Independence Weekend Timewaster
World of Warships, the seagoing successor to the massively popular World of Tanks, has launched! Okay, technically it's in "open beta," but the developers have stated there will be no more progression wipes and they're selling premium vessels and currency for keeps, so it's launched. A "soft launch" is, I believe, the popular term.
In any event, unlike the abysmally bad World of Warplanes, I can highly recommend this newest horse in Wargaming's stable. It plays out in an appropriately stately manner, with gun ranges measured in miles, and it's just downright gorgeous to look at; that's a cropped screenshot of actual gameplay you see above. The four basic ship types -- destroyers, cruisers, battleships, and carriers -- all play very differently. There are soft sub-divisons within the categories, as well: light cruisers versus heavy cruisers and battlecruisers versus dreadnaughts, for example. These aren't spelled out as such, but if you're a naval history buff, you'll know the difference.
Carriers actually play as a mini-game within the battle space. Just as with real life carrier captains, your primary concern is to find the opposing carriers and capital ships while keeping your own flat top out of harm's way. If you get tired of the fast-moving DD gameplay, just switch to a carrier and you're playing an entirely different game. There is plenty of variety to keep the game from getting stale. Many players find they have a preferred niche; for me it's cruisers, specifically light cruisers. They just click with me for some reason. I love the old battlewagons, but they take a lot of practice and map familiarity. You have to determine very early on what your sailing line will be and begin setting it up early, as the turrets can take over a minute to turn from one side of the ship to the other. If you get out of position and are ambushed by destroyers and light cruisers, you'll be left with nothing to do but count the incoming torpedo wakes...
As with other games of this type, the progression mechanics apply both to earning better ships and upgrading the ships you already own. In place of the crew mechanic from World of Tanks, there is a commander system with a diverse skill tree. The skills you select for a captain as he becomes more experienced can have a significant impact on a vessel's combat effectiveness, far more so than the crews in WoT.
Why are you still here reading my drivelings? Go go try it out; it's free. Click here to get it now. If you already have a Wargaming account for World of Tanks, you can use the same login. Eventually the gold currency and free xp will be shared between the games, but for now it's standalone. I recommend you go ahead and link them for the future.
Oh, and happy Independence Day to all of my fellow American patriots.