There’s not really any story neither is there a single player campaign. World of Warships is about sailing Word War I and II destroyers, cruisers, battleships and aircraft carriers in gratuitous battles with only some token historical backdrop. It’s an online free for brawl. A more interesting story is that of the main developer, Wargaming, based in Cyprus, one of the country’s largest companies and a main contributor to national GDP. It even a large shareholder of the Hellenic Bank. Wargaming is famed for World of Tanks, originally developed for “middle aged gentleman who would love to come back home from work and play a couple of battles alone, with their friends, sons, or brothers”… Middle aged gentleman, how nicely put, that sounds just like me.
Playability: Easy to sink your teeth into and to get sunk
The video game tutorials, the online help (all the controls and simplicity of the game fit on a couple of pages in large fonts) make sailing World of Warships a breeze. Steer your ship around, aim, fire, avoid enemy fire, repeat until you sink somebody or you get sunk. Try to avoid ramming teammates and islands. That’s about it.
Annoyance: Nice ships but blabbering teammates
Within five minutes of playing World of Warships, I had been called an idiot and made fun of… by my own teammates. Comments ranged from the very American expression “retard” to the more universally understood “idiot”. Profanities abound as the vocabulary of the average World of Warship wargamer appears somewhat limited. I shot back a few “cretins” and “nincompoops” which drew muted response. Switching to Asia and Europe servers, the sailing was quieter but the incessant chatter of players became an excruciating annoyance after a few hours. The European Server is still my favourite because it is fun to see French, Russian, German, Spanish and many other languages typed on the screen. I doubt there are many gentlemen playing World of Warships. The seas are populated by the same people who make endless streams of opinionated but ultimately uneducated comments on your average news website. After trailing user forums, I eventually came across a neat no chat modification for the Graphic User Interface of World of Warships. Many thanks to Prehistoric, no doubt, another middle-aged gentleman player, for allowing us to enjoy the sound of rolling waves rather than the juvenile testosterone of our so-called teammates.
Beauty: Big guns, beautiful seas and no blood in the water
The scenery of World of Warships is sedate. You can admire snow on the mountain tops, peaceful fishing villages, pristine beaches as your battleship sinks to the bottom of the ocean. However, there is often little time to enjoy the good looks of World of Warships as one gets thrown into a messy encounter mere minutes after a log in. The game fortunately feels like a sandbox remote control ship experience. I’m glad it’s all very robotic, no sailor, no blood and no floating guts.
The Old Video Gamer’s Prattle: Big ship rumble 6/10
World of Warships is an easy to get into, relatively undemanding, gaming experience. It is fun to sail your mastodon along tiny creeks, provided you turn off the in-your-face gaming chat. Who knew aircraft carriers were nowhere as difficult as sailing as one-design dinghies? The seas and the weather are always fair. There might be the occasional clouds but it looks like they’re spawned to make cruisers look more gorgeous in the evening sun. According to Wargaming, about a quarter of players don’t mind paying. For the sake of this review, I didn’t mind parting with a few euros. I thought they were well deserved for a relatively sleek and playable game. Anyhow the free content could easily keep a casual old video gamer occupied between cups of tea on the main deck.