World of Warplanes preview

world of warplanes previewIt’s about time someone made a game set during World War II. There can’t be more than, what, three or four games set during that time period? Five tops.

That number is actually closer to 500, and the WWII scene is as close to exhaustion as any setting in a game could possibly be. But the majority of those games are shooters, naturally, leaving a little bit of wiggle room to still utilize the increasingly romanticized war without further saturating the market. One such field is that of aerial combat.

Of course, there are plenty of WWII themed flight simulators out there, but there is still room for more because of the inherent limitations of the time period which offer a lot of variety, but also create a natural cap on the technology. Flight combat sims are still somewhat of a niche genre, but when you jump to modern jets, you have to abandon any semblance of realism when you fight other humans if you want to have fun. Simulating a combat scenario at Mach 2, when you have sophisticated missiles, is just not fun unless you slow the planes down, or make them much, much tougher to defend from missile strikes—which in turn limits the use of guns. Flight combat sims are a balancing act.

Setting combat-based flight sims in WWII means that you get the best of both worlds—you can have fast moving vehicles that are at least somewhat realistic in their performance, and yet you can get more intimate in combat dogfights as well. There is room for another aerial fighter on the market. Throw in the fact that it is a free-to-play game, and that it was created by World of Tanks developer Wargaming.net, and this title stands out.

World of Warplanes is an online MMO, featuring matches that pit forces against one another. Two teams face off against each other in 15 minute rounds, and the game ends when one side is destroyed or that team’s base is annihilated.

the history of aviation unfolds one victory at a time in world warplanes wowarplanesReplace the planes with FPS players and you know the drill. In the lobby you are allowed to choose the plane you have already unlocked that best fits your style—in theory. The game is still in beta, and the matchmaking will likely receive a healthy upgrade once the results of the beta are in and more players are available. As it stands now, there are some serious balance issues. 

In theory the games will try to match up the class of planes together. Assuming the games are balanced, flying in an old school (well, older school) bi-plane as opposed to the last WWII prototypes made gives the game a lot of variety. Those that have played racing games routinely can attest that although driving a supercar is always fun, if all the competitors are in Ford Fiestas or similar E Class cars, the race can be just as entertaining.

As it stands now, those with the better airplanes are going to have a vast advantage, so much so that it would be unbalanced to an unplayable degree. Taking a propeller bi-plane up against a prototype jet is madness (but infinite bragging rights if you win). But until the game is released, the matchmaking will receive the benefit of the doubt.

The reason for the potential imbalance is the vast selection of planes available, which you purchase with credits you earn through gameplay. There are four classes of planes: Fighters, Heavy Fighters, Ground-Attack Planes, and Carrier-Based aircrafts. Each plane has its own pros and cons based on each person’s individual play, but with enemies gunning for you, most will likely choose the planes with the best overall balance.

Each category is further broken up by the nation you choose: America, Germany, or the USSR. Each plane can further be augmented through upgrades, which are necessary to get the most out of your ride. Thankfully, the side you are placed on in the match does not limit the fighter choice, so you can pair any combination of fighters from that period regardless of their historic allegiances.

world of warplanes previewThe controls work well depending on what set up you use. Combining a mouse with the keyboard is awkward, but a controller or a flight stick is ideal for most. Finding the right controller scheme for you will make all the difference. There is still a bit of a rough feel to the gameplay, but a bit of fine-tuning could remedy that. The game is still in beta, so how it fares will come principally to the matchmaking and minor tweaks to the controls.

For a free-to-play game, there is a lot to be excited about by World of Warplanes. It doesn’t have the depth that similar games like IL-2 Sturmovik and Birds of Steel games, but it will reach that same niche group that are passionate about the WWII flight sims.

The flipside of that is the issue of accessibility. Generally this style of game appeals to the followers of the genre, and traditionally has had difficulties winning over new fans that may be used to the thrill of MMO combat, but may not be prepared for the level of patience a true dogfight requires. World of Warplanes won’t change that, but with the game being free-to-play, there should be more opportunities for the uninitiated to give it a try and see what they think.

Computing

You could be gaming on AMD’s Navi graphics card before the end of the summer

If you're waiting for a new graphics card from AMD that doesn't cost $700, you may have to wait for Navi. But that card may not be far away, with new rumors suggesting we could see a July launch.
Music

Jam out in hi-fi style with the 25 best playlists on Spotify

Music is the world's most potent drug, and the best playlists on Spotify will make you catch feelings. We've scoured the service for its top collections, and brought them together in one place -- for you.
Gaming

Sharing your best gameplay moments is quick and easy on the Xbox One

The current generation of consoles make it easier than ever to share your gaming highlights with the world. Here's a quick guide on how you can record a gameplay video on Xbox One.
Gaming

Find all of the secret exits and world skips in 'New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe'

New Super Mario Bros. U Deluxe has two distinct Mario experiences in one package. In this guide, we'll show you how to find all of the secret exits in New Super Mario Bros. U, that lead to hidden levels and let you skip worlds.
Gaming

Here's what you need to know about 'World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth'

World of Warcraft: Battle for Azeroth is the latest expansion for the now 14-year-old MMORPG. It goes back to the roots of the Alliance vs. Horde conflict. Here's what you need to know.
Gaming

Blizzard’s latest hiring spree is likely for the unannounced ‘Diablo 4’

Activision Blizzard is hiring for more than a dozen positions on unannounced Diablo projects. Some of the roles are likely for the unannounced Diablo 4, the next mainline entry in the series.
Gaming

Fortnite V-Bucks being used by criminals for money laundering on dark web

Criminals are using Fortnite's V-Bucks for money laundering schemes on the dark web. Epic Games, apparently, is not doing enough to prevent the game from being used for the illegal activity.
Gaming

Everything we know about 'Red Dead Online', including the new mode Gun Rush

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.
Gaming

Xbox One X vs. PS4 Pro: Which console is more powerful?

Far from cooling down, the console wars are only getting more intense. We compare Microsoft's Xbox One X to Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro to help you decide which premium console is right for you.
Gaming

Relive the 8-bit gaming era with the best NES emulators for Android and PC

For years prior to the release of the NES Classic, emulators have offered a means to every NES game ever created without needing the console. Here are the best NES emulators for Android and PC.
Gaming

Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector’s Edition comes with a life-size Scorpion mask

The Mortal Kombat 11 Kollector's Edition will come with a human-sized replica of the mask of Scorpion, one of the most iconic fighters of the series. NetherRealm Studios has also announced the game's preorder bonuses.
Gaming

Xbox app lets you access your console while away from home. Here's how

Microsoft's Xbox allows you to access your profile information and launch media content directly from your mobile device. Check out our quick guide on how to connect your smartphone to an Xbox One.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: camera with A.I. director, robot arm assistant

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

These are the best indie games you can get on PC right now

Though many indie games now come to consoles as well, there's still a much larger selection on PC. With that in mind, we've created a list of the best indie games for PC, with an emphasis on games that are only available on PC.