Word Play: War Thunder Ground Forces Open Beta Impressions

Jason Winter
Jason Winter May 22, 2014

I didn't want to keep making comparisons between War Thunder's Ground Forces expansion and World of Tanks, but it was impossible not to. World of Warplanes and the base War Thunder game came out at nearly the same time, so I formed my opinions about both simultaneously. But after two years and a thousand World of Tanks battles under my belt, I've already got a preformed notion of how a tank game plays, and that's hard to shake. Plus, I figured you're in the same boat – no, wait, boats come later! – so I figured I'd just give in to temptation.

It should be noted I played most of my matches in arcade mode, which plays like a faster, looser World of Tanks. The tanks themselves are quicker and more maneuverable – so much so that you'll find yourself spinning out or even flipping your 20-ton death machine if you're not careful. Maybe that's just the case with the lower-tier, light tanks I was playing, but I don't recall WoT's light tanks as being quite so squirrelly. The added mobility and greater lethality make for a faster game overall, and with a respawn mechanic, you have tanks to spare and can afford to take greater risks than you would normally.

The tanks also seem somewhat more fragile than their WoT counterparts, but that's probably due in part to the “weak point targeting” system found in arcade mode. When you line up a shot on an enemy tank, you'll get either a red, yellow, or green cross. Red means you're unlikely to damage the tank with your round, yellow means a fair chance of damage, and green means SHOOT HERE NOW. Aiming for specific weak points is a major high-level strategy in World of Tanks, but you have to know where those weak points are, often through research on outside sites.

In realistic and simulation mode, you don't get that targeting help, and enemy tanks themselves aren't identified on the map by name. In simulation mode, your view is even heavily restricted and you have no visual references to aid you in identifying the enemy, which might be proper for a tank – which probably doesn't have the best visibility – but it seemed taken to an unenjoyable extreme, in my opinion. There are still some respawns, but these advanced modes feel a little more WoT-like in their need for strategy and what seemed like slightly slower, less maneuverable machines. They might be more suitable to people wanting a more true-to-life tank fighting experience.

Still, with arcade mode drawing in the larger number of players – and shorter queue times to match – it seems like Gaijin Entertainment is going for the masses who want a more “shoot-'em-up” kind of game, while Wargaming is content with a more tactical and strategic feel for its tank battles. Both approaches have their merits and will probably appeal to different audiences.

As with its predecessor, Gaijin does itself no favors with the localization for Ground Forces. Mission descriptions are humorously Engrish, and the descriptions of tanks and their weaponry, while detailed, don't give you much of an indication of their in-game capabilities, short of an overall battle efficiency statistic. This is one case where World of Tanks and World of Warplanes are undeniably more user-friendly, offering both the detailed analysis for enthusiasts but also boiling down combat capabilities to a few easy-to-understand numbers, like hit points, firepower, speed, and so on.

Once in battle, you'll also get relatively undetailed information about your vehicle, and it can be a little confusing at times to know what's wrong with your tank and what, if anything, you can do to fix it. At one point, I got the message that my transmission was damaged, which meant I could barely move. I spent the rest of the battle virtually immobile, crawling back and forth at about 1 mph, with no option to do anything about it. (Yes, I had a repair kit, but it was unusable.) Another time, I got stuck in a ditch and spent over a minute working my way out of it. And then there are those flipped tanks, which are nearly impossible to right. I can “suicide” out of a damage vehicle, but I'd at least like to know why I'm doing so.

Ground Forces is in open beta, and so you might think these could be addressed (as well as more map variety, such as urban landscapes). But if you've played War Thunder, you know that user-friendliness and better battle feedback isn't exactly their forte. Still, maybe that suits the game just fine. I play War Thunder not to feel like a master tactician but just to go out and shoot some stuff and have fun. As long as I can move and shoot my guns, I'm fairly happy, even if I don't have a nuanced grasp of every part of the game, like how to best assign my crew skill points or what modules to research. It can work on that level, and, if you're willing to put the effort forth, you can probably take yourself to an even higher level. No matter which way you slice it, it's a lot of fun and will definitely pull some people away from its more established counterpart.

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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.

Discussion (27)

Grossmond 7 years ago
As the first poster mentions the handling of tanks is closer to real in WTGF then it is in WOT, 20 tons in high speed motion when it goes to turn will drift if you turn too fast. Also I think you missed that WOT also has the Red/Yellow/Green targeting as well, and almost the exact same weak points.

zzz@zzz.cn 7 years ago
Geme is wot clone and its a pay to win also, ballance is also very similar, any anti tank unit is almost useless, very slow very hard to target, very slow reloading time, dont hav air support skill, cant skip leveling these useless antitank vehicles, to unlock last qualification u need to pay real cash so this game is pay to win, its less pay to win then wot because there is no golden shells like in woth with them u on shot anything

View 3 replies
shit 7 years ago
LOL I cannot say how much I HATE PEOPLE DOING THIS SORT OF ARTICLE. seriously, this guy played with probably two tier one german tanks and went to write a report about it. He's got it all wrong. He seems to say that WoT is more tactical and realistic LOL. I bet he's only played for a few hours.

Shane250 7 years ago
At lease In WT you can feel powerful at all levels in a way, killing a KV-2 for the first time with a Pz.IV was an exciting moment, Killing a heavy tank with a higher tier with a medium tank of a lower tier with that skill shot next to the cannon barrel in the turret making it explode...oh man. In WoT you can't do anything to higher teir tanks especially if it's a heavy.

And those stupid heath bars in WoT, I killed 3 tanks with a broken right Track and a damaged engine in WT. I've always wanted to be in that scenario and WT delivered.

View 1 reply
Linkdred 7 years ago
Comparing War Thunder to WoT/WoWP it's the same as comparing Call of Duty to Battlefield.

Battlefield = War Thunder
Call of Duty = Wot...

Same genres, but they are different things when it comes to rest. Except the content being tanks and planes yes...

playeronesvk 7 years ago
Better then WoT

Mr.Awsome 7 years ago
As the game goes, the tanks get thicker and stronger. Making it a lot less random. The moment you pop in to T-34, game changes drasticaly, because at this point, you can allready effectively angle your tank.

As seen from screenshots, the game was tried only on a very short period, with german T1 tanks only. Not to mention arcade.

KalameesJr 7 years ago
Been playing it for a few days now, way too random for my taste tbh.

legit4life 7 years ago
I like it but i heard you can shoot the planes in the skys with specific tanks but i dont see them

View 1 reply
DisGameIsPoo 7 years ago
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

HUEHUEHUEHUEHUEHUE

Jambock 7 years ago
Well, to compare WoT and WT GF is a bad start to you; the only real resemblance between them are the armored vehicles; everything else is different. Like when you talked about the tanks "drifting", well, believe or not it is closer to the reality than wot stuck in the ground tanks (just search some vid in Youtube), this "drift" capability is only based in speed and type of terrain. And about durability of the tanks, as in the Planes version of the game the vehicles don't have an health bar, if something is hit it is damaged or even destroyed, sometimes beyond repair. Other thing, besides the Arcade be the "maintream" sincerely it is the worst of the game modes, the true Ground Forces is the simulation mode, but even it needs a lot of work for now; but it comes to opinion. All in all is a different experience from WoT, it's a game that came out of the CBT excessively early and that it's not ready for the great crowd. But have a lot of potential to be something really awesome! If Gaijin be able to balance the game in all aspects...


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