Monday, 19 May 2014

War huh? What IS it good for?

The latest game I've been taking a look at is War Thunder from Gaijin Entertainment. I'm a long time fan of Wargaming's World of Tanks and I also spent a little time with World of Warplanes while it was still in it's Alpha phase, and as such I've been very sceptical about War Thunder. Pretender to the throne or massive cynical rip-off? It started life as World of Planes, which didn't help it's claims to be it's own entity so they changed the name. Unfortunately at the same time they announced they would also be introducing a version of tank warfare and warship combat, just like Wargaming's World Of series. Needless to say, I wasn't convinced and so stayed well clear.

That was until I started reading a few pieces by wing commander Zoso over on the Killed in a Smiling Accident blog, he too was a fan of World of Tanks, but even from an early stage, War Thunder had him hooked. Another deciding factor was the fact that Wargaming came out and said that although they were going to unify accounts across the whole World Of series, there were no plans to mash the three games together and have player controlled tanks, planes and ships on the same maps, despite what many fans had hoped for. Gaijin however were planning on that from the very beginning, and it was this grand scheme that was the reason behind dropping the World of Planes moniker, War Thunder was going to be much more than just planes!

At the moment it's still mainly the planes that make up the bulk of the game, but with the recent 1.41 update the first player controlled ground vehicles were introduced. The air and ground vehicles are being kept separate for now as they fine tune the ground vehicle gameplay without the added distraction of a fairly balanced and working air game just slaughtering all those defenceless tanks right off the bat. The air vehicle game is fully fleshed out despite still being in an open beta and the planes are very fun to fly. I'm still in the first tier of planes at the moment and only playing on arcade mode with mouse and keyboard control. Upping the realism will make the game way harder and I'm already crashing a lot without being able to rip my wings off simply by diving too fast! The matches are usually fairly short, ten to fifteen minutes or so and usually require a number of ground targets to be killed in order to win the round. The matches are fun, the out of match system of upgrading and researching new planes and attachments is very unintuitive though and I feel it lets the game down a little. The add a friend system is still quite flaky and Welshtroll and I had a few problems getting our first squadron set up. We got there in the end though, and flying with a friend makes for an even more fun experience.

I won't say too much about the tank game yet as it's still very early days and I've only actually played one match with them so far, but my first impressions are World of Tanks has nothing to worry about yet. It has promise, but the tank I was in felt a little light and floaty and the way the aiming reticule works makes it quite difficult to line up a shot on anything at any sort of range. Maybe that's just something I'll have to get used to. Still, it's all looking very promising and I can't wait for them to get the tank battles fully fleshed out and to let the fly boys in the same map as them. I just hope they include some AA tanks in the roster.


  1. Huzzah! The upgrade system is rather clunky, but you get used to it after a while (more or less). There are a few Flakpanzers on the current rosters, and more to come apparently, so it'll be interesting to see how things work out with combined arms. Hopefully get a chance to group up at some point!

    1. Yea, I thought the WoT menu system was a bit shoddy, but it's definitely better than this one. Like you say though, probably just a matter of getting used to it. I look forward to some air time with you and the rest of the chaps. Standard!