This is a new weekly series called “Free to Play Friday.” You can check out last week’s here. Gaming is fun and, sometimes, you need to pay a lot of money to have that fun. What if you could get that same fun for free? AotF is here to help! You’ll probably need a PC though, sorry Mac users, you did this to yourself, unless you have bootcamp or something.
As some of you may know already, especially if you’ve seen our previous coverage of War Thunder, War Thunder is an MMO War Simulator. Yes, you read that right, War Simulator. Gaijin Entertainment’s plans are to eventually encompass all 3 spectrums of war: Armies, Navies and Air Forces.
Nowhere is this clearer than in their newest “Heroes Trailer.”
So far however, in their current freemium (free to play, but with perks if you pay money) open beta they have only implemented the air force stuff. I say “only,” but it can already be one hell of a standalone game without the other planned facets. It is by far the best free-to-play warplane simulator that I’ve ever played. Perhaps its because it is set around the time of WWII and the Korean War where dogfighting in planes was something very up close and personal which adds a large element of skill to it.
I make sure to try out all the free games that I post about and usually after I post about it, I forget about it and practically never touch it again. War Thunder will definitely be something that I will continue playing for a long while after. So if the idea of a MMO warplane simulator excites you, then just head straight over to Warthunder.com, sign up, download and play. If you want a little more information, I’d be happy to tell you a little more about it.
Within War Thunder, you will get access (completely for free) to five different air forces: USA, UK, USSR, Japan and Axis. All of them have “research trees” that give you access to more sophisticated and better planes as you level up within the air force by just playing more. In the beginning, you will start with only dingy little biplanes, but eventually, you will be able to gain access to early jet fighters.
Don’t worry about being outmatched by jet fighters in your little biplanes when you first start though. As any decent competitive MMO should do, War Thunder matchmakes you with other players at a similar level to you, so it will all be about who has the best airplane combinations (a full hangar of only fighters? bombers? a mix?) and general skill.
It’s also probably the prettiest free game I’ve ever seen, the graphics are superb. Add to that quite a few different game types at many different difficulties (as well as single missions which you can also do cooperatively with friends) you will definitely have a good time.
At this point, there isn’t much that isn’t free. The only things that you would realistically need to pay money for is to get extra in-game money and experience, special planes (which are basically repainted, fully upgraded versions of ordinary planes), skins, some decals and full hangar space (although you can buy up to 5 hangar spaces for each of your air forces with just in-game money.
A few tips if you do decide to get started:
- Arcade battles are a load of fun and there are no repercussions for crashing a plane or getting shot down, but you will get more in-game money and exp if you play Historical battles or Full Real battles. The catch is, if you crash a plane that isn’t your starter plane, you will have to pay in-game money to repair them.
- Don’t crash into people, its just common courtesy. If you can help it, don’t ram into people.
- Remember to spend your crew skill points. Crew skills such as reload time, stamina and G-force resistance can be game changers.
- Sometimes, an upgraded old plane can be better than a brand new plane. Always look at the stats before you rotate out your planes since it costs in-game money to actually retrain your crews to fly certain planes (they will retain crew skills though).
- It can be really fun if you play on your own, but like any MMO, it can be even more fun with friends as you wingmen! You know, as long as your friends aren’t the kind who will ram you from behind for the giggles.
Tune in next Friday for the next Free-to-Play game!
Are you going to try the War Thunder Open Beta? Did you have fun? Why or why not? Leave a comment below!