The Art of Warplanes v1.31: By =LIGS=Freakazoid, callsign "Freakazee"
(Overdue) Special Thanks to WG, for featuring this guide.
Changed "Solid" to "Controlled"
Added Ground Attack Capable to Terms list
Modified Battle Phases
General Stuff (This Post)
Note: I will be adding to this in time. Check back occasionally for updates.
Second Note: This is more of an overall note than just specific to this guide, but I feel it has to be said.
Do not be afraid to ask for help learning how to fly.
When flying in a team, it is crucial to ensure everyone is using the same instrumentation.
First: IF YOU FLY A HEAVY, LEAVE THE GROUND TARGETS TO THE GA UNTIL ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY!
Heavy fighters can make or break a team very easily. This is because they generally outgun and outclimb most regular fighters and are ideal for "boom 'n zoom" tactics. But because of their increased firepower, they can also double as attack aircraft IN A PINCH. Do not waste your team's time attacking ground targets unless you're trying to bait enemy planes or unloading your ordinance quickly. You are far more valuable up high covering your team, preparing to dive down and spit lead. If you absolutely, positively must go after the enemy HQ, then here's how you do it. This does NOT mean I advocate it's use every time.
HQ Blitz Bomb:
The reason this is called the "Blitz Bomb" is because you make your run in a FIGHTER, and not a HEAVY FIGHTER. Heavies are more valuable. What you do is you grab a fighter with a pair of bombs (or one really big one - please make sure you TEST it at least one tier higher to ensure your bombs will destroy the HQ so you don't look like an idiot) and fly in as low and fast as possible. The second you are over their HQ, you drop and burn hard away. Don't even try to turn back to engage ground targets, just run. Only fight if you cannot escape. A successful Blitz Bomb ends when you've taken out their HQ and at least one of their planes.
The reason why you don't do this in a match where you are bottom barreled is quite simply, your bombs won't have the necessary power, and you will most likely be blasted out of the sky by AA by the time you are over target. Or in short, you just wasted a plane to soften it for another player. This is the 2nd to worst outcome possible for this maneuver, the first of which being you get shot down before doing any damage whatsoever.
Actually, there's one more than that. It's when you crash trying to fly so low before you can do any damage. If this happens to you, I hope your team wasn't paying attention.
When engaging any target - for maximum weapon efficiency, wait until you are 1800 feet or below before you start holding down that trigger. At 2000, depending on your dispersion, your rounds will either start impacting or miss completely. Better to wait that extra 200 feet so the dispersion of your rounds are more likely to impact your target rather than fly harmlessly around them like some action movie.
Break Off: When you turn, climb or dive off your intended target to engage another target or bug out.
Bug Out: Retreat. Run away (Like a little sissy girl). Advancing in the opposite direction. Flee (You fools!).
Kite: When you are luring the enemy away.
Engaged: When you fighting an enemy plane and you still have the ability to break off and bug out.
Defensive: When an enemy plane is on your tail firing on you and will not break off.
Overcommitting/Gank: When there are more than two friendly planes engaging one enemy plane.
Fighters: Air superiority role. Should only attack ground targets when ABSOLUTELY necessary.
Heavy Fighters: Air/Ground craft. Should only attack ground targets when the attack craft have failed.
Attack Craft: Ground superiority craft. Should focus on attacking ground targets to keep superiority in check. Experienced pilots may utilize them as dual purpose craft.
Tactical: Relating to the immediate airspace around you.
Strategic: Relating to the entire area of operations.'
Ground Attack Capable: This means your team still has the capability to hit ground targets effectively, either by means of a GAA, heavily armed fighters or ordinance.
There are six types of airspace: Controlled, Contested, Desperate, Hostile, Hollow and Base. Each has their own dangers and advantages. They are:
Controlled airspace is where the majority of your friendly forces are.
Contested is where the major fighting is between the two teams.
Desperate airspace is contested airspace where your team is losing the fight.
Hostile is airspace dominated by the majority of the enemy forces. Also known as: Furball, Meat Grinder, Hurricane, Tornado. Can also refer to enemy Base airspace.
Hollow airspace is consisted of any airspace with four planes or less.
Base airspace is consisted of any airspace where friendly AA is gathered.
Empty airspace is, as the name implies, empty - save for yourself.
Controlled And Contested Airspace
In “Controlled” Airspace, you and your team are in firm control of the surrounding airspace. This both advantageous and disadvantageous when engaging the enemy in contested airspace. The advantages are simply you are attacking in numbers against what will hopefully be the majority of the enemy team. This however, is a double edged sword if you and your teammates do not fly smartly.
Firstly, it is unnecessary for more than two (and at the most, three) planes on any given plane. This is because anything more than two will increase the risk of accidental friendly ramming during the transition from “Controlled” to “Contested”.
Secondly, by committing more than is necessary on any one target, you leave yourself and your fellow pilots wide open to attack from the rear by enemy pilots. If you are not among the first pilots to be “engaged”, then you should be keeping an eye out for enemy pilots and covering those on your team who are defensive.
If you are defensive in contested airspace and are at high altitude, DIVE. Lure the enemy down to the rest of the fighting where your team will (hopefully) engage your tail.
Tactical situational awareness must be maintained when flying in “Controlled” and “Contested” airspace especially to avoid this. It is very easy to miss the sudden transition of “Contested” airspace to “Desperate”.
Thirdly, “Contested” airspace is inherently dangerous due to numerous planes turning, climbing and diving. This increases the chances of being rammed by both friendly and enemy forces.
Pilots should take care to avoid being bomb killed by trailing attack craft and heavy fighters too long, as well as planes equipped with rockets.
Addendum: When engaging in contested airspace, it is important to keep Base airspace in mind. If base defense becomes overly lax, then by the time contested airspace has been won or lost, the battle will have been lost already due to supremacy. Conversely, if too many friendlies remain behind for base defense, “Controlled” airspace becomes too weak to properly engage in “Contested” airspace.
Contested To Desperate
When “Contested” airspace becomes “Desperate”, you have two options - fight or kite to either Controlled or Base airspace.
There is a third option, which is to be taken at your discretion - which is to simply bug out and hide.
Do not fly into hostile airspace unless you are approaching from controlled airspace. Only a fool flies into hostile airspace by themselves. If you find yourself flying towards hostile airspace, BUG OUT.
Towards the end of the team fight, both teams may be down to a few planes each. At this point, all airspace may be considered “hollow” with the exception of “Base” airspace, depending on how well both teams defended their bases.
When flying in hollow airspace, first determine whether or not victory is still possible. If not, then go for survival.
First, above all else, is the supremacy factor. If supremacy is not an immediate concern, (supremacy gain rate is rising rapidly or total supremacy progress is close to 100%), then do your best to form up with friendly planes and engage from a position of strength.
If you are in an attack craft, do your best to counter the enemy supremacy. Keep in mind whether or not the enemy team still has ground capabilities and adjust accordingly. If enemy planes are incoming, meet them head to head and use your tail-gunner (if applicable) and weapons (bombs and rockets) to deal with the remaining.
Naturally, if your team holds the supremacy advantage and they do not have limited ground capability (fighters only), then you may choose to either hide or continue hitting ground targets UNLESS the only craft remaining on your team is attack. Then, you MUST hide to prevent the match loss from having your whole team destroyed. Heavy fighters can still do vertical hit and runs, depending on whether you are confident the enemy will not catch you - but this is up to pilot discretion.
If your team holds the advantage, use your "Base" airspace to your advantage.
“Base” airspace is a tricky issue. It must have adequate defense against enemy attack craft, but not so much so that it detracts from “Controlled” airspace strength. If the base is lost, your team loses the supremacy advantage. If you are defending, do your best to quickly destroy enemy heavies and attack craft.
If you are attacking in attack craft, do your best to stay alive. Use guns for the majority of your targets, but always keep at least one bomb for self-defense against tails.
Heavies and fighters should NOT engage in ground attack from the start UNLESS you have sufficient firepower to take it out in one pass WITHOUT crashing and without immediately having to go defensive after.
There is a chance that "Hollow" airspace will end up being "Empty" Airspace if a fight broke out and you(and your wingman) are the victors. Unless this airspace is close to "Contested" or "Base" airspace, it is generally worthless. You and your wingman should assess the current situation and act accordingly - bolster your team if they need it. If they do not need it, go hunting for GAs. Overcommitting rule applies - do not chase if there are more than two already on the GA.
Low Altitude Airspace
This doesn't technically count, since the only difference between this and the rest of the field is the relation of your plane to the ground. It can also be a security blanket if you're smart, or your worst nightmare if you aren't. GAs will often spend time down here, either attacking any ground target they come across or skirting the edges of the man to sneak into enemy airspace and knock out their base first. Please note that HEAVY FIGHTERS SHOULD NOT ATTEMPT THIS UNLESS THERE ARE NO FRIENDLY GA. All you are doing is wasting a plane by wasting everyone's time flying into the enemy base and getting into a fight with at least one other fighter, plus ground defenses. Not only that, you just wasted your GA's time, which, being a lot slower than you, will take more time to get there.
Fighting Better Planes:
Often, you will find yourselves flying against planes one or more tiers above you. In pure numbers, it does look like a losing proposition. However, fighting superior planes is not impossible. It relies on three things - your teammates, tailing, and keeping track of other planes in tactical airspace.
Firstly, almost never go head on with planes of a higher tier. They will usually have better firepower than you (this goes especially for the 51A-H, at least in my experience). The exception to this is if you have rockets and know how to use them.
Secondly, avoid being tailed by superior enemy planes. Due to the difference in plane performance, you will often find yourself hard-pressed to lose them and go offensive. In this situation, either use the terrain to your advantage or ask your teammates to help. Advanced pilots who carry bombs on their planes may attempt bomb killing.
As always, if flying in contested airspace and your teammates are defensive, engage their tails.
Please note: If you are engaging superior planes in desperate or hostile airspace, you have just wasted a plane.
Engaging while Defensive:
Often, you will find yourself in the position of being on the tail of an enemy plane with an additional enemy on your tail. Fighting in this situation depends on a number of factors, such as knowing the abilities of your plane and the planes you are chasing/being chased by.
There are numerous variants to your choices here, but it will boil down to:
Breaking off and going full defensive.
Engaging defensively means you continue limited evasive maneuvers while maintaining your ability to put rounds on target.
If you are confident in your ability to destroy your target quickly, do so and then break off.
If you are not, or the enemy you are targeting is particularly tanky, break off, go full defensive and when able, fire a burst or two at enemy planes. When defensive, you do not want to fully engage since it will give your tail an opportunity to finish you off.
Again, those skilled enough may attempt a bomb kill to clear their tail.
Attacking Attack Aircraft:
Most generally have the idea of what to do when attempting to bring down attack craft. However, for the sake of clarity and thoroughness, this section will deal with attacking attack craft.
FIRST: Unless you are absolutely certain you can down them with rockets, NEVER attack from the front. Speaking as an attack pilot, while immensely satisfying to shoot someone down in a head on pass, it is also incredibly frustrating to see your team do the same.
SECOND: This amount varies from plane to plane depending on the airspeed of both craft, but DO NOT close past 800 feet if you are unsure how far back is "safe attacking distance" for your plane. This is how you get bomb killed.
THIRD: The safest way is to either "boom and zoom" from above, or attack in strafing runs from the sides, especially if they have a tail gunner. Both of these methods will minimize the amount of time the attack craft has for their tail gunner to fire on you, and limit your chances of being bomb killed.
Flying Ground Attack Craft:
Do not engage ground targets at 2000 feet or more. Wait until you're closer so your guns don't overheat and hit harder. (Tier six and below. Haven't flown anything higher, so I can't say for sure.)
Edited by Freakazee, 15 June 2014 - 08:52 AM.