The British are coming! Or, depending on whether you’re reading this before or after today’s patch, they might already be here.
Wargaming has brought British battleships to World of Warships, and we were lucky enough to nab Community Manager Trevor Smith to talk about this new line of steel behemoths. Fortunately, he was able to take some time out during his afternoon tea and crumpets to feed us some answers.
MMOBomb: Premium ships aside, British battleships are the 16th line of ships in the game, doubling the eight we had at launch. How do you decide what new lines to add, and why did British battleships – a long-requested addition, given Britain’s long history of naval dominance – take so long?
Trevor Smith: The selection of lines to add to the game is based on many factors: how important the line was to history, are there enough ships to fill out a line or at least get very close, is there enough information out in the world to create the ship lines, and are these ships going to be a good introduction for World of Warships?
One of the things that has held up British ships in general is getting the technical information regarding their construction and capabilities from the British government. We are always striving to be as historically accurate as a video game can allow, and as such getting permission to see and use technical documents for a country’s warships can be a little daunting. Once we had those documents, we could start the process of building the ships for the game which takes at least six months from document to in-game.
MMOBomb: What are the strengths and weaknesses of British battleships, as compared to other nations’ lines?
TS: The British battleship line is split into two distinct play styles: In the early tiers your ships are pretty heftily armored and are great for brawling up close and personal with other gunships. The later tiers are a little lighter and smaller, making them stealthier than other battleship lines, which facilitates a more hit-and-run play style.
The whole line features a heal ability that is unique for the nation. The time to fully repair the repairable damage is very short and the amount you can repair is pretty large. This means you can get damaged a fair amount and then escape and heal up a large portion of what you just lost.
MMOBomb: Obviously, you try to be realistic when assigning a ship’s capabilities, such as speed, firepower, armor, and so on. How much do you have to “tweak” things for gameplay purposes, and was there anything about a British battleship that required special attention?
“We wanted to reward our dedicated players with a small boost up the newest line that is coming out, and by doing so we are hoping to alleviate some of the day-of-launch matchmaker issues”
TS: Getting ships to fit into a gameplay-focused space can certainly be challenging. Through multiple rounds of testing, ranging from our QA department all the way to a group of trusted players in our Supertest Program. Using stats and feedback from these tests, small changes and tweaks can be made to make a ship fit in with both the line and the game.
A British battleship that was a real struggle to implement was HMS Nelson. Her play style with three turrets up front (with only two being able to fire direct front) made that ship such a detachment from the line that we decided that she shouldn’t be a ship that you have to grind through to progress in the line. Instead she was added as a free premium ship that is earnable for free experience, which is earned in every match you play.
MMOBomb: You’re making the low-tier British battleships relatively easy to get with a series of in-game missions. Why did you decide to go that route?
TS: Speaking from a stance from NA Community, there were two ideas behind these sets of missions: We wanted to reward our dedicated players with a small boost up the newest line that is coming out, and by doing so we are hoping to alleviate some of the day-of-launch matchmaker issues like having nine or ten of the new tier III or IV ships on the same team.
End of the day, it is a win/win for the playerbase.
MMOBomb: Which British battleship is your favorite?
TS: King George V plays right onto my heart. The turret build is a bit weird (six guns in front in two turrets with a four and two split with four in back on one turret). She has a great silhouette and is actually pretty nice-looking.