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General information on Matchmaking process

The game mode selection screen

Matchmaking is the process of forming a game session by matching different players together based on several factors. The War Thunder matchmaking process has a vast variety of criteria and rules for the creation of sessions that distinguish it from more simple team forming algorithms that are based on balancing only. E.g. sessions in War Thunder can be created with a strictly limited set of vehicles, and teams can be formed on players' personal rating basis.

The following choices are available to War Thunder players:

  • Random battles with different modes (Arcade, Realistic, Simulation);
  • Squadron battles with different modes;
  • Battles with restricted vehicle sets (tournaments and events with preset vehicles);
  • Rating battles (tournaments and same kind things);
  • Battles of "All vs. All" types (races etc.).

How it works

Battle ratings

"Battle Rating" (BR) is set for every single vehicle available to players and is based on its technical parameters and battle efficiency. As every vehicle can show different battle efficiency in different game modes, BR is tuned distinctly for every game mode.

BR can differ between premium vehicles and their non premium versions in the main research tree. The root cause for this is that premium vehicles can appear in other battles where their regular counterparts may not be able to. One should also note that premium vehicles are made available to players with all the modifications and modules ready to use. This also has an effect on the resulting efficiency.

When creating a session in random battles, the Matchmaking system aims to form teams in a way when the summarised BR for each team is equal, or almost equal, to the summarised BR of the other team. In cases where the "top" (i.e. most modern or efficient) enemy vehicle has a higher BR than your team's "top" vehicle, your team's next vehicle will have a better BR than the second vehicle in the enemy team, which will equalise the situation.

Matchmaking limitations

 Important: Bombers are limited to a maximum of four per team in Realistic Battles.   

Limitation by Tier/Era

Allowable vehicles tiers in a single session
Tier 1 2 3 4 5

Vehicle tier/era limitations guarantee that players won't meet a vehicle that differs more than one era than his or her vehicle in Realistic or Simulation modes. For Arcade battles, this limitation works only from the top edge, i.e. a player won't meet a vehicle that's more than one era higher than the player's top vehicle in an Arcade lineup.

This limitation aims to protect an effective vehicle of tier 3 from fighting against vehicle of tier 5, even if those vehicles have a similar BR.

*Note: As of Update 12.07.2016 (, the restriction by Tiers is now disabled in all game modes except for Simulator Battles. Information for the new MM mechanics can be found here.

Limitation by BR range

For all game types on all difficulty levels, the maximum BR range for a session is limited to ±1.0 BR. Example: a vehicle that has the BR 5.3 can be in a session with vehicles with BRs ranging from 4.3 to 6.3 if this doesn't conflict with tier/era limitations. For arcade battles, it's assumed that players can meet low-level vehicles and even "reserved" vehicles belonging to other players who can't or do not want to use higher level vehicles available to him in his set.

For air Arcade BR range is also limited to ±1.0 BR, but there is an option to use BR averaging. In that case, BR of the whole vehicles set will be –0.3 from BR for the top aircraft in set. This brings the possibility to meet enemy aircrafts in ±1.3 BR range when the player's enemy use BRs averaging in contrary to player, whose BR equals to his top aircraft BR.

Limitations by Rank

This rule works like this: regardless of the resulting Battle Rating of an individual vehicle or a player’s lineup of vehicles, matchmaking is calculated for opponents whose top vehicle’s rank differs from the player’s highest vehicle’s rank by no more than one (either higher or lower).

Complicated? On paper, sure. In reality, this rule activates very rarely, since even without it, the Battle Ratings of vehicles in most cases fall within the acceptable limitations of ranks. But there are individual examples of vehicles whose Battle Rating does not prevent an encounter between, for example, a vehicle at the lower end of rank three with a vehicle at the top end of rank one. At the same time, in spite of the seemingly large variance and the resulting concern that a vehicle at the top end of rank one won’t be able to take on a vehicle at the bottom end of rank three, in practice it all turns out differently and the vehicles would have comfortably fought with each other – if not for the limitation rule on ranks.

*Note: Additional information can be found here

Matchmaking strategies for different game modes

Matchmaking strategies for different game modes
Game modes Ground battles Aviation battles
Arcade mode
Realistic mode
Simulation mode
Matchmaking by average BR
Matchmaking by top vehicle BR
Matchmaking by selected vehicle BR

There are three different methods how the players BR is calculated when he enters the queue. Which method is used depends on the selected game mode and is shown in the table above.

Top vehicle BR method

The top vehicle BR method is used for realistic and arcade ground force battles. Here the BR is set to the top-rated vehicle among those that will be available to player during this battle.

  • In Tanks Arcade mode, the algorithm calculates only top-rated ground vehicle's BR of the current set.
  • In Tanks Realistic mode, the algorithm bases its calculations of BR on the top-rated ground vehicle or aircraft. The choice between aircraft or ground vehicle depends on which BR is higher.
Example for the top vehicle BR method

Let's suppose that a player's hangar has T-34-85 (BR 5.7), IS-3 (BR 7.0) and BT-5 (BR 1.0) and the player wants to participate in a Tank Realistic battle. Our player just hits "To Battle!" and that's enough. For Tank Realistic battles, sessions are balanced on "Top vehicle BR" strategy, which leads us to conclude that matchmaking will be made by BR 7.0 of the IS-3 as it is the top-rated vehicle available in the upcoming session.

Selected vehicle BR method

The selected vehicle method is used for realistic and simulator air force battles as well as Tank simulator battles.

  • In Air Realistic and Air Simulation modes, the only vehicle taken into account is the one selected by the player prior to the match start. Other vehicles won't be available in that session.
  • In Tanks Simulation, the algorithm is based on the ground vehicle selected for your upcoming session, and the other vehicles in your lineup will not be taken into account because they can not be used in your session.
Example for the selected vehicle BR method

Let's suppose that a player's hangar contains Bf.109E-1 (BR 1.7), Bf.109K-4 (BR 6.0), Fw.190D-13 (BR 6.0), and the player wants to participate in an Air Simulation battle. To be able to start searching for a session, the player has to choose one of the aircraft from the list above. Assuming that player has chosen the Bf.109E-1, matchmaking will set the BR 1.7 as the player's top vehicle BR, as it is BR of the Bf.109E-1.

Average vehicle BR method

The average BR method is used in air arcade battles. Here the BR calculation is based on the BR of the three highest rated planes in the selected lineup. Damaged or temporarily locked aircraft go out of the equation because they can't be used in battle. Usually the BR is equal to the top vehicles BR. However there is an exception which reduces the BR of the selected lineup by one BR step (e.g. 2.0 ->1.7). To reduce the BR of a lineup, the plane with the second highest BR needs to be at least one BR-step lower and all other planes need to be at least two BR-steps lower than the highest rated plane. Furthermore the second and third highest rated planes need to be within a range of 2.0 BR from the highest rated plane to use this mechanic.

Examples for the Average vehicle BR method

Examples of the Average BR method from the Battle rating page for Arcade battles:

Legend for the table below
Aircraft example BR Effect on lineup
F-86f-25.png Aircraft with Highest BR
MiG-9 mini.png Top aircraft's BR  –  0.3
Spitfire f24.png Top aircraft's BR  –  0.6 to 2.0
I-153 mini.png Top aircraft's BR  –  >2.0
Aircraft 1 Aircraft 2 Aircraft 3 BR Result
F-86f-25.png F-86f-25.png F-86f-25.png F-86f-25.png
F-86f-25.png F-86f-25.png MiG-9 mini.png F-86f-25.png
F-86f-25.png MiG-9 mini.png MiG-9 mini.png F-86f-25.png
F-86f-25.png F-86f-25.png Spitfire f24.png F-86f-25.png
F-86f-25.png MiG-9 mini.png Spitfire f24.png MiG-9 mini.png
F-86f-25.png Spitfire f24.png Spitfire f24.png MiG-9 mini.png
F-86f-25.png Spitfire f24.png I-153 mini.png MiG-9 mini.png


The underlying equation to calculate a player's average BR is


A, B and C here stand for the top-3 aircraft' BR of current set. A is top aircraft's BR value, B and C are second and third BR values in top-3.

If BR difference between B and A is more than 0.6 BR, then B value is set to A−0.6. If one of AB or AC is more than 2.0 BR, corresponding value is replaced with A value. If there will be less that 3 aircraft available in the battle, missing values are taken as A−0.6

The resulting BR is rounded to the nearest of X.0, X.3, X.7. In edge cases values are rounding up.

Example: value X.15 will be rounded to X.3, X.35 - to X.3, X.5 - to X.7

Other (custom) matchmaking types in battles

Going further, there used to be other custom matchmaking types apart from matchmaking by BR and vehicle ranks:

  • Sessions with restricted vehicle set
  • Rating battles
  • Squadron battles

Sessions with restricted vehicle set

Bf.109E-1 selected for Air Simulation Battle

As an example for this type of battle, let's have a look at the missions from "Events and Tournaments". Matchmaking for this mode is made only from the vehicles that were specially selected for every mission. This type of Matchmaking allows developers to carefully reconstruct historical events from different battlegrounds, while paying attention to power balance. This also aims for the creation alternative history missions and holding events with a number of possible finals.

Sessions are made from all vehicles allowed, without looking at BR or vehicle ranks. Teams can have different numbers of players, and that is also controlled in the mission settings. The exact matchmaking settings for every mission can be obtained from the mission descriptions shown in the in-game client for each mission in the "Events and Tournaments" list.

All missions in this mode have different difficulty levels and can have a mix of ground and air vehicles.

Rating Battles

Matchmaking is able to create sessions depending on a player's personal skills level, and that's an important feature of the game. This type of matchmaking fits to 'duel' and 'sparring' forms of battle tournaments and challenges, where personal expertise plays a key role in success. Creating a session based on player personal rankings allows to equalize forces of teams, squadrons, and particular players, and makes sessions more fair and attractive.

Rating battles of all types do not have mutual effect, meaning that player rating gained in one mode will not affect other rating battle modes. Player rating can also be reset after a corresponding tournament or event ending.

Squadron Battles

Squadron battles are a subset of rating battles. The key difference here is that matchmaking is made by teammate average scores, taken as the arithmetical mean of all teammate ratings. To participate in this type of battle, one needs to be a part of squadron (clan). These battles are only 8×8 in all game modes.

A player's personal rating is calculated from his personal battle results for clan events, and 'only' clan events. The initial player rating is 0. In case of victory, the player's rating is recalculated as if it was 1500, and in case of failure, the player rating changes from that current rating value so that it can be lower than 1500.