Epic Dogfight: Our World of Warplanes Vs. War Thunder Comparison Review

Jason Winter
By Jason Winter, News Editor

There's a battle going on in the virtual skies, and it ain't pretty. One one side, you have the juggernaut known as Wargaming and its B-52 of a title, World of Warplanes. It's opponent is the smaller, nimbler Gaijin Entertainment and War Thunder. One will rule the skies while the other goes down in flames!

OK, that's a little overly dramatic. It's entirely possible that WoWP and WT can co-exist in the free-to-play gaming space, each game with its own fanatical player base. I've played a fair bit of both, and while the preference of the MMOBomb staff isn't hard to discern, if you've been paying attention, I think both games have their good and bad points. Let's break them down, shall we?


Much has been made of the control issues with World of Warplanes, through its beta and continuing into launch, especially when compared with War Thunder. While I prefer WT's scheme, I will admit it feels a little more “arcade-y” and less realistic. I won't claim to be a flight sim expert, but that seems a little out of place for a game modeled on real aircraft and not on, say, X-wings and TIE Fighters.

Still, I can't deny that my dogfights, whether 1v1 or involving multiple planes, have been more enjoyable in WT, largely due to the greater range of movement. Some planes in WoWP handle like absolute bricks – again, realistic but generally unenjoyable – which is fine for bombers but not for anything expected to aim at and actually shoot opponents. The introduction of G-forces in WT puts a soft cap on just how crazy you can get with your planes, letting the player be the judge of how much to maneuver, and not the game engine.

And is there anything cooler than having your engine shot out and still managing to pull off a perfect landing? Every time I do that in War Thunder, I breathe an exhilarating sigh of relief. I wish something like that existed in World of Warplanes.


Controls aside, how does it play? Here's a spot where War Thunder is the winner, hands down. Being able to pilot five planes into action overcomes the biggest weakness of World of Warplanes, that being spending more time in a loading screen/pre-match than in the actual game, thanks to an early exit.

It also makes grinding out matches far less tedious, because you'll have a number of different planes to trot out, rather than feeling like you've been flying that... same... single... damn... plane... forever.

Since you won't likely win by destroying all your opponents in WT, you'll actually need to concentrate on ground targets and other objectives, a mostly ignored facet of WoWP battles, which are typically just 15-on-15 deathmatches. Toss in scenarios and the promise of full integration with ground forces, and it's hard to see anything WoWP does better here than WT.


This is the general category I use to describe how good a game is at letting you know what you're doing. All games are simulations – you don't actually fly a plane or swing a sword or shoot a gun – so how the game lets you know what you're doing by clicking buttons – and, importantly, if you're doing it right – is important.

This is one category where World of Warplanes trumps War Thunder. I can sometimes light up an opponent in WT for several seconds and only get one “hit” notification. Am I hitting him? Am I missing? Is he close to being downed?

WoWP doesn't leave that to the imagination. You'll see the HP of your foe and get a flash every time you deal damage, so you always know exactly how you're doing. The same applies to damage to your own plane. On some level, I can see how that takes away from the immersion and might make the WoWP experience seem a little more artificial, but I prefer having clearer indicators of my performance.


Even if you prefer a more “natural” combat experience, once you're out of your plane, you want all the data you can to determine how you've done and how you can improve your plane. Again, WT suffers from a clunky menu system, uneven localization, and, as mentioned before, often little idea about your plane's capabilities.

World of Warplanes, on the other hand, simplifies matters by presenting you with four stats for each plane – speed, maneuverability, firepower, and HP – which you can use to easily gauge your plane's capabilities. The interface for upgrades also seem cleaner and easier to navigate, but I'll admit that might just be to my familiarity with World of Tanks' system.

WoWP's system might be considered too simplistic for some, but I think there's enough complexity in other elements of both games that you don't need to obfuscate simple math, especially for a free-to-play game that could potentially appeal to millions.

Finally, though I haven't progressed exceptionally far in either game, it seems to me that WT is far more generous with its rewards and prices for new planes and upgrades for free players. There is still some grinding involved for raising your level, but the currency flows at a very high rate.

On the one hand, World of Warplanes is generally easier to understand and has much better polish and market penetration. On the other hand, War Thunder is easier to pick up and play and, in my opinion, is just more gosh-darn fun. I wish we could merge the in-game aspects of WT with the out-of-game aspects of WoWP.

War Thunder's recent revision to its aircraft tiers is a good step in the right direction, but Gaijin Entertainment's got a lot of ground to make up before it can truly compete with the big boys at Wargaming. Conversely, Wargaming could stand to learn a thing or two from its competitors, especially with the Ground Forces expansion for War Thunder coming soon. Wargaming is still king of this space, but Gaijin is going to steadily take pieces out of that market share throughout 2014.

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About the Author

Jason Winter
Jason Winter, News Editor

Jason Winter is a veteran gaming journalist, he brings a wide range of experience to MMOBomb, including two years with Beckett Media where he served as the editor of the leading gaming magazine Massive Online Gamer. He has also written professionally for several gaming websites.

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Discussion (39)

Hitsu 8 years ago
I have to say that War Thunder is the superior game in gameplay, graphics, and immersion. WoWP looks and feels too plain for my taste and there really is no comparison here. HOWEVER, my only gripe about WT is its idiotic matchmaking system that, instead of waiting for planes of the same tier, it pushes you into uneven matchups with aircraft 2-3 tiers higher than the your own. Granted the smaller community could be a reason, it's still no excuse for a shoddy matchmaking system and it can be a major buzzkill constantly getting shot down in one to two shots.

Bob 8 years ago
War Thunder just feels amazing compared to WOP.

One of my heaviest gripes in both WOT and WOP are the tier systems and the HP bar.

HP makes it so that after a set amount of damage you're dead. This isn't fair if, for example, someone auto-cannons you but doesn't hit any components, just passing through. You still die. In WT, you just sport a couple holes and blow his dumb face off.

Tier systems somewhat ruin the tank class concepts.

It forces light tanks to fight light tanks, often 2 tiers above it, which considering the rigid tier-lock of most weapons, makes fights a hopeless idea. Most tanks that are "fun" in WOT are high-tier ones, which means endless grinding, often on a horribly unfun tank that's mandatory in the tech tree.

WT? BattleScore lets you have mediums, lights, and heavies fighting as a real battle would go.

And DON'T get me started on gold rounds. Those... those are what turned me off WOT.

An Honest Gamer 9 years ago
I honestly can't compare the two because when I tried to play WT the training mission never allowed me to take over control of the plane and despite everything I tried even exiting mission changing the control setup and trying again I could never do anything. Therefore I deleted the game and never looked back. I might one day but for now i'll get my plane fix with WoWP.

PROACE400 9 years ago
Theres rumors spreading that Wargaming will finish off world of warships, then put all three games into one massive gaming world and become a massive battlezone. That would be great if true!

mario 9 years ago
war thunder is awesome!!!!!!!11

Ace 9 years ago
wt and wowp are like choosing between two meals. the wowp players are like the ones who chose savory barbecue ribs, while wt is like someone going for the cheeseburger. that being said wt can only brag about higher definition graphics, and more "appealing" graphics, but hey is this some kind of art show? also lag in wowp is something only old computers deal with (the only type of computer wt players can afford) while my fairly new PC has no lag at all. for those of you who like cockpit view wowp also has it, just scroll your mouse into the plane far enough. and mouse haters can change to keyboard mode in the settings. wowp is also more realistic for much more factors taken into each plane, eg in wowp maneuverability is about turning time, rate of roll, and controllability while wt has just turning time, or wowp has different maximum speeds for "optimal altitude" vs very low altitude and the list goes on. the only damn wt gives about altitude is with "service ceiling". in wowp you also can overheat your gun if firing too long while wt u can tape down the firing button like a noob. also engine boost in wt can go forever while in wowp again engine can overheat. the damage model in wowp is just as good as wt, u can damage separate parts, I've shot down airplane by setting it on fire and by causing an engine failure in enemy plane, it's not all about hp as wt people claim it is. wowp u get personally attached to airplane more than wt. u only live once a battle so give the enemy hell. wowp u can modify ur plane so much, planes of the same exact model can behave differently adding to ur attaché meant to plane. about pay to win complaints, wowp has crappy premium planes and I want it to stay that way. plus no higher tier premium planes. and let's not be so hard on wowp hit point system. in real aircraft one guy shoots and another tells him how much he hit and how much he damaged so the hp system makes perfect sense. also u can't respawn in wowp but u can still go to hangar and pick up another airplane to another battle. no respawning makes wowp feel more like ur fighting a war, while wt is reduced to cod type games. I will finally say I do wish wowp gets more detailed tech trees with more options such as in wt, and wowp also lacks a historical battle mode. in summary wowp is a less complete game, wg has lots of work to finish, however as it stands it still is much higher quality game than the finished wt game. on the other hand, I have no doubt when they finish wowp it will be as great a success as they demonstrated they are capable of achieving in wot.

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U LIE SIR 9 years ago
Obviously, you were paid to write this. WT is awesome. it has better graphics, 3 levels of realism (Simulater battles are impossible for me to play XD) a great match making system, and finally, no premium bullets or impossible-to-shoot-down-premium-planes. Gaijin also gives away free gold too (Golden Battles, you can earn 600 gold :D )

So plz erase this, because you offended me and I find it an insult to compare WOWP to WT.

Happy flying in WT

Hank Scorpio 10 years ago
I play WoWP much more than War Thunder, but I am mostly playing it with HUGE hopes that it catches up to WT in terms of quality. I wanted a good head start on the game. Saying WoWP is "Better" in almost any way is a flat out lie.

WT has realistic flight models in terms of performance and damage. In fact WT is really WoT in the air. You can damage and disable specific plane parts, shoot out gunners and pilots, there are angle of attack calculations as far as penetration and damage and how the specific armor thicknesses effect each shot on specific plane parts. WT makes WoWP look like a terrible amateurish copy cat and WoWP has a LOT of catching up to do. It seems like you either barely played both games at all or are getting kickbacks for ignoring about 90% of the detail put into WT. No mention of realism modes. No mention of ground forces integration. No mention of realistic damage models, no mention of realistic physics which rival the BEST of flight simulators, and no mention of the bigger selection of planes as well as inclusion of horizontal bombers and the dynamic they add to the game.

As I said. I am a huge fan of WoWP. It can be fun- assuming all you are looking for is an arcadey shoot em up in the sky with frustrating imbalances between teirs that make no sense whatsoever. I Hope that wargaming takes the game in a direction more like WT because it really should try to emulate the quality of WoT. But so far they have fallen on their faces.

seriusly 10 years ago
"Gaijin Entertainment’s got a lot of ground to make up before it can truly compete with the big boys at Wargaming" - You are joking right? LOL This is a perfect example of an article written by a paid shill. War thunder is better in every single aspect. This artice doesnt even mention such important thing like graphics and optimization. Optimization in WoWp is non-existent, you can forget about playing it if you have an old comp. WT on the other hand has way better graphics and it will run on ancient pc's. Seriously guys get your &^$# straight, it was sad reading this.

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Pies4Lunch 10 years ago
As person who has played both, i gotta agree that it looks like the author got paid off by WG. Like really wtf man

Nosferat 10 years ago
Comparing the 2 games.....yeah,why,why did you sell out?

It just smells of cheap propaganda to make World of Warplanes look good.

Anyone who played the 2 games can see giant differences between the 2. They can't really be compared,it's like comparing a modern Ferrari that is Gaijin's product with a Lada from 30 years ago that is Wargaming's product.

WG after 3 years,are starting to make a sort of good tank game,they still have a lot of issues like balance,rng,spotting and such,but overall from 2011 they made a few steps forwards. With airplanes it's not even worth comparing them,WT is just too far ahead and their game is made differently,they worked heavily on the polishing while WG even now after 3 years of constant development can't offer multi core support for their tank game.

It's the other way around,Wargaming has a lot of ground to cover before they will manage to at least get close to Gaijin's airplane game,I'm truly disappointed in you people. I mean I understand,life's hard,money does not fall from the sky,but come on,this just smells of sell outs and propaganda,I mean sure if you want to lose more and more followers...go right ahead.

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Annonymouse 10 years ago
How much did WoWP pay you guys to write this terrible article?

I mean really, this article is terrible. You aren't even touching the aspects of these two games that War Thunder is far far superior at, for example graphics.

Hilarious that the author wrote that WoWP is somehow more realistic because it's planes fly like bricks lol. Not even a mention that WT has 3 different levels of realism, doesn't even appear that the author is aware of it.

2/10 for trying.

Alex 10 years ago
War Thunder is a better game than World of Warplanes, War Tunder only handle 2 GB in addition to World of Warplanes Simai handle 14 GB or more 15 to 16 GB so choose War in War Thunder Thunder plus you end up so easily as World of Warplanes World of WarPlanes.In shows you the plane and if you resist hard Dinal show that has several hundred of which your strength and decreases rapidly along the enemy Thunder War II have luck to get you to fly right house but it breaks you down hard and it's even going so realistic and clear and even a virus ing War Thunder.

So choose War Thunder

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Urs0 10 years ago
I prefer WoWP by far, I like simulations that try to be more accurate, and although this makes WoWP way harder to play, it feels better, and the interface is far superior... but I play neither of these games because I'm more of a Tank and Battleships fan, I can't wait for the 3rd game of Wargaming, it will be awesome

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Da flying bird 10 years ago
Well, i played WOWP like a week and i have to tell that i couldn't get familiarized with the flight controls, they're just too stiff for my taste, another thing i didin't liked was the very high tier premium planes i had to fight with, One does not just spend all its bullets without taking down a plane WTF!! i mean is annoying how a premium plane can receive tons of your bullets and yet still flying like nothing happens, and if that wasn't enough, another high premium plane comes shothing a few rounds destroying my plane in a blink, the game makes us the free players to feel like we are just fillers acting like bots with no importance and that pisses me off so damn much, and, oh yes, the healt bars, but that's another story...

Finally, on the other side, i've had so much fun playing WT, i don't give a damn if its less realistic than world of planes, i play it cause i like it, the planes are easy to fly, the match maker is working like a match maker should work, also, the big advantage for WT over WOWP is that you can use more than just one single plane, and you can skip a fight everytime without having to wait like 10mins before you can play again. In the matter of graphics WOWP may looks very good, but WT has the win, hell even in very low graphics the game still looking awesome, i'm actually playing in med settings, which it looks as good as wowp, except that wt doesn't consume as much ram as wowp does.

In addition my final veredict is that both games are very good, but, if you like to win every match without much effort and you like to troll another players with your derp cannons all just by paying, WOWP is for you. If you want to play a game that was meant for people who actuallly like to enjoy games then WT is the best choise.

Hymen Baubau 10 years ago
I meant to say, wowp does not play realistically.

Hymen Baubau 10 years ago
Wowp feels more realistic than wt, you have only been playing the arcade mode.
Also, in terms of graphics and content. Wt wins. The folks over at wargaming have made a decision to not include horizontal bombers. A decision that will make sure that wt has the upper hand in plane numbers. Also health bars, really?

Tom1196 10 years ago
In my opinion, war thunder has one great advantage on World of warplanes - you can destroy any plane of any tier in the game with byplanes, I shot down a P-80c using the russian Chaika(4x7.62mm machine-guns)

In world of war planes you have the HP system.. you cant kill top high tier planes with a low tier aircraft.

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removalmitt 10 years ago
WT offers (or last time I played) 4 levels of control for flight realism.

I personally can only use the easy arcade style (and possibly maybe the next level up - haven't played for a while but am going back for the tanks - flak tanks look fun shooting planes pop pop style) the more realistic modes are just way too hard for me.

So I too was surprised Jason dwell upon WT being just an arcade-esque flight game.

Reason I don't like WoWP is I felt it purely came down to who could out circle the other to kill.

I used to enjoy trying to survive bad damage in WT e.g part of wing shot off but I believe they stopped that to auto eject / death to stop troll kamikazes (but that exists anyway). Also not having your planes locked in a match so you can start another game straight after you have died within your current match.

Shane250 10 years ago
WT controls aren't really arcade-y, in arcade mode you wont rip apart doing a 700 mile and hour dive, which gives it more of an arcade feel, but it still is up to par in my opinion a sim, even more so in historical battle and full real battle.

And you say that WT doesn't tell you that you hit the plane is because you are missing, they have really good damage models in WT, you only get points for actual damage, not just a graze or deflection, which makes WT much better cause there is no health bar. I landed completely damaged bf-109, (left flap destroyed, right flap damaged, wings filled with holes, rudder filled with holes, the whole thing damaged lol) because of how there is no health bar which is exciting and reminds me of my Aces High days. While in WoWP you can die from just instantly exploding cause your health bar went from 10% to zero not giving you a chance.

War Thunder is just real, the satisfaction of killing planes is glorious as you watch their wing rip apart from my 20mm cannons on my bf-109s

Tio_Z 10 years ago
Apologies, but reading this makes me wonder if the writer actually tried War Thunder in it's fullest before writing this. At all.

I find it interesting that you found WT control system more "arcade-y". More than likely you were playing arcade battles where indeed it is more..."arcade-y". Because it is arcade mode. Take the very same aircraft even into a historical battle (think it was changed to "realistic battle" name now) and it's a whole different ball game. I don't have a joystick, but going full-real is even more of a challenge and requires refined notions of how a plane works. Specially that one you are flying at that moment so you don't just stall, spin or flat dismantle your airplane in flight.
On the other hand, on WoWP it is quite a basic arcade setup with horrendous delay on your aircraft following the mouse pointer (and used to be laggy as hell to respond to gamepad controls, don't know about it now, could've improved) which makes you first fight your plane and then the enemy.

Although arcade mode gives the aircraft more freedom to do insane stunts that defy aerodynamics, the shooting mechanics is the same. So the reason why you found that it seems easier to grasp damage in WoWP against WT is the gap in having to actually study your aircraft a bit. Guns have optimal range of fire, spread (both of which are heavily dependant on weather it is a wing mounted gun or nose mounted), ammunition types, materials you are hitting, angle which you do, ammunition type and caliber...in that aspect I find WT much closer to World of Tanks, which is funny, should be the other way around.
If you don't some time to understand how your aircraft fires and at what ranges you should be firing (that is why you can adjust when the aim assist pops up. If you adjust it properly to the optimal range of that particular aircraft, you'll find yourself doing a lot more damage and in a more consistent way) you will find yourself cursing at all those ammo belts you spent and did almost no damage at all to the enemy. Or pick something german or russian with lots of cannons and throw away any need for thinking =p

Rest seems to fall in trying to compare a game that is an arcade flight game and a flight simulator game with an arcade mode. Despite both being old airplanes flight games, comparing them like this is like comparing CoD to Battlefield...actually more like comparing CoD to ARMA.

Just because games share a theme doesn't mean they share the genre or are of the same niche.

Feindfeuer 10 years ago
Though I prefer to fly War Thunder planes, and since the start of the CBT, drive War Thunder tanks, I just can't stand reading about how Gaijin is less P2W than wargaming.

- Gaijin has a selection of premium planes that are on par or much better than what is available on that tier. God examples are the XP-50 that can outclimb and outdive anything on its tier or the FW190 D-13, though not as OP as it once was, is still one of the best tier 4 fighters available.
- Gaijin put a hard cap on your crew skill that you have to pay for to increase, if you don't spend gold eagles you can't upgrade your plane to the maximum performance
- Though slots are also limited in WG products, the increase of slots in War Thunder gives you a direct advantage of bringing more planes and vehicles into the actual combat. While a free player has to give up after a maxium of (iirc) 5 tries, the paying player can dive into combat 9 times.
- Gaijin allows you to pay to even further increase this edge by buying a one-time consumable that lets you respawn with the same plane, bringing the maximum respawns for paying players to 18 vs 5 for free players.

Premium munition in WoT on the other hand can be aquire by everyone and and premium vehicles are performing worse than fully upgraded equivalents of the same tier most of the time. Every crew can be maxed without a hard cap put on it, etc, etc.

With all that said, you'll still find me more often playing Gaijin products atm than Wargaming ones. Especially since I don't care to spend a few bucks on games I enjoy, so those free player limitations don't apply to me anymore anyway.

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spider0804 10 years ago
I see gaijin as much less of a pay to win company as well.

No gold ammo, and premium planes?

I shoot down premium planes in my regular planes just as easy as non premium planes.

HP in my opinion is a crap system, in Warthunder if your tail dies you cant use your rudder or pitch depending on what dies, Warthunder simulates every part of the plane, and every part can be damaged and broken.

World of Warplanes its just oh look someone has a derp cannon because the match maker is terrible and two shots your plane, kindof like World of Tanks (which ground forces soundly beats).

Golgo28 10 years ago
Don't forget Gaijin putting war thunder on the ps4 as well as pc at the ps4's launch gives them a wider audience.That plus it's controls and gameplay give it a 3 to 2 lead over WoWP.

fromhell 10 years ago
I have to agree, War Thunder was easier to just pick up and play, in the long run that's what I'm looking for in games,
I played both, maybe not enough to make a in-depth comparison, or claim that one is better than the other, i just liked War Thunder better.

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