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War Thunder Ground Forces

By 97110-05-2014
War Thunder Ground Forces

The Defence

Gaijin Entertainment
Gaijin Entertainment
MMO, Simulator
Release Date:

The Prosecution

Intel Core 2 Duo 2.4 GHz
AMD equivalent
Nvidia GeForce 460
AMD equivalent
4 GB
8 GB

Released into open beta back in 2012, War Thunder is a free-to-play combat simulator developed by Gaijin Entertainment. Players took to the skies, across a variety of maps, with planes dating from before World War II into the early fifties. Since then, new content has flooded in gradually, allowing players to choose and develop a tech tree as one of six different nations (USA, Germany, Soviet Union, Great Britain and Japan). From biplanes to jets, we were given a stunning environment that then became our battlefield.

Noted for its realism, War Thunder allowed players to do battle with amazing physics, across highly detailed maps that ranged from a small 65 square kilometers to 200 square kilometers. However if realistic simulation isn't for you then that's fine, the gameplay was split into three different types. The first type was arcade (simplified controls, auto reload rockets and bombs, players from all nations) the second, historical mode (more complex, played on historical battle maps, no auto reload, nation vs nation) and the third, simulation (most complex, cockpit view only, joystick recommended).

A dramatic entrance with a burning tank in the background.

A dramatic entrance with a burning tank in the background.

But now, is two years later, it is time to get excited if you have been waiting. Planes are crashing to the ground and the tanks are rolling in. After logging many, many hours in War Thunder, some of the questions often asked as bombs fell were 'When am I going to play as that tank?' and 'How long until we can be destroyers?'.

Well, since the release of screenshots from Gaijin last year, impatience from the community has run rampant, now more so than ever, with the closed beta open to the public. From fan art to discussions, a message from the community stating the expectations of this game is starting to appear. After checking up on thoughts in the forums and trying it out, it should be said that most of the community will be satisfied. Bearing in mind this judgement is made while the game is still in closed beta with much to be done. It would probably help quell the rumors to try filling in some of the gaps for further speculation with another well-known game about to meet its match, that's right - World of Tanks.

WoT has seen much success so far, with over 60 million players registered worldwide. Wargaming’s hit title is War Thunder's biggest rival, beyond any shadow of a doubt. But what key differences will set it apart from its competitor?

Well, compared to World of Tanks, War Thunder Ground Forces lacked an arcade feel, instant-kills, accurate gunfire and artillery, and perhaps the most worrying, planes. That said, War Thunder always lacked a more casual experience that could be felt in the Wargaming series, even on arcade mode.

Take me serious. Please?

Take me serious. Please?

To get a better understanding of the more formalized play in War Thunder and how tanks could affect it, take this example. You’re about to join a dogfight, a few hits and now your pilot is dead before you get a shot. It’s bound to happen with this change, but this could be a good thing as it possess a new challenge. The overall adaptation from sky to ground has been impressive and there should be excitement felt for the upcoming features. However, I wouldn't hold your breath for an inside view of a tank.

In terms of familiarity between the game’s ground forces and planes, this much can be said; both use a tech tree that requires research over time to unlock new vehicles. These vehicles are attached to a ‘crew’ whose skills can be developed as you play battles via points, and the vehicles have modifications that can be researched, then purchased, using the lions’ game currency.

So what else can we expect in the future? Well, the vehicles have a greater range of variety than just tanks, AA vehicles being a good example of this so far. In terms of how much ground forces will develop, it is too early to say, but a prediction wouldn’t be out of line. On some test maps, infantry has been seen by the players. While it is very unlikely that you will ever play as infantry, that doesn’t mean they could not be targets. As AA vehicles are already available to try against the planes, why not add armoured cars to attack the infantry?

While some of the tanks are a 'work in progress' at best, the ground side of battle is thrilling. A notable difference between War Thunder tanks and World of Tanks is the variance in available vehicles. Where World of Tanks gives you a wide range of tanks available, with a lot of customisation, War Thunder seems to be lacking. The tech tree seems to be just variants of the same tank; however, the tanks behave differently in battle. There is still a bit of concern on the selection: Soviet and German tanks seem underrepresented in the game. However, if you’re looking for a silver lining, there is a good amount of interest in other nations being added. With plenty of time before the release date, if it develops like its plane counterpart, it should do fine.

The battlefield awaits.

The battlefield awaits.

Now to move onto a key feature, planes. These are perhaps the best feature, but why; this is about tanks. Right? No, this is really about planes and tanks, as well as the ability to play as both in battles that now see the earth and sky clash. Unlike their rivals, Gaijin are pushing to integrate land, sky and hopefully in the future, sea, into the battles. So far, the developers have struck gold with this idea. It should be said though, for the time being, you can only play as the tanks. The planes are AI controlled but... that should change in the near future.

So far there is very little cause for concern regarding 'unfair advantage' when it comes to planes versus tanks. Planes disintegrated by the shell of a Panzer? Yes, please! Ground Forces is a great expansion to an already great game. This long awaited addition of tanks deserves praise and further support. Perhaps, in the not too distant future we may be excited for ‘Naval Forces’.

Comments (1)
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Posts: 596

It will be a very tough competition between World of Tanks and War Thunder, neither are actually "the one" that is better than the other in every aspect. They each have their unique good points and negative points.

Overall though War Thunder is really for those who want a more realistic battle. The scales are all right, the tanks look and handle beautifully and very realistic.

While World of Tanks aims at being more fun and striking a balance between realistic ELEMENTS and fun gameplay. This is a stark contrast to War Thunder which is not afraid to sacrifice fun for realism. And that even on its "arcade" mode. Its historic and simulation mode are then aimed at being even more realistic (and perhaps less fun depending on your personal tastes).

One advantage War Thunder will always have though is its graphics as the scales are just completely wrong on World of Tanks, while the battlefield scales of plants, tanks, buildings, etc... are all perfectly correct on War Thunder. In addition War Thunder will have the advantage of being the only title that allows for player controlled planes, ships and tanks all to participate in one battle together. Which is something the World of Tanks developers have stated multiple times that it is "impossible with current day server technology"

Well I have news for you Wargaming, just because you haven't heard of a technology doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Just like multi-core CPUs... I mean seriously? (World of Tanks still doesn't support mulit-core rendering!!!)