Comparison of Ground and Air Vehicle Parallels

Discussion in 'PlanetSide 2 Gameplay Discussion' started by Neurotoxin, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. Greetings PS2 Community and Developers,


    I've come to find that there aren't really equivalent parallels between Ground Vehicles and Air Vehicles. Comparing the Lightning to ESF, comparing the Liberator to MBT, comparing the Sunderer to the Galaxy, and addressing the Flash. Obviously this is not a game of 1v1 engagements, but I feel like the balance of individual vehicles compared to their parallels will help to illuminate overarching design quandaries that I'd like to explore.


    This is a giant document, so settle in for a bit. I know that my experiences differ from those of others, and this is based on my own observations and findings. Please take notes about things you'd like to comment on as you read, so that way you can post a reply without forgetting anything. I'm looking forward to a lengthy discussion regarding this subject.

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    Flash


    I'll start with the Flash first. There is no air equivalent for a side-by-side, so I will simply give this the same treatment as other vehicles. The Flash is a light transport quad, usable by the five standard infantry classes. It is quick, small, and tough to spot, but is also extremely vulnerable to attacks of all varieties. Furthermore, with an open cockpit, the driver can be harmed without the vehicle being damaged.


    Below is the important information:

    Flash Weapon Systems – By default, there are no weapons on a Flash. It can be equipped with a M12 Kobalt for Infantry, a M20 Basilisk as an all-purpose machinegun, and the M40 Fury grenade launcher that kills infantry and can significantly harm vehicles. Firing while moving is very difficult, though the weapon has about 60 degree from left to right and top to bottom that it can aim. It is easier to use at slower speeds or on flat terrain. C4 can be attached to a Flash, but if any explosion touches the Flash before the user bails and detonates the C4, the C4 will likely be detonated and simply take out the Flash and Driver.


    Flash Mobility – Being a ground-based vehicle, the Flash is bound to where there is terrain, though it has the advantage of being able to enter hallways in buildings. The NSI-2000 Turbo is a nitro system to put even more kick in the engines of the Flash, getting the speed up well past the default of 75. There are also three Chassis for the Flash: Scrapper Combat for agility, Racer High Speed, and Surger Power for increased climbing capabilities.


    Flash Defenses – There is little one can do with the Flash to make it more defensive or make the driver more protected. It can be equipped with IR Smoke or Fire Suppression as a utility, or the Mine Guard to resist bottom-striking damage, but the best defense of a Flash is to be sneaky and not be detected – so Vehicle Stealth is probably the best defense. Even though it is vulnerable to small arms fire itself, the Flash does not receive directional damage.


    Assessment – The Flash is useful a light transport vehicle first, and a combat tool second.


    Against Lightnings, MBTs, and Sunderers – The only chance of doing anything but scratching and angering these vehicles is to attack with the M40 Fury. Side and rear hits are the best, but not getting shot by the target is a bigger concern than dealing damage.


    Against ESF, Liberators, and Galaxy Dropships – ESF will tend to drop rocket pods on a Flash if they can see them, so try to stay clear and not get spotted. Liberators have a hard time hitting a Flash, so just keep changing directions, but don't expect that trees will provide cover that will save you (especially against a C105 Zephyr). A Galaxy will have a hard time spotting a Flash to begin with, but a Flash isn't really going to hurt it either unless it is parked on the ground.


    Against Infantry – The chances of killing infantry with the machineguns before they shoot the driver off of a Flash is low without really practicing and tuning the Flash for the task. The splash of the Fury makes it better for infantry, and it is possible to get kills and assists by splashing a group. A Flash CAN mow infantry if run over clean at a high speed, but this is tough to pull off against anything but a stationary target. Snipers put notches on their belt every time they OHK a Flash driver in motion.


    Against its own kind – Pure comedy. This is how I imagine Auraxian street gangs would battle. Usually one driver gets off and guns down the other with their infantry weaponry.


    Overall – Weapons are tough to use for the Flash, because the driver is extremely exposed in a combat situation, and the vehicle can be destroyed very easily on top of that. Its primary role is for rapid infantry transportation that can be dismounted rapidly, and that is mostly what it should be used for in its current state. The default model is moderately fast, though Lightnings and Sunderers with Racer Chassis configurations can outrun a default Flash in the open field, and that just doesn't make sense. The Flash is barely more than a pair of wheels, a seat, and an engine, so it should be able to really get going fast, like maybe as fast as 85 for the default.


    What would I do to improve the Flash, to make it more relevant?

    Improving the Flash means adding either defenses or utility to make it more worthwhile. First and foremost, increase the top speed so that it is definitively the fastest ground vehicle that any faction has available. I personally want to see a shield system (it could even be accessed as a secondary weapon rather than a defensive or passive ability) that puts up an energy windshield which protects the driver 60 degrees in front of them, as well as a shield that completely encapsulates the driver but lasts 10 seconds before needing a 1 minute recharge.

    On top of that, class-specific abilities would be nice: Medics can use their radial heal through the Flash, and have it slower but indefinite until the medic gets off the Flash. Engineers being able to refill friendly ammo in an area, or even to be able to slowly refill vehicles on the field for up to 10 reloads (before the Flash would need to get a Universal Ammo Restocker reload) to let them extend supply lines. Infiltrators should be able to put on partial stealth like the Wraith from PS1. Light Assault should be able to use their jets to help their Flash carry across jumps and gaps. Heavy Assault should be able to use their NMG with the Flash shield, slowing it down and making it glow, but granting the driver (and maybe the vehicle too) additional protection. Each of these would require certs to be spent on the Flash, but would give it far more utility on the battlefield, making it a very high risk for high reward type vehicle on top of being a lightly-armed troop transport.


    No Parallel
    By contrast, there is no parallel equivalent for air. If you have one of the rare bases where only air reliably gets to it, plan to catch a ride, or plan to pick up an ESF just for one-direction transportation (and hope that you don't die up there!). Anything would fill the role here. An air scooter with built-in safe fall when you bail, on a really short cooldown time, would be a good way to accommodate this current hole in the line of available vehicles. This isn't meant to replace the Galaxy, but to give teams a covert vehicle that lets them get to their destination without being noticed.
    • Up x 2
  2. Lightning vs. Empire-Specific Fighter


    Next is the analysis of Lightning vs. ESF. These are light single-operator vehicles, designed to be lighter and slightly less versatile than the large multi-crew heavy combat vehicles. These vehicles are meant for fast response, escorting, supporting a group, solo hunting, or even pushing the battle front while supplies are limited.


    For the sake of comparison, I'll start with a side-by-side of the two:


    Weapon Systems
    Lightning Weapon Systems – One weapon. The default is a 6 shot shell-firing cannon that kicks upward every shot, which hurts infantry and vehicles, but cannot be expected to hit aircraft with any consistency. This weapon can be changed out for a single-shot shell cannon that hurts Vehicles well but has a small splash, one for Infantry with reduced anti-vehicular damage, or one that is in-between the two and hurts both Infantry and Vehicles reasonably well. The Skyguard Anti-Air turret does not work well on vehicles or infantry (and can't even angle down to hit them very well) and in its current state it does not kill aircraft even close as effectively as any of its other turrets kill vehicles and infantry. Because any Lightning weapon system is always separate from the driving direction, it can be come awkward and disorienting to try to move and fire, or even move around while looking off-angle from a forward view. (A picture-in-picture with the forward view of the vehicle would alleviate this!)


    ESF Weapon Systems – Two Weapons, Machinegun and Rockets. The Machinegun is provided by default, and is effective at dealing damage to other aircraft, vehicles, and infantry (if you can hit them). This can be swapped for different machineguns that are even better for tasks like A2A combat. In addition to the machinegun, ESF also get rockets for additional situational damage. There are currently two sets of rockets available: dumb-fire rockets for hitting ground targets, and air-to-air rockets for taking down other aircraft. This means that ESF have a primary weapon that can do significant damage, as well as a secondary weapon to further enhance damage and versatility. Because of the forward-facing nature of ESF, weapon systems are always oriented forwards, making it possible to use weapons while on the move.


    Mobility
    Lightning Mobility – The Lightning is hailed as the second-fastest ground vehicle in the game with a default top speed of 70, although it runs about even speed with a Sunderer but with better acceleration and worse terrain compensation. While I haven't had it happen in a while, the Lightning used to be notorious for bottoming-out with the treads unable to contact the ground while the frame is pinned to the walls of a ditch. Being a ground vehicle, the Lightning is not really able to go everywhere, and so mobility is limited to places that ground vehicles can reasonably travel. Being on the ground makes it easier for a Lightning to fire into buildings, and to stabilize a steady shot.

    ESF Mobility – ESF have nearly-unlimited mobility, but it is tough to stop moving without landing. With a natural speed of 200+ (flying level, 175+ while flying straight up, 225+ in a straight dive) and a natural afterburner maximum speed of 320+ which lasts for around 7 seconds, a default ESF is by far the fastest vehicle in the game. ESF are also highly maneuverable, making it possible to evade incoming fire of all varieties. It is easy for a decent pilot to line up a shot with the nosegun, and it is easy to line up a salvo of rockets on stationary or predictable ground vehicles. While it is more difficult to fire into buildings, it is by no means impossible, and being in flight can often allow for angles that ground vehicles are unable to saturate. ESF Rockets are more effective than Liberators to use for firing into a Biolab, since the shots can get in deeper, but this requires tricky hovering that isn't always easy to pull off.


    Defenses
    Lightning Defenses – The Lightning has the standard directional protection and vulnerability of a treaded tank, scaled down for their size. It takes only two Anti-Vehicular tank rounds, or Heavy Assault rockets, to strike the rear and take it down. By contrast, it takes 3 from the sides and top (plus a sliver of health remains), and 4 from the front. Reinforced armor reduced the damage received significantly, but it only applies to the direction that is reinforced. In addition to reinforced Front / Top / Side armor, it has basically the same utilities and defenses as the Flash, minus the turbo. Lightnings share immunity to small arms fire that is common among other armored ground vehicles.

    ESF Defenses – Like the Lightning, only two Heavy Assault rockets or two Anti-Vehicular tank rounds are needed to drop any ESF (sometimes a single one will even do it, usually on stationary ESF), though both of these have a tough time hitting an ESF in most situations. ESF do not receive directional damage, meaning the ESF lacks vulnerability based on the angle at which it is hit. ESF have special vulnerability to Flak (by causing flak to burst when it is near the ESF) which is a trait shared by all aircraft. ESF do have vulnerability to small arms fire (Composite Armor reduces this), but dying to small arms fire is rarely a concern for ESF, as it takes well over 150+ rounds making contact to take one down. With Afterburners as a default feature, it is easy for ESF to escape from dangerous situations, and even to get away just before a locked-on rocket is fired to completely avoid it. Flares can be used to break incoming missile locks as well. Other ESF defenses and utilities are Nanite Auto Repair, Vehicle Stealth, Fire Suppression, Radar (projected to friendlies) and Ejection System (safe bail-out, straight down with no fall damage).


    Assessment – Between the two, ESF appear to have far more versatility in every way. ESF can go everywhere, as true quick response vehicles, while land-bound Lightnings are more of a Sunderer escort or addition to an armor column. While a Lightning is bound to the single weapon it is acquired with, an ESF can choose between a powerful machinegun and one of two effective situational weapons. Even though the Lightning can rotate 360 degrees and look away from where it is facing, this doesn't provide nearly the same kind of advantage as having two worthwhile weapons. ESF weapons make sense for how they are designed, while Lightning turret rotation and single weapon systems makes it awkward and limited. In the current state of the game, a default ESF will always beat a default Lightning, because the Lightning has no way to answer back at Aircraft. In PlanetSide 1, a Lightning had a machinegun that could hit air, with a 75mm shell cannon, and that pair worked incredibly well to make it a solo all-range vehicle, and I think that the Lightning would need at least that kind of modification to be on par with the ESF. Finally, in the current state of the game, even a Skyguard with Reinforced Top Armor and their back to a wall has little chance of taking out a single ESF that is armed with Rocket Pods, and that chance drops even lower if Flak armor is armed on the ESF. Since a Skyguard turret is useless against pretty much everything else, and it does not do enough damage to reliably take down ESF or other aircraft, the Skyguard Lightning is particularly underpowered for its role, and is not balanced in line with the effectiveness of ESF against vehicles.

    Regarding controls – The Lightning is pretty straightforward, and is just a bit awkward to use. W and S for accelerate and reverse, A and D to rotate the body, and the mouse has 360 degree free looking ability to aim the turret. It is easy to learn, and difficult to master. By contrast, ESF have a steep learning-curve for beginning pilots, which can translate into highly proficient flight skills that are unhindered by having to look off-center to hit targets. ESF can go in basically all directions except reverse: forward, up, down, pitch, yaw, and roll. All these controls together allow a pilot to have a completely unhindered level of maneuverability and control while flying, allowing for evasive aerial acrobatics and the ability to line up attacks from vectors that are difficult to counter (like flanking a Liberator).

    Against their own kind – ESF and Lightnings are fairly balanced. Lightnings are common pool, so Lightning vs Lightning is mainly a battle of specialized gear, skill, and initiative. ESF against one another are also quite balanced, since both can take the other down with a nosegun, and both can be upgraded to be armed with A2A rockets and flares.

    Against MBT – Both can be effective. With initiative or assistance, any Lightning except a Skyguard can feasibly take down a MBT, though an experienced MBT crew will often win. The single-shot shell-firing cannons for the Lightning are all comparable to that of a MBT main weapon, so mobility can allow a Lightning to beat a MBT one-on-one. However, the MBT with a competent gunner will usually win in a head-to-head battle against a Lightning. At the same time, ESF can easily pick apart a MBT with their nosegun, using rockets to speed up the process, and a talented ESF pilot can even kill an MBT outright with a salvo of rockets directly into the rear. The M20 Basilisk and A30 Walker are the only answer that some tanks have to ESF, and neither can really harm aircraft effectively enough to really take them down. Getting a salvo of rockets in the rear of a tank will do significant damage, and can even score an instant kill on a 100% full MBT.

    Against Liberators – The Lightning might as well just run for cover. I personally bomb Skyguards firing on my pilot's liberator with a Zephyr, and the Lightnings could survive better if they just don't fire upwards and show us where are at. ESF, however, can take down a Liberator solo, as the tailgun is simply not powerful enough to take them down. ESF with anti-air rockets can generally take down a Liberator without much effort.

    Against Infantry – The Lightning can fare pretty well with a HE turret and reinforced front or side armor. The default C75 Viper even gets it done alright, though it doesn't have the punch and radius of HE rounds. However, a Lightning is particularly susceptible to infantry, especially because it is really difficult to move and look around 360 degrees for targets at the same time, and two HA rockets will drop a Lightning easily from the rear. By contrast, ESF are particularly resistant to damage from Flak (the easiest thing to hit them with) and have multiple methods of breaking lock and otherwise preventing missiles from hitting them. Heavy Assault with A2A missiles are definitely more of a threat to ESF than Bursters, but it takes a group of either one to reliably take down even a single ESF. Taking down an ESF with small arms fire will take approximately 100 carbine rounds at point-blank (or 150+ at a distance of 30 meters or more), and hitting ESF with small arms fire is incredibly difficult unless they are hovering in place. ESF have a tough time spotting infantry sometimes, though that isn't usually their primary target.

    Against Sunderers – Lightnings can fare pretty well. Anti-Infantry helps clear spawns, while Anti-Vehicular can take it out after a little while. Having speed and mobility to catch up to a Sunderer means Lightnings can catch them on the move, especially with a Racer chassis. Either the Sunderer crew has to pile out and fight against the Lightning with whatever AV weaponry they have, or else the guns on the Sunderer need to be grenades or mortars, if the Sunderer wants to have a chance of tanking out that Lightning. By contrast, two Basilisks pose little to no threat to ESF, while ESF can slam the Sunderer with rockets or spray it down with the nosegun. A Sunderer crew usually must get out to fire back at ESF if they plan to take it out, or otherwise rely on support in the area.

    Against Galaxy Dropships – There are three scenarios for a Lightning: You have a Skyguard and can damage the Galaxy, you are able to hit the Galaxy with shells (stationary or close-by predictable flight path), or you are useless against it and it is passing nearby. ESF can take a Galaxy down solo, with tons of persistence and a long flight, as well as untalented or absent Galaxy gunning crews, but often an ESF will hammer the Galaxy with some damage and eventually bug out from damage sustained by the Galaxy gunners firing back. No configuration of ESF cannot engage a Galaxy, though.

    Overall – The ESF is the best solo all-purpose vehicle in the game. The Lightning is incomparable to ESF. The Lightning fits its role well, except that it cannot effectively defend itself against targets that its weapon isn't good at fighting, while the ESF machinegun harms everything and rockets can be used to improve one of two combat engagement roles for the aircraft. Lightnings go where terrain lets them, while ESF go wherever they want. Lightnings can't do anything to save themselves from being killed by two close-range rockets hitting in the rear. Even having a tougher learning curve doesn't diminish ESF, because the Lightning is always awkward in requiring the driver to drive and look in two different directions, but mastering flight controls makes the aircraft even more useful to the pilot.

    What would help to bring balance to these vehicles, relative to their class and crew size?

    For the Lightning – It would need an upgrade to the User Interface that includes a picture-in-picture of where the tank is actually facing. This eliminates problems with the driver not being able to see where they are going. Additionally, since the Lightning is only as versatile as the weapon they've selected in terms of who they can fight against, giving an optional M12 Kobalt or M20 Basilisk as a secondary gun would increase the vehicle's capabilities without making it more powerful.

    For the ESF – The ability to see low-res enemy infantry and vehicle models from further away would greatly improve the pilot's ability to do work on the battlefield. Additionally, ESF should have a built-in radar showing where lock-on rockets or streams of flak are coming from, to make it easier for ESF to react to G2A attacks. ESF should have a slow reverse thrust option while grounded, to let them slide away from frontal obstructions that will prevent takeoff after landing poorly or sliding. Finally, ESF need to have vulnerability ADDED to them – particularly directional damage. The front of an ESF should be the most reinforced, followed by bottom and sides, with top and rear being the most vulnerable, as it makes no sense that it takes as many rockets to take out a flying tin can with guns as it does to take out a heavily armored MBT. A rocket in the back of an ESF should leave it with little armor, no more than 15%.
    • Up x 1
  3. Main Battle Tank vs. Liberator
    Next is the Analysis of the MBT vs Liberator. Just as ESF are all different, but fill the same role, MBT are all equal enough that they can be grouped together in this discussion. The role of this class of vehicles is high damage output, increased defenses over solo vehicles, versatility, accommodations for a crew instead of a solo operator, all at the cost of being a larger vehicle and having a larger resource cost (and for MBTs, a linked Tech Plant is needed) plus the need for gunners to maximize damage output.


    More is described below, starting with a side-by-side of the two:


    Weapon Systems
    MBT Weapon Systems – All MBTs start with a basic all-purpose cannon for the driver, and the M20 Basilisk for the gunner. The Driver's weapon can be sidegraded to an alternate Anti-Vehicular round with smaller splash and higher direct damage, or an alternate Anti-Infantry weapon with lower vehicle damage but a larger splash designed to kill infantry. The gunner's M20 Basilisk is versatile but weak – it can kill infantry if it hits them a few times, but the rate of fire and damage output are too low to effectively battle enemy vehicles, and the accuracy and damage output are too low to be useful against aircraft. Gunner weapons can be swapped with the E540 Halberd AV rocket launcher, A30 Walker anti-air turret (which, in its current state, it worthless against any target) and faction-specific anti-Infantry and anti-Vehicular weapons. The Prowler also has the ability to lock itself down to increase the rate of fire, further increasing damage output.


    Liberator Weapon Systems – The Liberator has three seats, each has its own guns. The pilot has a Primary nosegun, the Secondary weapon gunner has whatever gun is bolted to the belly of the Liberator, and the Tertiary gunner operates the tailgun. The nosegun is rather powerful, but the ability to aim it is extremely awkward, especially because in-cockpit free-look does not allow the pilot to aim the nosegun (which is a feature that we had in beta). The Primary gun can be changed from the L30R Vektor to the CAS30 Tank Buster for different performance. The secondary gun is where the bulk of the damage comes from on most Liberators, starting with the default AP30 Shredder that trades rapid lethality for an insurmountable ammo supply. The secondary gun can be swapped for two anti-vehicular shell cannons: the C105 Zephyr and C150 Dalton. The Zephyr is basically like an upgraded Lightning's C75 Viper bolted to the bottom of the Liberator, and the Dalton is more like an upgraded Lightning's HEAT rounds. Damage is higher, and the ability to hit top armor instead of front and side armor means that these cannons will do relatively high damage when they make contact. The tertiary gunner can be armed with the default Basilisk (near useless against ESF), the A30 Walker (also near useless against ESF), and the Bulldog (mortar cannon that will not hit ESF unless they are really close).


    Mobility
    MBT Mobility – Even though the Magrider hovers and the other two are on treads, they all function essentially the same compared to air. The basic, unmodified chassis for MBT is slow (slowest vehicles in the game, in fact) and cannot climb at all. With upgrades, climbing capability increases, along with maneuverability or speed. Like the Lightning, MBTs are great as stable shelling platforms to take out turrets and firing into buildings. Like the Lightning, they are restricted to the ground, making them vulnerable to ground-based threats, as well as allowing them to be hindered by terrain.


    Liberator Mobility – Liberators can access most of the same places that ESF can access. Some tighter areas and some landing spots are not safe for a Liberator, but it is otherwise it is controlled like an ESF that is bigger, slower, and less-agile. Since the belly of the Liberator is where the damage comes from, the Liberator is usually oriented to line up the belly towards the target area, which reduces evasive capabilities in a battle. Speed, climbing ability, and precision controls, can all be specialized with different chassis. Default maximum speed is 160, about 100 flying straight up, and and up to over 270+ diving straight down. Finally, an afterburner can be attached as a utility, which can get up to around 250 with the high speed airframe.


    Defenses
    MBT Defenses – The defenses offered to MBTs is just like that of the Lightning, except that the Vanguard has a factional utility shield that stops some incoming damage, and the Magburner for the Magrider (plus its ability to strafe sideways) makes it a bit more nimble for dodging shots. While MBTs have more armor than a Lightning, taking 5 heavy AV shots or infantry rockets from angles other than the rear, it still takes only two rear-striking Anti-Vehicular rounds or Heavy Assault rockets, and only one rear-striking ESF salvo or Dalton shell, to drop a MBT.


    Liberator Defenses – Liberators have much more armor than a Scythe, and share similar defenses, except that it is immune to Small Arms fire. Being unable to rely on speed to escape, or agility to evade, the Liberator relies on its heavy armor to get away from danger. Liberators are immune to directional damage, so it end up taking at least 3 point-blank rockets or multiple magazines worth of flak from multiple sources to take even one Liberator down. Liberators have one major vulnerability, which is ESF, due to the damage output of ESF against Liberators, and the inability for any Tertiary guns to really fend off enemy air effectively.


    Assessment – Between the two heavy multi-crew attack vehicles, they are both a worthy upgrade from the Lightning and ESF respectively, but the Liberator still trumps MBTs in terms of total damage output and killing power, as well as mobility. MBTs don't suffer the same driving-while-spotting penalties that the single operator of a Lightning will face, because the gunner can be looking around and even be configured to take down infantry or vehicles better (and eventually air once the A30 Walker eventually gets improved). Even with more armor and some additional defenses, MBTs really aren't much less vulnerable than Lightnings, and are slightly larger targets on top of that. Liberators have decent armor, and taking them down is far more difficult than taking out a MBT, which is doubly difficult because most AA barely harms Liberators quickly enough to drop them before they have started killing friendlies. Right now ESF are the best weapon against Liberators, because the Tertiary guns are somewhat abysmal for actually fending off enemy air, but it is impossible for Lightnings and MBTs to reliably fend off ESF that are tailing friendly Liberators, meaning that air combatants are tough to counter or suppress as a ground-based vehicle.


    Regarding Controls – Controls for the Prowler and Vanguard are quite similar to those of the Lightning, except that the driver can look forward and have their gunner help them spot targets or threats in other directions, or even fire while the driver is trying to evade or escape. The Magrider is the only exception, and is a unique vehicle, having A and D to strafe sideways, and using the mouse to rotate the entire body to look and aim and steer. The Liberator is much more of a boat than the nimble ESF, though it is based more on keeping the belly towards the target and less on attacking and evading from different angles.


    Against Their Own Kind – Against MBTs, other MBTs fare pretty well. Magriders are often hailed / complained about as being the most effective of the three MBTs, but they are fairly well balanced and comparable as combatants fighting one another compared to other vehicles. A tank with dual anti-Vehicular weapons, and reinforced armor that it can keep the enemy shooting at, will generally beat a less-specialized MBT in the field, though the less specialized one can often win with a rear ambush. By contrast, Liberators rarely battle in the sky, due to their lack of agility. I have a feeling that most Liberator-on-Liberator kills are either collisions or Secondary weapon kills, and that Primary and Tertiary Lib-on-Lib kills are rare by contrast.


    Against Lightnings – MBTs are usually going to defeat a Lightning. Even the HE cannon for a MBT can be potent enough to fight off a Lightning with an AP cannon, though that is a tough match-up for the MBT. A Lightning with the Skyguard is no match for a Liberator, and chances are that a single Lightning would be destroyed before the Liberator has even received even 20% damage. With any other weapon, the Lightning is lucky to even hit at all, unless the Liberator is parked or flying on a predictable low path.


    Against ESF – Until the A30 Walker is worthwhile, MBTs have no answer to ESF. I get lucky and snipe a few out of the air every day with my Magrider, but right now MBTs must rely on friendly support or getting out and using infantry G2A rockets. Liberators can't really engage ESF in any meaningful way, and the Tertiary guns do a poor job at fending them off. Both heavy combat vehicle types, the MBT and the Liberator, struggle against ESF. It would be better if a Heavy Assault soldier could sit in the back and fire their G2A rockets out the rear of the Liberator instead of trying to fend ESF off with the Tertiary machineguns.


    Against Infantry – Both Liberators and MBTs are potent against Infantry. The AP30 Shredder is genuinely not good for infantry (that AP is Armor Piercing, not Anti-Personnel) but hurts them if you hit them. The Zephyr takes out infantry in one direct hit, but usually two to three shots in their general vicinity will kill infantry without hitting directly on them. The splash from the Dalton is even more lethal, and it will obliterate infantry who are hit by it. Burster MAXs barely hurt Liberators (though the can hit them easily), and it takes a lot of G2A rockets to actually take a Liberator down. By contrast, infantry have far more tools that they can use against MBTs to take them out, and it is possible to take them out with 2 rear-striking rockets. Despite this, all-purpose and anti-infantry cannons for the driver will take out infantry quite effectively, and anti-infantry secondary guns really do shred infantry.


    Against Sunderers – Like with ESF, Sunderers can't really answer to the firepower of a Liberator without having the crew get out and fire G2A rockets or Burster MAXs. Basilisks just don't do enough damage, or harm Liberators enough, to really be any sort of worthwhile counter to them. Using the Bulldog or Fury gives the Sunderer a pretty fair chance against MBT, as the exceptional armor of the Sunderer and damage output of two of either explosive weapon will be able to take out a nearby MBT, but in most cases the firepower and range of an MBT will win against Sunderers.


    Against Galaxy Dropships – MBT doesn't really have a counter to the Galaxy, though they are slow and lumbering enough to be able to hit if they pass close enough. Even if it was powerful enough to take out ESF and fend off Liberators, the A30 Walker probably wouldn't do more than annoy the Galaxy for the time that it is in range. By contrast, a bold enough Liberator can get over a Galaxy and use its secondary gun to inflict heavy damage relatively quickly, though the top gunner on the Galaxy will have free shots at them the entire time. Engaging from behind is a death sentence, as all guns focusing fire will generally hurt the Liberator far more than the Liberator can hurt the Galaxy.


    Overall – While the Liberator can fight pretty much all ranges and classes of combatants, the MBT is limited to fighting ground targets, and can generally only hit aircraft in situations of fortunate luck. The MBT can be killed in one to two shots due to directional damage, the Liberator can sustain as much (or sometimes more) abuse than a MBT can sustain because it lacks the ability to sustain directional damage. MBTs can climb and travel at a fair speed with the Racer chassis, but it does not compare to the ability for a Liberator to fly unobstructed and rain down hell upon vehicles and infantry. Right now a Liberator fares slightly better against ESF, considering the Liberator and MBT both use the A30 Walker as their top-of-the-line AA machinegun (though it needs an upgrade badly), but the ability to line up Tertiary gun shots gives the Liberator a bit of a better chance to survive an ESF attack one-on-one.


    Considering I already have the Gold medal for bombing, and I get about 40+ bombing kills per Liberator (having a fantastic pilot helps too), and likely up to half of my kills are from bombing, I have to confess that MBTs just aren't as tough or as lethal as Liberators by any stretch. And it huts to say that, because I have spent all of my certs on upgrading my Magrider, which I hope will some day be more equal in lethality and utility to the Liberator.


    What would help to bring balance to these vehicles, relative to their class and crew size?


    For the MBT – MBTs need to be less vulnerable to directional damage. 3 Heavy Assault rockets or C4 packs to the rear should leave a MBT with a sliver of armor that critical fire damage can finish off. ESF should require at least 3 accurate top-striking rocket salvos, or 2 from the rear, to take out an MBT. With that vulnerability alleviated, the only other concern is that the A30 Walker needs to be more powerful, more accurate, and have zero bullet drop over 500 meters, so that it can function as an effective AA machinegun that must be respected by aircraft. Weapon systems are fine, though I think 2 rear-striking AV shots should leave a vehicle with a sliver of armor rather than destroying it outright (which will also lead to more ramming kills). The Picture-in-Picture for the vehicle front view that a Lightning should have would be a great feature for the Prowler and Vanguard too – however a rear view PIP camera would make more sense for a forward-facing Magrider.


    For the Liberator – Just as the MBT needs the A30 Walker to get a tune-up, so does the Liberator. The A30 Walker on a Liberator needs to be able to swat down ESF that actually get in its line of sight, and be powerful enough to help in the rare situation that an enemy Liberator is chasing with the Primary gun. Furthermore, the Liberator needs to have its defenses and vulnerabilities adjusted to be like that of the MBTs – front has the most durability, followed by sides and bottom, with top and rear being the most vulnerable. The same balances should also be shared between the Liberator and the MBTs, particularly that 3 rear-striking rockets are a near-kill. A Picture-in-Picture that allows the pilot to see the Secondary or Tertiary gunner's view would allow them to better adjust the aircraft without requiring additional communication. A radar to see where incoming locks and flak are coming from would be appropriate for the Liberator as well. Grounded or slow-moving Liberators should have a reverse thrust option, to get out from landing areas that are too tight due to forward or upward restrictions. Targets way in the distance should be drawn as an extremely low-res model, to make it possibly to see and target distant enemies. Finally, the Liberator needs fully shared experience across the entire crew, as it is very discouraging to tailgunners to sit in the toughest seat in the plane and only get experience from assists or tough-to-get kills (and repairing the Liberator in many cases).
    • Up x 1
  4. Sunderer vs. Galaxy
    Finally for the Sunderer vs. Galaxy. At the beginning of Beta, the Galaxy was the mobile spawn point, and the Sunderer was just a transport. Eventually with user feedback, they roles switched, and the Sunderer gained the S-AMS ability while the Galaxy had functionality as a mobile respawn point removed, so the feature of a Galaxy is as a Dropship or to try to operate as a Gunship.


    Here is the side-by-side comparison:


    Weapon Systems
    Sunderer Weapon Systems – The two Basilisks that the Sunderer starts with can hurt vehicles and air that it can hit, and kill some infantry, but for the most part they should be replaced with guns that are more effective. Currently the best defense against air is for the Sunderer crew to get out and fire back with G2A rockets or a pile of Burster MAXs. The M40 Fury and M60 Bulldog can be attached as well, providing some much heavier firepower to the Sunderer, and giving it good damage output against close to medium range targets, as well as the M12 Kobalt for more anti-Infantry precision.
    Galaxy Weapon Systems – The default setup for a Galaxy is a full spread of 5 Basilisks (the wings share the same weapon type). The upgrade options for the Galaxy are currently rather limited, with two guns that can be swapped for A30 Walkers, and two that can be swapped for M60 Bulldogs (making it like a half-gunship). Eventually the Galaxy may be more of a full-on gunship, but currently it is a bit awkward to try to use a Galaxy to smash ground forces any better than two Liberators would do.


    Mobility
    Sunderer Mobility – Being a ground vehicle, the Sunderer is only able to go where the terrain will allow it, though improved chassis definitely make terrain less of a restriction. Even though it is somewhat prone to flipping and exploding, the Sunderer can handle some pretty rough terrain, and its large wheels help with clearing low obstacles. This is the only ground vehicle with the ability to penetrate enemy vehicle shields, though this utility must be selected instead of the S-AMS. The maximum speed is 70, equal to the Lightning, but with poorer acceleration and better capabilities in getting over bumpy terrain. The Gate Shield Diffuser even allows a Sunderer to cross through enemy base shields.


    Galaxy Mobility – Truly a flying yacht, the Galaxy is slow and greatly lacks maneuverability. Flying upside-down in a Galaxy is a sure way to make a crater, as the engines can't compete with gravity unless the Galaxy is right-side up. With a default speed of 120 flying flat, 90 in a full climb, and 200+ in a freefall drop, it is by far the slowest air vehicle in the game, though it still goes faster than all ground vehicles. The Galaxy has no place for Afterburners, and requires the High Speed Airframe to go any faster. This is not a plane that one would try to squeeze through a tight area, and best practice is to fly where there is plenty of room, rather than getting close to terrain and buildings.


    Defenses
    Sunderer Defenses – The Sunderer has a great deal of defensive capabilities, on top of already having tough armor, making it the toughest ground vehicle in the game to destroy. Sunderers don't have directional damage, and take 6 heavy AV attacks from any angle to destroy them. The Sunderer has the exact same defenses and utilities as a Lightning, in addition to a few more features: Blockade Armor (which adds directional damage resistance), Proximity Vehicle Repair (defensive for some reason, but doesn't aid the Sunderer itself), Vehicle Ammo Dispenser (again, listed as defensive but doesn't aid the Sunderer), as well as S-AMS spawn point and Gate Shield Diffuser as utilities. Instead of the small IR Smoke that other vehicles get, the Sunderer gets a sustained Smoke Screen that lasts much longer.


    Galaxy Defenses – The Galaxy is much larger than the Sunderer, and despite its increased speed, still provides a huge lumbering target for almost everyone to attack. To compensate for this, it can take a total of 8 point-blank AV rockets or heavy AV attacks before going down, and also does not take directional damage. Aside from having no Afterburner, the defenses and utilites for a Galaxy are exactly the same as a Liberator. Safe-fall is built in to the Galaxy, so the player need not invest certs into it for the Galaxy to be effective as a dropship.


    Assessment – Both the Galaxy and the Sunderer function as troop transport vehicles, able to contain a crew of 12 and get them to their location. While a Sunderer may be more covert and go relatively unnoticed, a Galaxy drop is very easy to spot, especially from extremely high altitudes. With the Gate Shield Diffuser, both vehicles can get troops into areas that are otherwise impossible for them to access, and their thick armor helps to guarantee a safe trip to the destination. On top of that, the Sunderer can function as a spawn point, vehicle repair station, and a vehicle rearming station, (spawn and one of the others is the limit) which means they are vital tools for extending the supply line on the battlefield. In beta, the Galaxy was the only mobile spawn point at one time, meaning that the easily-spotted dropship would need a safe place to land to be used as a spawn point, though this was removed when the S-AMS was added to the Sunderer. The Galaxy can put out more firepower than the Sunderer, but it isn't very focused aside from when machineguns are trained on a trailing aircraft.


    Regarding Controls – The Galaxy is about as bulky and awkward as an aircraft can get, but it is easy enough to pick up, land, and fly over a destination, which is all the Galaxy is really used for (except when being used as a sort of gunship). The Sunderer is a bit more nimble by contrast, both less awkward and less bulky, and it can get over barriers and obstacles better than MBTs. Sunderers can flip if an angle is too steep, but generally they rock back and forth but stay upright. Even with their immense size, trees and antenna can make for a really bad day for a Galaxy trying not to crash and burn.


    Against Each Other – Comparing battle prowess is pointless, as a Sunderer has little means to attack air, and a Galaxy with M60 Bulldogs will still have a hard time actually taking out a heavy-armored Sunderer. They are better compared as transports, where the Sunderer is better for getting troops to a point and supporting them there, while the Galaxy is better for fast-response troop transportation and for getting troops to high points or precise locations. The Galaxy requires more crew to stay behind if the weapons are all to be armed, while only two people need to remain in a Sunderer to keep the weapons going.


    Against their Own Kind – Sunderers rarely battle other Sunderers, and armament or nearby support probably means far more than initiative in a battle of Sunderers. Galaxy battles would be quite contrived, since neither has the armament or even a good reason to try to take down the other short of just ramming one into the other.


    Against Lightnings and MBTs – Sunderers can fair alright against Lightnings and MBTs in close battles, but at a distance they will generally be less effective. Sunderers aren't really battle vehicles though, they are for transport and utility. By contrast, a Galaxy probably isn't going to hurt a MBT or Lightning unless they are out gunning for armor with Bulldogs, but a Lightning and MBT can't really harm a Galaxy unless they can get shells into it, since the Skyguard and A30 Walker are so slow to kill.


    Against ESF – ESF pose a serious threat to both the Galaxy and the Sunderer. A Sunderer needs passenger carrying sufficient AA weaponry to jump out and scare off or take down the ESF, since there isn't enough AA firepower on a Sunderer to return fire in a meaningful way. For a Galaxy, a lone ESF can be eliminated by the gunners, but a few crafty ESF are going to be very difficult to take down because they will likely split the attention of the gunners. A Galaxy armed with Bulldogs is even less equipped to handle enemy ESF.


    Against Liberators – The Sunderer is basically a death trap against Liberators without passengers carrying AA. It takes a crew of engineers to outcompete Liberator damage output, meanwhile the Sunderer can help to draw fire while the AA soldiers get after the Liberator with their AA. The Galaxy can't do much about a Liberator, though some of the gunners should be able to hit a Liberator no matter where it is attacking from, and can potentially take down or scare off the Liberator.


    Against Infantry – Sunderers can kinda take the fight to a group of infantry, due to their armor and lack of directional vulnerability. Using the Fury or Bulldog allows the Sunderer to suppress indoor areas and groupings of enemy combatants out in the open. However, Sunderers tend to stick out like a sore thumb, and are often focused on by infantry who are in a group or trying to prevent enemy spawn points. A Galaxy would need Bulldogs if it wants to be useful against infantry, otherwise the gunners will have a terrible time trying to hit infantry. Infantry can hit a Galaxy easily with flak or G2A rockets, but it takes a helluva lot of either one to take down a Galaxy, which is generally passing by instead of stopping to engage infantry anyway.


    Overall – The Galaxy and Sunderer are great transportation vehicles, and are truly specialized for getting troops to their destination. The Sunderer is really strapped for weapons, and it requires a crew to get out and address any air threats, as well as requiring them to get out and risk being fragged by a tank if they get out to help fight against one. By contrast, the Galaxy doesn't have the option for the crew to jump out and fire back, so it has to have enough gunners to fend off everything coming, which can mean a smaller drop size if more gunners hang around. The machineguns on the Galaxy are enough to harm aircraft, but it isn't enough to really fend off aerial attackers or make them respect the gunners enough to attack as an organized group.


    What would I do to improve these?


    The Sunderer probably needs a couple more guns. First I would put both a Primary and Secondary gun on the front and the back of the Sunderer, doubling the number of guns and gunner it has. I would limit the Primary gun to Basilisk, Fury, or Bulldog, and Secondary to Basilisk, Kobalt, or Walker. This way it can still start with only Basilisks, but it can be upgraded to accommodate one set of explosive launchers and one set of improved machineguns. The only other modifications I would make are that the S-AMS should be deployable as close as 50 meters to the next one by adding levels of improvement to the S-AMS cert. This doesn't reduce the radius of the S-AMS Sunderer when it deploys, but instead reduces the interference proximity of other deployed S-AMS for the driver when they are trying to find a spot to set down.


    For the Galaxy, I would make a few changes. All of the guns should be able to be changed into A30 Walkers, to make the Galaxy a floating AA platform. This will only work as intended when the Walker is finally given a damage and precision tune-up. I would also consider giving the Galaxy a Zephyr to further accentuate the Gunship role, though I worry that there would be a lot of two-person Galaxy crews with that configuration. Finally, I feel like the Galaxy should regain functionality as a Mobile Spawn Point, though it would probably need harsher restrictions than the S-AMS in terms of the interference radius, such as not being able to deploy in a 200 meter radius of ANY spawn point, possibly even including hard spawn points in enemy bases. That, or a timer and cooldown for the deploy period, so that it cannot be used indefinitely.
    • Up x 1
  5. Final thoughts


    Looking at everything here, the parallels don't really feel that parallel right now. The Flash has no parallel at all, no quick light aircraft to help troops get to their high-up destination in a more covert way than a massive Galaxy drop.


    ESF can rip up the battlefield and evade most of the attacking that can be sent their way, while a Lightning can be somewhat sneaky but can't jet away to hide behind cover when it is getting slammed. In a fight, ESF beat Lightnings, even if that Lightning is specialized against air, which means the Lightning is almost completely useless when it comes to fending off enemy air that is harassing friendlies at a base or in an armor column. Furthermore, the versatility of the ESF to have a machinegun and rockets trumps the single-cannon Lightning, and the Lightning needs a M20 Basilisk (or optional M12 Kobalt) as a secondary gun to compensate for the lack of all-range versatility.


    Just as ESF and Lightnings aren't very parallel, MBTs are good, but generally don't come close to the damage output and versatility of the Liberator. MBTs are adept at fighting ground forces that they can get to, except when a Heavy Assault soldier gets behind them and takes them down in two shots. It is hard for a MBT deep in enemy territory to get away. With the A30 Walker how it is now, MBTs are very vulnerable to attacks from aircraft, and have little ability to return fire. By contrast, Liberators can at least attempt to engage enemy aircraft, but they can bomb targets on the ground while relatively unhindered by cover and terrain. The Dalton and Zephyr are far more powerful than MBT weaponry, partially because of the angle they come in from, but also because they are genuinely powerful shots. I've spent much more time in a MBT, I've gotten way more kills in a Liberator as a bomber.


    The Sunderer and Galaxy are pretty good, but they could be even better. A S-AMS cert upgrade to reduce the radius of already-deployed Sunderers would help to alleviate clogging that occurs when an inconsiderate player rushes up and puts down a bad S-AMS point, just to hog the points for the respawns. Additional armament would help the Sunderer with survival, and access to the A30 Walker (when it is upgraded) means that it will be possible to fight off enemy air without having all of the passengers exit to fire back at enemy air. In limited use, bringing back the Galaxy as a spawn point wouldn't be bad, because it would still need to abide by interference radius restrictions. By and large, it still doesn't feel like we really have the armament and configuration options needed to turn the Galaxy into a gunship yet, which is something that ought to make a return.


    After all of this, I have to say that Aircraft have a lot of advantages, especially because ground forces have little that they can use to resist the attacks of ESF and Liberators. Flak needs to be rebalanced (I think this is already going on), and the Walker needs to be a high-velocity, tight, rapid-fire machinegun that really make enemy air think twice about engaging. Adding a bit more directional vulnerability to ESF and Liberators could help with this. However, I also have sympathy for aircarft not being able to see attackers, so I believe both radar / minimap improvements to show where flak and lock-on rockets are coming from would help out a lot. I also would like to see Level of Detail scaling to reduce distant targets to paper cutouts until they are close enough to be drawn properly.


    On top of that, MBTs having such vulnerability to rear-striking missiles is really not appropriate damage scaling, since that is how many it takes to drop the smaller Lightning tank. A sneeze over 3 rockets to take down MBTs would be much more fair by comparison, especially based on the cost of resources to acquire one over the other. This would also help to slightly water down the win-every-battle versatility that a single Heavy Assault troop brings to the battle.


    Thank you for reading through all of this, and I hope that you will take the time to respond with any comments, or corrections, questions, or anything else you want to contribute to this discussion!!!


    This took me a while to write, so I'm gonna stop looking at text and get back to racking up getting massive amounts of bombing kills. :) See you on Auraxis!!
    • Up x 1
  6. That's a lot of words.
    • Up x 2
  7. Sure is... I didn't spend a few days writing it for nothing though, and I am looking forward to a lengthy discussion!
  8. Call me when the TL;DR version come in.
  9. WOT!

    if you want people to discuss specific subject, choise the issue and post ONE issue in each thread, posting an 5 pages long discussion starter with properly 20 issue's in one go makes every one stop reading half way. sadly

  10. pretty good comparison, except for one thing

    are you absolutely, 100% sure that sundy's dont suffer from directional damage?

    because the blockade armor cert says otherwise
    • Up x 1
  11. Blockade may add directional damage, but a basic Sunderer will take the same damage front, top, bottom, sides, and rear.
  12. Good evaluation so far. I am not sure if full parallels are expected in the game though.

    Edit: to add, on the Kotaku page they (PS2 devs) mentioned these upcoming vehicles:

    Harraser - Buggy
    Snow mobile - Flash with skis
    Phantasm - Stealth/cloakable small squad flying transport

    So it looks like some of your concerns are being addressed with the Phantasm at least.

    Edit 2: Drat, misread, was a suggestion. Only confirmation that came was that new vehicles are coming.
  13. Sorry I got about half way through before I had to stop because of the obvious bias.

    For starters a comparison isn't really possible because of how different air and ground vehicles are, they have totally different strengths and weaknesses. But the op clearly has an agenda against air units and is trying to justify it.
  14. OK...where to start. In regards to my later comments on vehicle IRNV being OP, see "Divine Intervention" in my signature.
    1. Flash Air Based Equivalent: An air based flash equivalent may cause balance problems with HA & snipers being in hard to reach places they shouldn't normally be. Yes, right now this can be done with an ESF, but it is rare. Having an additional light air transport with a quick timer would make this a full time problem. I vote no to a small, short cooldown, air transport.
    2. Flash Defensive Upgrades: The Flash defensive upgrades need to be very, very carefully thought out. During beta I had a particular Flash setup that could absolutely terrorize infantry (just ask Griz) and adding defensive shields would have made it insane. I am OK with defensive shields being added to the Flash, but they must replace the weaponry.
    3. Flash & Infantry Class Abilities:
      • General: I would not change the way the class specific abilities function. That means no indefinite AOE heal for the Medic, vehicle ammo resupply for the Engineer, or the HA personal shield extending to the Flash. The only exception I would add is the ability for the Infiltrator's cloak to extend to the Flash.
      • Medic & Heavy Assault (AOE heal & Personal Shield): Not sure why the class special ability cannot be enabled while mounted on an ATV now. There do not appear to be any glaring balance issues that would come from allowing this. My guess is that the mechanics just haven't been looked at / coded because the dev team has other more important things to do ATM.
      • Infiltrator (Cloak): I see this the same as the Medic & HA class ability with one restriction, no weapons can be mounted to enter cloaked mode.
      • Engineer (Ammo Dispenser): This is a tricky one. Mainly, how does this get implemented? Creating artwork and a special model for an "Ammo ATV" seems a overly complicated. Maybe the simplest manner would be to let the engineer drop an ammo pack on the ATV and make it "sticky" so it doesn't fall off.
    4. Glaring Vehicle Balance Issues: The biggest change I would make is a major reduction to the visibility of infantry when using IRNV for ALL vehicles. Also, all vehicles need an expensive, multi-lvl, anti-IRNV/therm, cert tree (50,250,500,1000,2000?).
      • A30 Walker is broken. Period. Somebody messed up and forgot to change something and/or made an extremely poor balance choice from beta to release. This weapon needs a ROF, COF, or damage buff. Possibly all three. Granted, it was slightly OP in beta, but moving from beta to release is not the best place to swing the pendulum.
      • Liberator: Other than fixing the Walker this aircraft is balanced. Sure, it feels way OP vs everything right now, but that is more a side effect of the Skyguard being broken, poor map design, and OP IRNV.
      • Skyguard (SG): Like the Walker, this is broken, just not as bad. My suggestion would be to increase the projectile speed, give it a slight damage buff, and add an "Extended Magazine" cert tree (+25?). COF and ROF seem workable. Another perk to consider would be adding a damage resistance to all aircraft fire for the Lightning when the SG turret is mounted, as it is far too squishy against aircav ATM (although fixing the SG turret may negate the need for this). A SG that catches an ESF hovering within 100M should be the equivalent of shooting a stationary grunt in the back of the head with a carbine, virtually no chance of survival. Just say no to ESF hoverspam.
      • All vs All: Everything else seems balanced, mostly. In cases where it doesn't seem balanced, the problem is usually due to lack of good cover in the map / base design or the OP IRNV.
    5. New Major Vehicle Changes:
      • Galaxy: Gunship? Get a Liberator. Flying AA fortress? Hmmmm, hard to say how this would impact gameplay.
    • Up x 1
  15. OP experience match mine, well done for writing it down.

    It shows the current imbalance air as vs the ground fairly well.

    Maybe the equivalent to the flash could be buying a drop pod, with a timer, and some certs to reduce it.

    A point neglected is the radar utility, where the flash and the ESF get quite long range version of them.

    For your suggestion however, i am more reserved, we don't need for exemple sunderer to become a ground power, their defense is the infantery they carry / spawn.
    • Up x 1
  16. I actually read all of that. The problem I have with it is that you started this analysis from a flawed premise.

    That's because they're not parallels, nor were they designed to be.
  17. Primatily that Air can counter Ground with default setups and it only gets better with specialization. Noseguns alone aren't fantastic (pretty decent though), but ESF can attack grounds targets from angles at which their turrets can't even return fire. The AP30 Shredder isn't great, but it can certainly put a serious hurting on ground vehicles that have no way to counter.

    By contrast, ground vehicles can specialize in Anti-Air and fend off air attacking them or attacking nearby friendlies, at the cost of their ability to fight infantry or other ground vehicles. That is fair, except that the anti-air isn't powerful enough (and in some cases, even accurate enough) to actually fend off attacking air before they get their damage in. Even going full speed, ESF can deliver a rocket salvo and bug out, while flak and Walker rounds helplessly remind the pilot that they COULD be killed if they decided to slow down and stop rather than continuing on to safety.

    I don't think draw distance or culling is an excuse for aircraft to be able to bomb on ground vehicles without ground vehicles having a reasonable counter. I'd rather ESF see me from 500 meters away, so it can be justified that I have an AA weapon that is useful up to 500 meters, allowing me the ability to actually guard the sky from aircraft when I use a Skyguard. That being a consideration, I can see how some elements of air balance won't be fully achieved until everyone can see all combatants in the field from a long distance without error.

    That doesn't mean current AA weapons are excusable. The Walker doesn't even angle down enough to fight vehicles and infantry, and is just terrible for hitting air right now, making the default Basilisk (because of its potential to angle down) a better weapon than the A30 Walker for a MBT that want to be able to scratch air but also scratch vehicles and nearby infantry. The Skyguard fares better in accuracy, but committing to AA is even WORSE for a Skyguard - giving up all ability to use the one equipped weapon to fight off infantry and vehicles, in order to have a weapon that is mediocre at keeping an ESF from taking you or your allies out in two salvos, is not a fair exchange by any means. Maybe if flak is set to explode on contact again, instead of only in proximity to aircraft, it would be better for infantry and vehicles, and thus be less of an overall downgrade to use the Skyguard instead of something else.

    Maybe the balance is to just tune down air to ground damage? Reduce the power of all air weapons against vehicles, down to 33-50% of what they are at right now. That way, anti-air is just as good against air as the re-tuned aircraft would be against ground vehicles.
  18. Even though they've been described as such, and clearly are that way in the way they are designed? Maybe they weren't meant to be exactly the same, but there are enough similarities and crew size / functionality considerations that they are closer to parallels than being two lines of vehicles made independently of one another.
  19. Where are the air and ground vehicles described as being parallels? And no, they're clearly not designed that way. That's like saying that an A-10 Warthog is designed to be a parallel of an M1A1 Abrams.

    Each vehicle has its role. The roles cross over at multiple points, but none of them are clearly designed to be a parallel to another vehicle.
  20. Thanks!

    Purchasable drop pods as a way to get to a location, I like it! With confirmation of the phantasm returning, that mostly fills the role I was looking for, and may even work better than air scooters.

    You are right that I glossed over the radar. Could you please provide some more details about the nature and usage of radar functionality for Flash and ESF?

    I can understand reservations about improving weapon systems on the Sunderer. I'll be honest, in PlanetSide 1, the Sunderer Variant felt right - two shell cannons to help fend off tanks, two fast-firing weapons to address aircraft and infantry, and two side machineguns with darklight extenders as a way to track down infiltrators. And they had an EMP, and they could freely pass through shield barriers. All of that is kinda overkill for PS2.

    Would you be okay with the heavily-gunned Sunderer if it could only be pulled from places where tanks can be acquired, and was unable to have the S-AMS? I can see how the powerful weaponry would be too much to pull from what used to just be a Flash terminal, and that it would be a lot of weaponry for a mobile spawn point.

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