War Thunder

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to War Thunder

A Hurricane in War Thunder
If you’re a new player looking to get started in War Thunder, the multiplayer online combat sim from Gaijin Entertainment, these guides may be of some help, though they were first published in 2013 and are rather out of date now; back then it was aircraft only, there were just five nations, and almost all the vehicles were from the Second World War. Still, most of the basics still apply, or you might just enjoy some screenshots from the olden days!

  1. Your First Battle – getting into action
  2. After Your First Battle – the results, new aircraft, further battles
  3. Upgrades – modifying aircraft for better performance
  4. Researching New Aircraft – more stuff to fly!
  5. Crew Skills and Repairing – training your crew, and knocking the dents out of crashed planes
  6. Arcade Mission Types – a brief overview of the Ground Strike and Domination mission types
  7. Aircraft Types – fighters, bombers and attackers
  8. General Air Combat – a few general tips on air combat
  9. Camouflage and Decals – personalising your plane
  10. Premium Options – spending real money (if you want to)
  11. Which Country Should I Play? – a whistle stop tour of the nations of War Thunder
  12. Other Game Modes – Realistic and Simulator Battles, Single Missions, Campaigns and Custom Battles
  13. Tank Battles – engage in ground forces combat with tanks and other armoured vehicles

10 thoughts on “War Thunder

  1. Pingback: Killed in a Smiling Accident. » Blog Archive » A Beginner’s Guide to War Thunder

  2. Blooga

    Hello! I have come here to ask you a question, because you are the only person I can think of who would both know the answer and actually care enough to help. I spent this morning having fun playing War Thunder for the first time. I was playing with my cousin, but we didn’t have the golden eagles for a squad. Our solution was to hit the to battle button at the same time and hope. This worked all morning. Even after I bough my first new plane, which was the P-26A-33. Then a bit later I bought a fifth crew slot and filled it with the P-36C Hawk. After this I was put into a domination server with much better planes in it. At first i was like, “WHAT Why isn’t it working anymore?” Then I realized that my new plane was a battle rank of 2.0, so the matchmaking system was putting me in different matches. So I switched out the new plane with a reserve plane so that I would get back in with my cousin. But that didn’t work. It got worse. I found myself in a match against Bf.109’s. Like What!? I am against tier 2 planes even though I am nowhere near tier 2. Why is this happening?

    1. Zoso Post author

      What ho! First of all, you should be able to play with your cousin for free; you need Eagles to create a Squadron, which is like a guild/clan type thing, but you can invite others into a Squad for playing in the same battles at any point.

      Matchmaking is based (almost) entirely on Battle Rank, and you can fight opponents within 1.0 of your own BR (Murphy’s Law says you’ll be up against higher BRs more often than lower). The Bf 109 E-1 is BR 1.7, so even though it’s Tier 2 you can meet it with your reserve planes. I’m not entirely sure, but you might get easier matchmaking for your first 10 games or so, which might explain why things seemed to work better to start with. Unfortunately, sometimes you just end up in rough matches with a load of higher rank opponents, but hopefully you’ll get a few decent games as well.

    2. Blooga

      Fixed it! It was the 5th slot putting me into the harder matches, not the better plane. Well the better plane might do it too.

  3. Tim

    I do not understand what a stage is, during an arcade battle. The wagers state you must make stage 3 for example. I have searched for this info but have had no luck.

    1. Zoso Post author

      A stage is just a successful or unsuccessful match, so for a Golden Wager, for example, each win is a successful stage, until you either get 20 wins, or lose 3 matches.

  4. Phil

    Thank you for providing The Complete Beginner’s Guide to War Thunder. I recently downloaded the free version of WT for the PS4 and I am completely suffering from WTF is all this. I find everything to be NOT intuitive. I am hoping to read all 13 of your guides before I have the world wondering, “Who is the clown that just keeps crashing into the ocean?” I usually prefer to play games offline before being lacerated by a 6 year old from Guam during online play. What’s worse, the PS4 provides the capability of viewing LIVE and archived game footage of War Thunder. I am totally intimidated by the incredibly high level of skill of the game nerds out there. People actually win dog fights. I can’t hit anything yet.


    Aside from the WT tutorials, can this game be played offline, as in, no human opponents. Or else, I am hoping that your guide will provide me with the confidence needed to be blown to bits on a regular basis while the world laughs. Thanks again, Phil

    1. Zoso Post author

      I’m not sure if it’s the same with the PS4 version, but there are a few ways of fighting AI opponents on the PC; under “Menu” there are “Single Missions” and a couple of Campaign options, and with a plane in your hanger there’s a “Test Flight” option. The basic Test Flight only has one truck to shoot at, not much fun, but there’s a “Mission Editor” button in the bottom left that lets you set up a variety of scenarios. Hopefully one of those is available to you!

    2. woof059

      I was in your same position. One of the things I did (besides coming here and reading all of the great info) was going into the Options and setting a few things to my liking. You get to it by pressing the small button to the right of the touchpad. There are lots of things to tweek.

      One that may help is inverting the Y-Axis (up and down). If you are used to playing most flying games using a controller or joystick, the default is to pull BACK to go up and push FORWARD to go down, like in a real airplane. But WT defaults to do the opposite, and all of my muscle memory for flying kept making me “crash into the ocean,” literally. Hard to stay on someone’s tail on a dogfight when you have to keep reminding yourself to do things in an opposite manner.

      Hope this helps you and any other future PS4 player.

  5. Phil

    Thanks, I will try to find Single Missions. I remember seeing Campaign. That sounded like an army of users. Mission Editor sounds good. All I need is access to my big TV.


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