World of Warplanes follows the logic of other Wargaming games and probably a few other MMO’s out there, that have the player start on a low tier and move up through tiers, but not by leveling up player’s character, but by moving to a higher tier of warplanes. Wargaming’s logic is that all vehicles should be divided in 10 tiers, with each tier having more power, better warplanes, higher earnings and higher costs as well. Additionally, besides tiers, planes are also divided in 4 classes – fighters, carrier based fighters, heavy fighters and ground attack aircraft.
Here, we will talk about the first 3 tiers that all the newbies will have to go through, and which some may like to stay on for fun, especially those that are fans of biplanes. Note that we will only talk about standard planes, researchable with experience gained through battles, and not the premium warplanes which are bought for real money, those we’ll talk about some other time.
1. Tier I – The starter planes
The tier in which all the players get to start their Warplane adventure, it features 4 planes, one for each nation, all 4 of them classed as fighters. The common characteristic of these planes is that they do not have any repair cost, making them excellent tier for learning the basics.
1.1. Arado Ar 65 – German Fighter
Probably the best choice of all starter planes, it features the best weapons on its tier, it’s quite fast and the most durable as well with 55 hit points, more than any other standard tier I plane. Its downside is the fact it turns slightly worse than the others, meaning it’s not going to be the favorite in turn combats, but apart from those, it should perform excellent compared to its peers.
1.2. Polikarpov I-5 – Soviet Fighter
Right after the best choice, we’re getting straight to the probable worst choice. The Soviet starter features 2nd best firepower, but that’s all when it comes to advantages. As for disadvantages, it’s the slowest, by quite a margin compared to the rest, and it doesn’t exactly turn that well either, making it poor in almost all the situations.
1.3. Boeing P-12 – American Fighter
While the German and the Soviet relied on hard hitting guns and in German’s case, durability and speed, the P-12 is all about maneuverability and speed. Its guns are weak, and its durability means it’s the single fastest plane to go boom once shot at and hit in World of Warplanes. The key to success in this plane is simply to avoid being shot in the first place, and to use the awesome agility to keep behind the enemy and slowly but steadily take it out with its weakish guns. That pretty much does not make it newbie friendly, but it still rivals the Ar 65 for best tier I.
1.4. Nakajima Type-91 – Japanese Fighter
The only non-biplane in tier I, and it happens to be very similar performance-wise to its American counterpart. It’s more durable so it won’t go down that easy when shot, but it also features very slightly weaker guns, it’s a bit slower and turns a bit less good, but still better than the other 2. It’s probably a better choice for the newbies for the very reason that it can take a bit more beating, at the price of performing tiny bit worse in all other areas, but still, weak guns do not make it easy for newbies as well.
2. Tier II – Where branching starts
At the moment of writing this article, WoWp features 7 aircraft branches, 2 for each nation except for Japan which currently has only a single branch. All the branches in the tech tree start on Tier II, with tier I acting as tree’s root from which the players can advance to each branch.
There are currently 3 Fighter, 2 Carrier-Based Figther, 1 heavy fighter and 1 Ground Attack Aircraft branches in the game. Germany has the only Heavy Fighter branch along with one of the fighters, Soviets feature the only ground attack branch along with another one of the fighters, Americans have a carrier-based fighter branch along with a fighter branch, and Japan’s only branch features carrier-based fighters (despite its tier I being classified as a fighter)
2.1. Arado Ar 68 – German Fighter
A continuation of Ar 65 logic that says, be the fastest, punch hardest, take a lot of beating and don’t care too much about turning. It’s well armed with 4 hard hitting machine-guns, it’s quite fast, pretty much the fastest on its tier, and its hit points are good as well. On the other hand it does sacrifice some of the maneuverability that other tier 2 fighters poses, so in a way, it’s very similar in performance to its tier I counterpart.
2.2. AGO Ao 192 Kurier – German Heavy Fighter
The first of the Heavy Fighters, and only one in its tier, therefore not really comparable with other aircraft in it. Generally, heavy fighters feature strong weapons, high speed and bad maneuverability, along with very durable hulls. The first one of them is not a really good representative of those characteristics. It does feature a relatively durable hull and bad maneuverability, but to that it adds weak guns and generally low speed, making it not a really impressive plane overall. It does feature a decent bomb-load so it’s able to deal some nasty damage to ground targets, along with a rear gunner that isn’t quite useful though it’s better than nothing, but that does not make it much better.
2.3. Polikarpov I-15 – Soviet Fighter
A successor to I-5, this biplane tries hard to worthy succeed I-5 as the worst plane in its tier. It features almost no durability, meaning it will go down almost as fast as Tier I airplanes, and having the exact same machine-guns that the I-5 had, it really doesn’t excel in firepower either. However, it is able to mount 2 rockets, making it unique in Tier 2 as the only plane able to do that, but that’s not going to be of much help to relatively new players in the game, since rockets aren’t easy to use properly against air targets, do not do much damage against ground targets, and significantly reduce agility of the plane till they’re launched, and that is a major issue in the plane whose only strong point is agility, with good speed and excellent maneuverability. It’s really not an easy plane to master, but it can do well in experienced pilot’s hands.
2.4. Kochyerigin TSh-1 – Soviet Ground Attack Aircraft
The idea behind GA Aircraft is that they’re significantly more durable than others in their tiers (and beyond), extremely well armed, at the price of being slow and poorly maneuverable. These are the typical bomber aircraft, and as such, TSh-1 is an excellent example of them. It’s as durable as tier 5 – 6 fighters, it’s armed with 10 machine-guns making sure that anything that gets in front of it will regret that mistake, whether it’s another aircraft or a ground target. Ironically, this GAA does not carry any bombs, completely relying on its guns to do all the damage. A rear gunner is also available on this aircraft featuring 2 more guns firing at those pesky fighters trying to bring it down. On the other hand, this plane wins the title of slowest and the most poor at turning plane in the game, making it quite an easy target to hit and unable to run, also not allowing it to reach its targets fast. Overall, it’s an interesting plane to fly, those that follow the rule to keep their targets in front of them at all times should do well with it.
2.5. Curtiss P-23 – American Fighter
Successor to P-12, it continues with the logic of fast and highly maneuverable warplane, with weak guns. It does not continue P-12′s weak durability trend, in fact it’s quite durable. Its armament is not really impressive, with only a slight improvement over Tier I. Although the plane’s quite speedy, it’s not exactly the most maneuverable in its class, though it’s still quite maneuverable, so it can be said that this plane sacrificed some of its agility for more durability. It’s neither the best, nor the worst that tier II has to offer.
2.6. Grumman F2F – American Carrier-Based Fighter
Carrier-Based Fighters are in reality quite similar to regular fighters, though they tend to be somewhat better against ground targets at times. F2F is an excellent example of that, especially when compared to P-23. They feature the exact same guns, making the equally deadly to air targets, but F2F can also mount 2 bombs for ground targets, which P-23 can not do. If the player decides to run the plane in no-bombs configuration, it actually becomes superior or equal to P-23 in every way – Same guns, more speed, more durability, better maneuverability. In fact, it’s the fastest plane of its tier and the most durable non-heavy fighter/non-GAA in its tier. The maneuverability itself is still not that special but decent, and the weapons are poor, being the same as on P-23. It’s pretty much one of the best planes in its tier.
2.7. Nakajima A4N – Japanese Carrier-Based Fighter
The only Japanese biplane in the game, in performance it’s very similar to the Soviet I-15 fighter, with them having near identical guns (horrible in both cases) and maneuverability (excellent in both cases), slightly better speed and slightly better durability, though still not that much. Unlike the I-15, A4N can’t carry rockets, but it can carry 2 small bombs, making it somewhat able to attack ground targets, but at the price of reduced speed and maneuverability, which might be something you do not want to lose in this plane, as it’s really the only thing it’s got. Overall, it’s really not a good plane, but it’s not the worst either.
3. Tier III – The Sacrificed Tier
This tier features the warplanes of the pre-World War II period, some of which being quite heavily used in the early stages of the war. However this tier can be considered sacrificed due to the game’s matchmaking, that makes the tier III the only tier that is always forced to compete against aircraft of higher tier. Tier I faces only other tier I planes, or Tier I and Tier II battles. Tier II gets in battles with Tier II and I planes, along with IV-III-II battles. Tier III can only face either IV-III-II, or V-IV-III battles. Why is it like this at the moment is unknown, but it’s speculated it’s cause of the lack of players in lower tiers during the beta and hopefully it will be changed before the game’s release, as it makes tier III very hard to play, knowing you’re always going to be the underdog. But, lets get to the planes.
3.1. Arado Ar 80 – German Fighter
A decent fighter, that quite differs from it’s predecessor. Instead of going for the balanced approach, the focus is now primarily set on speed and somewhat on durability as well, as this is one of the fastest and most armored fighters in its tier. It’s armament is interesting, as it introduces the player for the first time to 20mm cannons, which are quite deadly and hard hitting, but this plane carries only a single one which overheats so fast that it’s very hard to use, overall making its firepower low. Maneuverability is sacrificed even more so than in the previous tiers, so this plane is definitely not meant to win turn engagements, instead it’s meant to outrun opponents. It’s not a bad plane, but there are better ones.
3.2. Focke-Wulf Fw 57 – German Heavy Fighter
Or perhaps we should call it giant fighter, being the largest aircraft in the game at the moment. It still does not follow the doctrine of heavy fighters, being under-armed, though packing a decent punch both frontally and behind with 20mm cannon mounted for the gunner. Still, it’s outgunned by most other planes in its tier, and even if it was not, its guns are pretty inaccurate and hard to aim due to the sheer size of the plane. It is quite durable, and relatively fast, but still not fast enough, and you can imagine how bad it turns as well. It does however pack an impressive bomb-load of 6 heavy bombs, making this plane more of a GAA than a heavy fighter. It also features a third crew member besides pilot and rear gunner, the navigator. Overall, it’s a decent bomber, but a terrible fighter.
3.3. Polikarpov I-16 (early mod.) – Soviet Fighter
Did somebody say, more rockets? Cause now you get to fire up to 4 of them if you believe you should sacrifice speed and agility of your plane for doing slight damage to ground targets or instant-killing airplanes if you learned how to hit them by now. If we disregard the rockets, we get an actually decent fighter. It’s well armed, kinda slow but not too much, quite maneuverable though not the best, and it’s only true weakness is durability, hit it a bit, and it goes down before you know it. Still, it performs rather decently, and in good hands, it can do a lot of damage. Not the best, not the worst plane out there. Closer to best than worst though.
3.4. Kochyerigin TSh-3 – Soviet Ground Attack Aircraft
New from Kochyerigin, bombs. Yup, this GAA actually has them, unlike the previous version, and it’s dropped the biplane design as well. Other than that, it’s pretty much the same plane, just improved in every aspect, so now it’s as durable as some tier X fighters, it’s still armed with 10 machine-guns but these pack an even bigger punch then the previous ones, it’s still slow as hell, and it’s still as agile as a brick. Anything that gets in front of it will be mercilessly destroyed, but it’s overall agility will make sure that doesn’t happen too often. An excellent bomber, but suffers worst of all tier III planes from the MM sacrificing, as higher tier fighters destroy it with ease.
3.5. Curtiss Hawk 75M – American Fighter
A worthy representative of American fighter line. It’s fastest plane in its tier, it’s the most durable of fighters, and it’s armed with many little guns that attempt to bring down the enemy in “death by 1000 cuts” style. All this at the cost of agility, making the plane turn rather sluggish, but if you get in a turn fight using this plane, you’re simply doing it wrong, it’s not going to outturn the other fighters, but it sure will outrun them, and with it’s powerful numerous guns, it will be a huge threat to anything that comes in front of it. It’s quite a well fighter, that relies on speed to win battles for it.
3.6. Grumman F3F – American Carrier-Based Fighter
A continuation of the tier II F2F. It’s a quite decent CB fighter, although slightly under-armed compared to most of its peers, it does feature excellent durability and maneuverability, with quite decent speed as well. It also features 2 bombs, handy for some early game ground attacking, though not major enough to cause lots of damage to the enemy ground forces. The biggest issue with this airplane is its armament, with just 2 guns, though relatively good ones, it’ll take a long time to actually bring any target down, and that can be quite an issue. Still, even with that flaw, this is one of the better planes in its tier.
3.7. Mitsubishi A5M – Japanese Carried-Based Fighter
Speaking of under-armed, the Japanese have managed to outdone everyone else, as their tier III CB fighter has weapons on par with tier I warplanes of other nations, and that makes this warplane horrible. Yes it is very fast, yes it is extremely maneuverable, but all of that becomes irrelevant when you figure out no matter how much you shoot, that plane in front of you will not go down, mostly due to the fact your guns do nothing but scratch the paint. And it doesn’t help at all that it’s also as durable as some of the weaker tier II’s, meaning that the only warplane this plane is able to actually shoot down in its own tier, is itself when it encounters it in the opposing team. It does also carry 2 small bombs, that do minor damage to ground targets, but those are highly not recommended to use as they eliminate the agility of this plane, and agility is pretty much the only thing it has at the moment. Unless this plane gets a massive firepower buff, it’s going to stay by far the worst plane in its tier.
And with this, we end our journey through the first 3 tiers of World of Warplanes. There are some really neat warplanes there, some rather interesting, and some that you’ll just want to skip over as soon as possible, but in the end, it can be said that there’s plenty of fun these tiers can offer to both the newbies and the seasoned players as well
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