War Thunder leaves open beta, officially released

Back when simulated man Tim Stone declared War Thunder [official site] one of the best sims, it wasn’t even out of beta. Now, after four years in open beta, Gaijin Entertainment have declared their free-to-play aeroplane-a-tank battler is… well, not done, but officially ‘released’ and out of beta. War Thunder is still missing several long-planned features, like proper shipfights, but they are coming.

The update tipping War Thunder over from beta into officially launched is v1.65, nicknamed ‘Way of the Samurai’. Its main feature is Japanese ground vehicles, completing the game’s lineup of pootlers. The game now also has 3D cockpits for all aircraft, while back on the ground vehicles with hydropneumatic suspension can hunker down and boogy from side to side. The update added two new maps too.

You might be wondering what happened to proper naval warfare, the third front War Thunder was due to battle across. Well, Gaijin’s plan was to complete ground vehicles, get cockpits sorted, and have balance in decent shape, to launch in that state, then focus on ships.

Gaijin CEO Anton Yudintsev reflected in a Reddit post

“Initial plan was to finish all it in 2.5 years, but we hadn’t able to do that – partially because the game was under operation, partially because we got user feedback that changed priorities and added new features.

“Even this update added like 50 vehicles (which is about the amount of initial OBT!), and totally we now have like 500 planes and 300 ground vehicles.

“Still, such timeline is not something unusual (as well as 2 years delays) in game development, even for much smaller games.

“We are small studio. When we launched OBT, we had money for just one month salary for our employees, so we couldn’t wait any longer.

“Luckily launch was successful enough to finish our plans, thanks for our players’ support.”

So now they’ll focus on Naval Forces, which are soon to enter closed beta, and World War Mode. That’s due to chain large battles into ‘Operations’, with events and outcomes of each affecting the wider Operation.

You can nab War Thunder from its own site and through Steam.


  1. LewdPenguin says:

    Alice are you ok hun?
    “The update tipping War Thunder into officially launched is . Its main feature is Japanese ground vehicles”
    “Well, Gaijin’s plan was to complete ground vehicles for all planes”
    Ground vehicles for all planes… I guess maybe it was the RPS christmas corporate drinking marathon last night, but it seems you’ve fallen into the same trap I often do of re-writing paragraphs 5 times and not actually checking that the end result makes any sense :)

    As for the game nice to hear it’s had another big update, having played a fair bit of both World of Tanks and Armored Warfare, and dabbled a bit in World of Warships War Thunder has so far always been the one I’ve had in the back of my mind to try as well but not quite got around to actually doing so. Maybe over the holidays I’ll burn out of whatever I start binging on and finally give it a try.

    ps I can have the Trainee Deputy Sub-Editor badge now plz?

    • Smoof says:

      War Thunder Ground Forces are a lot of fun, but it doesn’t feel as balanced or competitive as something like World of Tanks. That said, I go back and play it anytime I’m feeling the need for some tank on tank realism.

      • ludde says:

        Must be quite a mess if it manages to be less balanced than World of Tanks.

    • MajorFordson says:

      War Thunder compared to, say World of Tanks is chalk and cheese. Given it has been years since I played WoT, but that sits firmly in a “video game” category. Whereas War Thunder has Arcade mode, Realistic mode and full blown Sim mode. Realistic mode being the sweet spot between arcadey StarFox style control and full sim “stick only, set the trim and manage your engines in detail” I don’t know if WoT still runs on health bars and such, but War Thunder fully attempts to simulate armour penetration and angling mechanics, along with detailed internal damage instead of a generic HP bar. It doesn’t always work perfectly, but for WW2/realism buffs like myself it is way more satisfying than the systems I encountered in WoT. Honestly the most impressive F2P game I’ve ever played.

      • Landiss says:

        WoT is arcade and has hitpoints, but it also does model internal components and, more importantly, armor width and angles and penetration values which is all extremely important. You need to know how to angle your tank so it’s not easy to penetrate and you need to know where to aim on other tanks. And it was like that since pretty much the beginning (although they did improved the system a few times, creating more detailed models). I haven’t played it in years, perhaps it was improved even more since then.

  2. Baines says:

    Has Gaijin perhaps given up on its yearly tradition of fake sales, and is instead looking for some other hook to draw attention to their game?

    (*)In 2014, Gaijin was caught raising prices on items in order to “discount” them for the Steam Summer. In 2015, they were caught apparently doing the prep work for such a tactic before the sale even started. Gaijin reportedly did the price raise trick again in early 2016.

    (*) The 2015 Summer Sale is when we saw the big backlash against multiple publishers/devs and even Valve itself for skeezy “sales” tactics. And then saw a backlash against the backlash, with some games journalists defending the companies in question. In 2015, Gaijin even claimed itself a victim (as it didn’t go through with the price rigging that year due to being caught so early). Gaijin also proceeded to using a DMCA claim to take down a TotalBiscuit video discussing the matter, which quickly blew up in their faces.

    • xXOwenatorXx says:

      I don’t want to get too negative as underneath everything the game itself is fantastic but let’s not gloss over in-game changes either.

      When they had changed how you unlocked vehicles from straight up buying to having the research first. People at first thought it was were a little disgruntled but it was somewhat reasonable. Getting planes took longer but they cost less and repair cost went down exponentially. Afterwards they than said players were reaching jets too fast so they put requirements down for progressing through tiers. This didn’t go down too well but the kicker was when they claimed player were getting to jets EVEN faster and bumped up the requirement again.

      It’s a great game (If you look at it purely from how it plays) but I can’t go back because of how terrible the progression got/is with or without premium.

      • Titler says:

        This, so much this; I logged into Steam to check the figures, but having played on and off since release 4 years ago, I have 1455 hours logged in War Thunder; in that time I may have had roughly 3 months of Premium account (faster levelling) and spent maybe £50 … and I’m still not done with a single nation’s aeroplanes. At a rough guess, the last tier (tier 5) would require another thousand hours of grind to get.

        I actually had a debate with their CEO on Reddit about this; many of us were pointing out that, with the current ridiculously broken unlock speed, many of us just couldn’t be bothered playing again… yet if they’d allowed us to spend £50 on unlocking everything, we might do so; price the content even the same as an AAA game, and we’d see the balance of cost to fun much differently. However the CEO just insulted us all by claiming they had the data, we didn’t, and that most of their money was coming from such research unlocking, and if anything they were being far too generous…

        I still log in every now and then for a quick blast, especially as a friend with a full Occulus set up tells me it’s amazing in 3d and he wants someone to be his wingman, but what makes it even worse is the current development team seems to have absolutely NO idea how to balance the game.

        Years ago, it felt fine. Then they introduced bases for bombers to hit. Which ended games too fast. So then they nerfed the bomber gunners and armor to the point they died in single shots, leading to bomber pilots deliberately bailing the moment a fighter got near them. Since I was away, they seem to have left most of that the case, but now added incredibly weak bases to try and tempt people to stay in bombers, but that just ends the game fast as well as annoying the bomber pilots who get one pass if they’re lucky at a base… The gameplay is now awful for everyone.

        Tank gameplay too is largely awful. What was supposed to be realistic modelling just means that in Arcade people who memorised all the one shot-one kill spots will kill you the moment you are seen. Gameplay devolves down to trundling towards the control points and getting sniped by someone you never see, or sitting somewhere you wont be seen and shooting all the newbies in the spots they instantly die too.

        Anyone getting excited about Naval Combat needs to bear in mind that, as far as I know it’s going to be small ships only. No battleships. One reason being given explains the mess of balance in the other two modes; they assume that players want games that are over very, very quickly.

        Wings of Prey, their original game which WT emerged out of, was fantastic. Ran amazingly well on low end hardware. Could be tailored for what ever level of realism you wanted. Had a wonderful range of content that was all on the disc… War Thunder however has slowly thrown most of that away in favour of awful financial decisions and questionable design.

        • AttackRabbit says:

          Going to have to agree with pretty much all of this. I have logged over 1000 hours in War Thunder, mostly between start of 2013 until the start of 2015.
          Over time the grind has become ridiculous – I really feel sorry for anyone starting out in this game these days. Whilst they used to have somewhat decent events to get special bonuses, vehicles, decals etc they have changed to format of events to really take the piss :/
          Most questions about game decisions, vehicle stats / balance and pretty much anything else are met with the answer ‘We have the data, you don’t’ (even when in the case of plane stats for example you can submit actual manufacturers documents showing the performance etc and they will tell you ‘well our [sekret russian] sources show different data’ and jsut write off anything you have to say. That’s a really shitty way to treat your customers and coupled with the changes to the grinding and the ridiculously short matches means I rarely play this game anymore which is a real shame as there are so few games like it.

        • Unruly says:

          And that doesn’t even touch on the fact that if you have a HOTAS setup and try to fly in Arcade mode you’re at a severe disadvantage, or at least it did a couple years ago when my friends and I tried to play. The game modeled plane handling based on input device in Arcade mode, and flying with a stick of any kind instead of a mouse meant that your turning radius was limited to what it was in Realism mode, and maneuvering caused plane shake and all that stuff. Flying with a mouse had none of that, and bringing it up on the forums got you shouted down with “Go play Realism, *expletive deleted*.” The devs responded with “Working as intended. Use a mouse in arcade mode instead.”

          This was after we had spent months playing, trying to figure out how it was that we were being outflown by just about everyone and shot down almost instantly. We kept chalking it up to bad luck or that people were just better pilots than us, not that there was a hardcoded disadvantage for trying to fly with HOTAS in arcade mode. When we finally figured out that something was when we decided to give up on flying the planes that we liked(the P-47 and the P-40) and start flying the same exact stuff that everyone else was flying(LaGG-3’s and Bf-109’s) because we got fed up with being overpowered by their cannons while our massive numbers of 50-cals did practically nothing to them. Then we’d get massively out-turned by the exact same plane as we were flying. Way more than you’d expect from increased pilot skills. So my friend hit the forums and found all the stuff about HOTAS in arcade mode, and saw the dev responses. We tried flying with a mouse, and it was like shooting fish in a barrel compared to what we had been dealing with. There was no shake, no recoil, we turned faster and tighter, the difference was night and day. But we wanted to fly with a stick, and since the devs didn’t care about fixing it, we quit playing. We both sent in feedback about why we were quitting, and then we walked away from it completely.

          I don’t know if they ever changed their stance on it, I don’t know if it was ever fixed, but I don’t know if I’d even care if they did. Any time the devs brush off balance problems or bugs and basically join the chorus of “Git gud, scrub” it tells me that I don’t need to play their game.

          • Leidan Wing says:

            Oooh…thanks, you opened my eyes. I played with a friend of mine for some time a few years ago. I was using my new and super-fancy Saitek x-52, while he was using a mouse. I remember having actually hit something with the joystick (lol), but I always ended up last of my team, while my buddy was always at the top of the score table. I always thought I was a terrible player compared to…basically everyone else.

          • Unruly says:

            That’s how my friend and I were. He was using an X-52, I was using a Thrustmaster T-Flight HOTAS. We didn’t come in last all the time, but we never made it into the top half of the scoreboard. Getting up out of the bottom third was hard enough. I think we only did as well as we did because we’d been flying together in Battlefield for years and flew as a fairly well coordinated team so we had a much easier time chasing people away from each other. If one of us got someone on our plane, the other was ready to break in behind them and get on their tail long enough to scare them off.

            More than a few times we spent half a round just circling back on each other to clear enemies away. But when you’re able to be outmaneuvered by everyone who flies with a mouse, which the majority of people playing arcade did, it’s hard to do much of anything other than scramble to stay alive no matter how good your wingman is.

          • Titler says:

            Agreed on the HOTAS too; I went from Il-2 Sturmovik FB over to War Thunder with mine, and whilst I managed ok with light bombers, it was impossible to keep on target in dogfights, so in the end I gave up and went Mouse Control instead.

            I don’t mind that now as such, because Arcade really doesn’t have much realism any more either. But if you want to grind new content, there’s no other way to do so efficiently; Realistic etc have too few players, and those who do play are so damn good you won’t be getting the kills required to progress until you can beat them over and over.

            However the gameplay in Arcade is wrecked now. I used to love flying bombers tactically, I’d side climb to keep away from interceptors, sneak around the back and start dropping eggs… now gameplay is either fly like a UFO to 15,000 feet and cannon 1 shot all the bombers until 1 team gets control over the others spawn point and a single player goes 8-0 boom and zooming the spawners… or if you’re not on the side that takes control of height, turn, turn TURN and get 1-2 kills before someone turning on your tail gets you… and then the game ends either way within a few minutes because the team that dominates the heights destroys enough ground targets / caps enough bases.
            There’s only *one* map I can think of that doesn’t end that way, the one with only the airfield, no bases and a lot of ships, because the airfield has enough hitpoints to survive everything but a wave of B29/Tu4s and you can’t really damage ships from height due to water neutralising nearby splash damage…

            Such a shame, the game was so much fun at first. Now even going back to tier 1 is boring because you either brutalise the newbies with ranked up planes and crew they’ll never be able to catch up with, or the matches end even faster because the quick timers apply to ground targets anyone can destroy just with guns…

            Shame, shame, shame.

          • ADorante says:

            I read that Thrustmaster was targetting its new line of HOTAS Joysticks especially to the WarThunder/WoT/F2P audience and now Gaijin is nerfing joystick use against mouse control? That’s cold! Maybe it’s of some interest for those who want a little bit more enjoyment out of their already bought HOTAS systems that the developers of Il-2 Sturmovik Battle of Stalingrad/Moscow/Kuban have upped their ante: new patch version v2.006 with DX11 support (important for coming VR patch), scripted campaign support like in the old Maddox days, Ju-52 with para-drop and cargo missions (sold separately). This developers have learned from their mistakes, have listened to their customers and they can listen to you too. It’s not advertisement, it’s advice!

      • ludde says:

        Hey, that’s how I feel about World of Tanks. Never tried War Thunder – by the time it got tank battles I had already sworn off free to play-games forever. Never touching another one.

    • Alexander Trifonov says:

      Oh, will you stop repeating that false information? There is a SteamDB for tracking prices, ffs

      link to steamdb.info
      There was NO price raise in 2014, it was raised in summer of 2015, but the pack didn’t participate in sale summer sale either.
      The same goes for link to steamdb.info

      And the rest of the DLCs that are on sale now weren’t even present back then.

  3. Rindan says:

    War Thunder is so… disappointing. Its free to play model gets in the way of the game actually being fun. God do I hate free to play. It murders gameplay. The worst part is though, as far as World War II flight sims with multiplayer and any vague realism, War Thunder is pretty much it. If you want co-op and worse, a game that focuses on the Pacific theater, you are totally hosed.

    It’s sad, because they had this when I was young. I was all pumped slap on a VR headset, grab my joystick, and go killing Americans in the Pacific and… it doesn’t exist.

    I miss good joystick games; World War II combat games, space combat games like Tie Fighter and Free Space, and stuff like that. Now alls there really is are ultra realistic simulators for flying things that are not going to kill, free to play trash, and stuff that feels like free to play trash (Elite). Blah.

    • MajorFordson says:

      I really have to disagree with the F2P model. You can buy cosmetic items, a handful of unique Premium vehicles, or Premium account time that reduces the grind. It is amazing impressive the amount of content you can unlock for free. If you went into the game wanting to drive late war/Cold War stuff I can see why it would be a disappointment, but after 4 years of on-and-off playing I’m barely up to any Tier 4 vehicles yet most of my play time is spent in Tier 1 or 2. It’s all super enjoyable stuff. I don’t think I’ve ever had the thought “bah this sucks I want to unlock X vehicle and it will take me 50 decent games to unlock it!”, I’ve simply always been happy to go out and pilot one of the hundreds of vehicles I’ve already unlocked.

      • Rindan says:

        I don’t want to fucking unlock stuff. I don’t want to buy “upgrades” for my plane. It isn’t the god damn money. It is the shitty game play. Unlocking stuff isn’t fun. If you don’t have the crack addict achiever impulse, it is just boring and miserable. I am playing the game to fly planes, not see numbers go up or unlock shit.

        Free to play just shits up whatever game it is done on. The game inevitably becomes about some boring grind that you can pay to make slightly less boring. Fuck grinding.

    • Aborted Man says:

      IL2: Battle of Stalingrad, Battle of Moscow (and upcoming Battle of Kuban) are alive and well. Much better games than War Thunder in every aspect.

  4. JustAchaP says:

    It was in beta?