To ESF and AA users alike I say to you: hear me out. I will be brief. And then not so brief, but I'll try to front-load my major points. AA in this game is broken because it's not fun for anyone. Not for the people using it, not for the people having it used against them. Follow me down the rabbit hole of this truly terrible game mechanic. Let's start with the basics. There are aircraft in this game, and they can be outfitted with highly destructive weaponry that can be used on ground-based targets, including infantry. Aircraft is highly mobile and can effortlessly avoid conventional anti-vehicle weaponry, so something else is needed if ground targets are to have any hope of defending themselves. So, AA weapons are implemented. However, from an infantryman or tanker perspective, you're far more likely to run into enemy infantry or armor targets than air; bringing along AA weaponry just feels like you are nerfing yourself, since chances are much higher that you'll need AV or AI weapons. Very few people take along AA weaponry. So, that AA weaponry needs to be very powerful. Well, ESFs don't exactly like exploding in balls of flame the moment they approach a battle, right? So they are given tools for keeping themselves alive. Flares to shake off and temporarily immune themselves from lock-on missiles, and afterburners to rapidly escape from incoming flak fire. Also, troop-wielded AA weapons only target at a short range, so aircraft a reasonable distance away are immune to them. So the AA users 'chase away' the ESFs and Libs, and the pilots have to retreat, return, farm, retreat, over and over. Nobody is having fun. Except maybe the pilots. But not when they're being shot at, which is constantly. The pilots feel like they have to carry flares or are constantly running from what feels, to them, like inexhaustible AA fire. The ground units are either not armed with AA and feel helpless and frustrated at being rocketpodded, or they're holding AA and they feel helpless (against all targets BUT air) and frustrated because the air targets are always getting away. There's no reward. You feel like employing AA for your empire is a chore you do because nobody else will. It's a thankless job. I would argue that the pilots are less less unhappy out of everyone because at least they're able to farm infantry from time to time, but I'll tell you one thing for sure, that BR3 just trying out the game who just got farmed for the fourth time by an ESF and has no idea how to fight back? Or that guy who finally grabbed a skyguard only to see that he can barely ever get kills with it because its weak-*** gun can't bring anything down before it has a chance to run away? They're pissed off. And if your game's mechanics are pissing off the players, they are completely broken. Look, I'm not a pilot and I never will be. I just can't get the hang of it, and that's fine; I certed skyguard and Nemesis rocket launcher, and I slapped flak guns on my MAX. But every time I go out there thinking, okay, I'm sacrifice a LOT to fight these aircraft, but at least it'll be worth it!... it's never worth it. I sometimes get assist kills. Once or twice I'll get a dumb pilot too newbish to run away in time. The rest of the time I'm watching my targets easily escape, or watching my rockets sail majestically into the sky because, oh yes, everyone certs flares. Because why wouldn't you? AA needs a fix. Air-2-ground and ground-2-air is a huge part of the game, and the entire concept, from the most basic level, is not working and not fun. It's broken. Frankly, the only way I can think of making it fixable is: make aircraft move faster and not be able to hover. Seriously, if an aircraft drops below a certain speed it should plummet from the sky, like an actual aircraft would. That way, you'd have to do these blind strafing runs on stationary targets, or have a liberator drop bombs; dogfights might be more interesting than the weird little ballerina dances they do now. I don't know. I'm not a game designer. All I know is that it sucks.