Updated Mon, Mar 19, 2012 by Ralphedelominius
Due to the IL-40’s large turning radius, I did turn off the map once. Ivan noted that if you stay more than a few seconds off map, auto-pilot will bring you back onto the map. While auto-pilot is on, you’ll be very vulnerable to warplanes trolling the map’s edge, so it’s best to keep track of where you are on the minimap and plan your runs accordingly.
Ground attackers are vicious dogfighters if you can keep the enemy in your front sights.
As I celebrated my first victory (sadly, Victor wouldn’t credit it to my account), Victor noted the difference between World of Warplanes and other combat flight simulators: the emphasis is on the action. There’s no taking off or landing, no flying to waypoints. In the match type that will be available at launch, a progress bar at the top of screen shows how close your team is to winning (or losing), either through air superiority or by destroying ground targets.
As such, it seems coordination will be much more significant in World of Warplanes than World of Tanks. Ground attack planes and heavy fighters might want to fly in formation to make the best use of tail guns against fast-moving fighters, for example. Regardless, each team will have to determine whether the team goes for air superiority or for ground attack victory.
As in World of Tanks, a fair degree of realism is preserved, but not in ways that add complexity to the game. Holding down the trigger, for example, won’t overheat and jam your guns, but you will run through your limited supply of ammo quickly and suffer a loss in accuracy. Likewise, you won’t blackout from massive Gs on tight turns, rip off your wings recovering from steep dives, or stall your plane – your pilot is there to prevent such catastrophes, and his relative skill will determine how close to the breaking point he can push your plane. Crew can be purchased and trained just like in World of Tanks, likewise players can research and equip engines and guns which enhance the plane both in terms of playability and visual appear.
I stepped down two tiers to try out a German heavy fighter, a Bf-410, which saw its best service in the Luftwaffe as a bomber-hunting night fighter. The Bf 110 was often equipped with powerful guns mounted at an oblique angle - the pilot could fly beneath an invading bomber while the tailgunner tore open its under-gunned belly. Well armed and armored but not agile, the historical plane could equip a wicked 50 mm (2 inch) gun or several batteries of mortar-rockets – one hit from either of which could destroy any plane in WWII.
I would put none of these fun historical facts to good use (Ivan wouldn’t tell me where the 50 mm win button was). I had trouble locating the enemy’s ground attackers and was quickly swarmed by fighters – the scissors to my Bf-110’s paper. I did a poor impression of a twisting, turning dogfighter, but despite having roughly twice the hitpoints of any given fighter I was a black smear on El Halluf’s desert landscape before long.
The Bf-410 carries heavy armament, but is easily outmaneuvered by swarming fighters.
Prior to my untimely destruction, I noted the slick night fighter camo on my Bf-410. Ivan explained that the warplanes would have historical camouflage options, but that they’d be “made just a little brighter than they were in reality.” Spotting mechanics work much like they do in World of Tanks, and as such, investing in camouflage makes players slightly less visible to enemies.
This was also a good time to talk about the differences between planes of different nationalities. While tanks in World of Tanks tend to have national characteristics – French tanks, for example, have fast firing guns but thin armor – Ivan explained that the national differences in World of Warplanes revolve around the number and types of planes deployed. The Soviet Union, for example, put much more energy into ground attack planes, while early in the post-war era the United States focused on carrier-based aircraft, namely fighter bombers. Those differences are reflected in the number and types of planes players can fly from each nation’s two trees.