World Of Warships Review: Smooth Sailing

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Developers: Lesta Studio, Wargaming

Platform: Microsoft Windows

Release Date: September 17, 2015

Wargaming is no stranger to…well, war gaming. Both World of Tanks and World of Warplanes, with which World of Warships shares gameplay and conceptual similarities, have been well-received. The idea behind World of Warships is as simple as it sounds: it’s all naval battles, all the way down.

The entirety of World of Warships consists of controlling a ship in a naval battle with a team of seven other players. You compete with the enemy fleet of either AI ships or other players to finish objectives, or just blow each other up. The depth of the game comes from the various customization options available for each ship, along with different objectives, maps, and missions so that each naval battle is unique.

In The Navy

When you load up World of Warships, you will spend all your time either in actual matches, or in Port, managing your fleet. From Port, you can view all of your ships, both from an exterior camera letting you see the intricacies of their gunnery, or from a purely tactical standpoint through Skill Trees and Modules.

There are four types of ships: Cruisers, Destroyers, Battleships, and Carriers, but you’ll only start out with Cruisers. Earning EXP through battles will unlock ship upgrades to guns, hull, engine, and more, and once enough of these are unlocked, the next Tier of ship will come available. Each Tier sports different combinations of stats such as Concealment, Survivability, and Artillery. As you upgrade, you’ll also gain access to new equipment such as torpedos or anti-aircraft guns.

Each ship also has its own Captain with a skill tree that you can allocate points to as you gain experience, and captains can be moved around from ship to ship as needed. The skill trees unlock perks such as higher survivability, better chances of setting enemy ships on fire, and more. If it sounds like a lot, it is, but don’t worry: you won’t have access to most of it right away, so you can learn as you go.

As you work your way up through the tiers, you’ll also eventually unlock the other types of ships. The Cruiser, which you start out with, is a solid basic ship good for anything from scouting to taking down enemy ships to capturing objectives. The early cruisers only have some basic guns, low health, and slow speeds, but upgraded can really pack a punch.

…You’ll be grinding for a long, long time (months, for the average player) to obtain the top ships if you don’t want to dish out the dollars for EXP to purchase them with.

Destroyers and Battleships riff off the basic Cruiser format by taking it to extremes. Destroyers have low health and fewer guns, but high concealment, short reload times, and plenty of speed. They are excellent for sneaking around and surprising the enemy with a powerful shot, then darting out of the way again. They can even drop smokescreens to help conceal themselves and their allies. Battleships are the big, slow powerhouses that live forever and hit hard, but take forever to get anywhere or reload their guns.

The final ship type is the Carrier, which plays a completely different game from the other three ship types. Carriers view the battle from above and deploy torpedo-laden aircraft and other flying menaces to manage the fight from a distance. Controlled from an overview, Carriers bring a heavier layer of strategy to World of Warships matches appropriate to the higher tiers where they reside, as you’ll need some fights under your belt to properly use them.

Since each ship type sports its own variations on itself, there’s pretty much a boat for every playstyle imaginable. The variety of customization is laudable, but the work it takes to access that variety might put some off–you’ll be grinding for a long, long time (months, for the average player) to obtain the top ships if you don’t want to dish out the dollars for EXP to purchase them with. Though the game is free-to-play, you’ll be stuck with Cruisers for a little while if you don’t pay up.

Next: On the high seas