Just as World of Warplanes takes flight, so War Thunder is crashing down to earth. In a good way. The free-to-play flight sim is launching a Ground Forces beta on December 4th, letting tank fanciers join the fight.
If you want to join the beta, it's not as simple as signing up and hoping you get a place. Developers Gaijin Entertainment are assigning new challenges every day, and those who seem "most determined" by completing or attempting to complete those challenges will be allowed into the beta.
You can see today's challenge here, and page is updated daily with your new orders. Here's today's:
Destroy the following number of enemy fighters:
Arcade — 30 fighters
History — 10 fighters
Full Real - 5 fighters
You can track your progress on the 'Profile — Achievements — Special' tab in the menu.
So far they all seem to involve shooting down lots of planes, which is fair enough, I guess. War Thunder is currently the 17th most played game on Steam. Warframe is at number 16. I can't wait until Warface is on Steam and we finally get a three-way war-off.
In War Thunder's case, there's a good game lying under the ridiculous name. Gaijin are experienced flight simmers, responsible for the likes of Wings of Prey, and the game is pretty, fast-paced, and provides good competition for Wargaming.net's World of Warplanes.
Whether Gaijin can similarly challenge World of Tanks, I don't know, but tank combat tends to be just, well, better. Combat flight sims - especially of the somewhat arcade-y variety - tend to suffer because there's not a lot of cover up in those skies. World of Tanks worked because you could hide behind buildings, snipe from high ledges, and basically play the game as Counter-Strike-with-treads.