Free to Play Airborne Combat in World of Warplanes
Free to play has always been associated with play to win –which is an understandable concept, but is thankfully, not much of an issue in World of Warplanes. Much like Wargaming’s World of Tanks, Warplanes takes its thematic cue from the recent theaters of war –spanning both World Wars and up to the Korean War. The end result is a massive lineup of planes that players can sortie into different skies as they seek out enemy targets and make fire fall from the sky. Of course, before you get into all that, there is plenty of practice to be had first.
World of Warplanes is a nicely balanced game (so far, no massive patches or game breaking tweaks have been implemented), that lets players choose from a wide selection of historical fighter aircraft and face off against each other in two teams. The game is highly competitive, dynamic, and more importantly, requires players to hone their individual flying skills while encouraging them to value the concept of teamwork and cooperation. Each team must take down the enemy base while defending their own –and knowing what one can contribute in a battle is often the key to ensuring victory.
Since the game follows a free to play system, it is a natural worry for players that some newbie with a massive credit card budget would suddenly start rampaging in a godlike-plane. Fortunately, this is not the case. Even the best aircraft in the game have been balanced to be on the same tier (with regards to performance, armor, and firepower) as their contemporaries. And any advantage to be earned from buying premium credits can matched by an opponent’s skill.
The game also auto-balances matchups; and this means that new players only get matched with players with same flying skills and equipment/airplanes that on the same level. This ensures that everyone gets a fair chance at winning while enjoying the game (and really, anyone who has played a competitive game can tell you how frustrating it is to lose simply because you were outclassed in terms of equipment). That said, players should seriously consider shelling out some cash when they finally start figuring out what kinds of planes suit their playing style best. There are a whole lot of fighters playing many different roles in the air –it would be a waste to buy credits for a plane that does not fit you at all.
While we have yet to see all the playable units, it has been reported that there will be more than 60 planes featured in the game (and from what we have seen from the initial selections, some will come with very unique ordinance). This means that repetitiveness is an issue that will rarely pop up. Sure, some planes will certainly prove to be crowd favorites, but most flight sim fans also enjoy variety, so expect to be matched with players flying all sorts of aircraft in your matches. This makes the game very interesting and engaging, as you learn about different planes not just by reading about them, but by actually flying in or against them in combat. Realizing how different turn speeds and weapon payloads can be between two similar looking planes feels satisfyingly educational when you actually see it happen in real time.
The graphics for World of Warplanes are a significant improvement over the visuals in World of Tanks –we mostly believe that this is due to the fact that the backgrounds in Warplanes is not as detailed (which explains why the planes look extra good), but also, the actual fact that you are flying through the skies delivers a very different experience as compared to when you thunder across a battlefield in a tank.