by Marko Susimetsä
previewed on PC
The Call of the Skies
Mankind has dreamed of flying ever since they looked up and saw birds chasing each other in the open skies. There were no windows back then to lure the birds to break their necks, so the skies seemed like a lot safer place than the forest where the cavemen had to go to hunt. Of course, it would have also been so much easier to attack the next cave over and kidnap some new women if you could fly.
Zip past a few thousands of years and man finally learned to fly with the help of mechanical contraptions. Unfortunately, being men, they brought their nature up in the sky with them. Aerial combat was born and it has been a source of awe, destruction and - on occasion - entertainment. The skies became as dangerous as the forests had been to mankind's forefathers but luckily, only a hundred or so years later, computer gaming was invented so men can pretend to fly while in the safety of their modern caves. Even better, internet allowed them to pretend to kill each other without actually risking their own skins.
World of Warplanes is the latest upcoming attraction to all would-be fighter pilots. Featuring the golden age of military aviation: the time when you could still engage in a dogfight and not just launch a missile from 100+ klicks to take down an enemy plane. Rather than a simulator, the game intends to be an MMO flight combat action game, which will keep your adrenaline pumping while still challenging your flying skills and comes from the same people responsible for World of Tanks.
Nations at War
World of Warplanes includes fighter craft from the biplanes of the 1930s to the precursors of modern fighters in the Korean War. The ongoing beta includes aircraft from Germany, Soviet and US, but British and Japanese aircraft are going to be added in as well after initial release – and for good reason since many of us fly-boys are looking forward to flying this game's version of Supermarine Spitfire (although it was also in service in the US). Given the time span of the game, it will include several versions of each plane type – which is a good thing since, for example, the Spitfire (and the Seafire variant) truly reached its peak at the very end of World War II.
Each nation will have two lines of warplanes that fall into three main classes: fighters, heavy fighters and ground-attack planes. The light fighters include planes designed mainly for aerial combat, while ground-attack planes will focus on attacking land targets but can still engage in air battles as well. Heavy fighters are in the middle of these categories and can take on lightly armoured land targets as well as intercepting ground-attack planes.
Each nation's aircraft will be divided into tech trees or “tiers” which means that players begin playing with the cheapest aircraft and will have to climb up the tiers to gain access to their desired models. This takes place through experience points, allowing you to progress along the tech tree and install upgrades onto your plane. If you want to go back on your decision and switch to another upgrade path, you will have to go back enough levels to reach the branching intersection to start along a new path.
The ammunition will follow historical guidelines, including cumulative, high-explosive, piercing etc. and players can pick any order of bullets in their machine guns. In addition to machine guns, the players will also be able to use unguided missiles and various types of bombs.