A2A lock ons are still overpowered.

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by Jawarisin, Feb 22, 2015.

  1. Jawarisin

    Well yeah, I noticed it hadn't been brought up recently, and thought I should do my part.
    Higby himself admitted they were out of wack:
    A2A missiles are ****** gameplay for on both sides of the lockon - I've always wanted the A2A missiles to be more like "air torpedos", high damage, slow, easy to evade. Great against Libs and Gals; ****** against ESFs. Coyotes should be the skill equalizer for ESF vs ESF dogfighting, not Tomcats. We might try that approach.

    Which is something that he tweeted two months or so ago. So yeah, they are overpowered and suck the fun out of things. I just wanted to put a reminder out there in case Daybreak hadn't quite caught up.
  2. Obstruction

    they would be ok if there were counterplay available. right now the flares system is ineffective in creating good counterplay against A2A missiles (and not worth taking over Fire Supression,) but also too effective against G2A because it's a period of total immunity with an activation cooldown. this makes it difficult to balance or even create a flare/lock system that's satisfying for everyone.

    what i propose is a system more like the following:
    • flares are made standard on all vehicles, rather than a choice that is exclusive of other defense systems
    • flares are converted to an ammunition system, requiring resupply for extended use
    • flares cancel missiles at a 1:1 ratio when successful, but success is not even close to 100%
    • flares can be fired rapidly, but have a relatively low ammunition capacity
    this type of system would create the ability for both sides to play against each other, while not specifically nerfing the balance of the lock on weapons themselves. i personally loathe lock-ons when i'm flying, but i understand their place and feel that they are generally balanced enough and scale to become appropriately powerful with population. all that is needed is for the "period of total immunity" mechanic to be removed, and replaced with something that is more fair for lock on users, and yet less restrictive for the vehicle player.

    the development goals should be that for that lock on user, they don't just "see the opponent pop flares and fly away until the cooldown is over." and that for the vehicle user, they aren't faced with having no defense against sudden swarms of lock ons because other systems are more important or more broadly beneficial.

    there is plenty of room for discussion of the points i'm making here, and balance to be worked out between the % chance of flares to fail, and the ammunition capacity for each vehicle. however, i think i'm pretty clear that my goal in this suggestion is good gameplay for everyone and not to just nerf weapon systems that people have paid for and become accustomed to.
    • Up x 8
  3. ColonelChingles

    I'm not sure I follow.

    Your point is that Flares are not worth taking over FS because FS is so great.

    But if FS was so great, then why be bothered about SAMs/A2AMs then?

    If SAMs/A2AMs are indeed a bother, then it seems that it would be worth taking Flares over FS.

    Anyhow, I think ground units need more SAMs if anything. Relegating the premier ground AA unit to using WWII flak cannons is ridiculous. We should at least get a flak/SAM hybrid, something akin to:


    If you pilots don't want A2AMs, that's fine by me. But I still want my SAMs. :D
    • Up x 5
  4. entrailsgalore

    You're right, any other aircraft that faces off against our F-18 Hornets that use A2A missiles get the fun sucked right out of their cockpit when they are blown out of the sky...probably why our military uses them in real life...just my guess though.
    • Up x 3
  5. Ballto21

    While realism is an important aspect of virtually any game (Japanese titles and most indie games aside), for a game to be a game it has to be fun. This creates what on paper would look like a venn diagram, one half being realism, the other what would be fun, the center being good additions for whatever your game is. For middle ages fantasy games, usually its historically accurate weaponry combined with some supernatural magical crap. For FPS games, its something that can theoretically be a master of one field (Anti air, infantry shredding, tankbusting) and be garbage at at least one of them, and maybe be decent against another, or not really be master at anything but be good at everything.

    Some examples of following such rules in planetside are:
    LPPA. It will shred infantry like nothing else, but wont really tickle armor unless complemented by A2G rockets, and if you can effectively use it in the air i will go out of my way to fly or drive to where you live and shake your hand.
    Tankbuster, while it could use some rebalancing as its working a bit too well, will shred vehicles (and aircraft sadly) fairly quickly, but to be effective against infantry you really need to aim well
    C4, again a bit too effective against armor, is amazing at destroying armor and pretty decent at anti infantry if you can get it in a good cluster of them or make a trap. For obvious reasons its not the best anti air.
    The airhammer seems to be a jack of all trades. I dont play nc much, so correct me if im wrong. Its good against infantry, can be made good against air, and is passable against armor

    What does any of this matter? Well, it seems realistic that what basically throws giant balls of super heated plasma at you would melt flesh and body armor, travel fairly slowly, and eat away at heavy armor over time. And, aside from exploiting render range (which both the NC and tr do with av turrets/ravens anyway) doesnt ruin anyones fun, and just is really, really, annoying. Well im sure it ruins some peoples fun but if you get really upset and ragequit over dying by a PPA or any other air you were probably on the brink anyway since it happens every five minutes.

    A giant armor piercing cannon on a bomber craft also seems realistic, and aside from the durability of liberators isnt too game breaking, and its fun to use and satisfying to kill one.

    C4, aside from making light assaults lone rambos, is really just annoying to tankers 90% of the time. And while i seriously doubt dropping two bricks of plastic explosive on future tanks supposedly being designed for hundreds of years would destroy it completely, is at least a bit realistic.

    It seems like putting a shotgun on a plane would make it kind of ******, but launching giant pieces of shrapnel (which is essentially what flak is) would kill most infantry units, **** up aircraft, and annoy armor.

    What do we notice about all these? There are soft counters to everything. Nothing will for sure stop it in its tracks, but they can all be detriment enough to make it have to go away or die,

    So now were at A2A lockons. They work very realistically, they lock on and damage it badly. But this is where the issues in the area of fun come in. If you look at ground to air lockons, they work pretty well. If they hit, pilots are not critically damaged. If you hit them while theyre already under attack by other AA or aircraft, youll probably either destroy them or provide enough extra damage for it to be finished off instead of escaping or winning a dogfight. Theyre fairly easy to evade with afterburner fuel pods, and high damage. Fun for the pilot to evade (and just annoying to be hit by/worry about when already preoccupied) and very satisfying to kill with. This has a soft counter, afterburn behind a mountain or empty your extended fuel to get away Or flares behind a mountain until flares CD. A2A lockons have no soft counter, only the hard counter of killing it. Flares do not work, they stop the first missile but by the time its cooled down again youre dead from the many following lockons if you failed to kill the enemy. There is no way to outrun them, and no way to hide behind a mountain to avoid the pilot if hes following you. This is where realism meets fun, and where fun no longer exists for the other end.

    TLDR: Everything in this game thats balanced has a soft counter and at least one had counter, being killing it. A2A lockons have no soft counter.
    • Up x 1
  6. entrailsgalore

    Fun and realism still coexist for some players. Granted, Planetside 2 is not a full on "simulator", however just because certain levels of realism scare you away personally, doesn't mean it scares everyone else way. I do agree, that for a "game" to be balanced ( or as balanced as any game could be at least...) there should be some sort of counter to everything. You want the game to always be fun, which is all great. Who doesn't? But what "fun" means, is different for everyone. I'd just wanted to make sure I pointed that out.

    As far as flares go, give flares X amount of ammo, just like everything else in the game. You could even remove the cool down. Problem solved. People want to spam their flares, go for it.
    • Up x 5
  7. Badname707

    *Eyes roll*
  8. Obstruction

    you don't seem to follow. my point is what i wrote. i would repeat it, but internet forums are really neat in that one can actually re-read what one does not understand and so i won't need to repeat it. in fact it was even quoted in the response and then ignored.

    however, i can attempt to clarify. it is not simply that "Fire Supression is so great." this attempt to oversimplify and incorrectly characterize an opinion that you think you are aligned against is understandable. i take this to be the case because of the further characterization "you pilots" used later in the response. however, this is not strictly an air vs ground argument.

    i used Fire Suppression as an example, because it is a very common choice that is placed in an exclusive relationship with Flares or Smoke (the ground vehicle variant of Flares, or Anti-Lock-on.) the fault of the misunderstanding is partly mine because i chose to use this example for the sake of brevity.

    Fire Suppression is the common choice for ESF loadouts because it is more broadly beneficial, but moreover because the Flare system is lacking. another example, however, would be Liberators choosing Afterburner, or MBTs choosing their special ability. correct me if i'm wrong but do Vanguards choose to take Smoke over the Vanguard Shield? or is it considered so much more beneficial that Smoke isn't worth taking?

    the Flare(Smoke) system simply doesn't work well enough to justify the exclusive relationship to other systems. additionally it doesn't even measure up to the availability of lock-on weapons in most high population conflicts. so then at the risk of repeating what i had already clearly written, the system in place does not provide counterplay. all it provides is frustration for the one situation in which it's regularly (ab)used: ground farmers that use it to kill infantry in a camped area and then use terrain to cover the infinitely reusable cooldown. it's safe to say that only a very small percentage of players defend this, as it is regularly cited as unfun by infantry in the form of "(G2A) lock-ons don't even work."

    finally since realism is so appealing to some, which is more "realistic" anyway? an infinitely re-usable mechanism that somehow prohibits all sources from obtaining a lock for 5 seconds (at 100% success) and then does nothing for an arbitrary amount of time, or a reserve of countermeasures that are released against incoming missiles with a less than 100% chance of success?
    • Up x 1
  9. MahouFairy

    How on earth are these things powerful? They are obsolete. Here, we have people saying that "futuristic" tanks shouldn't be vulnerable to c4 (did anyone say the c4s are from our age anyway :eek:) , but no one mentioned that these things have a pathetic range and no helmet mounted targeting system (a device invented by the "ancient" glorious Soviet Union), meaning you have to keep those things pointed at the enemy while praying that you don't lose your lock when the enemy makes a sudden bank. The only thing that saves this weapon is the damage it deals.

    These contraptions have been nerfed already and you want another nerf? How about every one throw sticks and stones at each other? I don't think anyone can nerf them anyway.
    • Up x 1
  10. VulphluxTR

    either revamp flares to be more accesible or nerf the damage of the lock ons from 45% to 25 so it goes from a 3 hit kill to a 4 hit kill and still does decent damage.
    the idea behind the lock ons was to make the air game more accesible to new pilots, but what happened is pros grabbed them and are insta gibbing new guys.
    so the problem with lock ons is their real dps vs a nose guns real dps. obviously nose guns have a higher dps but in practice hitting every shot with a non lock on weapon is unrealistic. So if we take down the damage of the lock ons the pros will likely turn back to the other 2ndary options as the nose gun will be effective enough. but lock ons will still help newer pilots maintain a high enough dps to give them a chance of competing against the pros if they combine their gun and lock on damage.
    • Up x 1
  11. Ballto21

    Fair enough, i concede.

    Replace the word fun with balance in 90% of that.
  12. Demigan

    Yeah! They are OP! That's why so few people take it! And the few people who take it get less kills with it than with nosecannons! Yeah! OP as hell! It's not as if a dedicated AA weapon that can only attack air shouldn't be able to beat a standard nosecannon that can attack air and infantry simultaneously and even be slightly effective against armor.

    Just check this site:

    They score more than 10% less than the weakest non-AI nosecannon (Hailstorm Rotary Laser). What you might be referring to is that they feel cheesy and unfair when you are trying to flee but can't escape a lock.
    • Up x 4
  13. MahouFairy

    Tried those things out, and found out most of the time I was trying to obtain a lock instead of firing it. Eventually I used it to deter and confuse enemies for the rest of the duration. I think I'll take my chance with Needlers.
    • Up x 1
  14. FnkyTwn

    Okay, how about we give pilots an upgradeable Flare system to deal with A2A lockons, while at the same time, making them take greater damage from the ground? I'm okay with you flyboys doing your honorabu dogfighting crap up in the sky, but I'm also sick of being farmed on the ground, and while the PPA is a great farmer, it's worthless against air, unlike the AirHammer and Banshee.

    Just separate out the two worlds completely, since the ground would appreciate you going somewhere else, and you don't really care about the ground.

    Or just suck it up, and realize that people die constantly in PS2 and you should be no different.
    • Up x 1
  15. ColonelChingles

    This is true of course (the ES MBT ability thing) but on the other hand this simply means that MBTs have little to complain about when it comes to lock-on rocket launchers.

    If an MBT operator started complaining that lock-on rockets were unfair, he would justly be asked why he didn't chose to run with IR Smoke, which is the counter to lock-ons. And if he said it was because he liked the ES MBT special ability better, then what he made was a trade off.

    If the MBT operator then asked to be allowed to have both IR Smoke and the ES MBT ability of his choosing, he would be laughed at. This is because he wouldn't understand the value of making a trade off at all, and instead would proverbially want to have his cake and eat it too.

    The same is true of aircraft. If pilots choose to take FS instead of Flares, then they have no right to complain when their aircraft is knocked out of the sky by SAMs/A2AMs. They made a trade off, and in exchange for free mid-air repairs they gave up protection from lock-on weapons.

    Flares work quite well actually. They're best used as a "get out of dodge" escape mechanism, meaning that it grants you 5 seconds of lock-on immunity. Considering that you're only supposed to use it when the enemy missile is already in the air (tone+beep), this is plenty of time to complete an escape.

    The problem is that many pilots overstay their welcome. Instead of immediately attempting to make for an escape the second they're getting locked-on to, many pilots try and finish whatever they were doing. Then when missiles are already in the air they begin their escape, meaning that when the 5 second timer is over they're still in the danger zone. But this is entirely the fault of pilots, considering that lock-ons have a fairly short range and that ESFs can easily escape this range within 5 seconds.

    I've found that Flares work best when used in the following manner:
    1) Pilot sees the lock-on process beginning, and begins to turn to get back to safety (instead of staying and finishing what they were doing)
    2) Pilot makes smart use of topography to evade/prolong the lock-on process
    3) If lock-on is achieved, pilot waits for tone+beep and then deploys Decoy Flares
    4) Pilot can use the next 5+ seconds to make a clean escape free from lock-ons (if they're not out of the zone already)

    The issue I would have with this is that it would transform Flares from an escape mechanism to something that increases aircraft loiter time. Assuming that it does work 100% of the time (or close to it), then this would mean that an aircraft would have maybe half a minute of staying over the area while being completely immune from lock-ons. This is definitely way too much time to allow aircraft to stick around.

    The Flares should remain as an assistance to making an escape, not a means of escape by itself.
    • Up x 6
  16. entrailsgalore

    But then people would complain that sticks and stones can inflict damage, and would call they get nerfed!
  17. Obstruction

    i read all that you wrote. much of it is completely misplaced, i think because you don't fly? and the rest is again either not really in response to what i was saying or (intentionally?) mischaracterizing what i have brought to the discussion. i really think this is an important topic and i would like air and ground players on both sides of the lock-on mechanic to understand what the gameplay currently is and what we should strive for it to be. unfortunately that seems to be futile in this particular instance.

    not exactly in response to you, or even quite to Jawarisin, but using your quote as a jumping off point: i think it's important to remember that Higby was terrible in the air and really had no significant experience to draw from when he tweeted that idea out. i think the only thing he got right was that they are a lackluster mechanic and not very satisfying from either side. it's an important discussion though, and most of the right points are being brought up here, if people will respond to the issues rather than take a sort of ideological stance against air or ground. the main point i'm trying to make is that the lock/flare mechanic is not specific to either.
  18. MahouFairy

    I guess you are right... Some are even complaining that camo is op -.-

    I think all 3 fractions should just end the war if we are going to keep complaining that this weapon or that weapon actually kills people.
    • Up x 1
  19. Crayv

    While not OP lockons are not fun for both sides involved. They are not fun to use (track the target for a couple seconds and press a button) and they are not fun to "avoid" (use flares/smoke or just run out of range/LoS). It is why a lot of the TR never liked the old Striker even though everyone else was crying about how OP it was.
  20. Jawarisin

    They are overpowered, simple as that. The reasons their stats are slightly lower than average are simple. People will set other players on fire, and then spray bullets at them. Since the last thing that touched them was a bullet (1?) it will register as a kill for the nosegun.

    Second is that most good pilot know they are overpowered and won't use them by principle. Meaning bad pilots will use them to be extremely effective (kind of like if you gave someone a new SMG and he suddenly performed 20x better on ground). And when you put that on more effective pilots, it becomes completely stupid and broken.