World of Warships submarines hands-on preview

We visited Wargaming studios in Austin, Texas and learned everything there is to know about the upcoming submarines expansion.


World of Warships is a naval warfare MMO that puts players in the vessels that took the seas in some of the world’s most iconic battles. With over 30 million registered accounts, WoWS faired well since its release in 2015. The team at Wargaming is constantly looking at ways to add and build upon their game. Last year, they announced that there were plans to add submarine ships to the classes of vessels, despite saying they wouldn’t come to the game in the past. After this, the team went silent for quite a while, leaving fans to believe the future of subs in WoWS was up in the air. On august 9, Wargaming took to social media to confirm that submarines are still on the way, and that closed testing will begin soon. We were invited to Wargaming’s studio earlier this month where we got to try the submarines out for ourselves and learn all about the upcoming expansion. 

New ways to play

When briefing us on the latest addition to WoWS, the devs described submarines as a new angle to naval warfare, one that would lean heavily into the concept of “risk vs reward.” I can attest to the accuracy of the last part of that statement. When playing with the submarines, I found it greatly rewarding when I was able to successfully stealth the waters and scout opponents. I also felt like I had a leg up in a given battle when I could fire a couple torpedoes at an enemy before they were even aware of my presence. 

On the other hand, sneaking behind enemy lines is a dangerous gamble. If you’re prematurely forced to the surface for oxygen, or are spotted by a keen-sighted enemy, you can pretty much kiss your ship goodbye. Once you’ve been detected and are face to face with a cruiser or destroyer, the sub hardly stands a chance. 

When piloting a submarine, there are three different levels of depth. On the surface level the ship is completely exposed, but has max vision, speed, and will regain oxygen. When you drop down to periscope depth, you’ll be able to use homing torpedoes thanks to sonar pings. Subs in periscope mode will still be partially visible, and take a cut in speed. Deep water is the lowest depth, and is one where subs are virtually undetectable. This is best for scouting enemies and safely traversing the waters. While in deep water, you can not launch attacks and oxygen will be consumed at a high rate. Your surroundings are highlighted a bright color when underwater so that you don’t get disoriented in the dark depths of the ocean.

Even tides

Whenever competitive online games receive new characters/weapons/vehicles, etc. there’s always concerns of imbalancing. The devs at Wargaming detailed to us the steps they’ve taken in order to make sure there is proper counterplay when the submarine surfs into battle. Destroyers will be the main counter for submarines, and will have specific abilities to help them do so. They can use pings to narrow down a subs last location,and deploy depth charges to seek and deal large damage. 

When a submarine is located, a large circle will appear on the water and the two ships will enter a cat and mouse type minigame where the destroyer looks to take out the sub before it can escape the area.

Since its torpedo fire can pack quite a punch, the submarines have the weakest armor of any ship class in WoWS. This reinforces the aforementioned idea that a 1 on 1 is usually a death sentence for subs. 

When subs go live, there will be a cap in the matchmaker that limits the amount of submarines that can be on a single team. Wargaming is still researching what number would be best. Speaking of research, digging through historical archives and gathering information on real world submarines was a key part of Wargaming’s creative process. The team put well over a year into making sure every detail about the submarines was as accurate as possible. 

The United States, Germany, and the USSR will be the first three countries in game to receive submarines. There are plans to expand to Japan and other nations down the road. In just a couple of weeks, WoWS will begin a “super testing phase” in which players can get their hands on the latest vehicle class. There is no current date set for submarines but you can expect them in full release early next year.

News Editor

Donovan is a young journalist from Maryland, who likes to game. His oldest gaming memory is playing Pajama Sam on his mom's desktop during weekends. Pokémon Emerald, Halo 2, and the original Star Wars Battlefront 2 were some of the most influential titles in awakening his love for video games. After interning for Shacknews throughout college, Donovan graduated from Bowie State University in 2020 with a major in broadcast journalism and joined the team full-time. He is a huge Scream nerd and film fanatic that will talk with you about movies and games all day. You can follow him on twitter @Donimals_

From The Chatty
Hello, Meet Lola