AA is Completely Broken at its Core

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by BetaGuru, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. BetaGuru

    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.
    • Up x 32
  2. Aegie

    Overall, a good post.

    The suggestion of forcing a certain speed is interesting, though there are specific items in the game for improving hovering so I'm not so sure how that would work.

    Also, this does not seem to address some of your bigger concerns about a lot of AA work being unrewarding.

    Keep at it, maybe think of some more specific solutions to the specific problems you point out.
  3. UberBonisseur

    If we didn't have Rocket pods from the start I don't think AA would have been through this rollercoaster of buffs and nerfs.

    It's all a matter of ESFs outperforming their peers at every job
    • Up x 22
  4. efil4mocx

    Warning, ground-hogging peasant in disguise.
    • Up x 4
  5. MrMurdok

    -If you're not packing AA, you should be helpless against air

    -If you're packing dedicated AA, you should feel helpless to anything but air.

    -If you're packing a one-size-fits-all weapon (Anni), don't expect to excel at anything.

    Seriously, a bit of specialization and people just lose their minds, oh, I forgot, this is the "I want to be able to do anything at once"side 2 part of forumside.
    • Up x 5
  6. Necron

    I love Burster AA. I love nothing more than smashing hover-podding scrubs with it. So, it is fun for me.

    And planes in this game do not use aerodynamic lift to fly, they use thrusters, like VTOL aircraft on steroids.
    • Up x 3
  7. doombro

    There is however, a serious problem.

    "dedicated AA" is not powerful at all in its present state. It's just a big warning sign to people who get too close. That's not good enough. If I'm going to sacrifice my anti-tank and anti-infantry capabilities, I should be able to actively hunt down aircraft.
    • Up x 13
  8. Mastermind

    Completely broken would be no Anti air gun or vehicle weapon is able to fire.
  9. Mastermind

    People won't be happy until BFR's and orbital strikes are added to the game. But then they will whine they are OP when they die once every 12 hour play session
  10. BetaGuru

    Above: A man who did not read my post because he would have seen this:

    The thing is, the way ESFs have been implemented may be flawed at a core level. ESFs really should be hunter-killers of primarily air targets. LIBERATORS should be the aircraft geared for engaging ground targets, and they already are. If you ask me, Libs are just fine; A lib that's outside of infantry firing range is probably too far to really effectively farm infantry anyhow. They don't bother me.

    ESFs should be allowed to do decent damage against enemy armor, but really shouldn't be able to target infantry with any real effectiveness. We allow for this sort of duality elsewhere in the game; as a sniper, I can engage infantry targets effectively, but I have nothing against armor or maxes. As a medic, I can engage infantry and MAXes, but not really armor. As a MAX I can attack just about anything but I'm heavily reliant on supporting forces. As a tank I'm great against other armor and enemy infantry, but I'm also highly vulnerable if infantry gets too close to me.

    ESFs, though, are not really hamstrung by these things. they can go anywhere and effectively target anyone; that's why you see so many of this high score-per-minute and high-kill players who rarely ever get out of their ESF... and why should they? It's a swiss army knife of destruction and comes with multiple handy get-out-of-jail-free cards.

    It creates this situation where the players on the receiving end are expected to sacrifice their own fun to try and do something for the good of everyone else because, frankly, not everyone can do it. I can spare the certs for a Nemesis and a Skyguard; but for most people, who are on a tight cert budget, they'll more than likely cert something that lets them target more than just aircraft, leaving the crap jobs to folks like me, who would rather be doing something else.

    When I grab my Pulsar or my sniper rifle, I'm excited to go out and fight infantry. When I grab my lancer, I'm pumped to go and fight some enemy tanks. when I grab my skyguard or my Nemesis, I'm usually grumbling to myself because I know I won't be getting many certs but, ugh, someone's gotta do it.
    • Up x 7
  11. BetaGuru

    Broken means not working. A game element that is fun is working. AA is completely not fun. Ergo, AA is completely broken.
    • Up x 1
  12. Gheeta

    I also think that AA is broken at it's core but my reasoning is a bit different from yours.

    If it was up to me i would remove all the AA that require absolutely no skill to use and yes this includes bursters and skyguard. Then i would replace them with skill based alternatives which would be more effective in the hands of skilled players but less effective when used by random people. This way those who put the time and effort of learning to be good at AA get rewarded.

    This would also help with the current issue which makes every big fight a completely no fly zone.

    Look at burster for example, does it really need a proximity detonation? nope. Just bump up the accuracy and increase the damage to compensate. And there you have it, a skill based aa weapon.
  13. Mastermind

    You should seek out counseling
    • Up x 1
  14. Owleyes

    @OP If you don't like the Skyguard then don't play it.

    I Love playing the Skyguard and i often log off 10+k/d with tons of certs, It isn't about the amount of kills you get, It's about the amount of allies you save and the certs you gain.

    The Skyguard is fine the way it is, Although i have to say I'm Happy It's not a free cert bag for Harassers anymore.
    • Up x 1
  15. BetaGuru

    Congratulations. I can only assume your goal has been to confuse me and you've succeeded. I have absolutely no idea what you're trying to say, but I suppose some of us get an early start on the New Years Eve drinking and all I can say is, party on you animal.

    You had me going there for a second, I thought for sure you were going to say that lock-ons were the skill-free AA.

    I'm not really sure that nerfing AA is the answer here. It's already weak enough as it is. Can it really be said that someone in a skyguard feels anywhere near as effective (and rewarded) as someone in an ESF? Even when engaging its primary targets in a completely advantageous position, with all factors weighted in its favor, a Skyguard still feels like a weak, limp tool when compared to the zippy, hard-hitting ESFs. You might kill one out of six or seven targets engaged, even with its current "skill-free" state, as you seem to see it.

    Having a more accurate weapon that has to physically hit the air target would be okay, I guess, but that feels to me like it would be one step back and then forward again.
  16. JokeForgrim

    I've never had a problem killing ESFs. If they are hoverpodding scrubs they die to a decimator (until last patch :'( ) if they are strafing make a friend or 2 and pull a couple of dual burster maxes or a skyguard and a burster, or any of these and a Turret. These also work with Libs, except they usually escape. Galaxies on the other hand, you need a whole squad of AA to take down a Gal.

    Where as if you are to get into the Air, Hunting Air is a lot easier as you are not on the ground. They can't hit and run if they can't run. Also skyguards with Racer 3 can chase down ESF pretty well.

    I think your gameplay experience is fundamentally broken if you don't bother learning to fly or make a few friends/join an outfit.
  17. MrMurdok

    But you're not. Bursters kill infantry just as good, and damage light vehicles, just like dedicated AI guns, the ASP-30, Hawk and Nemesis can be dumbfired against non air targets with good results, you're not forefitting anything to be able to hit air.
    • Up x 2
  18. TheFamilyGhost

    The OP's main point can be made in a much shorter way:

    Combined arms is required for a team to be successful. Combined arms play will require some people to paly certain roles.

    What I don't understand is why the OP thinks this is bad (aside from an assertion of lack of fun).

    When one places values of one's own assignment onto others, posts like this appear.

    btw, I predicted these types of threads back in the day when people that didn't have enough sense to get out of camped spawns won the "Air is OP" battle.
    • Up x 2
  19. Mouse75

    This is why I can't take anything you say seriously.
    • Up x 1
  20. Kitakami

    Aye. I think it's a combination of specialised AA like the Skyguard being only moderately effective at AA, and one-size-fits-all configs like ESF with rocketpods, being very effective at all roles.

    In theory, the Skyguard is dedicated to one role, AA, yet it's largely ineffective in that role, even if it can drive off one ESF at a time. So let's say it drives off the ESFs, may have gained some XP from bonuses and assists, though kills aren't usually expected. With no ESFs, the Skyguard now has nothing to do.

    And it can't drive off AV Liberators either. Only ESFs can drive off high-altitude AV Liberators...

    Which is another thing the ESF can do. It has a profusion of targets, due to its weapons and mobility. So there's no incentive to tackle AA if/when it shows up.

    For ground units, without AA they're sitting ducks to ESFs and AI Libs. With AA, the ESFs go elsewhere, so there's no longer any need for AA. It's a gameplay dead-end.

    What would be great is if there was a cloud layer at 1000 metres altitude, then another 500 metres above it before the flight ceiling. Aircraft above the cloud layer are immune to AA and don't have to render to the ground. You'd have a realm of the sky, and a new dimension to air combat.

    You could then make AA more effective at its base task, because there's an AA free zone above 1000 metres.
    • Up x 5