The Average Gamer

Zezulin on World of Warplanes: Aerial Stunts and Tricky Maneuvers

We first saw World of Warplanes in action at gamescom last year. Doing away with all pretence at making a military sim, creators prefer to focus on making the combat fun. With subscribers in the millions for their current MMO World of Tanks, it’s obviously an approach that’s working for them.

Warplanes has come a long way in the past few months and we’ve interviewed project manager Alexander Zezulin on what to expect.

How accurately are the principles of flight modeled in the game?

We are building a complex and precise flight model that will allow you to apply your piloting skills to achieve aerial stunts and tricky maneuvers. Of course, your aerodynamics and agility will depend on your speed, altitude, and armament, but, the game will be easy to master. And there definitely won’t be any “punishments” for poor maneuvering, like harsh loss of speed and altitude, or falling into an uncontrolled spin. The game will combine accessible controls, historically authentic vehicles and flight simulation standards.

Will there be realistic collision models, so that a low tier plane can take out a high tier one by crashing into it?

The World of Warplanes collision model will be very similar to the body and unit damage paradigm in World of Tanks. Every warplane will come with a set of modules consistent with its authentic design. Damage caused by crashing into somebody else’s plane will depend on the vehicle’s class, speed, collision angle, and several other parameters. On top of that, the game will feature an extra precise blades damage model good for ramming with pinpoint accuracy. All in all, there’ll be place for effective ramming even for small and light planes.

Are the aircraft going to have realistic service ceilings in game, or will there be a hard ceiling for all?

We want players to feel the action of flight combat. We’ve implemented 3 km of maximum altitude with 10km of real-life atmospheric conditions, making for intense battles. If we had a ceiling of, say, 10 km, then 30 planes would spread all over a battle space of almost cubical shape — 10x15x15 km3, and we don’t want that.

Within the 3km ceiling limit every plane model will find its own height of optimal performance, so it will be of crucial importance for a player to make their enemies fight against them within their altitude.

Given the arcade approach to aviation recently adopted by Microsoft Flight, do you see this as the main challenge to World of Warplanes in terms of opening up aircraft flying to the casual player?

The games are fairly different, and cater to different audiences, so I wouldn’t think of it as a challenge. But I am convinced that both titles will contribute to the overall popularity of flight sims and air combat, each in its way.

Are you going to use the terrain (e.g. mountain ranges) to vary the locations for dog fighting in some of the maps?

Unlike the average flight sim, we’ve created maps featuring various terrain types (urban maps with skyscrapers, maps with canyons, mountains and sea landscapes), giving players plenty of obstructions and breaking up their line of sight. Obviously, players will be able to take advantage of the terrain peculiarities of any map during battles.

Will there be custom paint jobs and will they be visible to other players?

World of Warplanes will feature a great variety of options for customization. Every plane will have about four historically unique camos and you’ll get a chance to place your clan emblems, personal numbers and your victim marks on your warbirds, so that everyone will know who they are messing with.

What match modes will be available? Free for all, team vs team, protect the bomber…?

Players will always have two ways to win: by crashing all enemy planes, or by destroying the enemy base before the enemy wipes off your own base. World of Warplanes will feature several mission types upon release. The main mode will contain two alternative objectives — either to destroy a heavily guarded enemy ground base (the main job of ground-attack planes), or to engage and destroy all hostile machines. In another mode, the escort mode, you’ll have to either follow a pack of bombers or try to destroy them, while an enemy team will have the opposite mission.

In WoT, the Tier 10 super heavies were seen by some to be have been overly influential in the game. Is tier restriction going to be possible to allow the players to restrict the spread of tiers they play against?

It’s hard to say on that one. Restrictions have to do with the matchmaking system, which is still in development. We are still in alpha phase and thus have extremely low online numbers, but once PCCU grows to something more reasonable, we’ll have a basis for the balancer to be built around. This will happen at the ending stages of the Closed Beta Testing, and the overall system of levels will look clearer then.

Most likely, the game will feature 4 ‘groups’:

  • Newbies (tiers 1 to 3) on fairly slow pre-war biplanes
  • Medium-tier battles on WWII vehicles
  • Upper levels with several jet models included
  • Top-gun battles with tier 9–10 jets and prototypes only

Will there be similar historical matches to the WoT re-enactments?

We have a lot of content and game systems that we are still working on, and historic battles aren’t at the top of our list. However, we are thinking about this feature, so you might get a chance to take part in a legendary fight in the future.

Why is there no British faction? Will the Supermarine Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane bombers appear at some point?

Upon release, the game will field around 70 vehicles from three nations: the USA, the Soviet Union and Germany. We are trying hard to include the British into game’s release line as well, but if not, they will be the first group to be introduced after the game is out. Work on the list of aircrafts is still in progress and it’s too soon to reveal the full tech tree. As for the Spitfire, it is a pure legend, a must-have model any flight combat game should feature. We’ll definitely have it in the game, together with other famous British aircraft.

How has the alpha testing gone and when is the closed beta phase going to commence?

The Closed Alpha test ran smoothly and has now almost come to its end. We’ve made several important adjustments based on the feedback we got and we’re now heading towards the Closed Beta phase. Most likely, it will launch in Q1 this year. So stay tuned and sign up!

World of Warplanes is accepting sign-ups for their Global Alpha (not Beta) now. (North American sign-up here, Russian sign-up here)


  1. Bratushka

    26th Feb, 2012 at 9:13 pm

    It will probably be another money grab attempt like World of Tanks- fun at first but then after repeatedly getting one’s butt kicked and a painfully slow upgrade system with a cash shortcut, one starts buying gold and before you know it you have a small fortune invested. World of Tanks got about $100 of my money before I realized I was still a long way off and many $$$ away from being competitive. I doubt I’ll live long enought to gain any meaningful experience points playing otherwise and would see most battles from the burning hull of my destroyed tank. I haven’t been back to WoT in almost 2 months and I don’t miss it.

    No way I will repeat this ‘experience’ in the air. I am quite content with Rise of Flight which has better everything and isn’t like a carnival midway where it’s all designed to separate you from your money.

    • Ilija Djuranovic

      29th Feb, 2012 at 10:18 am

      Good Honest Truth … play4free in your dreams, I didn’t meet sole player to get to top tier without spending lot of money, its not for example, like in Battlefield Heroes where I have minimum 10 friends with top level Heroes without spending a dime …

      P.S. and I play W.O.T. from September 2010 Closed Beta

    • Alex

      29th Feb, 2012 at 10:27 am

      WoT is playable without paying cash for the game and it’s fun. There is a possible “shortcut” if you buy premium, but if you know how to play the game it is un-necessary. And of course the game is free to play, the devs have to implement something for real cash to keep the servers and developments running and the gold system in the game is completely fair. It doesen’t ruin the game in the favor of those who buy. Sometimes it may feel like it but the game is free so don’t complain.

  2. Obliette

    17th Mar, 2012 at 5:30 am

    If it wasn’t for the “wallet warriors” there wouldn’t be a free WoT for the rest of us to play. If you are one of those that believe like @Bratushka who wants to be able to hit the top of the game with as little effort as possible and in as short a time as possible then neither WoT or WOWp will be for you. But if you want to play these games for the fun of and you have the patients to work up to the tops tiers then go for it.

  3. dogfighter

    25th Mar, 2012 at 1:24 am

    wowp is free guys and its planes. that means if you know how to fly and fly good it dosent matter if the guy paid mony for the better guns or armmor as long as he can get on your tail or a clear aim at you then he bought thouse for nuthing. You just go to be skilld at it. In planes levels really dont matter just your skill. plus the guy siad if your flying a tire 1 2 or 3 aircraft you dont get put with the guys in tire 10 plus 1 2 and 3 are bi planes with not much of a diffrence so no one would have to big of a advantige.