Wargaming teased the inclusion of the Australian ship — HMAS Perth — being included ion World of Warships in September this year. At PAX Aus, Wargaming formally announced the inclusion of the ship at an event in Melbourne.
PowerUp! was fortunate enough to sit down with David Macfarlane Publishing Producer for World of Tanks Asia / Australasia, Joanna Lien, Director of Communications, APAC and Sho Hatai, World of Warships Product Specialist. We chatted about Wargaming, eSports, World of Tanks and World of Warships.
The first in the series of articles to come from the interview is about the inclusion of HMAS Perth in World of Warships and Wargaming’s focus on Australia.
“It’s a huge project,” Hatai tells me. His pride and eagerness to talk about the new ship and World of Warships in particular is palpable. “HMAS Perth has been in development for the last year or so and that time has been spent on getting the resources and making the 3D models,” he explains. Wargaming has a passion for military and historical accuracy and getting everything just right is supremely important.
Macfarlane explains that in each and every Wargaming office there are multiple military adviser positions. “It’s their job to go out and get records and ensure historical accuracy for everything we do,” he said. HMAS Perth was no exception. To make sure the ship is as accurate as possible, Wargaming liaised with local authorities, the Australian Navy and a range of museums to get it right. “We did a lot of research and in most cases when we build a new ship, we talk to the Navy and local resource,” Sho added.
The HMAS Perth is a Leander-class ship and is based on the Royal Navy ships. It’s been converted to an Australian ship and in the process has become quite unique. “It’ll be available on the commonwealth line, but will have HE and won’t have healing. It does have smoke and different torpedoes, so it will be a very unique ship for our players,” Sho explained.
Wargaming has provided us with a history of the HMAS Perth below.
HMAS Perth was a modified Leander-class cruiser of the Royal Australian Navy. Commissioned as the cruiser Amphion at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard in England on 15 June, 1936, she began life in the service of the British Royal Navy.
Amphion spent two years in South Africa before returning to Portsmouth for a refit, during which she was given a new catapult to accommodate a Supermarine Seagull flying boat. She was subsequently sold to the Australian government and transferred to the Royal Australian Navy as in June 1939. She was then renamed HMAS Perth.
In February 1942, HMAS Perth and USS Houston survived the Battle of the Java Sea where the Allies suffered a disastrous defeat at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN). They docked at Tanjung Priok on 28 February to resupply, before sailing out that evening after receiving orders to sail with HNLMS Evertsen through Sunda Strait to Tjilatjap.
They had not anticipated any contact with the Imperial Japanese Navy, but by a stroke of unfortunate coincidence, they encountered the Japanese forces in Bantam Bay and came under attack from twelve destroyers and five cruisers of IJN.
However, despite being demoralised by defeat, low on supplies, and severely outnumbered, the crew of HMAS Perth and USS Houston put up a brave fight to the finish. Salvo after salvo of shells and torpedoes put the two cruisers out of action, sending them to the bottom of the Sunda Strait.
Of HMAS Perth’s 681 crew, 353 perished. Most of the 328 survivors were taken captive, and many died in captivity. At the end of World War 2, just 214 personnel were repatriated to Australia.
Wargaming has been pushing harder and doing more to break the Australian market which Macfarlane says is notoriously hard, partly due to our lack of a military culture. “We don’t have a tank culture like Russia for example, so it’s tough to make a mark.” The lack of a tank culture hasn’t stopped Wargaming from bringing World of Tanks to Australia in a big way.
Earlier in the year, Wargaming secured an AC1 Sentinel tank from the Military Vehicle Technology Foundation and bring it to Cairns where it’s now on display. “Littlefield had a large collection in the USA shipping in one tank per week into his private collection. Recently he passed away and left his collection to his family who wanted to donate it to a museum, but moving that many tanks to a museum costs a lot of money. To offset the cost, the family opened a couple of them up to private sale and Wargaming was able to secure the AC1 Sentinel,” Macfarlane said. “It was my job personally to get that shipped across from the USA, shipped up to Cairns and repaired along the way. Getting it through customs was quite difficult, but it’s been fully restored and is on display to all Australians.”
After the AC1 Sentinel was brought to Australia, Wargaming added it to World of Tanks and a few months later added the AC4, the Sentinel’s “big brother.”
Support for Australia doesn’t end at adding Australian tanks and ships into its games as this October, Australia hosted the WGL APAC Season 1 finals. Held in Sydney, the winner was EL Gaming who’ll now go onto the world championships. Finally although its presence wasn’t felt at PAX Aus this year, Wargaming hosted a successful fan gathering and is intent on continuing to grow in Australia.
I asked Sho if we could expect more Australian ships in the future and he told me, “We do want to release more Australian ships and we’re doing some research right now. I can’t say for sure, but hopefully we’ll be able to release another one next year or the one after. At the moment though, were just in the research phase and finding the resources to actually create a ship.”
World of Tanks and World of Warships are available now.
PowerUp! attended an interview event as a guest of Wargaming.