A not so complimentary player perspective
Okay… where to begin. As you can imagine, I received literally dozens of e-mails over last couple of months, inviting me to try War Thunder (not only Ground Forces, just War Thunder in general). I resisted for quite some time, but about a month ago, I was like… well, I should try it after all – and I got to try it today.
Trying it is one thing, writing about it another matter. I really wasn’t sure, whether to do it or not. I still am not, but what the hell, right? Anyway, my reluctance obviously comes from my position. This is a World of Tanks blog. If I bash War Thunder, I’ll get the “OMG SS WARGAMING STOOGE!” reactions – as I did before. If I praise it, I will get “OMG SS HATES WARGAMING FFS WT SUX!” – also happened before.
But I’m gonna write it nonetheless. I will try to express my feelings and compare these games regardless of my alleged affiliation. If it’s good, I’m gonna praise it. If not… well… the bashing will at least be honest.
And yes, I am completely aware that this is the closed beta stage, there is no need to remind me of that.
I approached War Thunder as a complete newbie, who turns the game on for the first time. I did not read any manuals or anything about it on the web, apart from the “standard” stuff on War Thunder page. I did not read any guides, because I believe that a good and successful game has to be intuitive and easy to grasp (I am sure you already see where this is going and why I mentioned this specifically – if not, well… you’ll find out).
Installing War Thunder
Installation was very easy and user friendly. The game is not a “hog”, it has 8 gigs or so, not bad. There was however a mess, when I (based on some March WT post) installed something called “nightly client” or something like that – should have been specifically a closed beta client for tanks, but apparently this was cancelled earlier, the tank testing was moved to regular client and so I had to install the entire game twice. This has left me… annoyed. Another annoyance (this time caused by myself) was that I logged with wrong account (not the CBT one) and spend an entire afternoon figuring out why the fuck can’t I access tanks, when I realized I registered another e-mail for the CBT. Thanks for everyone who tried to help me by the way (especially Ronineter) and sorry for this, mea maxima culpa.
Anyway back to point one – when I ran the launcher, it detected the graphic settings for me and it was apparently very optimistic, setting everything on “high”. Not sure whether that means “high settings” or “you better be high before you try it”, but what the hell… I can lower them anytime, right? Turned out I had to lower them, but not by much.
So, anyway, logged in successfully. Here, I would like to note that the War Thunder soundtrack is GREAT, I love the theme – and the strings that came after that, it’s a really known composition, can’t remember how it’s called. Anyway, excellent, excellent background music, very well fitting.
That account on the screenie is the non-CBT account, so after messing around a bit with the interface, I finally tried two or three battles with rplanes. Here, I would like to state two things:
- War Thunder planes are, hands down, better than World of Warplanes, in practically everything, when it comes to battle. Perfectly responsive controls, intuitive plane handling. And NO LAGS – imagine that!
- what runs with 25-30 FPS on low-medium details in WoWp, runs at 60 FPS on high details in War Thunder. The difference is simply stunning and I must say that unlike the horrible WoWp experience, I actually enjoyed the planes. I don’t like planes in general, so I won’t be playing it, but yea, this is some pretty good stuff. At least when it comes to battle.
At this point, I was actually really pleasantly surprised and very hopeful for the GF.
Anyway, after the unfortunate episode with the account, I managed to log on to the correct one and started to look around, looking for… tanks. No big shiny “TEST TANKS HERE” button anywhere, yea, well – back to the forums then. Luckily, some guys on FTR FB pages were again very helpful, suggesting that I should test via the “Events” button. Okay, simple enough, right?
No, not really. At this point, it gets really blurry tbh – I opened the tank research window and started randomly clicking everywhere, because I couldn’t see any available tanks for the battles.
This was the time I started to be annoyed again. I literally have no idea, how the research works in this game – the way I guess it, you “focus” on “researching” something, you get some research points AKA XP after the battle? No idea. And this is not good, this stuff is supposed to be comprehensive. In this, World of Tanks is clearly superior (I assume this goes for the warplane version as well), I have a feeling here that the main point of the research system in War Thunder is “we have to make it different from WoT at all costs”. Anyway, as I said, I have no clue about this (and no, no need to explain, quite honestly at this point I don’t care much – by the way, is it my impression only, or is the reasearch very, very slow?) – I clicked something and the tank appeared on the bar below, along with some other planes.
This is by the way something I don’t get either – I won a plane battle earlier and a window popped up, saying that I recieved a personal plane of some fighter ace. Does that mean I got a new plane skin? Or a new premium plane? Decals? I have no idea.
Anyway, back to GF. As I said, I started clicking stuff and finally managed to join an “arcade” event mode. Starting with Germans, my “tier 1″ tank is Panzer II Ausf.F – meh, okay, can’t start with a Tiger, can we? Anyway, arcade battle, pressing battle, some briefing screen, I am supposed to uhhhhh conquer something? No idea. I am here to shoot stuff. I noted that the maps are actually “historical”, sort of – that’s kinda nice, I like the idea.
Sooo… map loading. It looks bigger than WoT and loads for half that time. Nice!
Oh. Same details as in planes. 10 FPS. Yea, okay, down to the ground. After setting everything on medium/low (included client restart), I managed to get it working at 40 FPS. And the game doesn’t look THAT bad either!
In fact, the game actually looks very pretty. On the same computer and same FPS, it looks prettier than World of Tanks. Nice! Rubbing my hands together with joy, I pressed the W key.
And that’s when everything got totally f*d up.
I don’t even know where to start to describe how bad this game actually is. Let’s start with the tank driving experience. If you have that “feel” about how tanks in WoT move – well, GF is nothing like that. Basically the tank is a race car on a wet asphalt strip. It goes easily into drift, it sways to the side and so on. I am quite sure the tanks don’t “stick to the ground” as much as in WoT, but they sure as hell don’t drift around like this either. And that’s not all. Crashing into objects damages you, which might be realistic, but it’s annoying as HELL. Oh, look, a tree? Let’s bring it down, I wanna see some action! Oh. Yea. Uhm. Okay, who needs engine anyway…
The movement just feels… I don’t know. More “action”, but less “steel behemoth” – maybe that’s just the fast Panzer II, but it’s quite different from World of Tanks, as I mentioned. What I noticed is that for some reason, water acts like a glue – you rush into a very shallow water stream at full speed, only to be immediately slowed down by it for no apparent reason. Odd.
And then there’s the physics. Think realistic “turning on your side” and such stuff is a good idea? Check this out:
…..and that’s how I spent three minutes trying to get out, until someone killed me. As far as I can tell, there is no “unstuck” button or anything – if you get stuck somewhere, you’re dead. Think this is fun? Wait till you see the ramming. Basically, I tried to ram a Panzer III at full speed. In real life, the impact would be devastating for both vehicles. But in War Thunder?