Thursday, April 24, 2014

War Thunder (Part Three)

Need to Knows
Like I've said, this is one of the few rare games that actually pits the players' skills against skills, and thrashing requires more than just mere reliance upon equipment and levels.

However, there are still a few things that you'll need to know first before you can jump in and play. Else you might be in for quite a headache, just like I've been...

Lions, Eagles and Research Points
There are three kinds of "currencies" that you will need to get acquainted with in War Thunder. The Silver Lions, Golden Eagles and Research Points.

  • Silver Lions War Thunder - Icon Silver Lions
    War Thunder - Buying New PlaneWar Thunder - Conversion Training
    The Silver Lions is the default in-game currency. They are typically used to purchase newly unlocked aircraft and upgrade parts, replenish ammunition supplies, repair damaged planes as well as train a crew on how to operate a particular plane.
    War Thunder - Battle Results
    They can be easily acquired by playing in anything from single missions, dynamic campaigns to custom battles and events.

    (* Do note that the bulk of your daily expenses, using these lions, are usually spent on ammo and repairs. The costs of purchasing aircraft and upgrade parts are one-offs, though they may not necessarily be "cheap". Especially those further down the tech tree.)
  • Golden Eagles War Thunder - Icon Golden Eagles
    War Thunder - Buying Golden EaglesWar Thunder - Exchanging Eagles Into Lions
    The Golden Eagles is your "premium" currency. You will need to buy them using cold hard cash, a.k.a your real life money.

    But contrary to those p2w (pay to win) games out there, War Thunder's Golden Eagles doesn't buy you any sort of "godlike" advantages. Instead, usage of these merely offer you a save in grinding times by allowing you to unlock stuff "faster" than free-to-play gamers. And perhaps maybe access to some rare/vintage planes that doesn't seem to be overpowered in any sense, in my opinion.

    At times, if your running low on lions, you may even convert these golden eagles (into silver lions) so that you can pay for that urgent order to fly again in your favorite plane, rather than having to save up for the repairs or wait for its automatic repair cooldown.
  • Research Points War Thunder - Icon Research Points
    The Research Points is your lifeline into unlocking newer, better planes and upgrade parts. Much like Silver Lions, these are acquired through playing the game. However, you will need to note that the points can only be gained from playing against other players, and not from content like Single Missions and Dynamic Campaigns.

    Why? Well, I'm guessing that its because Single Missions and Dynamic Campaigns doesn't require you to "spend" anything to play. You can die all you want in there without having to pay for any of the destroyed planes or expended ammo.

    These so-called Research Points (RP) are further broken down into two kinds, Modifications RP and Vehicle RP.
    War Thunder - Modifications ResearchWar Thunder - Vehicle Research
    The Modifications RP is meant for unlocking of upgrade parts for your planes. These parts when unlocked, purchased and installed upon your plane, will improve the efficiency of that plane (boost its stats/parameters).

    They are, however, aircraft-specific and so you will have to fly the plane itself out for missions before you can earn the needed Modifications RP for that plane's upgrade parts.

    The Vehicle RP, on the other hand, is less demanding. Regardless of whichever plane your flying, so long as you've designated a plane design to research upon (in the tech tree), then whatever Vehicle RP you've earned will automatically get allocated into that design.

    When sufficient RPs have been placed into it, you would have unlocked the plane and can proceed to flying that plane. After you've bought it of course...
  • Convertible Research Points War Thunder - Icon Convertible Research Points
    Now although these are, technically speaking, still a form of research points, I've decided to single them out solely because they cannot be used by and on their own.
    War Thunder - Accelerated Research
    You will need to spend Golden Eagles as some sort of catalyst to convert these into actual usable research points. Or more specifically, they are used as a form of bonus "Vehicle Research Points" to accelerate the researching of new plane designs.

    (Needless to say, since these are useless to free-to-play gamers, its yet another reason to classify them separately.)

Aviation Tech Tree and Plane Upgrades
The following shows a typical aviation tech tree. British one to be exact.
War Thunder - British Tech Tree
Basically, the way this tech tree works is such that, first of all, all available planes are categorized into "Ranks" of I, II, III, IV, etc. These ranks are, in a sense, some sort of era or timeline positioning for those planes.

Starting from the top, the Rank Is are the older aircraft while as you work your way down the tree, you will eventually get to the more modern ones, the "jets". And the aim of the player, is to advance down the tech tree to "reach" the jets of course.

But in order to get to those, you will have to progressively unlock the "Ranks", one by one...not to mention having to obey those "arrows". For example, to be allowed to research Rank II planes, you will need to unlock at least 6 Rank I planes. To gain access to Rank III planes, you will need to unlock at least 4 Rank II ones and so on and so forth.

Next, if we go into the specifics of let's say getting the "Spitfire Mk V", then we will not only need to have unlocked 6 Rank I and 4 Rank II planes (in order to get to Rank III), we will also need to "follow the arrows" and unlock, namely, the "Gladiator Mk II", the "Spitfire Mk I" and the "Spitfire Mk II".

Clear so far? Good...

Moving on, this next screenshot (below) shows you the plane upgrades available for the Gladiator Mk II.
War Thunder - Gladiator Mk II Plane Upgrades
Just like the aviation tech tree, you will need to work your way down this one as well. However, this will be unique for each and every plane that you've unlocked. The upgrade parts that you get for one plane, isn't transferable onto another, although they might be the exact same thing your researching.
War Thunder - Gladiator Mk II Stock VersionWar Thunder - Fury Mk I Maxed Out
Anyway, the way these work is such that you will initially get the stock version of the plane first.

After having flown the plane for a sufficient amount of time, to earn enough modifications RP to unlock all the upgrades and install them, you will then get the maxed out version of the plane to fly (like the Fury Mk I shown).

And that's that. Short and simple. No fancy customizations or tweaking of the parts to get the "perfect" build of your own plane. Everyone's getting the same thing in the end. Which is a pity in my opinion, but can't be helped I guess...

Crew and Crew Skills
War Thunder - Crew
Now for this part, you can literally think of your crew as the "number of lives" that you have for any particular PVP match.

In short, the whole process is kindda like this...

You join in a PVP match, fly as "Crew 1", crash and burn the plane, then fly as "Crew 2", die again, respawn in "Crew 3", repeat until you've run out of crews. And once you do, you are no longer able to continue in that match and will be forced out into the lobby to await for the results, once the match ends. (Mind you though, you are still able to join and continue playing in other matches as per normal, while waiting.)

War Thunder - Crew 1 Pilot StatsWar Thunder - Crew 1 Gunner Stats
War Thunder - Crew 1 Ground Service StatsWar Thunder - Crew 1 Qualifications
Each crew then consists of its own pilot for the aircraft, gunners to man the turrets (if there's any on the aircraft) and a team of maintenance personnel for the plane.

The crews are immortal and you don't lose them permanently when you die. They've even have their own RPG-like "stats" (crew skills) for you to improve, wherein every PVP sortie that you've used them in, will allow you to earn some sort of experience points which can then be allocated into those crew skills.

However, the way these work is such that the skills only kicks in when your flying as "that" crew. Crew 1's skills only works when your flying as Crew 1, Crew 2's skills will work when your flying as Crew 2 and Crew 3's will only function when your flying as Crew 3.

Confused? Let me give you a run-through of the crew skills and then you'll get a clearer picture.
  • Pilot
    Keen Vision -Affects the maximum distance at which the pilot can detect an enemy. Only works in the direction where the pilot is looking. Possibly useful only in "Simulator" mode, where markers do not function and enemy detection is based on where your looking. The sighting distance should possibly be longer than that of Awareness, at a similar level.
    Awareness -Affects the maximum range at which the pilot can detect enemies around the aircraft. The higher the skill, the earlier the markers for enemies become visible.
    G-Tolerance -Affects the pilot's resilience to g-forces (how sharp a turn you can perform, at high speeds, before the pilot blacks out).
    Stamina -Affects the pilot's resistance to fatigue. The longer the time spent flying, the worse your pilot's performance becomes (like control and accuracy). Usually useless in "Arcade" mode where the game sessions are relatively short and quick to end.
    Vitality -Kind of like the "invisible" HP of your pilot. The higher this stat, the more damage your pilot can sustain before getting "knocked out" (barring critical damage to plane integrity and crashing of course).
  • Gunners
    Experienced Gunners -Gunners are used to man the turrets onboard an aircraft (if there's any). If the number of experienced gunners is less than the number of turrets on the assigned plane, then all your other gunner skills will take a hit/penalty, although they will all still be operative.
    Fire Accuracy -Affects how well the gunners can aim and hit enemy planes.
    Fire Precision -Affects the spread of the bullets fired by the gunners.
    G-Tolerance -Affects the gunners' resilience to g-forces (how sharp a turn you can perform, at high speeds, before the gunners black out).
    Stamina -Affects the gunners' resistance to fatigue. The longer the time spent flying, the worse your gunners' performance becomes (like control and accuracy). Usually useless in "Arcade" mode where the game sessions are relatively short and quick to end.
    Vitality -Kind of like the "invisible" HP of your gunners. The higher this stat, the more damage your gunners can sustain before getting "knocked out" and can no longer man the turrets.
  • Ground Service
    Repair Speed -Affects the rate at which an aircraft is fixed and ready to fly again. Applies to both when on the airfield (within a match) as well as the automatic repair cooldown (while waiting in the lobby).
    Repair Rank -Affects the rank of the planes that your ground service crew can repair. If this repair rank is less than the assigned plane's rank, then all your other ground service skills will take a hit/penalty much like that of the gunners'.
    Reload Speed -Affects the rate at which your weapons reload. This is a very useful skill for all modes, be it Arcade, Realistic and/or Simulator.
    Weapon Maintenance -Affects how fast your fired weapons overheat (jams the weapon) and also the spread of your bombs and rockets.
  • Qualifications
    At the primitive (basic) level, qualifications determine the kinds of planes that your crew is "licensed" to fly. However, there is also an option available to help you increase the crew's expertise in operating specific planes, so much so that when they get assigned to those planes, they will get some temporary boost to their existing crew skills. So long as they're flying those planes, that is.

    - Keen Vision +30
    - Awareness +30
    - Fire Accuracy +30
    - Fire Precision +30
    Ground Service:
    - Repair Speed +30
    - Reload Speed +30
    - Keen Vision +20
    - Awareness +20
    - Fire Accuracy +20
    - Fire Precision +20
    Ground Service:
    - Repair Speed +20
    - Reload Speed +20
    This Ace bonus is an "addition" to those given by Expert qualification. Namely, a total sum of 50 each if you've got both qualifications. However, getting this Ace qualification would require Golden Eagles.

Previous: War Thunder (Part Two)Next: War Thunder (Part Four)