World Of Warplanes Finally Reaches The Open Skies

By Alec Meer on November 13th, 2013 at 6:00 pm.

World of Warplanes has been released. Released, this World of Warplanes has. Planes, this World of War has, which have now been released.

But seriously, World of Warplanes has been released.

This is of course the follow-up to World of Tanks, but instead of tanks it has… no, I’ve forgotten, sorry. You’ll probably work it out.

The game’s had a lengthy beta process, which several million people were apparently involved in. Can you count to a million? I can’t.

If you’re a Tanks player you’ll find a certain amount of commonality between that and this, and there’s some Premium Account business that enables the sharing of microtransacted gubbins in both games.

Dev-publisher Wargaming.net seem to have All The Money these days, as we saw when they acquired Gas Powered Games last year. I notice that they’ve also now recruited one of the main chaps behind the lovely Card Hunter, Joe McDonagh (who also worked on assorted BioShocks and at PopCap and LucasArts back in the day) for a new Seattle-based studio which will focus on mobile games. Mobile games involving tanks? I WOULDN’T BE SURPRISED.

You should go here to give WoW (oh dear) a spin, although the website is currently down for maintenance. Here’s a video series to watch while you wait.





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32 Comments »

  1. kevmscotland says:

    Anyone played this AND Warthunder able to tell me the differences and which is better?

    • mtomto says:

      I played them both, and this game is better in my opinion. In Warthunder there seems to be an excessive amount of russian planes, and they seem to be a bit overpowered. WoWP seems to be fairly balanced, and I trust the company (wargaming.net) after having played World of Tanks.

      On a funny note: First time I played Warthunder the installation started in Russian – I shut it down as if my computer was on fire :) Educated myself with some light reading :P Anyway… it’s very russian (so if that’s your thing, then maybe its good).

      • GernauMorat says:

        Personally I found WoW clunky compared to War Thunder. However, the grind really sets in about halfway up the progression in WT.

        • mtomto says:

          It’s only a grind if you get the idea that you have to have a tier 10 in order to have fun.

        • JonathanStrange says:

          It’s only a grind if you just want to power to the top tier airplanes. Personally I purposely play low tier airplanes with some sides just because it’s fun. The starting biplanes for example have a certain charm to them and their aerial acrobatics can’t really be matched by any later planes, lending to a unique experience. And playing the tier 5ish planes can be fun as well since few planes have cannons so fights tend to last longer and be a bit slower than the frenzied ‘die in seconds’ pace that you’ll later get when everyone and their mother is packing guns big enough to shred your plane in a heartbeat.

      • johnkillzyou says:

        I feel the Russian planes are historically accurate in their level of strength, atleast in Historical Battles mode.
        The Mig-15 is the best jet fighter out there, mostly due to the Rolls Royce engine in it. Their planes are effective at energy fighting, but not at turn fighting. The LaGG is a very underpowered plane for it’s tier, yet it is still effective in combat.
        Now, if we’re gonna talk OP, the Japanese planes can really outturn anybody and anything. I find that more valuable than nose-mounted guns.

      • SamC says:

        The “Russian planes are OP” is really only true for the first few levels – the I-15s and I-16s outgun and outturn most other planes in their tiers. That doesn’t mean they’re invincible, you can still shoot them down through better piloting. And it also seems at least partially historical. Hilariously, in Russia, apparently “US and Germany are OP” is the cry. Brit planes are pretty crazy around Tier 3-8 – great turn fighters and lots of cannons. The Hurricanes, Spits, and Beaufighters can mess you up. US is the least fun nation for me, lots of boom and zoom planes, so lots of climbing and waiting for the right moment to strike, and if you’re caught at lower speeds by a more maneuverable plane, you’re basically dead in arcade. I haven’t played World of Warplanes yet, but I will say that War Thunder has some of the best mouse and keyboard controls for a flight game I’ve ever used. Arcade feels like a good balance of fun and realism – you start in the air, can jump into another plane if you die, and planes still handle realistically, if very forgiving with things like stalls and too much speed in dives. And even if you’re in a lower tier plane, that doesn’t mean you can’t kill higher tiers. A 20mm cannon round is a 20mm cannon round, no matter what the tier of the plane.

      • Dana says:

        >and I trust the company (wargaming.net) after having played World of Tanks.
        Then you must have started fairly recently, since the Soviet bias in World of Tanks is legendary by now.

        • Smoof says:

          Clearly, you either A) Do not play WoT or B) Below tier 5

          • ducant says:

            Hate to say it but wargaming treats there U.S. customers like trash i played alot of WoT and wowP and i got tired of ads changing, lack of communication, and the scoutting MM is a joke, still tho i want a TOG II

            Warthunder to me gives the better piloting experience. dont know much about the company yet but im liking what ive played of warthunder and look forward to getting to the jets eventually like people say tho it gets to be a grind later on.

            a side note wowP you have to use prem currency for slots for your planes
            WT uses reg currency
            i love havin 30-40 planes and not spending a cent on slots to store my planes, i mean come on its almost 3 bucks a slot.

        • Stromko says:

          When I played World of Tanks I went straight to the T-34. Upon finding that that legendary tank was, frankly, statistically inferior, I then upgraded to the T-34/85. Still unsatisfactory. It’s been a few years since I played so things may be different now, but apparently the T-34′s role (in the game) wasn’t front-line engagement but instead a flanking anti-artillery / anti-tank killer. In that role it still wasn’t as good as light tanks, but it was the most successful strategy if you were stuck in a T-34.

          Strangely enough they seemed to make the Sherman more of a proper medium battle tank, better able to bounce shells and kill enemies head-on than the T-34. That never seemed right. If WoT really has a Russian bias, I’m going to guess that medium tanks just get the shaft in general, but the Sherman was kind of a golden carrot as a reward after grinding through the terrible Matilda.

          Now as for a Soviet bias, well that Chinese T-54 or whatever it was, that was why I quit the game. Such an overpowered vehicle, able to bounce shells, run circles around anybody, and one-shot anything of its tier or lower. Once I got into the T-34 and the /85, every match I got into the Type 54 was the single most popular tank, and they never failed to dominate the match. In those cases the non-premium tanks were really just scenery and roadblocks that got in the way of Type 54′s inevitably squaring off with eachother at the end.

    • 0positivo says:

      In short: War Thunder

      In long: World of Warplanes (WOWP) has only one gamemode, whereas War Thunder (WT) has 3. Aside from the idea that more is better, this means that in effect, War Thunder is way more likely to have the gamemode you like. Both games have a very much arcade game mode (for WoWP, it’s the only one), but the one in WT is more forgiving, by allowing you to carry more than one plane into each battle.
      The engine is completely different: this is very important, because where WoWP models planes very similarly to how the engine also does tanks, which includes a health bar that has to be whittled down, and weapons do a certain amount of damage depending on the ammunition, WT has a far more complex and somewhat obscure Flight and Damage model, where basically every single shot is being simulated hitting the plane. There is no health bar in WT: you die if the pilot is killed, if the plane explodes (due to other forms of damage, which could be a fragmentation shell exploding inside, or a fire reaching a poorly engineered fuel tank like some planes inherently had), or if enough damage to the control surfaces makes you crash into something/someone.
      In addition, if you want to see how those planes actually semi-realistically handled, there is Historical Battles mode (not to mention Full Real, with no computerized assistance and no spotting but those are for real propeller-heads), where the planes actually behave like they did, and you have to take every single minuscule difference between each plane into account when planning your strategies
      I have not played enough in WoWP to know the balance, but I can tell how it is in WT. In Arcade, russians planes have the advantage, hands down. This is due to several factors, the biggest one being that russian planes are adapted to arcade by a completely different team that the one that does the other planes (this is due to military secret still being a thing on the blueprints they used to create the flight model). On Historical, however, that’s a whole different beast. Usually, German and Japanese have the better fighters because, well, historically, that’s how it actually was. But the maps allow for the matches to feel balanced anyway, and they fiddle weekly with team number distribution to ensure the better equipped team is also on a numerical disadvantage

      Also, biggest reason for me, WT has bombers. Actual bombers. B17, HE 111, Lancasters… all those beauties

      • nizzie says:

        “There is no health bar in WT: you die if the pilot is killed, if the plane explodes (due to other forms of damage, which could be a fragmentation shell exploding inside, or a fire reaching a poorly engineered fuel tank like some planes inherently had), or if enough damage to the control surfaces makes you crash into something/someone.”

        Which is kind of like how engine fires and ammo rack explosions in World of Tanks work. I don’t see the appeal of those mechanics. Sure, it’s great when you blow up someone with a lucky shot, but it’s equally as frustrating if you’re on the receiving end. It means you can sustain countless hits during an encounter, or you could go up in flames just after one single shot. I’d prefer a health bar, ideally one that regenerates after a few seconds up to a maximal of let’s say 30%. I really don’t see how the system War Thunder uses is any better than the one of WoWP.

        • 0positivo says:

          I agree, the feeling of being “oneshot” is one of the most irritating about some engagements in WT. This is especially prevalent when fighting certain planes, to the point where I just completely avoid certain tiers, so that I do not end up fighting against them (beaufighters, ugh)

          At the same time, the system of the health bar does not work in WoWP. Between tiers, there’s a gap too wide in damage of the weapons and healthbar. It often happens that you’re flying your nice tier 2 plane, and the matchmaking puts you against tier 4 heavy fighters: at that point, you know that no matter how good you are, their back gunners are always going to get you before you get them

          Is it possible there’s no middle ground?

        • JonathanStrange says:

          Neither is necessarily better or worse than the other, some people just prefer one over the other.

          Me? I like the War Thunder approach. It just makes the game a more intense experience I’ve found where every plane, and every bullet is a real threat. More harrowing and exciting. Sometimes frustrating? Of course, but exciting nonetheless. It also makes the damage modelling all the more prominent as well. A lucky shot on your aileron and suddenly flying your plane as an entirely different challenge, or someone hits your fuel tank and you’re leaking all over the place? Suddenly it’s a race to try and get back to base and see if you can pull off a landing before you run dry.

          I just find the thrill of moments like those outweigh the occasional annoyance when your pilot eats an unlucky bullet.

        • P.Funk says:

          Yea but… its more realistic to not have a health bar. This is how it works in real life. Your bullets hit the control surfaces the aircraft loses control. You hit the engine block the engine dies. You hit the pilot he’s dead. You hit some part of the wing surface that has nothing underneath it and the plane suffers a gentle bias to that side and you need to trim it out.

          Health bars are if anything incredibly UNFAIR. Why? Because some people are just better at aiming than you and guess what, if they hit where your pilot is, and do it on purpose, and you don’t die cause there’s a health bar, then thats just not fair. He was a better shot than you, but you lived. Now you can do attrition damage to him and win even though you fire with less accuracy. Maybe his initial move was superior but because he screwed up after his superior gunnery you gain a marginal advantage you can use to keep hitting him. It changes the entire way a dogfight plays out.

          This is about the complexity of the duel, not about it appearing to be fair.

          The appearance is that its unfair, but in actuality its more than fair, just not fair to those who haven’t got the chops.

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          wengart says:

          I find WarThunder’s natural damage style much more engaging than WpWT healthbar style.

          In World games you are going into a fight with 30% of your health. So you know from the outset you are pretty fucked.

          While in War Thunder I will be going into the battle with my left Aileron heavily damaged. So I won’t be able to turn left. I can go right fine, and I can use my rudder to make a kinda iffy left turn. However, I will not be as agile as my opponent. I have to take that into account and adapt my playstyle.

    • JonathanStrange says:

      In general War Thunder is more of a simulation while Warplanes is more game-like. Very much World of Tanks only in the air, so if you’ve played that you’ve a good idea what I mean by game-like.

      Personally I much prefer War Thunder. The controls just feel nice and responsive whether you’re playing in arcade mode with mouse and keyboard or historic with a flight stick, and with a truly maneuverable little plane like the spitfire you can pull tricks that make the stuff in the videos above look downright laughable. True it can be frustrating every once and awhile to have your pilot killed in the first few moments of gameplay when they catch a stray bullet with their head, but in my experience it never really feels unfair, just unlucky. War Thunder also has a really nice feeling of speed, especially if you’re flying close to the ground. Damned good looking too.

      Some people argue one side or another is overpowered in War Thunder, but in my time playing it’s funny how just which people say is overpowered seems to change from match to match. In truth every faction has at least a couple excellent planes and everyone is equally capable of blowing the other side out of the air with good flying and accuracy.

    • Zoso says:

      I did a bit of a comparison between the two earlier in the World of Warplanes beta, the general summary still holds up, though WoWP has made the controls more responsive since, and War Thunder has introduced a more extensive upgrade system.

  2. doodadnox says:

    My friends and I have not played world of tanks, but we did play this game for quite a while. What it lacks is true options of planes, the way the game handles them makes a few tiers so much more enjoyable to the point the rest get left in the corner. I’m not sure the best option, or I’d be working for them, but in my opinion it’s quite weak.

    There are 10(?) or so tiers of planes ranging from old school bi-planes to jets. The more you play, the higher the tier you move up. Games are constructed by taking the average tier in the queue and picking players queued with planes + or – 1(or 2) tiers. When you’re tier 3 and you’re up against tier 6s you are COMPLETELY outgunned and have to play passively with a bit of luck to make it through a round. On the other side, you hit a tier and realize that you tend to be on the upside of the average and have a clear advantage. Naturally you stay in this tier because it is the most fun.

    The gameplay is really quite fun, moving up isn’t overwhelmingly hard, but the tier system ultimately crippled the experience for my friends and I.

    • MellowKrogoth says:

      With the low number of players in beta, they had to tolerate worse matchmaking so you wouldn’t wait forever for a game. As the player count rises, they should be able to offer matchmaking comparable to World of Tanks.

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    Don Reba says:

    What happened to the what of what, now?

  4. CookPassBabtridge says:

    Sort of looks like noclip mode in the Source engine with a little model plane in the middle

  5. johnkillzyou says:

    World of Warplanes is awful. Anybody considering this game: Dont. Grab War Thunder instead. Its even getting ground forces included into it soon. Its actually built off of the engine for IL-2 Sturmovik Wings of Prey I believe, and has a robust flight engine rather unlike Warplanes.

  6. Palindrome says:

    I wasn’t impressed by this. It’s very similar to World of Tanks except that there is no terrain and the spotting mechanics are meaningless. In short the tactical complexity of WoT is largely absent for WoW; I also found dogfighting more irritating than exciting.

  7. Nick says:

    As a long time WoTanks player, WoWP is one of the most abysmal games I have ever had the displeasure of playing. Avoid like the plague.

    • HarrietTubgirl says:

      Also a long time World of Tanks player here and I fully agree. Play War Thunder instead!

  8. Ham Solo says:

    “World Of Warplanes Finally Reaches The Open Skies” …and is promptly shot down by War Thunder…

  9. JToTheDog says:

    So that’s why War Thunder decided to release tank info today… I am not surprised.
    War Thunder have been releasing bits of info on the tanks for some time now, hinting at release Mid/late November or at launch of PS4. Hearing this they probably scrambled to release something.
    However, what they released was a bit let down. “Compete in these challenges to have a CHANCE of CLOSED beta in December”. At the same time they warn and ban anybody who have a hint of negativity in there forum regarding this.

    I got a two day mute for saying the word fukc in chat. Not in a assaulting manner to anyone. Mean while, people are allowed to verbally assault other players with regards to their sexual orientation and whether or not they are mentally retarded.

  10. MellowKrogoth says:

    I played the beta of World of Warplanes for a while (~100 battles). It’s fun and easy to get into: you don’t manage throttle and you have basically no direct control over your aircraft. Which leaves you free to immediately concentrate on dogfighting tactics. I found the indicator which shows you whether you’re better in airspeed, manoeuverability and firepower compared to your target to be immensely helpful. It’s really a game about picking your fights. Strafing or bombing ground targets is very fun too.

    I played Warthunder arcade mode as well (~80 battles), and so far I’m not really sure which one I prefer (besides the horrendous lack of maps and gamemodes in World of Warplanes, but judging by WoT’s evolution it’ll come in time). The claims of higher realism in WT is kind of a moot point when the optimal way of controlling a plane in arcade and historical battles is the mouse. Still, actually being able to control the throttle, rudder and so on even in arcade mode connects you better with the plane.
    I hate WT’s convoluted interface in the hangar and their completely linear tech tree with automatic unlocks. I prefer Wargaming.net’s way of doing tech trees and crew skills (and special events).
    Lastly I feel that WoWP has more of a future as a competitive game, as hit points reduce dependence on lucky hits to take someone down.

    • rgb_astronaut says:

      In WT you actually have much better control your craft with joystick. It’s not a moot point, especially in historic or realistic battles. Interface WT is not a show stopper. It’s absolutely fine. I don’t quite understand for whom WoWP is? Its battles are on the extreme side of arcade. Too simplistic.