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I've been playing War Thunder for the past week or so
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Joined: 09 Feb 2015

PostPosted: Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:07 am    Post subject:  I've been playing War Thunder for the past week or so Reply with quote

So as most of you know, it's not a new game, but they do constantly make improvements. And although th ebase game is like 35GB the save files and progress data accumulate quickly, several hundred MB so far.

The game is modelled on a hybrid pay to play, where the majority of the game is free arcade style with some grinding, yet a lot of units are unavailable without paying for them. Generally speaking this isn't a problem, as there are probably already a thousand units across the various nations. Notable ones are like the JagdPanther 88mm is only available to buy, but lesser gunned versions are free.

They have a neat event running right now, which I haven't taken part of being a premium feature (and I'm not paying) and definitely worth checking out. I liked the Tailspin show when I was a yoof...

Anyway my impressions are that it runs quite well on older video cards (R9 280x 3GB) and modern cpus, I didn't check ram usage however. The game seems more bound by the connection to the server, as in your experience of the world and thus smoothness of frames is mostly dependent on the ping/lag for keeping coherent, rather than say your gpu trying to keep up. Basically it performs like most simpler shooter games, the number of objects in play matters more than the scenery. Your typical arcade tank battle is 16 vs 16. so not an insignificant amount of activity.

Overall the game is polished, the soundscape is great, and the graphics are as good as they need to be, especially given your spend so much time staring at targets instead of scenery. The tree and grass distance settings have a big impact on how the land works within shooting range, you have the usual LOD versions of objects that will lack the dynamic lighting and have lower textures far away, and you set the threshold to where they start loading the full fancy version. I keep both these sliders around half, anything farther at 1080p is meaningless noise. That said playing in 4k with a better video card seems like a good option, it would increase your granularity for sure.

The arcade battles are bascially a CTF style, but with added variation of 1 vs 3 points to capture. The game loads AI players to fill teams, and more when there are less players available waiting for a game, and this isn't clear to players. There will be AI players on your team and the enemy team, which will behave in mostly a supporting role, as in they don't tend to capture points, meaning if your team is mostly AI players, and you or the few humans don't aggressively capture, no one will.

The AI players are also grouped into smarter and weaker ones, probably generated from the copious amounts of data based on real players, they are programmed to mimic humans quite well, though they still have tells if you look. The most obvious one is they are snipers, while charging over a hill bouncing on their suspension, they will make a 1/10000000th shot between some rocks, through some trees, right into your ammo so you blow up in one shot. This means that you'll be dying a lot, unfairly, without warning, but there's more.

They also have tag-team tactics which humans don't, so if you shoot at one of them, they will seek revenge and pincer you. Thus if you manage to kill one or two from a hidden location, you will have to move as some unrelated AI player will now know your location from off to the side or behind you, and will attempt to shoot up your backside. Sometimes if you're too effective, their revenge will come in the form of an air strike. The AI loves revenge. Tactically speaking this means humans are at a disadvantage.

For an added bonus, if you as a sole human player are surrounded by AI players on your team, the opposing AI players will all target you, and it ends like a kill box, despite your position being reasonable with lower hanging fruit available for the enemy. If you aren't patient, they'll all be lined up on you, if you are too patient they will find a way to flank you or get you from another angle, your effectiveness makes you a target, but also the vehicle you have can make you a target too. I have one particular Panzer IV with the 75mm gun that gets immediately targetted when entering a fight, despite lots of supposedly better tanks around me that would seem like priority. It's so bad that when I take it out, I might not even get a single shot off, as the AI players have decided I must die first, while my other Panzer IV with the 50mm is largely ignored.

On the topic of damage, when the AI hits you, you'll find they can hit your gear wheel with an oblique shot, have it bounce into your cockpit and fragment into your ammo, but if you hit their wheel you only ruin their track. Each shell has specific information regarding chance of ricochet at what plating angle it hits, but this only seems to apply when you are shooting them, they'll skim the thickest part of your armor at 168 degrees, yet manage to destroy you, when by provided data that's a 98% chance of bouncing.

I can see both why it's addictive, and why people also hate it. It's not fair, it can be hard, sometimes it doesn't make sense even, but it makes for great sport, and there's a lot of fun in pulling off a successful ambush.

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