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War Thunder (p)review

War Thunder Preview!

War Thunder is now in open beta and at any time you can find several hundred players online 'testing' the frequently updated content and features.

As a rule, I don't review beta versions because it is not fair to the developers, so I will just give you a preview of my first impressions.

It's an MMO dudes. Get over it.

War Thunder is NOT described by the developers as a flight simulation. There are many totally pointless debates on various sim forums between hard core flight sim fans, and War Thunder fanbois, about whether WT is a simulator or not.

Sorry, who the heck cares?

The developers actually describe their game as an 'MMO combat game'. And just like all self respecting MMOs these days, they have followed the same marketing pattern of closed beta, then open beta, inviting players to pay to play the unfinished game and help support its development.
A typical MMO model, but maybe not the greatest business model to follow (are you listening, Gaijin?) . Take the much hyped MMO The Secret World (TSW). TSW had over 1.3 million paying beta-testers, but only 200 thousand copies of the MMO were eventually sold, there were staff layoffs and the first major content update was delayed by development issues.

'Closed beta testing' in MMOs is apparently here to stay though. Why launch straight to market when you can get thousands of punters to pay to play a game that still has last minute bugs to iron out? In the meantime you can get valuable information about what players like and don't, what they are willing to pay for, or not, and then when you go Gold, you can crank up the price and start raking in the cash...

Or, not.

It's most like: Wings of Prey

In all ways this game should have been called Wings of Prey 2. Great looking game, runs smoothly on almost any modern PC, reliable online play, scalable for players who like full arcade, or cockpit views and more realistic FMs, arcade style missions and campaigns. Just like WoP.

This should come as no surprise, because it is the same devs who gave us WoP.

What I liked about Wings of Prey: lush graphics, no drop in FPS no matter how many aircraft or explosions or special effects were on the screen, beautiful maps. Sound of engines, guns and flak is great.

What I didn't like about Wings of Prey: the game is made to be played in arcade mode, using a HUD, or in external 'over the shoulder' shooting mode with aiming assist. It has a 'realism' mode but the cockpits are not historically accurate, nor clickable, and the flight models are very basic. It feels like the flight models for fighters are more or less just variations on the same and the bombers are ridiculously over modelled. The damage effects, and the damage model, are totally over the top - where the slightest hit causes wings and tails to fall off and aircraft to explode. This is necessary, because even in some 'historical' missions, the player needs to take down multiple aircraft to win.

It's also like: Crimson Skies

This is an older title, but one of the first to get online dogfighting right, make it easy to join and play, and with good frame rates, and limited cheating.

What I liked about Crimson skies was that it was pure fun.

And WT is the same. No room here for those who are too purist about the flight sim genre, just get in a plane and shoot shit down or blow shit up! There are campaigns, of the 'go here, do that, in the right order, and if you don't get it right, do it again until you do' variety. You can upgrade your aircraft by scoring points in the missions or online, and buying new aircraft using your very slowly earned points, or just by paying real cash.

What I don't like about WT is the 'just for fun' appeal wears off. It's like an App on iOS which you are addicted to for about a month, but then you never go back to. Kind of like fast food for plane junkies. And it has essentially only two flight models (overpowered and underpowered) and the player with the most modern (read expensive) aircraft usually wins. Pay to win, is not a recipe for longevity in my book.

Another feature that shits me about WT (I use that profanity deliberately) is that you also have to use points or cash to pay for repairs to your machine.

Finally, it's like World of Tanks, in the air.

I spent nearly 300USD on World of Tanks before I was done. I learned very quickly that the 'free to play' concept for starter players was useless, 'grinding' was for 3rd world paid-to-play gamers, and that if I wanted to move up through the tiers, and get the better tanks, and gold ammo, I would just have to buy them. So I did. I ended climbing up the Russian Heavy Tanks tech tree, and found my ultimate killing machine, the IS-4. Faster, more agile and heavier than an armoured fortress, I was nearly invincible. I teamed up with other like minded, nearly invincible buddies. Then I realised, it was no fun being nearly invincible, because I had done all there was to do in World of Tanks, and so had most other players. The number of players on servers steadily dropped away, and I lost interest. My bank balance has thanked me ever since.

So I won't be jumping into another 'Combat MMO' with the same gusto.

But there will be plenty of players who will!

Technically, it runs beautifully on my i7 4GB ram, 2 GB Geforce 490m laptop. The landscape is gorgeously detailed, though the maps are ridiculously small, which helps with FPS but makes online combat on a full server a claustrophobic affair in which all players inevitably end up down on the deck circling around each other.

I'll save a full rundown on the various game modes and the pay and play model, for when the full version is released.

See another preview here:

War Thunder, World of Planes: FAQ by the devs

What is War Thunder World of Planes?

War Thunder: World of Planes is an MMO Combat game dedicated to the most pivotal World War II and Korean War battles. In particular, World of Planes lets players take part in massive multiplayer aerial combat, fighting alongside real players all over the world. The game's major battles will be set during the period from 1939 to 1953.

What caused these changes in the game's name?

The online multiplayer universe we are developing has evolved beyond pure aerial combat. The massive historical battles featured in War Thunder cannot be fought with aviation alone—World of Planes is only the beginning.

Will it be released for PC and Mac at the same time? Are you planning public tests for both versions?

Most likely, both versions will be released simultaneously. The closed beta test is planned for the PC-version only.

Will PC and Mac users be able to play together?

Yes! There will be no restrictions preventing this.

What stage is the development at now? When will the game be finished?

The closed alpha test is wrapping up and we are working on improvements for the beta version. The alpha test has been incredibly helpful for the game’s development: we’ve found and fixed various bugs, improved in-game balance, and optimized the game for a number hardware and software configurations. The closed beta test will start in Q1 2012 and thousands of players will be able to join it and play World of Planes. After that, the open beta and project release will follow.

What planes will be available in the game?

In the very beginning, players will be free to choose between the military planes of countries such as the USSR, USA, UK, Japan, and Germany. Some planes that represent other nations (Australia, Italy, and others) will be available in tech.trees of other countries.
All plane models featured in the game were used in combat in all of the major military operations of WWII and the Korean War.

Will players from the US be able to play on European servers and vice versa? If yes, will language barriers be an issue?

Different languages will be the only problem here. Most virtual pilots are adults who can deal with communication issues and will still be able to play. However, the language barrier could potentially be quite irritating, so we’ll probably start separate servers. We’ll see.

Will quick commands be available (such as «Attack», «Need assistance», «Fall back», etc.)?

Since these could help to solve the language barrier – yes, very likely.

Do you plan to provide new players with a training system or mode?

Sure. There will also be several options for tuning the game’s control complexity.

Is the list of playable planes ready yet?

The list of planes that will be featured at launch is ready – it includes almost 150 combat planes!

The Planes sections presents playable planes that will be available in the beginning of the closed beta-test (over 100 models), so it's far not a final list and new models of planes will be added even during the beta. The complete list of aircraft is significantly bigger, taking into account all possible modifications, and armament variations, and visual tuning. All together, about 5,000 different planes fought in WWII – that’s the number we’re after!

Will weather conditions (like wind, rain, snow, or fog) be shown in the game? Will they affect the flight model?

Technically, we already have all of these (you can see them in the Igromir trailer video). We are now deciding when and where to apply these conditions.

At this moment, we’re offering numerous sets of conditions that are automatically generated for each match.

A lot of virtual pilots love to make fan videos showing their flights and aerial combat. Wings of Prey had a lot of nice options for this. Will World of Planes inherit these great options?

Yes, in fact the variety of options for moviemakers will be even bigger! We’ve also added new great cameras for more impressive fan videos.

Will War Thunder: World of Planes have TrackIR compatibility?


Triple Head support?


Stereo 3D support?


You must know that is publishing a game very similar to World of Planes. What is the most important feature that differentiates your game from theirs?

Of course we know this. (We’ll point out that we started to work on our project and announced it long before them). So that’s Wargaming who should be asked why they chose such a similar name.
Planning to offer realistic massive battles we’ve never been going to limit our project to the skies. Sooner or later War Thunder MMO will offer a full-scale action for air, land and sea vehicles to fight together. Using our rich experience in aviasim games development we are going to make our project attractive to a wide gaming audience.

War Thunder: World of Planes features include:
• Varied PvP-experiences set in full-scale combat missions
• Multiple settings options allow advanced virtual pilots and beginners to enjoy playing the game together
• Rich PvE content: dynamic campaigns, standalone missions, mission editor, and much more for single-player and cooperative gameplay
• Impressive diversity includes detailed models of planes and their cockpits, as well as tanks and ships
• Astonishing graphics, authentic sound effects, and beautiful music
So, World of Planes is only the beginning of the exciting path to huge multiplayer universe of War Thunder.

Part 2: Planes, Battle, Fights

What PvP-mode options will the game feature?

There will be a lot of them:
• Quick Game is a battle with random enemies of comparable skill levels based on scenarios such as aerial domination, capturing airfields, providing assistance in naval battles, defending or destroying enemy bombers, and many more.
• Tournaments are battles with special rules that happen on a schedule, with requirements for all participants.
• Global War is a mode about which details will be revealed later, but the general idea that a player chooses his side, and each battle is not a random game but a successive line of historically consistent victories and losses.
• Sandbox mode leaves players free to define rules, limits, and goals on these servers
• Dynamic campaign, user missions, single missions, and quick editor are modes in which players fight against AI, under certain circumstances.

Besides PvP-mode, are there any other game modes in World of Planes?

Our game is not only an entire online world of multiplayer air battles, but it’s also rich in various PvE missions such as dynamic multiplayer missions and single player missions. Alos, World of Planes players will be able to create their own missions with the Mission Editor.

What are the key features of the flight model?

We use our own flight model created partly on the basis of our previous projects, Wings of Prey and Apache Air Assault.

However, we are working on massive improvements to the flight model, so during the game’s development it will improve significantly

What about game’s damage model?

We continue to tune up the damage system by modifying the one that was used in Wings of Prey. Ballistic parameters for all projectiles have been changed completely. Generally, we tend to stick to logic: one or two well-aimed salvos of machine gun fire, and almost any plane will be doomed. In addition to the overall consistency with historical facts, this gives the game its intensity and drive.

Is the flight model going to be historical or balanced? Will technical characteristics of real planes correspond to those of the in-game aircraft?

The flight model we use is historically accurate as much as possible, so the tactical and technical characteristics of all models will match with their real-world counterparts. We believe that it is much more exciting to pilot realistic planes than fictional ones.

Will planes run out of ammunition and/or fuel? If yes, will it be possible to restore them, and will landing be necessary for that?

Yes, planes can run out of ammo and fuel, and the game will feature a number of variations for restoring them.

Will there be nighttime battles?

It isn’t hard for us to create them, although they do have some particular challenges. PvE missions will certainly offer such battles.

Jets are believed to be the best possible aircraft among all of the planes that the game will feature. Will there be a way to give propeller-driven aircraft a chance, for example, by adding the experimental models of these jets?

We’ll make it realistic in a way that keeps the game interesting. Even early models of jets used to be superior in many situations. However, speed influenced their maneuverability – in a bad way. That’s why these planes were only used for particular missions.

Will the damage taken affect an airplane’s characteristics and influence G-loads?


What happens when player’s plane crashes?

First of all, the crew never dies – they successfully eject from the falling aircraft.

If a player crashes, he spends some in-game points and takes off again, but on a different and completely new plane. If he destroys all of his planes, he won’t get back into the game during this round.

What is the range of visibility for planes in the game? What will influence visibility?

Normally, it will be possible to notice an enemy at range of 3-5km, or with more precise recognition, at 2km. However, an experienced virtual pilot will be able to spot planes even faster.

Visibility is also influenced by sun, weather conditions (such as fog and smoke), clouds, and of course landscape. Gunners in planes with crews will be trained to spot enemies, too. Here is how it will happen: the player spots a dot in the sky far away, keeps looking at it for some time (3-10 seconds depending on the pilot’s skills), and after that the target is marked as a spotted one and the player’s teammates receive a message about it.

Can any planes join the same team? Like, German and Soviet aircraft fighting on one side?

Yes, in the case of trophies. Players can unlock planes from different countries but there will be restrictions to prevent use of the planes that is inappropriate to the setting of each specific match.

Will propeller-driven aircrafts have a chance against jets?

We haven’t yet decided whether to place these two types of planes on the same maps or to keep them apart. But of course there must be limits to balance these machines. Anyway, for some combat missions the advantages of jets will be absolutely ridiculous.

Will Sabers have reflex sights?

Of course they will.

Where will players appear in the beginning of every match: on a runway or in the sky?

Either is possible. It depends on the particular battle scenario.

How large the will the maps be?

Their size in the current version of the game is always at least 65x65km, and it can go up to 100x100km. For jets in the Korean theatre of war, we plan to have areas of 200x200 km. We have the technical potential for larger maps and we are ready to make 300x300km locations.

Will it be possible to interact with the environment: buildings, trees, bridges?

Yes! Also tree branches, wires, antennas, for example – all of these objects will be interactive. (All of them can of course be destroyed … or must be destroyed.)

Will ground forces move in the real-time? Will they be engaged into the battle?

Yes, they will.

The Pacific theatre of war assumes presence of aircraft carriers, right? Will planes be able to take off from carriers in the game?


Part 3:Gameplay out of combat

What will players do between combat mission?

In the game player is represented by his plane (which can be purchased), rank (which partly defines ability to buy new planes), experience, medals and decorations – these are player’s stats available for observation to other players. The game also features a line of personal tasks, missions and achievements. In a word we will offer a lot of positively acclaimed schemes of character progression.

Will it be possible to improve weaponry/engine/entire aircraft? If yes, how realistic will be be?

Yes, as much as possible without conflicting with the game’s principles. A P-39 will remain a P-39, but you’ll be allowed to change its alignment, give it better fuel, as well as load different types of ammunition and hang in some bombs. Perhaps we’ll work in features such as extended ammunition, radios, installation of oxygen equipment, and so on. Players may also get a plane with a worn-out engine that needs to be replaced with a new one; some guns may jam from time to time. Everything is designed according to real life situations on the one hand, and in-game balance on the other.

What about the progression of our character in the World of Planes?

Players will train the skills of the crew: pilot, mechanic, shooters (with traits like vigilance, endurance, tolerance to overload, and others). Also, there are usually physical parameters that may vary for different people and can be developed with training, such as stamina, accuracy (for AI shooters), vigilance and observation skill, resistance to stresses, and so on. Also, initially players get a pretty old and worn-out plane so the player must develop his plane, which involves obtaining new suspended weaponry and improving it, ammunition selection, the best fuel, and sometimes a more well-oiled engine for the aircraft and more reliable weapons, etc.

What kind of visual customization will the planes have?

In terms of purely external modifications, there’s a lot of this in World of Planes (painting, drawing symbols with different decals or pin-up girls, stenciled text, etc.).

Part 4:Controls and complexity

How complicated will it be to fly in War Thunder: World of Planes? Is it a sim, or an arcade game, or something in the middle?

It’s a MMO Action game dedicated to World War II military aviation, armored vehicles, and fleets.. It can be defined as a ‘simulator’ because it’s simulating flying a plane. But it’s not a WWII era plane trainer. All regular (quick) battles will have settings like Realistic, to make the battles historically accurate. In Sandbox mode, players will be able to tune difficulty and realism levels however they want. Tournaments can also have special settings that would differ from the Realistic preset.

In regular matches, planes will follow the rules of aerodynamics. So new players may find it necessary to use a virtual instructor to prevent the plane from stalls, spins, and extreme G-loads. This assistance, on the other hand, will set limits to the player’s freedom of flight. The flight model we use is historically accurate as much as possible, so tactical and technical characteristics of all models will match with their real-world counterparts.

Will such specific maneuvers like the Immelman turn be available for certain planes?

Yes, they will be available.

Can the player control flaps and other elements of the plane?

Players will be free to switch on manual control of such elements. By default auto-trimming is on.

What about 3rd person view?

It will be available, yes.

Will some planes have afterburner?

Of course, for some situations this is crucial.

What about control devices? Is a joystick required to play the game?

Avia Sims are not really simple: player have to learn to move in three dimensions and to think about their speed, acceleration, capabilities of the plane, and whatnot. So it’s hard to invent something more appropriate for a flight simulator than a stick. However, a keyboard and a mouse are absolutely enough for the game. The keys work as usual, and the mouse serves to replace the stick. Flying a fighter will be more dynamic with a stick or a gamepad. For bombing or assaulting a ground target, keyboard + mouse will work fine. Switching to gunners in a bomber and controlling those turrets with your mouse is also a wise choice.

What control device should players choose for World of Planes?

The best possible replacement for a joystick, if you simply don’t have one, is a gamepad. The keyboard and mouse can be rather effective for flying a bomber or an assault fighter. But a device with a stick gives an aerial advantage.
Gamepads (Xbox 360 for Windows for example) are comparable to some inexpensive joysticks (the kind that also requires a mouse and a keyboard). A gamepad can replace all of these devices, though some keys on the keyboard will have to be used. But still a gamepad is not as accurate as a stick.

Can a player swap seats from the pilot’s position to the gunner’s position?

We are going to make it possible, but in the beginning only pilot cockpits will be available.

Will detectors and devices show the plane’s actual state when in cockpit view mode?


Wings of Prey becomes World of Planes : War Thunder

Or, more accurately, Wings of Prey support is finished, while the devs move onto their new project, a MMOFSG called World of Plane. Read more here...

Gaijin started a series of interviews with real pilots who participated in World of Planes’ Alpha-test program. The latest interview was a fascinating conversation with a US Military Test Maintenance Pilot who has flown helicopters during all major military conflicts over the last 10 to 15 years. As an experienced virtual pilot, he is now helping the developers to bring maximum realism to the sensation of flying – one of World of Planes’ best features.

Read the interview here:

Tips for Beginners
Another community-oriented initiative that Gaijin is now implementing is the “Aces of World of Planes – Tips for Beginners” series, which offers advice and instructions for those who anyone who may encounter problems in the game’s virtual skies. The “Tips for Beginners” series contains the most essential information for newbies, presented simply and intelligibly by the game’s most skilled and experienced players.

Read the Tips for Beginners:


Two different sets of screenshots have been revealed over the last two weeks. The first one presents pictures depicting the Battle of Britain, as RAF and Luftwaffe aircrafts clash in the skies above Dover. The second set of screens is completely devoted to the Pacific theatre of war, where US and Japanese aces met each other in the crosshairs of their Wildcats and Zeroes…

View the screenshots on Facebook or on the official website:

Fan Video
Now, testers have created fan videos that the developer has agreed to publish! The first one was filmed, directed, and edited by VerTun, a World of Planes Alpha-test virtual pilot and Russian forum moderator at

Watch the fan-video:
Great new video from Exclusive922: Red Skies over Dover

New patch offers alternate views and bug fixes
The latest Wings of Prey patch from to beta offers:
  • Availability of planes in MP mode is now based on fronts instead of locations
  • Now it’s possible to slow down and speed up time in replay mode
  • Some new cameras for replay mode added
  • Migrating host was fixed
 See Mysticpuma vids

 Wings of Prey IGN review
Wings of Prey player review
Wings of Prey: Wings of the Luftwaffe reviewed
Wings of Prey Wings of Luftwaffe (Axis Extension to Wings of Prey) Video preview:  the new mission screens and a quick and dirty glimpse of the first mission.
Click below to go to YouTube and see in Hi Definition:
Wings of Prey mission 1 HD video

Text review below...
The good: Two new aircraft (Ju88, P39) and 40+ new skins plus 10 missions for Axis aircraft for a game which still gives those ‘wow that’s freaking excellent’ moments during intense dogfight action. Plus a new four player Coop mode for online play.
The bad: The whole pay as you go model. While new flyable aircraft are welcome, it rankles to be paying to get content which should have been in the original release ie the Axis missions. And there is still no Axis campaign, nor are there cockpits for the flyable bombers including the new Ju88.
The ugly: Install glitches on YuPlay version. The new missions are insanely difficult.
How fat is your wallet?
It’s a question the whole digital media industry is trying to uncover and the gaming industry is at the forefront.
Take the original Wings of Prey. For $60USD you got a very successful port from console to PC, which provided a great combination of beautiful graphics, high fidelity flight models for dozens of Axis and Allied aircraft and exciting combat action both online and offline.
(Keep that $60USD download price tag in mind though for later discussion, and bear in mind the boxed console game is currently shipping  for $20USD – yep $20 – from EB Games.)
Just as with Rise of Flight  which used a similar pay as you go model, and restricted the content available in the base game, there was a scripted campaign in Wings of Prey, but only playable from the Allied side of the conflict, not the Axis. There were dozens of well crafted single missions and flyable aircraft (unlike RoF), but again, only playable from the Allied side.
As with RoF the developers want you to pay extra for new aircraft and features that used to be standard in sims (like a campaign or missions playable from both sides).
First to be released was a P40E Kittyhawk for $3 USD. I haven’t seen any buzz about this in the game forums, so I’m willing to bet this hasn't been a big seller. The price was OK though, in the new world where Rise of Flight gamers are paying $5 per kite.
Next to be released for Wings of Prey is the $15USD axis expansion pack Wings of Luftwaffe which gives players  two new aircraft (Ju88 and P39) and 40 odd new skins, plus some sought after Axis missions (10 of them), and a new 4 player Coop online mode.

The new flyable Ju88: no, the bombers still don't have in-cockpit visuals
The expansion is available as a download from or Steam. I bought the YuPlay version. YuPlay first installs a small download control program, then fetches the game install files (1 hour on my 10Mbit connection) and then automatically starts the install program.
Which is where it all went wrong. After a twenty minute install I got an error message saying the program was installing, but could not delete the old version of because ‘access was denied’. The install aborted. What? 80 minutes to reach a dead end!
Trial and error taught me the problem was that was already running on my machine as a background process, probably because of the download control program. I killed that program before starting the install manually, rather than letting it start automatically, and it finally installed clean (an hour later). Total time tosolve glitch and install, 3 hours.
An irritating waste of time.
New flyables
The P39 and Ju88 are an enjoyable addition to the stable of aircraft and it will be interesting to see if players take them online.
The Ju88 was for me, a little disappointing. In BOBII there is a clear difference between the Ju88 and He III flight models, as there should be. You feel you are at the stick of a heavy fighter in the BOBII Ju88, compared to the He111 which handles more like a traditional medium bomber. I expected something like the A20 but the WoP Ju88 is indistinguishable from the He111, or even the heavier B17. It is nicely detailed and small things like the play of shadows through the glass nose canopy can delight and suprise, but the flight model must be a cut and paste from the basic medium bomber template in WoP. And the lack of a 3D cockpit is unforgiveable.
Not just a ground pounder: the new P39
The P39 is basically a flying cannon, with the 37mm in the nose giving it massive hitting power.  Useless at altitude, it had nonetheless a high roll rate and Soviet pilots loved it low down where they found themselves dogfighting most of the time. It rolls like a FW190 and can take a lot of punishment, so it will be interesting to see if online players take to it. Let's face it, most online melees degenerate into a ground level turning fight, and the P39 may just prove a more survivable kite for the skilled, and less skilled, flyer alike.
One tech note though. The WoP P39 is supercharged. In the final Axis mission against Me262s it meets the 262s in a head on merge then turns behind the 262, catches up with it even if the 262 is accelerating in a climb through 450 kts. In a straight line, the 262 struggles to catch it even after the 262 is fully 'spooled up'. Believable? Hmmmmm.
(I have not yet tried the new 4 player Coop mode so will report on that later.)
Tweaked AI
The Axis expansion is part of a patch which supposedly improved the AI. The main difference I can see in the AI is that the devs have increased the number of aircraft targeting the player to unrealistic levels.
In a fight of basically one squadron of fighters against another, I would expect most fights to devolve into 1 vs 1, or 2 vs 1. Instead, you will constantly find yourself, the player, with 3-4 enemy fighters on your tail.
If there are more subtle changes to the AI, I haven't had time to detect them before my four pursuers blast me from the sky.
Realistic? Fun even? An improvement?
10 (count them), yes ten new missions
Ten new missions? Sorry but as a mission designer for BOBII I can attest to the fact that with a half capable mission creation engine to work with, a competent mission designer should have been able to crank out these 10 missions with about one day of work, and about the same of testing and tweaking.
The player looking forward to some Axis based mission goodness will not even find all the Axis aircraft types represented.
Hoping for a thrilling hit and run raid on Manston in your Bf110 Zerstorer? Sorry. Well, there is a new Ju88 in the game, right? Throughout the war it served as a heavy fighter, a night fighter, a fighter bomber and a fast medium bomber, so what missions were created for it?
The ten new missions feature only four flyable aircraft types – 5 Bf109s (E3, F4, G2, G6, K4), 3 Fw190s (A5, D12, F8), a Ju87 and an Me262.

And the missions are insanely difficult. Take mission 1: a straightforward 'escort the Heinkels' job. Your two flights of 109s are met by enough Spitfires to make you think you have hit a Big Wing, and you immediately have 3-4 of them on your tail. Good luck doing anything but evading Spits for this entire mission.
In a mission involving a Bf109K intercepting B17s you have to fight your way through a squadron of P51s to get to the target B17s, and by the time you catch them, if you haven't been chopped to pieces by the P51s, you have time for one pass, max two, before the game declares the mission over because you have not destroyed enough B17s.
The final mission sees you in a 262 against a squadron of P39s, which you meet head on, at full cruising speed, about 600 km/h. Assuming you survive the merge, you will have at least 4 locked onto you for the duration. You might use your straight line speed to evade them, but when you swing around for another pass, you will have four 37mm cannon pointed straight at you next time you face them. Good luck.
There is however a nice selection of new skins now, including an almost Red Bull like FW skin intended to allow you to taunt your online opponents!


More screenshots click HERE
Value for money?
This expansion will set you back $15USD or a quarter of the original price of the PC game. Effectively this takes the cost of the full game to $78USD. And, many players would argue, until we get a true Axis campaign and a full mission builder or instant mission creator, Wings of Prey is still not the full deal yet…
But then Rise of Flight at $40USD is no bargain either. It shipped with only two flyable aircraft and if you have bought the three or four add on flyables since, you would be hovering around $60USD now. At least Wings of Prey has dozens of flyables.
However a WWII PC sim fan can't help look at the fact they can pick up IL21946 or Battle of Britain II Wings of Victory for just $20USD, both of which are heavily modded and updated, and available with a plethora of FREE skins, missions, flyable aircraft, campaigns, maps etc etc. No, even the modded IL2 doesn't have the eye candy of Wings of Prey, but it has literally thousands of missions, campaigns, skins and hundreds of flyable kites to choose from. BOBII doesn't have the ground detail of Wings of Prey, but it has the best flight models and enemy AI of any sim available.
Wings of Prey is very hard to justify in terms of value for money.
$15 for this expansion adds up to $6 for the two new flyable aircraft (at the going price for WoP kites), and $9 for the new skins, missions and coop online mode.
Worth it? Honestly, only you can judge that.
How fat is your wallet?
Wings of Prey Axis add on announced
MOSCOW, Russia, March 26 -- The German attack begins! Gaijin Entertainment today announced the development of Wings of Luftwaffe, the first major add-on for the highly popular World War II air combat sim for the PC, Wings of Prey. Air combat fans can get 30 percent off the price of the expansion, which Gaijin will release in April, by preordering the product on
The expansion will feature ten single missions with support for up to four players in co-op mode, two new planes and over 40 skins for the various planes.

In Wings of Luftwaffe, the player takes the role of a German pilot and participates in explosive battles over Britain, Sicily, the USSR, Belgium and Germany. From blocking airdromes, to attacking aircraft, to destroying ground targets, the player will fight with honor and bravery for the glory of Germany.
"Players will enjoy strapping into one of the game's many planes and seeing the Second World War through the eyes of a German pilot," Kirill Yudintsev, project manager at Gaijin, says. "We put our players in the heat of battle, and have created an experience so lifelike, you'll feel your padded seat yield to your weight as you evade the attacks of your enemies. Wings of Luftwaffe is your chance to experience first hand the desperate fight in the skies over Europe during World War II."

Wings of Luftwaffe key features:
- Take to the skies as a German pilot
- Embark on 10 new missions
- Cooperative mode for up to four players
- New planes: the Ju 88 A-4 and the P-39N-0
- 44 new skins for the various planes
Wings of Luftwaffe requires the original game to run.

Wings of Prey After Action Report HD videos from Heinkill

Previously released info
See Official Facebook site here: 
Wings of Prey, formerly Birds of Prey is a new port of IL2 for consoles, intended for release in 2009. A collaboration between 1C, the developers of IL2, and console developer 505 Games, it will feature linked-mission style campaigns that range across theatres such as the Battle of Britain, the Battle of Stalingrad, the Allied Invasion of Sicily, and the Battle of Korsun.
Some August 09 updates from the developers:

1C Company and 505 Games have today revealed more information on the multiplayer modes available in forthcoming World War II flight combat title, IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey. As well as boasting over 50 single player missions, the multiplayer experience featured in IL-2 delivers even more thrilling aerial combat action. IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey will be available from 4th September for Xbox 360, PS3, Nintendo DS and PSP.

The official website now hosts the new multiplayer trailer where allied and axis forces go head to head in ferocious aerial dog fights and bombing raids over war torn Europe. Also featured is an exclusive community update from Pavel Kulikov, Game Designer of the multiplayer modes and maps at Gaijin Entertainment in which he shares some behind the scenes stories from the making of IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey as well as tips to becoming a multiplayer ace. Details on the modes featured in the game are as follows:

Dog Fight

Dog fight is a traditional "free-for-all" mode. After selecting initial game settings (number of players, difficulty level, planes available, game play map, time limit, points limits etc) players engage in aerial dogfights earning points for every downed enemy aircraft.

The winner is the first pilot to reach the point limit or the pilot with the most points when the allotted time runs out.

Team Dog Fight
After selecting initial settings, players are divided into two teams. Like Dog fight, points are earned for every downed aircraft in the enemy’s team.

The winner is the team that reaches the point limit first or has the most points when the allotted time runs out.


Strike is a multiplayer mode where teams attempt to destroy as many of the enemy’s ground targets as possible, while defending their own. The winner is the team with either the most points when the timer runs out, the team that reaches the points limit first or the team who wipes out all of their opponent’s ground targets. Points are awarded for both aerial and ground targets, although ground targets are worth more points than those in the air.

Capture the Airfield

In Capture the Airfield, players attempt to capture and hold as many opposition airfields as possible. An airfield is considered captured once a player lands and spends a specified amount of time on the ground without being destroyed. All airfields in this mode being the game as neutral, so securing airfields quickly is crucial.
Each team is granted a specified number of team tickets at the beginning of the game. Each time a player respawns, one team ticket is used up. Once a team has no tickets left, it cannot return to the battlefield.
The team controlling the lowest number of airfields suffers a penalty of their ticket pool being depleted second by second. The bigger this disadvantage, the quicker the ticket pool is depleted.
The winner is the team that has the most tickets left either at the end of the match or when an enemy team loses all tickets and planes.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey gives you the chance to participate in the most famous confrontations of the era piloting fighters, battle planes or heavy bombers across a range of daring and action packed missions. There are 6 theatres of war to engage – The Battle of Britain, Stalingrad, Berlin, Sicily, the Battle of the Bulge and Korsun – representing the main airborne battles of World War II in Europe.

From the developer diary
 IL-2 Developer Diary – Multiplayer

I’m Pavel Kulikov, Game Designer of multi player modes and maps at Gaijin Entertainment, developer of IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds Of Prey. Welcome to the first of our developer diaries where we will look to take you under the hood of the game we have been crafting, shaping and reshaping for the past three years now. Those of you who know a little bit about the history of this game will know that IL-2 has undergone some significant changes in the last year or so. Our first previews in the gaming press began to surface in mid 2008 as we geared up for beginning of ’09 year release. However, after some tough decisions, a lot of feedback and a bit of soul searching, we still weren’t happy with what was approaching our final product, so thanks to an agreement with our publishers we were granted more time to really polish our game. The main change being the addition of Arcede Mode making the game infinitely more accessible to the first time player. The results have gone way beyond our initial expectations and we are so delighted with how IL-2 has finally taken shape into what we feel is quite simply the best WWII flight shooter out there. The release date has just been confirmed as 4th September across Europe, so you won’t have to take my word for it for much longer! I’d like to thank all of you for your patience and continued interest in the game. I hope you all enjoy our game as much as we did putting her together.

One of the principle upgrades that we worked on during our extra dev time was the multiplayer mode, which has been given a complete overhaul. We recognised that simple one-on-ones weren’t going to cut it on their own, so our four modes; ranging from straight up dog fighting to more tactical airfield control, give some really interesting game play dynamics that we’re confident our fans will love. Multiplayer forms the subject of this dev diary as I hope to be able to give you a few early tips and strategies that have emerged from our own extensive play testing.

First up is dog fighting, the most basic of IL-2’s disciplines. You will spend a lot of time during the game alternately chasing down enemies and evading their counter attacks and nowhere is this more apt than in the Dogfight multiplayer mode, the archetypal ‘deathmatch’ mode. Aerial advantage counts for so much in a one-on-one battle; always ensure you are higher than your opponent. You will find it considerably easier to swoop down on an opponent with great speed than climbing into his line of fire. Your plane is more manoeuvrable on the way down so take advantage of this by making sudden, less predictable movements. When you are confident you are out of firing range, start to climb back up again for another assault.

When targeting in Dogfight, or indeed in any mode, don’t forget to use your rudder! The right stick allows you to fine tune your aiming left and right and negates the need to bank and roll all the time, which are useful for manoeuvres but are tricky when targeting.

Don’t endlessly chase down one enemy with unrelenting pace. Break off if he is shaking you effectively, monitor his movements and then try to anticipate when he is at his weakest. This is usually when he is ascending, as vertical flight patterns tend to be a bit more predictable.

Hold your fire! There is little point blasting away when you are over a kilometre from your target. There is also always the possibility he hasn’t noticed you yet if you are approaching from behind, so hold your nerve and let rip once you are confident of a quick kill. Remember, the longer you are chasing one opponent, the longer your own movements are predictable by other opponents.

Equally important is to remember to look around by clicking your right stick. To use another animal analogy, dog fighting is mostly a game of cat and mouse where it only takes a split second for the cat to become the mouse! Just because you are stalking an enemy do not forget that it is just as easy for you to be hunted down by an unseen opponent. The careful pilot will always know how many potential enemies are in the area; seek to separate a weaker plane from the pack and strike when he is isolated.

Finally in Arcade and Realistic Mode make sure you make good use of your target camera. This gives an instant picture of where the currently targeted enemy is in relation to your plane and by using this camera you will ensure you never lose track of his position!

All of the above are also relevant for Team Dog fighting; our second mode that, you guessed it, pairs you up into two teams of up to eight players each. In Team Dog fighting, the key to victory is to effectively use your wingmen, but equally, not to rely on them too much! Balance between teamwork and individual skill is key here. Eight planes flying in formation can provide lots of cover, but they also make a nice juicy target for your enemies! A more effective strategy is to pair off into teams of two to three planes. This way you will have some one to cover your tail when you go in for the kill. Just remember to return the favour for your team mates, or you could find yourself separated form the pack and vulnerable.

In Strike, the winning team must destroy the enemy’s fixed ground targets with bombers while also protecting their own from enemy air strikes. In this mode you will have to choose between a bomber or a fighter, both of which carry very separate disciplines. Bombers are slow and sluggish compared to fighters, but their massive payload of bombs can win the day quickly if you know what you are doing. So to begin with it is recommended using attackers rather than bombers in most strike maps, as they are easier to handle and you be able to learn the art of bombing before moving on to more difficult areas. The one target that is fully recommeneded to have mastered the art of using a bomber is when attacking a battleship. The extra firepower here is essential.

The key when playing as a bomber is to come at your targets from varied, unpredictable angles and altitude so you are less likely to be picked off by defensive, opposition fighters. Flying in formation makes you easy prey, so look to bamboozle the opposition by all coming from different angles. If you are having trouble hitting your targets, try swooping down low just above tree level and ensure you drop right on top of your targets. This is more dangerous but potentially more rewarding, so the balance between running these flights versus safer, more elevated attacks is yours to establish. It’s worth taking some time to become familiar with the gunnery position on the bomber, as there will be times when your escorts fail you and you are forced to defend yourself! We’ve found in practice that it is much harder to be an effective bomber than a fighter, so the more skilful players in your team should consider taking up this role.

For fighters in Ground Strike mode, your responsibility is split between defending your own bombers and eliminating your opponents’. If you are confident in your own bombers’ abilities you might only commit one support fighter to defend them and use the rest for defence of your own bases. Chances are however you will need to escort your team mates, as flying solo into an air battery is no picnic! Hang back and at a higher altitude to your bombers and wait for your enemy to engage them. You should be able to see the attack path they take and pick them off if they do not use clever enough techniques. When defending, fighters are at a huge advantage due to their manoeuvrability over bombers, so use this to pick them off quickly before they have a chance to drop their payload. Bombers will have to fly in a straight line at some point if they are going to hit their target, so aim to anticipate this as quickly as possible.

Finally, in the Capture Airfields mode, the aim is to land your plane and hold an airstrip for as long as possible until it is captured. Don’t expect to last too long when you are on the ground; you are a sitting duck and will rely heavily on you team mates for protection. If you happen to be a bomber, don’t forget your gunnery position as this can effectively make you an anti-air gun! When a team mate manages to touch down you should drop everything and come to his defence. Holding the airstrip is the only way to win and precious seconds can be the difference between winning and losing.

Desperate times can call for desperate measures, so if the enemy has the airstrip and the timer is running low or they are just defending well, don’t forget the Kamikaze option! Crashing your plane into the grounded enemy is very effective, if a little last-ditch, so keep it in your locker for when you really need it!

I hope you’ve managed to gleam at least some advice from this and will have a bit of an advantage when IL-2 ships in September. All multiplayer modes support 16 players and will give you a lot of extra game time after you have polished off the 50+ missions in campaign mode.

Thanks for reading!
In-game footage featuring dogfighting Hurricanes, Spitfires, Me 109s and 110s, Heinkels, and Blenheims and the stirring music of composer Jeremy Soule, have been released this month showing the game in an advanced alpha stage. 

Other promo videos can be viewed here:
There has been much speculation about whether this project is diverting resources from the much awaited 1C project Storm of War, but developer Oleg Maddox has asserted that 1C has simply licenced the IL2 name and code to its partner and is not directly involved in development of the game.
See the IGN preview below:

IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey First Look

1C to deliver the first realistic combat flight simulator to consoles, but one that will scale for beginners.

US, June 6, 2008 - Russian developer and publisher 1C announced its entry into the console market last night with the unveiling of several new games, including IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey, the first console version of the heralded World War II flight simulation series that is known for its incredibly realistic flight modeling and attention to detail.

As Anatoly Subbotin, 1C's PR manager, explained to us, almost all the air combat games that appear on consoles are arcade games with a few flight simulation elements added to them. Birds of Prey will differ because it is a flight simulator with a few arcade elements added to it. At the same time, the game will feature variable realism settings, ranging from a very forgiving arcade flight mode (it's impossible to stall out or get in a spin) to a hardcore realism mode that is comparable to the PC game.

That's a kill!
In other words, you're going to be as close to the challenges of real flight and dogfighting as you can get without strapping into a vintage World War II aircraft and actually taking off.

Birds of Prey will use the flight models that were developed for the PC game, but almost everything else was rewritten from scratch from the consoles. Visually, this is a gorgeous game; aircraft are rendered in sharp detail, but even more impressive were the fully 3D landscapes below. There are thousands and thousands of 3D trees, roads, villages, landmarks, cities, rivers, and more. Then there's a new damage modeling system where your plane can get chewed up pretty badly, to the point that it has gaping holes in the wings and fuselage, and that will affect your aircraft's handling on the more realistic difficulty levels.

The rest of the feature list is pretty impressive. There won't be a dynamic campaign, but there will be an instant mission mode along with about six campaigns, ranging from the Battle of Britain, Stalingrad, Sicily, the Ardennes, and the Fall of Berlin. These campaign modes will let you fly from the Allies' perspective in an array of historically realistic aircraft; you can fly Axis warplanes only in multiplayer. Speaking of which, the game will have extensive multiplayer support, so you can fly with a bunch of other pilots cooperatively or competitively in dogfights. In single-player, you can jump to different planes in your wing in mid battle or should the plane that you're in get shot down. Humongous battles can be modeled with around 100 planes in the sky at once, each with its own AI.

The realistic mode might make even die-hard PC flight simmers think about getting the console version. The most hardcore setting only allows you to fly from the virtual cockpit view, and there are no targeting or directional indicators aside to help you. Instead, you've got to rely upon your analog instruments and the old Mark 1 eyeball. Less realistic settings will let you change the camera around, so you can have an external view of your plane, and they'll have all sorts of user-friendly targeting indicators to tell you where the bad guys are.

It's like Pearl Harbor, but without Ben Affleck.
There won't be any kind of central hero or protagonist that you follow throughout the game. After all, that wouldn't make sense having a single character flying for so many different nations in different theaters. Plus, this is war after all, and people die. So you will have a roster of characters, and your goal is to hopefully keep as many of them alive as possible, but if someone is killed, they're gone. Imagine that, a war game where you can't predict who will live or who will die?

1C was only showing off the Xbox 360 game, which should be identical to the PlayStation 3 game. What's impressive is that there are also going to be PlayStation Portable and Nintendo DS versions, but those will obviously be different from the Xbox 360 and PS3 game, though they were not at 1Cs event. IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey will ship in 2009.

Milton Keynes, England - 505 Games will be bringing 1C Publishing’s IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey to the console market for the first time. Developed by Gaijin Entertainment for Xbox 360 and PS3, DiP Interactive for Nintendo DS and DYNAMICSYSTEMS for PSP, the game takes place during the greatest aerial battles of all time (discounting Pterosaurs) and boasts the most realistic landscapes and aircraft seen in any flight sim. IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey will be published by 505 Games under the 1C Label and is due for a 2009 release.

IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey is based around large-scale aerial combat over the ground-based military operations of World War II. Players participate in the war’s most famous confrontations piloting fighters, battle planes or heavy bombers across a range of thrilling missions. There are five seats of war to engage in – The Battle of Britain, Stalingrad, Berlin, Sicily and Korsun – representing the main airborne battles of World War II in Europe.
As well as advanced environmental visuals enriching the game play, IL-2 also boasts an all new damage effects engine. Players can see real time damage to the aircraft such as holes in the wings and trail lines during dog fights. Hundreds of airplanes taking part in air battles is a distinguishing feature of IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey and the unique environmental engine also produces highly detailed, realistic landscapes that allows players to see a brand new simulation of ground support actions.

• Authentic World War II atmosphere
• Engage in more than 50 thrilling missions from famous historical battles over Eastern and Western Europe and fly historically accurate aircraft
• Completely flexible difficulty level system: from arcade to realistic simulation
• Thrilling multiplayer mode support customisation – from the colour scheme of your plane to your choice of weapons.
• Cutting edge, highly-detailed visuals, realistic sound and original music from Jeremy Soule (composer of Company of Heroes, Dungeon Siege, The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind, The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Guild Wars, Neverwinter Nights, Prey, Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Total Annihilation, Unreal II, Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War, and many more.)
505 Games will publish IL-2 Sturmovik: Birds of Prey on the 1C Label for PS3, Xbox 360, Nintendo DS and PSP in 2009.