Last year at E3 2013, we saw our first glimpse of WarGaming's upcoming World of Warships, a naval combat companion to the airborne World of Warplanes and the ground-pounding World of Tanks. Last year, we only saw a pre-recorded video that was narrated by a member of the development team, but this year at E3 2014, we saw live gameplay during a sit-down meeting. We checked on how the game has progressed over the last year and learned more of what's in store for the title.
A lot of the underlying mechanics of World of Warships remain unchanged from last year. There are four classes of ships, and their roles in combat remain the same. Nimble cruisers and destroyers duke it out in open warfare, while battleships bring the heaviest guns to the fight and aircraft carriers provide aircraft for air cover, reconnaissance, and attack. Ships still have the same two main "health" bars, one for ship structure and one for buoyancy, but their role was expanded upon during the presentation. Hits above the water line do damage to the former while hits below the line damage the latter, but the loss of either bar in its entirety knocks your ship out of the fight.
One big change comes with the removal of volley fire from your ship's deck guns. In WarGaming's testing, this seemed to encourage players to hide behind islands and fling volleys of fire at each other rather than engage directly. To prevent this type of isolationist gameplay, the ability to fire volleys from an overhead perspective was removed. The result is that ships must be able to see each other to inflict damage on one another, which causes combat to occur at closer ranges and with more interesting strategies played out. Aircraft carriers still have access to the overhead perspective, similar to that from the self-propelled guns in World of Tanks, so they may give orders to their aircraft.
Newly demonstrated was the fact that individual guns on the ship have their own firing arcs. Most ships have the majority of their firepower focused to the sides, but the deck guns can only pivot so much and only do so with a certain speed. It was also shown that ships can have their individual components replaced, just as you can do with the tanks and aircraft in the other World of titles. Details to this end were scarce, other than that players should expect reasonably the same amount of customization.
World of Warships continues to shape up as one of the more interesting upcoming titles in the free-to-play space. Ship combat has the potential to be the most boring facet of warfare from the standpoint of its pacing, and yet the game seems to be just as lively as the action found in World of Tanks. With the game currently in a "friends and family" alpha testing phase, we hope we won't have to wait too long before we can also get our feet wet with the game.
More articles about World Of Warships