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|24 JUN 2012 at 11:52pm|
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Posted In: Articles : Interview
Interviewee: Alexandr Zezulin, Project Manager of World of Warplanes
The Wargamer (WG): What makes the warfare in World of Warplanes different from its predecessor, World of Tanks?
Alexandr Zezulin (AZ): There’s hardly a trait they share! World of Tanks’ gameplay is moderately-paced, with enough time to plan step-by-step tactics. The terrain offers plentiful options for hiding and setting up ambushes. Of course, to succeed you’ll need to learn the basics about ammo types and their usage, armor, and specific tank models. But jumping into a game is fairly simple.
Air combat is, in its turn, an exhilarating experience—competitive, unpredictable, and challenging. We tried to reproduce it with maximum fidelity. It’s in a three-dimensional space. Moving around in 3D is by far more challenging than rolling your tank along the solid surface. You have to develop a 3D picture of the battle arena with at least 6 angles to move and 6 angles to watch. The situation changes rapidly and the time pressure is great. It is difficult to monitor plane parameters, anticipate situation developments, and comprehensively assess all the available tactical options at the same time. Terrain poses a threat rather than shelter, as it did in WoT. The sun is blinding, clouds can hide the enemy, and flying into a skyscraper may cost you a plane. Besides, aircraft have a lot more weak spots than do tanks; they are practically made of them!
In short, basic principles of “Look-Decide-Act” apply to both aerial and ground combat; while peculiarities of a 3D battle space, air warfare design, and combat dynamics give air tussles a unique feel and make them far more challenging than ground combat.
WG: WoT offered several different game modes. What game modes will be offered in World of Warplanes?
AZ: We are constantly prototyping and considering various options in regard to mission types. Some fit neatly into the gameplay, receive the green light, and get implemented; others prove unsuitable and are turned off for good. We are planning to include several game modes into the release version. We might be able to introduce more, but I can’t promise that.
The major mode, “Superiority”, is already featured in the game. It offers players two objectives: to knock all enemy planes out of the sky and/or eliminate hostile units along the ground. Each ground object has a certain amount of HP that corresponds to its protection level. Unarmored or very lightly armored targets can be destroyed with guns alone. Medium targets (light anti-aircraft guns, small ships, small buildings, etc…) are a tad more difficult to destroy as they have certain self-defense abilities. And finally, to wipe off heavily-protected tough-skinned targets (battleships, etc…) you will need bombs and cannons. The larger your team’s advantage, the more ‘superiority’ points you get. Victory is granted when you either secure a certain advantage over the enemy—100 % superiority—or destroy all enemy planes.
The second mission type is called “Escort”. The name speaks for itself: here you’ll have to either protect a convoy of an allied group of heavy bombers to some critical point on the map, or intercept and destroy a hostile one.
WG: What nations will be represented in the game? What helped you decide on choosing these nations?
AZ: World of Warplanes continues the theme of World of Tanks, which pretty much predetermined the list of national trees. Focusing on the mid-20th century and its major conflicts—WWII and the Korean War—we chose to launch with three superpowers: the USA, Germany and the USSR. Initially, we planned to feature the British aircraft upon release too, but it proved impossible to craft a descent number of accurately implemented plane models for four nations in the given time. And when it comes to choosing between fidelity and quantity, we don’t think much. That’s why the game will be released with three national tech trees.
Each tree will come with two branches: fighters and a class of warplanes unique for every nation (for example: “gunships”, “heavy fighters”, “naval aircraft”, etc…). As for the British planes, they’ll be the first to get into the game after the release. As soon as we introduce them, we’ll start working on the Japanese aircraft. Plus, we’ll continue to extend initial trees regularly, introducing new planes.
WG: Players were spawned at their bases in World of Tanks. Will players be spawning in mid-air or on runways in its successor?
AZ: We do not consider the process of taking off a crucial gameplay element. Actually, we believe that taxiing and take-off procedures are more of a time waster and cause the game to lose its dynamics; so we won’t introduce them. The battle will start with players already in the air—spawned above their bases and pointed towards the enemy.
WG: In World of Tanks players could play different roles with different types of vehicles (tanks, tank destroyers, and artillery). How will such diversity be portrayed in World of Warplanes?
AZ: Similar to machine classes in World of Tanks, aircraft types will differ in their primary objectives. We’ll provide an original gameplay relevant for fighters, heavy fighters, and ground-attack planes. Ground-attack aircraft will be used to destroy enemy ground targets, fast and highly maneuverable fighters will engage in close dogfights with hostile units, and heavy fighters will serve as “universal soldiers”—intercepting enemy ground-attack planes and eliminating mildly defended ground objects.
Each plane model featured in World of Warplanes is implemented in line with schemata of its real life analogue, and is historically appropriate in terms of handling qualities and combat behavior. This means each plane will vary in performance and manoeuvrability. Its performance variations will also change in accordance with the weapons loaded, modules installed, damage sustained, etc… Therefore, every plane will have to be flown differently to maximize its full potential. At the same time, you will be trying to negate or minimize the advantages of your opponent’s aircraft over your own. Not only will you have to be aware of the capabilities of your own aircraft but, at the same time, those of your opponent’s. So you’ll have to constantly reassess how you fly and fight.
WG: Instead of shooting down enemy warplanes, what other ways can players earn game credits and research points?
AZ: Like in World of Tanks, each battle will garner you some experience points that you can then allot towards research and development. Their amount will depend on the number of vehicles spotted and planes/ground targets destroyed or damaged during the battle. Also, with elite planes, you will get a chance to convert regular experience into “Free” experience and use it to get a higher-tiered-vehicle quicker.
WG: In World of Tanks there was a video tutorial available on your website. Will you expand on this feature with its successor, possibly to include flying tactics (dogfighting maneuvers, flying formations, etc...)?
AZ: Aerial combat is a complex and multi-faceted subject, and we find it necessary to equip players with manuals, references and explanations. That’s why the game will feature an interactive tutorial at launch. Most likely, it will be introduced during the beta phase so that we could get a solid feedback on it from our testers, polishing it before the release.
Besides a step-by-step tutorial, we are working on an online PvE training course that would assist newcomers in learning piloting basics, fundamentals of air combat maneuvering, and core tactics. Eventually, the official World of Warplanes website will get an entire section with useful reference materials showing how real-world air combat strategies and tactics can be used in the virtual world. Also, we’ll implement World of Warplanes Wiki (similar to that of World of Tanks) that will provide a detailed review of aircraft, upgradable modules, munitions, etc…
WG: Its predecessor allowed artillery to support other vehicles. Will certain aircraft be able to support or escort others?
AZ: Yes, the game will offer such an opportunity within the “Escort” mission type. As I’ve mentioned before, your task will be either to intercept hostile bombers and their escorts and destroy them, or protect a group of allied VIP units and provide them support on the way to their destination.
AZ: Yes, we’ve already announced that the release American tech tree will field an entire branch of carrier-based aircraft (http://na.worldofwarplanes.com/media/show/87/). Combining high armor protection with maneuverability and descent fire power, these planes will present the middle ground between agile and brittle fighters and sluggish yet heavily-armed heavy fighters.
WG: Since air warfare is fast paced and requires teamwork, necessitating the need for formations, how will this game increase communication and coordination between players to play in such an atmosphere?
AZ: Yes, there is nothing more satisfying and immersive than co-coordinating an attack with your teammates! We are now looking at various multiplayer shooters, analyzing different means of in-game communication such as: voice ‘chatter’ via microphone and headset, typing messages, using hotkeys, discussing routes, personal and group objectives before the actual battle, etc… Most likely, we’ll also implement special bonuses and rewards for efficient team work.
WG: World of Tanks had the “auto-targeting” feature to allow the AI to take control of the gun while you maneuvered the tank. How will this feature workout in an aerial combat game?
AZ: We’ll implement several seamless assists for aiming. Right now, for instance, a special built-in assist shows players the lead-pursuit course so that they see precisely where to fire to hit the moving plane. It doesn’t mean, though, that we’ll dumb down the targeting procedure. In air combat the gun often fires following the plane’s on-course line, so accurate targeting will also have to do with your maneuvering expertise. To aim precisely you’ll have to learn how to lift and lower the forebody of an aircraft, and find the correct deflection angle.
As for the “auto-targeting”, it will only work for heavy fighters and ground-attack planes with tail gunners. They’ll be AI controlled, while players will be able to train them and change their weaponry.
WG: And most importantly, when can we expect the release of World of Warplanes?
AZ: The Closed Beta took off on May 31st. Its course and results will determine when we start the Open Beta. Preliminarily, the release is scheduled for the end of 2012.
Interviewer: Curtis Szmania, Editor-in-Chief
Direct email: email@example.com
|25 JUN 2012 at 12:39pm|
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We do not consider the process of taking off a crucial gameplay element. Actually, we believe that taxiing and take-off procedures are more of a time waster and cause the game to lose its dynamics; so we won’t introduce them. The battle will start with players already in the air—spawned above their bases and pointed towards the enemy.
That's not going to go over so well with the Aces High! and Warbirds crowd.
|25 JUN 2012 at 2:36pm|
Posts : 49
Joined: 5 JUN 2012
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Originally Posted By John DiFool (25 JUN 2012 12:39pm)
I think they'll be fine over at AH and WB, games like World of Warplanes will draw away the impatient people that can sometimes annoy those simulation flyers over there.
Is Warbirds still going strong?
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