World of Warplanes' first update brings new planes, arenas, achievements

Wargaming today announced that the first update to its newly launched World of Warplanes will release later this week. It will include 14 new planes, two new battle arenas, and new epic and tiered achievements. If you log into the game between December 23 and January 16 you'll also get a free premium plane to celebrate the update, the Curtiss Model 68C Hawk III.

In addition to small bug fixes and balance issues, the update also adds a new training mission, which focuses on attacking ground targets. This, along with the rebalancing of low-altitude planes and a greater emphasis on destroying ground targets could change the game for the better. So far I've started every match climbing up as far as I can, and descended only to attack or dodge. Wargaming is well aware of this "boom and zoom," strategy, as the community calls it. "To rebalance this," World of Warplanes Sr. Producer Garth Luke told us, "we addressed stalling in general, low altitude handling and gunfire dispersion." The update could make it more worthwhile to stay low, use the terrain to your advantage, and give World of Warplanes some much needed variety in viable strategies.

Sadly, if you own a really fancy flight stick and finding that it doesn't work so well with the game, the patch only addresses issues with the mouse and keyboard controls, which continues to be Wargaming's preferred input. Garth told us that he believes that some fine tuning of buttons and sensitivity could yield really good result, but that, "yes, we are currently developing better support for all control devices across the board, heavily based on player feedback."

The two new maps are Adriatic, set over a naval battle and available for tier V-X planes, and Fortress, set above countryside and available for tier II-VII planes. You can find more detailed patch notes here . If you're titillated by aviation history you'll probably want to know that German tech tree is getting nine new Focke-Wulf warplanes, and that the update also adds five new Tier V premium aircraft, including the Russian Curtiss P-40 M-106, the UK Miles. 20, the US Grumman XF4U-1, and the German Messerscmitt Me 209V.

Read our World of Warplanes review .