The folks over at Wargaming.net have been very busy the last few years as they've been cranking out some seriously fun free to play MMO games. First we had World of Tanks which was then followed by World of Warplanes and now we have World of Battleships. To get some insight into the game we reached out to our good friends in the company to see if they could answer some questions about their latest franchise. Here are the results.
Could you introduce yourself and talk about your role on the project?
I’m Alexey Levakov; I’m a Producer of World of Battleships at Wargaming.net.
Tanks and planes are very mobile vehicles, battleships not so much. How have you changed the mechanics of the game to support these behemoths?
Yes, the game mechanics underwent significant adjustments. World of Battleships mechanics will be new in a big way and will include, among other features, subtle game physics specially tailored for moving and shooting. We’re combining intuitive and easy-to-grasp controls, with an elaborate damage system to create a genuinely exciting gameplay.
We will strike a balance similar to that in World of Tanks and World of Warplanes, combining accessible controls with historically accurate battle machines.
What kind of ships can we expect to see in the game? How did you come up with the three classes of ships? Was there ever any thought of going with more or less? Is there a bit of a rock, paper, scissors thing going on with the classes?
When we started working on the game, we thought about implementing U-boats and PT-boats. Later on, we ruled them out, because they were considerably less fun than destroyers or aircraft carriers, as far as gameplay is concerned.
Eventually, we ended up with four primary classes:
- light and heavy cruisers
- battleships (including dreadnoughts and battle cruisers)
- aircraft carriers.
Each class will have its own gameplay features: destroyers loaded with torpedoes will threaten battleships, light cruisers and heavy cruisers will hunt down destroyers, battleships and battle cruisers will go after cruisers, destroyers and battle cruisers. Aircraft carriers will be both deadly and vulnerable to them all. Every warship will come with a detailed armor scheme.
Will one player control one ship or will multiple people man a ship? For destroyers with multiple guns will you control the guns independently or are they tied together?
Think of an average battleship with a 1,500-men crew, and imagine what it would look like with more than a thousand players running it in the game! I’m exaggerating now, of course, but we won’t give multiple people control of any one battleship. We’ll stick to the “one player – one vehicle” concept for battleships, battle cruisers, and aircraft carriers.
As for other classes, a player will run two cruisers at a time and will get to control four destroyers at a time. In this case, players will only get direct control over one ship, while the rest will be AI-controlled. For the multiple guns, you’ll be in charge of the main guns only, while AA guns and secondary guns will be AI-controlled, as well.
How will matches be constructed? About how long will each match take? Will they be modeled after historical situations? How many ships can participate in any one battle?
We’ve chosen 15-minute fights, where each team will include a mixed roster of different ships controlled by 15 people. I didn’t say “15 ships in each team”, because, as I mentioned before, one player will be able to control several ships at a time. This means that if all 30 players step into one battle with destroyers, we’ll observe a simultaneous fight of 120 machines. But this will be a very rare case.
Speaking of the historical battles, we are planning to add them some time after the release, as we’d like to polish the primary in-game content first.
What kinds of clan support will the game support? How do you foresee people cooperating in the game?
I’ll start with the last one, if you don’t mind. In World of Battleships, we have four classes of ships. They are absolutely different in terms of gameplay: each class has a rather clearly defined role in a battle. Secondly, the total number of ships in a battle exceeds the total number of tanks in a WoT battle and planes in WoWP. Your victory will depend both on personal skills and your ability to act together with your teammates. That’s why the sooner players study the behavior of ships, the better they will understand how to reach overall victory.
Regards the global battle for territories, Clans from the three titles will be able to cooperate and help each other. In-game diplomacy will move on to an entirely new footing and become by far more intricate, and thus the most exciting.
For those who go the aircraft route, how much control do you have over your planes?
We won’t let players directly control their aircraft, but they will control their air wings. The scheme will be somewhat similar to RTS.
Will you be able to change the livery/colors of your ships? How much customization does each ship have? What kind of upgrades are available for the ships? Safe to assume that we’ll be using the same currency as the other games?
Yes, like in WoWp and WoT, we are planning to implement different camouflages and color schemes for the ships. As for the upgradable modules, players will be able to change guns, radars, directors, engines, etc. Here’s where we’ll be ultra historically accurate, of course.
As for the last bit, the three projects will be seamlessly connected through Gold, mechanics and Free Experience. You will be able to spend some time playing World of Tanks, then transfer and use what you’ve earned to level up in World of Warplanes or in World of Battleships, and vice versa.
Speaking of upgrades, being a free to play game what kinds of things will people be paying for and how do you keep everything balanced?
Like in WoT and WoWP, you will be able to spend Gold for Premium Accounts, premium vehicles, additional slots and some consumables. Micro transactions will help you save time leveling and unlocking rare vehicles, but won’t grant you top-of-the-line skills and perfect tactical thinking. In other words, the main principle stays the same, like in WoT and WoWP: there won’t be a single advantage in the game that one cannot attain absolutely for free.
What lessons did you learn from the previous two games are you’re applying to World of Battleships?
We've learned a lot of useful lessons working on WoT and WoWP, and it's really difficult to single out the most important one. One of the biggest challenges was to catch up with the fast-growing population of World of Tanks. We had to drastically increase our server capacity after launching the open beta in Europe and North America, as we never expected so many people to join the game.
This time we'll definitely try our best to avoid this mistake. Plus, the vast experience we’ve gained will significantly help us with the matchmaking system, in-game economy, modernization and monetization of World of Battleships.
What kind of damage model do the ships have? Is damage positional or does the entire boat take damage at one time?
While working out a sophisticated damage model, we decided to stick to an easy-to-operate hit points system. E.g., you can penetrate the main belt and not penetrate the armored deck slope at the same time. To make the task a bit trickier, ships will feature an intricate authentic hit location (you can either damage or destroy guns, engines, rudders, barbets, etc). Basically, ships won’t just be boxes you can hit; they all will be divided into multiple damage zones.
Do you have a release date for the game yet? When can we expect to see a beta signup?
World of Battleships will start recruiting testers as soon as we make sure we have something worthy to showcase. Most likely, you’ll get a chance to sign up for the CBT in 2012. As for the release date, I can’t say anything for sure yet.
Is World of Battleships the last game in a trilogy or do you have other games planned? Seems like submarines might be another place to go...
I’d rather keep my lips sealed on this one. I can only hint that we are considering a plenty of places to go.
Is there anything we missed that you think is important?
Stay tuned and we’ll gladly inform you on the development process!
We'd like to thank Alexey for taking the time to talk to us as well as Arthur for coordinating the interview.