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How to War Thunder Table of Contents: InfoNation InfoGame Mode InfoBasics / Beginners TipsTier BreakdownInfo For anyone looking to play War Thunder, or even the players playing War Thunder already, I've got some tips and tricks, and tactics for people to read and enjoy. Comments that add to this are more than welcome as this is a guide to help out our fellow gamers have fun with this amazing game. If you happen to be at this thread because you've heard talk about the game, but are not too sure about it yet, all I have to say is: What are you waiting for? War Thunder is an amazing game, though still in beta it outperforms a lot of the games being sold on the market. War Thunder (WT from now on) is expected to be a full scale battle between Air, Ground, and Naval forces (at once). Currently only Air forces are in open beta, Tanks are in closed beta, and Naval forces aren't projected to be put into the game until Spring of next year. The game by itself is free to play, and like most FTP games, there is a purchasable money system. I'll go into details about this later, but the first thing I want to say is that this system does not make it a pay to win game (even in the slightest). Everything you can pay for, you can earn (including premium planes) without spending a dime. Nation Info USA: The USA starts off pretty strong, they lack in armor, and turn ability, but they make up for it in armament, and speed. USA is generally a great nation as the further you advance, the better their planes get. Playing as USA you have to remember not to get into turn fights, and to stick to boom & zoom tactics (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRWiadS_VYA), utilize high altitude for an advantage in speed, and energy. Your bombers however will be very sluggish until level 7 when you unlock the B-25. Germany: Germany doesn't start out with much outside of a great turn rate, the machine guns are ok, and the armor is poor. Unless you're playing one of the Biplanes, or flying one of the HE112 variants, do not get into turn fights. Germany prevails mostly in armament with some of the best bombs, some of the best guns, and the best ammunition (in my opinion). Most of their planes are rated to do well in higher altitudes, as such use that to your advantage for high energy, high speed boom & zoom tactics. Russia: Russia is widely considered overpowered, and I say that because a lot of their fighters have the best of all worlds, even their BB-1 & Su-2 bombers make short work of fighters unfortunate enough to underestimate them. They get rockets right from the start which will help with taking down enemy PBY-Catalinas, and continue to get rockets throughout the tiers (You'll never run out of rocket capable fighters) Britain: In my opinion Britain has the worst start off, their biplanes have the slowest guns, with the worst fire rate, and the slowest turn speed. Don't fret though, as Britain is widely considered the strongest nation beyond the 4th level. At level 4 you get the Spitfire, and fighting as you know it takes a turn for the better (pun intended). Britain has the best turn fighters with the Japanese close behind, even the Beaufighter has an amazing turn rate (Rumor: I heard they gimped it recently, but cannot confirm). Your armament isn't great, but your speed and turn rate make up for it, once you unlock cannons you'll be almost unstoppable. Japan: Japan is also a great nation, close behind Britain in terms of turn fighters, and close behind Germany in terms of Armament. Unfortunately they lack greatly in armor from what I've seen, but even despite this their aircraft is very sturdy and will still fly even if 90% of their systems are at critical (happened to me a couple of times). Game Mode Info: Ok, now that we're done with nations, thirst thing I want to add is: Go through the Tutorial! I cannot stress this enough, because not only do you gain valuable knowledge about how to play the game, but you also gain Silver Lions and even Golden Eagles (Premium Currency) for doing the tutorial. That being said, lets go over the game modes, which are:Tutorial; Custom Battles; Arcade Battles; Historical Battles; Full Real Battles; Missions Tutorial: I already said it, but I cannot stress it enough to complete the Tutorials. Even if you've done flight sims before, it'll do you well to learn the specific play style of the planes you will be using. Custom Battles: I cannot currently comment on Custom Battles as I have yet to partake in them. If I do I will update this section Arcade Battles: This is for people who haven't played flight sims and want to get straight into the fight. This utilizes a keyboard and mouse setup (although you can use a joystick, but I don't recommend it as there's no advantage). A lot of the planes systems are regulated by an AI called the "Instructor." Your pilot can't get knocked out by G-force, you won't run out of fuel (unless systems critical), you can reload mid air, your plane can't stall (instructor prevents it), and your plane won't disintegrate if you dive too fast. But wait there's more! Multiple views including 3rd person, cockpit, virtual cockpit, gunner, and bomber, as well as a small target lead indicator. The way the indicator works is "If the enemy plane is flying on a continuous straight trajectory, and your plane is doing so as well, aiming the crosshairs direct center of the indicator will result in hitting the enemy plane at center mass. Obviously you may have to compensate for weaving, diving, or other maneuvering aircraft. Historical Battles: Largely the same as Arcade battles but with these differences: No target lead indicator, Knockout on g-force black out, stalling, limited to battling with planes of your nation, you have limited fuel, and you have to return to an airfield to re-arm. I can't confirm, but I heard the damage is a little more realistic. I almost forgot, you're limited to 1 plane, that's it. Full Real Battles: Flight Sim players, now is your time to shine. This mode limits you to Keyboard & Joystick fighting, as well as limits your view to cockpit, gunner, and bomber views. Everything that's changed in Historical is carried into Full Real. When starting off (mainly as a fighter) you actually have to take off from an airfield. Missions: Last I checked, Missions don't give you a lot of experience, I mean they might as well give you no experience. My friend and I went against planes 5 tiers over us, and even though we managed to complete the mission we only ended up with 250-300xp each (really small for any level). As such, I'm only assuming that missions are there for gamers to get used to the play style of War Thunder, almost like an extended tutorial. The plus to this is that your plane's don't cost a lot to repair here (not like in Arcade anyway), and makes for a great way to get used to Full Real Battles. Suggestion: Unless you're well experienced in flight sim games, do not, I say again DO NOT jump straight into Full Real Battles. The players in this game mode actually have flight sim experience, tend to take the game more seriously, and will grind you into cream, and then churn you into butter before you even know what's going on. Sure there's a larger EXP boost, but what's the point if you're going to be the first death of the game. In all seriousness, if you plan to play FRB, play the tutorials with FRB, set up your joystick, and practice with the missions. Last I checked they're low wage games that are easy enough for players to use to get used to FRB gameplay. Airfield Domination: In this map mode both teams will fight to capture airfields, much like in COD or BF, the team with the least amount of airfields will start to lose tickets until either the game time runs out, or one of the teams runs dry on tickets. In this mode there are often ground and/or naval units which also cost the hostile team a small portion of tickets just by blowing them up. To capture an airfield, you must successfully land on the airfield, note that I don't mean that you have to come to a full and complete stop, I mean that your wheels must touch the ground. If for some reason the match goes on long enough, you can also win by destroying all of the enemy planes. (Tips): Watch out for bombers making a swoop on the airfield you're trying to capture, even a 50kg (100lb) bomb will be a 1 shot kill if it hits in the right place. Heavy fighters/bombers like to swoop in for an easy capture when they get the chance thanks to their heavy armor. Never try to capture an airfield unless either: The skies are empty, or you have fighter back up. Most combat tends to take place in the lower altitude (Below 10,000ft/5km) (Fighters) This mode is for you, fighters are more than often the planes that dominate this mode. Your priority should be to capture the airfields, and then swarm them to deter enemy capture. Never leave an airfield undefended, and keep an eye on the enemy when you're unoccupied. Though it's not suggested to give a fighter a bomb, fighters with bombs are capable of getting quick kills of enemies trying to capture the airfields. (Medium/Heavy Bomber) Go after the ground targets and AA guns, this will take down the enemy tickets and make capturing bases easier for friendlies. (Light Bomber/Heavy Fighter) You have the benefit of doing whatever you want, your priority should be to climb, which will give you the height advantage to then dive onto fighters in the air, or dive bomb planes attempting to capture the base (It gets easier when you get used to leading your bombs, and more satisfying the higher you are). As tactic alternative: Light bombers should help out your fellow bombers by going after ground targets, and Heavy Fighters should go after enemy bombers. Ground Attack This game mode comprises of mostly ground targets. There are anywhere from 30-75 ground targets on a map, and there are 4 objectives: Destroy the enemy Airfield; Destroy the Enemy Bases; Destroy the Enemy Ground Units; Destroy the Enemy Planes. From the description you can probably tell that any type of bomber will do well in this game mode, however if you're a fighter only player don't worry there's plenty of planes to kill. The teams priority should be to communicate, if you plan on taking out the ground forces, don't go after the airfield, and if you plan on going after bases, cover your bombers, etc. (Fighter) Your priority is to protect your bombers while also going after enemy bombers. This is a tough task, and is often best to designate who will do what. Unfortunately, this kind of communication is never present unless you're in a squad. So decide for yourself: Do you want to protect friendly bombers, or attack enemy bombers? Either way, the first thing you should do is climb, there's no such thing as too high. If you chose to protect your bombers, your priority is to attack enemy fighters at high altitude. If you chose to attack enemy bombers, your priority is to attack the bombers (Who knew?). (Medium/Heavy Bombers) Try to communicate to your team what you plan on doing, also do us a favor and use the Team Chat (I've seen too many guys discuss team tactics not realizing they were using chat: All). Unless you have 2 or 3 other bombers who plan on going for the airfield, or you happen to have 1000kg/2000lb bombs (with relatively quick reload times), don't go after the airfield. If you decide to go after ground targets, don't suddenly decide to switch to a base unless it happens to be close by, and near death. If you decide to go after the Bases, try to focus on one base at a time, as the enemy team won't lose points until you actually destroy one. (Light Bombers) Just like in Airfield Domination, you have the ability of doing as you please. Your priority should be to climb high, and dive bomb, either bases or ground targets, but just like the other bombers, you have to choose. (Heavy Attacker) In this game mode, you're like the bridge between the light bomber (if you have bombs) and the fighter. Since most HF's don't get a lot of, or heavy enough bombs, I'd highly recommend sticking with just ground targets, and then either supporting your bombers, or attacking enemy bombers. Ground Attack (Alt) Ok, so I forgot what this game mode is really called, but it takes place on maps like: Pacific Hidden Base, and Wake Island. These maps have an objective in the middle of the map, which often look like the same objective marker in Airfield Domination. Yes, they are cap-able, however you cannot cap them in a plane. In these maps are naval units, cargo ships, and landing craft. Your objective is to protect the landing craft until it gets to the shore, where ground units will then spawn and push for the objective. Only the ground units can actually capture the objective. As such, if you see enemy ground units, you should try to take them out ASAP. (Fighters) Patrol the sky near your naval units, they need as much protection as they can get. Alternatively, you should also protect your bombers and heavy fighters, since they will be prioritizing enemy naval/ground units. (All Bombers) You should prioritize in the following order: Ground units, Landing Craft, Naval, Planes. Use height to your advantage, but naval units are very difficult to hit with bombs, use torpedoes for the larger units, and MG/Cannons for the Landing Craft. (Heavy Fighter) You should prioritize Enemy bombers, and then Landing Craft (Ground units if you have bombs) Basics / Beginners Tips Armament: When you finally unlock your armament upgrade, you'll have some new options: Omni-purpose, Armor, Anti-Aircraft, Stealth, etc. According to the forums, the Stealth rounds deal the most damage to aircraft, as it's mostly AP and API rounds, however if you have the chance to use Anti-Aircraft rounds, do so as this has a much higher DPS than stealth does. Crew: Each plane slot has it's own crew, this crew levels up the more you use them in a fight, and the more experience you gain in that fight. This crew is capable of using any plane you train them for, and no others. As such I highly recommend designating crews(slots) specifically for fighters, and others specifically for bombers (as having a fighter crew with ranks in gunner is counter-productive). The crew skill determines things such as: Reload time, repair time, how much G-force you can handle, to how far away you can spot an enemy (or how far before you're spotted). Each rank adds a very small percentage, and it takes many ranks to finally start seeing a difference (which is good for players who want to work for their crew, and not buy it off). Bomber: Pilot Vitality (a common quick kill for any bomber is the pilot kill, will improve survivability). Gunner Precision / Accuracy / Vitality (you want your gunner AI as good of a shot as possible). Generally, your gunner will not be as good of a gunner as you can be, but they can help hold off enemies while you're too busy watching the bomb view. Fighters: Reload Speed, Weapon Maintenance, G-Force, Vitality, and in that order. The reason I say that is because Reload gets really expensive right around rank 10, but you need to be able to reload as fast as possible in the middle of the fight. Maintenance will help your weapon accuracy and help you maintain fire without jamming for a longer period of time. If you get the chance, it's also helpful to put ranks into Keen Sight and Visibility to make enemies more noticeable, and you less noticeable (respectively). Heavy Fighters: Generally you can utilize a Heavy Fighter in a fighter slot, but you might also want to invest a couple of ranks into your gunner. In my opinion, have a slot all by itself, and exchange your heavy fighter for light bombers as you need them as they generally encompass the same thing. Light/Dive bombers (For this I'm talking mostly planes like the JU-87's, the SBD-3, or the SU-2): These bombers are excellent when it comes to bombing, and some of them even go so far as to excel against air as well. Due to their lack of a heavy bomb load, your priorities will be: Reload Speed, Vitality, Gunner. Just like the Medium/Heavy Bombers, your light bombers pilot will be very vulnerable, and you'll probably be too bothered with the fight to switch to your gunner, so it's best to have a gunner who knows what he's doing. Tips: Know your nation, and know your planes. Knowing how a plane turns, climbs, and shoots is key to victory in WT. Never try to play Rambo and charge into a swarm of planes, stick with your team, support them where it matters (watch your fire), and keep an eye on them when it doesn't. That being said, if you see 2+ teammates going after a plane, don't join the fight, you're either going to kill steal, shooting up your friendly planes, or you're going to end up ramming someone, besides there's another team mate out there who needs your help. Fly with a squad, having teammates to back you up, and communicate with will greatly strengthen you and your team. climb, Climb, CLIMB, CLIMB! No matter what you play, altitude advantage is always a priority, and will often make the difference between killing, and being killed. Always remember that in WT your bullet velocity also counts for gravity, and airspeed velocity, and as such your rounds will follow a straighter trajectory in a dive, and a more curved trajectory in a climb. If you do join up with an ally in taking down a plane, watch your fire as you might hit your friend and damage him badly. If you're high altitude bombing and a fighter is getting close to nabbing you and there are other bombers around, do everyone a solid and dive. The reason I say this is: Either you dive and he pursues you, removing the threat from the other bombers for a time, or you dive and he decides he'd rather pursue the other bombers and you're safe. Learn your bullet drop, it's not hard to do in arcade (especially with tracer rounds). Doing this will make head on battles much easier. Knowing your bullet drop to distance ratio will make the difference between you sniping a beaufighter, and the beaufighter ripping your plane to shreds. KNOW YOUR ENEMY! What I mean by this is, if you're having trouble with a certain nation (eg USA) when fighting other nations planes (eg Britain's Spitfire), utilize the old phrase "If you can't beat them, join them" if only for a little while. I can't tell you how much playing as planes that really annoy me helps me fight them, you learn how they play, and you learn their strength and weaknesses. To limit yourself to one nation out of pride is really limiting yourself as a player, why do you think there were so many plane captures during the war? Everyone wanted to know how the other's machines worked, mostly for technology salvage, but also to learn the tactics one would use in such a beast. As a newbie there are two things that will happen constantly, they are inevitable, cannot be avoided at times, and will constantly piss you off: Rammers & Pilot Knockout Rammers: Every now and then someone won't be looking where they're going, or is incapable of moving out of the way because either they're a bomber with no maneuverability, or their a plane with no ailerons/elevators and also have no maneuverability. That being said, their's always going to be a couple of tards who's plane is about to crash and they're looking for a plane to take out, so they purposefully ram their plane into yours, essentially taking you both out. This is most common (and inexcusable) when flying bombers and theres a fighter who can't seem to shoot you down, and so he intentionally crashes into you from behind. Pilot Knockout: This happens when a round strikes your pilot, and your pilot "dies," but to be politically correct is called "knockout." This will happen a lot, in fact theirs an entire clan called [sNIPE] who dedicate their lives to knocking out your pilot. Tiers Tier 1: Russia I-15 Chaika or German HE-51 - Both are very quick turn fighters, and the Chaika will always out gun you with its 4 7.92 machine guns (Never go head on), Unless you're playing Germans in these low tiers, try to boom and zoom. Later on (4ish) you'll start to fight British spitfires, and unless you're in a spitfire, don't bother getting in a turn fight. Tier 2: P39 Aircobra, Spitfires, Beaufighters, and surprisingly enough the JU87: The Aircobra doesn't have a quick turn rate, but he has a massive 37mm cannon which will 1 shot your low level plane with a well placed shot, Spitfires are still the same, Beaufighters have 4 forward facing 20mm cannons which will rip your plane to shreds (NEVER go head on unless you know what you're doing), and they have an almost OP turn rate, so watch your back. Lastly the JU87, of which I'm mostly talking about the 20mm and Dual 37mm variants. I can't tell you how many people underestimate me when I'm in this plane only to end up in a pile of rubble at the end of the fight. It has a semi-decent horizontal turn rate, but it's vertical turn rate is amazing, equipped with anti-aircraft rounds and you can melt through air armor like butter. To add to the JU-87, try to approach from behind from below (that's the gunners blind spot), but try not to remain below the JU87 as competent players will use their energy and armament to their advantage. Tier 3: BF109, Yak-9, P63 Kingcobra, Spitfires: Lets face it, spitfires will always be on this list. Yak-9 is widely known as overpowered with its 37mm/47mm cannon with RPM almost to the level of the 20mm cannons, it also has great turn rate, great climb, decent armor, and as I said OP. BF109's have great armament, with amazing accuracy, and probably the best climb rate of the German luftwaffe, Never go head on with this thing as it has up to 3 20mm cannons loaded with the infamous Minengeschoß rounds. Tier 4 - For the most part I'm having the most trouble with the lower level planes: A5M3's, Kingcobra's, Spitfires, BF109's, and Yak-9's. Tier 5 - I'm not this high up the tier, when I get here, I'll let you know. Tactics: Britain & Japan: You have the best turn fighters in the game, use this to your advantage. If someone tries to head you straight on, bank off to the side almost immediately to attempt to trick them into a turn fight. Not only will you avoid countless deadly shells pelting your pilot, but you'll more than likely have a guaranteed kill. Everyone else: Avoid turn fighting whenever possible. Use high altitude for more energy, and if possible always have the altitude advantage. Germany: You have the best rounds available, use them. Stealth rounds may have the best average DPS, but your anti-aircraft rounds will always outperform them. Quotes: That's all I have for now, don't be afraid to ask questions, or comment additional tips. For now I highly recommend checking out this youtuber (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wxV0ToR_Y88) who helped me become a better player in War Thunder. Edit #1: Added more spacing for less clutter. Edit #2: Added "Know your enemy" & "Game Modes" Edit #3 (12/24): Post 1.37 patch update, edited for the changes made in patch 1.37. Cleaned up, easier to read. Added Table of Contents.