World of Warplanes Interview

Article

posted 11/1/2011 by Charles Husemann
other articles by Charles Husemann
Platforms: PC
If you've followed Gaming Nexus over the years you know we have a pretty good relationship with the folks at Wargaming.net. Not only do they produce some great games but they are genuinely good folks who are trying to do something different in risk averse industry.  

After seeing what they did with World War II tanks in World of Tanks we wanted to see what they are doing in their latest game, World of War Planes. We sent a bunch of questions over to the folks at Wargaming and luckily we were able to get them answered by Anton Sitnikau, the producer of World of Warplanes.

Why World of Warplanes? Will the game interact at all with World of Tanks or World of Battleships?
The three games of the series will interact on two levels – single “wallet” that will let the player transfer experience and gold from one game to another and Global Map where clans from different games will be able to cooperate with each other. Why planes?
They are cool and what’s more important the air combat opens up endless gameplay opportunities for our players to explore. Many of World of Tanks fans are keen flight sim pilots (we even have whole clans from flight sim games playing World of Tanks) and they’ve been constantly bombarding us with requests to make a game like WoT but about planes… so it was an easy decision for us.



It looks like your sticking to the same time period as World of Tanks (World War II era), what makes that time period so approachable for games? Any thought of doing a modern era game?
 The period from 1930s to 1950s was the Golden Age of military aeronautics. Many legendary aircrafts were built and tested in battles during this time. Moreover, at that time pilots had to rely on their skills only when operating a vehicle as there was not that much electronic equipment installed on the planes. As for the second part of your questions, currently we do not have any plans on developing a modern era game as it won’t fit well into the concept of the series we’re working on. In future...we’ll see.


If there’s a long line with arcade flight games on one end and hard core sims on the other, where would World of Warplanes fit on that line? How do you balance trying to appeal to both audiences?
 I’ll put it somewhere in the middle, because we’re trying to strike a perfect balance between fun and realism. We’ll make controls easy and accessible to make sure our casual players will feel comfortable in the game, leaving the flight model and damage system complex enough to meet the interests of a more hardcore audience. We did this well in World of Tanks and are hoping for the same success with World of Warplanes!


What was the biggest lesson of World of Tanks that you applied to World of Warplanes?

The major lesson we learnt is that free-to-play model can work perfectly well when tuned properly! Generally, we learnt many useful lessons in various areas of MMO development – from deploying servers to building up support and community services as World of Tanks is our first massively multiplayer title. Now, when we know certain pitfalls of MMO market, we face fewer challenges while working on World of Warplanes.



What planes will we see in the game? How many planes will be in the game and which countries will be represented? Do you have a personal favorite?
As mentioned above, there’ll be WWI era planes – from small and vulnerable biplanes to first jets. Upon the release of the game we’ll have around 70 vehicles that will represent three nations – the USA, Soviet Union and Germany. The fleets will be gradually expanded with new aircrafts coming with new updates. Later on British and Japanese planes will be added. I don’t have any favorites so far as the current version of the game contains only around a dozen of planes.


How is player progression going to be measured? Is it newer planes, newer armaments or both?
We’ll use the same approach as in World of Tanks where the player earns XP/credits that let him first research/buy new modules and then new vehicles.


The game is listed as free to play, what kinds of things will you be charging for in the game?

 There’ll be a number of premium options players will be able to buy in order to acquire a slight advantage in battle or boost their progression in the game. Premium account will let you gain 50% more of XP points and credits, premium ammo, premium planes and consumables will be also available for real money.



You’ve been doing PC games for ages, is free to play where the entire industry is going or is it just the MMO genre?

 Over the last 10 years Wargaming.net have shipped a dozen of box games that were good, received high appraisal from players and critics… Looking at how World of Tanks is evolving now we have to admit that all that time we were moving in a slightly wrong direction. The concept of box games itself doesn’t let us – as developers – and our players – as consumers - enjoy our lives. Normally, you put a box on the shelf, release an add-on or two – and that’s it, that’s what the player gets for quite a big sum of money as the life circle of the game comes to the end. With free-to-play there’s first of all no $50 or 60$ payment wall that prevents millions of players from even trying out your game (and then eventually realizing that it’s their best game ever), secondly, in order to draw new users and keep the old ones playing developers are always eager to add new free content that extends the life circle of the game to years making player’s experience more enjoyable.


The screenshots and footage we’ve seen have looked really good, was that a main focus for the game? What are the minimum specs for running the game?
 We are using the updated version of the BigWorld engine – the one we used in World of Tanks and are currently working on its further improvement to ensure much better graphics quality. The specs will remain the same as in World of Tanks – any middle of the road PC will run the game smoothly.


How much shared technology is there between the three games?
All the three games will utilize the same engine that will let us “synchronize” them on the economic level without any difficulties and will let us easily adjust it to our gameplay needs.


How many different mission types are there? Is this strictly a PvP experience or are there opportunities to group with friends and clans?
The basic mode will require the team to destroy the base or eliminate all enemy planes to win. Then we’ll work on escort raids and historical missions. Basically it will be all about 15vs15 PvP battles; however certain PvE elements will be also included like AI-controlled bombers or AA-guns. Players will be able to form platoons and clans to enjoy team play.


Could you talk about the controls for the game? How did you come up with them and will the game support things like joysticks and flight sticks?

There’re four options at the moment – mouse, mouse + keyboard, gamepad and joystick. Causal players will most likely play with a mouse and keyboard, while hardcore sim aces would prefer joysticks.


The game is currently in a closed beta, do you know when the beta will open up to more players? What kind of information do you get out of these betas?
It’s even closed alpha now with a very small number of reliable World of Tanks players testing it. We plan on launching the closed beta by the end of this year or in the beginning of 2012. Check out GamingNexus for World of Warplanes closed beta key giveaway.


Is there something important that we didn’t talk about?

There’s a lot of cool stuff coming from Wargaming.net in the upcoming year in all the three games so stay tuned for updates!

We'd like to thank Anton for taking the time to answer our questions as well as Arthur for setting up the interview

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