World of Warplanes: Which Controller Is Right For You?

Mastering the art of aerial combat requires practice and precision so choosing the right controller is critical.

Mastering the art or aerial combat requires practice and precision. If you want to have any hope in hell of coming back from your next sortie alive, you’re going to need to choose the control form that suits you and your needs best. To that end, I’ve taken the liberty of presenting your options with some additional notes to help you make an informed decision. 

All in all, there are four different control systems you can use to pilot your aircraft – keyboard, keyboard/mouse combo, joystick, and gamepad. Each has their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s go over them, shall we? 

First up? The keyboard by itself. I know I just got done saying each choice has some advantages over the other, but in the case of using only the keyboard, that’s pretty much a lie. It’s nothing short of a last resort. With enough practice, it is possible to become proficient and perhaps even skilled using the keyboard to fly with, but the only way I could ever suggest going this route in good conscious would be if you told me it’s the only option you have. Personally, I find it hard to believe that there’s any PC gamer in the world that doesn’t have a mouse, but if that’s the case, then so be it. 

The logical first step for any gamer coming to the world of aerial combat for the first time (or perhaps they grew up playing Freelancer with its lack of joystick compatibility) would be to choose the mouse and keyboard combination. I would still rank this option as my third choice out of the four possible controllers, but at the end of the day, there aren’t too many disadvantages with this system. It’s reasonable to assume that all gamers are comfortable using their mouse and keyboard in sync while playing a game and the keyboard/mouse combo control scheme setup in World of Warplanes is not a bad set. Players should be at only a slight disadvantage in using yaw (rotating the aircraft left or right on an invisible vertical axis) to full use. Precise movements may be easier for many with this control scheme though. 

My top choice is next and that is, of course, the joystick. There is one caveat to this though. If it’s not a 6-axis joystick (left, right, front, back, twist left, twist right), then it stands in the same category as the mouse and keyboard combination. It’s the intuitive ability to control the yaw of your plane with the twisting motion of the joystick that gives it such a big advantage over the other control schemes. This allows you to remain on an enemy’s tail much more effectively with less effort. The disadvantage of using a joystick for many will be precision firing and a general unfamiliarity with the feel of one, especially if a person has never used a joystick before. 


Finally, the gamepad. For my personal choice, I think the joystick is a better choice, but just barely and only because I’ve been using them for years. Anyone that has mastered the general dynamics of a modern gamepad controller, such as that with the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, will find little trouble with this system. For myself, I find precision firing difficult with the thumb controls, but I am an admitted old timer, and regularly get my ass handed to me by younger relatives in Halo, so if you’re more comfortable with this system, you’ll be fine. In fact, you may even prefer this over the joystick option. 

And there you have it. You have four options, and with the exception of the keyboard-only option, they each have advantages and disadvantages over the others. If ranking them from top to bottom, my order would go like this:

  1. Joystick
  2. Gamepad
  3. Keyboard and Mouse Combo
  4. Keyboard Only 

At the end of the day, the biggest thing that should influence your decision is which one are you most comfortable using? I’d suggest starting with that control scheme and then working your way to the next controller as your time and resources permit. That’s it from me. If you see Dalmarus on the U.S. servers, say hi if you’re on my team, and try to take me down if you’re not. Either way, I’ll see you in the skies!


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