The ESF debate; the clue is in the [F]

Discussion in 'Vehicle Discussion' started by Mietz, Nov 26, 2012.

  1. The ESF has no weakness? None? No weakness like being a highly visible, uncovered, lightly armored target in the sky? Like having to deal with/dodge/defend against any HA with a G2A launcher, any MAX with a burster, any armor with a manned basilisk or a walker, any tower or base with manned turrets, any smartly manned and certed galaxy or liberator, any sky guard, and any other enemy ESF in the sky?

    Lightnings can take hard cover in buildings and under bridges if the going gets rough (ESFs can run away). Lightnings can hang near ammo depots for endless supplies of ammo (ESFs must run away), and park near repair sunderers and engineers for endless repairs (ESFs must run away). These are advantages the lightning/skyguard has over the ESF, in addition to a weapon designed to specifically destroy the ESF. The ESF does not have access to these advantages. In fact, the rearm and repair phase for ESFs is when it is at its most vulnerable and least effective. To be safe, the ESF must distance itself from the battlefield. This gives ground defenses plenty of time to rearm, repair, and prepare for the ESF to return.

    Solo lightnings in the open deserve to get rocketed to death by clever ESFs just as hovering ESFs deserve to get instagibbed by sharp-shooting AA guns, clever HA dumbfires and not-so-hard-to-make-but-kinda-lucky tank shots.

    In return for its defensive weaknesses by fault of being air-based, the ESF is given more offensive options: be "very good" at A2A (with A2A missiles and rotary), be "very good" at A2G (with A2G rockets and cannon), or be "pretty good" at both A2A and A2G by mixing an air weapon and a ground weapon.

    In return for its defensive strengths by virtue of being ground-based, the lightning has fewer offensive options: be "very good" at one role (air, armor, or infantry) at the expense of the other two, or "pretty good" at two (infrantry and armor)

    Surviving in an ESF is not as easy as you may think it is. It takes good piloting skills, a good deal of certs, quick wits, and a talent for avoiding over-committing.

    Do not call for nerfs just because some players can excel in that role and spend deeply into it. They should be deadly.
  2. Lightnings deal with all of this plus more (including all air). The difference is that ESFs can just leave an engagement and find a new target quickly, Lightnings are bound to the dirt. All possible dangers for an ESF can simply be avoided and they can still get kills from lone wolfing. Yes, for a good pilot there are no weaknesses, an ESF is the best solo vehicle. "No weaknesses" might have been hyperbole, so "the least weaknesses" is more accurate.

    All this the ESF has access to, and more readily due to its maneuverability and speed. An ESF does not get flanked. The AA specific gun for the Lightning? Are you joking? The ESF has rocket pods and can still dog-fight, there is no comparing the Lightning to the ESF in its universal capabilities. It is a swiss-army-jet that can kill anything.

    I am so sorry that when you are almost destroyed in enemy territory you can still run away, repair/rearm, and not have to wait for your lightning to be deployable again. Your life is so hard.

    Correction: Solo ESFs deserve to get FLAKed to death by any flak-AA just as solo Lightnings get instagibbed by any ****** pilot with rocket pods.

    You're an idiot if you consider "able to fly" as a weakness of any kind. This is actually a point towards restricting the ESFs options more than a Lightnings, but I meerly wish them to be on even ground because I'm such a nice guy. :)

    Being earthbound is not an advantage. Also a SG sucks at its role, especially when compared to the efficiency of a rocket pod ESF. Have you played this game?

    I want aircraft to be strong, fly a Libby if you want to kill ground from air. I do not want the ESF to be a one-man universal can of whoop-a$$ for whatever role it wishes. If an ESF goes A2G, make it only work against ground just like the Lightning only works against air with the SG. If it wants to dogfight, let it only be able to harass ground, just like a non-SG Lightning (wait, they can't do jack to air...).

    So the argument you have against balancing ESFs is that you think flying and always being able to run away is a disadvantage and being stuck on the ground is an advantage. Is that it?
    • Up x 2
  3. As you have reverted to insult and ad hominem, you have shutdown this conversation since it appears you do not care to have one.
  4. Ah, okay. The only insult or ad-hominum in my post was the part that I said you are an idiot if you think "being able to fly" is a disadvantage. While I stand by the sentiment, perhaps I was a bit too harsh. How about this: If you think "being able to fly" is a disadvantage, you have failed to grasp the full measure of logistical and tactical advantages involved in this ability. I also pointed out those advantages in my post, but I guess you came up with an excuse not to address them before you could, right?
  5. All the ESF pilots I see whining that people hate rocket pods seem to fail to realize that if the ground troops scare away one ESF there are always five more to take its place. The problem is not with AA, the problem is with the quantity of guys that suck too hard at the game to enjoy it without spamming rocket pods at the ground.
  6. Too many posts to read. Only one point needs to be made - the OP conveniently mentioned F-22's and F-16's, but forgot all about the A-10. A-10 is an equivalent-sized jet aircraft designed for close air support.

    Another point to make is that our ES "F"s are VTOL and can hover with ease. They aren't conventional fighters - they are designed to stay above a target area in order to do damage.

    If you want a fair change to the game, make some true anti-air jets that go too quickly to hover comfortably.

    In any case, there is absolutely no sense in saying that ESF's shouldn't be able to do ground damage. The fact still remains that the game is balanced and the triad (infantry, vehicle, air) can destroy air.
  7. I can see this as a valid point, and it is easily remedied by modifying the cost/timer for an ESF.

    Now moving right along.......
  9. I think making the ESF less desirable would work better. At the moment all the trolls see it as a way to farm certs. I'd be willing to bet that at least 70% of people who regularly fly ESFs don't do it because they enjoy flying, but because they either want to irritate everyone else or because they want to go and claim spawn rooms as their very own certification farms.
  10. Totally agree
  11. That's not the point. The points are this:
    • Aircraft, like ground vehicles, that take ground based weapons should be locked into an A2G package greatly limiting their ability to defend against other EA. The A-10 in your example is a prime example of this.
    • Because fighters have the ability to spec into a multi function AG/AA fighter that's cheaper than the air vehicle designed for the AG role, but is nearly as effective, most don't and opt for the fighter thus taking part of the only role the AG vehicle has.
    • Cross over between roles occurs, but only in a very limited fashion. We see this in med packs for infantry vs dedicated medics. We see MBTs and Lightnings. But in each of those cases, one is very limited in its ability to perform the role when compared to the main role holder. The ability for a ESF to take rocket pods gives it more than just a 'limited' overlap of the Lib's role. This is due to the sky not having the same constraints that terrain does (Lightning vs MBT) and the ability for the ESF to rearm & repair faster while maintaining damage output almost equal to a Lib, but do it for longer at a cheaper price solo than the Lib. Plus all of the XP goes to the pilot. It's like giving a rocket launcher to light infantry.
    We talk a lot about roles here. Traditionally air has these roles in their purest sense:
    • Fighter/interceptor: Air superiority. Dominating the air space to clear the way for your support aircraft and ground forces.
    • Bomber/Close Air Support: Destroying ground based targets
    • Support: This is your transports, AEW&C, AEW, Refueler, etc

    With all that said, sometimes things should change simply because they don't balance correctly. A single solo vehicle shouldn't be as effective as a multiseat vehicle in the multiseat vehicle's main role. There's a reason why more people fly ESF for ground support than a Lib. You can either nerf the ESF or boost the Lib and the ground.
    • Up x 1
  12. I just wanted to point out here that this in fact does not reward accuracy at all.

    What is harder to accomplish; shooting 2 arrows into a bull's eye or 7?

    while it is more "spammy" feeling, having more shots that need to be accurately landed increases the difficulty of the task. This suggestion is counter productive to the rest of your post.

    Keeping 14 and reducing overall ammunition capacity would increase difficulty, by increasing the value of each missile as a function of the time it takes to re-arm, promoting accurate fire.
  13. Role overlap between ESF/Lib: ground pounding, anti-air, airborne
    Distinct qualities of ESF: fast, weak on HP, maneuverable, inaccurate at ground (RP's have a decent spread), accurate in air
    Distinct qualities of Liberator: slow, strong on HP, not so maneuverable, accurate at ground (single-shot bombs), not so apt in air due to limited range of weapons

    The question here is what one defines the key qualities of each platform to be. You say that fighters should be mostly AA, while bombers mostly AG.

    The current situation fits that scheme due to the fact that Liberators are more adept at bombing because they have higher accuracy at a longer distance, and higher HP. So they receive fewer hits from the enemy, and can receive a higher total number of hits, making their presence much more persistent.

    ESF's, in order to achieve the same AG effectiveness, get closer to their targets - exposing themselves more - and are much more easy to deter or destroy. These are the distinct qualities which provide for a balanced role cross-over. Damage capability is fixed (if not, give Libs more ammo so they have to re-arm less often, as this is the only factor in this). Damage-dealing capability, however, is not fixed because ESF's cannot output that damage if there is any sort of mindful AA in the area, whether inf, veh, or air.

    The availability of such AA depends on players, and this is where you force the player to adapt instead of changing the game rules to make it easier for the player. Challenges exist to be overcome, not subverted.

    Since current ESF's are more akin to CAS's due to their hover capability, they should not be limited on AG capability. And the bottom line is that anything which kills a tank easily can kill infantry more easily. Tanks always have anti-vehi and anti-inf -> a single shot from the cannon on an inf kills right away. MBT's get to choose between more anti-inf or more anti-air. ESF's get to choose between more anti-air or more anti-veh/inf, while their main weapon does not as easily kill infantry due to higher difficulty in aiming, and less HP while exposed (unlike MBT's).
  14. I wouldn't take you up on that bet. But there is no way to figure out the stats unless you have the statistics. It is absolutely a must to capitalize on big globs of exp, but the occurrence of that is not that often. If it ever happens, it is still on the players, not on the game mechanics. If you spawn and don't spread out, you should pay for that. If you spawn knowing that you can't spread out because you are surrounded, you should pay for that. If you spawn over and over, and never take initiative against air, you should pay for that. It's a simple game of rock-paper-scissors. When scissors comes to you, stop being a paper. Definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. And when you don't get them, you go on the game's forums and ask for your money back if the devs don't make the game fit your inflexible playstyle. You is impersonal, btw. Using it as generic reference.
  15. But that's the problem. Currently the scissors are an industrial drill that fires lasers and can destroy both the rock and the paper without breaking a sweat.
  16. Then make them lose their A2A capabilities when they take rocket pods. Seriously, they should be treated just like Lightnings in that if they want to go dedicated AA they lose all ability to attack ground. So make adding rocket pods reduce all maneuverability and acceleration by half. You also have this absurd notion that ESFs have a small amount HPs, yeah, not low enough to let AA kill them as regularly as rocket pods kill tanks. All A2G ESFs should require A2A or flak-AA escorts to prevent them from being completely destroyed by A2A ESFs, even if they don't have A2A missiles.

  17. However, Libs and Galaxies don't have near the ability to defend themselves against EA or EG. They can't simply run away with ABs flaring. Once EA has a position on you, you're dead unless you get assistance, or they're ignorant and park on your six.

    Again, why do more people use fighters for ground attacks than Libs? It's because it's easier, they get more XP, they survive longer, and it costs them less in respawn and resources. From my perspective (I don't have the PS2 official stats), because of this something needs to change to bring the Lib back into the role of close air support. Think of how long it takes for a Lightning to take out a MBT, the fighter should take the same amount of time. Or, how long does it take a HA to take out a MBT with it's launcher?

    I'm not necessarily saying that an Jabo package can't be set for a fighter, but it needs to be limited and balanced as not to overpower the roles of others. I feel based on the game play to date that hasn't occurred. The rockets need a reduction in number per fighter and reduced in power. It's simply to easy to roll in high, acquire target, come in at a high rate of speed, brake quickly, hover, dump a full set of rockets and decimate the area, then AB away to safety. The threat comes from loitering low and slow over the battlefield looking for targets. Lets not pass off poor pilot skills as a reason for not needing balance. If you're going to hover... make it so you have to hover for a good while to get off all your rockets or make multiple passes on the target.
    • Up x 1
  18. The Lib/Galaxy survivability issue is to be resolved for them, not by changing the ESF.

    An overlooked reason why more people use ESF's is because it doesn't require teamwork or an investment into something which they might not get the right people to use with. Again, this is a problem with the Libs, not the ESF.

    I agree, Lib needs some buffing. I personally avoided it because I feel more comfortable being in control of both flying and gunning.

    A lightning with a 1000 cert point unlock against vehicles should be able to do the same to an MBT.

    I still don't feel the rockets need reduction. What needs to be made easier is to kill the ESF. It should be a bit more squishy.

    One salvo of rocket pods doesn't decimate an area. If you get good hits, you'll kill an infantry and any of his friends that don't have the general practice of spreading out. Area of effect weapons are exactly that: a balance against a crowd of enemies. RPs in that sense are like grenades, tank HE shells, zephyr shots, and even well-placed rockets. One salvo of missiles will never kill a tank, either, unless the pilot exposes himself by going in low and slow, as you mentioned, to hit on the backside. And that generally works only on Lightnings, and still takes more for MBT's.

    The rocket pods do exactly what one would expect - they are dumbfire, rapid, have spread at range, and are effective when used correctly. Even the blast radius is fairly bad, because if you don't score direct hits, you won't kill your target until you fire all 16. Going in for a fast bombing is hard to do if you want to launch them all unless you start high up in the air, giving the enemy time to react in advance. The balance needs to happen in other places.
  19. By outfitting rocket pods, you forego anti-air missiles. So there.

    Perhaps lightning tanks should get an LMG of some sort so they aren't left in the open against infantry. That or make the Skyguard less expensive, or more effective to make up for the capability loss. This is a separate discussion on the effectiveness of AA.

    I can agree with reduced speed/maneuverability if carrying rocket pods. It makes sense. I've already said ESF's need to be more squishy, but not much more.
  20. Well, the "skilled" ESF pilots are complaining about A2A missiles and the death of dogfighting as much, if not more than, all the complaining about rocket pods. If the A2A missiles get nerfed everyone and their brother will run rocket-ESFs. I will leave out the ineffectiveness of flak-AA, and I appreciate you can see the merits of a maneuverability and acceleration penalty for carrying rocket pods. Honestly that kind of penalty will likely be enough to make them more squishy and require them to either have the skies clear or have A2A escorts. Hopefully if changes are made in the future, the over-all impact will be carefully taken into account.

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