We have been following the development of the alternate timeline RTS game World in Conflict for some time now, but it's only in the past few days that we have actually gotten to play the game hands-on. Even if our build is a pre-alpha version of two multiplayer maps, the Massive Development created game is certain to raise a few eyebrows, especially among gamers who might consider RTS games to be slow.
The game's alternate history presumes that the Soviet Union never collapsed. Indeed, the country's military forces decide to fire up the factories and bring the fight over to the US in a full scale invasion. This isn't some Command and Conquer fantasy world, however. Most of the game's military units are based on real tanks, plans, and weapons - so no Tesla weapons in this game.
Massive Development wanted to make the multiplayer game in World in Conflict much more action based than even their previous Ground Control sci-fi RTS titles. There's no resource gathering in this game, for one thing. Instead, the game uses a points system that players use to spend on their unit purchases. If you accomplish your various tasks in the game you get more points to spend on more units, which are flown in via waypoints that the players creates.
That's not the only thing that makes World in Conflict different. Instead of players controlling whole armies on the battlefields, this game actually lets players choose what kinds of units they will control on each of the two opposing sides (US and USSR) in a multiplayer match. In this respect, World in Conflict is less like a C&C game and more like a team based first person shooter like Enemy Territory or the Battlefield series; instead of controlling one lone soldier with one character class, however, players control whole classes of units.
One player could control the infantry units on a side while another brings up the armored vehicles, while yet another controls the helicopters and so on. It's definately a new way to play an RTS game and thankfully Massive and its publisher Sierra/Vivendi has given new players some detailed video tutorials that go over both the basic RTS commands and the new World in Conflict features. When you play a World in Conflict game with the maximum of 16 players (eight on each side) you can imagine that the gameplay is very fast paced and indeed it is.