TLR at the bottom... but please, if possible read the whole thing. I really need community support on these issues.
As an avid fan of anything aviation related, I am very excited to see a free-to-play combat aviation themed game being produced by one of my favorite game studios! I have been waiting for World of Warplanes since I was about 12 years old. World of Warplanes isn't just another air combat game, World of Warplanes is redefining the entire air combat genre. This is why it is important that World of Warplanes be made as awesome as possible.
So, now that that's out of the way, I'll give a short introduction on myself...
I'm (obviously) an aviation nut. I've played everything from Red Ace Squadron to Aces High II. For those of you who don't follow the genre, that is everything from totally arcade to full-real simulator. I am currently working towards getting my Private Pilot's License and have approximately 36 hours of real-world flying experience. I have flown a Diamond DA-20, Piper Cherokee, Piper Archer II, Cessna 152, and a Cessna 172. I have also soloed in a Cessna 172.
I do not wish for this game to become a flight simulator. There are plenty of those out there already. If I wanted to play a flight simulator, I would go play Aces High II or something similar. I want World of Warplanes to become what it was advertised as, the ultimate hybrid of simulator and arcade.
As a tester who has invested a lot of time in World of Warplanes from the earliest stages of Alpha Testing until now; I would like to bring my opinions on the state of the game and the direction the Developers are taking it to both the community and the developers. Please bear in mind as you read this that this is MY OPINION. I am entitled to have my opinions, and everyone else is entitled to have theirs. If you agree or disagree, please state why/why not and make this discussion useful. My last topic like this got closed due to some closed minded people spamming about Warthunder being better. Let's please keep this one alive and helpful!
So, without further ado, we will get down to business!
World of Warplanes' main focus has until recently been on player skill. In many cases it was possible to destroy an aircraft of a higher tier in an aircraft of much lower tier. Not so any more. Some of you may say this is as it should be, however, when we take a deeper look of what makes it work the way it currently works (which I agree a lower tier plane should have a VERY hard time destroying a higher tier plane...) it will quickly become obvious what issues we are running into. In my opinion, there are four main issues we need to look at; Aircraft Tiers, Flight Physics, Control Issues, and Randomization. I will outline each below.
Aircraft tiers - that touchy subject which Wargaming.net really doesn't want us to talk about too much... The aircraft in World of Warplanes were placed in their initial tiers before they were even created. This means they were pretty much abstractly matched at specific tiers. What is the issue with this? The issue is four-fold.
- Aircraft performance is being tweaked to fit the planes into the tiers they were originally set in. This means that some aircraft get a large buff from what they could realistically accomplish, and some are getting massive nerfs to make them stay where the developers want them without being OP. This obviously results in people being disappointed by the aircraft if they knew anything about the real aircraft. While this is secondary, it is a valid consideration and in no way affects my original point on this topic.
- Weapon statistics are being changed to try to equalize aircraft which should not be facing each other. Again, this shouldn't be an issue if the planes are matched at the correct tiers.
- It perpetuates the false idea that World of Warplanes is supposed to be a 'World War II Game'. The developers are trying to match planes that actually fought against each other in the same tiers for 'historical reasons'. This makes the continuity of gameplay an issue when you get to around tier 8. You begin to see aircraft that feel out of place as until then, the focus has been on World War II.
- Military aircraft designs are based on getting a 'one-up' on your opponent. This means that one nation would create an 'OP plane' which would rule the skies until the next nation made an even more 'OP plane' that made the original 'OP plane' under-powered.
- Altitude compression is really messing the game up. It creates a lot of 'traffic jams' in the combat zone that wouldn't be there if the altitude scaled correctly. It also ends up making vertical maneuvers drastically change your aircraft effectiveness due to the optimal altitude zones being so small which again is due to the whole altitude compression system. Also, if you think about it, we have vertical compression, but NOT horizontal compression. This means that for everything to feel realistic, our aircraft will make MUCH larger loops than they should since they loop, etc at the same scale as they turn... this means that we will go up a lot higher than we should during a loop, and also go down a lot more than we should. This results in a bad trade of energy for altitude as it is much harder to get up than down. Altitude compression really needs to go. (Yes, this means maps need to be larger so they don't look stupid.)
- Roll response should be re-considered. This in my opinion is one of the most frustrating aspects of the current flight model. For some reason, Wargaming.net decided it would be a good idea to make the roll rates very slow. This results in the game not conveying the adrenaline rush of air combat properly in my opinion. Is it realistic? In some cases yes, but in others no. Is it fun? Most definitely not. If anyone has watched the trailers for World of Warplanes, they will quickly notice that the aircraft portrayed in the trailer really convey the adrenaline rush of air combat, and it is through the speed and maneuverability of the aircraft in the trailer that this is properly conveyed. Why would you create a trailer that shows fast-paced action and then make a game that feels like World of Flying Bricks? It doesn't add up. I have been talking to the developers about this for over a year and have only seen backward progress. This needs to change.
- Stalls - I should really call them 'loss of momentum/falling out of the sky' because that's pretty much what they are. Stalls are not really effected by the aircraft's center of gravity, which makes them very un-predictable. Seriously, there is something wrong when it is easier to stall/recover a plane in real life than it is in a game which is supposedly taking the hard parts out of flying. Stalls need to be simplified to a quick drop of the nose when the aircraft stalls. Not very realistic, but it gives the basic idea of a stall and is very easy to recover from. No spins, no snaps, just a simple quick nose drop which would automatically initiate a recovery. Get rid of the 'mush' and control slop just before the stall and just bring the stall on as quickly as possible. Right now it is more a combination of a tail slide and a stall and a hammer-head turn. Any one of these three things could be the main contributing factor in any situation, which makes it very un-predictable which = hard to understand which = not much fun.
- Aircraft speed, plain and simple, our planes need to go faster. Nobody likes flying around at what feels like 50 mph. It just isn't fun. When close to the ground (50m and lower) we shouldn't really be able to see what the terrain looks like directly beside us. The terrain should be going by so quickly we wouldn't be able to focus on it very well. I'm not seeing anything like this in World of Warplanes. Wargaming didn't even attempt to make a motion-blur effect to give us the illusion of speed. This also should be changed. Preferably without the blur effect, but even that would be better than nothing. (Just saying that this will not benefit people with lower end computers if the motion-blur effect is used instead of actually speeding the planes up.) Also, increasing aircraft speed would make effective use of the terrain possible as at those speeds a pilot with the skill to fly close to the ground would in most cases be likely to shake his/her pursuer or cause him/her to crash.
- Mouse 0.4.1 - I don't really know what is going on with this one, I cannot even begin to imagine how to use it. I have tried it several times and every time gave up in utter frustration. I simply cannot follow what is going on with my mouse while I try to fight other aircraft and evade most of the enemy team which somehow always manages to find out where I like to be.
- 'Mouse' - what used to be called 'World of Tanks Mouse'... I really enjoy this mouse mode when flying my ground attack aircraft. It is much more precise than the keyboard or joystick when trying to aim at a motionless target. It is absolutely terrible for air-to-air combat, but is awesome for air-to-ground operations. The automated processes in the controls file do not properly recognize roll/loop inputs and will often combine them in a very un-expected way. This is a very minor issue in the ground attack role (which I'm pretty sure it was designed for) but can cause major issues in air-to-air combat.
- Keyboard - the keyboard controls are decent, pretty much what you would expect from a flying game. Unfortunately there isn't really much that can be done to improve the keyboard controls unless somebody designs a vacuum-tube keyboard that could have more than a simple I/O operating method.
- Joysticks - joysticks are absolutely horrible. They were improved drastically with the inclusion of custom curves, but the response is still very much sub-par. Anyone who has played any flying game using a joystick will agree that there is no other game out there that does not let you aim properly with a joystick. I think the Developers should get a copy of Microsoft Flight Simulator X, or any other version of Flight Simulator post 1998 and see how the joystick controls the plane with the flight model set as un-realistically as possible. (Because I don't want y'all to think I'm trying to turn this game into a sim...) THAT is how joystick response should feel. Anything else is un-acceptable.
- Sadly I have absolutely no experience with a game controller so I will have to leave that out of my topic.
What is wrong with randomization? It removes player skill from the game. If I wanted to play a game that had nothing to do with skill, I would go play the lottery. So, I will address my main concerns with randomization.
- Gun Dispersion is a randomization technique Wargaming is using to attempt to either compensate for lag, or to 'even the playing field'. This is extremely frustrating for decent to good pilots as it absolutely ruins a good attack and can even cost your aircraft in some situations. It voids the skill of being able to hold a perfect lead on a target as your bullets do not even go where you are aiming them all the time. This in my opinion is un-acceptable. I believe that the dispersion from your guns should come from the convergence distance of your guns. This should be player-modifiable within a specific range. See the diagram below for details.
- Random chance for critical damage is also very frustrating. Just like in tanks, you cannot aim at a module and deliberately destroy it. You have to get lucky with the random number generator to get a critical hit that actually is a critical hit. The odds of getting a critical hit in World of Warplanes is obviously a little better than in tanks, but it is still frustrating nonetheless. Please note, the chances of being able to deliberately aim at a module in World of Warplanes is MUCH lower than in World of Tanks due to the speed of the aircraft relative to each other as well, so there should be less 'random' about this than in Tanks simply because of that fact. The random is already there because of the nature of air combat.
So, if the world was perfect, and Wargaming.net would create the game exactly how I would envision it, what would be the result? (sarcasm turned on there about the world being perfect...) World of Warplanes would represent almost all aspects of aviation in an easy to understand package that would give the average gamer a fun game to play that is easy to learn, but hard to master, and it would give the mainly sim guys a fun game to play when they get tired of flying straight-up sims and want some quick action. This would be accomplished by removing the 'slush' from stalls, speeding up all aircraft, re-tiering the aircraft by their capabilities, fixing the control issues, getting rid of altitude compression, increasing roll rates in almost all aircraft (un-realistic, but more fun), and making everything feel more fluid.
If you support any of these ideas, please let the developers know! I have been asking for these changes to be made for about a year now, and I am always being told that we need more support from the community to have stuff like this implemented. I know a lot of you may be comfortable with the way things are now, but the game is not really drawing many people at this point, and there is probably a good explanation for that. Please show some support and post in this thread or +1 this post to show that there is support for this idea!