World of Warplanes Getting Started
One advantage of being press is that you are occasionally given a press account to test out a particular title. These accounts are normally loaded with gear or unlocks to allow you to hop into the end-game content instantly. That’s great and all (and truth be told, has been useful on more than one occasion), but that doesn’t do any good when you want to tell folks how they can proceed through the tech trees of World of Warplanes quickly.
Since World of Warplanes is a free to play game with the option to unlock later tier planes and upgrades with cash, I felt it was important to see how your average Joe would progress from the beginning earning experience and cash on their own. On that note, that’s exactly what I did. I’ve checked out the later stages of the air to air combat with some top tier aircraft, but I also started a personal account to see how the progression system really works.
One of my biggest concerns before I started was that it would take an inordinate amount of time to progress past anything but the first tier in a reasonable amount of time, thus making it possible to progress through the game without spending any money, but being such a snail’s paced grind as to make it not worth the effort. Fortunately for everyone, I’m happy to report that isn’t the case. It’s true you can spend real world money to unlock some elite aircraft in higher tiers, or to get your pilot trained up quicker, and that doing so will certainly speed the process up, but you’re not going to be horribly handicapped if you don’t.
When you start the game you’ll go through some quick and well informed training missions (see here for more about them). All three missions take about 20 minutes combined. If you’re really not familiar with air to air combat, then you may find yourself taking longer, especially in the AI team versus AI team training match, but keep trying and you’ll get the hang of it. Don’t be in a rush to get through it either because if you have a hard time with that mission, you’re not going to stand a chance in the player versus player battles. These missions are all repeatable so if you want to brush up on some tactics any time later, feel free to do so.
Within the first two hours of playing matches (each match has a 15 minute timer but tends to only last about 5-10 minutes), I had unlocked and purchased my tier 2 plane, unlocked and purchased every single upgrade for it in the tech tree, and unlocked my tier three plane. It took about another 30 minutes of matches to get the cash to purchase that one. This was a far cry from the pace of progression I was expecting to see within the game.
Getting a tier 3 plane may not sound like much, but there’s something you need to keep in mind as you work toward progressing through each tier – if you’re a fan of air to air combat in any way, the matches are a blast to play through. Even if you yourself get blown out of the sky quickly, or do a sideway somersault across the ocean after the tip of your wing dipped into the water (ALLEGEDLY!), there’s a great spectator mode.
The spectator mode of World of Warplanes is awesome. When you’re in this mode, you can use the mouse to spin the camera around so you not only get some great views, but you can also use it to watch how better players get position on other aircraft. If you play long enough, you’ll see some truly spectacular flying. You’ll also see a number of techniques the tutorials don’t show you. I witnessed a beautiful sideways sliding stall maneuver a member of the opposition used on a teammate to get position and a kill shot. It was definitely impressive. There are some very, very good players out there and if you’re a fan of the genre, you’ll see some pretty spectacular stunts pulled.
Use these times of observation to learn from others. It can prove to be invaluable later on. It will also help you progress quicker through the tier unlocks. Since you’ll gain experience and cash whether your side wins or loses, you should play as many live matches as you’re comfortable with. There is a training section that allows you to practice on your own or with a team, but unless you have a team, it’s going to be better to just play in the live matches. Practice is great, but only up to a point because the AI systems will never be able to give you the unpredictability of a live opponent. If you want to gain experience quickly, get out there and play.
Before I abandon you for the moment so I can head out and get in some more matches myself, here are a couple of tips the game won’t give you. The first is being aware of the ground anti-aircraft guns. It seems like nearly every team I’m on, we chase our opponents to their side of the map and half our players are lost to anti-aircraft ground fire. Instead of rushing headlong to face your enemy on their turf, let them come to you so they’re the ones getting chewed up by anti-aircraft weaponry instead of you.
Second, and even more importantly – use the terrain! The game will give you numerous warnings about being too low, but guess what? Being low to the ground and flying in between cliff sides of a river can save your life. If you’ve got someone on your tail, either pour on the power and whip through those valleys, or get some altitude quickly. Flying along the terrain will help protect you from anti-aircraft fire (until you get too close to them), but in the first few tiers, it can also mean destruction for some new players as they’re not used to the controls or flying in tight quarters.
That’s it for now, but if you’re playing the game, pipe up with some of your favorite tactics or maneuvers in the comments below!