WORLD of Warships is the last and the most ambitious of the three "World Of" titles from Belarusian outfit Wargaming.
First, with World of Tanks, they took enthusiast-pleasing levels of research and applied it to a solid gameplay format with a freemium model that kept most people happy and the developers fairly rich.
Quick team battles with comparatively effective match-making between players and a progression mechanic built for longevity meant that World of Tanks built a 75-million-strong player base in three years and also allowed them to crack World of Warcraft's microtransaction income figures.
The gameplay for World of Tanks/Warplanes/Warships boils down to two teams fighting over various real-life locations with types of vehicles.
World of Warships takes that formula and gives it a level of gravitas you can only have from naval battles fought with guns the size of trees.
Wargaming Asia felt the need to put that sense of scale across to us by launching the game aboard the HMAS Vampire in Sydney's Darling Harbour. Standing on the Vampire is a lot of fun if you're still talking to your inner child, and that sense of glee and power does translate from real-life to in-game.
I've played Warships since early in the Australian run of the beta, and though there have been a few bug fixes, mainly to do with graphics, the whole thing felt well-balanced and engaging from the start.
The four classes of ships have a lot to do with that. Battleships are slow-burn excitement with a hand-of-god style barrage that requires patience and accuracy.
Destroyers are small, agile, and lead to a frenetic play-style as you dodge armour-piercing rain while you torpedos punch holes in the hulls of battleships captained by the unwary.
Cruisers are a mix of both, packing both effective cannons and torpedoes and giving capable captains the ability to sidestep telegraphed shots.
Carriers are for the strategist who knows how the invisible hand of slight influences can lead to crippling blows to the enemy, sending wings of fighters and bombers to do their will.
So far the balance between each class has been strong although most battleship captains at the time of writing (myself included) would tell you the close-range game for battleships needs to be looked at.
The ships at launch will mainly come from the US and Japanese fleets, but at least two Russian/USSR ships will be available for purchase as well.
As with World of Tanks, more nations will be represented in the game's lists over time. I asked World of Warships Publishing Producer Artur Plociennik which nations are next to appear in the game and he guardedly responded that the German line would be next, followed by the Russians or British, then followed by the French or Italians.
A big factor in what comes out when is the research. Wargaming will go to dockyards, museums and archives to find the blueprints for each of their ships and make sure they're accurate. Plenty of players have helped with primary sources as well. This means that an entire line could stall if a couple of ships can't be accurately recreated in-game.
My everyday PC runs two GTX 670s, a quad-core i7 (3.5GHz) and 16Gb of RAM and I'm seeing 70+ fps at 1920x1080 with no issues.
Game: World of Warships
Verdict: It's free and it's brilliant.
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