Incredible Video Work

Just wanted to take a moment and highlight the video work of one of Warplanes players from the Russian server. Even if you don’t play planes, I bet you can appreciated the skill at work in his creations. Take a moment to enjoy what he has created here and view some of his others works:

Coming Up For Air

So I’ve spent the last 7 weeks or so deep in the clutches of World of Warplanes. I’ve surpassed the 4,000 battle mark now, and have every line in the game at tier 6 or above (two of them at tier 8 being the highest). But all that was just grinding for a couple of fairly large carrots:

reward planes

The early Mk1 version of the Gloster Meteor (t7 premium) and the Hawker Hurricane IID (t5 premium). I don’t know if we are just on a British roll or what over at the developer studios, but there they are. The Meteor was the reward for a very long and heavy August grind, the Hurricane was the September reward, and while it was a little easier (finished in 3 weeks instead of 4), outside of a few ESO sessions with my brother, that’s been about all I’ve done with my now limited game time.

In the middle of all that, the newest update dropped. With it came the bad (joystick control went through a pretty thorough shift, and many players gave up rather than recalibrate their controls), the ugly (lots of people whined about the changes to ground targets and game balance, though they were sorely needed), and the good. The good was mainly in the form of an amazingly unheralded change to a single tier spread in matchmaker. No more t4’s against t6’s or t6 prop planes against t8 jets. And yet, despite that being the most requested feature, the update caused major uproar.

The good news is that a bunch of new players apparently have found the game more palatable now, and the population, while still fairly low overall, has stabilized. Oh, and the other good thing? This:


While its a Chinese version of the Japaenese army air corp plane, it was a welcome addition and flies quite well. Its become one of my favorite planes.

TL;DR – I’m taking a little break. I’m fairly burned out, and so I’m spending my gaming time for the next couple of weeks on ESO (which has really grabbed me) and on WarThunder’s ground forces, which I continue to enjoy. While it has a few bugs in it still, the game is gorgeous and its hard not to get swept up in the atmosphere of the game and Gaijin’s obvious passion for the content.

shot 2014.08.01 22.15.44

Oh and, hopefully, that means more posting now too.

Hanger Update

So, things have been progressing quite smoothly in World of Warplanes. I still have a spot in the Hall of Fame, though its about 50 spots removed from my peak of 140 or so. But that’s not because my stats have dipped, but rather because population has increased and some new good pilots have joined, so I am happy about that. Even playing as much as I do, I have not made my first tier 10 yet, because I tend to jump around (yes, altitis exists in MOBA as well!).

So, here is my current top tier warbird:

So new it hasn't left the hanger yet.
So new it hasn’t left the hanger yet.

And nipping on its heals, the rest of my leveling garage is almost all one tier behind:

Some of these are bought but untouched...
Some of these are bought but untouched…

And a couple of them are two tiers behind:

But I love them just as much.
But I love them just as much.

And that is every line in the game, save for three:

a) The only Ground Attack line (I enjoy the gameplay, but the line doesn’t interest me)

b) The partial Russian “Derp” line (Yak’s with big cannons, currently at tier 5)

c) And two heavy lines: The Brits (tier 4) and the Americans (tier 6).

Next garage sale I will fix some of that by buying four slots – two for the missing heavy fighter lines, one for the only premium I don’t own yet (IL-2(mod)), and one just in case.

And as for stats, well, this time around I’m a tenth of a point lower in both Win Rate (62.02%) and Kill/Death ratio (2.78) than I was before, but I have two thousand more battles under my belt (3,204), a tenth of those at tier 7, where things get dicey without a flight. And my survival rate has staid the same (43%). The crazy thing? I have less than half as many battles as I have in tanks and more than four times the number of Hero Medals (Top Gun/Ace).

Up next? Well, I need to drive onward to tier 10 (466,300 XP to go!) and pressure is mounting for me to join a Clan. Good pilots are still hard to come by, and I’m getting some invites to fly with the best. As much as I like my independence, it might be time to settle down.

The Merry Month of May

Well, I was gone for about half of it. Nothing bad really, just three separate out of town trips, plus family coming into town twice. And if you have kids finishing one school and moving to another (I have two fitting in that category), then it gets even crazier.

So, I only played one game for most of the month. World of Warplanes was running their “Summer Wind” event, and completing all the missions got you two tier 6 premium planes, 15 days of premium time, and 5 hanger slots. That’s about $40 in goods, for those of you keeping count at home.

And I did manage to “catch ’em all” to borrow a phrase, but it did take a rather humorous ending. I was on a silent prayer retreat most of last week. I snuck down to the retreat center lobby at 1am and played with the speakers on my laptop muted for the last five battles I needed to complete everything.



But as you can see, it was worth it.

So what now? Well, I am trying to slow down a little. I am alternating my two serious games (Elder Scrolls, Warplanes) with more casual game (Hex), and a brand new casual one (Marvel Heroes). And I am saving a couple of nights a week on reading and catching up on some time with my spouse…

Five For Friday: ArcheAges, Hexes, and Planes, Oh My!

So, now that Easter and Holy Week are over, I can breathe again and resume some posting. So this is a bit of a catchup post.

1) ArcheAge is Finally Starting to Appear On the Radar Screen

Some of the fun has gone out of this for me, since I have had an account on the RU server for about a month now. But its hard to play when you don’t know what anyone is saying, so I’m happy to had this game in English finally. I’m not keen on the Founder’s Packs, but I guess that’s how business is handled these days.

The packs themselves are pretty fairly priced, though I am surprised there is not a $20 version (perhaps that will come later?). The $150 version gets you plenty of “credits” ($75), 3 months of subscriber status ($45), a pretty sweet looking glider/flying mount (~$15?), a full armor/cloak wardrobe with options to let you put your own design on them (~$10?), and some random consumables and lockboxes (apparently you don’t need keys to open the boxes?). So there is still no real cost to the testing process (which is good) and if you are willing to plop down the equivalent of a collector’s edition, you get Alpha time as well. If that is too rich for your blood, the cheapest $50 pack is not bad either, though a bit misleading. It says $20 in credit, but the exchange rate on that is lower than the other packs. So really the breakdown is “credits” ($16.67), a month of sub status ($15), and a dumb looking glider/flying mount (~$10). So…yeah, not as good a deal. You are paying a little extra for Beta access in that one I guess.

Which is odd to me – are you trying to push people up the ladder? For a game that has not gotten the reception or hype of other AAA games and has, in addition, the skepticism of being an “eastern mmo” transplant? Wouldn’t you instead want, like $150, $75, and $20 options? For heavy hitters who want to go up, and skeptics who want to taste without getting burned? How is having a $50 minimum package helpful?

In any case, with Zenimax/Bethesda now 11 days into ignoring my support ticket, I am without a staple fantasy MMO. I’m not sure I can swallow another $150 package after TOR, but since I know and enjoy the basic game from the RU server, I could see putting down $100.

2) Hex Digital TCG Enters “Closed Beta”

As of yesterday, Hex is live and rolling. Despite the Closed Beta status, there will be no wipes, and I have 155 regular booster packs and 7 primal packs (all rare/legendary cards) waiting for me. I’m debating how many to open and how many to hold on to for the future. VIP status is not active yet, and none of the PVE game is running, but casual and tournament PvP is live! The game looks and plays great, and even in Alpha was a pretty stable game. Since I am mostly fascinated with the PvE side of the game, I’m still in waiting mode, but its nice to have my for real cards and deck builder rolling, and a chance to play around. I spent $120 on the King status, and unlike TOR, so far I am in the opposite direction – had I the capacity, I would have spent $500 on the Grand King status instead. CZE has really outdone itself with this thing.

3) World of Warplanes Gets Pancakes

Its finally here, along with the P-38 Lightning!

4) Elder Scrolls Was Awesome…for the Five Days I Got To Play It

fern teso

Now its hiding…like a fern I suppose. Anyway, the story behind the story – I ordered the Imperial Edition from Amazon, got my headstart, and then apparently Amazon failed to charge my card and cancelled by order. Without telling me. So now I don’t have the game. And if I buy it now, I don’t have any of the preorder bonuses either. Amazon, which is usually good with these things, has categorically refused to reopen the order, and will not give me any information about which of my credit cards they attempted to charge (or proof that they did so, since I get notified of failed transactions as account protection). Zenimax/Bethesda was originally good, saying they could handle it. I sent them the information they said they needed…and eleven days later, I still stand waiting. I could go ahead and buy it, but its the only real leverage I have to get the preorder bonuses that I wanted. So we are in a standoff to see who is more stubborn. In the interim, they are losing the ~$200 or so from the Imperial Edition and the planned six month sub, and I am without the fantasy MMO that was to be my flagship game this year. So, its a lose lose every day. And yes, I am continuing to contact them, every day. I could call…but its the principle of the thing.

5) EVE Is Apparently Dismantling Hi Sec?

EVE, always good for drama. The key touchstone here for me is that I wanted to start up a small hi-sec industry line (and maybe POS) for income. So now I have to go back to finding something new to do in EVE…or just quit again like I always do.

Officially HoF Material

Well, I crossed the 1000 battle mark in Warplanes last night, and so now its official. I am a Hall of Fame caliber player.

hall of fame

Of course, there is no guarantee I will stay there, as I continue to progress up the tiers, and as the player base gets larger and larger. And there are many categories to be conquered beyond Win Rate. But its the only one of two stats in the overall category that it is possible to make without a significantly larger number of battles (the other is Average Experience, which is not dependent on battles but is dependent on tier – high tiers make more base XP). Mostly its just a fun feather in my cap. I have not done this well in a PvP game since Star Wars Battlefront II, where I cracked the top 900 on Xbox Live – not as high a ranking, but against a significantly larger player base!

Also this week, I have been able to knock down three of the top 100 pilots. They are really, really good, and that is not guarantee I will beat them again the next time we face off, but it does let me know I have a fighting chance against anyone I meet in this game.

And because of that, I feel like I can take a breath now. I have spent the last month anxious to prove myself and trying to train myself to be as sharp as possible in every battle. And don’t get me wrong – that was fun for me! But now I think it will be fun to unbutton a little, try some new things, and see what the new update brings (1.2, rumored to be along shortly).


Time Capsule:

Highest Tier: 6
Favorite at that Tier: P-51A Mustang
Favorite Premium: Type 224 (tier 3)
Plane Most Excited About Getting Next: Yak-1M
Current KDR: 2.89
Current SR: 43%

If you want to join me in the friendly skies, I have codes for you to start off with something other than empty coffers, and I’m more than happy to give you a flight lesson for free to go along with it. The game needs more players, stat, and who knows – the next Hall of Famer could be you.

Well I Would Fight 500 Times…

With apologies to The Proclaimers, I have hit the 500 mark in World of Warplanes. Somehow, despite tiering up and an increasingly competitive player base, I’ve clung to a 60% win rate.

wowp 500

If I keep that win rate intact for the next 500 battles (no easy feat), then that will put me in the top 150 or so players. At least in win rate – and there are plenty of other ways to measure a players skill. While I Ace fairly regularly, I have yet to pull down my first Gurovets model (9+) kills.

To celebrate, and since last night was the last night of the grand sale, I splurged and bought 3 new premiums. I didn’t buy based on what I needed, just on what I thought would be fun to play, and so far, I am pleased with my decision.


That is my XF4U-1, the Corsair prototype. While I already had two tier 5 American premiums, neither of them really fit my style, and I absolutely love my Corsair. Being able to play it on tier 5 rather than the dicey (these days anyway, my real Corsair is currently 0 for 6) tier 6, is magnificent. I just love flying it.

And since that is really my style of play, I could not resist picking up its little brother, the Wildcat prototype, the XF4F-3. At tier 4, it is a dynamic multi-role fighter that I do well with.

And last but not least:

The Bf. 110 C-6. That’s not actually mine though, haven’t screenshotted mine yet. That underslung cannon is a 30mm, and it hits hard at tier 4 where this plane can be found at. I have enjoyed my alpha-tester Me. 210, and this was again a case of buying something that I enjoyed playing, despite having similar options elsewhere.

I did want to get a ground attack aircraft too – while I don’t want to go up the Russian line really, it is a fun style to play and a nice change of pace. But the bottom line is the premium planes aren’t any more inticing than those on the line – I’d rather save my gold and wait until a different ground attack line comes out (hopefully soon).

The same was true with passing on the only German light fighter premium – the Me. 209V just does not fit my style, and I would have a hard time flying it to any real affect. So for the time being, despite wanting a premium for training the pilot on one of my two main lines, I will do without.

But I ramble…

If you haven’t had a chance to try the game, I recommend it. While it is a WG title, it does have a very different (and much less frustrating) feel to it than World of Tanks. Its worth playing a dozen or two battles to see for yourself.

Eurogamer Embroiled In Another Review Controversy

Speaking of winning, here is another scandal right up there with the Darkfall review from ages ago.

Eurogamer sent in Paul Dean to play World of Warplanes and write a review. He gave it a 6/10. He said the game lacked strategy and depth. How much time to you think he spent in the game? 10 hours? 20 hours?

Well, here is his profile on the EU website, taken from the screenshots in the review. As you can see, the account was a week old as of the writing of the review. But the number of battles…

eurogamer fail

Warplanes FAQ says the average battle lasts 5-7 minutes, and that’s about right. So our stellar reviewer played the game for somewhere between 3.5 and 5 hours total. About the same amount of time Adventurine claimed was spent on the Darkfall review back in the day. And there, the reviewer swore he played the game for at least 9 hours. Which would be only be possible here if every game Dean played lasted 12.5 minutes. Yeah, right.

And that’s not even touching the fact that Dean’s stats are well below average – so bad he doesn’t even register in the game’s rankings. Beyond that are some suspect moments from the pictures themselves. One of them shows Dean using his Bf 109B, a high altitude plane, trying to attack a low altitude Japanese fighter, at a mere 300 meters off the deck. Even worse, the screenshot implies that he has killed the fighter, when the game stats on the sidebar make it clear that someone else killed the plane and he just took a screenshot of the explosion!

So we have a bad player, that did not follow even basic strategy that the game itself provides to you in the UI, and who played the game for what can only be considered the equivalent of one or two evenings, has impacted the games intended audience in a significant way.

Any bets on whether or not Wargaming will be responding to this the way Adventurine did?

Which Plane To Take

Welp, the official launch of World of Warplanes is a day or less away. We don’t know for sure because, as has been repeated ad nauseum on the forums for years now, Wargaming has an official “I’ve got a secret” complex where they hide (or, even scarier, don’t know) when the actual launch of their new title will be taking place.

I’ve farmed 94 days of premium, completed my 700 battles (and then some – 944 in total), gotten all the free stuff I can lay my hands on, and am ready for more. There is just one problem. And for me, its a doozie. I really don’t know what lines of planes I’m going to be playing after launch.

wowp test stats 1

I had fully intended first to do the Japanese line. Then I tried my hand with the Russians. And the last few days of Beta I’ve spent training the generally-considered-OP strategy of Boom and Zoom available in the US and German lines.

And I’m just not sure where to go. I figured I would pick two lines, probably one for fun and one for srs bizness – maybe a Japanese (speaking of which – how do we shorten that slang wise? “Jap” is considered somewhat offensive still, yes?) or Russian line complimented with a US or German line. In other words, one TnB (Turn and Burn – horizontal, low altitude fighter), and one BnZ (Boom and Zoom – vertical, high altitude fighter).

Not helping things is the fact that translations of the launch notes on the RU server (which already happened apparently) indicate that BnZ fighters have been nerfed and TnB fighters buffed. So there is some speculation about how this might play out once the game goes live. Its entirely possible hordes of testers will begin flying German heavies only to realize they are no longer the Easy Button of WoWp.

If you didn't get and easy button in Alpha, you can pick this little gem up for next to nothing.
If you didn’t get and easy button in Alpha, you can pick this little gem up for next to nothing.

About the only thing I am sure of is that I intend to steer clear of Ground Attack planes. Unlike in War Thunder, where bombs are king, in Warplanes, GA planes and role is purely secondary, and so your ability to influence a battle is minimal. That’s not to say it isn’t fun, but, amazingly enough, I for once and concerned a bit about my stats and would like to have a care with regards to them from the beginning. Plus the only ones available right now is the endless line of IL-2’s. Meh.

So for the time being, for me, I’m headed for what is both fun and efficient – allowing me a variety of planes without cast iron decisions. That probably means the Lavochkin line, which can open up both the La-15 and the Yak-30, and was one of my favorite lines in testing, for my TnB efforts. And for the BnZ category, the Messerschmidt 109 line, which eventually dumps out into the popular favorite 262’s as well as the under-appreciated P.1101.

But that’s not set in stone. Lately I have come to enjoy the US carrier line and the British heavies, both of which are fine planes even in to the high tiers. See? Even in PvP games I have alt-itis. In tanks I was able to set that aside long enough to turn out my first two tier 10’s – which was actually three with the line corrections they did (something I think they will avoid in WoWp). If I can do that here that will be great.

On the other hand – Warplanes is not like tanks. Lots of players are stopping progression at tier 6. That allows them to avoid all the post war planes and almost all the jets. And I admit, combat at that tier is fun. Once you get into the jet era, combat changes drastically. Movement is faster, timing and reflexes are more important, and the margin for error is thin. It will certainly appeal to some of the best and make for great PvP for the serious player. But for the rest of us…tier 10 may not be a goal this time around.