So I have been curious as to what the rewards planes might be. Players need 700 battles and I’m wrestling with whether or not its worth the time to get them. I think it probably is though. Every time I pull out my WoT reward and preorder tanks, I get a lot of comments and favorable reaction. But in the WoWp preorder bundles there is a disclaimed that those planes may be put back into the shop after 1 years time – different from the WG preorder bundles which were designated as unique for all time.
So if I want the same fun factor (and lets face it – chance to get ego-stroked in game in the future), I need those 700 battles. Supposedly I only played 19 games before Open Beta – but I firmly believe that total does not include my Alpha battles. I played a good chunkc of battles in Alpha, and even got a hold of a joystick so I could test that out as well. I could see 19 being for my closed beta run, which was a brief two day stay to confirm that nothing had changed (at the time). In any case, its all I have to go off of, and my math tells me I need to grind 32 games a day between now and release to hit 700. Tough, but doable. Certainly better than the 50 a day I needed to hit 1000 games in WoT, though in this case the heads up came further out. So 50 a day for 6 days was probably easier than 32 a day for 21 days. Activate grind mode.
So what are we grinding for? Well, Wargaming says that people “will have access for up to three unique tester aircraft (the specifics of which will remain a secret for now). Suffice to say that these planes herald from the Soviet, German, and American branches of aviation development, two of them are fighters, and one is a ground attack aircraft.” My immediate guess is that you get one aircraft per phase (Alpha, Closed Beta, Open Beta). I could be wrong, but I am going to work off that assumption.
In addition, Wargaming has also hinted that these planes are already in the game (“…we can’t say what they are yet, but you’ll enjoy them, and might be enjoying some of them already *hint hint*”). So let’s see what we have, shall we? Lets start with the clearest one:
So those are the current Soviet Premium Aircraft. We can eliminate the two fighters, because one of the reward planes is Ground attack, and Soviets are the only group that has access to those planes at the moment. Somewhat like arty in WoT (down to the brown icons) these guys carry lots of ordinance and big guns, but are bad at air-air, unless you can cat the enemy head on or flying in a straight line, in which case your guns will make short work of them. Like in WoT, anything other than a Light fighter is tier 2 and up.
The tier 1 premium immediately sticks out. WoT has no tier 1 premiums. And the idea of a dedicated seal-clubber (ie, making short work of new/unskilled players) is somewhat repugnent, but it becomes less so if you consider that as a reward plane there will be a) very few of them and b) a solid warning to other players that something is up with *that* guy. As an attack plane its a great seal-clubber though – new players tend to go head on, as its easiest, and this would make short work of anything at tier 1 with somewhere between 2 and 3 times the DPS of other tier ones. There are some other reasons too – the low tier regular attack planes are difficult to fly, so a tier 4 premium would be very desirable. And really thats the only other choice since the 3 is a preorder (see below).
Now it gets harder. Lets look at the US planes:
Now, when WG said the other two were fighters, does that include carrier-based? Probably, given that technically the Soviet ones are Attack Aircraft, not “ground attack” – so there is some imprecision on the exact naming conventions. Here I think we can eliminate the tier 5 preorder (the XFL-1) because handing players a “reward” that some of them have already spent $100 to obtain would be rage inducing, and WG enjoys that, but not when money is one the line (and this game needs money, which means it needs happy players). That said – my guess then becomes the 2PA-L.
It could be the tier 2 carrier plane – but if so, we have no premiums to train carrier based US crews with – and that is going to be a popular line. Tier 4 is a little high for a reward plane, when $100 gets you a tier 5, but I think its a real possibility. Also since it has a two person crew – nobody will actually *buy* this for crew training anyway, not with the XP-77 being so close in price. So its a bit of a fun oddball plane. Perfect for a reward craft.
Last but not least – the German planes:
Again we can toss out the preorder and probably the heavy fighter as well. It runs parallel to the rest of the line and would make sense as a crew trainer and good sell. And if we do that we are left with the tier 2 and the tier 5. My only angle on this is that if the tier 5 fighter is for sale, this would be each of the big three a tier 5 premium fighter. Not to mention that as it was an alternative to the Bf109 series in real life, it will fly much like the main line does. The tier 2 on the other hand, the Stosser, is a unique parasol wing and a harkening back to the beginning of the Luftwaffe. A fitting reward plane.
The only other question is who gets what. It could be an ascending reward – the tier 1 for Open Beta, the tier 2 for Closed and the tier 4 for Alpha. It may be wishful thinking on my part, but it makes sense because then you don’t take away the market for those tier 5 premiums (since there would be a lot fewer of them than if you gave them to all the Open Beta people) at the start of the game, leading to more sales and money. Open and Closed people might complain – but its hard to complain with WG has given you a dedicated seal-clubber at tier 1 for launch, to take advantage of players who did not do any testing. Open peeps get a leg up right out of the gate, Closed peeps get a unique historical plane as a souvenir, and Alpha peeps get a solid premium that will get them some credits but isn’t useful for training in the long term.
Seems to make a lot of sense. So, set the clocks, bury the time capsule. And come back in three weeks to see if I was right.