WarGaming.net has pushed through a major update for World of Warplanes, introducing version 2.0 and, essentially, rebooting the game. Operational Producer, Michael Zinchenko, has answered a bunch of questions for fans about World of Warplanes huge list of refinements…
- Why do you feel that now is the time to reboot WoWP?
We have felt that WoWP needs a major update for quite a long time. Naturally we respect and value all our loyal players who have been with us for a long time. And yet we want, no, we have to evolve the game further so that it provides more interesting, exciting and rewarding experience to all the fans. And we need to make it more accessible to a wider player base. That’s why we made WoWP 2.0. And the results we got from all the open/limited/focus and other tests show that we are on the right track.
- Do you feel that WoWP 1st was a failure and why?
No, we do not. We made a good, nearly niche and highly skill-dependent game for a very stable and loyal core player base. Nevertheless that game due to the types of basic gameplay mechanics we chose was, as some of our developers jokingly say, “World of warFighters”. The game eventually crystallized into an ever-repeating dogfight experience, and that’s why we felt we need to move further and develop WoWP in another direction.
- What differences are their between 1 and 2?
While WoWP 1.x is focused on highly skill-dependent dogfighting gameplay, the Conquest game mode in WoWP 2.0 is focused on capturing and controlling territories through different actions that correspond with class-specific roles for different aircraft. Each of the 5 classes in game, including the all-new bombers, have quite varying roles. Now add to that the new respawn mechanic and totally updated visuals, and you get a new gameplay experience. Naturally we encourage everyone to try the new version themselves.
- I hear that the numbers for WoWP are around 25M – how can WG feel this is a failure when most games would love to have this audience?
Disregarding the exact numbers, it’s still quite hard to judge how many players of all those millions who tried WoWP in these years were strictly WoWP player base, and how many of them simply came to us from other Wargaming trilogy games to have a look-see. Currently our MAU counts hundreds of thousands unique players every month. But we want to grow, and here’s the way.
- How do you think you will be able to gain a bigger audience because flight games by their nature have a target audience and when that has reached, the door is pretty closed?
A very respectable gentleman once said that 640 KB of RAM ought to be enough for anybody. Anything is possible if you make a game attractive and approachable enough. Strictly speaking, a lot of my friends right now are playing a game where you can kill each other with a bulletproof frying pan. In other words, we’re sure that nothing is impossible.
- In which way did you enhance the steering of the planes?
First of all, we made it more natural and understandable. We removed the “crutch” of a lead-compensating aiming point and made shooting more intuitive — you experiment doing several shots until you find correct lead to hit an enemy, and this way you learn and become better at the game. We improved graphic effects. The main goal was to shift focus from fighting your own aircraft to actually fighting enemy. Feels like we succeeded.
- How did you improve the dogfights?
We added respawn.
But seriously, dogfighting is still a crucial part of the aerial battle that is WoWP. It’s a game with warplanes, after all. And yet it is but one part of it. We’re working on improvements to dogfighting mechanics constantly, but at the same time we added a lot of other tasks, targets and in-game mechanics that will make any player useful, depending on their preferred class, in-game situation and personal skill.
- What was done to make the game more appealing to new Players?
First and foremost we made flying and shooting more natural and accessible even for a total newcomer. A player now has a chance to make mistake via respawn mechanics. They don’t have to be highly skilled to successfully bomb targets, capture and defend territories or shoot down enemy bombers. And at the same time they will learn, gain experience, progress and have fun.
And the game got prettier, so there’s that.
- In which way do you think the respawn improves the game?
A player can make mistakes and not suffer ultimately for them by being forced to quit the battle. They can try some heroic moves or antics. They can even try flying another warplane if their team controls a territory needed for that. In general this one aspect made 2.0 a completely another experience.
- How did the objectives in the fights help to make the game more action-packed?
Both general and class-specific objectives make the game more active and sensible. Before every battle eventually devolved into “everyone flies clockwise, fighters kill each other in the first 3 minutes, then survivors hunt down attack aicraft”. Now some players are busy with attacking ground targets, others are dogfighting, while the rest are intercepting huge NPC bombers — and all of that, when done correctly, can tip the scales of the battle. The game is exciting and rewarding for everyone now.
- What to do to fulfil the objectives?
Every class has their objectives tailored for them according to their strong features. For example, fighters are very maneuverable, can quickly catch up to enemies, have powerful “bursty” guns — they are perfect for destroying light aerial targets and protecting territories from enemies. But they can’t destroy ground targets and are too fragile to tackle heavy enemies like bombers or attack aircraft with their turrets. That’s where multirole and heavy fighters come in: they are not as maneuverable, but their armament is more versatile and can kill any type of target (with varying efficiency). And when you need “heavy artillery”, attack aircraft and bombers are the way: the former lay waste to anything on the ground by getting close and personal with their guns, rockets and bombs, while the latter can single-handedly devastate the whole sector from relative safety of high altitude and powerful defensive turrets.
- What was done to the graphics for 2.0?
Overall we made the visuals much more appealing and adequate to aerial combat setting. Colors, effects, camera modes, everything works better now to show high speeds, high altitude and convey the feeling of flight. We added dozens of effects to make the game look better and at the same time to convey important information about different in-game events without overburdening the screen. What’s important, even though the scene is now much more dense with objects, things happening all around, the performance stayed the same as it was before.
- With the new agreement WG announced with Polygon, and your biggest competitors offering a VR option, will we be seeing something in WoWP 2.0?
Naturally we always keep track and will be very vigilant in terms of cutting-edge technologies. Turns out with some tinkering you can launch WoWP in VR even today. But we still propose to return to the topic of official support somewhat later.
- What if WoWP 2.0 will fail again?
We work in gamedev. Nobody here has a sure recipe of success. But we are sure that we made an interesting game, and it gained very positive feedback from various testing sessions over the past months. We like it ourselves. And we’re sure that a lot of players will find the new version very exciting once it launches. On our part we promise to do our best to develop it further.
- You mention that you’re delivering unique experiences with your titles. That was like with WoT when you introduced tanks to the players and reinvented naval battles in WoWS. But how is WoWP 2.0 meant to be unique?
We managed to make an accessible and appealing game about combat aircraft with distinct class system and varying in-game roles. Next steps will follow in future major updates, namely 2.1 and 2.2. We will be adding features that will help newcomers get up to speed with main aspects of the game, and we plan to introduce separate endgame modes for veterans. Those modes will stimulate playing longer, better and research top-tier aircraft by awarding unique prizes. But even in the current state we can say that we provide a unique gaming experience.
- Why there’s no cockpits and take off & landing still? Or there will be?
Two questions, two answers.
Based on research data that we have, the amount of players who try to fly with cockpit view at least once is measured in mere percents of all the player base. Among those mere dozens of players continue playing with cockpit view. At the same time providing this possibility will require a lot of research, time and effort on our side to model the cockpits correctly, and will result in significant increase in client size for our players.
As for take-off and landing, we are actually experimenting with making this process interesting and meaningful to integrate it into the new game mode.
- What has been the biggest challenge?
Everyone on the team will probably have their own answer to this question. Someone would say technical challenges, someone – artstyle or conceptual changes. I’d say probably the biggest challenge was recognizing the need to make changes. Everything after that was just creativity and a lot of work.
- What was done to UI to make it easier for the pilots to upgrade their planes?
At the moment we did not make any significant changes to aircraft research mechanics. Mostly to ease our current player base into the new version of the game.
One of the future updates will include the new concept of “upgrade 2.0” that will differ quite significantly from the current one.