World of Warplanes is the second game in the series of three using the Big World engine. The first being World of Tanks (WoT) and the last will be World of Warships (WoWS). The Clan Wars metagame is part this trifecta where air battles provide bonuses for tank battles and sea battles will probably allow a clan to land on a map. You won't see player controlled aircraft flying over ships or tanks in the same battle.
Don't make the mistake and think that your World of Tanks ASIA account will be unified with any of the other regions, they are not. Unified accounts are for regions only eg. WoT NA, WoWP NA, WoWS NA. If you purchase premium time on your WoWP NA account then you will get the same time credited to your WoT NA account and WoWS NA account (when released). If you have a WoT ASIA account and a WoWP NA account then you will need to pay for premium on both accounts. Wargaming has conveniently neglected to mention that each region is separate.http://www.ausgamers.com/gameres/5985/images/695/WoWP_Screens_Warplanes_Image_06.jpg
As in WoT we can expect excellent renders of the aircraft. WG has not failed in this, the aircraft are quite simply beautiful. Playing the game on a five year old system can be problematic, the smoke pillar on the Harbour map has always been a frame rate hog, the trees on National map the same. Expect your old computer to struggle whilst playing. Maxed out on a bleeding edge system it still needs work. Frame rate shudder abounds.
Engine sounds are good, an in-line engine sounds like it should and so does the radial engines. Machine guns and cannon sound is good as well. Bombs whine as they drop and explosions are as you would expect. Voice acting though is cheap and cheesy. What you get as an English language player is a male Euro Pseudo-American voice actor that gives you various announcements about the game state and your aircraft. What you should have is voice acting that is associated with the nationality you're flying and would be great for immersions sake. A lazy effort is the best I can say. At least you can disable it. Battlefield 1942 had better voice acting from 10 years ago, Roger that!
The game code is server sided when you fire your guns there is a noticeable delay to when the gun fires, server processing time is about 25ms so add 230-400ms and you can begin to see the problem we have here in Oceania. Sure we can adapt but why should we when others don't have to. WG have no plans to put a server in this locality, despite what Kislyi (WG CEO) states there is no evidence whatsoever. Air combat is more split second timing than battles in tanks or warships. So for us it's playing at a severe disability mostly because of the tyranny of distance which we can't control. Until a server is located in Australia or New Zealand you won't feel that any money you do spend on the game is treated equally to other countries. You may notice a lag spike in WoT and not worry about it (I don't) but in WoWP it will stop your guns from firing and/or halt your manoeuvres. It is latency and server related and was reported as a bug back in alpha but WG have yet to fix it.http://www.ausgamers.com/gameres/5985/images/695/WoWP_Screens_Warplanes_Image_02.jpg
It is a great disappointment that the flight model isn't very good. This is because the altitude and flight model are reduced, you can't fly at 10,000m even in a jet. Whilst you can't do hammer heads or lomcovaks you can do the basics. Split S, Immelman and Loop is probably the most complicated and it does limit your air combat options. Forget stall turns or hammerheads as stalling is drawn out past anything reasonable. The flight model favours nations which follow the boom and zoom concept rather than turn fighting. The USA and German aircraft are of this design. Even at tier ten anything that has an advantage when turning will be defeated because altitude dominates all game play.
What you will end up seeing is games filled with US and German fighters with a few Soviet Ground Attack. These restrictions mean that aircraft performance is neutered which results in battles that consist of furballs on one part of the map at low level. I can guarantee that you suffer from more than few own goals because of this. Ramming your own team mate is common and quite annoying. There is no support for TrackerIR as the is no "in battle c***pit", 3rd person or sniper view both with left, right, up, down and rear is all you get.
You initially get five Tier 1 aircraft from about circa 1931 from each nationality, USA, USSR, Germany, Japan and Britain. The top aircraft, Tier 10, are Jets from circa 1951 including the F-86 Sabre and ME262 HGIII. WoWP is similar to WoT where there are fantasy aircraft (blueprint and prototypes) in the game. From loading you get the offer of a tutorial with rewards, you can repeat the tutorial but only get a reward once. Standard Battle is the default which will place you in a game of 15 vs 15 with a 15 minute time limit. After Tier 1 the match maker has a two tier spread. http://www.ausgamers.com/gameres/5985/images/695/WoWP_Screens_Combat_Image_02.jpg
Unfortunately, the two tier spread used by the match maker becomes more pronounced as you reach higher tiers. Tier 6 can and will be matched against tier 8 which contains jet aircraft who coupled with greater fire-power, better altitude and speed simply dominate the game rather unfairly. Tier 8 and above Jets is where the game excels. You really appreciate why jets are the pinnacle in the game. It also explains why the flight model is so wanting at lower tiers. Everything is about the end game or Tier 10 which is why, at lower tiers, you dread getting sucked into a game against jets.
The game has it's own voice chat. Joining a flight of up to three you can then choose to speak to your flight or the whole team. It also works in spectator mode so you can use it to advise your team mates about enemy. Other modes include: Training, which is a repeat of the initial tutorials, Team Training where you choose the map, players and/or bots (up to 15 per side). Team Training is the best place to check out the different maps, adjust your settings, keybinds and calibrations without being disturbed.
Apart from the machine guns, both normal and heavy, the game has cannon, rockets and bombs. Ground targets have AA guns which scale with the highest tier in the current battle. Other things that can do damage are trees and, of course, the ground. You can destroy aircraft with either rockets or bombs so don't follow a bomber too closely at low level. The slower moving bombers have tail gunners, AI controlled, so they can get really nasty if you get in their firing arc.
You have a choice of ammunition types with unlimited ammunition, overheating restricts you from firing continuously. The other major restriction is weapons range. Machine guns have a range of 500m, Cannon 700m, Rockets 1000m. Cannon are more destructive than machine guns but they are quite neutered in their explosive effect, its a balance mechanic. All machine guns and cannon have a relatively flat trajectory so you can see that some weapons will have an advantage over others, sometimes unfairly.http://www.ausgamers.com/gameres/5985/images/695/WoWP_Screens_Warplanes_Image_03.jpg
The game uses Mouse or Keyboard, Joystick or Gamepad on your PC. It's one of the few games where each type of controller has real no advantage over the other. Another reason why the flight model is as it is otherwise Joystick users would have a real advantage. WG have done a really good job with binding and adjustment, they have taken into consideration all available controllers and put something in the game for them. I tested the game over 18 months using mainly Joystick and mouse/keyboard.
World of Warplanes (WoWP) is fun to fly, for a while, but it falls well short of being a flight simulator or anything ground breaking in the arcade genre either. Simcade probably is the best description and it suits the play. The developers Wargaming definitely have hit the mark they were aiming for. Whether it is the right mark is another question as there simply isn't any variety in the play. Anyone looking for a game that involves flight and any strategy at all will be sadly disappointed. The game does have a certain je ne sais quoi
about it which will make the decision for you, ultimately though, the best I can say is that it's free to play but don't pay until there is a server located in either a Australia or New Zealand.