World of Warships is the next entry of World War focused games produced by Wargaming.net – the same company that brought you World of Tanks and World of Warplanes. I’ll preface this impression with a slight disclaimer: I never really played much World of Tanks (tanks don’t appeal to me) nor World of Warplanes (War Thunder is better for my playstyle), so I didn’t really know what to expect from Warships when I received a beta key awhile back.
The first thing that becomes abundantly clear is that the tech tree progression is more or less the same as those other popular World War game entries, as well as War Thunder. You earn research points as well as currency and use those things to unlock upgrades for your current ship and ultimately entirely new hulls altogether. Warships, at this time, just has tech trees for the American and Japanese navies – there is a Soviet navy ship you can purchase with real money and presumably the German navy is somewhere on the horizon, but for now you just get American and Japanese options.
These tiers extend all the way down to Tier 10, with most tiers having a couple of different ship types to choose from. Cruisers, destroyers, carriers and battleships are all represented, though the latter two are restricted to the Americans and Japanese respectively – in other words, only the American navy has carriers and only the Japanese navy has battleships. There are also different tiers of mission types to choose from. You begin with a simple coop versus bots match type that seems to stand in for a tutorial in Warships, which is to say there is no tutorial. I only know about tech tree progression thanks to my past exposure to games of this breed.
Eventually, upon my first time launching Warships, I stumbled into a match. To begin with you are given the starter cruiser from each available tech tree, and I had taken out the American version into my first naval battle. The control scheme of the game is actually really quite simple – you set your speed using W and S (these are static values of Full Speed, 3/4, 1/2, and so on) and turn using A and D (these are variable, meaning you have to keep the key pressed to keep turning). Ammo selection is accomplished via the number key row, and left click fires the guns. Simple!
And, to be honest, there is no real ‘gotcha’ in Warships. That’s it – you maneuver around the map using your navigational keys and, when you are in range, you fire your guns at enemies. You do have to compensate for things like relative velocity – leading your targets is a skill that is relatively quick to hone – and there is some room for fancy footwork, using islands for cover, turning towards attackers to lower your profile, and so on. But the game is really quite simple and easy to pick up.
There are torpedo boats in the game and, at the moment, torpedoes are like straight-line sharks of death. If you manage to catch even one torpedo in the side of your ship, that’s it – you’re done for the match (at least in the smaller, lightly armored beginner cruisers). Larger ships (like battleships) have pretty fearsomely large guns on their decks that can make quick work of your cruiser as well, but there is definitely an enjoyable sweet spot where you are matched against a similarly equipped ship. In one match I engaged in a 1v2 slugging match and very nearly vanquished both of my enemies.
There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of depth to the play, though, aside from researching further into the tech tree. On the field you play the hand you are dealt and then, win or lose, go back to port to try again. The visuals are great and getting into a slugging match is really great fun, but there isn’t the depth to Warships that would really compel me to keep coming back – at least, not to the same extent that War Thunder once sunk its teeth into me.
World of Warships is still in closed beta though, meaning there will surely be improvements and expansion over time. I fully intend to revisit the game when more ships are added, but for now – I’ll put WoWS back up on the shelf and stick with EVE.