ships. World of Tanks also had various features that played a key part in making it a success and they could’ve easily taken and adapted them for use in World of Warships. Wargaming didn’t want to take the easy route as so many other big developers of this generation have, they instead decided to take the game in a refreshing new direction, a direction that formed the game into the gem that it is today.
At this moment there are more than half a dozen different nations offering ships for you to command. You can select from up to four different classes of ship, from smallest to largest these are, destroyers, cruisers, battleships and aircraft carriers. Each class offers a different style of play and each nation further adds variation and depth to each class. For example, British battleships most often shoot high explosive shells and decimate their opponents over time by starting multiple fires where as German battleships prefer to use their near impenetrable turtle back armour to get in close and devastate their enemies with armour piercing shells from their primary batteries as well as high explosive shells from their smaller secondary batteries. Furthermore you’re able to replace various parts of your ship, purchase and fit multiple upgrades, equip various camouflages, fly various signal flags and finally compliment your style of play by advancing the skill level of your captain and choosing from a variety of perks that improve your ship in different ways.
You’ve been promoted cadet!
World of Warships presents progression in the same iconic way both World of Warplanes and World of Tanks have, via tier based advancement down a technology tree. A new player starts with a tier one ship and a captain fresh out of naval school. As players participate in battles, experience is gained based on their performance which is later spent on unlocking new modules for their ship. As specific modules are unlocked, players are granted the ability to use their experience points to purchase the next tier of ship.
Captains also gain experience similar to the way the player does, on a per battle basis. Currently you’re able to level your captain to a maximum of 19 skill points of which you’re able to spend on various perks. There are four tiers of perks to choose from, a perk in tier one costs only one skill point to unlock where as a perk in tier four costs four skill points to unlock. If skill points are spent on perks appropriately to compliment both your style of play and the ship you’re using, they can, at the right time, mean the difference between life and death. For example, a fourth tier perk that allows manual fire control of your secondary batteries allows you to select a target for your batteries to focus on instead of the batteries automatically shooting at whatever they feel like while also reducing the dispersion of secondary shells by 60% on ships of tier seven and above. This perk is therefore a very common pick for players commanding the Gneisenau, Bismarck and higher tier German battleships.
Fire at will!
Battles in World of Warships take place in beautiful environments in an arena like setup. The majority of battles are 12v12 but occasionally you may find yourself in a 9v9 or 7v7 battle. I myself only found these smaller battles at higher tiers late at night when there weren’t as many people online.
The match making system does a reasonable job of balancing the battles so at most you will only usually be against players commanding ships of up to two tiers above you. You won’t find yourself in a tier two ship playing against players commanding tier eight ships. It also does a good job of balancing the ratios of classes of ship in the battle. If the enemy team has an aircraft carrier, your team will have an aircraft carrier. If the enemy team has five destroyers, your team will have at least four and I believe this to be true, at least from my experience of playing the game.
World of Warships has a reasonable learning curve but it’s linear and fair to new players. In lower tiers you will learn how to handle each class of ship. Destroyers often lead the charge, spotting enemies and capturing control points while cruisers aim to set fires on enemy battleships with an endless barrage of shells and battleships must learn to position themselves defensively and aim to land devastating shots on their opponents.
As you progress through the game to the higher tiers, new modules are made available that dramatically alter the way the game plays. The introduction of the “Hydroacoustic Search” and “Surveillance Radar” modules give players the ability to both extend the range at which they can spot incoming torpedoes and ships as well as reveal ships hiding within smoke or behind islands. If you are playing in a destroyer or cruiser you will very quickly come to the conclusion that you’re going to have to alter your play style to both survive and be an asset to your team.
The most important aspect of World of Warships is playing as a team. It’s a huge addition to the game if you have friends or a clan to play with but it can greatly subtract from the game if you’re primarily a solo player. Every battle is a gamble in terms of the players you’re teamed with, sometimes you’re placed with friendly, team players, however, other times you will end up with players on your team who are under the impression they’re playing 1v12. This is obviously a problem in many player versus player games and the only solution widely adopted so far is skill based match making, a feature Wargaming have yet to add.
Overall I would consider World of Warships to be a game well worth playing. It has beautiful environments, historically accurate ships that are absolutely stunning to look at and a very rewarding progression system. There are a hundred different ways in which to play the game and while random battles are likely the most popular mode of play, there are also various operations and events in which you can play with other players against the game’s AI. There’s also the opportunity to play in clan battles, which are from what I’ve seen and heard, some of the most exciting battles to experience.