World in Conflict
|World in Conflict|
Vivendi Games (2007–2008)|
Activision Blizzard (2008)
|Engine||MassTech Game Engine utilising Havok physics|
|Genre(s)||Real-time tactics, real-time strategy|
World in Conflict is a 2007 real-time tactical video game developed by the Swedish video game company Massive Entertainment and published by Sierra Entertainment for Microsoft Windows. The game was released in September 2007 and an expansion pack was released in March 2009 under the name World in Conflict: Soviet Assault.
The game is set in 1989 during the social, political, and economic collapse of the Soviet Union. However, the title postulates an alternate history scenario where the Soviet Union pursued a course of war to remain in power. Failing to achieve aid diplomatically, Soviet forces invade Western Europe and the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The player assumes the role of First Lieutenant Parker, a United States Army officer who serves with the disgraced Captain Bannon, under the command of Colonel Sawyer.
World in Conflict does not offer base-building or resource gathering. Instead, players are given a pre-determined amount of in-game reinforcement points to buy units. When a player buys a unit, the reinforcements points are subtracted from the point bank and the units are airdropped to the field, with a 20-second wait for the units to arrive. When a unit is destroyed, the points that had been used to purchase it are slowly filtered back to the player: thus reinforcements can be summoned back into the fray. Tactical gameplay lacking base and unit building is similar to real-time tactics (RTT) games, some of which feature intermittent reinforcements. Another example of the genre is Ground Control by Massive Entertainment, sometimes considered World in Conflict's spiritual predecessor. The game's designers consider the game to be an RTT, though the game is generally marketed as a real-time strategy (RTS) game.
World in Conflict contains three playable factions: the United States, Soviet Union, and NATO, all playable in multiplayer games. However, only the US and NATO are controlled in the single-player campaign. They are pitted against the Soviet Union throughout the story as well as in online play.
In multiplayer gameplay the player may choose one of four roles in battle: infantry, air, support, or armor. The infantry role gives access to various infantry squads such as anti-tank teams, snipers, and light transport vehicles whereas armor allows players to use various classes of tanks, the dominant direct fire land combat unit of the game. Players choosing the air role have access to anti-armor, air superiority, scout and transport helicopters. Finally, the support role contains anti-air, artillery, and repair units. Each role's basic units can be purchased by everyone but are more expensive for players with a different role. In addition, each role has its own exclusive units that aren't available for purchase by other roles.
Most units have special offensive and defensive abilities that recharge after use. For example, standard infantry has the offensive grenade launcher attack and are capable of a defensive sprinting maneuver. World in Conflict uses a tactical aid system similar to that of Command & Conquer: Generals. Tactical Aids allow the player to perform special actions such as calling in airstrikes, deploying paratroopers, and to launch carpet bombing raids.
The single-player campaign, owing to inspiration from Call of Duty and Medal of Honor (see the 'Influences' section below), puts the player in the role of Lieutenant Parker, a United States Army officer in charge of a company. His face is never shown throughout the entire campaign. Meanwhile, the AI handles the remainder of action on the battlefield, though a large portion of the action is still focused on the player. This contrasts the approach of other real time strategy (RTS) titles, in which the player is in charge of whole armies and thus responsible for most of the action on the battlefield. The player can see action at many different locations in the United States, Europe, and Russia.
The campaign mode differs from the skirmish and multi player modes in that it restricts the units that can be deployed. The campaign mode is narrated by Alec Baldwin throughout.
In late November 1989, Soviet forces launch a surprise invasion of Seattle, Washington. A combination of regular US Army and Army National Guard soldiers led by Lieutenant Parker and Captain Bannon confront them while civilians are evacuated along the East Channel Bridge. Retreating south under the command of Colonel Sawyer, they capture Pine Valley, forcing the Soviets to halt. A month later the Soviet Army renews its assault eastward towards Fort Teller in order to disable the United States' Strategic Defense Initiative. The Soviet Union is unaware of the failures of the project and its existence has thus far kept it from launching a nuclear strike. Therefore, the facility's defense takes top priority, and Sawyer and his forces engage in a series of delaying battles en route to the Fort. However, Soviet forces overwhelm them at Cascade Falls and a plan is made to launch a nuclear strike at the town, ensuring victory but needing volunteers to pin the enemy down. An apologetic Bannon accepts. The tactical nuclear missile is fired at the town; annihilating Bannon, his company, and the Soviet forces.
Months earlier at the outbreak of the war, diplomatic efforts from both sides have failed. Sawyer, Parker, and Bannon serve in France as part of a NATO counteroffensive against a Soviet invasion near Marseille, but while successful, Bannon's negligence results in the death of the French liaison, Commandant Sabatier. Later, they are sent on a secret mission inside the Soviet Union to retrieve intelligence from a crashed prototype B-2 bomber, which leads them to a Soviet naval yard where they destroy submarines to be used in an invasion of the U.S. East Coast, but during this Bannon accidentally kills surrendering Soviet civil-defense volunteers. Later, Parker and the battalion assist U.S. Army Rangers in fighting off an aforementioned invasion of New York City. The Spetsnaz intend to store chemical weapons inside the Statue of Liberty and release them over Manhattan. With Parker's effective assault Liberty Island is retaken and an air strike that would have destroyed the iconic statue is called off.
Returning to the present after the nuclear strike, the People's Republic of China has entered the war as a Soviet ally. China launches attacks into Asia, and sends an invasion fleet to reinforce the Soviet beachhead in Seattle. The U.S. President orders the surviving Army units from the attack on Cascade Falls to recapture Seattle, and as a backup plan orders a nuclear strike against the city should this fail. Sawyer, desperate to avoid another Cascade Falls, orders his forces to attack before the Chinese can land. They succeed in breaking through the Soviet Army's defense perimeter around Seattle, and capture Puget Sound to secure Soviet anti-ship missile launchers for use against the Chinese fleet. The reinforced US battalions launch their counterattack, spearheaded by the 5th battalion. Seattle is retaken from the Soviets before the Chinese fleet arrives, thus delivering a decisive blow as the Chinese are unable to launch an amphibious assault themselves. Consequently, the fleet returns to China, with a conclusion that Parker may be called upon to fight later on.
Multiplayer games support up to sixteen players and can be played on a LAN or over the Internet. Three types of maps are featured: domination maps, where players must control command points to win the game, assault maps, where one team defends a series of command points which the other teams assaults, and tug of war maps, where teams must fight to capture a series of command points on the front line, whereupon the line shifts towards a new set of points closer to the losing team. One side plays as either the United States or NATO, while the other as the Soviet Union. Neither side has any sort of advantage.
When players first begin to play a game, they choose one of four roles to play. The four roles are Infantry, Armor, Air, or Support. The infantry role commands regular ground forces, the armor role mainly controls various types of tanks, and the air role controls various types of helicopters. The support role is the most broad, filling the remaining units such as artillery, anti-air units, and repair units. Although it is possible to mix roles, units in a role other than the one chosen by the player will be more expensive to call in.
All of these roles have their own strengths and weaknesses. For example, when placed in cover (like buildings or forests), the infantry squad can remain hidden until they attack or are attacked by enemies, creating decent ambush points, but they are very vulnerable to fire when on open ground. Armor is good for assaulting, holding, and defending command points. The Armor role is also very efficient at engaging large amounts of enemies, but is easy to ambush and very weak against air units. Helicopters move very fast and can ignore all terrain obstacles like buildings or forests, and are also strong against all ground units. However, just a few anti-air (AA) units is enough to destroy a whole squadron of helicopters in seconds if the air player is not talented. Helicopters can not capture command points. The support role provides services that no other role can provide, such as long range artillery fire, repairing of vehicles, and anti-air units, but is useless in close-combat.
Tactical aid points can be earned by destroying enemy units or capturing command points. These tactical aid points can be spent on heavy long-range fire support, extra units, or radar to see hidden or not-visible units. Based on how many points the player has, they can call in fire support like air strikes, napalm, nerve agents, carpet bombs, artillery, and even tactical nukes.
Each player has 6000 reinforcement points, with 4000 being available from the start which is used to get their early units. These points will gradually become available over time, and playing well will makes them available faster. After a brief period of time, the player will be capable of calling in more units to the battlefield.
Online match modes
Around each important landmark on all of the dozens of playable maps will be tiny circles called command points. Each command point will have two-four of these circles, and the point is captured when the player or their allies have units in all of them. Players can then reinforce these points by simply leaving units in them, which will build up an anti-infantry fortification first, followed by an anti-tank fortification, and finally an anti-air fortification. These can be destroyed and rebuilt infinite times, as command points, especially centrally located ones will change hands throughout the course of the game.
While not absolutely necessary to win, capturing command points gives many bonuses. The fortifications are always helpful, as it will make the enemy think twice before blazing past those positions. Also, most of the command points are in strategic positions, like hills good for launching artillery fire, or in heavily urban areas with lots of cover for infantry.
The game ends when one side is completely dominant over the other, or when 20 minutes are up, in which case, whichever side is winning at the time is declared the winner. A bar is displayed at the top of the screen showing the status of both armies. After the game is over, the score sheet will be displayed, showing who did the best and who did the worst, also giving specific details, like the most successful player in each role, and who did best at directing TA. These points are reported to the massgate server and affects the players' rank in the game.
The game host can add bots to play on the server. The AI is quite proficient, using different techniques for different game types and using a variety of forces together, so there are few weaknesses. Bots adapt quickly and react well to changing situations on the battlefield, and are also quite good at using tactical aids effectively. Bots try to obey commands given by the player by replying on-screen.
The online component of the game uses the in-game massgate system, which is derived from Ground Control. The system helps players keep track of friends, allowing them to see whether they are online or playing a game. Clans can be created and kept track of in-game, with features such as ranks and clan matches. Massgate includes leader boards and a ranking system based on US Army military ranks. Players can increase their rank and leader board position in a way similar to Battlefield 2, by accumulating earnings and scoring points, medals, and badges. Achieving higher ranks becomes progressively more difficult. The leader board also keeps track of clan rankings.
The game interface for World in Conflict is smaller than that of other strategy games. There is no framing in the game, so the interface is dramatically reduced especially at the bottom middle. The middle is replaced with a list of units, whereas the top right hand corner contains the expandable reinforcement procurement list. The mini map is in the bottom left hand corner, while the bottom right hand corner contains the special abilities buttons (including unit formation). Overall, the smaller interface gives players a bigger view of the battlefield, allowing players to micromanage more easily than in other strategy games. Players can also use a messaging system that is designed to allow conversation between individuals regardless of whether they are on the same server or playing the same game.
World in Conflict features a fully rotational 360 degree camera. The player uses the WASD keys to move the camera around the map, while clicking and holding the mouse wheel is used to look around from a fixed position, players can also move the camera very close to the units on the ground.
The game's designers have cited the 1984 film Red Dawn as one of their key influences. The film's main premise is the invasion of America by Soviet and Central American troops. Echoes of the film can be seen in the initial paratroop landings (though in the film they happen in Colorado) and in the use of civilian transports to disguise a Soviet invasion force; again, this differs slightly from the film. Also, in the Soviet Assault expansion, the name of the Soviet invasion of Germany (and presumably the United States) is referred to as Operation Red Dawn.
Another influence for the game, according to issue 7 of the WiC Journal, are the first-person shooter game series Call of Duty and Medal of Honor, and how the games give the player a relatively small role in a big conflict and will command small numbers of units at a time rather than whole hordes. The developers, still according to the journal, have also looked to the games Battlefield 2 and Counter-Strike: Source for inspiration.
The collector's edition of World in Conflict comes in a limited edition collector's box art cloth packaging (with a Soviet flag on one side and Russian wording of "World in Conflict", and the USA Flag on the other with English "World in Conflict") and includes an authentic piece of the Berlin Wall, Modern Marvels: The Berlin Wall DVD by The History Channel, Behind the Scenes DVD and World in Conflict exclusive Creative HS-390 headset (Europe Only). Those who had preordered the game were given access to the Beta, the ability to preserve their username and clans, and either received the Modern Marvels: Strategic Air Command or the Declassified: The Rise and Fall of The Wall DVD by the History Channel depending upon which area of the world one was situated in.
The collector's edition in Poland is different compared to collector's editions in other countries. It includes an exclusive World in Conflict wooden container, limited edition collector's box art packaging (Soviet or USA Flag), a full-sized flag of the USA or Soviet Union, an exclusive World in Conflict poster, a T-shirt and cap with the World in Conflict logo and decorations, and a World in Conflict exclusive Trust Hs-2200 headset.
The collector's edition available in Taiwan is also different, as there was no preorder scheme put into place there. It includes an exclusive flag of the Soviet Union, a Modern Marvels: Strategic Air Command DVD by the History Channel, Special translated behind the scenes DVD, Metallic packaging featuring the Soviet Flag on the front, and the USA flag on the back.
World in Conflict received generally excellent reviews. It topped weekly sales charts in North America, Germany, and Australia in the week it was released. It received "generally favorable reviews" from game critics according to the review aggregator Metacritic, where the game has an average score of 89%. GameSpot called the game "the studio's masterwork". They gave it 9.5 out of 10 and the editor's choice award. The game also received the editor's choice award from IGN and the Australian gaming magazine PC PowerPlay, as well as PC Zone's classic award. PC Gamer US awarded the game its editor's choice award, as well as naming it the 2007 RTS game of the year. The game was included in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die.
Prior to its initial release in September 2007, World in Conflict received several awards from its E3 presentation in 2007.
- IGN: Best PC Strategy Game, Best Strategy Game (All Platforms), Best Of E3 2007
- Gamespot: Best Strategy Game Of E3, E3'07 Editors Choice Award
- GameTrailers.com: Best Strategy Game Of E3
- Game Critics: E3 2007 Best Strategy Game, The Best Of E3 07 Winner
The game was played in the 2007 Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) World Tour.
A new expansion of the game, World in Conflict: Soviet Assault, was released for Windows in March 2009. Plans to release the game under the same name for home consoles, the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 were dropped. The new edition included a brand new campaign from the Soviet perspective. New maps were included as well as new movies and cut scenes, however there were no new units included.
On July 29, 2008, Activision dropped World in Conflict: Soviet Assault from production along with a number of other games putting the future of the game in question. On August 6, 2008, Activision Blizzard put Massive Entertainment up for sale. Massive Entertainment has since been acquired by Ubisoft. The game was released on March 13, 2009 in several formats. It was packaged under World in Conflict: Complete Edition which is the new retail collection, containing both World in Conflict and the expansion, Soviet Assault. The Complete pack was available through retail stores, Steam download and Direct2Drive download. Soviet Assault was also released separately as a download for owners of the original WiC, through Steam and D2D and also in a retail version.
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