Game modes

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Arcade Battles

In arcade mode, the game draws two teams of players (up to 32 people) with planes of different nations with similar battle ratings]. It is possible to see aircraft of the same type on opposing teams. Damage models, flight models, and physics are greatly simplified (e.g. in very high-speed dives, planes do not have their wings ripped off and are still controllable), but retain some realism (e.g. bombers are not as maneuverable as fighters), and ammunition reloads after a certain period of time without players returning to an airfield. Multiple views are available; third person view, cockpit view, gunner view (if the aircraft has a gunner) and virtual cockpit view (if the aircraft does not have a cockpit model the virtual cockpit will be used). Arcade mode games are played in either "Ground Strike" mode - where in order to win you must destroy all enemy ground units, shoot down all enemy aircraft or destroy the enemy bombing points and airfield- or "Domination" mode, which consists of seizing enemy airfields by landing your aircraft on them, causing the opposing team to slowly lose 'tickets'; the team whose tickets reach zero first or lose all of their aircraft loses. Also, to help simplify aiming, a 'leading marker' appears when an enemy plane is in range. This shows where the enemy plane will be by the time your shots reach it if the plane continues its current trajectory.

Air Assault:
In Air assault mode the same rules as in arcade apply to flight and damage models and in-flight rearming. What is different is that this mode is for either random or premade team of 8 and requires at least some teamwork. There is also an unlimited number of respawns at 50% AB Silver Lion cost. The main objective is to defend your team's base from growing waves(15 presently) of enemy AI-controlled bombers, fighters, and howitzers. The bomber’s gunners are active but most of the fighters and howitzers do not pose a direct threat to the player.

Ground Forces:
In Arcade Ground Forces - tank handling is simplified (Tanks move faster, and turn faster than they would do in reality), spotted enemy vehicles are displayed on the minimap and have visible nametags on them when aimed at. There is also an "Aim assistant" - crosshair indicating where should your shot land if fired under current elevation, together with an indication of whether your shell should be able to penetrate the target, or not.
Teams are composed with no regard to nationality, the only factor is the vehicle's BattleRating. Lastly, when your vehicle is knocked out, you can respawn with a different vehicle(from your lineup), up to 3 spawns total (+ 1 reserve tank).

Realistic Battles

Realistic mode (alias RB) is designed for more experienced players. More realistic damage models, flight models, and physics makes gameplay less forgiving, and aircraft fly much more similar to their historical counterparts, with their strengths and weaknesses more apparent than in arcade mode. Also, once all ammunition and ordnance are expended players will have to return to their airfield to reload, and there is no 'leading marker' to assist with aiming. In this mode, unlike the arcade game, teams feature aircraft from specific nations, making gameplay more accurately reflect historical encounters such as the Battle of Stalingrad, fought between the USSR and Germany, or the Battle of Midway, fought between the Japanese Empire and the US. These historical scenarios will all have different objectives similar to the battles they represent, such as destroying a German tank advance at Kursk or repelling a Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor.

Ground Forces:
In Ground Forces, characteristics of the realistic mode are similar to that of the Aviation Realistic mode - Tank behauvior is more realistic. Tanks feel overall much more "heavy" - they accelerate slower, lose much more speed in turns, do not slide so much and handle much more "jerky" as real tanks do. Traversing the turret, and aiming the gun at the target also takes much more time, some crew skills become very obvious (inexperienced gunner first rotates the turret, and only then slowly adjusts the gun elevation, experienced gunner can do both tasks at the same time). Then, when your tank is hit, and needs a field repair, doing it takes much longer than it does in Arcade battles (often up to 2 minutes).
Battles themselves change as well - only certain maps are played, and they are usually larger than the original. Teams are additionally sorted by nations, e.g. USSR vs Germany in Berlin map (although occasionally mixed nation battles, like USA+Germany vs USSR, are still possible).

Last important differences are visual - there is no coloured crosshair to tell you where will your shot go, after being fired, or whether it can penetrate your target. Enemy vehicles are also not displayed on the minimap, and have no name tags on them - instead, only a red coloured circle is briefly displayed on the minimap, when nearby ally spots a vehicle, approximately showing you the position of "some unknown enemy".

Simulator Battles

SB mode is based on the most realistic simulation settings; only the first-person view in the cockpit or gunner views are available, and flight physics are at their most realistic settings, reflecting the real-world attributes of aircraft to a fairly accurate level. The gameplay of simulator mode is similar to that of realistic battles - two teams of different nations are fighting each other for dominance in the sky and on the ground to achieve their objectives, but the realism of the game at this level is even higher. Simulator settings also require players to play with a joystick, gamepad or 'mousejoy' as opposed to mouse-aim available in other modes, lead indicators are not present and players must return to airfields to rearm and repair their aircraft.

Enduring Confrontation

Enduring Confrontation (also known as “EC”) is a separate game mode for aircraft in War Thunder. Unlike in traditional random battles, this mode allows you to join a battle at any time. You also have unlimited respawns, subject to certain rules. In EC, the emphasis is on the players’ ability to influence the situation on the battlefield.

Battles in EC occur as Events, so you can find this mode in the “Events and Tournaments” section underneath the “To Battle” button. EC is the primary game mode for aircraft in Simulator Battles, and a simplified version of it in Arcade Battles is the only separate game mode for helicopters. To join a battle in Enduring Confrontation, you can either wait in the general queue as you would in random battles, or call up a list of active rooms (ongoing battles) sorted by country and rank and, if there are available spots on a team, join your preferred side in that room. You can call up a list of rooms by pressing the button of the same name.


Historic missions

Events mode is often available in realistic and simulator battle settings, allowing players to partake in battles recreated as accurately as possible using historical sets of aircraft, rather than using the regular matchmaking system of battle ratings. This allows for a more challenging experience for players wishing to play less advanced nations, whilst still providing balanced gameplay through different numbers of players on each team - the more technologically advanced team will often have several less aircraft than the disadvantaged team, whilst the opposition will retain numerical superiority. Occasionally, special community events will be held with arcade mode settings.


  • Flight of the swallows
German team has sole access to the Me 262 Schwalbe jet fighter and must bring down a bomber formation of B-17G Flying Fortresses. All while they are under attack by their escorts, the legendary P-51D Mustang. "In 1944, on the threshold of the battle of the Bulge, the US was concerned about the increasing numbers of jet-propelled aircraft in German hands. In order to put an end to this threat, an armada of B-17’s were tasked with bombing the airfields that the “swallows” were based at."
  • Operation Uranus
German forces are trying to break through the encircled city of Stalingrad.
  • Operation "Chastise"
Night time escort mission. Lancaster formation must break through German air defense on their way to an industrial night raid. RAF equivalent to 'Guardian Angels' event. "On the 5th of March, 1943, the Battle of Ruhr was begun; a campaign of strategic bombing that took place during the Second World War. This campaign was planned as an assault on the German industrial area of Ruhr, and both British and American forces took part."
  • Guardian Angels
USAAF equivalent to 'Guardian Angels' event, but in the daytime and B-17s"Schweinfurt was the location of most of the ball-bearing production in Germany at the onset of World War II, it was eventually devastated following a series of Allied strategic bombing raids. It was hoped that the destruction of the factories located in the city would cripple the production of new tanks and aircraft."

Squadron battles

For Arcade and matched by Eras, this mode lets teams of 8 players per side duel each other for air supremacy. Matchmaker will only put squadron members of the same clan into the teams, so have 8 fellow pilots ready! Maximum opponent dispersion is one era e.g. era III vs era IV is possible, but not era II vs era IV.

For Realistic a different setup is in use known as Tactical Battles with fixed line-ups and a team count of 7v7. Unlike common tank RB matches, all markers are enabled.

Due low attendance this event is limited to the following times:

  • 17:00 -> 23:00 (West coast US time)
  • 20:00 -> 02:00 (East coast & Peru & Columbia & Ecuador & Cuba & Jamaica time)
  • 22:00 -> 04:00 (East Brazilian & Argentinian & Greenland time)
  • 01:00 -> 07:00 GMT (British, Irish & Portuguese time)
  • 02:00 -> 08:00 (Central European time)
  • 03:00 -> 09:00 (East European & Near East & South Africa time)
  • 09:00 -> 15:00 (Manila & Perth time)

Often enough, no available opposition caused teams of players to wait almost indefinitely, or the matchmaker to go haywire and put jet versus piston aircraft. Official forum announcement detailing these changes.
A Question and answer session script can be found on the War Thunder forum: Q&A session about Squadron Battles


Players use the plane at his disposal to fly through a marked course to get to the finish line first. The matchmaker only takes eras into account. Rockets, bombs and guns are disabled.

In the "Formula War Thunder" time is of the essence. Players are sorted via the ELO system and the best racers win in-game prizes.


All era I boat- and hydro-planes of War Thunder gather in this mode to try and conquer capture zones on the water.

Rapid fire!

Lightly armoured anti-air vehicles duels each other here without the interference of their bigger brothers. For balancing reasons Era V & the Kugelblitz are not participating.


Exclusive for the Victory Day a special mission was available for play in War Thunder's event browser. "Victory Hour" was a scripted Berlin map wherein a four men tank platoon (the players) were on to repel a German counterattack and then press forwards to capture the Reichstag. In style it was similar to the singleplayer missions available for aviation, albeit earning more Silver Lions and Research Points and having the earlier in "March to Victory!" introduced spawn point system for special vehicles (here: IS-2 mod.44).

War in Mid Air

In this event, teams are split between attackers and defenders. The task of the attacking ‘aircraft’ team is to destroy the armoured vehicles that are positioned inside the city and subsequently the anti-air units as well.
The task of the defending anti-aircraft vehicles is to stop the attack from happening and hold the city. Tickets for the attacking team will reduce up to the point when all the city ground vehicles have been destroyed. If the aviation team succeeds in its task, the ticket bleed stops and the task will switch to destroying the remaining anti-air vehicles.

'100' Team Deathmatch

The '100' event features in both Air and Ground Force battles and is currently exclusive to Arcade mode. In Air Battles, the event is played on the Khalkhin Gol map, in Ground Battles the Poland map is used. Teams battle it out to be the first team to reach 100 destroyed enemies vehicles and win. The event has unlimited respawns.

April Fools (1st April) Events

Every year on the 1st April, War Thunder has held special one time only events. From Giant Japanese Snails and Flying Ponies to Russian Mechs and Inflatable tanks, players could be faced with absolutely anything on this day!

Past Events:

Wiki April Fools:

World War Mode

A game mode involving battles on a global map. Conflict will occur in the format of "operations", which include dozens of individual battles. The game mode differs significantly for the commander, officers and ordinary members of a squadron. Commanders and officers are able to choose which operations their squadrons will participate in, move forces in real time on the operational map and initiate battles.

In the World War game, RB game mode will be used with the marker mechanics of the AB.


Single Missions

Each mission unlocked by fulfilling criteria similar to achievements. Short missions usually with a gameplay twist and a short narrative.

Dynamic Campaign

Via selecting settings a historic campaign can be played were vehicles and missions are given by the game. After each sortie, the available missions change and the previous mission's impacts the military campaign on the strategic map.

Historical Campaign

Available only after purchasing in the store. Currently, the Pacific Campaign for the US or Japan is playable.

User Missions

Community created sorties. Visit live.warthunder.

Mission Editor

Available in the lower left corner of the test flight window once the vehicle in question is bought. Allows for creating missions with set parameters and style like Dynamic Campaign.

Test drive/flight

For testing various configurations of the vehicle.


This category has only the following subcategory.

Pages in category "Game modes"

The following 2 pages are in this category, out of 2 total.