War Thunder

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War Thunder
War Thunder Logo.png
Developer(s) Gaijin Entertainment
Publisher(s) Gaijin Entertainment
Composer(s) Georgy Zheryakov
Alexander Chorni
Zahar Antonov
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
PlayStation 4[2]
Shield Android TV[3]
Xbox One[4][5]
Genre(s) Action, MMO, combat flight simulator
Mode(s) Multiplayer, single-player

War Thunder is a cross platform vehicular combat MMO developed by Gaijin Entertainment for Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, and Shield Android TV. It was released on June 19, 2018 for the Xbox One.[4][5]


The game is based around combined arms battles on air, land, and sea with vehicles from the Spanish Civil War to the modern day[12] period with an emphasis on World War II.[13][14][15] Players have access to more than 800 playable aircraft, tanks, and ships from the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, the United Kingdom, the Japanese Empire, the United States, Italy, France, and China (only on the Chinese server). Other nations, such as Canada, Australia, and Romania, are also featured as part of the arsenal of the seven main nations.

Most in-game maps are either directly or indirectly based on real battles of the era such as in Stalingrad, Russia, or Peleliu, an island in the Palau chain, though there are exceptions, such as a speculative German invasion of Britain inspired by Operation Sea Lion.[16]

Game modes[edit]

War Thunder is divided into three main game modes based upon the amount of assistance provided to the player (e.g. through the interface) and the type of maps and missions played. Players may choose to participate in a battle with joint ground forces and air forces in tank battles or may choose to operate air vehicles only in air battles.

Arcade Battles[edit]

In this mode, the game draws two teams of players (of up to 16 players on each side) with vehicles from different nations of similar combat performance. It is possible to see vehicles of the same type on different teams, and different countries on the player's own team. 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, ground vehicles receive a boost in engine power), but retain some realism (e.g. bombers are not as maneuverable as fighters, aircraft have limited ammunition available but are able to reload midair).

For aircraft, games are played in either "Ground Strike", where in order to win players must destroy all enemy ground units, shoot down all enemy aircraft, and destroy the enemy airfield and bombing points; "Domination", which consists of seizing enemy airfields by touching down on them for about five seconds, causing the enemy team to lose points; or "Air Domination", which requires players to have total control over an area of airspace for long enough to capture it. Also, to help simplify aiming, a 'leading marker' appears when an enemy plane is in range. This shows a prediction of where the enemy plane will be by the time the bullets of the smaller calibre weapon arrive if the plane continues its current trajectory, greatly improving user accuracy.

For ground forces, "Domination" revolves around the capture of three strategic zones on the map, with "Conquest" featuring only one. In "Break", the two teams must capture a series of points in order, while in "Battle", each team has its own base zone and must prevent it from being captured. Similarly to how aircraft have a "leading marker", ground forces have a reactive crosshair that factors the ballistic drop of the vehicle's primary weapon at range. It is also color-coded to indicate whether the vehicle the player is targeting can be penetrated by the ammunition they are using at the range they are sighted for, or whether they are targeting an enemy or allied vehicle.

Realistic Battles[edit]

Previously called "Historical Battles", this mode is designed for more advanced players and offers more realistic physics and damage modelling while retaining some of the interface and control simplifications of Arcade.

In Air Realistic Battles, fighters must take off from the airfield. Interceptors, Ground Attackers, and Bombers all spawn in the air, with each type higher than the other. 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. For the majority of matches in this mode, players are selected to have only one nation per team, making it possible to recreate a real scenario, such as the Battle of Stalingrad between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

In Ground Realistic Battles, players get to use more than one vehicle per game through the use of Spawn Points, which are obtained by destroying enemy vehicles and capturing points. Aircraft may also be used. Like the Air Realistic Battles mode, players do not have access to enemy player markers, penetration indicators, or range indicators.

Simulator Battles[edit]

This mode is located in the events section was called "Full Real Battles" and was based on Realistic Battles with more restrictions on the user interface and controls; only the first-person view (in the cockpit) and external turret gunner views for aircraft are allowed in flight, while tank players are restricted to the gunner's scope, the driver's port or cabin, or a commander's perspective located above the vehicle. Additionally, aircraft can only be played in "Full Real controls" (there is no 'instructor' to prevent the aircraft stalling and the mouse can only be used to simulate a joystick). Players retain the option to have flaps, trim, and engines automatically controlled in Simulator mode. The heads up display is available to display speed, altitude, heading, engine/throttle settings, oil and water temperatures, and basic vehicle damage status.

No player tags are given for the enemy team and friendly player and AI-controlled entity tags are only provided for aircraft within 0.9 kilometres (0.56 mi). Thus, players must pay particular attention when dealing with specific aircraft and tank types that are available to multiple nations and vehicles that can use different roundels other than their own default through personal customization.

Custom Battles[edit]

Custom battles, available for both air and ground vehicles, is a mode allowing for the creation of battles by individual players. The creator of the custom battle can select the map, game mode, and other settings; they can also set a password to restrict who can play.


PvE "Assault" was introduced in patch 1.67. This is an "Arcade" tank or plane game mode where players defend a base against waves of AI attackers.


Events in War Thunder provide custom missions, usually based on one of the three main game modes, but with alternative settings regarding allowed vehicles, mission specifics, etc. Examples are the recreation of historical battles by restricting available vehicles (e.g. Battle of Stalingrad).

April Fools'[edit]

Traditionally, the game developers prepare unconventional events for April Fools' Day. The 2018 event named "Silent Thunder" was based underwater, with submarines. For 2017, War Thunder made playable rank IX main battle tanks and attack helicopters. For 2016, ahead of the announcement of the naval forces update, War Thunder offered playable sailing ships of the 18th century fighting in the Caribbean.[17] The year before, a new game mode called "Unrealistic Battles" featured inflated rubber tanks firing potatoes and carrots.[18] Other notable examples include "March to Victory", introducing playable Mecha composed of tank parts;[19] "The Pony Nation" introducing My Little Pony as a sixth playable faction;[20] and "Gaijilla" was a battle against a giant Godzilla-like snail.[21]


Early development and closed beta[edit]

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. In Closed Beta, the name was changed to War Thunder due to confusion with the similar competitor World of Warplanes, as well as other reasons such as Gaijin wanting the game to not just be focused on aviation anymore.[22]

Open beta and release[edit]

Open beta testing started November 1, 2012 (for users from the Russian Federation; the global beta launched January 28, 2013) for Windows PC with about 200 aircraft and 600,000 players. On May 15, 2014, at 6 million registered players, the first ground forces for Germany and the Soviet Union were introduced.[23] Until 2016 followed the American,[24] British,[25] and Japanese ground forces, with the introduction of the latter marking the release of the game on December 21, 2016, with more than 800 playable vehicles and 15 million players in total.[26] In May 2017, it was announced that Italian planes would be introduced in the game as a faction on their own.[27][28] French planes were announced and then added in late 2017, with update 1.73 "Vive La France".[29] French ground forces were added with update 1.75 "La Résistance" also near the end of 2017.[30] 2018's first update was update 1.77 "Advancing Storm", which added new vehicles such as the M-1 Abrams and the La-200, and updated new graphics thanks to Dagor Engine 5.0 and reworked sounds.[31]

Naval forces[edit]

Naval Forces in War Thunder are undergoing closed beta testing, with anyone that purchased or purchases a naval pack in the online store able to participate during select time periods. Originally planned for a 2017 release, the Naval Forces were delayed due to the implementation of larger ship classes. Naval Forces was originally planned to consist mainly of gunboat and torpedo boat classes, with the tech trees being supplemented at later dates with larger ships. Due to the negative community reaction of the Naval Forces announcement and the request to add larger classes of ships, the release date for closed beta was pushed back to June 18, 2018, with the exact open beta date still unknown. Since the pushback, Destroyers, and recently, Light Cruisers, have been confirmed for the Naval Forces release. 6 of the 7 nations in War Thunder have naval forces available for play in pre beta testing: the U.S. Navy, the British Royal Navy, the German Kriegsmarine, the Russian Red Navy, the Imperial Japanese Navy, and the Italian Regia Marina. The French nation does not have a naval presence, with the developers stating that the French Navy will arrive after Naval Forces enter open beta, due mainly to France receiving armored units before Italy.


Aggregate score
MetacriticPC: 81/100[32]
PS4: 76/100[33]
Review scores
PC Gamer (US)78/100[35]
GamescomBest Simulation Game (2013)
KRI (КРИ)Best Developer, Best Game, Best Technology, Best Sound Design (2013)
Guinness World Records
  • Most planes in a flight simulation game (2014)[38]
  • Most players online simultaneously on one Flight Simulation server (2014)[39]

At release, War Thunder was well-received with generally positive reviews. It was praised for its variety of airplanes and high-quality visuals.[37] However, the user interface was criticized for being "overly abundant and cumbersome" in contrast to the "sparse in-battle HUD".[34]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "War Thunder is now available on Linux!". warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  2. ^ Ashcraft, Brian (14 May 2013). "War Thunder Is Headed to the PlayStation 4". Kotaku. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  3. ^ "War Thunder – Android Apps on Google Play". Gaijin Distribution. 
  4. ^ a b c "[News] War Thunder to be released on Xbox One and Xbox One X!". warthunder.com. Retrieved 2017-11-21. 
  5. ^ a b c "Vehicle combat MMO 'War Thunder' launches on Xbox One". windowscentral.com. Retrieved 2018-06-19. 
  6. ^ "War Thunder enters global Open Beta!". warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  7. ^ "Открытый бета тест War Thunder!". warthunder.ru. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  8. ^ "War Thunder PlayStation®4 launch in North America". warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  9. ^ "War Thunder for Playstation®4 is out!". warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "Mac client launch!". warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "War Thunder on NVIDIA® SHIELD™". warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  12. ^ "War Thunder 1.65 Update Deployed, Trailer and Screens". gamershell.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  13. ^ "About the Game". warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 28 February 2015. 
  14. ^ review, gamespot.com, July 8, 2014.
  15. ^ War Thunder review By Rob Zacny August 07, 2014.
  16. ^ "free combat MMO game | ABOUT". War Thunder. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  17. ^ "Naval combat setting sail in War Thunder". gamereactor.eu. GameReactor. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  18. ^ "Unrealistic Battles". warthunder.com. Gaijin Entertainment. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  19. ^ "War Thunder - March to Victory Trailer". gamespot.com. Gamespot. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  20. ^ Sethisto (1 April 2013). "War Thunder Adds the Pony Nation". Equestria Daily. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  21. ^ "New Japanese war machine in War Thunder!". warthunder.com. Retrieved 15 August 2015. 
  22. ^ Reahard, Jef (2012-01-25). "World of Planes renamed, evolves 'beyond pure aerial combat' | Massively". Massively.joystiq.com. Retrieved 2013-08-16. 
  23. ^ Purslow, Matt. "War Thunder: Ground Forces now available, 6 million pilots to receive their tank licenses". pcgamesn.com. PCGamesN. 
  24. ^ "War Thunder update 1.45 goes live". gamereactor.eu. GameReactor. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  25. ^ "War Thunder Update 1.63 Desert Hunters released". pcinvasion.com. PcInvasion. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  26. ^ "War Thunder leaves open beta, officially released". rockpapershotgun.com. Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  27. ^ Jakobs, Benjamin. "War Thunder: Italien kommt als neue Nation hinzu". Eurogamer.de (in German). Retrieved 2 May 2017. 
  28. ^ Ford, Suzie. "Italy Joining the Fight as the Sixth Playable Faction - War Thunder - MMORPG.com". MMORPG.com. Retrieved 2 May 2017. 
  29. ^ "[News] French aircraft in update 1.73!". warthunder.com. Retrieved 2018-03-27. 
  30. ^ "[News] Update 1.75 'La Résistance' released! (Survey added!)". warthunder.com. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  31. ^ "[News] Meet Update 1.77 "Advancing Storm"! (Survey added)". warthunder.com. Retrieved 2018-03-30. 
  32. ^ "War Thunder for PC". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  33. ^ "War Thunder for PlayStation 4". Metacritic. Retrieved 25 April 2017. 
  34. ^ a b Saris, Shawn (6 May 2015). "War Thunder Review". IGN. Retrieved 6 May 2015. 
  35. ^ Zacny, Rob (7 August 2014). "War Thunder review". PC Gamer. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  36. ^ Lorenzi, Matteo (17 October 2013). "War Thunder – review". Eurogamer Italy (in Italian). Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  37. ^ a b Todd, Brett (8 July 2014). "War Thunder Review". GameSpot. Retrieved 17 August 2014. 
  38. ^ "Most planes in a flight simulation game". Guinness World Records. 22 January 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  39. ^ "Most players online simultaneously on one Flight Simulation server". Guinness World Records. 3 November 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 

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