Apologies for this long post!

I also posted this on the SWWISA (Society of WW1 Sim Artisans) forum but thought it might be
worth posting here too. I have put it in the KOE rather than general sim forum as this seems to be
where most WW1 sim fans post.

When I first played this game I fully expected to be disappointed with yet another
glorified shoot-em-up with a generic assortment of WW1 aircraft, simplistic combat, and a
fixed third-person view!
However instead I was pleasantly surprised. Firstly, the level of graphical detail and
accuracy in both the aircraft and terrain is amazing. Apart from a few things (like bright
green forest edges) the level of terrain detail is almost equal to IL-2 and really looks convincing,
(the terrain in the training mission really does look like England, not just a generic green landscape).
The aircraft are beautifully modelled and have detailed virtual cockpits with moving instruments.

Secondly, the variety of aircraft in the game is incredibly impressive. It's not just Camels and Spads versus
Fokkers. Amongst others, the game has the DH2, BE2, Dolphin, Breguet 14, Caproni Ca.33, Hansa-Brandenburg
seaplane fighter, Siemens-Schuckert, Fokker Eindecker, and many, many more. All are flyable, though you can't actually
pilot the multi-engine bombers unfortunately, only man the gunner and bomb aimer's positions.

Thirdly, the flight and combat modelling is not as bad as I thought. If you set flight modelling to "Classic"
and difficulty to "Hard" the game is much more of a flight sim than a shoot-em-up. Aircraft handling is still
more than a bit forgiving (hard to stall unless you virtually throttle down to zero) and damage modelling appears
to be purely hitpoint-based, but it is certainly not a "flying-on-rails" game like Secret Weapons over Normandy.
You can also turn off things like the targeting boxes that appear around aircraft. With this turned off, watching
for enemies, identifying them, and keeping track of them in battle is a genuine challenge in itself.

Basically, the flight model is not in any way detailed and highly accurate, but on the other hand it is not a simple
arcade model either. It does give a convincing feeling of flight, and things like machinegun bullet trajectories are
also modelled well which makes combat more challenging.

However, and it's a big however, even if you don't mind the FM, WoW is far from being the WW1 sim that so many people want. Mainly because the game has, currently, absolutely zero moddability and extendability. You are stuck with the 13 campaign missions, and though they are long, fun to play, and quite replayable, playing the same scripted missions again and again is not what most flight-sim fans, including me, enjoy. There is an instant-action mode but this only allows for simple dogfights; it's nothing like IL-2's Quick Mission Builder where you can specify the types of enemy aircraft, skill,
ground targets, etc.
All of the data files are packed into archive/storage files, so it is not currently possible to paint aircraft skins,
mod the FM, terrain, sounds, etc.

It doesn't have to stay this way, however! From looking at the data files in a hex editor, most of the data in them is
uncompressed or at most only lightly compressed, and certainly not encrypted. Anyone with programming knowledge and
an understanding of binary file formats and (maybe) basic compression techniques (i.e NOT me) would be able to write an
extractor. This sort of thing has been done with many games in the past, including some which use completely compressed
data formats (e.g BF1942).
All the textures and sound files are standard .DDS and .WAV which will allow easy graphics and sound modding once there is a way to extract them. Configuration files for aircraft etc. are stored in the data files, not hard-coded, however I don't
know whether they are ASCII or not.
Also I'm not sure in which format (binary or ASCII) the mission files are. Even if they are binary, though, it would still be possible to make a mission editor; again, this has been done for other games in the past
(e.g LucasArt's X-Wing/Tie Fighter series), by deciphering the original binary mission files, with no help from the developers as far as I know.

All it needs is a few people with good programming skills and an interest in WW1 sims. Then this would open the way to other non-programmer modders and mission creators who could work to improve the game.

Though this would certainly require some work, there are a lot of very dedicated people in the WW1 sim community. Apart
from the many RB3D mods, and the FS:SDOE WW1 project, some people have been talking about creating a new sim from scratch,
or modding other newer sims such as Strike Fighters and CFS3, simply because of the lack of any up-to-date WW1 sim.

I wrote and posted this because after playing WoW and feeling frustrated at how close it was to being the great WW1 sim
that so many people here wish there was, and then thinking; with some work from the community, it virtually -could- be.
I thought it would be such a shame for this game to just die away and be forgotten (like Wings of Honour); as the future
of KoE is now somewhat in doubt, WoW seems like an opportunity for a decent WW1 sim which is too good to miss.

Overall I would say that at 19.99 (the standard UK price) WoW is well worth buying for any WW1 aviation fan even if it does not have the world's most sophisticated FM.
But the game really needs the community to take it that final step to being a genuinely good sim.

Anyway, I'd like to hear everyone's views on this.