Sail echoes of war with the World of Warships Commonwealth Cruisers update

Posted on March 18, 2024

In a recent press presentation with Community Manager Joey Snyder-Kloos from the World of Warships team, we heard about the upcoming Commonwealth Cruisers line update, adding a fleet of ships from history to the popular naval warfare multiplayer game.

The developers emphasised their commitment to historical accuracy while maintaining the game’s signature arcade style, bringing players closer to the naval battles of the past.

With over 800 ships from 13 nations already in the game, World of Warships continues to offer different gameplay experiences across the five distinct classes: aircraft carriers, battleships, cruisers, destroyers, and submarines. The Commonwealth tech tree currently features four Royal Australian Navy ships, including the T3 DD Vampire, T10 DD Vampire II, T6 CL Perth, and T10 CA Brisbane. This update aims to expand that roster.

The upcoming Commonwealth Cruisers boast formidable attributes in-game, with excellent concealment and damage output. However, they come with a trade-off—slower turret traversal speed. These cruisers also feature torpedoes from Tier III, with long-range options available from Tier VII. Additionally, there are a range of consumables including hydroacoustic search, defensive AA fire, and crawling smoke generators.

The event pass for the DLC introduces Harold Farncomb, a historical Australian officer, along with a special decorative skin for the Tier V Delhi cruiser.

Scheduled for release in update 13.5, the new ships include:

  • Tier I Indian Sutlej cruiser
  • Tier II Australian Port Jackson cruiser
  • Tier III Canadian Cardaroc
  • Tier IV New Zealand Dunedin light cruiser
  • Tier V India Delhi cruiser
  • Tier VI Australian HMAS Hobart Leander-class cruiser
  • Tier VII Canadian Uganda
  • Tier VIII Auckland cruiser
  • Tier IX Australian Encounter
  • Tier X Australian Cerberus.

Auckland CW Tier VIII from the Commonwealth Cruiser update for World of Warships

In a gesture of goodwill, World of Warships announced a $10,000 contribution to the Australian National Maritime Museum, underscoring the game’s commitment to preserving naval history. Collaboration with the Museum has further enriched the game’s historical offerings, with notable vessels like the HMAS Castlemaine and HMAS Vampire becoming the subjects of video documentaries. The company has previously raised funds for humanitarian charities through in-game events and streams, as well as the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, and the hope is that they’ll continue to support those important charities in the future.

Amid the announcement of World of Warships’ latest update, it’s important to recognise the historical context of the ships being added and the context of Wargaming’s products, as well as other games focusing on parts of real-life war. These vessels were built for a specific purpose, involved in real conflicts and British Commonwealth ventures carrying tragic consequences. This is especially relevant today with the world’s awareness and discussion around the consequence of conflict being recognised more than ever.

Wargaming commented on representing these “iconic war vessels” (as described by the media release) and the events they were involved in, stating “we create fun, strategic gaming experiences for our players to enjoy. Our games are not designed to reenact any historical battles or glorify wars. There are no human characters on the battlefield either. World of Warships battle is like a chess game where different ships follow different rules and have specific roles exactly like chess pieces do. This strategic layer is the core of all our games”.

The team also explains they draw upon advice and consultancy of historical advisors, legal counsellors and cultural experts during development to provide a safe and enjoyable environment for players, in a gaming experience “suitable for everyone” (also mentioned in the media release).

World of Warships Cerberus with DLC skin

Regardless of how you feel about the wider industry discourse, engaging with war-themed video games can be uncomfortable given the suffering they represent. It is important to recognise that any war-themed games within the video games industry as a whole should be scrutinised for their content, in light of the wider conversation about the impacts of war on humankind. While war-based games still generate community, entertainment, and historic preservation, upon reflection we can’t ignore the misery they are based on. We need more discussion within the video games industry about why we give attention and put resources towards these themes of “entertainment”.

The game also attempts to pay homage to ANZAC Day with special in-game missions, a day initially dedicated to honouring the lives lost at the invasion of Gallipoli in 1915, now pivoted for all Australians and New Zealanders who served and died in war, conflict, and peacekeeping operations.

Each of World of Warships’ Commonwealth Cruiser vessels brings its historical significance and gameplay dynamics to World of Warships, offering a recreational naval experience and an underlying ethical debate rooted in history and strategy. The Commonwealth Cruisers line is available now in early access.