World of Battleships Interview with’s Frazer Nash

Posted Mon, Aug 29, 2011 by Ethec

world of battleships
If games marketing had an Elusive Man figure, Frazer Nash might be him.  “I’m the guy who everyone knows, but they don’t know why they know,” he joked, as I asked if he was THE Frazer Nash.  In a career spanning more than 16 years, he’s been one of the principal UK marketing figures behind games like Half Life, Half Life 2, Diablo 2, Warcraft 3, and a horde of sims, online titles, and other games. Frazer Nash Communications has frequented my inbox since I began this job 6 years ago, but it was always as his own PR firm.

I told you that to tell you this: Frazer’s seen a lot of bad games in his time, so for him to sign on with full-time, well, he must see a lot of potential in the upstart company’s growing list of online military titles. That, and he’s a true wargaming enthusiast, nothing like a PR shill. After riffing about the good old days of Avalon Hill and SSI, we sat down to talk World of Battleships.

World of Battleships Preview

While’s third World of game wasn’t playable or demoable at this year’s gamescom, Frazer used concept art to tell the WoB story. “These are aspirational screenshots,” he noted, “but you know from following World of Tanks that this is 99.999% the way it will be.” I couldn’t fault his analysis; the gorgeous plates we first saw of WoT at GDC in March virtually mirrored what we see in the game and, as a bonus, for a fairly miniscule 6 GB footprint.

world of battleships

Frazer wasn’t just selling World of Battleships with concept art. He used the images to help explain how different WoB will be from its two predecessors, World of Tanks and World of Warplanes. “This is your game, this is your view,” he began, gesturing at the image above. “The destroyers are in completely the wrong place. Those two should be screening the battleship, protecting it from aircraft. Off in the distance you see an aircraft carrier… it’s dead. It may be floating now, but trust me, it’s dead. It should be on the complete inside of the formation… alone it’s extremely vulnerable.”

That, in a nutshell, is the world of difference between World of Tanks and World of Battleships. As Frazer went on to explain, while World of Tanks rewards cooperation, you can split off into multiple groups or, once in a while, find success by going solo. In either of the latter cases, you can often retreat and find another angle. Apart from having distance and relative speed in place of cover, much the same will be the case in World of Warplanes – as Frazer put it: “Everyone can be a hero... everyone’s an ace.” But World of Battleships will be grad school for students – win together as a single unit, or die apart.

world of battleships

Frazer’s comments were revealing in another way too. Yes, there will be planes, but players won’t be able to control aircraft directly in World of Battleships. “As a carrier, the only weapon you’ve got is AI planes. You launch the planes, they go to a particular location, and they’ll either find something to shoot on the way, or they run out of fuel and head home.  The smaller, fast ships can evade or fight off planes as they get a fix on the bigger ships, so your battleships can begin to fire.”

So we begin to see a variation on the tune has played in World of Tanks with great success, and Frazer confirmed that WoB will stick to the 15 player-per-side format. But instead of the WoT formula - light tanks for scouting, medium tanks for skirmishing, slower heavy tanks for… well - tanking, and self-propelled guns as the vulnerable indirect-fire nukers, we have a slightly different dichotomy in World of Battleships. Carriers take the place of SPGs, battleships take the place of heavy tanks, and then cruisers, frigates, destroyers, PT boats, and the like will fill out the skirmish, scout, and anti-aircraft roles. Still, the gameplay will be more than familiar to current players: “What we say around the studio is that what you play now, you’ll play in WoB.”

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