How are the Tank Battles in World of Tanks and War Thunder Different?
First off, let me clarify: this article was not written to determine which game’s tank battles are better, Wargaming’s World of Tanks, or Gaijin’s War Thunder. Both games are amazing in their own right, and once you’re hooked, they provide countless hours of fun tank warfare. Although they may appear a little similar at first, there is a world of difference in their gameplay. This can weigh heavily on your choices, especially if you’re ultimately trying to choose which one to play.
In terms of REALISM, it is safe to say War Thunder has the advantage, and it shows from the get-go. When you first drive a tank in War Thunder, you’ll feel a tinge of frustration: they’re pretty slow, are more difficult to turn and maneuver, and the turrets rotate slowly. But hey, this is how it was back in the day: tanks were lumbering boxes of steel, not sports cars.
Meanwhile, World of Tanks takes a more arcade-like approach to tank movement. For example, if you’re driving a light tank like the Russian T-50, it feels as if you’re driving a sports car while weaving through columns of enemy tanks. Moreover, the turrets rotate so quickly that you’re able to aim and fire accurately despite being in constant movement.
Apart from the movement, the shooting and damage mechanics are also far apart. In World of Tanks, shooting is quite easy, since the effects of “round drop” (bullet drop in FPS) and distance are nerfed due to Wargaming’s preference for smooth gameplay. Hitting different areas of a tank damages different modules and injures or kills the personnel inside, and this later affects the way you drive your tank. For example, hitting the radio module and radio guy will affect your spotting and scouting ability.
In War Thunder, shooting and damage mechanics are quite difficult and more realistic. You have to time each shot well enough and yes, you have to be quite the expert to continuously strike down the opposing team. Round drop and distance play a vital role - for example, if you use armor penetrating rounds, the damage they cause will drop if the distance between you and your target is too great.
Both are also similar in the parts and modules aspect. However, one thing that sets War Thunder apart from WoT is the way personnel inside a tank are affected whenever a round penetrates the armor. One good shot from an opposing team is able kill all of the personnel inside a tank, and this can immediately put you in the deaths list. Furthermore, War Thunder also utilizes a tank’s machine guns - they do minimar damage, but are still useful in certain occasions.
In terms of how you play the game, War Thunder and World of Tanks can’t be any more different, like a side-by-side comparison of a Maus and an FT-17. In War Thunder, one little mistake or a lucky shot from a player on an opposing team can knock your tank (and crew) right out of the ball park. There is a delicate balance between you trying not to get yourself killed, and finding enemies to aim your gun at. You need to be extra careful - pay attention to your flanks and don’t advance too much or else it will all be over.
In World of Tanks meanwhile, there’s a health bar and you can be a bit reckless, particularly if you’re driving a fast tank, like a T-50 or an M5A1 Stuart. Got it by an enemy round? Sure, it’s fine, the crew is unaffected. You advanced deep into enemy lines? Good, you’ve spotted them and you can get out of there in a rush. In a nutshell, you have a lot of chances to survive in WoT, whereas in War Thunder, one or two shots can end it for you.
Both games offer different varieties of tanks, though War Thunder has machine gun and cannon trucks, vehicles that WoT lacks. These can pack a punch, but are extremely vulnerable to damage.
One more feature War Thunder has is its hybrid battles. Basically, during tank battles, there will be instances wherein you and the other members of your team will be asked to pilot plane - a fighter, a bomber, or an attacker. Once you take to the skies, you can drop bombs on unwary enemy tankers, or reduce them to shreds with machine gun fire. It’s a nice feature and adds another dimension into the game. WoT prioritizes tank battles, and it does not have this feature.
Overall, there’s a huge deal of difference between the two games, and you can make a choice on which to play based on these. If you want strategic and realistic tank battles, go and play War Thunder. If you want smooth and arcade-like gameplay, World of Tanks is your best bet.
Having invested dozens of hours in both games though, I can safely say that regardless of your choice, you will definitely have loads of fun!