War Thunder

The Complete Air Tech Tree Rework, Revision 2: Decompressed BRs, Plane Additions, and new Air Spawns

warthunder 7 - The Complete Air Tech Tree Rework, Revision 2: Decompressed BRs, Plane Additions, and new Air Spawns

It’s been nearly two years since we posted the first revision of the Air Tech Tree Rework back in September 2017. Since then, a lot of things have changed for War Thunder, namely the expansion into the supersonic era of aviation, addition of advanced A2A and ATG weapons, and of course, an ever-shifting meta within the game. As a result,
senfwurst - The Complete Air Tech Tree Rework, Revision 2: Decompressed BRs, Plane Additions, and new Air Spawns

/u/senfwurst and I have seen it fit to update our original project and keep it relevant to the new age of aviation in War Thunder.

Before we dive into the gory details of this project, there are some critical things to bear in mind:

  • This project and everything it sets out to accomplish is within the context of Air Realistic Battles (although of course, many aspects will translate over to other game modes as well).

  • Before immediately jumping to look at the tech trees, read the rest of this post first for some important context.

  • This project is intended to represent the ideal version of what our tech trees and Air RB can be. Everything in it is theoretically possible for Gaijin to accomplish, but likely (re: definitely) won’t be realized due to longstanding issues with the game and oversights by the developer.

Much like the original, the new Complete Air Tech Tree Rework features the following:

  • Decompresses battle ratings (BRs) by creating a larger BR spread for the matchmaker to work with. All BRs assigned to aircraft are fully reworked and assigned on the basis of their objective performance. This includes aircraft performance from datasheets, flight evaluations, or comprehensive manufacturer calculations of the time period as well as overall aircraft effectiveness based on its weaponry and capability in its intended role. We chose to continue assigning BRs based on objective aircraft performance rather than aircraft efficiency in-game because, as seen throughout the course of WT history, basing battle ratings on player skill via a statistics algorithm is an extremely flawed balancing methodology.

  • Adds historically significant and notable aircraft from various eras of aviation that aren’t currently featured in War Thunder.

  • Revises various aircraft to be more historically accurate– either their flight models, armament, 3D models (in respect to armament changes), or other critical components. All revisions or other clarifications for aircraft are denominated by asterisks and an accompanying note on each faction’s tech tree.

  • Reworks air spawns of many aircraft (i.e. Ta 152s, Hornet, F7F, etc) by way of the Variable Altitude Spawn Point (VASP). This is done to eliminate unfair advantages that are often (arbitrarily) provided to fighters that do not require airspawns to supplant their performance. Note that the VASP system has been significantly reworked since the original implementation; further details about it can be found below.

So it’s clear that we have maintained the spirit and ambition of the original project, but what changed? The following highlights additional changes we incorporated in the Second Edition:

  • Updated all in-game aircraft BRs to what they currently sit at on the liver server.

  • Updated all tech trees to include new additions from patch 1.71 (when the First Edition was released) to 1.89 (release of Second Edition).

  • Clarified and made additional changes to specific aircraft variants, 3D models, flight models, locations within their respective trees, or other capabilities & reorganizations. (Note that changes were primarily made on the basis of historical importance and authenticity across the board).

  • Fleshed out the entirety of Tier 6 Aviation with 1950s & early 1960s aircraft.

  • Added Tier 7 to represent the Vietnam era of jet aviation. Note that this era isn’t exclusive to Vietnam, many aircraft from the late ‘50s to mid ‘60s are featured as well from the ongoing Cold War.

  • Added new folder research mechanic: players do not have to research every aircraft in a folder to reach the final/best variant at the bottom, they can now select any vehicle from the folder that they wish to research. Folders simply present a way to cleanly organize similar vehicles within the tech tree.

  • Locked matchmaking for Allied (US/UK/France) superprops (6.3 & 6.7 BRs) so that they only fight each other, much like how matchmaking was locked at 9-10.0 to same-side-only shortly after the T-2 was added, as explained here. This was done in the interest of balance for other factions in-game, as they simply have no counter to strong piston-engine aircraft like the Fury 1, Spitfire F Mk.24, Spiteful, XP-72, P-51H-5, and F8F-1B (among others). We eschewed the idea of superprops fighting jets, because this matchup is inherently imbalanced and not engaging for either party. In other instances during hours of low population, the matchmaker loosens up the queue restrictions and allows normal MM where superprops can be uptiered or downtiered with the usual +/- 1.0 BR spread.

…and should you seek even further details about other changes we made on a plane by plane or tech tree basis, a document containing 18 glorious pages of changes and all their intimate details can be found here.

Here is a guide to understanding the layout of each tech tree:

  • Proposed BRs are marked in green if decreased or red if increased. Remember that BRs for aircraft are decompressed significantly and that their matchmaking can be very different from what is currently seen before making a judgement.
  • Proposed aircraft additions are marked with a green background.
  • Replaced aircraft are marked with orange backgrounds. This was done in the interest of historical accuracy when there were other realistic options that filled the same niche within the tech tree. For example, the nonexistent XP-38G (a fictional moniker invented by Gaijin for a standard P-38G reskin) was replaced by the highly similar P-38H. Likewise, the unarmed Sea Meteor was replaced by the armed Meteor Mk.3 (G.41E). Many other examples of sensible replacements can be found within individual tech trees.
  • Aircraft equipped with VASPs are marked with yellow triangles.
  • Each tree contains clarifications on relevant FM, armament, physical, or other relevant changes for countless aircraft in the interest of historical accuracy.

Note: A legend is provided under each tree for convenience.


Now that we’ve strung you out long enough, here are the tech trees in all their reworked splendor:

Variable Air Spawn Point system (VASP)

The final aspect of The Complete Reworked Air Tech Tree Project we’d like to show you is the new Variable Air Spawn Point system. When we first detailed VASP in the first edition of this project, it was needlessly complicated – to the point where looking back on it years later, it even confused us! As a result, we’ve decided to significantly overhaul it by reducing the amount of aircraft it benefits while simultaneously simplifying the types of spawns aircraft types can receive.

Here’s how airspawns work under VASP 2.0:

  • Attackers spawn behind airfields on every map at 1500 meters at 400 kph.
  • Bombers spawn above airfields on every map at 3500 meters at 350 kph.
  • 1-Point uptier airspawns exist to provide certain fighters with an airspawn only in matches where they are uptiered by a full BR point (+1.0). The parameters for an aircraft with 1-Point VASP is behind the airfield at 2000 meters at 400 kph.
  • 2-Point uptier airspawns exist to provide certain aircraft with an airspawn only in matches where they are uptiered by 0.7 BR or higher (+0.7/1.0). The conditions for this airspawn is the same as the 1-point: behind the airfield at 2000 meters at 400 kph.

Note: Other aircraft which didn’t receive a VASP are situated at comfortable BRs where they are deemed to not require one.

Closing Remarks

Even though much of the groundwork for this update was already laid out for us by the original project two years back, it still required a tremendous amount of time and effort on our parts to revise. Fun fact: we’ve actually been working on this since mid-February (albeit with often IRL-induced delays).

We hope that the community is as excited by the prospects of these tech trees as we are to share them. We look forward to your feedback so be sure to fire away with any questions, comments, or concerns you might have. We’ll be more than happy to answer them or provide clarification where needed.


Falcolumbarius (Aquila) & senfwurst

Anticipated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q1: Why aren’t more advanced aircraft beyond the immediate Vietnam Era included on your tech trees?

A1: We chose to exclude aircraft such as the F-111, F-14, Tornado, MiG-23, and others from the tech trees because we felt that these planes are far beyond WT’s immediate future of the next ~2 years. There is already a tremendous scope of aircraft to add to the game as illustrated by each tech tree, with plenty of more advanced weapons systems and capabilities that accompany Vietnam aircraft, to say nothing of intermediate late ‘50s jets between the Korean and Vietnam Wars. Maybe this will be something to pursue in Revision 3 of the Tech Tree Project, but for now, pushing this far into the future is rather pointless.

Q2: Why aren’t modern subsonic attackers such as the A-10 and Su-25 included in the tech trees since they don’t present a performance imbalance?

A2: While it is true that these aircraft (and others such as the AMX A-11A and Dornier Alpha Jet) fit the general performance guidelines of Tier 5/6, placing them in the tech tree is a bit difficult due to their mediocre flying characteristics as fighters yet strong battle capabilities such as modern, advanced A2G/A2A missiles and other weapons systems. Furthermore, we believe that adding modern attackers like these would compromise the ethos of various eras in jet aviation we’re trying to represent: Korean War, early Cold War (i.e. late ‘50s), and Vietnam. They just don’t quite make sense given the timeframe of other jet additions proposed by these trees. Also consider that this project is entirely aimed at projecting the future of aviation in regards to Air RB, not Ground/Combined RB. Although even if we take alternative modes such as those into account, we believe that there are plenty of other highly suitable options on each tree to satisfy fans of CAS.

Q3: Why isn’t X obscure variant of Y plane model in the tech tree?

A3: We chose the most historically significant variants of each major plane (and many prototypes where necessary!) from the mid/late 1930s all the way through the Vietnam War. For example, it’d be pointless to include the F7F-4N Tigercat in our tree even if it was the final Tigercat variant. Only 12 units were built, and it’s simply irrelevant to history compared to the F7F-3N which participated in the Korean War as a nightfighter. This same line of logic goes for the rest of our tech trees, but if you have a question about a specific variant and our rationale for excluding it, feel free to ask away in the comments.

Q4 (kinda): I found a mistake in your tech trees/changelog and think you guys are the worst people ever.

A4: If you found a mistake or oversight we might’ve made, please point it out and we’ll try to correct it as quickly as possible!

The FAQ section will be expanded if necessary, depending on reader interest.

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