We took the time to sit down during E3 2014 with Gareth Luke, Senior Producer of Wargaming. Luke offered some details about the upcoming World of Warships, as Wargaming turns to a different type of military battle. He was also able to answer some questions on World of Tanks, including the newly released iOS version. That version, World of Tanks Blitz, will look to be quick battles and use the touchscreen interface. Below is what he had to say about the topics presented to him.
1.What are the different classes of ships that will be seen in the new World of Warships?
So currently in the alpha of World of Warships, we have four classes of vessels available to play. The rock, paper, scissors is the core dynamic that we are using in terms of gameplay so that starts off with the Destroyer. It is the smallest, most agile craft, with a little bit of a stealthy craft in some ways. They are the first ones to engage. Because of the scale of the maps, they are usually the smallest and the scout of the class. But they are hard to spot and hard to target because they move so quick. They can use smokescreens as well and can locate the points (on the map). The core way to play as them is to move in and out very fast. They are deadly torpedo-based crafts. That’s what you look out for.
The next class is the Cruiser. The cruiser is sort of the work horse of World of Warships. It features all of the armorments that all of the ships have. It has scout planes on cruisers, you have anti-aircraft guns, you have artillery, and you also have torpedoes, so they will be the first the first line of defense. They are really the support class, so if you play them that way they can be really deadly. Then of course you have the Battleship. It’s the long range, heavy, if you wanna look at it that way, heavy armor, heavy hit points, devastating amount of weapons. At long range, it has a 30-40 mile range. Once they lock on to you, they can take you out pretty fast. They are no good against the torpedo classes, so that dynamic between those three actual engagement, Short range, direct contact, and long range is the core dynamic.
What makes World of Warships a challenge as a developer and what makes it a very unique game is the addition of the Aircraft Carrier into the game. It’s more of a real-time strategy class. It has an overhead and it carries four different types of aircraft. It can take out any of the other ships very, very quickly. However, it has no defense of its own, but the way you play the class is a lot deeper than any of the gameplay in World of Tanks, which is more terrain-based. You have to protect your Aircraft Carrier, but you can use it to attack. It adds a really unique dynamic to the game.
2. What type of range does the Aircraft Carrier have in terms of the scale of the map?
You can traverse the whole map with your fleet. We are still experimenting with that because one of the challenges. We took a very strong core around the engagement vessels. The Aircraft Carrier is really hard to balance so we are still balancing with range and how many squadrons of planes can you have. Do you choose the planes at start up or is it a standard set of aircraft. We are still experimenting with all those gameplay mechanics.
3. Ideally, how many ships do you want to have in the game?
At the moment, we are still experimenting with the number, because there are only the four classes. We have the ability to make different sized 7 versus 7 or 15 versus 15 because the size of the map. That is an element we are still experimenting with. We have not determined the final number for launch.
4. Over time, do you hope to have multiple types of the specific ship classes that originate from different countries?
That’s a great question. You know, World of Warships is a very unique and different style of gameplay, it still shares and builds upon the legacy of World of Tanks. In the iPad version of the game and 360 version of the game, we added Warplanes. It will build on that tradition, it has the same monetization model, and ability to customize and research. The idea is to keep that legacy strong, but what we are thinking is it will be far more complex. The ability to add different classes into the game is something we are looking at. It is very hard to balance a game.
First and foremost, Wargaming titles are games. We are known for historical accuracy and realism and trying to model that as much as we can, but it has to be a game first. If it’s not fun, what’s the point? If it means we want to add different classes but upsets the balance, we want to avoid that. What we want to really try and do is duplicate from Tanks and Warplanes is introduce new nations, especially very strong, historical nations with a naval background like the Japanese, the British, the USA, and Russia. We will probably come out with two to three nations like we did with the other titles and then start expanding on that. Introducing new classes is hard to do. It’s hard to get it right with what we are doing now and to do that later on is a tough thing. So we will need to see how that goes.
5. When World of Tanks came out, it seemed to be really geared to a hardcore audience. It was a new concept. Then the Xbox 360 version came out. Are you gearing more towards a casual audience where it’s arcade-y, or are you gearing more towards the hardcore players?
That’s a great question. The answers are pretty simple. We want to try and appeal to the most number of players we can. We want to have as many people playing our games as possible. That is very much the case. The experience on different platforms is intentionally different. We have a really strong player base on PC, over five million people playing Wargaming games. It’s very popular and has been building the last four years. Because of that, we have a very strong gameplay mechanic in World of Tanks. It’s not the end by any means, we are constantly proving it, but we know who the PC players are. They stick around and they know what we do. We have a very strong E-Sports league around that and community.
The Xbox 360 version is different. We are gearing for a different style of gamer to show them what World of Tanks is. It’s a lot more action packed. The PC gamer likes to play a more sim-based game on that platform. It’s intentional. The 360 is more streamlined and faster paced. The user interface is more intuitive for the controller. Even the way the camera works, it’s based for sitting ten feet away on the sofa as compared to being close to a PC screen. Even the iPad version, the speed you traverse through the tech trees and currency in-game is much faster. You can’t play a constant five hours because of battery life. We want it to be portable and really fast, so the maps are smaller, and the battle times are three minutes as opposed to the longer battles on PC. It’s sort of appealing to the gamers who use those platforms, that’s where the difference is. We just keep listening to what those players want and like, and as we go to these new platforms, we are learning what those players like and that’s the difference in the platform.
6. Will that concept be applied to World of Warships in terms of platform?
You know, we’re not even looking at other platforms at the moment. What is really important for us, as we go into the platforms, is to learn who our players are and know what they are liking. The free-to-win model is different on console and different on mobile, as well. We are really going to commit getting World of Tanks correct on those platforms before we look at a World of Warships version. Should we look at a Xbox One version? At this time, let’s get it right with WOT first and then see what opportunities arise.
7. Will we ever see anything on a Sony console?
We are not looking at that. We are really in the early days of our partnership with Microsoft. We looked at the landscape and what we geared at for console. We thought Microsoft was the best opportunity as they wanted to learn the free-to-win concept. They decided to bring us to their platform and we really liked Xbox Live and how our game functioned. We thought it was the best fit. We committed to the Xbox and we have had three million downloads. We think it was a wise choice, and we are not saying ‘no’ to Sony, but we are really committed to Microsoft and it was the best option at the time. It’s only a few months into World of Tanks on Xbox 360. We are focusing on that at the moment before exploring other options.
8. How many players will the iOS version of World of Tanks support?
It will feature 7 versus 7 gameplay.