Air carriers, too, should play a crucial role. The navigation map will be an air carrier captain's best friend, giving them an RTS-like view of the battlefield. The ships themselves are poor at close range, as they lack main calibre guns, but they can deliver game-changing airstrikes. However, if you play it safe and stick to the edges of battle, your planes will take ages to reach their destination, lowering your effectiveness. But you also don't want to leave yourself as a sitting duck in the heat of the action, as you'll be a prime target.
Click to enlarge
We only saw one game mode, effectively a 15 minute all out war. However, it's possible there will be others, and Wargaming is also looking at adding things like side missions or daily tasks, as well as AI opponents for PvE missions that replicate historical battles. It's also experimenting with asymmetrical teams (different amounts of vessel types per team).
Whatever shape the final game modes take, the key to success will be strategy, both individually and more importantly as a team. The best teams will be those that can maximally exploit the combined advantages of their vessel classes – solo minded players are likely to sink quicker than a body-shaped bag in The Sopranos.
Click to enlarge - Ships are crafted in painstaking detail
A huge part of Wargaming's ethos is historical accuracy, especially when it comes to vehicle models – it's something the company is very proud of. There are currently two full fleets, Japanese and American, with British, French and Soviet still to come, as well as historically important individual ships from smaller naval nations like Turkey, Italy and Spain. Regardless of the ship in question, Wargaming goes to great length to ensure its models are as accurate as possible, and the ways various nations upgraded certain parts of their fleets even helped the developer determine and balance the various in-game upgrade paths.
With our interest piqued, we inquired about the process of ship selection and getting ships into the game. The first priority is keeping the game's balance, so from each of the various nations the developers select ships that are the best fit from a gameplay perspective. After this, Wargaming as much design information as possible, using authentic blueprints for modelling and photographs for art and textures. Even the ship interiors are true to life, again using blueprint, as this allows them to more accurately model damage and its effects, and even the spread of fires – neglect to extinguish them and they could easily spiral out of control.
Click to enlarge
In some cases, the team even uses blueprints and plans for ships that never actually saw the light of day. As the most modern ships in the game stem from the mid 1950s, such documents are now nearly always public domain, albeit with a few exceptions.
With the initial 3D models built, historical consultants are brought in to examine the work and give further advice. After that comes the all important play testing to prevent any one ship from being too powerful. For example, the calibre of guns will always be kept as it really was, but the rotation speed of a turret might need tweaking up or down.
Click to enlarge - You can zoom in from many miles away
Lastly, we also wanted to know if weather systems would be used to alter the field of battle. Currently, there are certain weather conditions that will affect visibility, which of course has a very important role on so open a battlefield – hiding and increasing your own line of sight are both good ideas, as seeing and shooting your opponent first can be a big advantage. This is especially true because unlike World of Tanks, your team mates cannot reveal exact locations of enemy ships to your own radar. Instead, you'll know that something is in a general area, but it's up to you to pinpoint it, either with your own eyes or with a scout plane, which is available to the larger classes of ship.
Our time with World of Warships was admittedly short, but the game certainly has the makings of something impressive, and given that it's free to play we'd say there's little reason not to at least give it a go once it's released.