Author: Andrey Gashkov, Lead Producer of World of Warships
We gladly present an interview with Andrey Gashkov, World of Warships producer, in which he reveals details of each nations’ development, tech trees, balancing basics and shares his point of view on American and Japanese shipbuilding traditions.
It was announced already that the first nations to appear in World of Warships are the United States and Japan. Why were these nations chosen?
Well, there’s an easy explanation – these two nations possessed the most sophisticated and menacing fleets by the beginning of WWII; moreover, their opposition was the most fierce and profound. Britain had lost some of its authority since WWI. Soviet, German and French navies were generally inferior compared to these two nations.
What are the subsequent nations that you plan to introduce further on?
Well, the majority of them have been announced already. We plan to add Britain, Germany and the Soviet Union (including vessels of Russian Empire age), possibly France and Italy will also find their places. Also, there are some ideas about an “aggregate” team, based on ships produced by other European countries. Lots of countries had their own unusual and interesting ship projects, namely: Holland, Spain, Sweden, Norway, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Greece. Separately, each of the mentioned nations can barely be represented by a number of ships sufficient for a decent tech tree. Put together, though, they may be added to our game.
Can you briefly tell us of the key differences between the two nations, their weaknesses and strengths, specific shipbuilding traditions or warfare tactics?
As was mentioned before, we try to stick to historical realities as much as we can. Both opposing sides had their own unique military doctrine that influenced all spheres, from ship construction to preferred battle tactics. The Japanese fleet enjoyed balanced, easy-to-operate, squadrons. They were the first to illustrate the potential of aircraft carriers, which turned out be crafty night warriors, and their torpedo armament was the best in those days.
The United States, on the other hand, put all their production might toward building up the most technologically-advanced, versatile and reliable vessels. These ships had state-of-the-art equipment (radars and AAA systems).
Generally, Japanese constructors tended to endow their ships with character and individuality, making them close to works of art, whereas American engineers were way more pragmatic. Having run into a successful engineering solution, they instantly churned it out trying to take advantage of it. In the beginning of 1930′s, the United States developed a successful Mark 12 127 mm cannon. Once it showed excellent performance on the battlefield, Americans quickly arranged its mass production. This essentially placed Mark 12 almost everywhere.
All these facts and realities will be reflected in our game.
What are the principles relied upon for selecting ships for tech trees? How are they balanced? As you likely know, Japanese shipbuilding development wasn’t smooth and even. Instead, it witnessed a number of evolving successions. Didn’t that interfere with building balanced tech trees?
There are a number of ships that we cannot help but mention, as they actually left a marked trace in history and peoples’ minds. Among these floating legends are “Yamato,” “Bismark,” “Avrora,” and the “Essex” carrier that is a representative symbol of the American victory in the Pacific Ocean. These ships will be added to the game for sure; it’s only a matter of time before they assume their places in the tech trees.
As I used to say – arranging development trees is both an interesting and a complex occupation. While working on them, one should thoroughly consider the fact that shipbuilding didn’t develop evenly in different countries. For instance, the United States possessed a number of battleships sufficient for parallel tech trees; on the other hand, they lacked cruisers. “Omaha” – a powerful cruiser suitable for tiers V-VI, followed her predecessor “Chester” that was commissioned in 1907. Unfortunately, the United States didn’t build many ships between these two models; that’s why the relevant tech tree turns out a bit hollow. So, we have to deal with partially-built or “blueprint” ships to fill this gap. Our studio even possesses a special department for that. They resemble a real development laboratory, where all documentation is collected such as archives and blueprints that later are used for the virtual assembly of a ship that has never seen reality.
We used this approach while making the Japanese battleship tree. The Japanese “Kongo” cruiser became the successor of an early “Kawashi” dreadnought. The new vessel was superior in many aspects, but actually there was a significant gap between the two ships. Digging into archives revealed that there was an early “Kongo” project, featuring weaker 305 mm cannons. This prototype fit our purposes perfectly.
Actually, we always tend to provide a smooth increase of firepower and other characteristics across the tech tree; ship selection is quite thorough, while trying to leave logic of the whole process transparent for end users. Not every player realizes what it takes to increase a cannon caliber, say, from 305 mm to 356 mm. The exterior of the cannon will barely show a significant difference. Actually, the energy of a shell is proportionate to its caliber raised to the third power, so a couple of lucky shots from 356 mm barrels would be far more effective than dozens of 305 mm. This is even more real in naval warfare where everyone’s maneuvers and firing range is long.
This Saturday, January, 25th we will issue an article that will reveal World of Warships balancing principles and describe the historical battle mode.