War Thunder’s skies have become increasingly political as the conflict in Eastern Ukraine intensifies. Players who have painted either the Ukrainian or Russian flags onto their wings have found themselves being shot down by their own teams.
Gaijin are trying to put an end to the team killing by putting all national flags behind paywalls.
“We know many of you love your flags as decals,” Gaijin write. “Unfortunately, we are seeing too many players using them in ways that instigate national argument [...] we decided to implement a procedure that will require more responsibility from a player who wants to make use of them. From today, the 10th February, all National Flags listed in the flags directory of your decals will be re-set and removed from your inventory in game, they will be available from now on in a similar way as the rest of the decals via purchasing using GE.”
Another reason the developer gave was that “some players are not happy with the flags being used outside the game's historical period or that many didn’t even exist there.”
Each Flag will now cost 500 GE (War Thunder’s in-game currency, Golden Eagles). That’s €3 in real money. That might seem a lot for a texture that was free last week but, according to this falconry forum, a real life golden eagle will set you back about £5,000. 500 real golden eagles in real money is £2,500,000, so, if you look at it that way, those national flags are a steal.