GDC 13: Wargaming.net’s Plot to Take Over the World of…Everything

If you haven’t heard of Wargaming.net by now, you’re clearly living under a rock or some sort of subterranean sewer dweller that only comes out at night to seek sustenance. Not only does their premiere game World of Tanks have 55,000,000 registered users, but they’ve doubled their workforce to over 1,500 in a year, acquired BigWorld, Day 1 Studios and Gas Powered Games for millions of dollars and will launch four new games in the next year alone. If they haven’t caught your attention by now (you poor C.H.U.D), they’ll be Venus Fly-Trapping you soon enough. That may come in the form of World of Warships and World of Warplanes, the second and third release in the “World of ____” banner, a mobile offering or new meta-game. We caught up with the company at GDC to get the inside scoop on what it all means.

WoT_Screens_Tanks_Combat_GDC_Exclusive_2013_Image_4

For all the World of Tanks faithful out there, the good news is that it’s not going anywhere. While Action MMOs tend to level off in the years or months following their release, World of Tanks has continued to grow. There’s been about twenty-five content updates since the game came out, with new tanks and modes constantly being added. The team plans to keep building on that, allowing players to rest assured that their invested time will pay off dividends in the future.

Those tired (if even possible) of rolling around in gigantic, treaded war-machines or players looking for more variety, however, will find it in either World of Warplanes or Warships. Warplanes is the company’s next big thing. Still in closed beta, over a million players have participated since its launch, with an open beta said to happen sooner rather than later. Comprising of planes from throughout the history of aviation, not much is yet known about the game, but what we saw of it looked fantastic and akin to some of the top console dogfighters. With 30 player dogfights, multiple classes and weapon/ammo variations, Warplanes should please anybody with the need for speed.

WoWP_Screens_Warplanes_GDC_2013_Exclusive_Image_7

While Warships isn’t playable for media yet, we were able to see some new screenshots and information. It might seem like it’d contain a slow burning type of combat, but we’re told that it’s faster than Planes or Tanks in some ways. Even though a lot of time is spent strategically positioning yourself, when things go down, it gets terrifying. In Tanks, you hide behind trees; in Warships, you hide behind islands. With aircraft carriers, battleships, heavy cruisers and destroyers, there’s a multitude of ways to sail into battle. It’s certainly the most strategic of the three “World” games and seems like it will appeal most to those into RTSes.

If competitive PC games aren’t your bag, perhaps World of Tanks Blitz will catch your fancy. It’s essentially World of Tanks on mobile devices — iOS or Android — with the goal to make it look just as good as the original title. Free-to-play, the game boasts 7 vs 7 PvP battles on the go. Including medium tanks, heavy tanks and destroyers, there’s a wide selection to choose from for even the most hardened Tanks player or war aficionado. We had a chance to play it and both the graphics and gameplay seemed very close to the full PC version of the game.

WoWS_Screens_Vessels_Image_03

Moving away from action-oriented titles, World of Tanks Generals is a free-to-play collectible card game based on its namesake. In World of Tanks, there’s a meta-game called “Clan Wars” that challenges players to vie for control of a global map, earning them gold — in-game currency. Generals builds off that, existing on the same portal as Clan Wars, featuring seven single and multiplayer modes and over  220 unique cards. For those who have no interest in World of Tanks itself, Generals can be played completely independent of it and there’s even been murmurings of producing a physical version. Currently in alpha, no release date has been set.

Wargaming.net has acquired enough talent that they aren’t even sure (or at least announced) where they’ll go next. Day 1 Studios, the developers behind the fantastic MechAssault and F.E.A.R. franchises, are currently working on an unannounced console title. Gas Powered Games, on the other hand, is doing a lot of work on prototyping, looking at new concepts and rebuilding their team.

WoT_Screens_Tanks_Combat_GDC_Exclusive_2013_Image_3

Players will soon be able to have an all-encompassing Wargaming.net account, a sphere comprising of all their games allowing resource sharing between any given title. With all of the titles in development or soon to be released, it’s almost a requirement. After all, with the company going into mobile, CCGs, console games and more, some may soon find themselves spending the majority of their free time with Wargaming.net. Going from one commercially notable game to a stable of addictive, high-quality product is no easy task, but if this is the company’s way of taking over the world, I, for one, welcome our new gaming overlords.