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Japanese A7m


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Mercsn #1 Posted 30 July 2013 - 08:43 PM

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NOTE:  This review was written in July, in patch 4.x.  Much has changed on this plane since then, but this thread keeps getting hits.  I doubt I will do a 5.3 (current patch) update test becuase, ironically, one of the things that cursed this plane at the time this review was written (high altitude operation) has been reversed and made worse with the current IJN "low altitude only" operation capability.  Other things such as the guns being wrong have been fixed.  The plane is STILL broken, just in almost the completely opposite way.   WG.net needs to invest in some pendulum company's stock.

I don't see many of these aircraft in battle.  Yesterday a friend and I both had them unlocked and decided to buy em and give 'em a whirl.  I will say that I quite enjoy the A6m5 and although the A7M weighs in at 1,000 kg more, I figured with those big, low-wingloading wings and typical japanese high maneuverabilty rating the plane would be a fun turn fighter.  Read on for the rest of the story!

My aicraft was equiped with the stock engine, but upgraged frame to equip the wing guns.  Armament consisted of the four 20mm cannons.  Both  99-1 and
99-2 were tested.  My flight-mate and co-tester was ace pilot Rev01ution.  This evaluation is a combination of my thoughts corroborated by his assesment and other points he made while flying and fighting.

The first impression I had of the plane was that it was a very stable platform to shoot from.  Drawing a bead on an enemy and getting a good shot on him was fairly smooth and easy compared to my more twitchy turn-fighter, the La-5.   The second impression I had was that this thing was a real dog with the stock engine.  I was not going to burn the free xp to unlock a better engines and I'll explain why there won't be an update on this aircraft from me with better engines.  This aircraft has several problems that keep it from being competant and it's only redeaming quality of being a stable platform to shoot from is actually a side-effect of it's weaknesses.  One glaring problem is that the powerplant wants to operate at high altitude.   Normal combat in this game occurs at under 1000m.  This aircraft wants to fight closer to 2500m.  I'm not sure if later engines improve this situation, but the stock engine runs in the yellow zone of the powerband at typical low combat altitudes.  This plane has a LOT of weight to lug around and if the engines are high altitude only, that really hurts the viability in this game.

The handling of the aircraft, despite it's heft, should be good based on it's maneuver rating.  The A7m is a good turning aircraft, in open flight.  However, in combat, this turning is almost useless.  The problem is the roll rate is VERY low.  So, while the aircraft can turn well, it cannot roll and get into the turn quickly.  This plane is a BIG target.  As the precious moments tick by waiting for the wings to roll over and the turning to start, the plane will be riddled with enemy hits or lose the pursuit line on your enemy target.   Need to avoid?  No time to roll the wings and get to that fast turn rate?  Try a dive or climb, right?!   Wrong.  The energy retention is bad, the climb rate is worse and it dives only marginally better than the "floating feather" A6m5.  If nobody is looking at you (doubful becuase your a big target and have are tied for lowest HP in class), you can do some nice damage with the aircraft being easy to control and stable.  If you do become a target and need to evade, well, there's always more planes in the hangar!  There is simply no way to escape with this plane.  The comparable HP and maneuver rated La-5 can climb or roll darting out of an enemy's sights.  A 109z can boost away from an enemy.  A 109F can climb or turn (depending on setup) to escape.  The A7M just has no way to get away.  It CAN turn very well, although it is probably hampered by the engine wanting to be at higher altitude and I would imagine would turn better up higher.  But again, this turning is not usable in combat becuase the roll rate is so terrible that you are dead before you can dip a wing and START turning.

As far as the armament goes, the four 20mm cannons (of either variety), while rated fairly low in dps, do provide enough punch as well as a good shot spread to do potent damage to enemy aircraft.   Both 20mm types, 99-1 and 99-2, do overheat rather quickly, as the Japanese line is known for.   Strangely, the 99-2 is the higher XP/tier module, but the 99-1 is the better weapon in practical combat use.  It's much higher muzzle velocity seems to allow shots to more reliably land on target, especially at higher deflection angles.  I had noticed this on the A6m5, but thought perhaps it was a fluke, a bug, or my misperception.  This opinion was verified by my flight partner who is much better at aerial gunnery than I am.  With a few matches of 99-2 he immediately noticed the 99-1 was a more effective weapon, overall.   You trade very little damage and very little overhead reduction (none noticable) for a lighter weapon with a higher muzzle velocity.  Two big bombs can also be equiped, but I'm not keep on the idea of purposly taking a fragile Japanese fighter anywhere near the more potent AA.  Those precious few hitpoints go by too fast for me to lose any to AA before I engage air targets.  On the subject of bombs, I know some pilots (like Alexvandross) really likes bomb killing trailers, but if I need bombs for self-defense in a turn fighter, something is seriously wrong!

In summary, this aircraft, in the right hands, may be deadly, but that's true of any plane.  For the average pilot the A7M will only lead to frustration, grief and quick return trips to the hangar.  It is a turn fighter that rolls languidly, reluctantly dipping it's wings entering a tight turning manuever, almost as if it knows the end is already near and would prefer to fly off into the sunset instead of enter the dogfight.  If you can be sneaky, you can do some good damage, but once you are picked as a target, with poor straightline speed, poor dive/climb, and bad rollout, there is little you can do but cry for help (or just cry).  If you want to fly a Tier 6 turn fighter, go with the La-5.  If you want to fly a recalcitrant fighter that is not sure why it's in the battle, go with the P-51A;  it's got more history and is cooler.  My prefered style is BnZ, but I enjoy (and am succesful in) the A6m5 and have fun in the Russian La-5.  I rate this plane, the A7M, 2 of 10 stars.

As a disclaimer, the sample size for this test was small at only 7 battles.  However, there was good reason for this!  Neither of us could take any more of the pain!  I've never flown with Rev0 in anything from Tier 1 thruough 6 where we have lost 7 games in a row with both of us performing poorly.  Sure, we were usually the last ones to die, but even with teamwork and comms were unable to affect a positive outcome in this craft or help our teams (admittedly none of the teams seemed "good" but I'm not going to blame them for the outcome based on our own performances in the A7M).

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The below was said to me (Mercsn), from a concerned player:

Edited, on 12 March - 2:01PM , said:

and PS...play more, forum less.  Your opinion might be more credible.

TheGreenTank #2 Posted 30 July 2013 - 08:56 PM

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The secret with the A7M, as well as the A6M5, is that its elevators are *really, really, really* effective.
Neither plane is really good at rolling, but, they have extremely tight turn radii - including vertical looping.
Combine that with its firepower and you have unmatched dogfighters for their respective tiers...in the right hands, because they do have the least amount of hitpoints of any nation, as well.
All that said, before the wipe I didn't much enjoy the A7M either - felt like more of a chore than a fun time.
But hoo boy, what comes next is fun....

Edited by TheGreenTank, 10 August 2013 - 07:54 AM.


Heh #3 Posted 30 July 2013 - 09:01 PM

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The A7M also has one of the higher burst damage ratings.
Heh - aeromarine biologist

View Posthahiha, on , said:


OMG Heh you have had so many posts O_O

FreeFOXMIKE #4 Posted 30 July 2013 - 09:27 PM

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View PostTheGreenTank, on 30 July 2013 - 08:56 PM, said:

The secret with the A7M, as well as the A6M5, is that its elevators are *really, really, really* effective.
Neither plane is really good at rolling, but, they have extremely tight turn radii - including vertical looping.
Combine that with its firepower and you have unmatched dogfighters for their respective tiers...in the right hands, because they do have the least amount of hitpoints of any nation, as well.
All that said, before the wipe I didn't much enjoy the A7M either - felt like more of a chore than a fun time.
But hoo boy, what comes next is fun....
I must agree in the past I was not much a fan have not regained it yet as have not been pushing the JPN line much ,but will look into the improvments
The Mitsubishi A7M Reppū (烈風, "Strong Gale") was designed as the successor to the Imperial Japanese Navy's A6M Zero, with development beginning in 1942. Performance objectives were to achieve superior speed, climb, diving, and armament over the Zero, as well as better maneuverability. As a result, the wing area and overall size were significantly greater, on par with the American Republic P-47 Thunderbolt. The A7M's allied codename was "Sam".
http://en.wikipedia..../Mitsubishi_A7M

Edited by FreeFOXMIKE, 30 July 2013 - 09:28 PM.

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rev01ution #5 Posted 30 July 2013 - 09:29 PM

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Damage in this plane is not one of it's downfalls. In fact it is one of the few plus factors. But, this plane can only perform maybe 2 vertical loops before all the energy is gone. So- what happens to a slow rolling, out of energy, low hit point fighter when a persistent enemy falls in behind you? Poof, you're gone.

My main issue with this plane is the same as the 109G. When your altitude indicator drops below the dark green level into the yellow or red... the reduction in maneuverability is drastic. As much as I wanted to fight at 1700m, there isn't anything up there over the course of the battle except maybe a 109z 'coming up for air' before diving back down. Those two planes are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

As far as the A7M goes... worst tier 6 in my book.

hawkeyededic #6 Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:15 PM

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View Postrev01ution, on 30 July 2013 - 09:29 PM, said:

Damage in this plane is not one of it's downfalls. In fact it is one of the few plus factors. But, this plane can only perform maybe 2 vertical loops before all the energy is gone. So- what happens to a slow rolling, out of energy, low hit point fighter when a persistent enemy falls in behind you? Poof, you're gone.
My main issue with this plane is the same as the 109G. When your altitude indicator drops below the dark green level into the yellow or red... the reduction in maneuverability is drastic. As much as I wanted to fight at 1700m, there isn't anything up there over the course of the battle except maybe a 109z 'coming up for air' before diving back down. Those two planes are stuck between a rock and a hard place.
As far as the A7M goes... worst tier 6 in my book.
So 7 battles in a plane is enough to make a fair judgment? I've not flown it since open beta started, not had much free time really, but I know enough to give a plane a fair shake before passing judgment on it and quite frankly 7 battles don't cut it, especially considering it appears the plane you were testing was mostly stock.


 

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Mercsn #7 Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:16 PM

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View PostTheGreenTank, on 30 July 2013 - 08:56 PM, said:

The secret with the A7M, as well as the A6M5, is that its elevators are *really, really, really* effective.Neither plane is really good at rolling, but, they have extremely tight turn radii - including vertical looping.edited for brevity

I found the A7M to be terrible going into the vertical.  It's response was "okay" at best and it's energy blead was intense.  I was literally reaching for the nonexistant throttle mixture and prop angle levers!  The A6m5 while not great at rolling is much more responsive and gets moving when you ask it to and has a much tighter turn once you get it there.  Again, my seat time in it was not extensive, but it's flight characteristics were very obvious.  

This is not a plane I will grind, ever.  My game time is limited enough that for Release, I'll probably look at the russian fighter and german heavy line and might not ever get both to tier 10.  I just won't have time to persue stuff that isn't fun or... workable.

View Posthawkeyededic, on 30 July 2013 - 10:15 PM, said:

So 7 battles in a plane is enough to make a fair judgment? I've not flown it since open beta started, not had much free time really, but I know enough to give a plane a fair shake before passing judgment on it and quite frankly 7 battles don't cut it.

Actually, yes.  With this aircraft, seven battles was enough to evaluate it's flight and fighting characteristics (14 when you consider the fact that two of us flew 7 battles and ended up with a very similar evaluation).  Further, in that dislaimer, I mentioned exactly why there would not be more battles.  I would rather dogfight and Il-2 or LBSh, their positive characteristics outweigh their negatives for air-air compared to the A7M's.  I'm not just saying this becuase "the plane didn't win".  I'm saying this because it was terrible to fly compared to other aircraft +/- 2 teirs.

This is the aircraft as tested:
Spoiler                     
And with max engine highlighted for comparo:
Spoiler                     

Edited by Mercsn, 30 July 2013 - 10:36 PM.

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The below was said to me (Mercsn), from a concerned player:

Edited, on 12 March - 2:01PM , said:

and PS...play more, forum less.  Your opinion might be more credible.

rev01ution #8 Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:24 PM

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View Posthawkeyededic, on 30 July 2013 - 10:15 PM, said:

So 7 battles in a plane is enough to make a fair judgment? I've not flown it since open beta started, not had much free time really, but I know enough to give a plane a fair shake before passing judgment on it and quite frankly 7 battles don't cut it, especially considering it appears the plane you were testing was mostly stock.

7 in the OB, and IMO it's worse than the CB version. I've flown hundreds of games in all the tier 6s. I feel like I can make a fair judgment.

If you think an upgraded airframe and fully upgraded guns is 'mostly stock', then sure.

hawkeyededic #9 Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:36 PM

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View Postrev01ution, on 30 July 2013 - 10:24 PM, said:

7 in the OB, and IMO it's worse than the CB version. I've flown hundreds of games in all the tier 6s. I feel like I can make a fair judgment.

If you think an upgraded airframe and fully upgraded guns is 'mostly stock', then sure.

Engine can and does make a big difference, especially on this one, or at least it did in CBT, especially if your going to try and use it vertically. In CB you needed the extra power from the uprated engines to really offset the extra weight from the guns. In fact the A7M was originally cancelled because it lacked power, it was not until Mitsubishi unofficially installed the more powerful engine that it was designed to use that it met it's performance specs, and the project was officially resumed.

In CB I only had 20 some fights in the A7M before moving on, but I also had over 100 kills in those 20 battles. It was a tough plane to use while you were grinding it up, but once it was fully outfitted, with the Type 99-1 cannons being the exception as they are imo much better then the 99-2, it became a very good plane.

Now if we could just get WG to swap the 99-1 and 99-2 muzzle velocities with each other, both guns would be very close to their historical numbers and would make them better balanced with each other as far as upgrades are concerned.


 

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Mercsn #10 Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:51 PM

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View Posthawkeyededic, on 30 July 2013 - 10:36 PM, said:



I'm not trying to start a fight over matters of opinion.  Just reporting the findings from my time with the aircraft and being transparent about the testing involved.  But yes, the 99-1 and 99-2 do feel backwards from an upgrade standpoint.  While I understand engines can and will make a big difference in an a/c's performance, this is not a plane I have any interest in spending free xp on nor spending any further seat time in.

My question to anyone with this plane upgraded is:  Do the upgrade engines keep the same high-altitude performance profile that the stock engine does?

If so, that's more reason for me to steer clear, this game has no room for a high-altitude fighter as all combat is on the deck 20% into the match.

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The below was said to me (Mercsn), from a concerned player:

Edited, on 12 March - 2:01PM , said:

and PS...play more, forum less.  Your opinion might be more credible.

hawkeyededic #11 Posted 30 July 2013 - 10:57 PM

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Just to show the historical stats to the 2 Japanese cannons, here is a little graphic that shows the differences in them.
Posted Image
The rate of fire in game for both guns is pretty much spot on for both these guns, but the muzzle velocities are reversed. Maybe I should try and retype/repost the write up I did in CB on the Japanese cannons since it was deleted during the forum rework for open beta.
hmm...image link didn't work, attaching it here as well.

Attached Files

  • Attached File   type-99_zps318c04d3.jpg   20.13K

Edited by hawkeyededic, 30 July 2013 - 11:01 PM.


 

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Stieger #12 Posted 30 July 2013 - 11:20 PM

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The speed of the A6M5 needs a buff and here why. The A6M5 had a maximum speed of 540 km/h (340 mph) and reached a height of 8,000 m (26,250 ft) in nine minutes, 57 seconds.

not 472 Km/h

Stieger #13 Posted 30 July 2013 - 11:22 PM

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View Posthawkeyededic, on 30 July 2013 - 10:57 PM, said:

Just to show the historical stats to the 2 Japanese cannons, here is a little graphic that shows the differences in them.
Posted Image
The rate of fire in game for both guns is pretty much spot on for both these guns, but the muzzle velocities are reversed. Maybe I should try and retype/repost the write up I did in CB on the Japanese cannons since it was deleted during the forum rework for open beta.
hmm...image link didn't work, attaching it here as well.
I had written a post on this very thing I felt like it was due to their editing

Mugsy_ #14 Posted 03 August 2013 - 01:11 AM

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This is a great discussion guys, I will be populating the other nations balance polls next week. And finishing the few still missing in the US section. So stay tuned!

Mercsn #15 Posted 03 August 2013 - 01:59 AM

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View Posthawkeyededic, on 30 July 2013 - 10:57 PM, said:

Just to show the historical stats to the 2 Japanese cannons, here is a little graphic that shows the differences in them.
Posted Image
The rate of fire in game for both guns is pretty much spot on for both these guns, but the muzzle velocities are reversed. Maybe I should try and retype/repost the write up I did in CB on the Japanese cannons since it was deleted during the forum rework for open beta.
hmm...image link didn't work, attaching it here as well.

It almost seems like someone just transposed them when coding in the canon specs.

View PostStieger, on 30 July 2013 - 11:20 PM, said:

The speed of the A6M5 needs a buff and here why. The A6M5 had a maximum speed of 540 km/h (340 mph) and reached a height of 8,000 m (26,250 ft) in nine minutes, 57 seconds.
not 472 Km/h

Make a a thread about the a6m5 for discussion instead of posting under the a7m where someone concerned with the a6m5 might not see it  : )

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The below was said to me (Mercsn), from a concerned player:

Edited, on 12 March - 2:01PM , said:

and PS...play more, forum less.  Your opinion might be more credible.

Azanthriel #16 Posted 03 August 2013 - 08:01 PM

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Main problem is no one fights at high altitudes.

 

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Shalune #17 Posted 04 August 2013 - 09:40 AM

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I got through the A7M tier in open beta, but it really felt like a chore. As others have posted it just loses energy so quickly and becomes sluggish. I had no problem with the fragility of the A6Ms and regularly go back to them as some of my favorite aircraft to fly, but the A7M all too often felt like a sitting duck.

Thankfully the J4M seems to handle a lot better, even if it is an odd one.

AdmiralKird #18 Posted 04 August 2013 - 10:18 AM

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Mercsn's description is about spot on. I'd like to add my thoughts by just summarizing that the plane is terrible. I don't want to touch this plane in its current iteration with a ten foot sushi chopstick.
Oh, and on my private statboard of about 70 players, the A7M is rated as the most decidedly underpowered plane versus the others in its tier. It wins the FJ-1 award for the worst plane in the game.


Jiri_Starrider said:
IMO you're hamstrung by WG's deep-rooted "I've got a secret" complex.

Mercsn #19 Posted 04 August 2013 - 01:31 PM

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View PostAdmiralKird, on 04 August 2013 - 10:18 AM, said:

Mercsn's description is about spot on. I'd like to add my thoughts by just summarizing that the plane is terrible. I don't want to touch this plane in its current iteration with a ten foot sushi chopstick.
Oh, and on my private statboard of about 70 players, the A7M is rated as the most decidedly underpowered plane versus the others in its tier. It wins the FJ-1 award for the worst plane in the game.

LoL, just as you compliment my review, I'd like to compliment your description of how you wouldn't want to touch the plane!  That is exactly how me and my co-tester felt after our relatively few missions with it.  After our test matches, I believe I calmly said, "I think I'm going to rage sell this thing now."  To which my flightmate replied, "That sounds reasonable."   What makes it so bad to purchase is that it looks decent on the paperdoll.  The stats just don't translate into battle at all for all the reasons stated (plus the backwards japanese gun stats don't help if a player is hoping to "max" either the a6m5 or A7M).

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The below was said to me (Mercsn), from a concerned player:

Edited, on 12 March - 2:01PM , said:

and PS...play more, forum less.  Your opinion might be more credible.

KenworthDriver #20 Posted 04 August 2013 - 11:40 PM

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View PostMercsn, on 30 July 2013 - 10:51 PM, said:

If so, that's more reason for me to steer clear, this game has no room for a high-altitude fighter as all combat is on the deck 20% into the match.


not so sure about that last... speaking  for  myself, I am not  much of a dogfighter (yes, I can do it fairly well, but don't do it enough  to be really, really good at it),  but being a   former infantryman,  I prefer to stir up the mud and as such  spend a lot of  my time at high  altitude getting to the target areas,but more and more I have  been getting resistance   from enemy interceptors up in the 9,000 to 11,000 ft range, so it may come to where the  fights actually happen  a  bit further  up in the air... now this is not to say that I'm always up at high altitude, I just  use the real world hi-lo-hi flight profile... I run high alt  to get to my target area, and then dive bomb the HQ building  and follow up with strafing attacks on the surrounding targets, then climb back to altitude for egress... and on the outbound leg, I will sit up on CAP looking for targets of opportunity, since the Bf-110 is more of a slash and burn interceptor than a dogfighter...   so I wouldn't really discard the utility of high altitude planes quite yet...
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