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Following the success of their free-to-play armored combat simulator World of Tanks, is currently bringing to life World of Warplanes, the second entry in their series of mid- 20th-century vehicular combat titles. I recently had the chance to participate in the closed beta test of this new multiplayer air-combat simulator, and I am pleased to say that it is coming along nicely, with an exciting bevy of international aircraft and a healthy balance between rewarding technical complexity and ease of accessibility.

Much like its land-based predecessor, World of Warplanes features a large assortment of historical vehicles to choose from, and places a significant emphasis on the ability to steadily upgrade your stable of war machines to include technology ranging from 1930s biplanes to the prototype jets of the Korean War. As the game progresses, players unlock components that realistically affect their planes’ performance in a variety of ways. For a touch of realism, the hangar has templates for building real-life aircraft—a nice way to become familiar with the properties of each new upgrade, as well as pick up some cool historical details about designations and deployment. It’s also possible to assemble all of the biggest, baddest parts into a gun-bristling war hawk that never was.

The flight mechanics of World of Warplanes (undergoing refinement when I played) are realistic enough to satisfy all but the most hardcore flight simulation fans, while still being approachable for those of us who are inexperienced pilots. Although I definitely recommend a basic joystick for flight control, World of Warplanes also lets players use the mouse and keyboard for a level of control that is robust but relatively easy to achieve. The result encourages the fancy flying and dogfighting that we all hope for in a multiplayer game, while still providing the more nuanced elements of altitude, speed, and temperature for a dimension of flight strategy.

World of Warplanes has bright, clean visuals, and a fun sense of the visceral experience of flying a thundering midcentury aircraft over a living, dynamic battle. Eventually, plans to combine World of Tanks, World of Warplanes, and their upcoming World of Warships into a single land-air-sea battlefield. In the meantime, apply for the beta at, and get ready to have some fun!


Originally published in the April 2013 issue of World War II. To subscribe, click here.