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War Thunder Beginner's Guide

War Thunder Beginner's Guide by Vernum

Hello everyone,

I have been lucky enough to find out about this game recently and it took me a bit of time to familiarize myself with some of the features.

In this guide I would like to share what I have learnt with and from the other virtual pilots from War Thunder and I hope this will make the starting experience easier for the new players.

Table of Content (to jump directly to a part of this guide you can search for the number on the right side of this table.)

1) Game interface [01.00.00]
a. The launcher [01.01.00]
b. The main hangar [01.02.00]
c. About repairs [01.03.00]
d. The main menu [01.04.00]
2) The crew [02.00.00]
a. Pilot [02.01.00]
b. Gunners [02.02.00]
c. Ground services [02.03.00]
d. Qualification [02.04.00]
e. Switching planes [02.05.00]
3) The game [03.00.00]
a. In game head up display [03.01.00]
b. Some advices for simple flight model mode [03.02.00]
i. Landing [03.02.01]
ii. Dropping bombs [03.02.02]
iii. Using torpedoes [03.02.03]
iv. Weapon choice for ground targets [03.02.04]
v. Weapon choice for air targets [03.02.05]
vi. Use of turret advice [03.02.06]
vii. Manage your weapons' heat [03.02.07]
c. The different types of planes [03.03.00]
d. Map strategy in arcade [03.04.00]
e. The damage system [03.05.00]
i. The damage indicator [03.05.01]
ii. Effect of damage [03.05.02]
iii. Conditions for a plane to be shot down [03.05.03]
iv. fuel leak [03.05.04]
f. The ranking and experience system [03.06.00]
g. The reward system [03.07.00]

1) Game interface [01.00.00]

a. The launcher [01.01.00]

After downloading the launcher you will be greeted with this option screen.
option screen.jpg
You can select the language here as well as setup various sound and graphic settings by clicking on the advanced settings line. Currently, it is advised to select stereo sound if you cannot hear anything with the default or any other settings.
Clicking on run the game will stop the seeding process if you were seeding then take you to the log in screen where you can enter your yuplay login information.

note: if you want to help new players by seeding the game for them to download faster while you are away from your computer or doing things that don't require your bandwidth, you can click on check files, this will launch this will check your game files and at the end of the process will start seeding the game for everyone trying to download it from the launcher.

b. The main hangar [01.02.00]

After entering your login, the game will take you to the main hangar screen and menu screen.
This picture quickly describes most of the functions from that screen
main menu screen.png
main menu screen.jpg lower quality version for slower connections but harder to read

Here is a more detailed description of the buttons found on that main screen.


The profile screen allows you to see your current level and experience with different nations as well as your general level, you can also see your stats (flying time, victories etc..), various unlocks conditions to receive new achievements, decals or paint for your planes.

Convert xp:

While playing different modes in this game, you will gain experience that goes toward your general and nation rank according to the nation being played, as well as free experience that can be used on this screen in exchange of eagles currency ( at the moment this currency can only be bought from the store.


On this screen you can buy eagles currency and historical campaignswith real money or you can trade your eagles for premium membership which grants faster xp (200%) and lions (150%) earning rate during battles as well as allowing you to make squad with friends(not implemented yet) or to add 4 different decals on your planes.


On the research screen, you can see the tech tree of your currently selected country as well as see their stats by hovering your mouse pointers over the lanes and you can make available any plane on this list, for your crew to use, as long as you have a high enough national rank (not required for premium planes) and if you have researched the previous plane from the same tree.
You can also test flight any planes that you own as well as any premium planes not owned (on the right side of the screen) by clicking on the hangar icon then selecting test flight.
research screen.jpg

note: Do not forget to scroll down in the tech tree to see higher tier planes, if the country has a many planes like in the British tech tree.

Crew slots:
Here you can see the various stats of the plane assigned to your crew by hovering your mouse over the plane's icon.
In this picture, you can see a short description for each of the stats.
Plane description.png
Plane description.jpg lower quality version for slower connections but harder to read

We can also add 6 more crew slots to our 3 starting slots, cost for additional slot is 10k lions for the 4th, then 50k lions, 200 eagles, 500 eagles, 1200 eagles and finally 1800 eagles for the 9th slots.
When clicking on a crew slot with a plane assigned to that crew, you can see 5 icons, over the plane’s picture in that slot.
Here is a list of those icons as well as their use.

The hangar:
It takes you to the plane’s hangar screen, you can see the plane’s description and history there by clicking on information as well as paint it.

Test flight:
This button launches a test flight of that plane.

Change aircraft:
It is used to assign a different aircraft to that crew slot.

View crew:
It takes you to the crew skill level up and qualification screen.

This opens up the weapons and modifications screen, you can buy and select different weapons and modifications, if available there.
note: bombs are shown in lb for the US and Uk, other countries use kg. (1kg=2.2 lb)

At the start when your plane still has free repairs left, this appears when your plane is only damaged slightly to allow you to save on your free repair, later when you have ran out of free repairs it will appear every time your plane is damaged, paying some lions will repair your plane instantly.

c. About repairs [01.03.00]

- Every plane starts with a predetermined amount of free repair that can be seen by hovering the mouse over the plane’s icon.

free repair.jpg

One free repair will be used up each time the plane is heavily damaged (this wont activate if your plane is only lightly damaged to not waste on the free repairs count) and once all the free repairs are used up, the free repair line will disappear from the plane’s description.

- If a damaged plane isn’t assigned to a crew, it will repair at a rate of 5x slower than if it was assigned to a crew with 0 level in repair.

- Even if multiples crews are trained to use a plane, only the crew assigned to it can have an effect on repair speed.

- time seems to pass around 2x(for premium planes)-5x(for regular planes) faster in game, so a repair time of 5 hour minutes can actually take about 1 hour.

- When your plane is destroyed by an opponent, it will usually be damaged at 50%, the average cost to repair indicated in the plane's description is the cost of repair when the plane is exactly damaged at 50% as well but the time to repair will only be half of what is indicated in that window.

- The game currently doesn’t refresh the repair status of the plane very often while in hangar, so even though your plane might show as 80% damaged it might actually have been repaired already, to fix this simply go into the crew level up screen and click on apply even without modifying any skill, this will force the game to refresh the repair timer of all the planes.
It is usually a good idea to do this before entering a new battle.

d. The main menu [01.04.00]

Here is a description of the different selections from the main menu tab

Arcade battles :

This selection launches a quick up to 16vs16 battle, after selecting your server ( selecting ANY instead of a specific place recommended to make the wait shorter) and your nation.
The flight model is simplified in this mode and you will earn xp and lions for each ground or air target destroyed as well as additional rewards for winning a battle.
In this mode, planes from any country can be on either side (your team will be shown by blue markers and the opposite team by red markers) and you can use up to 9 planes if you have 9 crew slots in the hangar of your selected country.
This is probably the most suitable mode for trying to rank up and collect lions since the queues are very short.

Historic battles:

Same as arcade except that the flight model is set to realistic and you can only fly one plane in this mode. It is a battle between two countries and players can only select planes from the country they have decided to join with.


After reaching rank 1, you can create a session in sandbox. This mode allows you to play on any multiplayer maps with your friends or with bots but you will not gain any reward. You can set various conditions like weather, time of the day etc…

Note: If you want to be able to play with any possible nation, select random in the country selection when creating a new sandbox session.

Historical Campaign:

This selection only appears if you have bought a historical campaign from the store.This is a solo campaign featuring a series of narrated scenario, supplemented by historical movies. In this mode you can only gain the completed scenario reward (a small amount of lions and xp ), the number of kills, assist etc.. will not grant any additional reward.


This selection allows you to either play in a dynamic campaign or a single mission mode.

The dynamic campaign is a short sequence of scenario where your goal is to either capture all sectors or to win a predetermined number of scenarios.The victory conditions can be set when you start a campaign. You will also gain a small amount of xp and lions for completing each scenario but no additional rewards for kills, assist etc… Unlike the historical campaigns, there is no narration or historical movies in this mode.

The single missions mode is actually a campaign as well, but you have to reach the required nation ranks to unlock the scenarios for the theatres ( campaign). A historical movie can be seen by clicking on the yellow links in the theatre’s scenario list.


This menu has 8 sub selections:

Leaderboards: This shows the top 1000 players in various categories like number of games won/ played etc…

Controls: This allows you to select your preferred control method as well as customize the keys.
There are 4 type of control method.

Mouse and keyboard: In this mode you can use both the mouse and keyboard but the joystick is disabled and the pilot assistant (called virtual instructor) is enabled. I would recommend this mode if you aren’t used to flight simulations

Virtual instructor: In this mode you can set anything as a controller but the more advanced controls like flaps, trims, airbrake etc.. are not customizable and taken over by the pilot assistant. I would recommend this mode if you want a bit more immersion than the mouse and keyboard controls mode and have a joystick but still don’t want to get a headaches over more advanced controls.

Simplified controls: In this mode you can set anything as a controller and unlike the virtual instructor mode you also can control the airbrake but some more advanced controls are not available in this mode, the pilot assistant is disabled in this mode.

Full aircraft controls: In this mode you have access to every controls and the pilot assistant is disabled.

Game options: On this screen you can set various options like, gun targeting distance in meters, the distance at which your bullets cross path, if your guns are not set at the center of your plane. It is recommended to set this at the distance you usually prefer to attack a target. In my case I have set it at 300m.
On this screen you can also set various setting like subtitles, use of the metric or us system etc…

On this screen you can view the replays that you have saved. Replays can be saved at the end of the battle, by clicking on the button at the lower left corner of the team score screen.

Various data about the game mechanics, different tactics, maneuvers and history.
Credits: Displays the credit list.
Benchmark: Launches a benchmark displaying your fps and benchmark score at the end.

2) The crew [02.00.00]

There are 4 tabs on that screen, pilot, gunners, ground service and qualification. It would take 35562 skill points for a crew to maximize all of the available skills.
I’ll list the skills, required number of skill points to maximize them, as well their description and any additional information if necessary.

a. Pilot (11472 crew skill points are required to max every skill in that tab) [02.01.00]

- Keen vision. Required number of crew points to maximize it is 1626. This skill affects the pilot’s visual range in the direction he is looking; i.e The maximum distance at which he can detect the enemy.

- Visibility. (1626 to max) This skill affects the visibility range around the aircraft.
Note: I am not sure what this actually does so if anyone can add information about this skill that would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

- G-tolerance (5620 to max) Tolerance of negative and positive g-forces.
Note: This allows the pilot to make sharper / faster maneuvers without having his vision covered by a black or red veil due to g-forces.

- Stamina (1300 to max) This skill allows the crew to resist fatigue for a longer period of time; their accuracy and g-tolerance gradually decrease, depending on the time spent in the session and the number of g-forces sustained.

- Vitality (1300 to max) The health of the crew members as well as the speed of their recovery if they are wounded.
Note: I am not sure if this actually works as my plane goes down at the same time, my pilot gets wounded.

b. Gunners (13022 to max)[02.02.00]

None of the skills in that tab affects the player, they are all used for the ai gunners only so adding precision for example won’t make you shoot more accurately with your main guns or cannons.
They also won’t make you shoot more accurately when taking over the post of gunner yourself.

- Number of experienced gunners (6120 to max) The number of experienced gunners in the crew, if the crew has more gunners than experienced gunners then the crew doesn’t run at maximum performance.
Note: In game it seems to translate into removing a percentage to all the gunners skills for each turret missing an experienced gunners.
So if your plane has 5 turrets, each gunner represents 20% of the skill and If you only have the 1 default experienced gunner then you will lose 80% to any skill in the gunner's tree.
If your plane has 4 turrets, each gunners would represent 25%, if plane as 3 turrets then 33% etc..
Any crew slot start with 1 experienced gunner so if you have only 1 turret in addition to your main guns, you don’t need to add an additional experienced gunner.

- Fire accuracy (1626 to max) The accuracy of the aircraft gunners’ fire.

- Fire Precision (1626 to max) This skill reduce how scattered the gunners’ fire is.

- G-tolerance (1050 to max) Tolerance of negative and positive g-forces.

- Stamina (1300 to max) This skill allows the crew to resist fatigue for a longer period of time; their accuracy and g-tolerance gradually decrease, depending on the time spent in the session and the number of g-forces sustained.

- Vitality (1300 to max) The health of the crew members as well as the speed of their recovery if they are wounded.

c. Ground services (11068 to max)[02.03.00]

- Repair speed (2138 to max) The mechanic’s skill. The rate at which the aircraft is repaired in the hang and at the airfield.
note: This skill can save a lot of money on repair fee on planes that have short repair time and high cost but to make this skill useful, make sure to disable autorepair (on the lower left of the main hangar screen) or it will repair your plane as soon as the battle end without taking advantage of the skill.
50 levels in repair speed skill with halve the time required to repair a plane, further qualification training will reduce it even more.

- Repair rank (2189 to max) The mechanic’s skill. The maximum rank of aircraft that the mechanic can repair.
Note: The plane will repair anyway in the hangar or at an airfield if your repair rank isn't as high as your plane but the repair speed skill won’t make the repair any faster until your repair rank is at least as high as your plane's rank.

- Reload speed (5441 to max) The armorer’s skill, the speed at which the weapons are reloaded in the air and at the airfield.
Note: This is one of the most important skill in arcade mode. This works on bombs as well as guns.
I’ll list the reload time of the German bomber he-111 h-6 (same reload time as the h-16 version)as an example.
With 0 level in reload speed skill the bombs reload time is 1:19 seconds
With 5 levels in reload speed skill the bombs reload time is 1:16 seconds
With 50 levels in reload speed skill the bombs reload time is 53 seconds
With 50 levels and expert qualification in reload speed skill the bombs reload time is 44 seconds.
With 50 levels and ace qualification in reload speed skill the bombs reload time is 39 seconds.

- Healing speed (1300 to max) The medic’s skill, the speed at which pilots and gunners who are wounded are healed.
Note: I’m not sure what the difference is between this skill and the vitality skills from the other tabs.

d. Qualification [02.04.00]

On this tab you can choose to upgrade your crew qualification for the currently assigned plane from basic to expert then to ace.
The Expert qualification rank adds 30 levels to keen vision, visibility, fire accuracy, fire precision, repair speed and reload speed. The ace rank adds an additional 20 levels to the same skills.
To upgrade from your crew’s basic qualification to expert qualification your crew needs 100 skill levels + 10x the plane’s rank. It only cost lions currency to upgrade to expert qualifications.
To upgrade from your crew’s expert qualification to ace qualification your crew needs 400 skill levels + 10x the plane’s rank. It will cost eagles to upgrade to ace qualifications on planes that are of tier 2 and higher.

e. Switching planes [02.05.00]

Each qualification is unique to the plane it was trained for, so if a crew was trained at expert level on the P-26A-33, they will only have the basic qualification level if a p-26A-34 M2 is affected to this same crew.
When switching planes the crew keeps all of their skills and qualifications, even though the qualification from the previous plane won’t have any effect on the new plane and switching back to a previously used aircraft the qualification for that aircraft will take effect again.
The skills on the other hand are common to every plane so a crew doesn’t have to train again after switching plane.
So if anyone wanted to, they could have 1 crew able to pilot every plane from the same country at ace level and switch back and forth between different planes with the same crew, every battle without having to respend anything.

3) The game [03.00.00]

a. In game head up display [03.01.00]

The in game HUD looks like this for a bomber. I’ve added some descriptions to all the icons.

Bomber battle screen.png
Bomber battle screen.jpg lower quality version for slower connections but harder to read

And here is the HUD when using a fighter.

Fighter battle screen.png
Fighter battle screen.jpg lower quality version for slower connections but harder to read

On the top left of the screen we can also see the fps counter and at the bottom left the latency meter.

Note 1: The crosshair is only present if your plane has machineguns or canons mounted in front. If you are piloting a plane only equipped with turrets, you won’t see any crosshair in the main view.

note 2: red quarter circles can appear around your crosshair, they represent your guns's heat, the chances of gun jamming are highly increased when they form a full red circle around your cross hair.
The effect of jamming each time it triggers, is removing a bit less than 1/5 of your total ammo at the moment you started heating your guns.

note 3: The target lead indicator shows where you need to shoot at, for your fastest guns to hit the targeted plane if it is flying straight.
If you have different types of guns equipped on your plane a few 13 mm machine guns and a few 30mm canons for example, then this lead indicator only shows where your 13 mm guns will hit, you will need to shot ahead of this lead indicator to have a chance at hitting your target with the slower 30 mm canons which will deal more damage than the 13mm guns (in War Thunder, higher caliber usually means slower and more damaging projectiles).

Note 4: The damage indicator only appears after we have taken some damage.

Note 5: The icons on the lower left of the screens can change according to the objectives of the battle, if your primary objective is to destroy ground target then it will show a red ground target icon with some number. If your primary objective is to defend allied plane then it will show a blue plane icon with some number etc…

Note 6: The position indicator shows your position on the map ( default key M) you can also use that map to see your allies as well as detected enemies’ position.

Note 7: When you have a plane targeted you will only see the general type of the plane until you get to around 500 meters from the target, then you will see what type of plane it is precisely.

Note 8: The mission navigation point will only appear in campaign and single scenarios.

b. Some advices for simple flight model mode [03.02.00]

i. Landing [03.02.01]

You will often find yourself in need to capture a base or if the map allows it, to repair. This can be done by landing but it can be dangerous if done carelessly. Also capturing a base will earn you a high amount of xp and lions reward.
Here is my current landing method.

Try to get close to the airfield as fast as possible then start lowering your altitude and put the throttle at about 40-50 % then move your plane randomly in lateral directions and roll to bleed more speed and keep lowering the throttle gradually

When reaching the start of the airfield you want to be very close to the ground at a speed inferior to 250km/h (if the airfield is long), ideally less than 200 km/h.
landing approach.jpg
Set your throttle at 0% then lower your altitude until you see your plane’s shadow.
Once you see your shadow on the ground raise your throttle back to 50% and quickly point the nose of your plane slightly toward the sky (to avoid your plane's nose from hitting the ground and killing the engine in the process) and drop your throttle back to 0%.
landing contact.jpg
Your plane should make contact with the ground without breaking anything and without rebounding hopefully, once that is done start hitting and releasing the brakes repeatedly until all the wheels of the plane made contact to the ground then keep brakes pushed until the plane is at full stop.
Note: To repair a seaplane you will need to land next to a friendly carrier instead of an airfield.
seaplane landing.jpg

ii. Dropping bombs [03.02.02]

At low altitude by pointing the nose of your plane toward the ground you will see a big circle with the cross in the middle indicating your projected bomb impact on the ground.
But doing this will make you lose even more altitude.
To bomb at high altitude, you can use the bomber’s view ( this can be setup in the controls screen from the extra menu)
This view is only available if your plane is equipped with this function, most of the heavy bombers can use this.
bomber view.jpg

iii. Using torpedoes [03.02.03]

To use torpedoes you have to select a target first then move to an altitude of less than 400 meters, make sure that your plane is as horizontal as possible and a green arrow should appear.
Direct that arrow toward your target and release the torpedo at about 1 km from it.

iv. Weapon choice for ground targets [03.02.04]

To sink destroyer you can use torpedoes or bombs, if you are going to use bombs since it is a more polyvalent weapon and easier to carry in number, it is preferable to use bombs of at least 453 kg (1000 lb). A single bomb of 453kg can sink a destroyer if it hits the destroyer directly around the center.

v. Weapon choice for air targets [03.02.05]

My favorite calibers to take down air target are the 20mm canons.
Any calibers of less than 20 mm will usually take too much time to take down a target and alert it, allowing the target to try some evasive maneuvers to defend itself.
With 20mm usually a single well placed burst is enough to shoot down any fighter plane. Planes equipped with 4 x 20mm canons like the spitfire VC or N1K2-j can destroy a fighter plane with their first hit if the 4x canons hit the target simultaneously, even if you miss with your first salvo of 20mm you can still try do some short burst and the result will also often end with a downed target plane.
I find 30 mm and + canons lacking compared to the 20mm they might have a little bit more punch but planes with a high amount of 30mm + canons are rare and in low number they aren’t as devastating as a plane with a few 20mm canons, their slow rate of fire is also a weakness as it is harder to keep a plane targeted a longer period of time for multiple 30mm shells to hit. The 30mm + shells also often have a very limited ammo supply.

vi. Use of turret advice [03.02.06]

When you are in a bomber and have just unloaded your bombs if a plane is chasing you, it is usually a good idea to take the seat of the gunner yourself as you will be much more precise than the ai gunner.
This will surprise many fighter pilots who often just sit behind you emptying their guns without doing any evasive maneuvering.

vii. Manage your weapons' heat [03.02.07]

4 red quarter circles will appear around your crosshair when you are using your guns, they represent your weapons heat.
When all 4 of the quarter circles appears, the chance for your weapons to jam are highly increased, the effect of jamming every time it triggers, is removing a bit less than 1/5 of your total ammo from the moment you started heating your guns and you will quickly run out of ammo when it happens, so to avoid spending more time reloading than actually shooting, you should try to avoiid having a full red heat circle as much possible by shooting small burst.

As an example, the I.153 M-62 has a total of 2600 ammo supply but it can shoot a bit more than than 300 ammo in about 2.5 seconds before the heat circle is fully red and its guns start getting jammed. Once the circle is fully red it takes only about 2 seconds to completely deplete the remaining 2300 bullets because the jamming triggers 4 times. So in total it has shot about 550 bullets and wasted 2050 bullets due to jamming in a 4.5 seconds full burst.

This is a picture of the heat circle and the gun jamming indicator on the lower right of the screen.
guns heat.jpg

c. The different types of planes [03.03.00]

I think we can categorize planes used in War Thunder in 4 different types.

The fighter plane:

They are very good in dogfight and against bombers if they can catch up with them before the bombers have destroyed their target.
They are also very fragile so being aware of your surrounding is a must if you don’t want to get shot down yourself.
Most of them don’t have a very high firepower so it can take some time to take down some of the more resistant bombers.

The jet plane:

While also a fighter, it is just as fragile as most fighters but it is also very different from the propeller fighter in that it usually have very slow acceleration and trying to do continuous turning dogfight with them will usually end up with a shot down jet.
On the other hand they usually are very well armed and have a very high maximum speed as well as good climb rate. So they are very good at chasing down bombers all around the maps and at taking down fighter planes unaware of their presence in a single pass, taking care not to lose too much speed then quickly leave the place to find another target.

The attack planes:

They usually have very heavy front gun armament and are well armored, they can usually make short work of any plane in their crosshair, bombers included.
They are the best at head on engagement but do not have the agility of the fighters and unfortunately in a turning dogfight, they don’t stand a chance against more nimble fighters.
So to be successful with them it is a good idea to try to shoot down the most dangerous fighters (any fighter aware of your presence, if none are target the most maneuverable ones) first on the first pass then take care of the other still busy fighting some of your allies or going for ground targets.
Their high ammo supply makes them very good at destroying light and medium ground targets. Some of them also come with bombs or torpedo for heavier ground target.

The bomber planes:

They are the most heavily armored planes and can usually a high payload of bombs.
Bombers with heavy bombs can often destroy a tight cluster of ground target with a single bomb. They are the best against ground targets.
Unfortunately they are a target for anything else that can fly.

d. Map strategy in arcade [03.04.00]

Arcade mode currently has 2 types of map. The goal in all of them is to either bring the total ticket supply of the opponent to 0 or to destroy all of their planes.

In the airfield domination type, each ground and air target destroyed will remove some tickets from the ticket supply of your opponent, having more airfield under your control than the opponent will also continuously removes some tickets from their supply.

In the ground strike type, only ground target removes tickets from the opponent’s supply, so the only choice to beat your opponent is to either destroy all enemy ground targets or to destroy all of their planes.

Here is a list of the maps and a general strategy for them.

Island airfield domination:

As a fighter at the start of this map you should try to capture the airfield closest to your position as fast as possible. Also equip your plane with bombs or rockets if you can as it can be useful to destroy a resistant plane like a bomber trying to land there.
And defend it against any opposite plane trying to capture it. If you see that many of your allies are fighting close to that airfield you can try and see if the opposite camp is well defended, if you think you can make it past their defense then try to go and take their airfield, if your team manage to keep more airfield under your control long enough, it should usually end with your side winning the battle.
As a bomber, before selecting one, first make sure that there aren’t already too many bombers as that would leave your own base easy to capture by the opposite team if too few fighters are on your side. After that try to take some altitude and try to sink as many destroyer as you can from high altitude, that will force fighters to waste much their time if they want to catch you, leaving your more time to sink destroyers. Killing all ground target on this map isn’t sufficient to finish the battle so you will usually have to try and steal their base once all of destroyers are sunk or switch to a fighter or attack plane to take down their fighters/bombers.

Airfield domination:

As a bomber you need to destroy the ground target before they reach the central capture point to reduce the ticket supply from the opposite team and to prevent the ground units from capturing the central point when they reach it.
You can also attempt to capture the point as your plane is much more resistant to guns than a fighter and has a higher chance to survive long enough to capture.

As a fighter as your priority, you should make sure that no plane can capture the central point, you should also try to stop opposite bombers from destroying your allied ground units, when you see an occasion where the opposite planes are occupied in dogfighting someone else or far away from the capture point, you can also try to capture the central point.

Port ground strike:

As a bomber it is usually a good idea to try and sink the destroyers first then try to finish the ground target later. Since you can do that later part with any plane.

As a fighter you should probably try to detect and destroy planes able to deal the most damage to your destroyers first. It can be bombers / attacker planes but also some fighters (if no bombers/attack planes are attacking) like the German ones that can carry 500 kg bombs, sinking a destroyer with a single drop.
The heavy us bombers and the russian yer2 are particularly dangerous as they have the potential to sink in 1 pass, 6 destroyers for the yer2, 4 for the pby5 and 8 for the b17 and heavier us bomber.

Once the threats to your destroyers are gone, you can start destroying ground target or try to defend your team’s ground attackers.

Africa canyon ground strike:

As a bomber your goal should be to try and sneak past defenses and sends a few heavy bombs in the bigger ground troops clusters. You can fly low in the canyons as a cover if there are no enemy planes around.

As a fighter your priority is to take down the planes able to carry the heavy bomb payload like the Lancaster/wellington/b17/b24/yer2 etc..

e. The damage system [03.05.00]

At the moment, most of the planes' damage models aren't in their final version but I'll try to explain how it works in their current version.

i. The damage indicator [03.05.01]

The picture below has descriptions for most of the damages on all of the plane's parts and we can see the corresponding part, on the actual plane being damaged as well.
damage model.png
plane damage model.jpg lower quality version for slower connections but harder to read

The damage indicator will appear as soon as any of your plane's part is at least slightly damaged.
Your plane damage model is separated into 9 parts + the number of engines, 1 for most fighters and more for most bombers that have multiples engines.

The 10 parts shown on the damage indicator of a mono engine fighter are: engine, Left/Right wings, L/R ailerons (lower parts of inside the wing), main fuselage, tail and rudder.
(the vertical fin on the tail), L/R elevators (horizontal fins on the tail)
How much damage parts have sustained, is indicated by colors, going progressively from white to red and finally black.
- White, means that a part is undamaged or very slightly damaged.
- light red, the part is lightly damaged
- red, the part is damaged
- deep red, the part is heavily damaged
- black, indicates that the part doesn't work anymore or is very heavily damaged and is about to be destroyed or is destroyed.

ii. Effect of damage [03.05.02]

The damage on any parts of a plane can have various effect.
- Engine, lower speed
- wings, lower maneuverability
- ailerons, lower maneuverability
- rudder, lower maneuverability
- elevator, lower maneuverability
- fuselage, seems to lower speed to a lesser degree than the engine damage.
- tail, seems to lower maneuverability and speed to a lesser degree than the engine damage.

iii. Conditions for a plane to be shot down [03.05.03]

A plane will be considered shot down once any of the part of the plane is destroyed, or if the pilot in the cockpit is knocked out ( in the upper part of the fuselage).
The pilot getting knocked out can happen with a single bullet from any caliber and will often happen during head on attacks or when a plane is showing it's top side during a turn or dive.

iv. Fuel leak [03.05.04]

Another thing to consider is fuel leak, this is indicated by a red and blinking "Fuel leak" text under your altitude indicator.
Sometime, a shot to your plane will start a fuel leak, if you are lucky the fuel leak will stop after a while but most of the time, it will continue until you run out of fuel effectively disabling the engine of your plane and your plane will only be able to glide until it crashes or until your team has won or lost the battle.

f. The ranking and experience system [03.06.00]

There are two types of ranks:

- The general rank which is used mostly to show, how much total experience you have earned with all the countries.

- The nation rank which is used to determine when you can start researching a plane from that nation (premium planes can be bought with eagles and used regardless of rank).
ie : A non premium tier 12 plane, requires a nation rank of at least 12.

There are also two types of experiences

- The regular experience which is mostly earned from battles in arcade or historical mode. At the end of a battle you will earn some experience, the total experience will fill both your nation rank and your general rank xp.
ie : if you earn 10000 xp during a battle, you will get 10000 xp for your general rank as well as 10000 xp for the nation rank that you just used to earn that xp.

- The free experience which can be used to convert into nation rank, using eagle currency by clicking on the convert xp button at the upper right of the main hangar screen, the rate is 3000 xp for 1 eagle.
Whenever you earn regular experience, you will also get double of that experience value in free experience.

Here is a table showing nation ranks up to 18 and the experience required to reach next ranks, I'll add the other ranks later.
nation rank.png
g.The reward system [03.07.00]

In arcade mode the xp rewarded for all the events that triggers a reward is dependent on the tier of your plane as well as type of target for ground target (more xp the bigger the heavier the target is) and tier of the target for planes.

Note 1: The xp value is at 5x the normal amount as long as the plane being used hasn’t filled its experience bar. After that they will only gain xp at a normal rate.
Note 2: rewards are only credited as long as both teams still have more than 0 tickets.
If you destroy a unit right after the ticket count of any team reached 0 before the game ends, you wont be rewarded anything.
Note 3: With a premium account the xp rewards are boosted by 200 % and the lions rewards by 150%.
Examples of xp variation due to the tier of plane used when sinking the same type of destroyer with the 5x xp rate and a premium account:
The heavy bomber SB2-m100 (tier 4) gets 3000 lions + 3410 xp for the same type of destroyer sunk.
The heavy bomber h111-6 (tier 8) gets 3000 lions + 5000 xp for the same type of destroyer sunk.
The heavy bomber h111-16 (tier 10) gets 3000 lions + 5700 xp for the same type of destroyer sunk.

Here is the list of events that will grant you reward during an arcade game with a premium account:

- Each air kill rewards you 1500 lions as well as some xp
There doesn’t seem to be a differentiation for the reward of fighter or bomber so you won’t get any more bonus for killing an air target with a bomber instead of using a fighter.

- Each time you capture a base you will be rewarded with 7500 lions + some xp.
Note: This lions reward is divided equally amongst every ally planes that were in the process of capturing the same point when the base capture is finished.
A plane is considered as capturing a base when its wheels are in contact with the road of the airfield capture point, it doesn’t need stop to capture a point, so you can actually just fly to the capture point make your wheels contact with the road long enough to capture the point while keeping some speed and then take off as soon as the capture process is finished.

- Each complete landing grants 350 xp

- Each air kill assist rewards you 225 lions as well as some xp.

- Each time you start hitting an air target, you will get 75 lions and some xp. If there is a pause long enough between your last hit and your next hit then you will be granted the reward again.

- Each critical hit will reward you with 150 lions + some xp.

- Each ground target destroyed will reward lions and xp according to the type of plane you are fighting with, if you are attacking with a heavy bomber then you get 4x the rewards that a fighter of the same tier would get, with an attack plane or a light bomber you will get 3x the reward instead.
As an example the fighter n1k2 (tier 9) gets 750 lions + 1340xp for a destroyer kill
The light bomber bb-1 (tier 3) gets 2250 lions + 2210 xp for the same type of destroyer kill.
The heavy bomber SB2-m100 (tier 4) gets 3000 lions + 3410 xp for the same type of destroyer kill.
- each ground kill assist rewards lions and xp based on type of plane used (fighter< light bomber<heavy bomber) and type of ground target destroyed

- Each time you start hitting a ground target as a bomber, you will get 150 lions and some xp. If there is a pause long enough between your last hit and your next hit then you will be granted the reward again. Using a fighter plane you will get less reward.

- At the end of the game you will earn for each plane used between 1000 and 1200 lions and xp based on your time spent in battle (against air or ground target) with that plane.

- At the end of the game, if your team wins, you will be also gain an additional victory reward, you will usually get bit less than 50% of your total lions reward excluding this one and about 70% of your total xp reward excluding this one.
Even though it shows the activity time of each plane in the detailed list, it doesn’t seem like this reward calculation is based on it, if anyone has more info on this please let me know.

This guide is currently up to date with version of War Thunder.

Good luck to everyone and have fun with this great game!
If you have any advice, info to add, to make this guide better, have any additional questions or find any error please let me know, I’ll modify this guide accordingly.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Any Written advice concerning lack of War Thunder game support for a Logitech Extreme 3D joystick. My mouse gameplay sucked so I bought this joystick and the flight and air battle experience was herky-jeky with no actual control of any aircraft. Please email me any settings for Roll, Pitch and Yawl: Dead Zone, Non-Linerarity, multiplier and correction to help me....cause as a former military pilot I would love the joystick experience.
Bob Troemel USN Ret.

Jason Carpenter said...

I've heard that Visibility makes your plane less visible to other planes, and at a high enough level can counteract other players' Keen Sight. But that could just be a rumor.

Jacob Borst said...

this might be a little dated, but it is full of great information. Thank you for the excellent guide.