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. .................................................................... 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.