|Release date(s)||Microsoft Windows
November 1, 2012 (Open Beta)
Mac OS X
September 16, 2013 (Open Beta)
EU November 29, 2013
NA June 3, 2014
|Mode(s)||Single-player, Multiplayer MMO|
War Thunder is an online multiplayer combat game developed by Gaijin Entertainment for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and PlayStation 4. It is currently in the open beta testing phase with players able to give feedback on any bugs before initial release of the full game. The game has a good reputation with its player-base for making nice, high quality trailers and commemorating many often-forgotten battles and historical figures important to World War II aviation.
The game is modeled on a free to play system but with the ability to get almost every feature of the game without paying. This may require players complete certain challenges, or submitting user created content such as skins, or camouflage for planes. There may also be other celebratory events throughout the year such as commemorating historic figures in aviation or famous battles allowing players to win the premium currency without any expenditure.
There is also a referral service, whereby players can invite people to the game, earning both themselves and the new player an in-game bonus.
The game contains aircraft, armoured vehicles, and ships from the Spanish Civil War to Korean War time period. The full game currently contains more than 350 aircraft from 5 different nations and a number of ground vehicles from the Soviet Union and Germany. Further vehicles such as aircraft, ships, and ground vehicles (including some ground vehicles from the United States, are to be implemented later.
Most maps in-game are either directly or indirectly based on real-life battles of the era.
The average size of maps in the game currently ranges from approximately 65 km x 65 km to 200 km x 200 km, although the engine powering the game is likely to achieve larger map sizes in the future. Estimates are said to be about 300 km x 300 km.
In arcade mode, the game draws two teams of players (up to 32 people) with planes from different nations of similar level. It is possible to see vehicles of the same type on different teams. Damage and physics are greatly simplified (e.g. in very high speed dives planes do not have their wings ripped off and are still controllable), but retain some realism (e.g. bombers are not as maneuverable as fighters, limited ammunition but able to reload midair).
Multiple views are available, from third person view, cockpit view, gunner view (if the aircraft has a gunner) and virtual cockpit view (if the aircraft does not have a cockpit model the virtual cockpit will be used).
Arcade Mode games are played in either "Ground Strike," where in order to win players must destroy all enemy ground units, shoot down all enemy aircraft, destroy the enemy airfield and bombing points, or "Domination", which consists of seizing enemy airfields by touching down on them for about five seconds, causing the enemy team to lose points. Also, to help simplify aiming, a 'leading marker' appears when an enemy plane is in range. This shows where the enemy plane will be by the time the bullets arrive if the plane continues its current trajectory, greatly improving accuracy.
Previously called "Historical Battles," this mode is designed for more advanced players. More realistic damage models makes long-range "sniping" difficult, and there is no 'leading marker' to assist with aiming. Also, due to realistic G-forces, making tight maneuvers at high speeds can cause pilots to black out or their planes to rip apart, and the views available are the same as in Arcade Battles. Once ammunition is used up, players will have to return to their airfield to reload and repair. In this mode, unlike arcade mode, players are selected for each team's nation, making it possible to recreate a real scenario, such as the Battle of Stalingrad between the Soviet Union and the Third Reich.
This mode was previously called "Full Real Battles" and is based on the more realistic simulation settings; only the first-person view in the cockpit or external turret gunner views are allowed and "Full Real" controls (there is no 'instructor' to prevent stalls and the user must manually set their trim tab on his or her aircraft for cruising), however the flight physics are the same as in Realistic Battles. The gameplay is also similar to the realistic battles – two teams of different nations are fighting each other for dominance in the sky and ground. Due to the lack of spotting aides, players will need to spot and track their enemies by themselves and because players do not like spending games flying around without seeing anyone, air combat is normally conducted at lower altitudes as opposed to Realistic Battles. Full Real control settings are enforced in this mode so it is recommended that players play with a joystick as opposed to a mouse and keyboard with this setting, whilst still possible to play with a mouse and keyboard it would be very difficult to control the aircraft under such circumstance. Because there is no "mouse aim" mode for aircraft without defensive gunners, conducting maneuvers such as the Stall Turn in a dogfight can be easier to execute.
The development of the game as World of Planes began in 2009. Gaijin Entertainment used its experience with its previous flight games such as IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, Apache: Air Assault, and Birds of Steel in its development. The name was later changed to War Thunder due to confusion with the similar competitor World of Warplanes, as well as other reasons due to Gaijin wanting the game to not just be focused on aviation anymore.
There are currently five nations available to choose from in War Thunder. These nations include USA, Germany, the Soviet Union, Great Britain and Japan, with few aircraft from other countries such as Australia and France in the British tech tree and Italy in the German tech tree respectively. Each of these nations have planes that flew in their air forces in the mid 1930s to the late Korean War era, with the most advanced planes in the game being the F-86 Sabres from the USA and Mig-15 from the Soviet Union. Some planes within War Thunder are prototypes or so called paper aircraft, such as the J8M, known in game as the Ki-200, a prototype copy of the German rocket interceptor, the Me 163 Komet. With the recent 1.39 patch, variants of the F-86 can be used by Germany and Japan and the MiG-15s from the Soviet Union can also be used by Germany. All of these nations are available to all players, and they can be switched between at any time.
Gaijin has introduced playable ground and planned to add naval forces to the game with players being able to play all forces types (Air, Ground, and Naval forces) in one battle. As of now, ground forces such as AFVs (tanks) have been added into the game with update 1.41. Currently, only two nations have ground forces, those being Germany and the Soviet Union. Ground forces are, however, USA tanks will be coming in the patch 1.45, and the release of the last two nations remains unknown. The most advanced tanks within the open beta as of now for Germany are the Tiger II PzKpfw VI Ausf. B armed with the 105 mm KwK 46, the Panther II, and the Jagdtiger, unfortunately these are put up against post war tanks, with the Soviet Union getting the IS-4M, T-54 mod 1951 and the ISU-152. The update 1.45, known as the "Steel Generals" update, introduced American ground forces vehicles. Vehicles include the M6 Heavy Tank, M103, M41 Walker Bulldog, M3 Lee, M16 Gun Motor Carriage (quad .50 caliber machine guns), and the M2 Medium Tank.
Although naval forces are not currently available for player control, due to development, players can take off from carriers in certain 'Arcade' and 'Realistic' mode battles. Naval Forces are in development, but not much is known about them. What has been confirmed is that the main ships types are going to be battleships, aircraft carriers, cruisers, and destroyers. There is much speculation as to whether submarines are going to be added with naval forces not.
- April 1, 2011 – The World of Planes project is announced, which was planned to be a multiplayer flight simulator.
- October 6–9, 2011 – World of Planes is shown at IgroMir 2011. All guests were given the opportunity to play in the alpha version of the project at the stand.
- January 9, 2012 – Edition of the popular British game magazine PC Gamer includes World of Planes in its list of the "Best Games of 2012", in the category of MMO.
- January 24, 2012 – Gaijin Entertainment announce a change of name of the project to War Thunder due to the fact that in future the game world will be expanded beyond the flight simulator to make it possible to manage land and marine equipment in one battle (also to avoid confusion with the game World of Warplanes made by Wargaming). On the same day, the official website was revamped.
- November 1, 2012 – Open beta test of the game begins.
- March 5, 2013 – War Thunder reaches 1 million players.
- July 25, 2013 – War Thunder reaches 3 million players.
- August 15, 2013 – War Thunder is released for Steam.
- August 20, 2013 – War Thunder is officially announced as a launch title for PlayStation 4.
- May 15, 2014 – An open beta for Ground Forces is announced with Update 1.41.
- June 3, 2014 – War Thunder is released on PSN in North America and is announced as being cross-platform between PS4 and PC.
At release, War Thunder was well-received with generally positive reviews. It was praised for its variety of airplanes and high-quality visuals. However, the user interface was criticized for being "overly abundant and cumbersome" in contrast to the "sparse in-battle HUD".
Additionally, since the 1.37 patch, the game has been criticized by the community, pointing at a disorganized tech tree and unbalanced tiering that has resulted in poor match making and lopsided results. The Battle Rating system has also been strongly criticized by players as well.
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