REVIEW: World of Warplanes [PC]

World of Warplanes is the second installment in Wargaming‘s World of series. After having played many hours of the first game, World of Tanks, and eagerly anticipating the third, World of Warships, this middle child had the odds stacked against for me from the beginning.

Despite the admittedly overly-high standards I’d set, based on World of Tanks and my general dislike of in-game flight, Wargaming has pulled off yet another highly addictive fast paced game that will have you nagging your friends to come and play as your wingmen.

Once put off flying in games after Battlefield 1942 and those damn aerial challenges in Spyro the Dragon, I find the focus being on the tactics and mind games of air combat to be very enjoyable, rather than the skill of flying a plane. The game makes flying these war machine simple by making it as if you’re just pointing the direction you want the plain to go and the game does the rest.¬† Here’s the thing for someone like me who is normally put off at the idea of doing any flying in a game I instantly found it enjoyable and rewarding to play despite its simplified way of flying.

That said, the game has excellent joystick support. You can extensively tweak the sensitivity in game, to get your plane flying exactly how you want it. This option is great for those of you who really get into flight games and can’t stand the idea of using a mouse to control a plane. I did not find this option to be for me, but I can see why some people would use it.

I have to give it to Wargaming, they do an excellent job at taking out all of the boring bits of a not only war, but also gaming. With the simplified flying, WOWP allows you to pay attention to the battle at hand, like seeing if your team mate needs you to get a guy off his tail or if he can out-maneuver the enemy aircraft.

When you first open the game it’ll ask you if you want to play its tutorials which I highly recommend, even if it’s only to get some game currency (silver) and its premium currency (gold), both of which will help you get to the Tier 2 aircraft faster.

The tutorials together take about 15-20mins to complete, in them you learn how to fly your aircraft, drop bombs, fire missiles and most importantly how to engage against  enemy aircraft. Basically: Everything you need to know before jumping into your first multi player game to go hunting!

World of Warplanes has one nifty feature over its older brother World of Tanks: After loading into a match while waiting for it begin you can compare your aircraft to those on the enemy team. Each aircraft is broken down to three main attributes: Firepower, airspeed and maneuverability. With so many different planes in the game this tool makes learning them so much easier, making those split-second decisions come more naturally.

World of Warplanes map: Eastern Front

World of Warplanes map: Eastern Front

It can easily be missed while in the middle of a dog fight, but WOWP truly is a good-looking game. My one gripe is that you would think the game is only limited to just one coastal forest/harbor map and two desert maps until you hit Tier 3. It’s a relatively quick progression, but for that whole time you are stuck on the three same maps. Once at Tier 3, the same maps are still in the map pool but the new maps are a very welcome addition, changing things up nicely. My favourite map so far has to be Eastern Front, it’s a snow-covered wasteland, and like every map captures a battlefield from the second world war. This map features a full Soviet base that nicely shows the size of the Soviet war machine.

OK, I know there is something obvious I have neglected so far: The planes. When you start playing the game, you will have five planes of your own, one for each nation currently featured in the game America, USSR, Germany, United Kingdom and Japan. These five planes are either from the end of the first World War, or from the inter-war period. These slow, tight-turning aircraft are perfect for cutting your teeth while learning how to effectively fight in aerial combat. The game features three types of aircraft fighters, heavy fighters and ground attack.

Fighters are the most maneuverable at the cost of having low HP, typically geared for dog fights, some can chose to carry missiles or bombs that allow them to effectively destroy ground targets as well. They are the most common of the three classes, every nation has them, each with their own characteristics. American fighters excel at climbing and diving attacks while Japanese fighters are highly acrobatic.

Heavy fighters excel at fighting the enemy head-on with their super health, fire power and amour. The majority of these planes carry bombs so they can effectively destroy several ground targets before needing to using their cannons. Currently only the German and U.K. have heavy fighters, but knowing Wargaming, they will dig up some experimental deigns to expand the other nations tech trees to include them.

Ground attack aircraft are the most heavily armoured and are at their strongest when at low altitude, attacking a ground target with their bombs and heavy cannons. All of these aircraft are equipped with tail gunners that offer some defense against enemy fighters.  Only the USSR tech tree currently has access to these powerful ground attack aircraft.

U.S.S.R Ground Attack Aircraft: TSh-3

U.S.S.R Ground Attack Aircraft: TSh-3

One of the great things about the series is that when it comes to matchmaking, nations mean nothing. Games are typically 15 players a side with a good mix of fighters, heavy fighters and ground attack aircraft from each nation (but of course, this is highly dependent on what players are looking for a match at the time).

World of Warplanes and World of Tanks both use your Wargaming account on the same sever, so if you get a premium account for World of Tanks, you also get it for World of Warplanes. Your silver currency is bound to the game where you earned it, but Gold (the premium currency) and “free experience” can be spent on any of your war machines, tanks or planes, regardless of which game it was earned in. The bad news is if you already play World of Tanks on the Asia server is that World of Warplanes has not launched in this region yet, with no confirmation if and when it might. With Asia server accounts not working on the American or EU severs you can’t take advantage of the games being linked.

My advice: For now, either start saving that free experience on your Asia account or jump on the American server. Either way, I hope to see you in the skies real soon!

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