Free-to-play naval, aerial, and tank game War Thunder review bombs are through the roof, as the game’s playerbase is reacting to now-revised in-game economy changes that would have seen it become even harder to play the game without paying real-world money. While the future of War Thunder remains unknown, it’s clear that the community wasn’t standing for what they were being faced with.
War Thunder developer and publisher Gaijin told players it was going to implement an array of changes to the game’s economy – which awards you Silver Lions (SL) currency to purchase vehicles, modifications, and repair damaged vehicles after games, and Research Points (RP) to research new vehicles and units before you can buy them – that would essentially make it much harder to progress after matches without paying real-world money.
The premium currency of Golden Eagles can also be used to buy Silver Lions, and that seems to have slowly become more and more necessary to get anywhere in War Thunder, according to players.
Before promising to reverse the planned War Thunder Economy changes, the game’s community went into overdrive. Massive Steam review bombing saw recent reviews tip to “overwhelmingly negative” as players with over 2,000 hours in the game wrote about their issues.
Players have become furious and disillusioned with the drop in Silver Lions and Research Points they get from games already, even if they pay for a premium account and use premium vehicles – both of which require real-world money and increase your SL and RP rewards.
“Gaijin keeps adding nations and vehicles, while at the same time increasing repair costs and lowering RP/SL gain. A premium account isn’t enough to comfortably progress anymore, now you also have to buy premium vehicles in every nation,” Apollo1641 says in a lengthy Steam review.
In response to the general player feedback, Gaijin said, “We have been following the feedback closely and we see that whilst some players generally agree with us, we also see that there are players who feel that these changes are not helpful to them. For this reason, we have decided not to implement the economy changes.”
Just a cursory glance at the reviews shows that since May 17 there have been thousands of negative reviews a day, with many from long-time players. There’s even an open letter I’ve seen in the comments of Twitter posts that sees players proposing the changes they want to see instead.
Following this backlash from players over economic changes to War Thunder, Gaijin decided to cancel its planned changes as a “first step” to addressing overall player concerns over the in-game economy and how it has slowly favored more incentives to use real-world money over the years. In fact, a survey has been offered to players that can be filled in before May 25, 2023.
On paper, this might sound like the end of it. Gaijin says it will introduce a major economic overhaul to War Thunder in an update this summer, which will use the above survey as a basis for what will be changed. The issue is, Gaijin creative director Kirill Yudintsev also penned an article about how the economies of free-to-play games like War Thunder work, and players are tearing it apart.
The article essentially breaks down how free-to-play games work and comments on the review bombing, with players being critical of Gaijin for not understanding that they know how the model works, and are instead frustrated with the developer’s changes to that exact model.
“Review bombing does damage to the game in that new players simply won’t try it, while it doesn’t raise their awareness of the problems you’ve noticed,” Gaijin says. “If your goal is not to hurt the game, please use other, less destructive ways.”
That said, it appears as though the widespread community reaction, from forum comments, Reddit, and even Steam reviews, has seen Gaijin change how War Thunder’s economy is going to operate, with even more shifts on the way.
As of publication there’s no telling exactly how the War Thunder economy will change going forward, but in the meantime, you can check out the best free Steam games available right now, alongside all the WW2 games you should have in your PC library.