World of Warships is setting sail on Xbox One and PlayStation 4 next year, with the launch of World of Warships: Legends. For Warships veterans, it’ll be a bold new adventure that still feels like familiar waters; for console gamers who never touched the PC version, Wargaming is making sure the experience will be smooth sailing. The developer is “creating a native console experience pretty much from scratch,” while repurposing assets from the PC game.
The FAQ for the game provides a good bit of information regarding the project, but for a fuller briefing, we went to the source. Specifically, we posed some questions to Wargaming that were answered by Development Director Kirill Peskov, who didn’t even make us swab the deck or clean out the torpedo tubes to get answers.
MMOBomb: World of Tanks has been on current-gen consoles for about three years now. At what point did you decide you wanted to do the same with World of Warships, and what did it take to get you there?
Paskov: We could say since World of Warships launched on PC three years ago. Ever since then, our players have been asking “When will you launch the game on consoles?”
World of Warships: Legends is a game designed with consoles in mind. We took our experience from naval games and tailor-made it for the audience on consoles. The battles are shorter and more intense; the teams are smaller, and it takes less time to get into a combat situation.
We also drastically improved the graphics engine, so the game will support HDR and 4K from launch, making the most of the current-generation consoles’ capabilities.
MMOBomb: Battles in Legends are five minutes shorter than in the PC title – many of which, in my experience, go to the time limit or near to it. What are you changing in Legends to make 15-minute battles viable?
Paskov: The game is currently in alpha, so no decision is set in stone about the maximum length of battles. What we’ve noticed is that the average battle lasts between six and seven minutes, as the combat is extremely action-packed. We would rather make battles fit the console audience’s wants: shorter, but more intense.
Specifically, we are altering team sizes to 9v9 (instead of 12v12 on PC), moving spawn points closer to the action, and reducing the map size. All this will decrease the time before a captain gets into the heat of battle and fit more action into a shorter timeframe.
MMOBomb: You’ve said that there will be seven tiers of ships, as opposed to 10 in the PC game. Will they be copies of the PC tech trees cut off at seven or will you be “squeezing” the 10 tiers of ships in the PC game to fit into seven tiers in Legends?
Paskov: When you play top tiers (9 or 10) on PC, your success depends not on how well you can attack and fire, but on how well you understand and read the current battle situation, e.g. where your allies and your enemies are and, most importantly, where you are in relation to them.
This information is crucial to make the right decisions that will lead you to victory. It’s very hard to deliver that amount of information when you’re sat a couple meters away from your TV screen. This is why we limited ourselves to Tier 7 (which is Tier 8 on PC).
On the other hand, this approach requires us to look carefully at the legendary Tier 9 and 10 ships (such as the Yamato), balance them properly and deliver them ultimately to the game sometime after release.
MMOBomb: What languages will be supported at launch?
Paskov: The Alpha launched in English. The main reason for this was the UI development that brought many changes to the texts (which would have been a nightmare for the localization team), so we focused on one language from the start. But now we managed to get a stable UI version, we started localization into Japanese, German and Russian with other languages to follow.
MMOBomb: There’s no friendly fire in Legends. As someone who recently “went pink” for a totally accidental torpedo hit on an ally (I swear!), it’s a welcome change. Is that something you could see coming over to the PC version at some point?
Paskov: There are no plans to remove friendly-fire in World of Warships PC. This is a feature often seen on consoles and players are already accustomed with it. For example, we have the same feature in World of Tanks Mercenaries and players are usually firing at allies to get their attention, not because they intend to damage their teammates.
MMOBomb: Are there any other mechanics (AP/HE shells, fires/floodings, upgrades, etc.) that will different significantly between the PC and console games?
Paskov: The core gameplay mechanics will not dramatically change. Of course, we will listen to the feedback carefully and fix some things to make the gameplay match console players’ expectations. But there are no big changes that come to mind (besides FF).
Meta-gameplay features are a totally different story. We have a chance not to just change the UI, but to rework and simplify almost everything you see in the port. Our linear progression system is a good example – we changed the presentation while keeping the same mechanics (XP/Free XP), uniting upgrades in bundles, and finally improving the user experience when it comes to ship management.
But some of the features will be completely different. The Commander system is one of them. With Legends, we plan to go with a “Hero” approach, where there is a limited amount of Commanders and every Commander has a unique set of skills. Players can choose four of 10 skills that are unique to this Commander and these four chosen skills will drastically boost the performance of an exact class or ship.
This means that players not only need to level up Commanders to make their fleet effective, but also build a collection of these Heroes, creating Commanders for a variety of different warships and classes. For example, there might be a Commander who is very effective for Japanese destroyers, as they will buff their strong characteristics such as stealth and torpedoes, or there might be a Commander who better suits American battleships, and so on and so forth.