It's high time we share details regarding the next big World of Warships update. Version 0.3.1 is a new stage in development of the game: It brings Japanese aircraft carriers and American battleships, additional in-game functionality, some necessary balance adjustments, and upgrades awaited by many testers. Let's have a look!
As ever, the game is still under development and the information in this bulletin is conditional and reflects the state of the prototype at the time of publication. Changes and innovations mentioned in this bulletin may be absent or implemented in other fashions by the time the game goes live. Screenshots, statistics, and details for in-game mechanics may not be accurate by the time the build is put into the hands of our testers. Testers can expect to see a full list of patch notes in the CBT news section, once they're available.
Japanese Aircraft Carriers
Fans of Imperial Japanese Navy aircraft carriers can, at last, rejoice! An imposing fleet of CV's are soon to be at your disposal: Hosho, Zuiho, Ryujo, Hiryu, Zuikaku, Taiho, and Hakuryu. Faster and a slimmer than their American counterparts, these ships are meant for aggressive but well-coordinated attacks. Their ability to rapidly prepare and launch air groups, as well as their large number of those squadrons, enable devastating attacks. The IJN CV's are able to launch huge numbers of planes, but the aircraft count in each squadron is lower than those from the US ships. This can sometimes leave the IJN air groups open to enemy fighters and AA if not properly supported.
Hosho (pictured below) is the first Japanese aircraft carrier in the branch. This ship participated in the attack on Pearl Harbor, protecting the main forces, and in 1942 it was a training carrier of sorts. Hosho will also serve as an early trainer for would be Japanese CV masters!
Ryujo (pictured below) is the tier VI Japanese aircraft carrier; its double-deck hangar is a distinguishing feature.
One more note for aircraft carriers: In the US branch, we removed Saipan and put Independence in its place, and we've added mighty Bogue to the vacant spot on the tree.
Captains with a preference for the US tree have reason to celebrate as well: Michigan, Arkansas, New York, New Mexico, Colorado, North Carolina, Iowa , and Montana have joined the battle! These threatening battleships have more than a few advantages: Heavy armor, excellent anti-aircraft batteries, and enormous primary armament. They can't have it all, so expect a slower acceleration and top speeds. These stars and stripes wearin' cowboys don't mind; let the speedy enemy cowards run away and the brave (foolish?) ones stand and fight. Then fall in a hail of gunfire!
Tier V battleship New York (pictured below), in service 1914-1948, will be a worthy adversary for Japanese Kongo. New York boasts ten 14-in (356-mm) guns and rather good armor for her tier.
Legendary Iowa (pictured below) will please its commanders with excellent combat characteristics and an unforgettable profile!
These powerful additions to the US fleet are sure to make a splash. In other battleship news, we've moved Izumo to the tier IX slot on the Japanese battleship branch; a slot previously left empty. The tier V Japanese cruiser spot has also been filled with the splendid Furutaka.
Armor and Other Balancing
Along with all the new combatants mentioned above, we're ready to introduce another suite of balance changes to the game. Some of these changes are in direct response to player requests and feedback. In other cases, they're simply another layer of complexity we're adding to the game.
Armor: Many testers voiced concern that armor played an insufficient role in combat. Having studied the feedback and compiled huge volumes of damage statistics, we've decided to make some alterations to damage calculations. The models now take into account the internal physical structures and plating within a ship. This provides a moderate defense boost for a number of cruisers and battleships.
Maintenance and Repair: As you know, due to its enormous armament and potential threat to the enemy, a battleship is a high priority target. In the update to version 0.3.1, we're readjusting the damage control ability that's available to battleships. Its duration will be slightly longer, but it's recharge rate will be slower. This change, we believe, will modify the scope of the ability and will enable longer staying power for battleships involved in intense individual engagements by defending against module damage, fires, and flooding within a battle.
Shells: Version 0.3.0 is known to have substantially tilted the effectiveness of Armor Piercing and High-explosive shells toward AP. We'd like to see both types of shells on a more equal footing, rather than having one be the obvious favorite for all captains in all situations. We've removed the kinetic damage of AP shells in cases of ricochet and non-penetration, and we've increased the speed lost by AP shells in water. HE shells' arming speed was increased, but it'll now be much more effective when firing at lightly armored targets since the shells do not have the ability to over-penetrate (passing through the enemy without causing very much damage). Expect to see more damage from HE shells in general, but splash damage will only affect modules nearest the point of impact. We believe these changes will add more complexity, and hopefully more tactical variance, to gunnery within World of Warships.
Destroyers: Detection of torpedoes by aircraft has been a problem for high-tier destroyers. In the update to version 0.3.1, we've reduced torpedoes' visibility from the air. This should allow destroyers to use their primary offensive tool without having to get dangerously close to the enemy.
High-Tier Cruisers: As an experiment, cruisers Ibuki, Senjo, Baltimore, and Des Moines will have access to the maintenance and repair ability previously only available to battleships. We're going to track its use and effect on game statistics. Woo! Science!
Aviation: Torpedo and dive bombers that have dropped their payload will now fly faster! This was a pretty logical step and very useful for CV players. Waiting for aircraft to return is, naturally, not one of the most exciting aspects of playing a carrier. Reconnaissance planes also underwent a few changes: Their patrol radius has been increased, enabling more distant flight range and thereby a better ability to notify of danger.
Ship Movement: In addition to the all the other changes we've made, we're addressing some concerns we've had with ship mobility. We've made a systematic review of all parameters that go into determining a ship's handling. Now, turning radius is more dependent on tonnage, engine output, and most importantly, the linear dimensions and proportions of the ship. Long narrow ships will generally have a larger turning circle, but a more abrupt rudder deflection will compensate for this. Broader ships like St. Louis and Kawachi will need a relatively smaller space for turning. Additionally, ships having less tonnage will reduce their turning radius when moving at 1/2 and 3/4 speed.
Other Ship News: We've catalogued huge amounts of individual ship feedback from our players and we're actively trying to investigate them all. The Kitikami, an excellent but fragile ship, has received a smoke generator. This should help with its survivability. The primary armament rating for Yamato has also seen an increase, and we've swapped Mogami and Myoko. We've also improved the firing rate of Senjo (now named Zao). And finally, the US ship Baltimore received an increase to its rate of fire.
Signal Flags and Achievements
An important new feature introduced in Version 0.3.1 is a system of achievements and flags. Derived from real pennants and signal flags, these earned consumable items provide a way to show one's battle achievements, customize the look of the ship, and add bonuses to a ship's capability! By accomplishing missions and obtaining achievements, players will earn sets of signal flags. There are 10 types at the moment; each of them can be awarded once per day. Players can place the collected signals on any ship; aircraft carriers have four slots for this purpose, while the other vessels have eight. Each type of signal affects the ship's performance in a particular way--from giving extra credits for a battle, to slightly enhancing the ship's maximum speed. It's best not to think of them as powerful upgrades, but a sign of the crew's experience and high skill, their bonuses are present but slight. All the signals mounted on a ship are consumed after the battle's end. Let's use an example of how it works by putting Several signals on the Premium cruiser Atlanta.
Four more slots remain free for further adjustment!
To begin with, let's try to further increase the ship's profitability by cutting repair costs and raising the amount of credits earned with the help of the Zulu and India Bravo Terrathree signals.
We will also enhance the potential amount of experience to be gained and boost the Commander's development using the Equal Speed Charlie London bonus:
And finally, we slightly increase maximum speed by installing the Sierra Mike signal. Maintaining proper distance is crucial for our cruiser; many enemies will try to disengage from us and utilize their advantage in firing range:
We believe this system will allow for a great deal of diversity, and we plan to further develop the signal flag concept in future updates. How do you obtain these flags? By earning achievements!
Similar to achievements in other Wargaming projects, these highly sought after accomplishments are issued for various preset conditions and are accumulated on a player's profile. While not earth shattering in their impact, they're linked to signal flags.
Below, you'll can see what the current achievement interface looks like for a player's profile.
Achievements will yield gift boxes. A gift box is an element that will contain items that players will find very useful--for now only signal flags. In the future, players will receive boxes containing all sorts of things; some used in battle, some used in port, and other goodies that we can't yet reveal.
Some of the achievements, as you begin to sift through their requirements, will seem impossibly hard to achieve. Don't sweat it! We're still in a testing phase for World of Warships, and version 0.3.1 is the first iteration that will enable us to collect statistics for fine tuning these features. They're intentionally difficult at the moment, and we'll incrementally rein them in to find an ideal balance between challenge and reward.
The game's sound effects, last updated in version 0.2.3, have been profoundly enhanced. our team has given a high priority to refining the immersive qualities that come with a stellar sound profile. Not only is sound great for getting players into the atmosphere of the game, but there's a lot of valuable information that can be conveyed. The general principle for our sound design is: More modules, more diversity, and more interactivity. For instance, voice messages are now accompanied by a music background which suggests a feeling of how the player should perceive and engage with the information relayed in the message. Obviously it's a good thing when a control point is captured by allies, and a bad on when the enemy does it, and a subltle musical cue reinforces that.
One of the elements that our team is most proud of is the updated sounds of weapon fire. By implementing a modular system, each shot now consists of three unique parts. We've essentially personalized the primary armament of every ship. Bigger guns, bigger boom!
Yep, we're listening! Beta testers have shared their feedback that they've had trouble with both clumsy commanders and deliberate griefers. We've analyzed a lot of the available statistics and are prepared to launch a system that penalizes friendly fire. When the first few bit of errant fire strike an ally, that player pays the damages (repair costs) with Credits earned in that battle. If the friendly fire continues, then the player will be marked as a team killer, easily identified with their in-game name turning pink, and will have their battle capability immediately reduced to half. If they still persist, they'll automatically be banned! Upon returning, they'll have to go many battles without damaging an ally before they're back at full fighting capability.
Update 0.3.1 also brings a new high-tier map, named Hotspot. Available for both Standard and Domination battles, this map is dotted with volcanic islands. The map's key feature is its respawn system. Each team is divided into two groups which emerge from opposite corners. We'll have more details about this map and features to share at a later date. For now, take a peek at the preview image below!
Something else to note about this map is that eagle-eyed players will see some of the early work we're doing on shallows -- areas where large ships won't be able to go, but lighter ships will. For now, the shallows are merely cosmetic.
Erie (pictured below) is traversing over some shallows. Pretty, no?
Helping newcomers learn to play the game is a priority objective for us. Despite the account development system, new commanders are often baffled by the overload of information in the game. In version 0.3.1, we are launching a special training mission for newcomers to the Beta Test. Since we do not need mass testing of this new feature, newcomers will only have a small chance (randomly selected) to start with the training mission. That's why we'll be asking those who actually get this opportunity to share their impressions with us by filling out an accompanying survey.
In version 0.3.1, we've start experimental tests of a script protection system intended to guard against undesirable modifications and ensure the client's security. This will be a long process, requiring constant adjustments and numerous updates before we reach a final solution. Be advised: With the introduction of version 0.3.1 most mods will stop functioning or require profound revision. Unfortunately, at this stage, the effect will impact some of the good, useful mods, but we plan to gradually build up channels of communication with responsible mod makers and even collaborate with them, providing them access to the relevant data.
That's all for today! Be sure to share your thoughts for the preview of 0.3.1 in the forum.
Thank you for staying with us!