Category Archives: World of Warships

Reviewing My 2015 Predictions

Here we are, approaching the back half of the last month of 2015, making it about time for a few “I do this every year” posts.

A graphic with the number 2015 on it!

A graphic with the number 2015 on it!

First on the list is predictions.  Back on January first I published a post with a series of guesses at events of the coming year.  The first set were about specific things I expected to come to pass.  Each was worth 10 points, with partial credit possible.  How badly did I fare there?


  • At BlizzCon we won’t hear about the next World of Warcraft expansion.  Blizz is going to avoid the year long run up to a new expansion and focus on what we’ll get in Draenor in 2016.  That’s the plan going forward; a shorter run up to the next expansion, more focus on the current one, same two year gap between launches.

Well, I was way off on that.  Due to the way that Warlords of Draenor was failing to hold the user base Blizzard couldn’t even hold out until BlizzCon for the announcement, so the year long run-up to launch remains, unless they launch a lot earlier than they have said.  Zero points.

  • Blizzard will also punt on its PLEX-like item idea as foes of the idea in the forums will keep screaming “Diablo III real money auction house fiasco!” until the idea is put back on the shelf.

Wrong again.  Blizz decided they were good with the idea, so WoW Tokens are a thing.  Zero points.

  • BlizzCon will also see the announcement of a new expansion for Diablo III, breaking the “one expansion” trend for Diablo games.

This should have been.  Instead the Diablo franchise was barely mentioned at BlizzCon.  Zero points.

  • Heroes of the Storm will go live, at last, after BlizzCon.

Well, HotS did go live… just about five months before I predicted.  Zero points.

  • Overwatch, though, will stay in closed, invite-only beta in 2015.  We’ll hear good things, but we won’t get anything until next year.

Okay, I seem to be on track with this one at least.  Invite-only beta and not going live until Spring.  10 points.

  • EverQuest Next will not ship in 2015.  At least not by any definition I would consider a real release.  Rather, it will enter the “pay to play our unfinished free to play game” state that has haunted Landmark for the last year.  And it won’t even get to that state until after SOE Live.

I wish.  No word on EverQuest Next… and no SOE live either this year.  Zero points.

  • Push is going to come to shove at SOE, with EQN and Landmark drawing on more in-house resources but not necessarily providing more revenue.  One of the two Norrath games,EverQuest or EverQuest II, is going to get shorted on the expansion front this year.  There will be a virtual box to buy, but it will really be just a features and fixes expansion with no new levels, races, classes, or overland zones.  A few dungeons/raids and the usual set of AA options will be all somebody gets.

You know, this one looked like it was going to be spot on… my prediction wasn’t even dire enough, as SOE-cum-Daybreak was ready to abandon the expansion idea for Both EverQuest and EverQuest II at one point.  And then sanity… and a desire to make money… returned and both game got an expansion.  Zero points.

  • Also on the SOE front, Dragon’s Prophet will get the axe in 2015 and some new Asian import will get its chance.

Well, Dragon’s Prophet got the chop, but no new Asian import has replaced it, so half right.  5 points.

  • GuildWars 2 is going to ship an expansion in a box, virtual or otherwise, that will be the classic “give us money and get new content” exchange that we are all quite used to.  It will be a big win, hugely popular with the fan base, have many jumping puzzles, and ArenaNet will grumble all the way to the bank about how NCsoft made them do it.

I don’t know if there were as many jumping puzzles, but I wrote that just to tease Syp.  Otherwise, I think this is mostly on track, enough for 8 out of 10 points.

  • WildStar will go free to play.  NCsoft has a deal for the China market, so they can’t shut the thing down just yet.  But to get to China I am going to bet they have to go F2P.  And if you’re going to do the work for China, you might as well apply it in the west as well.

This one seems like “well duh” at this end of the year, but back at the end of 2014 things looked pretty dire for WildStar.  NCsoft just shutting it down seemed like a reasonable guess.  10 points.

  • CCP is going to break sovereignty in null sec in 2015 and cause a great upheaval in EVE Online.  Most sov will effectively be dropped and chaos will ensue.  Much mocking will come from other quarters of the game, until the wise realize that all those null sec players need to go somewhere, and it is either leave the game or bunk with them.  Soon the cry to fix null will be universal, just to save the game and everybody’s sanity. CCP will take one of their full five week dev cycles to fix it, but there won’t be any roll back.  Instead they will have new sov mechanics in place and will declare a null sec gold rush/thunderdome.  Hilarity will ensue and it will become one of the great legends of the game we tell to new players.  Meanwhile, the sov map will look pretty much the same at the end of the year.

Okay, nothing that bad happened.  And yet there is a thread of reality in the midst of all of that.  Certainly some old null sec alliances bailed on the whole idea of holding space when Fozzie Sov rolled out and made it far to easy to troll.  And some of them did end up in low sec space, the face of which changed as well.  But the map does look different here at the end of the year.  I’ll give myself one point out of ten for that thread of reality.

  • CCP will sell, transfer, or otherwise hand off responsibility for DUST 514 to Sony, including the employees left working on it.  It will remain connected to EVE Online, so orbital bombardment will remain a possibility, but Sony will be running.  It will end up in the laps of SOE in San Diego which will prompt another round of “SOE is buying CCP!” hysteria.  (But that won’t happen until 2016.)

Nope.  Instead White Wolf got sold off.  DUST 514 still lingers on at CCP.  Zero points.

  • The Elder Scrolls Online will muddle along in 2015, fixing bugs and waiting for the console version to ship.  The console version won’t ship until after summer however, and things will seem somewhat grim as the push to get it out becomes an “all hands on deck” development task, leaving the Windows version to drift for a couple months.

The console versions shipped on time.  I really don’t have a feel for how grim things may or may not be, or if they are muddling along, going downhill, or have seen a resurgence.  Zero points.

  • Funcom will also be in a bit of a muddle as LEGO Minifigures Online continues to under perform.  This will cause a replay of the LEGO Universe fiasco, with LEGO HQ wresting control of the software from Funcom, as they did with NetDevil, leading to about the same result as LEGO runs the thing into the ground and shuts it down.

The Lego Group hasn’t yanked the license from Funcom yet, but LEGO Minifigures Online has continued to under perform.  3 points.

  • Hacking and cyber attacks will be on the rise, and a major MMO studio will be kicked completely offline for a full week at some point during 2015.

I think we got past 2015 without this happening to a major studio.  Zero points.

  • EA’s claim that Star Wars: The Old Republic’s earnings are disappointing is a sign of something.  I expect less voiced content, if any, and more features like Galactic Starfighter, things that can boost cash shop sales.  Double credit if they use my droid battles idea from last year.

EA has taken the opposite tack with SWTOR and is pushing story and trying to force people to subscribe again.  I suppose that says something about the fickle nature of cash shops.  Zero points.

  • At Turbine, things will go as they have been for the last few years, with a slow retreat into its core money making items.  Asheron’s Call and Asheron’s Call 2 will go the way ofEverQuest Mac the first time they need an update for a vulnerability.  A WB exec will order the plug pulled before the end of 2015.  They will be gone along with the pipe-dream promise of running your own server.

I thought this one was in the bag at one point, with AC down for a few weeks.  But somebody fixed it in their spare time it seems.  Their days still feel numbered, but for now, zero points.

  • Likewise, it will be a slow year for Lord of the Rings Online and Dungeons & Dragons Online unless Infinite Crisis is a break-out success in the MOBA world.  It looks like it will be lining itself up against Heroes of the Storm, so that looks like a vain hope indeed.

Well, Infinite Crisis went down almost before it was actually live.  Content wise, it has been a slow year for Turbine.  On the LOTRO front we got a bit more of Middle-earth, but work seemed more focused on server merges and a new data center.  Still, that was more than I expected.  2 points.

  • Brad McQuaid, failing to find a reliable source of suckers funding, will throw in the towel on Pantheon: Rise of the Fallen, leading wags to ask if this was supposed to be the rising part of the prophecy or if it was still part of the fall.

Brad soldiers on, continuing in his quest to relive 1999 yet again.  I just hope he has set his sites on a small target… a world that will feel alive with a few thousand people and a business model that will work for a similarly small number, because it just isn’t 1999 any more. Zero points.

  • Project: Gorgon will finally catch a break and gain traction via early access at Steam.  Some money will come in and allow development to move more quickly.

Well, I am going to declare a win on technicalities on this one.  Project: Gorgon did get green lit on Steam AND some money did come in… it just came in when the third Kickstarter attempt finally paid off.  For that I am claiming 8 points.

47 points out of 200 points possible.  Not a very good set of predictions.

No Shows

The other set from the predictions post was about which titles you might fully expect to ship in 2015, given past statements or promises given, which wouldn’t make it.  Those were five points each, pass/fail.

  1. Line of Defense
  2. Lord British’s Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtue
  3. Camelot Unchained
  4. World of Warships
  5. H1Z1
  6. Star Citizen
  7. EVE Valkyrie

Of that list, I think only World of Warships managed to go live in a form we would all agree upon.   Everything else on that list is still in some sort of alpha or early access or some form of not being actually done yet.  And of those that did not go live, EVE Valkyrie seems most likely to ship next, since it will be bundled with Occulus Rift when it ships.

The rest… I would be hard pressed to guess as to which one would actually cross the barrier and become a live, shipping, salable product.

Anyway, that gives me 30 out of 35 points there, for a total of 77 out of 235 overall.  Not a banner year for my guesses.  But that likely won’t stop me from making more when the new year comes again.

How did you do on your predictions?

The Trilogy is Complete – World of Warships Goes Live’s Land/Sea/Air trio of online action games is now complete.  Today World of Warships takes its place beside World of Warplanes and World of Tanks as a live game, finished in the way that any such game is finished… meaning a team will probably keep working on it for years to come.

It has been a while since we first heard about the game.  I first posted about World of Warships back in August of 2011 when there were trailers for the two “new” games, that and World of Warplanes.


State of affairs back in 2011

Of course, back then it had a different name and seemed to emphasize only the big guns of the battleships that were then part of the title.


Heavy broadsides

I was interested in it back then, when World of Tanks was still new and fresh, though I was wondering how they were going to pull off 20th naval combat.  Combat between battleships of that era, as I mused, was generally an at or over the horizon affair.  The range of the big guns made the idea of laying along side, as in the age of sail, a silly idea.  How was going to accommodate that without either making a map so huge that nobody see the other side or nerfing the guns to unrealistic short range.

As it happened, revised the whole idea and the game was rechristened World of Warships and became a naval combined arms with destroyers, cruisers, and carriers joining the fray.

It has been in open-ish beta for a while now, with keys being handed out pretty freely.  I think I secured a code for the game back in the spring without much effort, and I have played a bit over the last few months.

It is a pretty good game, very much in the mold of World of Tanks; easy to get into and easy to play in short bursts when you don’t have hours of free time.  It might even be a little easier to start playing than its land based sibling, and it is certainly much, much easier to start off in than World of Warplanes.  A decent “other” game for somebody playing EVE Online. (There does seem to be some overlap on that front.)

And I expect it will follow the same trajectory as World of Tanks, with new ships being introduced over time and ships being rebalanced as players discover which ship is the best in each class and which are dogs.  And so it ever goes in such games.

With land, sea, and air covered, will go into space next?

World of Tanks Sees 230,000 Years of Play Time in 2012

And the year isn’t even done yet. sent out a press release about 2012 that included an info graphic with some statistics about World of Tanks.  And, since I like that sort of thing, I thought I would pass it along.

You really need to click on this to see it full size

You really need to click on this to see it full size

Those are some nice round numbers, which means they are probably reasonable estimates, at least if you subscribe to the theory that the more precise a huge number is, the more likely it is to be bullshit.  That particular theory arose from a study of United Nations statistics, where there appeared to a correlation between precision and simply making things up.

Interesting to see that the Soviet KV series of tanks is so popular in its various forms.  And then there is the Type 59 in China, which is still for sale on their server still and is, of course, a Chinese tank.  It is no longer an option in NA/EU.

Type 59 still available behind the Great Wall

Type 59 still available behind the Great Wall

As for next year, has this to say:

Our key objectives for the year 2013 are many – deliver two new online free-to-play worlds, continued the expansion of World of Tanks with creative and passionate new content, and further reinforce our ties with our community,” said Wargaming CEO Victor Kislyi. “We will also continue to explore new possibilities offered by the free-to-play MMO space to provide players with unique gaming experiences and unite as many people as possible in our free-to-play universe.

So World of Warplanes and World of Warships in 2013?

I suppose we shall see.

World of Battleships Web Site Now Live!, makers of World of Tanks and World of Warplanes, now has an official web site up for the third title in their “world” trilogy, World of Battleships.


As with the World of Warplanes site, there isn’t much there yet.  There is some artwork.


I am not sure how representative of the actual game the art is.

Airplanes... hrmm...

And there is a brief overview of the game.

The players have three main classes of ships at their disposal:

  • Aircraft carriers that provide both naval and air support
  • Battleships and heavy cruisers able to scarify the enemy with their looks alone
  • Light destroyers with speed and agility as their strongest points

All the machines have their unique combination of firepower, speed, armor, and endurance. A pack of nimble destroyers will tire out their opponents, huge battleships can batter down any target with a couple of main caliber salvos, aircraft carriers are capable of covering the allies from air or routing an aircraft cell towards the enemy.

I guess that covers some of the questions I asked.  Or maybe not.  Carriers just add to the range question.  And I wonder how carrier aircraft will be handled?

And then there are the trailers they posted earlier in the year, during Gamescom.

So a little bit of information, but a lot of questions are still unanswered.

Musing on Battleships

Battleships have always held a fascination for me.

Certainly as a young boy, seeing pictures and drawings of battleships bristling with armament left an impression.

USS Missouri and USS Iowa

But things martial do tend to attract young boys.

Tanks, airplanes, and battleships all figured heavily in my childhood play, day dreams, and drawings. (Something actively discouraged by most female relatives of mine, yet subtly encouraged by nearly every male relative.  You see how this works.)

And while I might consider myself having missed the golden ages of tanks or airplanes, they still exist and have continued to evolve during my lifetime, if more slowly than before. (The US Air Force flies planes built before I was born and plans to keep flying some of them until after the actuarial tables say I am likely to have passed on.)

But I was born after the age of battleships.

The US Navy maintained a few during my lifetime.  One is parked, in storage, about an hours drive from my home.  It is waiting to be turned into a museum.

Fleets of steel clad battleships though, that idea faded as a strategic force nearly a century back, and even then the battleship concept was never really put to the test.  The list of battles involving battleship forces is relatively short, and the more decisive engagements tend to reflect either mis-match forces or leadership.

On that list there is the one battle that represented the clash of mass naval forces, matched in size, quality, and leadership in the style foreseen by the naval powers of the time: Jutland.

And that pretty much ended up a draw, with both sides claiming victory and pretty much returning to the same state of affairs as before the battle.

So if you study history and want to compare equipment and tactics you are at something of a loss when it comes to battleships.

With tanks you have the western desert and the eastern front.  For aircraft you have pretty much the whole European theater to study.  Battles between aircraft carriers dominated the war in the Pacific.

But for battleships fighting as their creators envisioned, you have Jutland, a battle that spawned many theories but decisions.

Part of this is because the era of the modern battleship was so short, lasting from the late 19th century to the end of World War I and the coming of the aircraft carrier.  Compare this to the age of sail, which ran from the mid 16th century up to the ironclads of the US Civil War and contains a long list of battles to study and compare.

And, likewise, there have been a number of good games representing the age of sail, full of broadsides and laying along side to board.  The actual ship to ship combat was a high point of Pirates of the Burning Sea, which I felt hit very close to the mark in the balance between realism and playability.  Pity about the rest of the game.

And, of course, there is plenty of supporting literature to put you in the mood for wooden ships.  I’ve been through all of Patrick O’Brian and most of C. S. Forester‘s tales, all of which I highly recommend.

So when announced World of Battleships (see, I’m closing in on an actual point here… somewhere) I started thinking about games I’ve played, or at least seen, involving that narrow span of time when battleships ruled the waves.  And they all seem to center around one battle.

I remember being up at The Outpost, a hobby and game store up in San Carlos, and watching very earnest men moving tiny lead models of ships around on a very large felt-covered table, measuring distances and consulting tables and charts, in order to simulate the clash of forces at Jutland.

I recall playing Avalon Hill game Jutland with a friend in a room that quickly turned out to be too small for the effort.  Plus the measurements and accounting took patience we barely possessed, and there was the danger of pets and siblings messing things up.  But the alternatives were more like AH’s War at Sea, which pulled back for a more strategic view and gave little feel for ship combat except in a very abstract sense.

I had Victory in the Pacific as well...

And neither option lived up to Wooden Ships & Iron Men.

More recently I tried out Storm Eagle Studios’ game called, naturally, Jutland.  Imagine that.  It is a 3D modeled simulation of naval combat in the age of the “modern” battleship.  And while it suffered from some of the interface maladies that tend to come with war games from smaller studios (along with some annoying copy protection for just the demo), I probably could have dealt with that had it not been for the scale of combat, something hinted at in the previous two memories.

Getting the camera hauled around to the point where I could see at least a squadron of my ships in some detail meant not being able to see the enemy except as specks on the horizon, or the rest of my own fleet, which was likewise tiny bumps on the ocean surface.

The thing that always comes back to slap me in the face is that, compared to the age of sail, combat with 20th century battleships takes place at pretty extreme ranges.  When the heavy guns of a fleet range out from 20-35km, there is no laying along side or yardarm to yardarm broadsides.

And while battleships are big, that sort of range makes them seem pretty small all the same.  I have seen the USS Iowa from the highway as we drove past Suisun Bay.  It was certainly less than 5 miles away, and it seems unimpressively small at that distance, despite being nearly 900 feet in length.

Which makes me wonder how plans to address this.

As I said about World of Warplanes, the sky is big and it needs to be because WWII aircraft move fast.  They have said they plan for a 13km by 13km airspace in which to fight 15 vs. 15 battles. (Which seems small to me, but we’ll see.)

For battleships the ocean is big and it needs to be, not because they move fast (the best can scoot along at about the same rate of speed as the fastest tank in World of Tanks), but because their guns can reach out and hit just about anything they can see.  A flat 13km by 13km square of ocean would be a battleship bloodbath.

Given’s past game plan, which is quick 15 vs. 15 battles where combat commences very rapidly, I am trying to figure out how they will fit this into the same plan.

If you start everybody too close to speed things up, it is aim, shoot, and over.

If you go for smaller ships, destroyers or cruisers, it then ceases to be World of Battleships.

If you lay things out in real world distances, with the sides out of sight of each other, the match takes a long, long time.

So how do you make a game that involves quick(-ish) action, keeps to a reasonable scale, and yet does not throw realism completely out the porthole?

Tanks were easy.  Warplanes at least have antecedents in things like Air Warrior.  But battleships?

I suppose we will have to wait and see.’s Gamescom Trailers had trailers for both World of Warplanes and World of Battleships at Gamescom.

Both are kind of pretty.  Neither tell you much about the games in question.

I guess we will have to wait for a while longer to get an idea as to what has in mind for these two projects.

With that sort of trailer I would guess we’re at least a year away from seeing either title.

As Requested, World of Battleships

When announced World of Warplanes to add to their World of Tanks offering, I wondered what else we would need.

A number of people said “Naval Warfare!”

And so you shall… Declares Naval Warfare

World of Battleships Weighs Anchor

London, UK, Paris, FR and San Francisco, CA (16th August, 2011) —, the award-winning videogame publisher and developer, announces World of Battleships, a free-to-play naval action MMO based on epic sea battles of the 20th century that will complete the “World of” war trilogy.

Keeping with the best traditions of the series, World of Battleships will offer a straightforward interface, easy-to-use controls, and a common economic system that will allow players to distribute resources between the three games for the ultimate progress in each of them.

The large assortment of available warships will give various tactical opportunities, as all the machines have a unique combination of firepower, speed, armor, and endurance. Various naval maps with changing weather conditions will enrich the gameplay, and the realistic graphics will transport players into the epic battles that changed the course of human history. CEO Victor Kislyi states: “Humans always needed to conquer the elements — earth, water and air. With World of Tanks, World of Warplanes and World of Battleships we will offer players to conquer all, simultaneously.”

About®® is an award-winning online game developer and publisher, incorporated in the UK. Its 270-strong development team is located in Minsk, Belarus. Since 1998, the company has shipped 13 titles, including acclaimed Massive Assault series, Order of War RTS published by Square Enix, and three add-ons for Blitzkrieg II. At the Russian Game Developers Conference (KRI) in 2009 and 2010,® was named The Best Developer Company from ex-USSR. At KRI 2011 the company was awarded Industry Prize and World of Tanks® won the Best Game Award. The company’s headliner project, World of Tanks®, gained the Guinness World Record for the Most Players on One Server Simultaneously. Currently,® is developing the next action MMO, World of Warplanes and a new unannounced project.

Official web site:

Is there anything left for them?

World of Napoleonic battles?