MatchUp: World of Warplanes v War Thunder

War Thunder v WoP - headlogo

In this instalment of our MatchUp series, we’re taking off into the sky as we have a look at 2 of the most popular WWII flight simulator MMOs the F2P market has to offer: Gaijin Entertainment’s War Thunder and Wargaming’s World of Warplanes. When the former initially launched, the title was frequently compared to World of Tanks because of delivering both tank as well as flight simulator gameplay. However, now that World of Warplanes is officially released, it seems to suggest itself to once more make the comparison between the flight part of War Thunder and World of Warplanes.

Before truly plunging into the comparison, we feel it should be pointed out that War Thunder had already been available for the public a year earlier (though still being labelled as "open beta version") than World of Warplanes and moreover is Gaijin Entertainment's primary MMO project while is additionally occupied with publishing World of Warships. Nevertheless, both MMOs will be taken on their individual merits and we promise to do our best in order to go without personal opinions but to focus on sheer facts instead. Any opinions shared are primarily from the general collective feedback we’ve come across on the various forums and websites while hunting facts for this article.

The most obvious is that there are plenty of similarities between both MMOs; however, it’s the details which greatly separate these 2 F2P titles, which completely divide the community. The most striking difference is the platform availability: has been strongly focused on PC for quite a long time up to now (although World of Tanks already is available for consoles, we can only assume that it would also be the case of World of Warplanes in the future); War Thunder, in contrast, is available on PC, Mac and PS4, actually offering a cross-platform experience between PC and console.

The nations players are given access to are pretty similar in both games and represent that era’s global players: USSR, USA, Japan, Germany and Great Britain, with World of Warplanes additionally offering the Chinese nation. The available aircraft come from all those nations, including French planes for both competitors and Australian and Italian warplanes for War Thunder. The sheer amount of aircraft as well as their type could be said to be misleading, as WoWP focuses on 3 basic classes (Attack Aircraft, Fighter and Heavy Fighter) while War Thunder’s Wiki indicates 11 different aircraft types (although we would argue the majority of them would probably fit into the very 3 WoWP classes.

Regarding the actual amount of vehicles offered, it’s unquestionably a one-sided battle with War Thunder almost offering 200 aircraft more than WoWP: 357 vs. 159, which is sufficient to initially put War Thunder in the Guinness World Record books for having the most aircraft in a simulation game (303 as of 22nd Jan 2014 when the record was first made). As already stated above, the is already available for a year longer than its competitor from Wargaming and we dare predict that both MMOs will carry on enlarging the amount of planes available for play and continuously try and compete with one another.

War Thunder has the additional bonus of also enabling players to play ground vehicles, including Jeeps, AA weapons and tanks, whereas World of Warplanes is entirely focused on airborne gameplay. Although the Wargaming franchise also includes World of Tanks and players might seemingly like to see a fusion of both titles, the company doesn’t seem to have any plans for combining their games to create a direct comparison to War Thunder in the near future, as the mechanics behind the World of… series titles are hugely different, making their combination a pretty hard task.

In regards to gameplay options, War Thunder is way in front again with more than twice the amount of maps available for play (23 in contrast to 11) and 4 different game modes ranging from Arcade to Simulator (plus an “Events” mode) in contrast to the single standard Arcade mode in World of Warplanes.

The games’ damage systems are fairly similar in that planes have multiple hit locations that when damaged will affect their combat efficiency and manoeuvrability. The major difference is that planes in WT can be destroyed if one part takes too much damage (e.g. from a few direct hits) while in WoWP each plane location adds to the overall hit points of the player themselves and once it’s reduced to 0 the plane will then be destroyed. When your plane is destroyed in WoWP the game is over, resulting in short match times with an average of seven minutes per game (with a 15-minute cap), whereas in WT players have three lives and once destroyed can jump back into the game in a different plane.

Making the comparison, we realised that majority of both games’ features are pretty similar, as both allow levelling up to earn points that are put into a tech tree to unlock new planes, and offer the possibility of earning various achievements through in-game actions, companion apps, and plane customisation.

It’s hard to judge which of both is the most popular, though our findings were that the majority of people and public feedback weighed heavily in War Thunder’s favour. Actual player number comparisons are quite hard to calculate, in no major part due to the fact that World of Warplane’s player base is collectively spread across the platform with the extremely popular World of Tanks. As to success, both games seem to be doing well, though during our personal conversations with at this year’s Gamescom it became obvious that their title hasn’t been quite as successful as the company had wished for, sparking a number of changes that are due to be released, and in no small part we would bank that this is due to War Thunder.

Check out our infographic:

War Thunder v WoP - Infographic 640

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