Earlier, the upcoming World of Warships from Wargaming entered into a Closed Beta as it inches closer and closer to a full release to join its air and land-based counterparts.

I spent some time earlier with the beta to get a feel for how the game’s shaping up. I had a quick go of this back at gamescom last year and had a chat with Mike from the Publishing team over at Wargaming. If you missed the interview, here it is for your leisure!

Right, on to the Beta…

If you’re familiar with how the in-game economy is set up in World of Tanks or World of Warplanes, then you’ll be right at home with the set up for Warships. Slots in your port can be bought and used to store your ships, with one ship able to be used in each battle. In this set-up, there are no respawns when your ship sinks, prompting you to great care of your ship as you sail in to battle.

It may seem a bit strange that there are no respawns, but it makes sense. This way, it allows each battle to reach a sensible conclusion, either through successful capture of key points in the map or through elimination of the opposing team.

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There are four types of warship that you can choose from. You have the nimble Cruisers, the torpedo-loaded Destroyers, the battle-hardened Battleships and the recon-focussed Aircraft Carriers. Within each class lie a tech-tree of Warships which are mostly based on fictional/non-fictional designs from during (and not long after) the Second World War. For now, the ships are American and Japanese in design, although I imagine in time there’ll be plenty more ships to come.

With each ship that you own, consumable upgrades and crew-members can be attached to the ship to boost their in-game potential. They range from engine enhancements to improved batteries to boost the reload rate. As with many free-to-play games, these consumables can be spent using in-game currency which can be earned or bought according to your desires. The very same points can be used to purchase ships and slots in your port.

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When out at sea, the pace is a lot more gentle than most might be used to in games. In your typical shooters, you race out as fast as you can to find your first enemy and pew-pew that very same opponent to death. In Warships, those massive hunks of metal can’t move very fast in relation to the size of the map. Whilst they may travel an average of 30 knots at full speed, the maps are huge. Careful planning then is required to position your ships for the best angle of attack.

Taking this into account, this is a game where regular communication with your teammates might be recommended.

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Abilities are mapped around the WASD keys on your keyboard, with aiming done via the mouse. Firing at your enemy is a precise art, something I appreciated a lot back at gamescom and am glad that the feel is largely retained. With both the enemy’s ship and your own ship cruising at speed and in different directions, lining at the shot can be tricky. The periscope has measurement notches akin to a ruler to help give you an idea, but you’ll have to take into account of multiple factors to land that critical hit.

When you do manage to hit that shot, it is insanely satisfying. A wave of euphoric relief and fist-bumping joy hits when those rounds make contact with the enemy ship. Multiply that by ten if you manage to sink it too!

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That whole exercise of gently lining up your shot is central to the entire World of Warships experience, even going as far as adding a camera hot-key to follow the rounds you fire as they travel towards your target. The only catch there is you might forget about who’s trying to fire on you whilst you’re watching those rounds of yours deal sweet damage to your enemy!

I imagine there’ll be more to see with regards to World of Warships as feedback is gathered during the Beta phase. As more info comes in regarding the game, we’ll let you know.