War Thunder: I Love This Game

Another day, another Free to Play MMO… Although is this technically an MMO? Hard to tell. War Thunder is what one could call “World of Tanks”, but with Planes instead of tanks. Both War Thunder and War of Warplanes were announced more or less at the same time and I had the pleasure of playing both games. Now, I know it will be very hard not to compare World of Warplanes and War Thunder, especially since both are in their respective Betas. While I enjoyed World of Warplanes I enjoy War Thunder much more and in this article I will tell you why.

War Thunder

Somebody is about to get a nasty surprise…

War Thunder: What Is it About?

War Thunder, in its current state (May 2013) is an Online game where you fly planes during World War 2. The first key difference between World of Warplanes and War Thunder, War Thunder gives you WAY MORE choice. You can fly a fighter or any number of different bombers. War Thunder does not appear to be afraid of telling you, “Hey, you ever wanted to be in command of the B-17 “Flying Fortress”? Here you go!”. This is the first selling point for me. Of course, just like in World of Warplanes you have to first reach a suitable level to pilot and purchase better planes. This takes time and “Lions” (the in-game currency). More expensive and demanding planes will cost more. Leveling up will get steadily tougher, but with each new “level” you unlock a number of different planes, so it is not like the model in World of Warplanes/Tanks where you slowly progress from one tank type to the next. Here you unlock a number of aircraft per level, and whether you want to focus on one plane line, or have a wider selection is up to you.

The next major difference, your plane slots. What I really like in War Thunder is how many planes you can have, and how you can allocate them. There are currently five “nations”. USA, Axis, UK, Japan and USSR. When you create an account you will have three crews for each of these nations, each crew with its own starter plane. Crews are like “Slots” in World of Tanks, but unlike in World of Tanks you do not have to pay Premium Currency to unlock new slots. You pay in-game Lions for the vast majority of items in the game. Of course, subsequent slots costs you more Lions, but that’s to be expected. Another aspect of the Crews/Slots is how you can allocate planes to them. To be more precise, if you plan on having a crew focusing on Bomber related skills and you unlock new bombers you can train your crew to man each new bomber. This costs just a bit of Lions and there are no penalties for having a crew with numerous Plane Qualifications. You can have a number of Crews, in each nation, each one trained to use a specific type of plane.

Now, here is a bit of a confusing part. Your account gains experience through battles. Your personal level does not seem to influence anything, except for unlocking some achievements. Then you have “Nation Levels”. You get experience (or Rank) with Nations by using that nation’s planes. Then, each plane you use has its own experience. Plane experience allows you to unlock more ammo variation, weapon layout, and additional equipment for that Plane. Plane experience is independent of Crew Experience. Your Crew gets its own experience, and its skills are moved to whatever plane it is piloting (they do not lose any experience, or suffer any experience drops). Then there is Free Experience. Free Experience is gained over the battles and it may be applied to rapidly level a Nation’s Rank. HOWEVER, turning Free Experience into Nation Experience costs Premium Money.

When it comes to your planes I am often tempted to say “Ranks” (ie. Plane Levels) do not play a major role during a battle. That’s both a false and a true statement, a lot depends on your own skills and your plane. Some planes are sturdier than others. Some planes might have Cannons instead of machine guns. A bomber might be very easy to shoot down or be a flying fortress (Damn you Wellingtons). Unfortunately, skill alone will not win the battle. As I found recently, a pilot in a “Peashooter” (Rank 0 Plane) cannot outrun and out-gun a Stuka D3 (Rank 5). While you can still defeat tougher opponents in a weaker plane it takes luck, tactics and a lot of knowledge.

There are a number of general Game Modes, as well as Campaigns, Single Missions, etc. Let us focus on the Game Modes. There is Arcade, Historical Battle, and Full Real Battle.

Arcade is the “lightest” of the three. Planes are not influenced by physics as much as in the other modes. For example, if I was flying down in my Stuka in Historical Battle at 700 km/h I presume not only my landing gear but all my wings and tail would drop off. In Arcade you do not have to be worried about such things. Arcade also allows you to use all of your planes from a chosen nation. So if you have five different American Planes you will be able to respawn in them if you lose the previous one (each plane has only one “life” however. unless you spend Premium Cash for replacements). The Arcade Maps tend to be smaller, and you can reload your guns and bombs in the air. You will still have to land to repair your plane. It’s a good mode for beginners, and people looking for a more action-oriented experience.

Historical Battle is one step harder from Arcade. You have to take into consideration the physical limitations of your plane. You will have no help with guiding your shots or bombs (turns out, only Dive Bombers do not get support, ordinary bombers still do). The maps are much bigger, and I have been in battles lasting close to an hour at times. It is more demanding than Arcade and as such far more suitable for more experienced players or those seeking a far more challenging environment.

Full Real Battle is even tougher than Historical Battle. For one, you cannot leave your cockpit. This is as close to an actual flight simulator that you can get. As such, Full Real Battle calls for a lot of experience and a Joystick. I did not play much of Full Real Battle, since I lack the experience, but I found Historical Battles to be very entertaining, and Arcade was a good “Let’s have some quick fun!” distraction.

The objectives you may receive differ slightly. Most of the time you will win by shooting down all the enemy planes (including reserves). Some maps will call for the destruction of all the enemy ground forces, and this is not always easy. Heavy Tanks and Pillboxes are very sturdy. I found that you need a number of 250kg or a 500kg bomb to effectively take out a Pillbox or Heavy Tank (smaller bombs can also succeed, but you have to be accurate). In other words, you will need better bombers to take out these troublesome objectives. Thankfully the ground forces are “scaled” depending on the average battle rank (or so it seems). So in a lower tier battle you will face Armored Cars and maybe Light Tanks, while in a higher Tier battle you will have to tackle Heavy Tanks and extremely dangerous AA guns. Take note that you might also face Naval Units, and these call for even more practice in taking down.


About The Author

Aleksander "WriterX" Bielski
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Student of Psychology, he was identified as a Nut-Job even before he started the course. Having done some small work as a Modder for a number of titles, and worked as a Game Designer part-time, Alex now writes in third person. As Co-Owner and Editor of AlterGamer.com he aims high, while being armed only with a sling. In the future, he hopes to become a fully qualified Newspaper Editor, and purchase Google.

2 Responses to War Thunder: I Love This Game

  1. iamthelol says:

    tank gameplay vids out already!

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