More Tech, More Craft, More Carnage
My time with the new and improved closed beta of World of Warplanes has taught me three things. First, Wargaming.net has been quite busy improving and upgrading their latest masterpiece. Second, World of Warplanes is still just as awesome as it was last time I played. And third... I'm still really, really bad at the game.
The basic mechanics haven't changed much since I last sat down with the game, so we won't spend much time on them here. Battles are still every bit as frenetic as they were in the previous build, and the controls are pretty much just as they were before. There are, however, a few new maps, although the biggest change here seems to be in regards to the different classes of aircraft - Wargaming has made things a bit more complex, and they appear to have moved past the simple trinity of Fighter, Bomber, Heavy Fighter.
There now appear to be four types of aircraft: fighters, heavy fighters, carrier-based fighters, and attack aircraft. Instead of being defined by class, however, craft in the game now appear to be defined by what they can do - each plane has a number of specific traits. One particular type of craft, for example, might be superior at high-altitude dogfights, while another might have exceedingly high-class maneuverability or thick, powerful armor.
There's also a small set of premium aircraft in World of Warplanes, only purchaseable with cash. As near as I can tell, these planes, while unique, don't have any particular advantage over the standard planes. They seem to mostly be for bragging rights, truth be told.
In addition to the overhauled class system, Wargaming has also overhauled the tech trees and hangar in World of Warplanes, adding a new set of planes for Japan. To unlock a particular craft for purchase, you'll need to gain experience. Once you have enough experience to unlock a plane, you'll then need to purchase it with credits. Each of these crafts comes with a set number of "modules" which can be outfitted with different weapons, armor, chasses, and engines.
Modules are unlocked in much the same way as aircraft: gain experience to research them, then purchase and mount them. These modules are interchangeable; a particular machine gun, for example, might end up being compatible with a wide array of different aircraft. One thing I've noticed is that the higher 'tiers' of craft have fewer options for customization, fewer modules available for purchase. This is likely a conscious choice: you'll get a more powerful plane by using a high-tier fighter, but you might not be able to select from a wide variety of customization options.
The system is a bit rudimentary at the moment, and doesn't appear to be fully implemented... but once World of Warplanes gets closer to launch, there'll likely be a wide variety of ways in which you can equip and outfit your plane to make it uniquely yours. Oh, and you can also give your plane a paint job, as well.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: World of Warplanes is shaping up to be a worthy entry into the Wargaming.net portfolio in every way. My second dip into the closed beta only confirms what I already believed.
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A gamer at heart, Nick started writing when he was a child. He holds a BA in English, works as a freelancer, and loves every minute of it. One day, he hopes to net himself a career in game design - but that's something for the future.
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