Summary: You've read Jakub proselytizing World War II Online's virtues in the past, and now's your chance to try it out for yourself. FiringSquad is proud to present a 2-week free trial of the game, complete with primer (in this article) and four exclusive screenshots of the Tiger and M10 Wolverine! Be sure to check out our Beginner's Guide and patch 1.18 coverage!
Visit www.wwiionline.com and click on the FiringSquad free trial offer- be sure you use the promo code, ‘firingsquad’.
It is somewhat difficult to get into - the concepts in World War II Online are foreign to standard online shooters and MMOs alike - but it's clearly worth it. Imagine if the battles in Battlefield 1942 had a point. Each of these battles would be fought over towns that could be captured and then used to stage the next attack or a new line of defense. Certain towns are in actuality huge cities like Brussels, Antwerp or Luxembourg, and contain many army bases from which to spawn from. Others contain strategic assets like airfields or naval docks.
Imagine if, rather than relying on hitpoints, the tanks and vehicles used physics and location-based damage. So that it didn't matter how many times a 37mm gun hit your Sherman, unless it hit the tracks - or if you had to work to flank the mighty StuG III G. Consider the historical strengths and weaknesses of the various units, and what you can exploit about your foe. A Focke Wulf 190 fighter dives excellently, is fast in level flight and has an amazing roll rate, but is terrible at turning. Meanwhile, the Spitfire Mk IXc has the best climb in the game, is almost as fast as the 190, has an excellent turn, but its roll is poor and its controls get sluggish in a dive and can eventually lock up!
Now take all this and put it in a pitched battle for a town. Each side is likely to use up its armor quickly in the initial stages, so they'll both try to resupply from rear towns by driving the tanks from far back. Opposing players know this and can position themselves on resupply roads to try and stop or at least slow down the resupply effort. The resupplier, trying to get to the battle as fast as possible, will doubtless take the road and by necessity be less aware of his surroundings, while the supply cutter and position himself anywhere and strike with surprise. Attackers, who often face a large number of anti-tank guns at the defending town and thus need more tanks, are smart to resupply before the battle starts. This, however, leaves them with a tank-heavy assault force and once those tanks are gone, it's an even longer resupply route.
Aircraft will almost certainly be present overhead, strafing and bombing ground targets or fighting each other. When you're on the ground, being strafed, it never feels like you have air superiority and you keep wondering where they're all coming from. When you're in the air, you're always worried about the enemy being higher and faster than you, and you hope not to die because you don't want to fly from a far rear airfield because aircraft are relatively rare.
More than any other game I've played, World War II Online has a sense of something at stake. That tank you're taking out, it means something - it is one of a limited number at your army base and won't be replaced for 4.5 hours unless you or someone else resupplies that tank from a rear town. If you lose your tank in combat, odds are you won't get another during the same battle, unless you want to go resupply. It's off to infantry or driving trucks for you!
Initially you can log in as either Axis or Allied. Axis players are limited to a pure-German spawn list and while they have more variety than the British or French individually, there are fewer kinds of Axis toys than Allied in general. Once you log in, you are committed to your side for two hours after you log out.
After logging in, you'll see a map of northwestern Europe that will likely have some flashing squares on it. Double-click one of these locations. Those flashing squares, at maximum zoom out, indicate combat areas. Double-clicking zooms your view in on the map, which you can left-click drag to view. There are some checkable boxes on the right-hand side, that say "Civilian", "Army", "Navy", "Airforce" and "Depots". These icons indicate what is and is not shown on the map. Typically, civilian buildings like bridges really clutter the map up so it's a wise idea to click them off. You're also not likely to play navy, so you can click that off as well.
Once you select a town, more icons will pop up around it - these indicate the specific civilian, army, naval, etc. bases there. Other than bridges, all objects can be captured. To capture a building, you need to find its CP or, in the case of an airfield or army base, bunker. Inside the CP building will be a table. Stand by it and don't fire or move for about a minute or two and it will be captured - assuming you don't get killed in the meantime. You should see a capture progress bar - but we'll cover the rest of infantry play later.
First, you need to spawn in, and to do that, you need to know where to spawn in. Any old town is not likely to see action, especially not one in the rear lines. There is an EWS - or Early Warning System - that indicates enemy/friendly presence at a town. These will be flashing infantry, tank, aircraft and ship icons. If the town is friendly and those icons are flashing, that means that enemies of that unit type have been in the area recently. Note that air only indicates bombers - fighters don't set off EWS. Now, the EWS may be going off but unless the town is either an Attack or Defense objective, there isn't necessarily action going on. An attack objective (AO) obviously means your job is to attack the town. It is a yellow circle with red arrows pointing inwards. A defense objective means the opposite - defend the town. It is a yellow circle with green arrows pointing outwards.
If you're going on an attack objective, you're probably going to spawn at an FB - a forward base or "fire base" as it's sometimes known. These are special structures that appear in between two hostile towns. Only one side can own the FB between two towns at any given time. To reclaim ownership, it needs to be blown up by using satchel charges from sappers. An FB is sort of a teleport from the host town's army base, and makes all the units available at the army base, spawnable at the FB. This shortens the trip between towns considerably.
Where do FBs appear? Each town has depots that are named after neighbouring towns. If one of these neighbouring towns belongs to the enemy, the town becomes a frontline town and an FB pops up. Let's assume you're playing French and see that Cambrai has a Defense Objective on it. You look around and see that Caudry and Bouchain are nearby towns that belong to the Axis. To check which FBs are open and who owns them, you can click on Cambrai, press Enter to open chat, and type ".fb cambrai" (no quotes). The chat display will likely say something like "Allied: Caudry-Cambrai FB". This means that your side owns the forward base to Caudry. But where is the Bouchain FB to Cambrai? There is none. Even though Bouchain is near Cambrai, neither town has a depot named after the other, so there can be no FB between them. That doesn't mean an attack can't be launched from Bouchain to Cambrai, just that it's much less likely since the travel distance is considerably greater. In some cases, even though towns have depots to each other, there won't be an FB. This is usually because the distance between them is too short.
To see an FB to the enemy town, you need to make sure "Army" objects are visible, and then select the town you'll be attacking from. Assuming your side owns the FB, its icon will appear on the map and you can double-click it.
Sometimes, especially on an attack, the missions will have a black/green truck icon near them. This means that a Mobile Spawn, or MS, is set up. An MS is a truck that has gotten within the proper range (not too close, not too far) of its objective and deployed. Infantry can choose to spawn at the MS instead of the firebase, greatly reducing their distance to the town. This is one of the recent and very welcome additions in the 1.18 patch. Infantry from an MS come from unpredictable locations, and the MS itself is usually in some sort of cover. A good idea is NOT to run straight to town (you'll only give away the location of the mobile spawn), but to diverge. Typically, your objective is to capture a depot or civilian structure of some sort. However, it's a good idea to knock off anti-tank guns (shoot their crew, or better yet, throw a grenade) and anti-aircraft guns. Be careful, since both can roll you over.
As infantry, you're usually helpless against a tank unless you're a sapper and you know where to place the satchel charge. Don't bother wasting grenades and rifle rounds on it - you won't do any damage. It's a good idea to kill the commander of the tank if he pops the top though. A better idea is to notify those on your objective channel. Describe the location clearly, like "Sherman 400m E of town, near Caudry CP", not "Sherman" or "omg he's on me".
This brings us to the chat system. It's... limited. You can only type one line at a time. There are 4 channels that can be tuned. Two, the Objective and Mission channel, are tuned by default. Sometimes, if you didn't choose a mission, you'll only get the Origin channel - in this case just despawn and find a mission, then respawn. If you want to tune more channels, press ctrl+c to bring up the mouse cursor, select the channel list, click one of the empty boxes, and tune one of the channels. For example, on Axis, channels 18 and 28 are for the Luftwaffe North and Luftwaffe South, respectively (Allies it's 55 for RAF and 90 for French Air Force). Most channels are squad-reserved or used for attacks.
In chat you may see global messages that say "Cambrai defenders needed, OIC badger77, chan obj/41" - meaning that the channels are objective (for those that spawned with Cambrai as the target of their mission) and channel 41 (for those with a different objective - typically flyboys bringing in air support). Even if you are on the proper objective channel, it's a good idea to tune 41 and send messages on both, to keep those without the proper objective informed. Do not overwrite your objective channel.
To send a message, press F1 to tune the first channel, F2 the second, F3 the third and F4 the fourth. You can also send messages to those in the local area (40 meter radius) by pressing enter and then typing. Be careful since that lets the enemy know you are near, though they can't tell what you're saying since the chat text is garbled.
If it was late in the game, we'd be seeing more famous vehicles, but fewer newbie rides. The RDP system - Research, Development, and Production - has of course focused on the latest and greatest toys. These are tanks like the M4A2 Sherman, Crusader III and Pz IV G, or fighters like the Lockheed 322-15 (AKA P-38F Lightning) and Focke Wulf 190A-4. Unfortunately, due to the rank system, this equipment isn't available until you are ranked lieutenant or higher in both your army (ie French, British or German) and the specific field (navy, air or ground). You can gain rank quickly by taking P1 missions as an infantryman, surviving 10 real-time minutes and despawning, but this is dull and it doesn't prepare you well for how to use the equipment.
You're best off joining attacks as a rifleman, watching how the game works and shooting some enemy infantry. Pay attention to how tanks move and attack, how anti-tank guns defend against them, how air power affects the game and what CPs need to be captured. Infantry work is difficult, likely to get you killed and rarely rewarding - but the day you cap that spawnable depot, you're king. Spawnable depots, incidentally, are the depots in an enemy town that are linked to friendly towns. Once they're captured, friendly infantry can spawn in the buildings and flood the town. Thus, they're the most highly-guarded areas.
If you do insist on taking a tank, boat, or aircraft out, you'll definitely need a joystick. I'd love to write a tanking, flying or boating guide, but the intricacies and possible situations are too deep for this article. Just suffice it to say that if you're in a Vickers or Panzer IIc, and in front of you is a big enemy tank, you're not likely to kill it. The game uses physics and real-world data to calculate the odds of penetration and the kind of damage you can inflict. A Somua S-35 tank with its 47mm gun and thick armor is deadly to a Panzer II, just as a Pz III F chews a Vickers up for breakfast. There are no "hit points", so it doesn't matter how many times the Panzer IIc's 20mm gun hits a heavy tank.
Of course, learning these intricacies is what makes the game so addicting. Knowing that of all the Axis tier 0 tanks, only the newbie's Pz 38(t) can kill a British Matilda by shooting at the humps on the top of its rear at close range, is a great advantage. Players have to learn spots to shoot, judge likelihood of penetration based on angle and guesstimate the range of their target. Feel free to ask around - the player base is very friendly. It's also good to join up with a squad, especially if you feel comfortable using Teamspeak and have a microphone. It makes all the difference in the world, both in terms of game immersion and your capability on the field, as well as their ability to train you. Most squads are recruiting and hungry for new members.
Finally, if you do take a vehicle out, you need to get a kill and then return to base (either a forward base, army base, a friendly airfield or dock) and then despawn. That's the only way to get a mission success, unless you're infantry, a bomber or transport. Those gain mission successes by simply staying alive for 10 minutes and despawning in the proper area.
The development schedule also has new vehicles in production including some new armor - Enter the Tiger!
Yes, the mighty though perhaps somewhat-overhyped by popular history Panzerkampfwagen VI Tiger will finally roll into the streets of France. These tanks offer as much as 102mm of protection frontally, with 80mm on the sides, and a giant 88mm gun. On the downside, their turret rotation will be very slow (1 minute to make a full rotation), and they're going to be extremely rare since the RDP costs are sure to be huge on a vehicle of this battlefield impact.
The French will be importing the famous M10 Wolverine from America. A high-speed tank destroyer, it is based off the M4 Sherman platform and promises to be cheap and abundant. Its 3" naval gun is good enough to penetrate a Tiger at approximately 500 meters at a 30 degree angle, and though its armor is no heavier than the Sherman itself, that is good enough to withstand most frontal attacks by Axis 37mm and 50mm guns.
Finally, the British Expeditionary Force will receive one variant of the incredibly massive Churchill tanks, of either Mk VII or Mk VIII variety (75mm or 57mm gun, respectively). The Churchill boasts up to 152mm of frontal armor, enough to make even the mighty 88 useless at all but point-blank ranges, with the rest of the turret being 95mm all around and the hull going to 50mm only at the rear. The 57mm gun is a high-velocity piece that can penetrate the Tiger frontally at about the same range as a Tiger can kill a Churchill, while the 75mm is actually a 57mm gun that was bored out, and historically sacrificed a touch of penetration in favor of using the large 75mm American high explosive rounds.
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