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World of Warships Preview

blake_peterson By:
RP What do these ratings mean?

Tactical nautical action.

There's nothing quite like a meeting with the Wargaming developers; no one else is so effusively enthusiastic about what they do. As they booted up the World of Warships, the employees in the room yelled out the game's tagline: "Action Stations!" 

World of Warships is currently in closed alpha, and to a certain extent it's like a slower, more tactically driven version it's overland and in-air free-to-play counterparts. Unlike tanks or planes, where you control a single unit, in Warships primarily you control a battleship, but it also allows you to send out recon planes and control the smaller ships in your fleet. Entering a tactical top-down-map mode allows you to set where you want to send units.

In the demo, the plane was being controlled manually, but then quickly had to pull off as it began to encounter enemy fire; your recon plane isn't impervious, as both you and the opponent's gunships are armed with anti-aircraft guns to shoot down the tiny biplane. Moving slower in the ships, you are more at risk of taking fire, especially from torpedoes which can be fired by either the enemy's smaller ships, or from the primary threat to you, their own large Battleship, as you attempt to infiltrate the enemy base and take it over.

In a one-on-one battle shown in the live demo (the first time Wargaming has shown Warships live) the designers sent out their ships towards the enemy base, while dashing into the fray with the enemy fleet, to distract them. It was a tactic that paid off, as one of the ships got through and slowly began to take the base while their ships were otherwise engaged.

The battleships can take a lot of damage, and ours was on fire as we neared the end of the encounter. Torpedo fire was particularly interesting, as World of Warships allows you to control not just the general direction of the torpedoes, but also their spread. Additionally, it calculates where, along the radius spanning the side of the ship from which they can be fired you would have to target to hit the constantly moving ships.

Warships isn't exactly a simulation. Due to the incredible long distance that ship-to-ship combat took in World War II, the map used in the demo was in a field of icebergs, allowing for cover where there otherwise would be none. However, it helps limit the field of battle and makes the game more exciting.

Just as our torpedoes were about to hit the enemy battleship, one of our destroyers succeeded in taking over the base, ending the game. As mentioned before, World of Warships is in closed alpha on the PC with plans to move into closed beta by the end of the year as they continue to polish the game. Already it looks pretty damn amazing. 

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