War Thunder: Getting Started in the Aviation Shooter

12/12/2013 06:00 am by Marcel Wuttig in TestsDownload GamesAction

War Thunder

War Thunder

As online gaming journalists, we get to play many different games of very diverse genres. We are gamers to the core, but naturally we also have personal preferences as to what kinds of games we enjoy to play in our spare time. Nevertheless, we often have to write about  games that we would never touch if we had a choice. How can we test games from genres that we are not necessarily familiar with? How can we make sure that we’re still objective and fair to the quality of the game? We asked ourselves these questions and realized how important the first few hours in video games are. How are players instructed in tutorials (if there are any at all), how easy is the access to the game, and what kinds of tips can we give for an easier start?

The free-to-play aviation shooter War Thunder will get a major game update in the near future, which will add ground forces to the war game. We decided that now would be a good time to revisit the game and see what the first few hours of War Thunder are like. In early March, we had already extensively tested the online game and briefly commented on its tutorial. Now it’s time to explain in more detail what it’s like to get started in the game and if players who are looking forward to the addition of ground forces should maybe already give the game a try.

Of Having Tutorials and Actually Playing Them

Starting War Thunder was actually quite intuitive and simple. We logged into our account and were basically thrown into a tutorial. Virtually soaring through the sky made us feel like we were actually flying - the graphics are breathtaking and the physics engine of the aviation game creates a perfect illusion of steering an aircraft in flight. There are various ways of controlling your plane - the easiest one involves using your mouse. Point your mouse in whichever direction you wish to fly without worrying too much about your rudders or elevators. This guarantees a very simple and intuitive, but not boring access to the game.

Point your mouse in the direction you wish to fly.

The first tutorial teaches you the main combat controls of your fighter - how to increase and decrease speed and how to shoot down enemies. The tutorial is very helpful and we felt like the audio guide was encouraging and supportive, addressing us in a transatlantic 1940s accent. One minor letdown was the last sentence at the end of the first tutorial. Whereas the beginning of the lesson made it clear that this was merely the first part in a series of tutorials, the audio guide indicated that it was finally time to delve into real battles.

We were thrown back to the main screen of the game called Hangar, which features visually appealing closeups of various planes. On the bottom right corner, we found a red button which says “To Battle!”. It strikes the eye more than anything else on this screen. Naturally, after having the audio guide tell us that we were ready to head into our first battle and seeing the red button, we decided to try our luck. We had to painfully learn that this was not a very smart idea. As complete rookies, we didn’t quite know what to do or how to do it, and ended up feeling quite lost and helpless. We were definitely anything but good supporters for our team and ended up being shot down faster than you can say “World War 2”.

This is the title screen, the so called Hangar.

After a few unfruitful PvP battles, we decided to explore the Hangar some more. We quickly realized that we were far from being ready for actual battles against much more advanced players. Hidden in a bar at the top of the screen, we found War Thunder’s Game Modes. We clicked on the bar and realized that we had only accomplished the first in an extensive series of tutorials. We have to admit that we felt somewhat deceived and definitely foolish to have tried our luck at PvP battles so soon.
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