Navy Field 2
15 Minute MMO Bouts Done Right
September 13, 2015
by Grant Madden
Field 2, a combined World War I and World War II naval combat simulation
from the Korean company SDEnterNet, has been released through the digital
game store, Steam. Playable through both Steam and a browser window, this is
one the first MMO's (massive multiplayer online) in the naval simulation
genre that appears to have a great balance between commercial success and
entertainment. Players can choose from the US and British navies on the
Allied side, and the Imperial Japanese Navy and Kriegsmarine on the Axis
Players log into their account and select from a number of vessels, both
surface and submarine, earned throughout their game career. Upon selection,
the game database then attempts to match players, regardless of ability,
into short fifteen minutes skirmishes. There are several versions of
skirmishes available; the most predominate being the annihilation of your
enemies. Players are dropped into a small grid area and tasked.
The database matching is the heart of the game mechanics, and I found as a
new player, regardless of the time of day, I was able to join a game.
Several players of higher ranking reported that the match system was a
little harder for their higher levels, and at times they may have to wait up
to three minutes before they could be matched.
the game itself, the head up display is a simple display of speed, damage
points, and a mini map of the area. Players hunt the area either
individually or in team play, and attempt to destroy their opposition. At
the end of each bout, whether successful in the objectives or not, players
are rewarded with both ship and game experience, which is used to open up
research avenues for bigger ships, more powerful weapons, or the training of
their in game "crew".
As a new player, the learning curve is a quick ascension. While essentially
cannon fodder for established players, within an hour of game play I was
able to gather enough control and understanding of the mechanics to advance
to a basic battleship, which I then equipped with reinforced decking. Guns
are the biggest component of the game, and the accuracy and volley of shots
fired from higher-ranking players, still resulted in my ship being destroyed
on the first shot. Ouch.
Team orders do not exist within the game, although the option is available
for players to compete in their own fleets. Scheduled battles are posted
within the forums, which are very easy to navigate, although at times sparse
on content in some areas.
The system that the game was tested upon is a brand new Dell Windows 7 with
a CPU 4.0GHz, 32 GB RAM and a 38-inch monitor. The computer was straight out
of the box, with the usual Windows updated, and this was the first installed
game played on the PC.
After downloading the game, there were a number of patches applied, and
SDEnterNet appear very proactive in announcing updates to the game, as well
as scheduling them in advance. Support for this game appears very proactive.
The game never crashed or froze once when played either through a browser
window or through steam. The program when run, changed the color scheme to
Windows 7 basic, but there was never a graphic problem in game or after
exiting. Players are first met with Notice screen, which outlines some of
the previous issues with logging in. I never experienced any issues while
logging in, even when I deliberately input incorrect player names and
logged in players are taken to their "Captain" screen, where in game
personas are maintained. Players take on a role from one of four entities,
the USA, British, German or Japanese navies. The selection of their player
persona either opens or restricts which ships and technologies will be
available as they advance through the game. The soundtrack makes an
impressive first impression. Even while logging in, the background music has
the big orchestral sound with a military theme, which might be associated
with Hollywood films like Pearl Harbor or The Great Escape.
There are several tracks used and while this is often an area overlooked by
other games, SDEnterNet scored full marks for this aspect.
For the Subsim review, I played two different styles;
one as a new player that did not spend a cent on in game purchases. The
second where SDEnterNet credited my account to access some of the higher
priced "goodies" (thank you.) Both styles of play provided their own
advantages. As a player who did not make any in-game purchases, I chose the
British Navy. The splash screen shows your ship in a dock surrounded by the
facility infrastructures. From this screen, players can tweak their ship and
crew for battle. The game provides opportunity for bonus experience by
offering a number of missions within the game. The first vessel for the
British Navy was a Town Class destroyer. As a stock starting vessel, it was
grossly underpowered against existing players. However, within an hour of
game play, I was able to advance to not only upgrade my vessel, but also add
some refinements like desk armor and plating. The refinements are added as
game and ship experience is earned, and provides a significant "fun factor".
The caveat on the equipment used is that they are only available for limited
periods, having to be repurchased upon expiration and then reequipped. Once
a refinement is added to a vessel, it cannot be transferred to another
vessel when you advance.
one and only criticism of the game was experienced at this point. The game
offers a number of guides and tutorials on how to play the game. All the
guides are put together in the same fashion, with accompanying screenshots.
The only guide that created a problem was the anti aircraft-gunning
tutorial. Even on a 38-inch monitor, the screen shot detail was difficult to
visualize, and consequently, even after twenty hours of playing, I had still
not shot down a single aircraft. I could not determine if all ships have the
ability to shoot down aircraft or just larger vessels. The addition of anti
aircraft guns through the subscriber's account did not resolve the
situation. It would not be until much later into the game that I determined
that changing the shell type of ammunition would activate the anti aircraft
Within ten hours of game play, I have moved up to the
Duke of Edinburgh CA, but was dissatisfied with its movement, and returned
to earn all my experience in a C Class Destroyer. Moderate success was had,
not very many ships were sunk, but it provided ample enough game play for
even a casual member. Unlike a lot of other MMO's on the market today, even
a basic "free" account provides opportunity for enjoyment, without being the
sacrificial lamb in each battle. With no progressive campaign, this is the
type of game that will appeal to a group of friends getting together for a
cut my teeth learning the basics on the free account, I changed over to and
became a US Officer to utilize the credits supplied by SDEnterNet.
Progression through the ranks was swifter despite still being cannon fodder.
The ability to equip ships with plating and armaments placed me on an even
keel early in the game, and it would be my recommendation to any new player
to the game to make these purchases. I advanced up to the Indiana
Battleship, which also turned liked a pig, before dropping back to develop
my Captain with an Omaha Class Destroyer. In game banter revealed that most
players have an "experience earning ship" which they use to "grind" their
way, equipped with all the benefits of a paying account. Most players are
aiming for a Carrier or the largest ship in the fleet, but surprisingly, the
better players are not using those ships each session.
Sessions run at all hours of the day and night. Friday
and Saturday nights (USA Eastern time) the wait for a match is slightly
longer, but even during business hours in Europe, America and Australia, I
found multiple players. English is the preferred language of the chat rooms,
although a couple of fleets clearly represent their native language, as I
discovered when trying to converse with some players in Cyrillic. The game
system has an extensive score keeping and player ranking system that many
online naval games of the past were sorely missing.
SDEnterNet have hit a winning combination here, between
offering a taste on "free to play" accounts and revenue earning "paying"
accounts. The mechanics of the game are extremely well balanced regardless
of experience in the genre or not. This review just scratches the surface of
all the many features and tangents this game offers. While I didn't get to
experience battle as a submariner within the game, there is enough incentive
for me to come back, after writing this review, and drop some of my own
money down to work towards that goal. The local community is very
interactive, developing their own wiki on the game, and I did not run into
any "PK's" (people killers) who rendered me sunk from "friendly fire".
For the Subsim community, if you're a surface dweller
player, this is the type of "jump in and out" game you have been asking for.
For the sub mariners, there are plenty of targets, and based on what I saw
in game play, the submarines can hold their own. Navy Field 2 is available
in either stand-alone browser or through the Steam on line community. The
game was given a rating of 6/10 by the Steam community. My impression is
that's about 2 points too low. This is the type of game that will hang
around for years as players come and go, but will return to, based on the
ease of access, the multiplayer aspect, and the personal modifications
players can make to their vessels. With no structured campaign, instant
gratification exists in fifteen-minute bouts, without the need to spend
hours on eternal quests.
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