World of Battleships Interview with’s Frazer Nash

Ten Ton Hammer talks with VP Frazer Nash about submarine warfare, fleet tactics, aircraft carriers, and other exclusive details regarding their third military MMOG, World of Battleships, plus we get our first look at World of Warplanes.

href=""> alt="world of battleships"
style="border: 0px solid ; width: 250px; height: 156px;">

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 style="font-style: italic;">Half Life,
Life 2
, style="font-style: italic;">Diablo 2,
, 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 href=""> style="font-style: italic;">World of Battleships.

World of Battleships Preview

While’s third style="font-style: italic;">World of
game wasn’t
playable or demoable at this year’s gamescom, Frazer used
concept art to tell the style="font-style: italic;">WoB
story. “These are aspirational
screenshots,” he noted, “but you
know from
following href=""> style="font-style: italic;">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 style="font-style: italic;">WoT
at GDC in March virtually mirrored what we
see in the game and, as a bonus, for a fairly miniscule 6 GB footprint.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 630px; height: 394px;"
alt="world of battleships"

Frazer wasn’t just selling style="font-style: italic;">World of Battleships
with concept
art. He used the images to help explain how different style="font-style: italic;">WoB
will be from
its two predecessors, style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks
and href=""> style="font-style: italic;">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

That, in a nutshell, is the world of difference between style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks
and World
of Battleships
. As Frazer
went on to explain, while style="font-style: italic;">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 style="font-style: italic;">World of Warplanes
– as Frazer put it:
“Everyone can be a hero... everyone’s an
ace.” But style="font-style: italic;">World of Battleships
will be grad school for students – win together as a single unit, or
die apart.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 630px; height: 394px;"
alt="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 style="font-style: italic;">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

So we begin to see a variation on the tune has played in
of Tanks
with great success,
and Frazer confirmed that style="font-style: italic;">WoB
stick to the 15 player-per-side format. But instead of the style="font-style: italic;">WoT
- 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 style="font-style: italic;">WoB.”

I’d guessed that submarines might fill the SPG role, but
Frazer squashed my style="font-style: italic;">Silent Hunter-loving
aspirations. “There will be no submarines in style="font-style: italic;">World of Battleships.
You know and I know and every gamer knows what will happen when players
go beyond random battles and begin to put together their own rosters.
Everyone will get into a submarine, one poor bastard will get into a
boat, the boat will die a horrible death and everyone else will have no
one to shoot at. It just makes the game unbalanced, unplayable, and not
friendly… If you have a sniper sitting in a tree, killing
everyone off, and no one knows where he is, that’s not fun.
And that’s the submarine.”

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 630px; height: 394px;"
alt="world of battleships"

It’s a livable compromise – how much less fun would
of Tanks
be if we had to
worry about tank-killing airplanes like the Soviet Il-2 –
but, still, I won’t give up hope. To geek out a sec, given
that Germany’s U-boats had a 72% casualty rate during WWII,
they’re hardly the indomitable powerhouse, historically, that
they might seem. Submarines could still be an interesting expansion
possibility if artificially limits their number to one or
two per side and bakes in a fair yet realistic amount of vulnerability
and challenge.

World of Warplanes First Look

For a select few at gamescom 2011, demoed their upcoming
successor to style="font-style: italic;">WoT,
of Warplanes
. Clicking past
the Cyrillic text,
Frazer logged into the game, explaining the premise to me as he went
along. “Planes date from the 1930s and its slow biplanes,
right up through the 1950s. It’ll include the Korean War-era
planes and early jet planes, or as they were commonly referred to,
tractors in the sky,” Frazer joked, alluding to the fact that
early jet plans couldn’t turn well while keeping their wings
attached and tended to plow through bomber formations  in
straight furrows. “It’s the sexy period of combat
aviation, before guided weapons, stealth, and so on.”

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 630px; height: 394px;"
alt="world of warplanes"

So what can players expect not to see in style="font-style: italic;">World of Warplanes?
and landings, for one. “You will start in the air,
you’ll never start on the ground… that’s
a sin.” Other elements of the game are more familiar:
“It’s 15 vs. 15, and while there isn’t
cover like in style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks
per se, you’ve got clouds and
the blinding sun… At launch, you’ll have 60
planes: American, Russian, and German, followed by the English and
Japanese, and maybe a half dozen maps. But just like style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks,
a matter of weeks you’ll maybe get more planes and more maps
for free.”

In the demo, the UI looked fairly familiar – the same
reticule used in style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks,
for example, but one feature really
stuck out as new and exciting. When firing on an opponent, a small
damage cam pops up to show you where you’re hitting your
target. The damagecam isn’t just useful to fine tune your
aim, it adds a nice visceral touch to longer range engagements.

Frazer, who looked to be piloting a F4U Corsair, splashed a German Bf
109 before drawing the attention of something with Soviet-looking and
bulbous (as a kid I failed the Civil Air Patrol plane identification
course). As with the other games, Frazer could have
spectated or opted to climb into a second plane to fight in a different
battle, but instead he debriefed me on the game format.

href=""> style="border: 0px solid ; width: 630px; height: 394px;"
alt="world of warplanes"

Though takeoffs and landings won’t be a part of the game,
bases will. Frazer noted that bases have anti-aircraft defenses to
protect against lone wolves breaking away from the pack to have a run
at the base.  That implies that bases will have a certain
number of hitpoints that opposing planes will have to winnow away, but
the amount of AAA, HP amount, and the difficulty of hitting the base
wasn’t covered by the demo.

of Warplanes
will also have
more mission types than
it’s predecessor. Frazer hinted at one mission type where
AI-controlled bombers proceed on a straight line to the enemy base and
it’s up to players to escort (or attack the enemy bombers).
Regardless of the mission type, players will always have two ways to
win, destroy all enemy planes, or destroy the enemy base before the
enemy destroys yours.

2012 should be as an exciting year for fans as 2011 was
with the North American debut of style="font-style: italic;">World of Tanks.
Stay tuned to Ten Ton
Hammer for continuing coverage, and our thanks to Frazer Nash for an
inside look at’s next two titles.

To read the latest guides, news, and features you can visit our World of Tanks Game Page.

Last Updated:

About The Author

Around the Web