Anthony "Tony" Magestro--or known on the field of battle as Metzge--is an avid writer, gamer, and entrepreneur. When he's not writing, gaming, or entrepreneuring, he enjoys cooking, trippy movies, and trying to be awesome to varying degrees of success. Feel free to check out his LinkedIn page, especially if you need freelance help with content writing or digital marketing. Or just like to network, that's fine too.
I’ve been an on/off War Thunder player for a while now. For a free-to-play game, it’s easily one of my favorites. That being said, having last played two years ago before reinstalling last month, I was quickly reminded how brutal the skies above Europe were back in Dubya Dubya II. Again and again, shot out of the air or taken out by some kamikaze dickbag who wasn’t paying attention – or just really hated me in particular that round. I started looking at my line-up as well as the progress I’ve made on my research tree and realized my problem: I didn’t know what I was doing.
If you too have found the dogfighting of War Thunder to be overwhelming, having ragequit countless times from being turned into Swiss cheese, do not fear. Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes. But only five of them. I feel enough of your judgment already.
1. You’re flying a piece of junk
When you’re going into battle outgunned and outclassed, you’re probably gonna have a bad time. Starting from biplanes at the onset of the war all the way to experimental prototype jets, it’s important to decide on what to research and specialize in one or two classes of planes. Unfortunately, I spread out my research too thin and thus, damned myself to purgatory in Tier II. Since I’ve started playing again, however, I’ve shifted my projects to developing the German Fw 190 series of fighter planes, while secondarily leveling up the Bf 109s (another fighter) and Do 217 class heavy fighter for ground assault missions.
As with the aircraft themselves, each plane has its own research tree to unlock modifications like new cannons and ammunition or a new engine that allows you to go faster or a more maneuverable frame to replace the old one. The more flight time you get with a plane (along with kills, assists, and other accolades you receive when you get home from battle), the quicker you’ll research these upgrades and the faster you can progress in your aerial domination.
Now all this planning is well and good, but what about in practice? While the best advice is to avoid getting shot at altogether, if your plane does start to take significant damage (for me, it’s whenever I start losing maneuverability or my engine’s failing), there’s no shame in heading back to base to repair. In fact, it’s pretty intense when you’re trying to capture airbases (done so by landing or grazing across the strips): not only do you have to worry about landing safely by slowing down, keeping steady, and extending your landing gears, but enemy pilots can’t resist lighting up grounded aircraft before they can repair and take off again. It might take a bit longer, but heading back to your main base (if there is one) might be your safest bet.
Or crash into that B-25 with your ratchety ass hunk of junk. Especially if it’s on fire. Trust me, it’ll make for awesome screenshots in the replay later.