by Len "Viking1" Hjalmarson
Article Type: Preview
Article Date: August 01, 2001
Game Title: WarBirds III
Category: MMOG WWII Air Combat
Developer / Publisher: iENT
Release Date: Released
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Files / Links: Click Here
Ground War Expands GameplayOn July 3rd the latest update of WarBirds III beta was released. This new release adds the M3 half-track (75mm gun), the M4A1 Sherman tank, and the M5. Suddenly a ground war has exploded into WarBirds!
Other changes abound, including many new 3D cockpits. The FW series now have 3D cockpits, in case you have been waiting.
Convergence can now be set separately for cannons and guns, very helpful if you use your cannon like I do, only employing them at shorter ranges. I generally set convergence about 200 feet for my machine guns and 180 feet for cannon.
|M3 75mm on the move. |
|75mm from the cockpit. |
The new ground units look quite good. Attention to detail can be seen in the units themselves as well as the dust they kick up while moving (not yet added for the M4).
The addition of tanks and anti-tank weapons has greatly expanded gameplay. Not only do these weapons broaden the strategic aspect of the game, they take many players out of the air and into mobile ground weapons.
|M16 with quad 50. |
This means new targets for the pilots, but also a whole new level of fun. If youíre tired of flying, try the mobile 75mm M3. Fast and very deadly, this weapon is a nasty one when it shows up too near to your air base. The 75mm cannon is great for blowing up hangars and other buildings.
On the other hand, the Sherman may not be as fast, but it will ruin your day if you are in the M3. The M3 simply doesnít have the armor to withstand more than a single hit.
|M4 Sherman leaving airbase. |
Itís great fun to climb to a hill near an air base in the Quad 50 M16 and wait for the dogfights to get lower. The gunsights allow four levels of zoom. I find them a bit touchy in some cases, at least while using my Logitech Strike Force 3D joystick.
|Main gunsight on the Sherman |
Donít expect too much in the M4 yet, since the 3D cockpits are not yet complete. I tend to drive this one from an outside view. You can access the machine gun separately but it seems to be missing a gunsight for the moment.
When itís time to load up the troops to take an airbase or a city, the M5 mounts two single .50 calibre machine guns and will carry troops.
Approaching an enemy tank in another tank has to be tactical, since if you simply drive head on into them they will blow you away before you are ready to fire. I find that a flanking approach while they are engaging other units works quite well. Donít get too close, since if you do you are likely to be taken out by another enemy unit while your attention is on the other. This is also a great reason to travel in pairs, since you can engage two separate units simultaneously with a buddy.
|M16 gunsight. |
Use the map (F1) frequently when approaching enemy ground units. I generally zoom in about five levels (SHIFT ]) so that I can locate the enemy unit, then shift to a lower gear (up is ; and down is SHIFT ;) and slow my approach when coming within range. Your gunner should already have the unit in his sights so all you will have to do is use the zoom key to magnify the image.
If youíre spotted and take a hit start zig zagging and get out of there. A moving target is very hard to hit from 1000 yards. If you are destroyed jump in another unit and try again.
What if your base is the victim of a massed attack, and you want to slow them down with an air strike?
|This M3 will roll no more |
Some pilots prefer the Ju87 with its heavy cannon. Personally I find it hard to hit targets with the Stuka, preferring the P-38, except in the case of the Sherman. You canít kill a Sherman with a P-38, so then you need the great bombing ability of the Ju 87 or even the B-25C. I find the B-25C with 250 pound bombs very effective from around 3500 feet. Simply line up your target in his direction of travel and pickle four or five bombs.
Of course artillery is also very active in the test arena now. Next to show up will be the ability to use the half-tracks to tow the 108 mm guns to new locations. This is going to really change the war.
Coming EventsIf you still havenít tried WarBirds III, this is a great time to do so. The month of August will be free play for the WarBirds official launch, and many events are in design.
- Aug. 5 Sunday - RM SL # 218 "The Other Half"
USAAF/RAF: Mossie IV, B25-C, Spit-V, P38-F
Luftwaffe: Ju-52, Bf-110C, FW-190 A4, Bf-109 F4
- Aug. 14 Tuesday - RRSL 219 BoB / Chain Home
- Aug. 24 Sunday - RMSL 220 BoB / Eagle Day
- Aug. 31 Friday - RMSL 221 BoB / Operation Sea Lion
The August 31 time frame will see the ground war enter the event for the first time.
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