Guide to War Thunder

By Garret Vorisek

War Thunder is a rather popular military simulation game centered around vehicular combat. The game has a rather steep learning curve, and with the addition of premium vehicles costing up to 2000 real life dollars, this game will empty your bank account faster than if you spent a weekend in Las Vegas. Gaijin, the developer of War Thunder, is notorious for ruining their games with Pay-to-Win features. War Thunder was shown to the public in 2011 and was released towards the end of 2013. Surprisingly, even 10 years later, Gaijin hasn’t butchered the game entirely, but that could change in a moment’s notice.


First Steps Into Insanity

When you first open up War Thunder, you will be greeted with a tab prompting you to choose a nation. Currently there are 10 nations, U.S.A, Germany, U.S.S.R, Great Britain, Japan, China, Italy, France, Sweden, and finally Israel. Choose whichever one you would like to start out with, it doesn’t really matter seeing as you can start playing any other nation at any time during the game. Next you will choose whether you want to play with tanks, aircraft, or naval vessels. Again, if you ever want to play a different class of vehicles, you can do that. All of the tutorials are very straightforward and tell you all of the basics of the vehicles, so this article won’t explain them further. After you have completed the tutorial you can either join a battle by pressing the large “TO BATTLE” button at the top of your screen. Use all the tactics you have learned from the tutorial to your advantage, as some of the first battles you participate in may be challenging. After the battle you may see a “Modifications” window, this will allow you to purchase upgrades for your vehicle. Make sure to learn what each modification does, so you don’t waste your time earning one that does virtually nothing. Each player has a different playstyle unique to them, so you might want to rechearch modifications to make your aircraft faster and more maneuverable, while others might choose to equip it with secondary weapons, such as bombs or rockets to better destroy ground targets.


In Game Currency And Pay-To-Play Features 

The main currency in War Thunder is something called “Silver Lions” or “SL”. SL is used to purchase everything from new vehicles to modifications to repairing and rearming after a battle. You earn SL by actively playing the game, the better you perform, the more SL you earn. “Research Points” or “RP” is also earned by playing the game, and is used to research new vehicles and modifications, which have to be fully reached before you can buy them with SL. One thing to take into account is that the higher up into the tech-tree you go, the more expensive everything gets, not just SL wise, but you need more RP to even unlock new content. You should always watch how much SL you have, so after a battle you can repair your vehicles. The amount of RP required to unlock a new vehicle goes up significantly when compared to the previous one. This can lock you in a standstill, where it can take WEEKS to unlock a single vehicle only for the next one to require twice as much time. Some new  players lose interest in the game shortly after starting because of this issue. Although, everything said previously can be ignored, although it carries a hefty price. Both SL and RP can be bought for a different currency, “Golden Eagles” or “GE”. Although I can’t recommend spending GE on either. The only way to get GE is by purchasing it in-game, or by getting extremely lucky with a loot crate, sometimes awarded after a battle. I would recommend only spending GE on a Premium Account, or a Premium vehicle. Premium is an in-game subscription, which does not unlock any hidden features, but it does double your SL and RP gain, which can make a real difference when it comes to grinding through the tech tree. The only other good reason to spend GL is on Premium Vehicles. Premium Vehicles are usually unique to the nation you are playing. They also come with a Talisman pre-installed on the vehicle. Talismans can be purchased in the modification tab of non-Premium vehicles. A talisman gives you a +100% boost in RP gain, so a little bit like a premium account, but only for 1 vehicle. The price of a talisman varies depending on the rank of the vehicle that it is being purchased for. I can’t recommend buying a talisman unless you really like a certain vehicle, and would like to use it to unlock a large section of the tech-tree.


Game Modes

There are 3 main game modes in War Thunder, those being Arcade, Realistic and Simulator. Arcade is the mode I would recommend everyone start playing on, it is more simple and relaxed. All enemy players are highlighted on your minimap, and there isn’t much skill involved, so it’s perfect for getting used to the game and learning the mechanics. Arcade games usually only last for about 10-15 minutes, so they are a great choice for some fast paced gameplay. Although as soon as you get comfortable with the controls, player markers and everything else you have learned, I would strongly recommend going into some Realistic battles. In Realistic, you have to rely on your team and your own senses to spot enemies, seeing as there are no markers. You may also notice that you have to learn the strengths and weaknesses of your enemies, along with the ballistics (muzzle velocity, shell performance, ect.) to take them out. In realistic air battles there is no lead indicator on where to aim so that your bullets will hit the other planes. Same goes for tank battles, there is no built in ballistics computer that tells you where to aim in order to not only hit the target, but also where you can penetrate their armor. But, in my opinion it is all worth it because you can get some pretty intense moments that really gives you a more enjoyable experience when compared to Arcade mode. Realistic battles also gives you the benefit of higher SL rewards than if you played in Arcade mode. Lastly we have Simulator battles, which as the name implies, are battles that try to replicate real battles of history. Simulator battles are extremely hard to get used to and require (in most cases) a whole different control scheme. For aircraft, a flight stick or yoke is required to even compete in the battles. Overall Simulator is only for the highest ranking tankers and pilots. I wouldn’t recommend playing Simulator because of the difficulty, and the rewards are only a few percent better than Realistic.


Final Recommendations And Tips

Something that has to be said is that War Thunder isn’t a game for everyone. Some people don’t have weeks to waste playing a single game for just a small amount of happiness that comes with unlocking a new vehicle. Another thing to keep in mind is that spending money on War Thunder is something you should only do if you Really think that this game is for you. Most premium packs cost around $30-$40, and are comparable to regular tech tree vehicles. Gaijin is still a major company that just wants your money, don’t waste it on a game that you don’t really even like. Anything not covered in this guide can be found on YouTube, or on the official Wiki

Related Posts