Is MSFS worth it? Need help

Hey, i’m a aviator geek, that loves simulator games. I play a lot of x-plane, and are pretty happy with that game. But the sad part is the graphics and the realism of nature.
I know MSFS has amazing graphics, but wondering if the flymechanism is good? If it is realistic to fly the planes? And if so, i am a fan of the B737, but it’s not a standard plane in MSFS, is it possible to purschase addon planes and stuff like that?
And is it possible to connect to VATSIM?

You are likely to get widely differing responses to your first two questions here, as opinions are divided, to say the least, when it comes to flight modelling and ‘realism’. If your interests are in the airliners in particular, though, I think it’s fair to say that there are serious issues with the stock aircraft, and that though the modders have done much useful work, they aren’t really satisfactory yet, and that the developers will have to address some things that the modders can’t before they can be fully resolved.

As for addon planes, there are a few, but no airliners as yet. They are complex things to model, and it seems that as it stands, the SDK is lacking features necessary to do the job properly. MSFS has only been out a couple of months, and seems to have been released rather prematurely. It is a work in progress, and high-quality third party content isn’t likely to come fully on stream for some time.

So whether it is ‘worth it’ rather depends on what you want from it. Eye-candy wise, it is magnificent at its best, though sometimes just plain weird where it glitches out. For GA flying, I personally couldn’t fly any other sim now, despite the many issues, though again other people have differing opinions. If you are set on flying a high-quality glitch-free airliner though, you might do better to wait.


For me the IDEAL flight sim would be to have MSFS2020 Graphics in X-Plane 11. MSFS has only been out for a few months and has plenty of bugs which still need ironing out, although I have faith that Asobo will get it done over time. For plane fidelity MSFS, IN MY OPINION, leave a lot to be desired, especially in the Airliners. The Community, as usual, have been wonderful in trying to address various things but with a SDK that need work, their hands are tied.

After various problems with MSFS2020 I have reverted back to X-Plane purely as a stable environment. That being said I miss the eye candy. I have not given up on MSFS and look forward to the sim in the future. BTW PMDG have said that they are looking at least a year from now until they produce their goods for MSFS.



This can be discussed.

Yes, and lots of free stuff. - New planes will come slowly as the DEV tools are not sufficient enough yet. But i bet we are going to see some nice pay/free planes coming.



@KiloRomeo6897 Sums up my sentiment as well.

To the OP, MSFS 2020 is breathtakingly beautiful as a VFR flight game, but the UI interface is slow, the bugs are there, and you need a very good cpu/gpu combo to achieve good fps.

If you seek a beautiful rendering VFR experience, and have the patience and system specs, then 2020 is ok.

As a flight training tool, be warned that the “tutorials” are very basic, and no ability whatsoever to replay or analyze your flying exist in MSFS 2020. A clear indication that it is geared to gamers not simmers.

Flight mechanics: standard, not great, standard to be expected. Be warned that many IFR instrument issues persist. Garmin is a work in progress.

VATSIM interface: yes

Purchase addons: yes

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It has its bugs but nonetheless it’s still a good sim.

There are add-ons but none for the B737 yet as far as I know.

If you like X-plane, and especially the 737, don’t bother with FS2020 for now. As it stands, PMDG is supposedly targeting end of 2021 for their 737, but that’s assuming SDK improves dramatically to allow them to actually implement it. Judging by the development pace so far, I suspect we’ll still be waiting for that 737 in 2022.


imho its not worth more than the xbox first month pass. you can decide for yourself after a month if the premium or deluxe versions are worth it after that.

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In short, judging by your post and what you seem to be interested in (which was very similar to my interest, coming from x-plane and the zibo 738) fs2020 is NOT something that even remotely lives up to the expectations (expectations set by the marketing).

The truth is that most people are using fs2020 because it looks amazing, and it does, its stunning. But other than the eyecandy it can not compare to x-plane regarding the “simulation” part of flying.

Also, there are not many aircrafts and mods that you can buy that would interest you. A couple of smaller single propeller aircrafts, that is all. With the premium version you do get a 787 (Dreamliner), but it is so far from a study level aircraft compared to what you are familiar with in x-plane it is not even worth mentioning.

You CAN however connect to Vatsim. But again, fs2020’s biggest lacks is exactly those things you are looking for. Flight systems, avionics, flight model “mechanism” and so on, is far from the level of realism you are used to in x-plane. People will start telling you “but fs2020 has been out for 2 months, x-plane has had many years of polish”, yes that is true, but it doesnt make fs2020 any better.

Regarding the 737, PMDG is working on one that will probably be realeased late 2021 or early 2022. So you can kinda get the idea of where we are today.

That being said, if you are just looking for the most beautiful flight game, fs2020 is by far the best option out there. It CAN look incredible (but also pretty bad, depending on where you fly).

Like others are saying, try it with the gamepass.

Coming from X-Plane, and existing flight simulators, this game will probably be quite frustrating for you. I would definitely not purchase it initially, use the gamepass.

I think that regardless of the current state of the sim, MSFS will be the future of flight sim. It’ll take some time to iron out the wrinkles, fumigate out the bugs, and polish up the rough spots to get it on par with the fidelity of the others. It’s definitely far from perfect in its current state and can be downright frustrating at times, but it’s (very) slowly moving in the direction it needs to.

It’s really just about whether it’s worth it to you NOW or not. If you need all your planes to function and fly as close to the real thing as you can possibly get in a consumer-grade sim, then MSFS will likely be a bit of a letdown initially despite its gorgeous visuals. If you’re willing to overlook those temporary shortcomings, then grab it. If not, then wait till it’s in a better state that’s more suitable to your needs.

But in any case, you will be getting it at some point.

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You might have a look at 320 Sim Pilot’s YouTube channel to help arrive at a decision. He is a real-life Airbus pilot and he has put up quite a few videos on MSFS 2020. Additionally, there is an open source modification for the A320 Neo here. It is under active development and continues to improve. Hopefully, that will help you decide on the current level of realism in the simulator. 320 Sim Pilot was impressed with the level of the default aircraft and even more impressed with the A32NX mod. That said, there is nothing on the level of the PMDG 737 NG yet, and there may not be for some time. The SDK is pretty sparse at the moment (though under active and continuous development), which is a limiting factor in the development of third-party aircraft.

The A320 NX is flying very well. There is a bug where the AoA protection can activate too early, in which case the system will stop relaying up-elevator commands. However, that bug is hard to encounter; you have to be doing something abnormal. There are also some issues with autopilot disconnecting due to rogue control inputs. If you have a good controller, you probably won’t hit this either, but if you do, it can be solved by adding NULL zones to dampen out any inputs that occur when the controller is zeroed.

OTOH, many of the GA aircraft are well modelled. The biggest issue with the GA fleet modelling is probably the fact that the mixture doesn’t behave realistically at the moment. There is also an open source modification for the G1000 available here, which greatly improves on the default behavior of the Garmin systems. There are some open source modifications for the CJ4 and a nice modification that turbocharges the Beechcraft A36. In short, the mod community is actively working to improve on the simulator. Additionally, the community has been good at finding workarounds for many issues.

The graphics are not only stunning, but they are stunning throughout the world. VFR pilotage is possible pretty much anywhere it would be possible in real life. There are already some good pay-ware airports as well as considerable free-ware in the airport and scenery space. Airports can be busy with lots of live traffic. I’ve been number two for take off and I’ve had to wait for planes on the runway. Currently the AI planes don’t clear the runway upon landing, so it can be hard to land during busy times. It helps to be number 3 since that will provide enough spacing as number 2 will have to go around when number 1 doesn’t clear the runway, but that usually means that the runway will be clear by the time you get there–provided you slowed up early enough.

Basic IFR works reasonably well. Your best bet is to use Navigraph for the best experience (as well as SimBrief). There is a beta version of the AIRAC database uploader for MSFS 2020 available from Navigraph and coupled with a chart subscription works as expected. Without Navigraph, you may encounter some ILS approaches that don’t work or are offset from the runway, and even with Navigraph it is important to confirm the ILS frequency. I’ve only flown ILS, localizer, and RNAV approaches, but those all have worked where I have flown them. Visual approaches can be tough because ATC is stupid and doesn’t vector you, but having a chart solves that problem. Also, ATC can’t be trusted to keep you at a safe altitude to avoid CFIT, so having charts and using available terrain radar is necessary. There are also autopilot issues which make picking up the approach in flight or changing it somewhat challenging. There are workarounds that enable flying the approach–eventually–but it can be a bit ugly and it is certainly a big pain-point for IFR flying.

Active weather seems to be a bit hit and miss, but when it works it does work well. Currently, turbulence, thunderstorms and icing effects seem to be a bit overdone. But the cloud modelling is great (other than too much gray at times) and IMC is well represented. You can obviously choose your own weather and there is pretty good control over that.

The log book is a bit broken now. It is very hit and miss. Sometimes it logs, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it logs takeoffs, but not landings, or vice-versa. It is tied to “ending the flight” properly, which is also hit and miss.

Crashing to desktop can be an issue. I’ve had three, I think, during actual flights in about 200 hours of sim flights. The bad news is that there is no way to recover the flight and the “travel to” feature doesn’t always work. Others have been having considerably more trouble and it is hard to say why beyond the usual suspects of hardware, outdated drivers, and windows install issues.

Asobo is rolling out patches roughly every two weeks and larger updates once a month (including enhanced scenery). Japan was updated last month and North America is next on the list. They are being transparent and seem to be trying to listen to the community in terms of fixing the issues are causing the most pain. The first two patch/updates didn’t go particularly well and there were some major regressions. The most recent patch seemed to be much better as the only regression that I’m aware of is the loss of KSFO in the AIRAC data, (but apparently only for Premimum-Deluxe customers). Subscribing to Navigraph fixed that problem for me.

My personal opinion is that in its current state, the simulator is very much beta quality. That said, MSFS is a quantum leap in flight simulator technology and once you experience it, you can’t go back despite how frustrating the current experience can be at times. Your (or anyone else’s) mileage may vary :grinning:, but undoubtedly this is the future of simulation. Really, the question is whether you want to be on the bleeding edge (with all of the good and bad that entails) or wait until the technology matures a bit. If you are an aviation geek, you will be buying this eventually. The only question is when.


Study level FFA320 90€ FF767 the same. For €60 you get a complete sim with 20 planes and you don’t need to invest one cent on top.

Next time…


Good summary!! When I read comments here sometimes it seems people are playing a much different game than me!! Exactly how I feel! Also the A320neo fly by wire mod is the best thing for this game yet! It makes me want to keep coming back to this game!! I think over time and with community support and SDK improvements it will be fixed in one to two years. In my mind this is an early access title which is why so glad I tried it with game pass and then bought the standard edition. I will wait to spend any more money on this until I see that it’s improved and worth it!

FS2020 has great graphics and great flight model for the GA aircraft.

If you want to fly airliners, I’d say keep XP11 and get MSFS to have some VFR flying fun!

VFR is by far my favorite type of flying now, even tho in XP I obviously only did IFR

I have to agree here as well.It can be very frustrating with the bugs and crashes but I just keep coming back to it when I want to Flightsim.A320 is my go to for long haul flights as it seems to fly the best out of the 3 Airliners.Like the Icon and the Bonanza and the MB390.Other aircraft don’t really do it for me at this time.As said,it is a work in progress.

Excellent and balanced summary. Agree with all of this. Just to add there is also a G3000 mod which works well too. Also there is LitteNavMap as an alternative to Simbrief and it can import the AIRAC data from MSFS so that it is “in sync”. There are issues and inaccuracies with the MSFS data compared to the real world though.

It is really a matter of when you want to get MSFS because any simmer will get it eventually.

The way I see it, you understand MSFS is new, and X-Plane is mature, so you won’t have the same experience in both.

If you can not get your money’s worth from MSFS as is, just from flying GA VFR, then you are a stick in the mud. :yum:

Nobody will take X-Plane away from you, you know?

For now, they both excel at different things. But both are worth having.

Wow, I got to agree with all the comments, except X-Plane 11. I downloaded the trial, and I could never get the Cessna to fly straight. Everyone said it was perfect. I like my FSX, I don’t as rule do a lot of scenery flying, was taught keep eyes on the instruments, and fly the plane. Don’t use AI’s to help me. Now the Icon A5 is a fun little bird VFR. Also, if you use XP now, then suggest you follow advice and try game pass for month, see if you like it and the step up to the premium deluxe version if you want to proceed, you get more planes/airports too. The 787 is a mess, won’t repeat myself again on that. 747 is not “study level” either. Third Party development on planes is going to lag for couple reasons:

  1. Currently they are putting out two updates monthly or so, each time that happens, it changes enough of the base product, any aftermarket planes need to be reworked and then reinstalled. Small shops doing A/C development cannot keep reworking product twice a month, so many are waiting. Money and resources, nuff said.
  2. Aforementioned SDK also is hindrance for development on A/C again, it makes developers jump through lots of hoops to get to finished product, remember time is money, too much time, and no money.
    Recommend you - Game Pass for a month, see what you like and don’t. Then wait for Feb 2021 and then see what progress has been made. Expect price increase as well, they are burning through money with all the aftermarket fixing going on. Who knows, it may be perfect or much better by then. Personally I cannot fly 787/747, so I just test keyboard/joystick controls and settings to try to find parameters which work. It’s been suggested, that flight control systems, i.e., throttle quadrant/flight yoke will make the big iron birds more enjoyable to fly. A “better than good” quality joystick is also warranted if JS are controls of choice. My Logitech 3d Pro is getting long in the teeth, lots of slop, it needs to be replaced, waiting for honeycomb to get production under control and will get theirs.

Since trying FS2020 I don´t like Xplane anymore!