War Thunder, an immersive massively multiplayer online game featuring real World War II aircraft and military hardware for an authentic combat simulation experience with millions of other players worldwide, allows players to pilot planes, tanks and warships against one another in realistic combat simulation. Unfortunately, one aspect of War Thunder may have become out of hand: players have uploaded confidential or restricted weapon systems from tanks to fighters repeatedly without authorization or disclosure by developers.
RanchSauce 39 posted a manual for an F-16A Fighting Falcon fighter jet on a War Thunder forum this week, including technical data that should not have been exported. While quickly removed by forum moderators, it wasn’t the first time classified information made its way onto its forums; back in 2021 a player who claimed to be from British Army tank commander used these forums to reveal specific technical specifications about LeClerc main battle tank in order to argue how it was represented within War Thunder game.
War Thunder is free-to-play, yet offers options for real-world currency purchases to speed up research processes and purchase vehicles and upgrades faster. The game’s economy rewards players with Silver Lions (virtual currency that can be spent after games on equipment purchases) and Research Points, needed to unlock new vehicles or units – though players have complained that its developers have slowly altered its economics to make its rewards less valuable and more expensive.
Gaijin, the developer behind War Thunder Player Union, says they strive to meet both player demands and the studio’s need to expand and enhance the game in an equitable manner. While Gaijin acknowledges making some unpopular changes sometimes, and that not everyone may approve every time there’s a change, their explanation has been met with hostility by players; many have formed the War Thunder Player Union and threatened boycott action against Gaijin over this decision.
Protests were ignited by announcements seen as attempts to increase revenue from gaming. Gaijin recently implemented changes to how players earn rewards for winning matches, altering how much Silver Lions a player receives following victories and mandating players spend real-world money to unlock premium vehicles and units. As this move could alienate a significant segment of free-to-play gamers and lead them away from War Thunder, its player union created their own Discord channel and organized a boycott starting May 26. Responding to these demands, the developer has pledged to reverse some of the recent changes; it remains unclear as to how that will take place, however. Meanwhile, player union has pledged to bring its protest against these recent modifications directly to Steam where the game can be found under “Arcade”, while also creating its own website and YouTube channel in response.