Title : World of Warships
URL : http://worldofwarships.eu/
Genre : Arcade style Naval combat (not a simulation but a arcade interpretation of naval combat)
Price : Free 2 Play model, can buy premium ships, cash bought tokens can change some upgrade choices, save some time upgrading ship commanders - not really pay to win (so far)
What is it ?
I haven't played World of Tanks so I cant compare those, but I can say its a fun and somewhat simplistic naval simulator that probably will be ported to a Xbone so isn't loaded with buttons and bits to fiddle with on the ships.
These are ships you sail about so it isn't fast paced but rather deliberate and methodical in how you approach combat, you need to think ahead rather than trusting your reflexes, and much like wild west gunfights...its not the fastest to the draw but the one who gets the most shots in right place.
You often sit there waiting for that optimal shot while the enemy ship is blasting away and columns of water spray around with fires and damage reports screaming at you while you wait... but then when you land that salvo and the enemy ship takes critical damage, or even outright gets destroyed, its very satisfying.
That's the whole thing about this game, you plot your approaches and set your fire angles before you even know where the enemy is and if you plan it better you will be the one with a full broadside of cannons trained at the right quadrant, and the enemy will be frantically turning to bring its guns to bare on you.
There is plenty of scope for skill in this game, as you need to be able to assess situations fast and make decisions quickly enough so your plodding ships have time to respond to your controls... nerve biting to know that Destroyer will launch a spread of torpedoes at you, and your Battleship is a fat cow and slow to turn, often you can barely manage to limit the number of torpedoes crashing into ship than outright evade them... but when you do manage to slip between the torpedoes and get a rather disgusted comment from the enemy DD captain, its sweet.
There is a variety of naval combat styles ranging from smaller Destroyers hunting targets for those deadly torpedoes than can even take down mighty Battleships. to running cruisers on the look out for those DD's or enemy carrier launched aircraft or even support fire on Battleships, to Battleships with huge slow firing guns with painfully slow turning and reloads but devastating damage on that perfect salvo, to a more strategic game of cat and mouse with carriers hunting large cap ships with Torpedo bombers and Dive bombers while fending off enemy bombers and fighter craft with fighter squadrons while all the time plotting courses to keep near the fight for plane recovery and re-arm but not close enough to be picked off by a DD or Cruiser.
The new player experience is a tad slow but not horribly so, you soon find you are able to jump into other ships quick enough BUT at the moment it is sped up to allow for testing and will be considerably more of a grind during open or release.
The new player starts off in a TIER I Cruiser, initially you play CO OP matches versus AI until you level up to 2 which unlocks PvP battles where the matchmaker will match players by TIERS (not skill, or ELO, at the moment its TIERS), you have pretty simple maps with simple objectives, capture points, domination and eliminate all enemy vessels, maps being simple affairs of open waters and island riddle areas and some unusual ones like iceberg riddle areas or even a silly map in space I saw on a stream complete with modified sound effects and visuals.
You earn XP and in game Credits, the XP is used to research modifications and upgrade your ship and to research the next TIER and type of ships, the credits are used to buy ships and later some upgrades and skill choices for commanders.
One odd thing is that it is possible to damage friendly ships, even destroy them... I tossed some torps at a enemy Cruiser but didn't account for a team mate sailing straight into my spread of torps, he went down fast and I got a fine in credits and XP for that match and the idiot gets a compensation for the damage done to him.
Its not very common in the matches I played, yet I have seen some streams where guys get upset at each other then unload gun salvos at each other... this tactic hugely aids the team
How does it look and sound ?
The detail on the ships is fantastic as you can see all the guns and a lot of the details of the ships like launch boats and escape boats, cabins, ammo packs, gantries and it all looks great... you can actual sit there in the port and zoom around and admire your boats.
The damage models are not bad but can look a bit jarring when parts look pristine and others sections are a wreck , you can see the various sections of models and it can jar a bit.
Sounds are reasonable, good booms for the firing of guns and various sirens and claxons blaring away with some orchestral music thundering in the background but soon forgotten in the heat of the fight.
It all runs fairly well , keeping a modest 70 - 80 FPS and I tend to have a 59ms ping to the servers... haven't noticed any weird lag related issues, some ships may vanish and re-appear suddenly but that is due to if that ship is in detection range of you or an ally, or under cover of smoke.
Is it fun ?
I enjoy it though I must admit to being a little tired of it as I played a large amount initially but when I fire it up I do have that one more quick battle vibe, battles are slow but don't tend to last too long and mechanics in the game do allow players to force a fight if an enemy is simply content to hide away... you cap the point and win.
There is some RNG involved , especially with hits to critical components like guns, steering or engines...and fires, damn fires!
That is to me a area of contention as you only have 1 repair ability with a long CD, you pop that to put out a fire early...chances are you will be set on fire very quickly again and have no means to counter it except wait as it takes off significant amounts of your ships HP before going out on its own, same with floods... engines leave you dead in the water and steering has you stuck on a course until its repaired.
It is still fun and much of the issues can be avoided with clever plotting and approaches, or timing the use of the repair.
Do you recommend it ?
You need to put down cash to get in, or find a key somewhere so I would wait for the open beta unless you really like the idea of sailing some powerful warships in a simple yet satisfying naval combat game with a reasonable skill ceiling for those inclined to really get stuck into a game... otherwise give it a go when its fully free to play, but then the new player experience will be a bit slow and ... internets
It is worth the £14 for the cheapest pre-order ship which will get you in, its got quiet a few hours of fun gameplay but as it is due to be free sometime, you may just prefer to wait it out... either way it is fun enough to have a look.
Here is a Youtube vid that a players made to teach new players to aim in the game, it shows off the slow pace yet satisfying potential of a well placed shot in my opinion:
AND all change once you hit Tier IV, then you get in matches with the TIER V , VI and VII who are grinding credits so they can play in TIER VIII to X, and these mofo's are way too accurate for fun... basically dropping HE on your tub with pin point accuracy and you get all your systems blown out time and time again and sit there with your thumb up your arse as your repair ability is on a long cooldown.
Being the CBT , there are a lot of players who have grinded to max TIERS but the credit earned compared to costs to repair and rearm means they must drop to lower tiers to farm up creds, and there is where the issue lies... you finally make it to TIER IV, and get absolutely obliterated by players who have been playing since alpha and are farming with their fave lower tier boats.
The change is very sudden, its like playing Hello Kitty for a few levels then suddenly getting tossed into a hardcore PvP MMO with max level max PvP gear enemies who know each mm of the map and every advantage
It will probably be less of an issue during the full release, and it is fun until you get to this level... a few hours worth of naval fun.