GDC 2012: on World of Warplanes, clan wars, and taking over the world

Jef Reahard
J. Reahard|03.09.12

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GDC 2012: on World of Warplanes, clan wars, and taking over the world had a huge presence at this year's GDC, and why not? The firm is growing at an exponential rate, and we're not just talking about the fact that it has World of Warplanes and World of Battleships coming down the pike.

CEO Victor Kislyi told me that over the past year the firm has expanded to include 700+ employees and a global presence that features development centers in Kiev, Ukraine, and Russia. The firm's flagship World of Tanks title currently boasts 18 million players worldwide, and it is paving the way for the second and third entries in a World War II trilogy.

Its clan wars mode is also the starting point for a grand vision of military combat at the squad level.'s plans are so large, in fact, that it has outgrown its original Minsk facility and now features three separate development teams laboring to create each of the company's World of titles. The Minsk team is keeping busy on World of Tanks, and Kislyi said that new vehicles, new maps, and new updates will continue to roll off the assembly line with regularity.

The St. Petersburg studio is working on World of Battleships, and while we've seen a trailer, it's clear that the focus is currently on World of Warplanes. The second part in's trilogy melds the instant action feeling of the first game to the high-flying and death-defying fighter pilot mythos. The game features tons of heavy iron from both theaters of the second world war, and whether your taste runs to familiar birds like the P-51 Mustang and the IL-2 Sturmovik or more obscure aircraft like the twin-hulled Me-609, there is a big selection of planes to choose from.

The World of Warplanes booth on the main floor at GDC 2012 is a sprawling affair in its own right; the large black walls are festooned with fighter plane art, gameplay abounds on various video monitors, and there are several small meeting rooms set apart from the hustle and bustle.

In one of these makeshift offices, Kislyi talks excitedly about the possibilities for integrating the clan war mechanics from both World of Tanks and World of Warplanes (and later, World of Battleships). Taking a portion of the huge map, he says, will be a significant challenge.
We have the clan wars in World of Tanks, territory control on a map of Europe, for example. And what we're thinking about is before you fight a tank battle, a clan has to fight an air battle. So I want to attack Moscow. My clan plays an air battle against those guys [the clan controlling Moscow]. Or we hire an allied clan to fight the air battle.

If we win, then during the upcoming tank battle, we have one or two air strikes come in from off the map because we have air superiority. Not overdoing this, but strikes to the designated square, or aerial recon that gives visibility for 30 seconds or one minute.

And with World of Battleships, the same sort of thing. They could cut the strategic or communication lines between England and Normandy, and there are some economy considerations, you have to keep your empire intact. And after the battle we could have coastal support with firing batteries.
When I mention that this sounds fantastic (and extremely work-intensive), Kislyi laughs, but his enthusiasm never falters. "That's what MMOs, good MMOs, are all about. You release something solid and balanced. It cannot have everything at release; that is just not possible," he explains. "Your team keeps working. That's why we had to go to different cities. We took on new engineers, artists, designers. The playerbase grows, they consume content, and they demand that for the next seven to ten years."

So are Kislyi and company bent on taking over the world? "Yes, taking over the world," he laughs again. "The world of online gaming."

Massively sent four resolute reporters to San Francisco to bring you back the biggest MMO news from this year's GDC, the largest pro-only gaming industry con in the world! From games like The Secret World to PlanetSide 2, we're on the case, so stay tuned for all the highlights from the show!
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