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E3 2012: Hands-on with World of Warplanes


It was difficult to miss one of the most impressive booths on the show floor at E3. established its dominance on the floor by setting up computers and allowing all E3-goers to play its latest games against the Wargaming development team. Its flagship title at E3 was World of Tanks, but I sneaked away to the team's press room to watch a demo of something similar.

World of Warplanes is one title out of three that is proud to show. For the unfamiliar readers, launched World of Tanks last year, and its booth at E3 2011 wasn't quite as large as this year's.

World of Warplanes told us, "Our booth was a lot smaller. It was in the back, but we did have a great presence. We had two real tanks out in the parking lot, and we actually had another one in the booth. A funny story is, we wanted to do it again, but the convention center said no. When we were moving the tanks it chewed up the floor and the parking lot." The devs told us the tanks were really cool, but they felt their floor was even cooler, so no more tanks.

Naturally, the company has grown significantly as a result of the success of World of Tanks. is a family business that grew into a corporation built of authors, historians, and military experts. takes pride in the authenticity and research that go into each of their its. You won't find a BLAST-O 3001 model in a title.

"It's so authentic that there are pictures floating around internally of guys crawling around on these massive, massive tanks," the studio reps told us. "They're climbing around on these tanks using depth detectors to measure the thickness of the armor. That's how dedicated they are to making sure these games are authentic. The tanks are built to spec, exactly the way they were designed."

The same practice was utilized for World of Warplanes; we saw a number of historical warplanes featured in the game during the E3 trailer, which demonstrated the history of the vehicle: "It started with biplanes, and it progressed up in time, and as it progressed it was changing the different nations that are in the closed beta." The nations represented are the US, Germany, and Russia. The other thing you see as you progress through time from the 1930s to the 1950s is the Korean War. What's also represented there is the different types of planes that will be in the closed beta: light fighters, heavy fighters, and ground assault. The closed beta has a whopping 59 planes to pilot with four playable maps.

Keeping in line with's push for authenticity, the game demo's physics engine was impressive. When planes release a bomb, the weight release registers and the plane's maneuverability increases. Similarly, when planes take even slight damage, they suffer from decreased flight power and thus drop in altitude. You can imagine what might happen to a plane when it suffers too much damage.

On the meta side of design, is creating unified user accounts. One login will work for all three of the company's games (World of Warplanes, World of Tanks, and World of Battleships). Credits and experience points can be used between the games to customize and upgrade any of the player's vehicles. Beyond this unified login for the three games are plans to unify the games as well; maps will allow warfare between planes, tanks, and battleships (oh my!).

I had a few questions for the team.

World of Warplanes
Massively: How about loss? Is there a respawn time, or do you lose credits? That's a good question. Power to the gamer! You can exit and you'll still get all the credit and experience and all that stuff that you would have normally gotten if you had stayed. You can jump out and just start another battle. Now, you can't pick that plane because it's still locked into that battle. You're gonna have a hangar full of planes or a garage full of tanks.

Will there be a subscription service?

The game will be free-to-play.


That's in our heart too. Part of what's in our DNA is the work. One, we're a family business. Two is that we're all gamers. We spend a lot of time gaming. As a gamer I know that there are a lot of options, and what's important is that we put the power of choice in the gamer's hands. We believe that free-to-play gives that power to the gamer, and it puts the burden on us to create a fantastic game.

What's the total number of players supported on a map?

Fifteen vs. fifteen. That might change; we're not locked in to 15v15. It depends on where we evolve on game modes.

I saw on the demonstration that there were very realistic physics: When a bomb would drop, the plane would fly a little easier. Can you elaborate on the physics system?

Let's say you take fire that punches holes in your wings; that'll effect the amount of lift. Same with engine damage too. If your engine's damaged, you're gonna get less power and have lower speed, and you won't be as maneuverable. As much as possible, we want to include that authenticity, but of course we don't want it to be so far in that direction that it's impossible to fly or stay in the match.

Thanks for your time! I'm ready to bust out my flight stick and take some other planes down. The game is currently in closed beta, and it's taking feedback from gamers like you!

Massively's on the ground in Los Angeles during the week of June 4-7, bringing you all the best news from E3 2012. We're covering everything from PlanetSide 2 and SWTOR and ArcheAge to RIFT's and LotRO's upcoming expansions, so stay tuned!

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