Above are two screenshots taken within roughly 5-10 minutes of each other. the first, shows me being engaged by both a RHEA and Praetorian CIWS
Shortly after avoiding that (roughly 3 missiles and a volley of AA rounds from the praetorian) 2 Shiekras are darting towards me firing missiles all the way, and as that’s happening the EMP goes off and takes my engine with it.
in a 10 minute period i had to avoid a total of 5-6 missiles, 20mm AA fire, 30MM AA fire from tigresses at the main AO, and an EMP.
not including the other AA that is also possible to encounter, Nyx AA’s, MANPAD’s, centurions, Spartans, APC fire, Tank .50Cal fire, and on and on and on.
there are so many forms of AA in such massive quantities that i think most if not all pilots on NAK can attest to their power. Personally i feel its too much. Now yes i understand its a difficult thing to balance, as CAS is rather dominant in the AO. However i don’t think its fair that pilots, even those not performing CAS, namely Transport pilots, need deal with the extensive amount of AA that there is. I feel there’s far too much punishment for pilots purely for being pilots here… and i say this with hundreds of hours of flying on these servers. All i ask is a tone down on the amount of AA that can be present at any given time, of course balanced against the effectiveness of CAS, as it would be unfair for them to roam free and decimate an entire AO unchallenged. But i want this to at least open the discussion on it. I understand its not a new topic, but i feel it needs addressing.
This is done to give ground players a chance to get to the AO and participate at the beginning of the mission. In the past when we did not have this level of AA, the pilots would just kill everything at the new AO’s and then begin strafing runs on the AO. At that time we received an overwhelming number of complaints from ground players.
Pilots need to be a little more patient around new AO’s and allow ground and vehicle players a chance to play as well. There are going to be times when the randomly selected side missions are near the AO and a heavy AA missions. Somethings it is the luck of the draw.
I also heard just the other day pilots were bored with not enough to fight against.
I agree with you that CAS shouldnt be able to overrun an AO. thats fair, and i stated that, however even when pilots are not engaging an AO, the sheer amount of missile spam and threats is over the top.
Having done both CAS and transport regularly i can tell you that its incredibly difficult to stay in the air. sometimes you take off and immediately get downed and have to wait on a cooldown and theres nothing you can do about it. as you said luck of the draw. All im asking is for a balance change. there is a way to make CAS even to the ground and not dominate without needing to punish pilots for doing something they enjoy. transport pilots especially are being decimated regularly. nearly every day every few hours theres a mass casualty event where a chopper full of people gets plucked from the air, no matter how much flaring is done, or maneuvering. youre dead.
Im fine with the idea of restricting loadouts such as the 20 scalpel packs on a Neophron to bring it to a level that isnt as powerful in exchange for a reduction in AA, especially in the form of ManPads which are nearly impossible to detect and defend against reliably. Something that especially from a transport pilot perspective makes transport viable because right now its not. Many ground players will just respawn and HALO to prevent getting shot down and wasting their time.
I’m pretty sure it’s no secret, but just in case I’ll mention it, I really enjoy being a pilot, and most of my online time is spent in the air, I mostly tend to fly as CAP due to lack of it, but when I get a choice I alternate between an armed Blackfish or a transport helicopter, in both, I would consider myself a decent flier, being able to quite reliably offer a stable flight for my gunner/s in the blackfish, or deliver the players to the AO quite often to not to say always. (There will be times that CAP won’t be up and I will still encounter a stealth shikra that’s already locked on me)
I have quite a few hours on every “branch”: Transport, CAP, CAS, and VTOL.
What personally I’ve noticed is the following:
1- CAP is a full priority, no matter how good of a pilot you are if everyone stays in CAS planes you will be picked off one by one with just a single AI Shikra. If you’re lucky enough the Neophron might survive and take it out.
One of the reasons as to why I tend to fly CAP is the sheer lack of it, no one wants to stay up there as it’s boring, and I can understand why, however, it’s almost the most important role you can have in order to help your fellow pilots.
2- Smart CAS pilots, and obviously this is not meant to offend anyone, but I still believe it has to be stated, what I’ve seen many people do is just lock onto whatever heat signatures they see, fly into the AO and engage them, they don’t try to keep their distance or even find the Rhea/Cronos emplacement that’s ALWAYS somewhere within the AO. I’ve seen an AO have all of its armor taken out while the Cronos and the Rhea were still both up, and shooting friendlies down without the tiniest issue as no one bothered taking them out, obviously, they’re not on thermals so it’s not a threat.
3- Smart LZ choice, often players will mark you an LZ being clearly unaware of how the AO is looking or what’s even going on, flying into a fresh AO is clearly not advised but even then you have a decent chance to survive if you plan your LZ and your route carefully enough. Ignore what the passengers want, they might have to run for 1 km, but they’ll be safe and not in flames after an AA Nyx lit you up. Communicate with CAS/CAP in your channel, arrange an escort if possible as well as get info from CAS to know where any AA might potentially be, they’ll know better then the guys sitting in your back and judging just by the altitude on their maps.
4- Know when to transport, as stated earlier, flying into a fresh AO is not the best idea and if possible ask the people in your helicopter to wait a few minutes for the CAS to take care of at least the Rhea/Chronos, then with a good LZ you’ll be able to get to the AO quite reliably. Finally, let CAP know you’re going there and ask them to keep an eye on you, maybe not fully escort you but at least staying relatively close to your path so they can quickly respond.
I’m pretty sure that all of this is stuff you already know, but what I intend with this post is to share my experience with this amount of AA.
Now about your suggestion:
If you fly for long enough you’ll be pretty aware that as soon as a fresh AO spawns in it takes only about 5 minutes for all of your CAS (If once again they’re smart with what they do) to clear out the biggest threats (Cronus, Rhea, Tigris) leaving some light vehicles like Striders, Nyx’s, T-100’s, which are taken out in their second pass, leaving only or mostly infantry. Then most of the pilots just tend to fly in circles engaging a few big groups from time to time with clusters or something along those lines, waiting for more hard targets to pop up as they’re easy to pick off.
Judging by that, if the amount of AA is reduced, pilots will be even more bored, starting to focus on taking out softer targets much more as they will obviously have fewer things to do, and will get much easier access to the AO with longer flight times and safer gun runs.
From MY point of view and MY PERSONAL opinion, the AA is quite fine at the moment, with just three GOOD pilots you can easily stay up, offer transport and even keep air superiority at all times. (1 CAP, 1 CAS, 1 Transport.)