If you’re new to War Thunder, you’ve got a real treat ahead. An exciting battle simulator with a focus on realism and an incredibly detailed tech tree is about to become your favourite game, although learning how to play can be a little daunting.
Once you’ve mastered the basics and are ready to play, there’s one thing that will quickly become apparent, and that’s the importance of crews. Yes, the vehicles and machines are important, and so are your skills and upgrades, but a crew is the beating heart of your operation. So you should treat it as such. Whether it’s the speed of a repair or how quickly ammo can be reloaded, the standard of your crew is a worthwhile investment.
We’ve put together a quick introduction to crews in War Thunder, looking at how they work, what they can do, and how best to set them up.
Right from the start you’ll have two crews per nation. You’ll be able to purchase more later – up to three more using in-game currency, and then a further five using real-world cash – but for now two should be more than enough. You’ll use these crews as slots, assigning your vehicles to them, so think carefully about your vehicle preference and which two might complement each other in battle.
The crew can be trained to be more effective, and will gain experience after battles, so taking your favoured team into battle means they will get stronger faster. This experience can then be traded in for skills, which contribute to the overall strength and ability of your vehicles.
If you play in Realistic and Simulator game modes, you’ll receive 1 crew XP per 100 research points, which can be assigned to any area of the crew used in that specific battle. If you’re playing Arcade, you’ll be able to pick up 3 crew XP per 100 research points, and can spread it across your various crews.
To train your crew, click on the portrait icon in the pop-up menu of your vehicle, which will open the crew menu. From here, select a crew member and hover over their skills to see more detail about its bonuses. You can train these skills up to five stars, further increasing the impact, but each increment will take more XP than the last, so think carefully about how you distribute these.
You’ll also want to consider the type of vehicle and strategy you are using in battle – for example, if your aircraft doesn’t have turret gunners, you might not want to put all your XP into training gunners. This is especially important, as crew skills remain the same regardless of which new vehicle they are assigned to.
Crews for different vehicles are as follows:
Air vehicle crew skills
- Defensive armament
- Logistical services
Ground vehicle crew skills
- Tank Commander
- Radio Operator Gunner
Naval vehicle crew skills
- Ship commander
- Engine room
- Damage control
Alongside these, you also have Repair Speed and Repair Rank, which can be applied across the board and allow vehicles to be repaired more effectively, saving you coins along the way.
We’ve assessed the various skills available and for a new player looking to play without any specific specialty, these are the advised skills to focus on per crew.
For air vehicles, we recommend piling your points into G-Tolerance, which does what it says on the tin, increasing a pilot’s G-force tolerance and improving vision under these circumstances, extending the limit to which your pilot can stay conscious when flying at speed.
Stamina is also a great overall skill that will keep fatigue at bay, while increasing your accuracy in Mouse-Aim mode, and Vitality will reduce the likelihood of any game-ending or life-threatening injuries to your pilot. Always a plus. Lastly, we recommend Weapon Maintenance, which will make your weapons stronger and more efficient, meaning you can spend more time firing off rockets and guns and less time worrying about jamming and overheating.
For ground vehicles and tanks, Tank Driver is a great place to start boosting your crew, as it improves all elements of handling. Targeting is also important, making your guns speedier and more accurate, so the two skills combined make for a lethal duo. Tank Commanders can also have the Leadership skill enhanced, which, while one of the most expensive skills, is one of the most valuable – increasing all crew member’s skills by increments up to 10%. Weapon Reloading will allow you to get back to the action quicker between reloads, as long as your tank doesn’t have an autoloader system. Alongside these skills, you’d be wise to gradually boost Agility, Field Repair, and Keen Vision as you go, as they will complement the above skills.
When you’re playing as a sea vehicle it’s a little less defined, as all of the skills are constantly in play. The best method with these is to spread your XP wide, increasing each skill incrementally whenever you have points to spare. This will ensure you have a balanced crew and are able to hold your own in naval battles.
Once you’ve trained a skill all the way to the top, there is a way to make it go further, but you’ll have to spend significant Silver Lions to get there. Still, if you’ve got the cash to spare and have successfully nurtured a crew to the top level, investing in Crew Qualifications might be a good idea. Using this system, you’ll be able to upgrade crews from Basic to Expert and then further again to Ace. This will come much later in the game, however, so it’s best to get to grips with the most useful skills for your personal playing style first.
Throw yourself into War Thunder today to start training your crew and claiming victory in battle.