World of Warplanes Basic Gameplay Guide

World of Warplanes Basic Gameplay Guide by CrashTailspin

In the past year that I have been a part of the World of Warplanes project, more and more players have been entering the game.  With this comes a variety of skill levels, from very basic aircraft knowledge, to actual real-life air-to-air combat experience.

This guide is written to help any level of player increase their skills in World of Warplanes aerial combat.  These ideas are very generalized – they DO NOT pertain to a specific aircraft, but to the gameplay as a whole.

Included are four primary concepts that players can improve on to increase their odds of victory.  This list is by no means complete, and many concepts interlace with others.  I have tried my best to compartmentalize each concept, but bleed-through to others was inevitable.

Also, this thread will be updated periodically to further improve the information.

With that, feel free to leave constructive (yet short) criticism!

General Concept and Control Setup

What’s the one main thing that every player wants to experience when playing a game, be it World of Warplanes, World of Tanks, SimCity, Monopoly, Solitaire, etc.?  Answer:  FUN!  When it comes to an air combat game, the one thing that will run the so-called “fun factor” is a lack of understanding of the game’s controls.

In order to minimize misunderstanding of control use and response, I recommend every player follow these guidelines before entering a Player vs Player battle:

  • Determine which control profile you will use
  • Experiment with the default control settings
  • Adjust the control settings to your liking
  • Practice with your chosen settings in multiple single battles to get the “feel” of WOWP combat

Engagement Priorities

Aerial combat in World of Warplanes varies significantly from World of Tanks.  Engagements are quick, tactical, and require much quicker thinking and situational awareness than WoT.  A player who blindly plods along attempting to attack stationary targets will quickly find themselves pounced on by the more observant enemy.  Even the player who can effectively accumulate numerous ground attack kills will eventually fail without support because the rest of the team will have perished.

Therefore, a player’s priorities in a dogfight should be as such:

  • Help your teammates to survive
  • Eliminate the enemy’s ability to destroy
  • Destroy the enemy

Many of these concepts happen simultaneously, and the lines between each priority can get blurry.  However, survival must be your utmost priority.  As long as you’re alive and flying, you have the ability to destroy the enemy – and the ability to win the match.  Once your aircraft is destroyed, you no longer have this ability.  Your teammates have this same ability, and keeping them alive is second only to keeping yourself alive.

If this means ending the pursuit of an enemy in order to clear a friendly aircraft’s tail, then that should be your new priority, however random or “not right” it may feel.  Remember, battles can be won by destruction of the enemy, even if they have supremacy on their side.


First and foremost, communication is key!  Contrary to what some people may think, victory does not come from 15 individuals acting singularly, there is some form of teamwork happening, even if nothing is said or coordinated.  Need proof?  Count how many times you see multiple friendlies trying at attack a single target.  Believe it or not, that’s teamwork.

And the more you can communicate, the better your teamwork will be.  And THAT leads to more victories, personally as well as team-wide.  So here are the tools WOWP pilots can use to improve teamwork:

  • Voice Communication:  For goodness sake people, PLEASE turn this feature on!  Even if you don’t have a mic, it still allows you to hear what other team members are saying.  In a dogfight, it takes too long to type a pertinent message.  Speaking it is significantly quicker, even if you can’t give a response.  To turn on Voice Communication:
    • Press Esc to open the game menu.
    • Choose “Settings”
    • Choose the Volume tab
    • Check the box labeled “Enable Voice Chat”
  • FORM A PLAN, no matter how basic:  Many times, a team will have a combination of light fighters, heavy fighters, carrier-based fighters, and ground attack aircraft.  Oftentimes, nearly every aircraft will head in the same direction, which proves to be not nearly as effective or efficient as sending out two or three smaller groups to cover the entire map faster.  This allows for more rapid destruction of ground targets, spotting of enemy aircraft, etc.
  • Make use of map ping and F-keys:  Many players do not make use of any of these.  They are both easy, quick ways of drawing attention to either a specific location on the map, confirming another player’s communique, or requesting assistance.

Situational Awareness

The vast majority of players have only a basic sense of situational awareness.  I believe this comes from either a non- or mis-understanding of some of the in-game indicators which help determine where the enemy aircraft and ground targets are in relation to their aircraft.  Here are a few concepts a player can use to improve their situational awareness:

Minimap / Radar Use:  The ability to toggle between the minimap and radar is crucial to understanding the “big picture” of the battle.  This is toggled by using the “N” key.  At the onset of a battle, it is useful to know which direction friendly aircraft are proceeding.  However, once a close-in dogfight begins, switching to the radar is a helpful way to see more closely how and where the enemy aircraft are positioned in relation to you.  And knowing whether an enemy aircraft is flying level, turning, above, or below you is critical to knowing what maneuver is best for gaining the advantage.

  • Filled arrows indicate that an aircraft is below you
  • Hollow arrows indicate that an aircraft is above you

HUD Symbols & Snap to Target:  These are pretty easy to understand, but combining it with the Radar / Minimap makes them even more powerful.  As previously stated, hollow or solid arrows indicate the relative altitude of an enemy aircraft to your own.  By using the Snap to Target button, you can see exactly how the enemy is maneuvering in relation to your aircraft.

Energy Management

Many players new to aerial combat are unaware or only have a vague idea of the aerodynamic concept of “Energy”.  In very basic terms, energy is what the aircraft expends when it performs aerial maneuvers.  The total energy of an aircraft is the total of its kinetic energy (speed) and potential energy (altitude).

Altitude (potential energy) can be thought of as stored energy – that is, you can use it to increase your speed (by initiating a dive), but once it’s gone, you need to replenish it.

Airspeed (kinetic energy) is much more ambiguous – you have a limited amount of stored speed (provided you are not at full throttle and full boost), but this can be spent as well, when the pilot performs any type of high-G maneuvering.

There are a few general rules that effective pilots adhere to:

  • At the onset of every match, gain as much altitude (potential energy) as you can without sacrificing too much speed (kinetic energy)
  • Attempt to expend as little energy as possible during the engagement.
  • Regain spent energy as quickly as the situation allows

Remember, there is no maneuver which “creates” energy.  A dive expends potential energy.  A high-bank turn expends kinetic energy.  Therefore, it is always advantageous to regain altitude and speed as soon as possible.  The aircraft with the most energy in an engagement is usually the winner.

Try to plan as many of your maneuvers as possible with energy usage in mind.  Look at these examples:

Scenario 1:  You are engaged with an enemy in a continuous turning battle, and elect to break from the engagement by initiating a climb.  However, your turning has already used up most of your available energy.  Therefore, your ability to climb is greatly reduced, and will hang in a near-stalled condition, making it an easy target for the pursuing enemy.  A better option would be to use as much boost as possible in conjunction with a shallow dive to increase your energy state as much as possible (a greater gain in kinetic energy than loss in potential energy) to extend away from the attacker.

Scenario 2:  You locate and engage an enemy from a higher altitude, then climb steeply away from the target.  Provided you performed this maneuver with sufficient airspeed and without boost, you should be able to climb away from the enemy utilizing your large amount of energy (stored boost + high airspeed), leaving the enemy no chance of catching you.

Scenario 3:  You engage an enemy flying perpendicular to you (high deflection angle), but your initial attack run failed.  While many players may initiate a tight turn at the opponent’s altitude to position themselves behind the enemy, this maneuver is wasteful in terms of energy, placing you at a potentially unequal energy state as compared to the enemy.  A better solution would be to perform a half loop, re-engaging the enemy from a higher altitude (more stored potential energy) and diving onto the enemy, giving you the advantage of speed, allowing you to plan another attack if necessary.


Many players choose an aircraft because it is very maneuverable, or it has a lot of firepower, or it takes a lot of punishment.  However, quite often players do not follow the specific role of their aircraft, or how their aircraft fits into the team as a whole.  Here are a few concepts that players can utilize in order to achieve team victory:

Understand your aircraft’s role, and analyze your team:  By analyzing your team’s aircraft make-up, you will be in a better position to do the maximum “good” for your team.  This can be ambiguous, and can vary from match to match.

  • For example, many fighters can carry rockets.  Carrier-based fighters can even carry bombs.  However, this does not require you to attack ground targets.  Aircraft such as the I-16 late mod, F4F, and P-51A are all capable of carrying rockets.  However, they are also excellent dogfighting aircraft.
  • Heavy fighters are even more variable.  While many carry two or more bombs, if the team has two or more ground attack aircraft, attacking ground targets effectively negates the abilities of the GA aircraft.  While targeting ground targets further away from the starting point would help, a more effective role, in this case, for the heavy fighters would be to engage other heavy fighters or ground attack aircraft, clearing the way for the friendly GAs.

Understand your aircraft’s abilities:  This ties into the “understand your aircraft’s role”.  Most light fighters do not have the firepower to effectively attack ground targets, and therefore are best suited to dogfighting.  Conversely, most ground attack aircraft are too slow and cumbersome to effectively dogfight.  This is not to say that they can’t; however, their forte lies elsewhere.  The point here is that, at the start of the battle, you know where to initially proceed – either gaining altitude or diving for the deck.

Additionally, most aircraft can carry external ordinance.  This weighs your aircraft down, adversely effecting the aircraft’s performance.  Bear this in mind when attempting to perform certain maneuvers.  If you’re in a carrier-based fighter, and required to dogfight – dump your ordinance and start dogfighting!

Conditions for Victory

While this seems fairly obvious (kill all the enemy aircraft or achieve supremacy), some players seem to be going about it in a less than efficient manner.  This leads back to the “knowing your role”, “knowing your aircraft” type of thing.

Example:  Fighters with rockets.  Simply because you have rockets, you are not REQUIRED to attack ground targets.  If there are other aircraft more capable of destroying ground targets, LET THEM!  Use your aircraft’s maneuverability to either cover the heavy fighters / GA aircraft, or at least pose a distraction so your team’s HF / GAs can reach the enemy headquarters, where ground kills are plentiful.

Also, good ground attack is not enough to secure victory.  While destroying all the ground targets does increase the rate of superiority gain, it does not negate the fact that there are other enemy aircraft out there.  An effective team needs to take the ABILITY of the enemy to destroy ground targets and friendly aircraft.

Other World of Warplanes Articles
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Useful Tips
Stellaris Beating The Contingency Guide
Overwatch D.Va Micro Missiles Guide
Destiny Legendary Guns Comprehensive Guide
Destiny Savathun’s Song Nightfall Guide
Destiny Ghost Shell List By Type and Location
Starting To Dress Well In-Depth Guide
How To Grow Any Instagram Account Guide
Mobile Legends Split Pushing Guide
Mobile Legends Outplaying Your Opponent Guide
Mobile Legends Using Skeleton King Effectively Guide
Mobile Legends Advanced and Hidden Mechanics
Mobile Legends Items And Stats List
Mobile Legends Zhao Yun Guide
Mobile Legends Yi Sun-Shin AP/ADC Hybrid Guide
Mobile Legends Tigreal Guide
Mobile Legends Tigreal Tips and Builds
Mobile Legends Saber Tips
Mobile Legends Saber Guide
Mobile Legends Ruby Glorious Legends Guide
Mobile Legends Ruby Tank Build Guide
Mobile Legends Ruby Guide
Mobile Legends Ruby Tips
Mobile Legends Roger Guide
Mobile Legends Rafaela Basics and Fun Builds Guide
Mobile Legends Rafaela Tips
Mobile Legends Rafaela Ice Build Guide
Mobile Legends Natalia Solo Queue Guide
Mobile Legends Nana AD Carry Build
Mobile Legends Nana Support Build
Mobile Legends Moskov GL Guide
Mobile Legends Moskov Guide
Mobile Legends Miya Solo Q Carry Guide
Mobile Legends Minotaur Guide
Mobile Legends Lolita Guide
Mobile Legends Layla GL Guide
Mobile Legends Karina Guide
Mobile Legends Kagura Guide
Mobile Legends Johnson Guide
Mobile Legends Harley Quick Guide
Mobile Legends Gord Build
Mobile Legends Franco Guide
Mobile Legends Fanny Tips
Mobile Legends Fanny Hybrid Guide
Mobile Legends Eudora Epic Guide
Mobile Legends Eudora Guide
Mobile Legends Estes Guide
Mobile Legends Jungle Cyclops Fast Guide
Mobile Legends Cyclops Legend Guide
Mobile Legends Clint Guide
Mobile Legends Chou Legend In-depth Guide
Mobile Legends Chou Legend Guide
Mobile Legends Bruno Build Guide
Mobile Legends Bane Guide
Mobile Legends Alucard Rank Burst Build Guide
Mobile Legends Alucard Guide
Mobile Legends Alice Guide
Mobile Legends Alpha Guide
Mobile Legends Solo Q Guide
Mobile Legends How to Climb the Ladder Guide
Mobile Legends Solo Ranked to GL Guide
Mobile Legends Marksmen Tips
Mobile Legends Useful Tips
Mobile Legends New Player Mistakes to Avoid
Mobile Legends Tips for Ranked Games
Mobile Legends Basic Tips and Guide to Playing Better
Mobile Legends Lane Management Guide
Mobile Legends Picking Your Main Role Guide
Mobile Legends Team Composition and Set Up Guide
Clash Royale Ladder Climbing Psychology Guide
Clash Royale Sparkynado Guide
Fortnite Character Tier List
Vainglory Reaching Bronze Guide
Clash Royale Spell Bait Deck Guide
Clash Royale Princess Ultimate Guide
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Hidden Mechanics and Tips
Clash Royale Cannon Cart Guide
Overwatch Soldier 76 Training Complete Resources List
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Solo Guide from Rank 500 Player
CS:GO Max FPS Nvidia 3D Settings
Overwatch Self Destruct Detailed Guide
Overwatch Finding the Correct Sensitivity Guide
Overwatch Aiming Better Complete Guide
Overwatch Choosing Crosshairs Guide
Albion Online PvP Combat and Weapons T4 Transition Guide
Albion Online Mage Weapons Guide
Albion Online Warrior Weapons Guide
Albion Online Hunter Weapons Guide
Rocket League Skills Needed To Rank Up To Gold
Albion Online Gathering Complete Guide
Albion Online Gathering Beginner to Expert Tips
PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Solo Player’s In-Depth Guide
Overwatch Playing With Sombra On Your Team Guide
League of Legends Riven Kit and Combos Complete Guide
Clash Royale Terminology and Dictionary
Overwatch Grandmaster Roadhog Guide
Overwatch Sombra Tips and Guide
Vainglory Heroes and Roles Guide
Brawl Stars Bo Guide
Mobile Legends Lapu-Lapu Best Build Guide
World of Warships Yorck Guide
Brawl Stars Beginner’s Guide
Clash Royale How to Datamine Guide
Clash Royale The Log In-depth Guide
Clash Royale Trophy Pushing and Tilt Avoiding Guide
Clash Royale Snowballing Strategy Guide
Overwatch D.Va Advanced Guide
World of Warships Operations 5 Stars Guide
Overwatch Beating Legendary Uprising Full Guide
Overwatch Headshot Hitbox Guide
CS:GO Being An In Game Leader (IGL) Guide
CS:GO Improving For All Players In Depth Guide
Overwatch Pharah Rocket Aiming and Predictions Guide
Overwatch Pharah Target Priorities Guide
Clash Royale Knight In Depth Guide
How To Pay Less For Clothes Guide
Light Jackets Comprehensive Men’s Fashion Guide
World of Warships Torpedo Reaction Time List
Clash Royale Using Off Meta Decks Guide
Clash Royale Freeze Spell Ultimate Guide
Clash Royale EsoPa Miner Poison Deck Guide
Clash Royale Macro Play and Decision Making Guide
Clash Royale Why Are Low Elixir Cost Cards ‘Better’?
Clash Royale Lane Sealing Guide
Clash Royale Card Synergies Ultimate Guide
Clash Royale Building A Draft Challenge Deck for 12 Wins
Overwatch Winston Complete Guide
Steam How to Download Older Versions Of Games
Yu-Gi-Oh! Flower Cardians Guide
World of Warships New Captain Skills Guide
Overwatch Zenyatta In-Depth Guide
Heroes of the Storm Alarak Guide
Heroes of the Storm Nazeebo Guide
Heroes of the Storm Lucio Beginner’s Guide
Pokemon Go Defeating Blissey Guide
FIFA 17 Getting One Million Coins Guide
FIFA 17 Bronze Pack Method Guide
Overwatch Pharah Tips Versus Hit Scans
Clash Royale Graveyard Basic Guide
Overwatch Sombra Map Viability Guide
Overwatch Using Whole Hog Guide
Battlefield 1 Tanker Tips and Tricks
FIFA 17 Useful Tips for All Players
Pokemon Sun and Moon Breeding Shiny Pokemon Guide
Overwatch Why You Are Not Getting Healed
Clash Royale Lane Pressure Comprehensive Guide
Clash Royale Countering Graveyard Freeze Combo Guide
Clash Royale Pekka Guide
Overwatch Advanced Tips from a Master Player
Clash Royale Bomber Guide
Clash Royale Goblin Barrel Guide
Overwatch Working With Your Healers Guide
Battlefield 1 Medic Guns Guide
FFXIV Savage Raiding Tips
Puzzle & Dragons Radar Dragons Guide
RuneScape Merching Guide
Pokemon Sun and Moon Post Game Activities List
Pokemon Sun and Moon Competitive Breeding Guide
Overwatch 3v3 Mode Comprehensive Guide
MapleStory V Matrix Optimization Guide for All Classes
LoL AD Carry Laning Tips
Clash Royale Deck Building Tips from Pros
Heroes of the Storm Tips for Ranked Play
Pokemon Go Tips for Playing More Efficiently
Overwatch Roadhog In-Depth Guide
Heroes of the Storm Abathur Advanced Tips
Heroes of the Storm Common Hero Mistakes
Overwatch Roadhog Tips and Tricks
Paragon Jungling Tips
Paragon Countess Build and Guide
LoL Leaguecraft 101 Summaries
Pokemon Sun and Moon Poke Pelago Comprehensive Guide
LoL How To Un-tilt Yourself Guide
Clash Royale Inferno Dragon Strategy Guide
Clash Royale Counter Elite Barbarians Guide
Battlefield 1 Destroying Heavy Tanks Guide
Clash Royale Electro Wizard Challenge Tips
Paragon Carry Role Murdock Guide
Paragon Countess Ability Penetration Guide
Paragon Bronze To Top 100 Advice
Paragon Complete Cards List
Paragon Ward Placement Guide
Pokemon Sun and Moon Making Most of Festival Plaza
Heroes of the Storm Rexxar Guide
Heroes of the Storm Climbing Out of Low Ranks Guide
Heroes of the Storm Zarya Comprehensive Guide
Pokemon Sun and Moon Island Scan Guide
Pokemon Sun and Moon Festival Plaza Guide
Pokemon Sun and Moon Bottle Cap Farming Guide
Pokemon Sun and Moon Get a Salamence In The Beginning Guide
Pokemon Sun and Moon Getting Perfect Chaining Smeargle Guide
Pokemon Sun and Moon Level to 100 in 2 Hours Guide
Pokemon Sun and Moon High Levels Experience Guide
Guild Wars 2 Ascended Gearing Guide
Dota 2 Playing A Good Support Early Game Guide
Dota 2 Support’s Items Complete Guide
Clash Royale Furnace Complete Guide
Clash Royale Graveyard Comprehensive Guide
CS:GO Becoming A Smarter Player Guide
Heroes of the Storm Map Strategies
Clash Royale Miner Complete Guide
Heroes of the Storm How To Lane Guide
Heroes of the Storm Beginner’s Complete Guide
Overwatch Junkrat Team Oriented Play Guide
Clash Royale Lava Hound Basic Guide
Overwatch Carrying As Support Guide
Battlefield 1 Important Tips
Overwatch Hero Meta Tier List
Rocket League Offensive Positioning and Rotation Guide
Repairing Your Credit Score Guide
Pokemon Sun and Moon Demo All Obtainable Items Guide
Destiny Skeleton Key Chest Loot Chart
Destiny PvP Guide to Getting Good
Destiny Heroic Wrath of the Machine Easy Guide
Overwatch Mercy In-Depth Guide
Dragon Nest What To Do After Level 93
Dragon Nest Leveling 1 to 93 Guide
Dragon Nest What Class to Play Guide
Elite Dangerous Weapon Damage Stats List
Elite Dangerous Fixed Weapons Guide
Elite Dangerous Circle Strafing Guide
Heroes of the Storm Low Tier Ranked Climbing Guide
Destiny Light Level Boosting Caps List
WoW Legion Mythic Dungeons Tips and Guide
WoW Legion Classes Overview Which to Pick Guide
Path of Exile Identifying Valuable Items Guide
LoL Vi Advanced Tips and Tricks
Yu-Gi-Oh! Ojamas Guide
War Thunder Best Tier 4 Grinders Guide
Duelyst Swarm Abyssian Guide
Duelyst Solo Challenge Solutions Guide
Duelyst Budget Lilithe Decklist and Guide
Duelyst Backstabhai S-Rank Deck Guide
Clash Royale Musketeer and Ice Spirit Techniques and Combos
Clash Royale Ice Golem Advanced Techniques and Combos
Overwatch Peripherals, Settings and Posture Guide
Overwatch Streamers To Watch for Each Hero
Destiny Power Level Past 365 Light Guide
Osu! Improving Yourself Guide
Destiny 365 Light Without Fireteam Guide
Evolve Competitive Perks Setup For All Roles
Evolve Hunter Tips and Advice
Evolve Assault Competitive Perks Guide
Pokemon Go Getting Maximum Coins From Gyms Guide
Clash Royale Giant Bowler Decks and Counters Guide
Clash Royale Lava Hound Ultimate Guide
Clash Royale How to Use Every Legendary Guide
Clash Royale Mega Minion Guide
Clash Royale Inferno Dragon Guide
Rocket League Ground Dribbling and Flicks Guide
Hearthstone How to Practice Effectively Guide
Destiny Wrath of the Machine Loot and Locations Guide
Destiny Wrath of the Machine Comprehensive Guide
Overwatch Lucio Healing Guide
SWTOR Warzone Mechanics Guide
Black Desert Online Grind Spots Etiquette Guide
MH Generations Monster Drops Getting What You Want Guide
Overwatch Playing Against Mei Guide
Overwatch Zarya Energy Guide
Pokemon Go Important Tips Guide
Overwatch Ana Healing Guide
Pokemon Go Countering Less Common Gym Defenders
Pokemon Go Countering Dragonite and Snorlax
Pokemon Go Base Catch and Flee Rates
Destiny Reputation Guide for Leveling
Summoners War Trial of Ascension Full Guide
SMITE Xing Tian’s Mountain Guide
War Thunder Flight Energy Guide
Clash Royale Sparky Elixir Management Guide
Overwatch Getting Good with Reinhardt Guide
Clash Royale Ice Spirit Strategy Guide
Overwatch Achievement Guide
Overwatch Healing Guide
Pokemon Go Weave DPS Best Movesets Guide
Pokemon Go Countering Grass Type Gym Defenders
Clash Royale All Tank Units Guide
Pokemon Go Holding Gyms For 5 Days Guide
Overwatch Lucio Speed Buff Guide
Overwatch Bastion Tips
Clash Royale Log Spell Guide
Pokemon Go Countering Water Type Gym Defenders
Pokemon Go Countering Fire Type Gym Defenders
Pokemon Go Buddy System Distance Per Candy List
Clash Royale Using Each Card on Defense Guide
Overwatch Genji Dragonblade Guide
Overwatch Reinhardt Guide
Overwatch Being Nano-Boosted by Ana Guide
Overwatch Mercy Detailed Guide
Evolve Renegade Abe Guide
Monster Hunter X Switch Axe Combo DPS Guide
Monster Hunter X Switch Axe Infinite Burst Combo Guide
Evolve Assault Unlock Priorities Guide
Evolve Support Unlock Priorities Guide
Evolve Medic Unlock Priorities Guide
Evolve Jack Guide
Black Desert Online Kunoichi PvP Guide
Brave Frontier Endless FG Guide
Overwatch Competitive Play Guide
Overwatch Pharah Beginner’s Guide
Clash Royale Sparky Troop Countering Strategies Guide

Leave a Reply