How do you follow up one of the most accurate, exhaustively
detailed and flat-out fun tank shooters of all time? Grab all those historically melded polygons and take to the air. Stars and Stripes
recently caught up with Alexandr Zezulin, project manager for
Wargaming.net’s upcoming "World of Warplanes,” to ask him how we should
expect our tank-driving skills to take off. For more of what to expect,
you can read our review of "World of Tanks" here.
Stars and Stripes: What kind of research goes into the building and modeling of the warplanes?
Zezulin: It’s a long process! Before designers start
working on a 3-D prototype, we collect a large amount of information
about the model, its attributes and historical operations that it took
part in. We have aerodynamics engineers that spend crazy hours to ensure
every plane model is as authentic as possible. From there, each 3-D
model goes to historical consultants. ... All in all, each vehicle takes
no less than two months to research, design, finalize, introduce and
With "World of Tanks,” there was a great variety of classes
and counter-classes (anti-tank beats heavy tank, light tank beats
artillery, etc.) What kind of rock/paper/scissors play should we expect
Similar to World of Tanks, each warplane type has its primary
objectives. Fighters team up in small groups to carry out offensive
sweeps where they seek out and destroy enemy aircraft in intense
dogfights. Heavy fighters can be used against bombers and ground-attack
aircraft as they are durable enough to close on a ground attack plane
but they will be vulnerable to more maneuverable and faster fighters.
Ground attack planes are primarily tasked with hitting ground targets
but can make short work of a lone fighter from the front or behind,
thanks to AI-controlled tail gunners.
Looking back at the rock/paper/scissors system in "World of Tanks,”
fighters can be compared to light and medium tanks and heavy aircraft to
heavy tanks. Ground-attack planes are much like the artillery. A single
ground-attack aircraft is enough to make a difference if it reaches
enemy ground defenses.
How do you expect the fast, open nature of air combat to differ from the strategic, slower maneuvering of tank combat?
Aerial clashes in "World of Warplanes” are far more difficult than
slow ground battles, so being a tank pro won’t make you a top gun pilot.
Doing well in the skies involves knowing the strengths and weaknesses
of each aircraft, the nuances of air combat maneuvering and managing the
view system. Dynamic 3-D action also requires focus and cunning on the
player’s part. Thrown straight into combat, you’ll have to make tactical
decisions on the go, where tanks let you feel more relaxed with timing.
To balance that, the learning curve will be smooth and steep. You’ll
start with early biplanes that have simplified processes of gunnery and
aircraft control to help you gradually adjust to the gameplay. The
matchmaking system will ensure you fight against opponents good enough
to teach you something useful before you move on to really difficult and
dangerous combat. In addition, players will be given an opportunity to
learn piloting basics and practice their combat skills with the help of
an entertaining online PvE training course.
What kind of upgradable skills for pilot crews can we look forward to? Do consumables return?
The list of upgradable skills is far from the final version. Most
likely, you’ll be able to master a crew’s overload capability, ability
to quickly notice the enemy and, of course, gunner’s accuracy. In
regards to ammo, we’ve already worked out multiple bullet and shell
types: incendiary, high-explosive, armor-piercing and shells with
combined effects. The final list of consumables is still to be
We’re very excited about the inclusion of ground-attack
planes. Talk a little about how this works, and how/why teams need to
defend themselves against bombing runs.
While in "World of Tanks” you have to capture the enemy base, one of
the winning conditions in "World of Warplanes” will be destroying the
enemy ground defenses. [There will] be a number of ground objects
scattered around the map: e.g., fuel depots, tank columns, railway
stations, factories, etc., and each ground object will have a different
number of hit points. Also, less important targets will be almost
defenseless and will earn fewer points, while more crucial ones will be
protected with AA guns and earn more points.
The more hostile ground targets you eliminate, the more points you
are assigned and the higher your chances are to win. Practically any
aircraft type can be equipped with assault armament or ground targets
can be attacked with the primary weapon: e.g. machine guns. However, for
maximum effect, you’ll have to use ground-attack aircraft, which are
better suited for air-to-ground action.
Are there plans for multiple game modes?
If you're familiar with World of Tanks’ fundamental team deathmatch
it won’t take you long to understand World of Warplanes’ major game
mode, ‘Superiority’. It’s the same with two teams — 15 vs. 15 players —
trying to either eliminate all enemy ground targets or destroy all enemy
Combat advantage is represented with ‘superiority’ points that are
assigned for exterminated targets. The victory is achieved by getting
100% superiority or by destroying all enemy planes.
The second mode is called ‘Escort’. It will require you to escort
allied bombers to some critical point on a map or to intercept and
destroy enemy bombers. We are evaluating several more scenarios and will
be announcing them as soon as they are ready.
Lastly, just for fun: I know as soon as I load it up, I’m
going to fly as high as I can in my little P-12. How high up can you
Each plane will have its maximum altitude but it will be about three
times less than it was in real conditions. We have squeezed the altitude
for our battle arenas and that’s done to satisfy gameplay needs.
We want battles to be fun and furious and giving players the ability
to climb all the way up to 10,000m within a 15x15km2 area would mean
adding several extra minutes to the average battle duration. Of course,
you can still try to get as high as you want with your P-12. If you
reach anything higher than 3,000m, don’t hesitate to report a bug!