This was originally written for opnoobs. This review was rejected.
Wargaming.net’s latest title brings the last major mechanical warfare type from World War Two to the PC. Following the same basic formula of World of Tanks and World of Warplanes, World of Warships is free to play.
The free to play model used is not invasive. There are obvious advantages for paying for a premium account. For about $100 for a year’s subscription you get a 50% credit and experience boost for each battle. You can also pay for exclusive ships. Right now the German battleship Tirpitz is on special. Other items you can buy include port slots so you can keep more ships, credits to buy ships and upgrades in game, and of course the secondary monetary system, doubloons. Doubloons can be used in game to buy premium account time, transfer ship experience, and port slots.
World of Warships is like playing four games in one. Each type of ship plays differently. When you start playing, you are given a Tier 1 Cruiser. Cruisers are the all-around ship. Some have torpedos, some have anti-aircraft (AA) weapons, and all of them have big guns. They are the workhorse of the fleet. The next class of ship you can earn is the Destroyer, which are the quick strike craft. They specialize in torpedo strikes and concealment and are the craft that FPS players can adapt to the easiest.
If you continue down the cruiser tiers, you can unlock the mighty battleship. Battleships have devastating volleys from longer distances than cruisers or destroyers. But they are big, slow, and have a high reload time. Their guns also take a while to rotate to the intended target. This is the ship you want your battle planner to be in. Battleship commanders have the extra time to survey the battlefield and determine the best strategy for a team to take.
Down the battleship tiers, you can unlock the Carriers. These ships are even slower and bigger than the battleships. In most matches that included aircraft carriers, it was unlikely you would see them move more than a few squares on the map. Their contribution to the team is in the form of aircraft; they have fighters and torpedo bombers are their disposal. Torpedo bombers are brutal when you don’t have good AA guns.
The four types of ships combine to create a versatile fleet. A good team with quality communication can wipe through the random battles easily. Luckily, that happens very rarely. There is no included voice chat, so if you want to communicate you need to use the chat. You can also double click the map to bring attention to specific areas to communicate with your team.
Your teammates are very important: you never know where the enemy is located until someone has line of sight on their ships or aircraft. It was not uncommon for me to be bombing over a low point of an island and have my target disappear when a teammate could no longer see them. This also ends up being the easiest way to avoid destroyers sneaking up on you. A good carrier captain will know to keep some aircraft circling over a destroyer. This makes a destroyer’s pesky torpedoes easy to see and hard for the ship to hide from your guns.
As you level up in the game, you are introduced to new features which includes commanders, upgrades, and ranked matches. To participate in ranked battles you must reach level 9.
So far I have only reached level 5 so I can’t tell you what they are like, but Season 1 just started. I do know they are 7v7 and only include tier 6 and 7 ships. I am still on tier 3 so without paying, I will need to invest a lot of time into the game to reach ranked play. As far as I can tell, there is no way to play with a set team. There is the equivalent of guilds but I am not involved with one.
So far I have only played American ships. I served in the Navy and have a loyalty to history that is represented in the game. But, ships from Japan, Russia, and Germany are currently available. Japan and America have a full list of tiered ship, while the others are available through real money purchases. British designs will be available in the near future.
While this game has been available to play for a long time in beta. It only recently was “released”. But they are still not up to version 1.0. Right now the current operating version is 0.5.0.0. I believe there are plans to have full tier lists for the other countries established before version 1.0 is released.
What I have found in World of Warships is a great 15 minute experience that I can pick up and put down quickly. It fits my lifestyle right now of not having many dedicated gaming sessions. It’s fun, beautiful, and exciting. I hope the addition of game modes continues. Nothing would make me happier than to be able to play this with some of my old Navy buddies. I give the title an 87. There is room for improvement in some areas but World of Warships is the game I hoped it would be when it was announced 4 years ago.
As a side note: You Can Drive The Battleship!