Players review bombed War Thunder to 93% negative reviews to make devs finally address controversial economy changes

Review bombing is often considered useless and destructive behavior, but War Thunder players have come out as a united front against the recent monetization changes. Thousands of community members forced developer Gaijin Entertainment to back down and listen to the criticism.

War Thunder monetization changes result in 93% negative reviews on Steam from angry players

What happened?

  • On May 16, Gaijin Entertainment released a new server update for War Thunder introducing major changes to the game’s economics and monetization. The post has since been edited to reflect the studio’s decision to roll back the economic changes, but the original version is still available on the Wayback Machine.
  • Gaijin initially planned to change free repair time, as well as research and purchase costs of some vehicles. In short, this update was against players who don’t spend real money on War Thunder, making the game more pay-to-win than free-to-play.
  • As one War Thunder player explained to PC Gamer, the game was “essentially forcing players to research minor variations of vehicles that they weren’t before, artificially increasing the grind by about 20%, at least.”
  • Players didn’t like the update even at the announcement stage, but Gaijin ignored the criticism and implemented all the changes as planned.
  • The community, however, didn’t want to give up and organized an online campaign against the studio, forming the War Thunder Player Union (it currently has over 13k members) and creating a dedicated Discord channel.
  • As a result, thousands of players teamed up to review bomb War Thunder as a last resort against the developers who didn’t want to listen to the community on the offical forums.
  • War Thunder currently has an “Overwhelmingly Negative” rating on Steam. Over the past 30 days, users left over 98k reviews, with only 7% of them being positive. The lifetime rating has dropped to “Mixed” (59% positive reviews).

Here is what one user with over 2,000 hours played wrote in their recent Steam review: “In it’s current state, I wouldn’t recommend this game to anybody. That might seem hypocritical considering my hours spent in this game, but believe me. It’s new players who suffer the most. Gaijin doesn’t care about me, you, or the playerbase. Don’t make the same mistake as me. Find another game that values your input, and respects your time.”

How did Gaijin Entertainment react to the War Thunder review bombing?

  • On May 19, Gaijin reverted most of the changes introduced in the latest update. The studio promised to be more transparent with players in the future, pledging to revise War Thunder’s economy in a dedicated update scheduled for this summer.
  • This message, however, didn’t stop the review bombing. On May 20, Gaijin creative director Kirill Yudintsev made a new post on Steam, saying that “the less you have to pay to play the game, the more differently priced paid options it should have, so that those who can afford it can spend more, and those who can’t or don’t want to can play for free and have fun.”
  • He also addressed the review bombing, urging players to stop this behavior. “If your goal is not to hurt the game, please use other, less destructive ways. For example, leave feedback in our forum, and suggestions specifically about the economy we are inviting in the feedback form,” Yudintsev wrote, adding that “if the game is shut down, no one wins.”
  • In the comments, many users noted that the studio simply doesn’t listen to forum feedback, especially when it is related to monetization and in-game ecomony. “[These issues] get ignored, deleted, and solid evidence is turned away for no reason,” one player wrote.
  • Following the massive review bombing campaign, Gaijin suddenly removed a Steam logo from the list of supported platforms on its official website.

The current version of the War Thunder website vs. the cached one

  • On May 23, Gaijin posted a new statement, extending its “sincerest apologies” to all players and acknowledging that it failed to adequately address monetization concerns.
  • The studio also promised to share a detailed roadmap for the upcoming changes by June 14. “We are truly sorry for the disappointment and frustration that we have caused,” the message reads. “We commit to you that we are doing everything we can to improve the game, and regain your trust.”
  • This didn’t stop the review bombing process, as nearly 7,000 new negative reviews have already appeared today. But some players accepted the apologies, hoping that Gaijin will keep its words this time.
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