We had a chance to chat with Anton Sitnikau, Producer of World of Warplanes, and ask him some questions about development and what players can expect! World of Warplanes is Wargaming.net's follow-up to their incredibly popular MMO, World of Tanks, which features massive PvP battles where players take to their World War II era tanks rather than a traditional fantasy-style MMO setting.
In World of Warplanes, players will participate in a massively multiplayer flight combat action game set in the Golden Age of military aviation. The armored warfare theme previously seen in World of Tanks is continued, but escalated to a new level with full-scale in-game virtual pilot careers spanning from 1930's biplanes to Korean War jet fighters.
For more information on the game, which is currently in its global alpha, visit http://worldofwarplanes.com/!
How was the transition from on-ground combat in World of Tanks to the aerial fighting in World of Warplanes from a design standpoint?
It was a tricky and time-consuming process. Take, for instance, maps and terrain. Battle arenas in World of Warplanes are significantly larger than those in World of Tanks, so we had to adjust map sizes accordingly. As for terrain, we wanted to avoid the issue seen in most flight sims in that it appears rather flat. We aimed at creating detailed terrain that would add variety to the combat and allow you to lose a pursuer by weaving through obstacles. We’ve worked out a variety of accurate maps with realistic landscapes, including those outside the actual battlefield area. Much time has been devoted to developing detailed graphics for terrain features like grass, bushes, tree shadows and high resolution textures.
We feel we've already added a level of depth that's really going to encourage players to play the game multiple times, but it is, of course, still a work in progress.
Besides devoting considerable time to graphics and server capacity, we touched upon each and every subsystem of the game client to ensure that elements which inefficiently consumed technical resources were replaced by efficient ones.
For someone who hasn't played an aerial-based game before, how will the learning curve be in terms of piloting aircraft?
The idea behind World of Warplanes was to blend elements of accessibility and realism to create an in-depth experience without the complexities that might turn away total newcomers. To find some sort of middle ground between flight sims and arcade games we’ve simplified controls, developed a fairy unobtrusive user interface and implemented several seamless assists to help you adjust to the game. As a result, the flight model is realistic enough to appease simulation fans, but not so hard as to deter a rookie.
Initially, players will be given a slow, early-model biplane with simplified processes of gunnery and aircraft control. It will help them develop piloting skills and get accustomed to the gameplay in general. However, when they get the basics under their belt and start moving to upper tiers, the game will require more skills, gunfire will affect aircraft controls and the overall speed will increase.
World of Tanks recently received some tutorial missions for new players - will World of Warplanes support comparable tutorial missions?
It is expected that World of Warplanes will feature an online tutorial upon release. The tutorial aims to teach players how to control the aircraft in combat and hopefully prevent them getting killed at the beginning of the battle. Training battles will help players understand what tactics are suitable for air combat. They will learn how to aim, spin, shake pursuit and make use of terrain.
Will there be any sort of dynamic weather mechanics or perhaps different weather patterns on different maps?
Yes, we are planning to focus on environmental features when we are finished with game modes and balancing. Things like dynamic weather and realistic three-dimensional clouds will eventually appear in the game.
Aside from United States, German, Soviet and eventual British and Japanese aircraft, does Wargaming.net have specific plans to incorporate planes from other nations?
We plan to introduce aircraft from the major participants of the Pacific and European theatres first. Then we will move on to introducing additional nations and renowned aircraft. We expect players to be quite pleased with the variety of models and nations available to play.
Can you touch on customization options for planes in World of Warplanes - the different ways we will be able to make our planes our own?
Each aircraft will feature several authentic camouflage schemes upon release. Along with them, we will implement unique marks for Alpha testers, frags, and tail numbers. The color of the number will mark your rating on a particular vehicle. Also, we are working on purely aesthetic elements to color your vehicle including various prints for fins, wingtip fairings, noses, propeller spinners and other plane modules.
Will modern aviation ever play a role in World of Warplanes, in terms of post-Korean War planes?
World of Warplanes includes warplanes from the time period starting in the mid 1930s and running up to the Korean War. This range covers primitive biplanes all the way to the birth of the jet. Introducing modern aircraft would mean a shift in the core essence of this game series and sever the links to World of Tanks. Additionally, from a practical standpoint, the capability gap between early jets and modern era planes is so significant that it would completely ruin the in-game balance.
Can you share some information on World of Warplanes game modes?
The title will offer several game modes at release. World of Warplanes Global Alpha already features the primary mode—Superiority. This one is similar to a traditional Team Deathmatch. Two teams fly over the battlefield trying to eliminate enemy ground targets (vehicles, structures, etc.) or to shoot down enemy planes. The second game mode—Escort—will be introduced in a future update. For escort missions, one team will have to safely lead a heavy bomber to its target, while the enemy team will do its best to shoot it down.
There are several more scenarios in the pipeline. Among other things, we are planning missions where you’ll need to destroy or protect gun batteries, and to sink or protect (keep afloat) a flotilla of combat vessels.
What are some examples of items that players will be able to acquire via in-game gold in World of Warplanes?
Players will be able to buy a premium account to boost their experience and credit gains, which saves time spent on grinding through tech trees. There will be premium ammo and consumables, which will give players a small advantage in combat but won’t make them a top ace. Also, they’ll be able to acquire some fancy customization features.
Premium vehicles will mostly be experimental models and prototypes (like Löwe in World of Tanks), plus some trophy and Lend-Lease warbirds. For example, you’ll see the Bell P-39 Airacobra both as an American aircraft and as a Lend-Lease Soviet model. And of course, many more fascinating planes will be unveiled in due course.
To sum up, in-game gold will give players a chance to pay and lessen the grind but there’ll be no “pay-to-win” feature. Players who choose to never pay a dime will have the same access to vehicles and upgradable modules as those who do.