War Thunder's best year: 2023 in review - Part 7 (November-December)

Part 1 - Introduction-March
Part 2 - April-May
Part 3 - June
Part 4 - July-August
Part 5 - September
Part 6 - October
Part 7 - November-December (current)
Part 8 - Hopes for 2024-Conclusion

Table of contents

  • Introduction
  • Table of contents
  • Pages of History (January)
  • Swedish Armed Forces Day
  • Lunar New Year
  • Battle Pass Season 10 “Royal Guard”
  • Australia Day
  • Pages of History (February)
  • Victory in Stalingrad Day
  • Answers from the developers
  • World War Mode news
  • Update for the War Thunder CDK
  • VR Flights in the PlayStation VR2
  • Japanese National Foundation Day
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Tigor Tshirt/New merch
  • First Flight of the BO 105
  • South African Armed Forces Day
  • Defender Tournament Series
  • Pages of History (March)
  • Finnish Air Force Day
  • Update 2.25 “Sky Guardians”
  • International Women’s Day
  • Fair Play: March 2023
  • Tank Football
  • CV 90105 (XC-8) Wiki Decal
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Guest Accounts
  • First Flight of the La-5
  • Lucky Piñata
  • Moments of Valour: The Turkish Armed Forces
  • 100th Anniversary of the Italian Air Force
  • Royal Air Force Day
  • Pages of History (April)
  • Mobile Infantry
  • “Edge of Shell” Pack
  • Bosses of the Gym
  • Atomic Thunder: Soviet Battle Robots Tree
  • Repair Factory
  • Exowarrior Twitch Drops
  • Day of Aviation and Cosmonautics
  • Vasily Matsievich’s birthday
  • Zimbabwean Independence Day
  • Battle Pass Season 11 “Her Majesty’s Hussar”
  • Italian Liberation Day
  • Israeli Independence Day
  • Air Superiority Tournament
  • Ingame May sale
  • Golden Week
  • Pages of History (May)
  • Polish Constitution Day
  • Legend of Victory: BM-31-12 “Andryusha”
  • Victory Day
  • May sale in the Gaijin Store
  • War Thunder Mobile
  • US Armed Forces Day
  • French National Sailor Day
  • The Review Bombing Saga Part I: The Fellowship of the Forums
  • Anniversary of the Israeli Defense Forces
  • Swedish Home Guard Day
  • Answers from the developers
  • The Review Bombing Saga Part II: The Two Responses
  • Pages of History (June)
  • Turkish Air Forces Day
  • Canadian Armed Forces Day
  • D-Day
  • 500th Anniversary of Swedish Independence
  • Rare D-Day vehicles returning for GE
  • Italian Navy Day
  • The Review Bombing Saga Part III: The Return of the Economy
  • Update 2.27 “La Royale”
  • German Navy Day
  • First Flight of the MiG-21
  • Following the Roadmap: Updated Economy
  • Rankings Challenge: 2023 Grand Finals and Twitch Drops
  • British Armed Forces Day
  • Following the Roadmap: maps for aircraft, flares and repair
  • Summer Sale in the Gaijin Store
  • Swedish Air Force Day
  • JSDF Day
  • Canada Day
  • Top teams for Grand Final Season I tournament
  • French Air Force Day
  • US Independence Day
  • 80th Anniversary of Operation Husky
  • Atomic Thunder
  • First Flight of the A-4E
  • Bastille Day
  • Atomic Heart Snail Decals
  • First flight of the Hawker Hunter
  • First flight of the T-2
  • Battle Pass Season 12 “Armour Breaking Ambusher”
  • Following the Roadmap: Compensation of Battle Expenses, Free Backups and More!
  • Following the Roadmap: Battle Pass available in Simulator Battles
  • Russian Navy Day
  • In Detail: Air event markers in Ground Arcade Battles
  • Bots in War Thunder: what they are and how we plan to get rid of them
  • Pages of History (August)
  • PLA Day
  • First flight of the BAC Lightning
  • Summer Extreme
  • Following the Roadmap: refining landscape
  • End of the French Navy CBT
  • Soviet Air Fleet Day
  • Polish Armed Forces Day
  • Following the Roadmap: research helicopters with ground vehicles, marking spawn campers and more
  • US National Airborne Day
  • A Sound of Thunder: the release of War Thunder Mobile
  • MiG-15 enters service
  • 80th Anniversary of the Battle of Kursk
  • Following the Roadmap: grouping vehicles, rank changes, and improvements to premium vehicles
  • Following the Roadmap: Reducing Research/Purchase Cost of Aircraft, map changes & more
  • Pages of History (September)
  • 78th Anniversary of the end of World War II
  • Soviet Tanker’s Day
  • First Flight of the P-38
  • 83rd Anniversary of the Battle of Britain
  • 76th birthday of the U.S. Air Force
  • Update 2.29 “Sons of Attila”
  • Following the Roadmap: Sons of Attila Roadmap implementations and some Postponements
  • First Flight of the Mi-24
  • First Flight of the Yak-38
  • Tokushu Heiki
  • National Day of the People’s Republic of China
  • Pages of History (October)
  • Moments of Valor: China
  • German Unity Day
  • 80th Anniversary of the Battle of the Caucasus
  • 248th birthday of the US Navy
  • First flight of the S.O.4050 Vautour II
  • Following the Roadmap: We’d like to hear your feedback on our proposed Aircraft Destruction Mechanics & Night Battles design
  • Trafalgar Day
  • First flight of the UH-1 Iroquois
  • Twitch drops for War Thunder’s 11th anniversary
  • Battle Pass Season 13 “Tropical Storm”
  • First flight of the J 35 Draken
  • 100th anniversary of the Republic of Türkiye
  • Halloween
  • Update 2.31 “Kings of Battle”
  • Pages of History (November)
  • 11th birthday of War Thunder
  • Dreams Come True: TOG II
  • Following the Roadmap: Skill Bonuses in RP & Selectable Night Battles!
  • Battle of the Atlantic
  • Italian National Unity and Armed Forces Day
  • 11th anniversary sale in the Gaijin Store
  • Polish National Independence Day
  • 74th birthday of the Chinese Air Force
  • 68th birthday of the Bundeswehr
  • Fair Play: November 2023
  • November research changes
  • Black Friday
  • Results of the Anniversary Tournaments dedicated to 11 Years of War Thunder, plus the “Esport II” Trophy!
  • Su-25K Wiki decal
  • St. Andrew’s Day
  • Pages of History (December): The Heroic Nurse
  • Winter Extreme
  • Following the Roadmap: WT Mobile Login Streak & Keeping you updated with our plans
  • Update 2.33 “Air Superiority”
  • Christmas and New Years
  • Ingame winter sale
  • Collecting ideas for the 2024 roadmap
  • Fair Play: December 2023
  • Gaijin says they “don’t believe” the M1 Abrams had upgraded armor
  • Gaijin says they don’t believe that MANPADS missiles can pull as hard as official documents say they can
  • Winter sale in the Gaijin Store
  • First flight of the MiG-15
Other stuff that happened in 2023
  • Secret document leaks


Pages of History (November)

This profile picture has nearly everything to make it a great profile picture, and it is. It’s really good. However, something about the way John Campbell is smiling looks wrong. I don’t quite know how to put it into words, but it looks off. It looks somewhat uncanny, and that prevents me from liking this profile picture as much as I want to.

“John Campbell” profile picture

11th birthday of War Thunder

November 1st, 2023 was War Thunder’s 11th birthday. Before I talk about anything else, I want to mention just how crazy it is that this game has been around for 11 years and is still getting bigger and bigger.

Anyway, for the game’s 11th birthday, there were a bunch of things. There was an 11th anniversary decal, ingame sales, Gaijin store sales (those happened later and will get their own section), the return of the Maus, and a continuation of the Dreams Come True event series with the long awaited TOG II*! Let’s look at these one at a time.

First of all, there’s the 11th anniversary decal. It’s fine. It looks good on a technical level, but I am not that much of a fan of its design. That’s it, moving on.

“War Thunder 11 Years” decal

Next, there were the ingame sales. 50% of all modifications, talismans, and backups, 50% off premium account for 90 and 365 days ingame and for 180 days in the store, and 50% off the SL and GE cost of all vehicles, excluding those added in Sons of Attila and Kings of Battle. These sales are always great. However, more than any vehicle or talisman, always get the 365 days of premium account. When it is 50% off, it is $40 USD for a full year. Premium accounts gives you better SL, better RP, and with the roadmap changes, it is now impossible to lose SL with a premium account unless you teamkill. Premium account for a full year for $40 USD is the single best deal in War Thunder without a shadow of a doubt. Get it before you get anything else in a sale.

Thirdly, there was the return of the Maus. The Maus is the heaviest tank in the game, weighing in at 188 tonnes (207 tons). It was hidden from the research tree in 2019 in update 1.91 “Night Vision” along with the Panther II, Tiger II (H) (10,5cm), and Flakpanzer 341. Since then, it has been available every year for War Thunder’s birthday. When it is available for the game’s birthday, you research the vehicle like a normal one, except for the fact that it appears in the premium section of the tree along with other event vehicles, and as long as you get even 1 RP into researching it before the event ends, you can keep researching it for as long as you want until you get it. The Maus is a very fun vehicle and it’s great to see back. I strongly disagree with it ever being hidden from the tree because while the other 3 vehicles that were hidden were hidden due to being fake, the Maus was hidden due to being too hard to balance, which I see as a ridiculous reason because by that logic, so many other vehicles should also be hidden. Regardless, it’s nice to see it back.


Finally, there was this year’s Dreams Come True event for the legendary TOG II. However, I’ll talk about this event in the next section which is devoted to it.

There were also some tournaments, but I don’t care about tournaments so you’re not going to hear about them until later in the month when twitch drops get involved.

This was a great anniversary. I do somewhat wish they brought back the 10 rare vehicles thing from last year, but I understand that that was a special 10th anniversary thing and I don’t have a huge problem with it not being back. This was still amazing. The sales are always great, the Maus is back, and the TOG II is easily the best part of all of it!

Dreams Come True: TOG II


I did not think the Dreams Come True events would be a series. I thought that was going to be a one time thing for the Sturmtiger for the 10th anniversary. But lo and behold, here it is again, this time with the TOG II! The TOG II has been one of my most anticipated vehicles for a very long time. I legitimately thought it would never get added. However, here we are. This was the perfect event to add the TOG II in. But before I get carried away with my beloved TOG, let’s take a look at the event itself.

This event followed the same format as the summer and winter marathon events, but instead of 40K score per start, it was 35K score per star and there were only 6 stars instead of 7 like last year’s Dreams Come True event or 10 like the summer and winter marathon events. The stars could only be done in ground battles. I think this is a good format, but for an event with just 3 decals, 2 decorations, and a rank 3 meme premium, I think 35K is too much. I would have preferred 20-25K. The rewards were really good.

Rewards for stars:

  1. “T.O.G. No. 2” decal
  2. One of the decals
  3. One of the decorations
  4. One of the decals
  5. One of the decorations
  6. TOG II

All of the prizes were really nice. The decals and decorations looked great and then there was the TOG II itself. The TOG II is a rank 3 premium heavy tank for Great Britain. The TOG II sits at 5.3 and is very fun. It’s the size of a house, but it’s such an enjoyable meme vehicle, especially with the 94 mm gun on it—the same gun on the QF 3.7 Ram—that penetrates pretty much anything. I’ve found that the best way to play this vehicle is to drive it backwards because it can go just as fast forwards as in reverse and due to all the crew being clustered in the front, driving it backwards makes you much more survivable because the engine eats all the shots.

“T.O.G. No. 2” decal

“British Propaganda Poster” decal

“Emblem of the Royal Tank Corps” decal

“Death Valley sign” decoration

“Colt–Browning M1895” decoration

The TOG II also has a very interesting modification. The TOG II that was built was not its intended final form. The intended final form as a secondary gun in the hull that fires smoke shells and 2 machine gun sponsons, one on each side. This intended configuration can be installed as a modification in the modification screen for the TOG II. I know I’ve gone on at great length about how I dislike vehicles that are not in their real configuration, but for a vehicle like the TOG II, I think it’s actually good that this is an optional modification. This is not something I believe is generally good, I just think it is good in the TOG II’s case. However, I do not recommend you use this modification because the smoke shells aren’t that useful and the machine gun sponsons create 2 giant weak spots on each side that are very easy to penetrate. Regardless, this is an amazing addition, a very fun tank, and a perfect choice for this event!


Following the Roadmap: Skill Bonuses in RP & Selectable Night Battles!

This edition of Following the Roadmap is about the selectable night battles and RP skill bonuses that were added in Kings of Battle and the selectable night battles which were added a few days later due to what I presume to be a few technical issues. I’ve already explained how the selectable night battles work back in the Following the Roadmap section in September, so you can refer to that for an explanation, but I haven’t explained the skill bonuses yet. The skill bonuses work in 3 levels which are achieved based on how many enemies you kill in a match and give you bonus RP based on that. The requirements for achieving each level are:

  • Air battles:
    • Level 1:
      • Arcade: 3-5 kills, +15% RP
      • Realistic: 2 kills, +35% RP
      • Simulator: N/A
    • Level 2:
      • Arcade: 6-9 kills, +40% RP
      • Realistic: 3 kills, +75% RP
      • Simulator: N/A
    • Level 3:
      • Arcade: 10+ kills, +100% RP
      • Realistic: 4+ kills, +100% RP
      • N/A
  • Ground battles:
    • Level 1:
      • Arcade: 3-5 kills, +15% RP
      • Realistic: 3-5 kills, +15% RP
      • Simulator: 3-4 kills, +20% RP
    • Level 2:
      • Arcade: 6-8 kills, +50% RP
      • Realistic: 6-8 kills, +50% RP
      • Simulator: 5-7 kills, +50^ RP
    • Level 3:
      • Arcade: 9+ kills, +100% RP
      • Realistic: 9+ kills, +100% RP
      • Simulator: 8+ kills, +100% RP
  • Naval battles:
    • Level 1:
      • Arcade: 6500-9999 damage, +20% RP
      • Realistic: 6500-9999 damage, +20% RP
      • Simulator: N/A
    • Level 2:
      • Arcade: 10000-14999 damage, +45% RP
      • Realistic: 10000-14999 damage, +45% RP
      • Simulator: N/A
    • Level 3:
      • Arcade: 15000+ damage, +100% RP
      • Realistic: 15000+ damage, +100% RP
      • Simulator: N/A

Level 1

Level 2

Level 3

I think this skill bonus is great and I think the reward numbers are pretty good. This is what I’d hoped for from this mechanic. This post did also announce though that the research bonuses for new nations were being postponed. I took this to mean that they were functionally canceled, but thankfully, it was later confirmed in another Following the Roadmap article that I’ll talk about in the December section that it is just postponed to spring of 2024. It also announced that the severe damage mechanic was postponed, but only due to the technical complexity and that it will be implemented between update Air Superiority and whatever the first major update of 2024 is.

Battle of the Atlantic

This was an event that ran alongside the Dreams Come True: TOG II event. The event was the German U 995 submarine vs the American USS Fletcher destroyer, USS Tacoma frigate, and PBY-5A Catalina flying boat in a special gamemode. It worked similarly to the TOG II event, but there were 5 stars instead of 6 and to get each star, you had to get 1500 score with German vessels in the gamemode and 1500 score with the American vehicles in the gamemode every 2 days.

Rewards for stars:

  1. One of the decals
  2. “Carley float” decoration
  3. One of the decals
  4. “Emergency buoy” decoration
  5. “Laughing Swordfish” decal, “Submarine Captain” profile picture, and “Battle of the Atlantic” loading screen.

“Rat” decal

“The Bull of Scapa Flow” decal

“Laughing Swordfish” decal

“Carley float” naval decoration

“Emergency buoy” naval decoration

“Submarine Captain” profile picture

“Battle of the Atlantic” loading screen

All the rewards were really cool, there was just one problem: submarines are boring! Every previous time we’ve had them they’ve been very boring to play and while this time it was certainly much less boring because it was WWII submarines, it was still very boring.

Italian National Unity and Armed Forces Day

For Italian National Unity and Armed Forces Day, Gaijin gave out the “Bersaglieri cockade” decal and brought back the P40 “G.C. Leoncello” for a limited time. The P40 “G.C. Leoncello” is fine. I’m not a huge fan of the P40, but it’s not a terrible tank. It has a decent gun, fine armor, and okay mobility. I’d say it’s not worth it just because it’s a P40 with a different skin and that’s it.

P40 “G.C. Leoncello”

The “Bersaglieri cockade” decal I find to be really pretty and really ugly at the same time. On a technical level it’s very well designed, the colors go nicely together, and it’s very detailed, but I also think the design looks weird and I don’t like it. The biggest issue for me is I find the giant 5 in the center to be way too prominent. It makes the decal look ugly in my view.

“Bersaglieri cockade” decal

11th anniversary sale in the Gaijin Store

The sale in the Gaijin store was good compared to previous years. Nearly all of the major packs were on sale. The issue is that not all of the rank 7 packs were on sale. The A-6E (TRAM), F-4S, and F-5C for the USA, the MiG-21bis (Lazur) for Germany, the MiG-23ML for the USSR, and the Kfir Gderot for Israel were all not on sale. Gaijin said it’s because they want each sale to show variety, but the real reason is because the USA, Germany, and USSR sell incredibly well, especially the F-5C because it’s crazy, and the Kfir Gderot wasn’t on sale because, along with the F-5C, it’s one of the most crazy premiums in the game. I really dislike this. I think it’s a bad practice and I heavily disagree with it. One nice thing this sale though was that certain participating packs gave you 30 days of premium account on War Thunder Mobile as a bonus, which is quite cool.

The other issue with this sale is that they were removing packs from the store. They do this every sale, but I disagree with it as a practice and I think it’s bad. The packs removed from sale this time were:

  • M728 CEV
  • USS Des Moines (CA-148)
  • Rooivalk Mk. 1
  • Aigle
  • Duguay-Trouin

I disagree with all of these being removed, but I have a big issue with the Rooivalk, Aigle, and Duguay-Trouin being removed from sale. The Aigle and Duguay-Trouin being removed from sale means that after the rank 1 Panthere, France now has no premium ships until the rank 4 Dupleix which is bad, and it’s only other premium, the rank 6 Courbet, which wasn’t even in the game at the time of this sale, is also bad. And then there’s the Rooivalk Mk. 1. The Rooivalk is the single most busted helicopter in the entire game. Move over Ka-50 and Z19E, the Rooivalk is way crazier. It can carry 16 ZT6 Mokopa ATGMs + 4 Mistrals at the same time, it’s very fast, has great thermals, and is all around an absolutely ridiculous vehicle. I heavily disagree with it being removed, it should have stayed on sale and gone up in BR.

This was an overall good sale by previous years’ standards, but given the packs we have now, I find this to be rather disappointing due to what it could have been.

Polish National Independence Day

This event has 3 pieces to it. The first piece is Łanowski’s P-47M-1-RE being back on sale again. The P-47M is an insane vehicle, but I’ve reviewed it before in this article so I’ll just say this: it’s worth your money if you don’t have Bostwick’s P-47M-1-RE because they’re the exact same plane, just with a different camouflage.

Łanowski’s P-47M-1-RE

The second piece of this event was the “Polish cockade” decal and to earn it you needed to play 3 battles in British vehicles of rank 3+ with at least 70% battle activity. It was really easy to get. I find this decal to be much less ugly than the “Bersaglieri cockade” decal, but I still don’t like it very much.

“Polish cockade” decal

The third piece of this event is really cool in theory, but it personally drove me insane. Gaijin brought back the Winged Hussars camouflage for the Mi-24V. The Winged Hussars camouflage for the Mi-24V was last available in 2018 so it’s awesome to see it back. To earn it, you just needed to have played 3 matches in the Mi-24V with at least 70% battle activity. That’s usually how these events work and it makes sense. The issue was I did not have the Mi-24V. I poured 2 days into just playing the Ka-50 in helicopter EC to grind it because I don’t play helicopters so I had nothing after the Mi-4AV. I hated playing the Ka-50 for this and when I finally realized I couldn’t get it with just grinding before the event ended, I did something I am very ashamed of and put GE into researching it. I had not used GE to research a vehicle in over 2 years before this and I really dislike using GE to research vehicles, but I wanted the camouflage so I did it. I hated getting this camouflage. However, the camouflage itself is absolutely gorgeous. It’s easily in my top 5 favorite camouflages in the game.

Note: The following image of the Mi-24V in the Winged Hussars camouflage does not fit the format of the other images because it is not a stat card image and I had to create and render it myself.

Mi-24V in “Winged Hussars” camouflage

74th birthday of the Chinese Air Force

For the 74th birthday of the Chinese Air Force, Gaijin gave out a decal and brought back the Z19E indefinitely.

The decal is nice, but I don’t like its style. It’s not bad, but it is not personally a style I like when applied in this way.

“PLA Air Forces Day” decal

The Z19E being back is what I actually want to talk about because instead of it being back for a limited time, it was brought back indefinitely as a GE premium. I think this is great. I really dislike the removal of vehicles from sale, and so the Z19E being back is fantastic. Not much more to say about it though because I’ve reviewed it before.


68th birthday of the Bundeswehr

For the 68th birthday of the Bundeswehr, Gaijin gave out another one of those standardized armed forces day decals that I dislike and brought back the Pz.Sfl. Ic and Pz. IV/70 (A).

The decal, like all the other standardized decals, I dislike. This one has the Puma in it and even among all the other standardized decals, I find this one to be especially ugly. Something about the color combination of the gray ring outside of the German flag and the Puma not being centered looks absolutely gross to me and I really dislike it

“Bundeswehr Day” decal

The vehicles are a different story though, at least in the case of one of them.

The Pz.Sfl. Ic is fantastic. It’s a small, fast light tank with a 50 mm gun that can motor around the battlefield really quickly, getting to good flanking spots to take out enemies early. Like a lot of other light tanks, the name of the game for this tank is shoot, reposition; shoot, reposition; shoot, reposition. It’s a super fun vehicle and considering how cheap it is, it’s definitely worth it.

Pz.Sfl. Ic

The Pz. IV/70 (A) is not that though. The Pz. IV/70 (A) is bad. It has a great gun for its BR, but the big issue with it is that it has a giant flat plate of armor in the front that the Pz. IV/70 (V) does not have, so everyone just shoots at that one plane and you instantly die in it. Stay away from this vehicle, it’s not worth your money.

Pz. IV/70 (A)

Fair Play: November 2023

This was another standard edition of Fair Play. There’s nothing unique about it, it’s just good to see Gaijin banning players that break TOS and cheat.

November progression changes

November saw a few progression changes, all of which were really good.

The first was that end of the line vehicles no longer have doubled modification costs. This is absolutely fantastic! I’ve been asking for this for years. Vehicles at the end of their respective lines having doubled modification costs I always saw as ridiculous and it meant I never spaded end-of-the-line vehicles, save some specific ones. This finally being removed is absolutely fantastic! Now I have a reason to spade end-of-the-line vehicles in the course of spading things, and that’s great because there are a lot of end-of-the-line vehicles that I have been putting off either spading or playing at all because of this. Out of the 3 progression changes that happened in November, this is far and out the best.

The second change is that, just like how premium and event vehicles now get backups when you get them, so will squadron vehicles too. That’s a great change and I think it’s pretty obvious why. I’m very happy to see this because when free backups were added to premium and event vehicles, I wondered why squadron vehicles were left out. It’s great to see that they no longer are.

The third change not everyone will see as good and I am also somewhat conflicted on it. This change is the SKR-7’s research cost being increased from 180,000 squadron RP to 520,000 squadron RP. This change was to bring the SKR-7’s research cost in line with other squadron vehicles of the same rank. I’m conflicted on this change, but I do overall think it was good. I have very much against increasing the grind. I think increasing the grind is near universally bad. I say “near” because this is one of the incredibly rare times where I think it is a net positive. The reason I think it’s a net positive is because the SKR-7 is one of the most unfathomably broken vehicles in the entire game, even moreso than it’s tech tree counterpart, the SKR-1, because the SKR-7 is a squadron vehicle so you don’t have to research down the tree to get it. Due to it being so incredibly overpowered and being the bane of everything from 3.3-5.3, I think this is an overall good change.

Black Friday

This Black Friday bundle is worse than previous years’ bundles. It has 2 less vehicles in it. Instead of having the P-61A-1-NO, M18 “Black Cat”, Ka-50, and Black Prince, it just has the P-61A-1 and Black Prince. I really dislike this because it’s just a flat out worse version of what we had before for no reason. To boot, one of the 2 vehicles left is bad, and the other is just slightly above average.

The P-61A-1-NO is fine. It’s slightly above average. It has worse engines than the P-61C-1-NO, but is at a lower BR. But at its BR, it’s just fine, not amazing. It’s definitely not worth your money because at its rank there are much better premiums available.


The Black Prince meanwhile is straight up bad. Its gun is nice, but it’s too slow and its armor doesn’t hold up in uptiers. It is also not worth your money.

Black Prince

The previous Black Friday bundle was worth it because the M18 “Black Cat” is just a premium M18 meaning it’s great, and while the Ka-50’s days of being overpowered are somewhat gone, it’s still very good for grinding, especially in helicopter EC. This year they’ve removed the 2 good vehicles and left us with one average vehicle and 1 bad vehicle. This is a very bad business practice and I really dislike it.

Results of the Anniversary Tournaments dedicated to 11 Years of War Thunder, plus the “Esport II” Trophy!

This article announced the winners of the anniversary tournaments I briefly mentioned earlier and a new eSports trophy called the eSports Trophy II. I don’t care about who won the tournament so I’m just going to talk about the eSports Trophy II. This is the same as the previous eSports Trophy I except it has a bunch of new Skins. These skins include the last round of eSports Twitch drops as well as a bunch of new skins. None of the skins particularly impress me and they’re all just geometric organizations of bright colors that I find to be quite unappealing.

The only part about this entire event that I think is legitimately visually appealing is the “Hoplomachus Snail” decal that was part of the accompanying Snailonidas pack, which also contained 300 GE and the “Snailonidas” title.

Su-25K Wiki decal

It looks good. I really like the style of the Wiki decals, but I think this one in particular is exceptionally well done and I really like it. I especially like that, much like the KV-2 (ZiS-6)'s Wiki decal, this one does not have text in it which I think makes it look much better.

"Wiki approved: Su-25K” decal

St. Andrew’s Day

For St. Andrew’s Day, they brought back the Scotting flag decal. That’s it. The Scottish flag decal was only available for St. Andrew’s Day in 2016 and 2022, and now it has also been available this year. It’s nice to see it back, nothing more to say.

“Scottish Saltire” decal


Oh my God! Only one more month to write and then I’m finally free! Oh wait, I still have other stuff for the year, hopes for 2024, and a conclusion to write. Crap. The best part about that is that as of writing this sentence, I have exactly 1 day to finish writing this entire project.

Pages of History (December): The Heroic Nurse

This is another profile picture that breaks up the monotonous formula of man standing in front of flag both in that it’s not a man and that it’s not in front of a flag. This is an absolutely stunning profile picture. Also, maybe this is just me, but this profile picture seems to be infinitely more detailed than all the other Pages of History profile picture rewards, and wow does it look amazing for it! I also think that the person they chose to go with and her history are both really interesting and I think it was a great choice.

“Ekaterina Mikhailova” profile picture

Winter Extreme

You thought Summer Extreme’s gambling was bad? Just wait 'til you see this.

Okay, before I get mad at this event, I should probably specify that I actually like this event. I do think it is a good event. But it is worse than Summer Extreme because they made the gambling worse, and I’ll go further into detail about that later. In all other regards, it is exactly the same as Summer Extreme. But before we delve into that, let’s look at the prizes.

Rewards for stars for pilots:

  1. Trophy with a reward
  2. Coupon for a decal
  3. Carrot for Snowman
  4. S 9C
  5. Camouflage for S 9C
  6. “Snowboarder” profile picture
  7. Trophy with a reward
  8. Coupon for the Mirage 2000 C S4(non-tradable)
  9. Camouflage for the Mirage 2000 C S4
  10. Coupon upgrade for the Mirage 2000 C S4 + 3 Carrots

Rewards for stars for tankers:

  1. Trophy with a reward
  2. Coupon for a decal
  3. Carrot for Snowman
  4. Coupon for a decal
  5. Trophy with a reward
  6. “Snow bike” decoration
  7. Trophy with a reward
  8. Coupon for the Vilkas (non-tradable)
  9. Camouflage for the Vilkas
  10. Coupon upgrade for the Vilkas + 3 Carrots

Rewards for stars for sailors:

  1. Trophy with a reward
  2. Coupon for a decal
  3. Carrot for Snowman
  4. Coupon for a decal
  5. Trophy with a reward
  6. “Snowcat” decoration
  7. Trophy with a reward
  8. Coupon for the USS Mississippi (non-tradable)
  9. Camouflage for the USS Mississippi
  10. Coupon upgrade for the USS Mississippi + 3 Carrots

The event vehicles were:

  • S 9C - Sweden - Rank II - Fighter - Event premium

    • The S 9C is a great prize for a multitude of reasons. It’s for a minor nation, it’s pretty good, it wasn’t necessary in the tree, it’s not meta-defining, it’s unique, and it does have an option for a tech tree counterpart in the future because the S 9C is just the reconnaissance version of the J 9. The J 9 is also identical to the P-35A because Sweden bought the P-35 from the US as the J 9 and then after an American arms embargo to Europe, the 120 J 9s that hadn’t been sold to Sweden were adopted into service by the US as the P-35A, so the USA can also get this plane in its tree. It’s great to see this plane ingame and it’s a fantastic event prize.
  • Mirage 2000 C S4 - Rank VIII - Fighter - Event vehicle - Coupon

    • I know I said I don’t like top tier prizes, and that is correct, I still don’t, but hear me out on this one. I know that this is identical to the Mirage 2000 C S5 in the tech tree, but with 36 fewer countermeasures, but I think this is a good prize for a couple of reasons. It’s for a minor nation, it wasn’t needed in the tree, it has a tech tree counterpart, and it’s good because it’s a Mirage 2000. It does lose points though for having nothing unique to it aside from being worse. The reason I like this vehicle though is that it means the second rank 8 event vehicle ever goes to a minor nation, France, and because it finally breaks the trend of CAS planes being all we get! The Mirage 2000 C S4 is a thoroughbred fighter. It does technically have CAS ordinance, but no more so than the Mirage 2000 C S5 in the tree and France already has the Mirage 2000 D R1 in the tree which is an infinitely better 11.3 CAS option. Finally seeing a true fighter as a top tier event vehicle again is super nice.
  • Vilkas - Rank VII - Lithuania (German tree) - Light tank - Event vehicle - Coupon

    • I’m conflicted on the Vilkas as an event vehicle. The Vilkas is a wheeled Boxer IFV hull with the unmanned Israeli Sampson Mk. 2 turret featuring the same Bushmaster 2 Mk. 44 gun present on the VBCI 2 (MCT-30) and Spike-LR2 fire-and-forget missiles. This seems like a recipe for success, especially given just how good the VBCI 2 (MCT-30) is. However, this vehicle is much lesser than the sum of its parts because it sits at 10.3 instead of 9.7 like the VBCI 2 (MCT-30), Spike missiles are very inconsistent and the Spikes are angled upwards at all times meaning you have to be a pretty good distance from the target for them to hit, making them entirely useless on most dense urban maps outside of those long roads on which the Vilkas will be killed before the missile hits. This means that this vehicle is effectively a VBCI 2 (MCT-30) at 10.3 instead of 9.7 with missiles that very occasionally work if you’re 300 meters away or farther (on flat terrain, if on a hill it can work at much closer ranges). So it’s not great. On the other hand, this vehicle was not needed in the tree because it’s not that good, it gets bonus points for being for a nation which doesn’t have its own tree ingame, in this case it’s Lithuania, and it’s quite unique. I’d overall say it’s an okay event prize because while a vehicle does not have to be good to be a good prize, this vehicle isn’t average but very interesting, it’s more just average, somewhat interesting, and mildly irritating.
  • USS Mississippi - Rank VI - USA - Battleship - Event vehicle - Coupon

    • It’s a big, dumb boat with a lot of guns for America. That’s it. It’s a big boat with 12 356 mm guns and an absolute metric ton of AAA. I really dislike it both because it’s a battleship and because it means America’s best battleship is an event vehicle, and best-in-class vehicles being event vehicles is always bad. I have nothing else to say about this vessel because I have a negative amount of will in me to care. Moving on.

On the whole, I think the vehicle prizes this time were as good as in Summer Extreme because the S 9C is just as good a prize as the le.Pz.Spw. 204 (f) (5cm), the Vilkas is a worse prize than the AMV HWP (CT-CV 105HP), the USS Mississippi is a worse prize than HMS Renown, and the Mirage 2000 C S4 is leagues better than the Su-25BM.

“Ice cross downhill” decal

“Kitewing” decal

“Freestyle” decal

“Snowkiting” decal

“Snowmobiling” decal

“Snow Bike” decoration

“Snowcat” naval decoration

“Snowboarder” profile picture

To get the prizes, it was exactly the same as in Summer Extreme. 40K score in each gamemode with multipliers based on BR and gamemode. In the interest of keeping this article under 100,000 words and 10 parts, I am not going to reiterate my criticisms of this event because they’re the exact same as in Summer Extreme.

However, I do have a criticism of the theme of this event. I understand that it thematically does make sense to do an event on summer sports and an event themed around winter sports. It was done well and just like Summer Extreme’s, Winter Extreme’s decals and decorations are very well done. Just like Summer Extreme’s “MotoLady” profile picture, this event’s “Snowboarder” profile picture absolutely blew me away with how great it is and outside of the vehicles, it’s easily the highlight of the event. My issue is that I think the theme is a bit overdone between this event and Summer Extreme. This is a very personal thing to me because I am not a sports person, but I think 2 events with the same theme but for different seasons is kind of boring. I would have preferred a different theme, perhaps winter wildlife, just to throw out a random suggestion.

Now we get to my big issue with this event. I’ve talked before about how I dislike gambling in these events. This event had the system of the other events where there was a chest for 10K SL, this time it was called the Snowman, and a kep for 50K SL, this time called the Carrot. You can find a deeper look at it in my coverage of Summer Extreme. I dislike that system, but I’ve learned to live with it. The issue is that now, Gaijin has added another layer of gambling to this event: the Christmas Chest. This chest costs 999 GE and has a guaranteed prize of 120K SL and 1 day of premium account, an additional guaranteed prize of either 1, 3, or 7 days of premium account, SL, boosters, or 5 rank 1-8 universal backups. It also had an additional prize of a rank 1-8 talisman and a rank 1-7 premium, with a 15% chance per opening and at least 1 of each guaranteed per chest opening. This is already bad because it incentivizes gambling and throwing your money away. However, it gets even worse because for opening a certain number of chests you would get a unique reward. For 3 chests you’d get the “Santa Claus Squad” decal, for 5 the “Gingerbread house” decoration, for 7 the “Jolly Santa” naval flag, and for 10 the “Pilot Santa Claus” profile picture which looks absolutely stunning. This is all terrible. Now, there are unique rewards you can only get through gambling. This is horrible on a level unlike a bad choice for an event vehicle because this involves spending real world money and it is highly predatory. This is an awful system that needs to never be repeated.

To be clear, I do not think this is a bad event. It’s a good one. However, it is an event that contains predatory side mechanics that yield unique prizes, and it scares me to think that in the future, we could see unique vehicles locked behind this sort of mechanic.

Following the Roadmap: WT Mobile Login Streak & Keeping you updated with our plans

This was a great edition of Following the Roadmap, despite being a small one. All that was added was the ability to keep your daily login streak through loging in to War Thunder Mobile as long as you’re playing WTM with your Gaijin account. This is a really nice change because now I can keep seeing that number go higher even when I’m away from my PC and don’t have my laptop on me.

The better part of this roadmap though is the postponements. Those are usually bad, but in this case, they’re very good. They’re good because it shows that they’re taking the time to make sure these new mechanics are fully fleshed out and done well. The severe damage mechanic was postponed to some time between Air Superiority and whatever the first update of 2024 is due to the technical difficulty of programming the mechanic, and the research bonuses for high tier vehicles in minor nations was postponed to spring of 2024 in order to make sure enough time has passed to gather sufficient data after the massive research changes in Sons of Attila. This is great because, as I mentioned earlier in November, I assumed them saying the bonuses for new nations was postponed indefinitely meant they were effectively canceling it. However, now we have a timeframe for it.

The best part though came right at the end. Gaijin announced that they will be making another roadmap for 2024! This is incredible. The 2023 roadmap started due to the disaster that was the May economy changes, the resulting review bombing, and the rest of the situation surrounding that. I was not asking for a 2024 roadmap, though I did want one, and I was most certainly not expecting it to actually happen. However, here we are. Well done Gaijin. We’ll have to wait until we see the 2024 roadmap to judge it, but based on the quality of 2023’s roadmap and the fact that we’re getting a 2024 roadmap at all, I’m very hopeful.

Update 2.23 “Air Superiority”

Folks, we made it! The final major update of the year. It took nearly 75,000 words to get here (that’s 5 times what my original estimate was for the entire project when I started writing this 3 and a half months ago), but we’re finally here.

It’s decent. Air Superiority is not a bad update. In fact, it’s a good one. But from a personal standpoint, it is much too aggressively top tier for my taste. It’s also a surprisingly small number of vehicles. 30 vehicles were added this patch, making it the second smallest in terms of vehicle number in quite a long time, only barely edged out by Kings of Battle’s 28 vehicles. That is not a bad thing though and due to other stuff added this patch, it’s still a very big patch. I’ll show you what I mean.


  • USA:

    • F-15A-18 (MSIP) - Rank VIII - Fighter - Tech tree

      • This thing is crazy. It has great weapons being able to carry 4 AIM-9Ms and 4 AIM-7Ms, though at 12.3 the AIM-7M is a touch lacking, and it has incredible performance. It’s the size of a bus (not quite a JH7A, but close), but it can turn on a dime. It’s one of the best performing planes in the game. This isn’t a messed up flight model either, it is legitimately just that good.The only place it is truly lacking is in air-to-ground ordnance, being able to carry only 18 500 lb bombs, 3 2000 lb bombs, 9 napalm bombs, or 3 2000 lb GBU-8 guided bombs. But the US has plenty of other CAS options to fill that role and as an air-to-air fighter, it is incredibly good.
  • Germany:

    • Tornado IDS (WTD61) - Rank VII - Strike fighter - Pack premium

      • It’s just a Tornado IDS (Marineflieger) without the AS.34 Kormoran anti-ship missiles, which are useless anyway, in the camouflage of the Luftwaffe testing squadron Wehrtechnische Dienststelle 61. That’s it. Much like the Tornado IDS (Marineflieger), it’s not good at its current tier whatsoever. The one thing I like about this plane is that it is not paying for power because there is a much better Tornado IDS in the tree. Regardless, save your money and do not buy this plane. If you really want an 11.0 German premium plane, the MiG-21bis (Lazur) is much more worth it.
  • USSR:

    • Su-27 - Rank VIII - Fighter - Tech tree

      • The Su-27 came in as the Soviet counterpart to the F-15A. It absolutely succeeds at that, especially in having noticeably better missiles and being able to carry much more of them: up to 6 R-27R, R-27ER, or R-73 missiles. The craziest loadout you can make is 6 R-73s and 4 R-27ERs. However, the instructor someone restricts this planes rudder movements. That’s this plane’s slight weakness which makes it balanced against the F-15. It’s nonetheless fantastic and performs very well against its opponents.
  • Great Britain:

    • Gripen C - South Africa - Rank VIII - Fighter - Tech tree

      • The JAS 39A and its sister the JAS 39C, known in its export form to foreign nations, South Africa among them, as the Gripen C, are incredible vehicles. It gets 6 AIM-9Ms, 4 Skyflash missiles, or some combination of the two, though in my opinion the best loadout is just 6 AIM-9Ms (I’ll explain why in a moment), 80 large caliber countermeasures which it gets stock, and a further 640 standard caliber countermeasures that it can unlock through modifications and that are mounted on the pythons for the innermost 4 missiles. Beyond the great missile and ludicrous amount of countermeasures, it also has insane performance with great speed and incredible turning capability. What makes this vehicle balanced is that its Skyflash missiles are bad which means this is not a good plane for BVR engagements, and that it loses in rate fights. In close in fights though, it’s unmatched against top tier fighters. It runs circles around nearly everything, with only the F-16As standing a chance because they’re much lighter than the F-16CM and F-16D. This plane is meant for close in fights and it makes it my personal favorite of the patch because I love close in dogfights. BVR is boring.
  • Japan:

    • F-15J - Rank VIII - Fighter - Tech tree

      • This is the best F-15 in the game at the moment. It doesn’t get the guided GBU-8 bombs meaning it is slightly worse at CAS, but the F-15 ingame already was not a great CAS plane and Japan has the F-16AJ already which is a better CAS platform. The F-15s ingame are primarily air-to-air fighters and in that role, the F-15J is the best of them. It has the same performance as all the other F-15s, but it gets the AAM-3 air-to-air missile. The AAM-3 is basically a slightly slower Python 3 with IRCCM and 25 seconds of extra guidance time. This makes it an incredible fighter, and until you unlock the AAM-3, it’s the same as the other F-15s.
  • China:

    • J11 - Rank VIII - Fighter - Tech tree

      • It’s exactly the same as the Soviet Su-27. Refer to my review of that. The only thing different is the camouflage which is, in my opinion, much better-looking.
  • Italy:

    • AMX - Rank VII - Strike fighter - Tech tree

      • The AMX is the Italian tree’s attempt to compete with the A-10A and the early Su-25s. Surprisingly, it succeeds at it. It can carry up to 6 GBUs (4 GBU-12s and 2 GBU-16s is the best loadout), 2 AIM-9Ls, and the CLDP targeting pod all at the same time, making it quite effective in ground RB. Around Mach 0.8, the vehicle also has incredible acceleration so it usually ends up just climbing very high and then nuking targets from the stratosphere in ground battles. This is a great addition because Italy now finally has something to compete with the likes of the A-10As, the early Su-25s, and the A-6E (TRAM).
  • France:

    • Mirage 4000 - Rank VIII - Fighter - Tech tree

      • This plane is fantastic. It follows roughly similar playstyle to the JAS 39s, but it turns worse and instead gains a metric ton of thrust because of its second engine and gets 8 Magic 2 missiles instead of 6 AIM-9Ms like the JAS 39s. Much like the JAS 39s, it runs circles around the F-15 and Su-27. The Magic 2 missiles being just that good makes this plane absolutely fantastic. It’s very well balanced against the F-15s, Su-27s, and JAS 39s.
  • Sweden:

    • JAS 39A - Rank VIII - Fighter - Tech tree

      • It’s the same as the Gripen C. The Rb 74M is just the AIM-9M, and you can refer to my review of the Gripen C. The plane is amazing.
  • Israel:

    • F-15A-18 (MSIP) Baz - Rank VIII - Fighter - Tech tree

      • It’s the American F-15A-18 (MSIP), but it also gets Python 3 missiles. In my view, that makes it better because I much prefer Python 3s to AIM-9Ms, but in the end it’s nearly the same plane and you can refer to my review of the American F-15A.


  • USA:

    • M1A1HC “Click-Bait” - Rank VII - Medium tank - Pack premium

      • I very much disagree with this premium’s addition. It is a lot of the things I dislike in a premium. It’s top tier, which automatically bad, and it’s fictional to boot. It’s fictional in the way the M1 (KVT) is. The camouflage on the M1A1HC “Click-Bait” and the decorations on it are fictional. There is a real M1A1 with the text “Click-Bait” on its barrel, but it didn’t look like this and I heavily disagree with it. They should have either changed the M1 (KVT) to the M1A1 (KVT), it’s real form, added the M1A1 (KVT) as a separate premium and removed the M1 (KVT) from sale, and/or added one of the several real M1A1HCs with unique decorations on them. What Gaijin chose to do here was entirely unnecessary and I have no clue why they did this because now, we have 2 fictional M1 Abrams premiums. At least its fictional form looks absolutely gorgeous. The model is stunning. The one true saving grace of this vehicle though is that it’s not paying for power. It is functionally the same as the M1A1HC in the tree and I like that. Were this not fictional, this would be the best type of premium, much like the Tornado IDS (WTD61).
    • M1A2 SEP V2 (TUSK 2) - Rank VIII - Medium tank - Tech tree

      • It’s upsetting to me like the M1A1HC “Click-Bait” is, but this isn’t a particularly impressive addition either. This vehicle might as well be the same as the M1A2 SEP V1 (TUSK 1). It’s the same vehicle but 3.53 tonnes (3.9 tons) heavier with very mildly better ERA. What makes it very frustrating though is that it doesn’t have any form of improved armor compared to the SEP V1 on the hull and turret even though it should. This is a whole controversy that I’ll cover in a separate section later, suffice it to say for right here that Gaijin is actively refusing to give it better armor for no reason other than them not wanting to give it better armor.
  • Germany:

    • Leopard 2 A7 V - Rank VIII - Medium tank - Tech tree

      • This is the second best tank in the game. This vehicle is a Leopard 2 A6 with third generation thermal sights and a spall liner in the hull. It is the only Leopard 2 with either of those. This makes it an absolutely fantastic vehicle. The spall liner is tremendously useful and makes the tank much more survivable, and the third generation thermals make it so much better at getting kills, especially since all the other Leopard 2s are stuck with first generation thermals. It also looks amazing. It has this extra piece at the end of the turret that makes the turret really long and I love the look of it. It does though have a magical missing 100 mm of armor on the front hull even though it supposedly has the same armor package as the Strv 122A/B (PLSS)/B+.
  • USSR:

    • T-90M - Rank VIII - Medium tank - Tech tree

      • Anyway, let’s talk about a much less impressive vehicle. It appears that all of the hype has been for naught, because this vehicle is not meaningfully better than the T-80BVM. It’s a slightly better protected T-72B3M with a spall liner and blowout panels. It’s about as good as the T-80BVM, which is to say pretty good, but it’s not going to blow you away, especially not considering the hype about how insane this vehicle was supposed to be, hype that I admittedly somewhat bought into.
  • Great Britain:

    • Challenger 2 OES - Rank VII - Medium tank - Pack premium

      • It’s basically the same vehicle as the Challenger 2 TES. That’s it. It’s pretty good if played right, which is to say hull down, but it’s absolutely not impressive. The one thing I like about this premium is that, much like the M1A1HC “Click-Bait”, it’s not paying for power because it’s about the same as the Challenger 2 TES in the tree, which makes sense considering that this vehicle is, increality, just the 2012 modification of the Challenger 2 TES, while the one in the tree is the 2008 modification.
    • Challenger 3 TD - Rank VIII - Medium tank - Tech tree

      • The British finally caved and traded the old, rifled L30A1 cannon for a smoothbore L/55A1, the same cannon present on the Leopard 2 A7 V. This is the prototype of the Challenger 3 unveiled in 2019, now in War Thunder, and all it is ingame is a Challenger 2E with a better gun and a reload that is 1.3 seconds longer. It’s good in the same way that all the other Challenger 2s are, meaning it has to be played hull down, and I think the new gun is worth the tradeoff in reload speed, but it’s not a groundbreaking vehicle by any means. It also doesn’t get a spall liner in the turret, unlike every other Challenger 2, for some reason. Gaijin said that they don’t have accurate information on the Challenger 3 TD’s spall liner or lack thereof, but the armor for these is made up anyway and considering the level of speculation and that it’s a development of the Challenger 2, it would make the most sense for it to have a spall liner in the turret.
  • Japan:

    • Type 99 HSP - Rank V - Tank destroyer - Tech tree

      • Meet the most unexpected star of this update: the Type 99 HSP. This vehicle was designed as a successor to the Type 75 HSP and comes right after it in the tree. It’s another new self-propelled artillery piece and it is shockingly good. Like all artillery pieces around this BR range, it has a pretty high skill ceiling and it takes a lot of skill and knowledge to play correctly, but it is fantastic. It has an HE shell with 11.3 kg of explosives in it that have a TNT equivalent of an absolutely staggering 14.8 kg! The shell destroys pretty much everything it will hit. This is not a vehicle I expected, but it is my personal pick for my favorite new vehicle this patch.
  • China:

    • VT4A1 - Rank VIII - Medium tank - Tech tree

      • The fact that Gaijin considers the VT4A1 to be worthy of being at BR 11.7 is kind of laughable. The VT4A1 is better than the MBT-2000 which is 10.7, but not enough to warrant a BR increase of 1.0. It’s a very mildly faster, slightly heavier, up-armored version of the MBT-2000 that gets an ATGM, second generation gunner thermals, and a hard-kill active protection system (APS). It has the same weak spots as the MBT-2000, it doesn’t get a spall liner, and the MBT-2000’s round can penetrate those weak spots nearly as effectively as it would against the MBT-2000. As usual, the driver’s port shot instantly kills it and shooting on the side of the lower glacis plate does the same. The hard-kill APS does warrant a BR increase, but it’s not effective enough to be an 11.7 vehicle. This tank should go down to 11.3.
  • Italy:

    • Tiger E - Hungary - Rank IV - Heavy tank - GE premium

      • It’s a Tiger E with 30 mm of track armor on the flat front plane which is equivalent to 14-15 mm of rolled homogeneous armor (RHA). This technically makes it the best Tiger, but not by any meaningful measure. The bigger issue is that this is a premium. Italy has no heavy tanks in its tree and this was one of, if not the only option to give it one. This is a tank that needed to be in the tree to bolster the Hungarian line, to give Italy a tank in its tree with a playstyle that no other tank offers in its tree, and to give Italy an actually usable 6.0 lineup that doesn’t require a premium because currently it is just the 155/23 M109 and the Hungarian 2S1. This could have completed that lineup. Instead, to have a usable 6.0 lineup, you now have to pay money and what is likely the only heavy tank Italy will ever get is now locked behind a paywall. This is a terrible choice for a premium and I fully disagree with its addition in this form.
  • France:

    • TPK 6.41 VPC - Rank III - SPAA - Tech tree

      • This is a stunningly odd addition. Not a bad addition, in fact it’s a fantastic one, but it is probably the single most out-of-the-blue addition this entire year. The only vehicle this year that possibly matches this vehicle’s level of randomness is the Drache. That being said, I’m super happy to see this. I am very pro-closing holes in trees. The Soviets used to have a 3.7-8.0 SPAA hole, and it is now filled. The Americans have a 4.3-7.7 SPAA hole, and it still hasn’t been filled. The French have a 5.3-8.3 SPAA hole, but functionally it was a 4.7-8.3 SPAA hole because the AMX 10P is not a good SPAA. This vehicle comes in at 5.0 and helps, if only slightly, close that gap. This is the type of addition that no one was asking for, but I think pretty much everyone, myself included, is happy to see.
  • Sweden:

    • Strv 122B+ - Rank VIII - Medium tank - Tech tree

      • The reason I said the Leopard 2 A7 V is the second best top tier tank is because this is the best. It’s an Strv 122B (PLSS) with better side armor and no extendable commander sight. Just like the 2 A7 V, it has a spall liner for the hull and turret which makes it way more survivable and the extra side armor only aids that further! It really is an incredible vehicle. The one downgrade this vehicle has compared to the Strv 122B (PLSS) is that it loses the PLSS part. It does not have the extendable commander sight that the Strv 122B (PLSS) had and, beyond the memes, this is a legitimate reduction in capability because the PLSS system allowed you to peak over hills without having to expose the rest of the tank, most importantly the breach. Nonetheless, this remains the best tank at top tier, closely followed by the Leopard 2 A7 V.
  • israel:

    • Rochev Alef - Rank IV - Tank destroyer - Tech tree

      • It’s the same as the M109A1, but it has had its 12.7 mm machine gun moved to over the barrel, a new 7.62 mm machine gun added where the 12.7 mm machine gun used to be, and it looks infinitely cooler because of the rolled up tarps at the back of the turret and the new turret baskets on the turret cheeks. The biggest issue with it is that unlike the previous Israeli M109 which is at 6.0 and this has a lineup with the 2 M-51s, the Rochev Alef doesn’t have a lineup because it’s 6.3 which means you have to uptier the 2 M-51s which is a bad idea.
    • Giraf - Rank VI - Tank destroyer - Tech tree

      • It’s a piece of garbage box with a TOW launcher that doesn’t have a lineup and should never have been added because Israel doesn’t need it and it makes the tree actively worse by having it.


  • Oh yay, there’s none to cover! Thank God.


  • USA:

    • USS Roanoke - Rank V - Heavy cruiser - Tech tree

      • It’s pretty good. At least, it looks to be. I haven’t played it. It has decent mobility, nice guns (though not great for ship-to-ship combat at this tier where you’ll constantly face battleships), decent AAA, and it overall seems to be a fine vehicle.
  • USSR:

    • Novorossiysk - Rank VI - Battleship - Tech tree

      • It’s the Conte di Cavour, but mildly worse in its secondary armaments. That’s it. It’s nice to see, especially considering it’s history, but it’s also a battleship for the USSR, a nation that does not need more battleships right now, so I don’t care.
  • Great Britain:

    • HMS Orion - Rank V - Battleship - Tech tree

      • This ship is the epitome of “Big dumb boat with big dumb guns, I don’t care.” To me it seems to be relatively similar to HMS Marlborough, but I don’t play battleships, I don’t care for them, and this is not an interesting one. Moving on.
  • Japan:

    • Asagao (YTE-01) - Rank V - Motor gun boat - Tech tree

      • I know, I too was shocked to hear that the Japanese got an actually good vessel in their coastal fleet tree. And yet, here we are. Asagao is quite good. It’s slow, but it’s very firepower-dense and because it gets the PT boat spawn, it’s very potent against them and early in the match can take out a lot of unsuspecting players due to the density of the fire. It’s also very potent against aircraft. The 2 turrets, each with 2 40 mm Bofors cannons, are very effective, and while it does have a secondary 3 inch gun, the 40 mm Bofors guns do most of the damage. It does also have a rocket launcher, but it’s not a particularly useful one. This is a very surprising vehicle to see added, but it’s great to see and it means that Japan has gotten 2 vehicles this patch that, while not very high in BR, are very good at tier tier, which is fantastic!
  • Italy:

    • RN Leonardo da Vinci - Rank V - Battleship - GE premium

      • It’s a premium 6.3 battleship. It’s pretty decent. It’s not actively bad, it’s pretty decent, it’s just so phenomenally uninteresting. It’s 2:18 A.M. and I don’t want to talk about this battleship, and even if I was more than 2/7 awake, I still wouldn’t want to talk about this battleship. Moving on.
  • France:

    • Vauquelin - Rank II - Destroyer - Tech tree

      • Oh wow, a ship I actually want to talk about. I enjoy the Vauquelin. It’s not insanely good, but it follows the standard French destroyer style of poor armor, but very punchy guns. The Vauquelin-class was designed as the successor to the Aigle-class and ingame, that’s exactly what it feels like. It feels like a very slightly better version of the Aigle-class ships that precede it in the research tree. This is a very nice addition and it’s nice to see that, though the tree is still very middling, it’s getting better with additions like this.
    • Courbet - Rank V - Battleship - GE premium

      • Refer to my review of the Paris in June’s section on La Royale. It’s functionally the same ship, which is to say poorly armored and all around bad, except that the Courbet looks a lot cooler.

Congratulations! If you’ve read this far already, I’m baffled as to what kind of person you are that has this much time on their hands (do as I say, not as I do), but you have successfully made it to the final full vehicle review of this article! That’s it! That is the last one! There will be other vehicles I talk about, especially during the sales and during the M1 Abrams armor fiasco, but that is the last full vehicle review for this article. It is 2:30 A.M. on December 28th and I am going to go to sleep now and finish the rest of this article tomorrow.

Okay. It’s 10:32 A.M., I’ve slept, and now I’m going to finish this article.

The vehicle selection, in my view, is pretty average. That is mostly because of my personal distaste for heavily top tier-focused updates, but it nonetheless sours my impression of this patch’s vehicles. My personal picks for my favorites are the AMX, Type 99 HSP, TPK 6.41 VPC, and Asagao (YTE-01). The Hungarian Tiger E would also be in that list if it was not a premium.

This update added so many other things though, and while I’ll get to all of them in due time, let’s start with the new air map: Kamchatka.

I love Kamchatka for a number of reasons. The first and the least important is that it is, without a shadow of a doubt, the most visually stunning air map ingame. The smoke billowing from the volcanoes, especially with the new fire effects, which I’ll go further into detail on later, blows me away. More importantly though, it’s a fantastic map. The volcanoes, beyond looking good, both funnel everyone into a more narrow space which makes for more interesting dogfights in a similar way to Rocky Pillars, though to a lesser extent, and they allow for obstacles to fly behind to break the radar lock of people targeting you. At top tier, maps like this are incredibly important because especially with radar-guided missiles that can hit you from tens of kilometers away, having natural obstacles not just in the form of hills and valleys off to the sides, but in the middle of the map is critical. This map also has the added bonus of being a map that is actually based on a real location, which is something we have not seen in a while in War Thunder. This map is 1 for 1 the Kamchatka Peninsula in eastern Russia.


Beyond Kamchatka, this patch had a bunch of big changes. The most notable is the complete rework of fire effects. I legitimately cannot put into words just how mind-bogglingly good these effects look. The previous effects looked great, but these are on the verge of looking like they’re actually real! They absolutely blow me away. These are, without a shadow of a doubt, the best designed effects in the game. There are 2 small issues though. The first is that if you look too closely at them, they look pixelated. This is usually not very noticeable, but it is extremely noticeable in the gunner’s view on ships on the naval map Black Sea Port where there is a giant fire that looks very pixelated. Regardless, it’s a fantastic effect.

They also added the ability to keep your daily login streak through War Thunder mobile, but I already talked about that in the immediately preceding Following the Roadmap section.

As for other notable changes, there was a reduction in the research and purchase cost of rank 6-7 vehicles which is absolutely fantastic and the crew level requirement for purchasing the expert and ace crew for each rank of vehicle has been reduced by 5 levels to accommodate the new rank 8 for tanks, which is pretty nice. A huge change was that all rank 8 vehicles get have stock APFSDS rounds. That is fantastic, but I desperately wish it could be done for all vehicles that carry HEAT and APFSDS rounds. This is a good first step though.

There are some other pretty important game mechanics that were added this patch too. One of the biggest is the ability to activate universal backups in battle so you no longer have to guess which vehicle you’ll need again. This is a huge change and one I’m very happy to see, but it will very dramatically change the battlefield dynamic in terms of what killing an enemy multiple times actually does to the enemy team’s numbers. There was also a change so now, when an enemy is killed, instead of the hit indicator showing up above them, an indicator with a skull will instead now. This is also huge because it means that you no longer have to waste time heading to a target that could turn out to be dead when you get there.

They also added a system in which you can now click test under modifications for manually-guided air-to-surface missiles, laser-guided air-to-surface missiles with no targeting pod, infrared-guided air-to-air missiles, and semi-active radar-homing air-to-air missiles. When the test button is clicked, it starts a test mission with tooltips on how to use the weapon. This is a great change because the sheer amount of weapons at top tier can be incredibly daunting.

Speaking of tooltips, this update also brought in a new feature where contextual tooltip hints are provided based on certain circumstances. The sale tooltip hint will appear only once per spawn and a maximum of 3 times per month. When the mechanic is used, the game remembers it has shown that hint so experienced players are less likely to get hints. This is a great mechanic for newer players, but for more experienced players like myself, it’s very irritating and I wish it could be turned off entirely. However, there is no toggle in the menu for it.

Finally for new mechanics, some absolutely fantastic additions. Phrases for tank crews got updated, better voice acting for Polish and French tank, phrases for tank crews got their own unique voice acting for Argentinian and Indian tanks (the Indian voice acting is in Hindi), radio command messages got full voiceovers in Spanish and Portuguese, and additional radio command voiceover phrases have been added in Portuguese, Spanish, Hungarian, Korean, Serbian, and Turkish. Better voice acting is one of my favorite things to see added. It makes the game feel all the more real and means that people who speak those languages can understand the game better.

The last thing to mention for this update is the camouflage trophy which, unlike some previous updates, was very good this time. A lot of the camouflages were visually stunning and it also contains a hilarious-looking camouflage for the TOG II.

That’s it! Not the article, there’s still a few thousand words left, but that is the last major update to cover for this year!

Christmas and New Years

For the winter holidays, Gaijin gave out a decal, a naval flag, and a decoration. The decal was the “Dragon Warrior” decal and while I think that’s a reference to next year being the year of the dragon on the Chinese lunar calendar, that doesn’t stop this decal from looking quite ugly in my view. The tank decoration is the “New Year’s Sign” decoration and it’s very well designed, but I also have exactly no opinions on it. Then there’s the “New Year’s Flag” naval flag. I’m not a huge fan of its design, but I think it’s a great addition because I love the new naval flags and seeing event reward naval flags is great.

“Dragon Warrior” decal

“New Year’s Sign” decoration

“New Year’s Flag” naval flag

Other than those, there were the ingame sales which I’ll talk about in the next section and a very unique thing called the Thunder Quiz. The Thunder Quiz was a 10 question quiz you could complete and if you got all 10 questions right, you were able to purchase rare, removed premium packs that were no longer obtainable. You could get the:

  • F-86F-35 - USA - Rank V - Fighter - Premium
  • UH-1C (XM30) - USA - Rank V - Utility helicopter - Premium
  • Bf 109 Z-1 - Germany - Rank IV - Fighter - Premium
  • Pe-2-205 - USSR - Rank III - Bomber - Premium
  • KV-2 (ZiS-6) - USSR - Rank III - Heavy tank - Premium
  • Mi-24D - Czechia (Soviet tree) - Rank V - Attack helicopter - Premium
  • 105/25 M43 “G.C.Leoncello” - Italy - Rank III - Tank destroyer - Premium
  • Sav fm/48 - Sweden - Rank III - Tank destroyer - Premium

This is awesome. I cannot express just how cool this idea is. The Bf 109 Z-1, KV-2 (ZiS-6), Mi-24D, and Sav fm/48 are definitely the most worth your money, especially the Sav fm/48, but this idea is awesome! Complete a quiz and be able to buy rare vehicles! That is the coolest idea and I think it’s fantastic that this was done. I bought the Mi-24D and I would have gotten the F-86F-35, but I was an idiot and accidentally bought the 105/25 M43 “G.C.Leoncello” without realizing that I already owned the vehicle, just not the pack, and so it showed as unpurchased and I wanted $25 USD.

Ingame winter sale

They were entirely identical to the ingame discounts during the birthday sales, so you can refer to my coverage of those at the beginning of November. Moving on.

Collecting ideas for the 2024 roadmap

This is what they also did for the 2023 roadmap, but nonetheless makes me incredibly happy to see them collecting more ideas for the roadmap. It’s not groundbreaking, but it is fantastic and it makes me have all the more faith that this roadmap will actually be good. I doubt it will be quite as impactful as the 2023 roadmap just due to the sweeping changes that happened in 2023, but I don’t doubt that it will be just as high in quality.

Fair Play: December 2023

My thoughts on this are the exact same as all the other Fair Play releases. I think it’s good and it shows that Gaijin is working to ban bot accounts.

Gaijin says they “don’t believe” the M1 Abrams had upgraded armor

Oh boy, time for this fiasco.

I mentioned earlier that Gaijin did not give the M1A2 SEP V2 (TUSK 2) depleted uranium (DU) armor, despite having it in real life. Gaijin said they didn’t believe that the M1A2 SEP had DU armor inserts on the hull. The way Gaijin justifies this is by saying that while there were 5 experimental M1A2 SEPs with upgraded hull armor with DU inserts, they cannot verify which variants of the M1 had it in service, if any. There’s 3 issues with this. The first is that this is a deliberate cherry-picking of sources, but the second issue is that this goes against Gaijin’s own logic. Gaijin said that the JAS 39A has HMD because it was tested on the JAS 39A, but suddenly it’s not okay for the M1A2 to get its upgraded hull armor if it was only tested on some vehicles? There’s yet a third issue too. The list of modifications made to the M1A2U, which is the variant of the M1A2 sent to Ukraine, explicitly lists removing DU armor inserts as one of the modifications due to the export restrictions surrounding DU armor and rounds. Considering that it has to be listed as something removed from existing production vehicles and that only 31 M1A2Us were made, it should not be hard to figure out what variant they were modified from.

Gaijin’s second argument is that the first pair of torsion bars on the suspension of the M1A2 couldn’t support the extra weight of the extra DU armor. This is directly contradicted earlier in the same article by Gaijin’s own statement that 5 M1A2s were tested with DU armor inserts and by the images of the M1A2 moving just fine with weights added onto the turret and hull to simulate the weight that the DU inserts would add. It’s a nonsense argument on Gaijin’s part.

Gaijin then lists a bunch of reasons why certain sources can’t be used, but this comes off and likely is just inventing a reason to not use them because this supposed sourcing requirement has been violated by Gaijin multiple times before and is violated by them in their very next article on the G pull of MANPADS missiles.

This entire situation is just Gaijin trying to find a reason to not give the M1A2 more correct armor and honestly, if they don’t want to, that’s fine. I disagree with it, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter too much, but they should just say that they don’t want to give it its proper armor, rather than playing this game of inventing reasons to not do it.

Gaijin says they don’t believe that MANPADS missiles can pull as hard as official documents say they can

This is another situation of inventing a reason to not give the FIM-92, AIM-92 ATAS, Mistral, and Mistral SATCP their proper G overloads. To be fair, Gaijin does have some legitimate math behind this one, so it is a tiny bit less invented out of thin air than their reason to not give the M1A2 DU armor, but I don’t understand the math behind it and so I am not going to try to explain it. However, the argument does basically boil down to, “The 9M39 couldn’t do it, therefore the FIM-92, AIM-92 ATAS, Mistral, and Mistra; SATCP couldn’t do it either because they’re just that similar.” If that sounds like a nonsense argument to you, congratulations, you have officially proven that you have at least 2 functioning brain cells.

Winter sale in the Gaijin Store

These sales were the same as the 11th anniversary sales, except that all of the rank 7 premiums that weren’t on sale last time, which were the American, German, Soviet, and Israeli ones, were on sale this time. In the end, I think this is fine because the sales are only a month and a half apart, but I still dislike this split sale system. I’d much rather all the rank 7 premiums be on sale for both sales, like they did with the rank 6 premiums up to the May sale this year when most of them were removed from sale.

That’s it! That is the end of the coverage for January-December of 2023. If you have read all of this, why? But don’t worry, you still have more to read!

First flight of the MiG-15

For the first flight of the MiG-15, Gaijin brought back the MiG-15bis (ISh). I’ve reviewed this vehicle before so I’m not going to cover it again. The important part is that, much like the return of the Z19E, this time, the MiG-15bis (ISh) was brought back indefinitely as a GE premium. I love this. I’ve said before that I really dislike removing premiums from sale, so I really like seeing vehicles like this back.

MiG-15bis (ISh)

Other stuff that happened in 2023

Secret document leaks

This feels like a topic much too stupid to actually have to cover, and yet it has happened 9 times this year. I know some of the documents were not necessarily classified, but rather had certain export restrictions, and that some were already available online even though they legally should not have been, but nonetheless, the fact that any of this ever happened is astonishing to me. Does no one understand just how stupid it is to leak classified documents. Does no one understand how phenomenally dumb it is to leak classified military documents that will get you arrested to win a videogame argument, sometimes for vehicles that are not even in the game yet and won’t be for a very long time, such as the leak on the Typhoon DA7. It’s especially dumb because now it doesn’t even accomplish anything as now, Gaijin will have to explicitly stay away from the real values in order to not have certain governments get mad at them. I don’t understand how anyone can be stupid enough to do this, and yet here we are.

Alright, now we’re actually done with all of the stuff for 2023!

Part 1 - Introduction-March
Part 2 - April-May
Part 3 - June
Part 4 - July-August
Part 5 - September
Part 6 - October
Part 7 - November-December (current)
Part 8 - Hopes for 2024-Conclusion

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