Updated Mon, Mar 19, 2012 by Ralphedelominius
To wrap up my hands-on time, I flew a US P-12 Hawk fighter – which sounds pretty sexy until you see that it’s a biplane. I wanted to get a feel for low tier gameplay, and the F-86A was actually a lot of fun to fly. Twice the wings means twice the wingspan and maneuverability, and the P-12 could wheel like a baseball off a bat. The twin 7.62 mm guns were nothing like the fire hose of pain I enjoyed with the previous two craft, but were adequate to the task.
As in World of Tanks, low tier combat has its own charms in World of Warplanes.
We took off over Novorossysk, Russia’s biggest port on the Black Sea and one of the few that remains operational all year long. The port facilities and airfield looked fantastic, and Victor was adamant that they’d be adding more “action” such as moving tanks on the ground prior to launch. Since only one other low tier pilot could be found on the local server Wargaming.net was running at GDC, we took on a pair of bots. After a few passes targeting the bot planes sidelong and from underneath, the flummoxed AI planes actually collided with each other. Any win is a win, after all.
In closing, Victor lifted the veil on how World of Warplanes will affect Clan Wars, the browser-based metagame that has tanker clans vying for territories and premium currency income. “Say my clan attacks Moscow. A friendly clan targets their air wing, and if we win the air battle, we have two airstrikes in the tank battle or a temporary recon sweep of the map.”
Plans are less certain with World of Battleships, but equally promising. “With World of Battleships, I’m not sure. We’ll be cutting off supply routes, preventing the jump from England to France, and supporting tanks in coastal battles. We think this [World of Warplanes] is a good way to start managing the gaps.”
My time with World of Warplanes helped scratch an itch unscratched for quite a few years: the itch to play an excellent, balls-out, white knuckle combat flight game. When World of Warplanes comes out later this year, we’ll all owe Wargaming.net a debt of gratitude for bringing a worthy sub-genre back into the PC gaming limelight. Until then, anyone can apply for the global alpha (so named because Victor was anxious to avoid over-testing in the Russian market, as had apparently happened with World of Tanks).
Our thanks to Victor Kislyi, Ivan Kulbich, and the Wargaming.net team for this exclusive hands-on opportunity to play World of Warplanes at GDC 2012.