Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by asmodraxus, Oct 1, 2015.
Aircraft Balance, killing the game since day 1 player by player
The balance of aircraft has been somewhat odd from the start. As an ESF pilot, I can say that air superiority offers very little advantage in certain circumstances because flying seems to be a pleasant niche of this game rather than being something of a greater importance. However, aerial superiority is indeed key when it comes to suppression of enemy forces - parking one's Liberator above a Spawn Room or Sunderer, then keeping enemies firmly within its boundaries and punishing anyone who leaves, and ESFs hovering above a facility relentlessly spamming rockets and condemning those in their path to certain oblivion.
As I see it, aircraft is faced by the following issues, (note that there are more, though these seem to be the most prevalent)...
Hit-point and vehicle health oddities... Honestly - Galaxies have far too many hit-points, as do Liberators, in my honest opinion; though Galaxies especially do. In real life, Galaxies are more of an equivalent to troop transport planes, which in themselves are quite fragile...
...As I see it, Galaxies can defend themselves far too easily and are much more resilient and simply harder to kill than rival aircraft. Galaxies are, by standard, fast, and if I recall correctly have an air-drop like the Valkyrie safe drop system as standard. Moreover, the Galaxy can also repair and resupply friendly aircraft within a set vicinity - Galaxies are ideally like aerial Sunderers, for support and troop transport roles. The Galaxy can do many things, which it ideally should not be able to. A Galaxy, for example, should not be able to defend itself very easily. It should be more of a support aircraft, rather than something that can withstand horrendous punishment - it often takes entire clips from an ESF nose-gun to cause a Galaxy to so much as smoke. The ESF has the right amount of hit-points and vehicle health, whereas the Galaxy has far too much. In my opinion, the Valkyrie is too fragile, and the Liberator has slightly too many vehicle hit-points. Though the Galaxy needs to be weakened urgently.
Aerial superiority providing little benefit... Most fights occur inside, and most large-scale battles rarely happen outside. Air superiority is, of course, a massive benefit in all circumstances, though battles can still be won very easily without air support. Aerial superiority over your adversaries is more of a pleasant bonus rather than a massive advantage, which it fundamentally is in real life, (taking the desert tank battles of the Second World War as an example - aircraft played a key role in halting enemy supply routes, bombing enemy airfields, and providing aerial supports in tank engagements also). Flying is more of a leisurely pleasantry and a way of farming XP and pushing your K/D into hyper-drive rather than having any actual meaning other that anything statistical. Certainly, aircraft can help, though battles can still be very easily won without them. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, though aircraft needs to have more of a role in this game other than to spray and pray and plunk a bunch of soldiers somewhere. Perhaps ammunition supply drops/terminal drops and air-droppable vehicles for the Galaxy could add to their usage, and a more viable scouting feature for ESFs to help ground forces know what's ahead of them, could at least add to the usefulness of aircraft at least a little more than at present.
Rocket pods for ESFs... As an ESF pilot, I will say now that these need to be either nerfed a lot, weakened, rebalanced, or just removed completely. They are painfully easy to use, and have effective ranges of up to 700-800m also. They deal massive damage, and ultimately mean that players can pad their K/D and rack up the XP like nobody's business. The power of unguided rocket pods for all factions is absurd, and this needs to be addressed urgently. While it is true that they may indeed have a use in this game, they need to be rebalanced, because at present any old bob can hop into an ESF and amass a kill-streak of above 10/20 very quickly.
Liberator weapons, their health and their speed make them too powerful... The Liberator is a gunship, and henceforth we can expect that it is within reason that this aircraft has very potent weapons. Though this thing is very, very powerful at the moment, and dominates the skies. The Liberator has the best weapons, very capable hit-points and vehicle health, is sufficiently able to defend itself, and is very fast as well. A Liberator can hover above a facility and relentlessly lay waste to the ground units beneath it, though once it takes enough damage to scare it off, it can fly off, repair, and return. With ESFs, they are often punished brutally for such audacity with AA and flak damage, (which cripples ESFs), and lock-on rockets. Liberators, like the Galaxy, can withstand this, and are also very able of defending themselves against ESFs and other attackers also; more so than the Galaxy. As I see it, Liberators should be slower than they are now, and harder to manoeuvre, (while keeping their health and weapons the same, in regards of power), or either make them more vulnerable to lock-ons/flak, and reduce the lock-on timer for guided rockets. The Liberator is immune to many weapons, and all standard infantry ones, (with the exception of rocket launchers), and they can take a right old beating from whatever comes their way. With the Liberator made more vulnerable to AA, at least then it will not be able to hover over something and dominate everything below as it does now.
Well, now this forum is prohibiting me from editing my post any more, so I'm going to add an extra point, to continue from my initial post...
Aircraft roles... Ultimately, there is nothing that aircraft such as the Valkyrie can do better than the Galaxy, except for a minute selection of small things. To put it bluntly, aircraft such as the Valkyrie offer very little over the Galaxy - the Galaxy is easier to fly, comes with the Valkyrie's biggest Certification advantage of a safe-drop system as default, had more hit-points, more and better guns, and is faster. The Valkyrie needs to be given more usage, and a job that will make it appeal to pilots over other aircraft, (like a stealthy, small-scale drop-ship/support aircraft, or a scout or information relay). The Valkyrie by far has great potential, though at present it is lacking somewhat. Giving aircraft such as the Valkyrie a better, more specialised role would not go not welcomed by many players. Aircraft such as the ESF and the Liberator have their roles however, and ESFs can be regarded as being largely versatile. My issue with ESFs is that they are arguably too versatile - they can act as scouts, dogfighters, dive-bombers and ground attack units, ambush aircraft, to mention just a few. Giving each aircraft more of a specialised role rather than the generalists we see now would be a good thing, in my book.
Of course, currently, there are more issues with aircraft than the ones I have just mentioned. However, I feel that these are the most prevalent and those that cause a lot of irritation within the Community, and those who play ground units over those in the skies. At least, these are the ones that bother me the most, at any rate.
Sorry for the consecutive posts. ForumSide 2 is apparently not as buggy as PlanetSide 2. Many thanks to Flag for setting me straight.
(I'm keeping this emoji, though, because I like it.)
Not buggy, you're limited to a 30 min window for editing your posts.
Ah. That'll be why then. Excuse my ignorance; carry on!
Seriously though, thanks for setting me straight. I'm new to these forums and am not familiar with this forum's technology and how it all works - all forums are different in many respects. Thanks for helping out a newbie - it really means a lot.
Well, as can be checked I'm not exactly new to these forums.
Something something 6564 posts ....
I'm primarily a ground pounder, but I do have significant times spent in all the aircrafts (on NC anyway). These are my thoughts on ground pounding from the air.
I find that anti-air as an ESF pilot usually seems plenty strong. It's often enough to deter me from a fight completely, or severely limit my ability to do much of anything to ground targets.
Lock-ons can be dodged and avoided if one flies low and knows how to initiate the easiest of the lock on dodges. (Which for those who don't know is basically a roll followed by a sharp dive.) Flak on the other hand I find consistently frustrating to face and can sometimes be lethal due to client-side hit detection.
In most fights as an ESF targeting primarily ground targets I find that the enemy population is the biggest decider in how effective you are. (along with skill ect) In a 24v24 fight for example an Air Hammer wielded properly can easily turn the tide of a battle. Enemies that are killed by air in these fights will often switch to AA after a death or two though. This is good in a strategic sense, as now there may be 3 or 4 people spending their time targeting air rather than the enemy infantry or sundies (the real threat). Making the population of friendlies fighting more favorable. ESFs primary role is supposed to be anti air which with numbers they do quite well at. It's just really fun to target ground with an ESF for it's obvious advantages.
However in something like 48-96 the population gets dense enough that there is pretty much always someone looking to the skies with AA. This means your 'Linger Time' as I like to call it gets much smaller as you are always being targeted if you are in the area and visible. At this point in a battle ESFs generally either go to AA themselves as they can get high enough in the air to avoid AA, or die from AA themselves. Despite what people say, AA in all of it's forms is very effective at killing ESFs, it simply takes 2 people to finish the job. It's very hard to kill a competent ESF from the ground solo. The weapons are intentionally designed that way, otherwise ESFs would cease to exist. The exceptions to that are the burster max and skyguard. If you can't kill ESFs in a large battle with a skyguard you're simply bad at leading targets, learn to lead them properly and you can shoot them down easily in large fights where they are rarely at 100% health. Both of these weapon systems cost nanites like the ESF though and that is why they are better as a solo AA'er.
Liberators are a much different beast than the ESF. Their weapons are very strong, and the presence of even one decent lib in some fights can be a game changer. On the other hand, the liberator is a huge target, and while it does have a lot of HP, it's also very easy to hit with just about everything. I think ground players hate liberators simply because they have only ever been on the receiving end of them and haven't really tried them out. It's really annoying as a tanker to be the sudden target of an unhurried Dalton gunner and in this situation there really is no counter. THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE. The liberator is a flying tank, and much like a flying tank, if you don't deal with it, it will kill you, your buddy, and your ride. This is a team based game though, so if you're being targeted in a tank by an unhurried Dalton, either you're outside the battle, or your teammates are failing you. Liberators thrive on the thought of "Someone else will deal with that". Liberators are only powerful at targeting ground if your team decides to let them be. 3 guys with AA launchers will clear away a liberator in about 5-10 seconds. They may not kill it but they will keep it from doing much damage. A burster max and 2 AA lunchers will easily deter a liberator and outright destroy any ones brave enough to linger for a second round of rockets. I find that most runs I do as a lib pilot are short lived unless you are exceedingly cautious and only choose easy targets which are usually lone vehicles away from the herd.
Galaxies are probably too tough but other than that I think they are in a good spot. They do their job well and when well certed they are quite capable at offense as well as defense. The galaxy has a very long linger time unless it's targeted by a large amount of AA. Their weapons have fairly low DPS though so this is balanced.
Valkyries are fun, but difficult to use effectively. People seem to suck at gunning these in my experience as a pilot. I agree that the valk needs some buffs, but I also think the general population doesn't have a good idea on how to use these effectively. My favorite way to use the valk is as a two fold quick spawn/close air support platform. It actually can do this quite well in smaller fights as long as the pilot and gunner are in tune and know what they are doing. It's very easy to retreat and then re-engage rapidly across a fight with small to middle population in most areas and if needed can transport fresh squaddies back to the front quickly. It's also a cheap, easily accessible squad transport for short range rapid re-deployment. In larger fights the galaxy just outclasses it totally though IMO.
Overall I think anti-air is a tad too strong versus everything except galaxies. The primary anti-air was supposed to be ESFs in this game but after years of ground pounding ESFs the real anti air is usually just vigilant heavies and spawn room sh|tters in burster maxes. Really the ESF should have never had dual-role capability with it's secondaries. They should have had 2 one man fighters for each empire. One that is like the current ESFs without it's anti-ground secondary options, and a second ESbomber that had perhaps slighlty higher health/resistances and strong ground attack weapons in exchange for lower speed, slower or no afterburner, and a less effective/non-existent nose gun.
Aircraft don't push front lines - they only help to soften up the opposition's front line. Infantry and ground vehicles push front lines.
Aircraft don't cap points - a necessary step to winning alerts and territories. Infantry and ground forces cap (and hold) points.
Like was already stated, it's a niche that caters to a specific type of player, and while it might be fun to do, it's more of a gimped playstyle that doesn't really help your squad/platoon unless you really know what you're doing. I.e how to prioritise key targets.
There's not really much that an aircraft can do that a ground vehicle can't. Sure, it's good for harrassment and generally annoying the playerbase, but that's really about it. The balance is also pretty decent - aircraft have weapons to kill ground targets, and grounds targets have weapons to retaliate. This is one of the few games that pulled it off pretty well (might not be perfect, but it's solid).
The aircraft balance is strange. They decided to make air insanely OP, and then add loads of AA to keep them away from the battles. For ESFs, they should have added a couple flavors of A2A noseguns and been done with it. Maybe some sort of anti-lib secondary. Then they should have made libs more focused, with the AV as their main purpose. Remove most lock-ons and all flak but base turrets from the game and let ESFs deal with libs and other ESFs. To top it all off, enemy air that goes offsides would get an out of boundary message after traveling a certain distance, in order to give air a safe haven to flee to from other air. I think that would be far more interesting. Less A2G farming from air, more air battles, and no off-sides gank squads.
Login to the PS2 Players site. Mosey on over to the killboard. With the timeline still selected, filter by deaths. I will show the last 100 deaths. Count how many times Air killed you.
Chances are its less than 20. It might even be less than 10.
For me its 6. Two of those times were from 'Reaver' meaning I was flying an ESF myself. As I have been flying quite a bit, I've exposed myself more to air.
That means out of my last 100 deaths only FOUR PERCENT of my deaths were caused by enemy Aircraft while I was on the ground. None of those deaths caused by Liberators, Galaxies, or Valkyries.
I'm sorry to say, but 4% is not enough to even consider causing an imbalance. A small number of a small number of deaths. I die maybe 10-20 times per session which means I die 3-4 times per 5 sessions from air. THREE to FOUR times in FIVE days.
So what is everyone's problem?
I think the biggest problem with A2G is thermals.
The inability to stand still or hide from thermals is what makes A2G so overpowered.
G2A vs ESF is broken in that it is far too strong against high flying A2A ESF and too weak against low flying ground pounders.
G2A missiles are only good at locking ESF fighting other ESF. A2G pilots fly low with flares and just dodge over hills to evade G2A locks. A2A pilots typically run fire suppression and try to fight above the hard deck so they dont crash and to try to avoid G2A which is pretty much impossible.
Flak is the same way. A low flying ESF farming the ground will just dodge over the nearest hill and repair while the A2A pilot who poses no serious threat to the ground spends far more time under fire from it.
Galaxies are kinda ridiculous. Way too many hit points. Should be vulnerable to ESF but are not. I dont ever shoot at Galaxies when im in an ESF because its just a good way to get yourself killed by another ESF or the Galaxy itself.
Liberators are too good at anti air. A liberator should not be as agile as it is.
A2A missiles are broken overpowered and just make the air game stupid. Suggest increasing reload timer to 30 secs. Make flares ammo based stock system that you cert into for more flares. Start with 2 or 3 and then cert to up to 6 or7. Disable flares completely for A2G ESF. So if you have no A2G weapon equiped you get flares and if you have an A2G weapon then you dont.
The greatest problem IMO, is the ineffectiveness of ground-based AA as opposed to ESFs, and said ESF and liberators ability to fight back against Skyguards and Burster Maxes being too great for ground-based AA to truly eliminate enemy airpower in a reasonable proportion to the amount of effort used.
TLDR: Buff the Skyguard, Burster, etc, nerf air-to-air.
ESFs should be able to kill infantry outside fairly well, but NOT do meaningful damage to MBTs, Lightnings, or Sunderers.
As for Liberators, they need their damage and durability lowered so they aren't a death sentence to a Skyguard or Burster MAX, who should definitely beat them one-on-one, and 2-on-3.
Get in an ESf and go attack a skyguard or a burster max and then come let me know how you did.
Flak definitely SHOULDN'T kill air. It should force it to retreat, but rarely ever kill it.
The reasons for this are many.
First of all, if ground could completely deny air, oh wait it already does at large battles, then there would be no purpose to air.
Secondly, flak is the absolute easiest weapon in the game. I personally don't want a game in which the easiest weapons are the most effective. That is incredibly boring, kinda like driving an overpowered skyguard.
Thirdly, if you know how to play flak is incredibly overpowered. Someone like me who is a decent ESF pilot and can lead an airplane is deadly with flak. I don't often use flak because i can fly and because flying is fun and flakking people is incredibly boring and lame, but its insanely easy.
Fourthly, air is incredibly easy to see compared to all other units. Skyguard and bursters always have the element of surprise, and not only that but there are a myriad of other AA options besides flak. There are always walker sundies at every battle. There are always lock on users at every battle large or small, tanks get on inclines to shoot at air, most harrasser weapons can hit ESF, i know as i shoot down a lot of them.
Fifthly, every single weapon in the game damages ESFs. Dumbfires are a OHK against air as are AP tank rounds and Dalton rounds. Flak TTK against ESF is just over 2 seconds.
Sixthly, on top of all of those G2A sources and the flak turrets that can effectively flak every inch of the map, there are plenty of enemy airplanes trying to get you at all times. So you in your skyguard only do 30% damage to me. So what, now im at a serious disadvantage if another ESF comes along.
Seventhly, it called combined arms for a reason. Its not supposed to be infantryside, although it is because most people play infantry. It was intended for each faction to field a full complement of all 3 phases of the game. If aircraft are attacking you, then you should have to call your airforce to take them out. If not there is no real purpose to air. Although flying is inherently fun and will always be enjoyed by those that like that sort of thing
Same is true for Sunderers. Transport vehicles in this game have far too many HP because people want them to be capable of charging into a heated battle, deliver their passengers, and then proceed to join the fight. This is a problem in PS2 because people don't organize escorts for transports or don't have their passengers dismount before major contact with the enemy.
In general though all aircraft has far too much HP. If you look at all vehicles by HP:
Really there's no reason at all why Galaxies and Liberators have more HP than an MBT... Liberator HP should drop to below a Lightning at the very most.
The Galaxy should be used for inaccurate, high-altitude drops while the Valkyrie should be made for pinpoint insertions. Add in a CoF to ejecting infantry from the Galaxy so they disperse. Also make it so that only two infantry may exit a Galaxy at a time. And finally carry over Galaxy forward momentum to infantry drops.
Air superiority isn't the end-all, be-all to warfare. Hardly far from it. We had air superiority in Vietnam and that didn't get us anywhere. Likewise air superiority in Afghanistan and Iraq did not ensure victory.
Even back in WWII, air power wasn't super effective against tanks. Pilots routinely inflated their "kills", and actual examination of wreckage on the ground showed that pilot accounts were unreliable at best.
About 40 minutes in, they examine air kill data from WWII battles. At the battle of Mortain, for example, allied pilots claimed 77 confirmed tank kills and 43 probable tank kills. Out of 150 enemy tanks present, that would have been an impressive 120 kills or 80% of enemy armour destroyed. Similarly, the pilots estimated 56 disabled tanks.
Now naturally there's something fishy with those figures right off the bat... because if you add up the number of killed and disabled tanks, you wind up with more tank kills than were actually present at the battle. But that's pilots for you.
Later when the British teams went in and examined tank wreckage, they found that only 9 German tanks were killed by allied air power. Which is a fraction of the claimed kills by pilots (7.5% of their claims, to be exact). 11 tanks were disabled (20% of the claim). In all cases, pilots had drastically overstated their impact on the battle below and really only killed 6% of enemy armour.
This is a pretty easy fix. Let ESFs carry rocketpods... but increase reloading time to 2 minutes. In that way ESFs can unleash a tremendous amount of firepower in a highly lethal salvo... while infantry get 2 minutes of respite while that ESF is "rearming".
Reducing Liberator HP to 2,500 is a logical and reasonable fix to OP Liberators that have more HP than Lightnings. Or increase Lightning HP to 6,000 and MBTs to12,000 or something. Either way, there's no good reason why the Liberator should have more HP than a tank.
pssssttt... you're supposed to be your alter ego, remember?
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