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The Art of Warplanes

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Freakazee #1 Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:16 PM

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The Art of Warplanes v1.31: By =LIGS=Freakazoid, callsign "Freakazee"

(Overdue) Special Thanks to WG, for featuring this guide.


Changelog 1.3:

Added Index

Added Battlephases

Changelog 1.31:

Changed "Solid" to "Controlled"

Added Ground Attack Capable to Terms list

Modified Battle Phases



General Stuff (This Post)

Battle Phases


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.


Important Stuff:

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.




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.


Hostile Airspace


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.


Hollow Airspace:


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


“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.

Empty Airspace

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:


Engaging defensively,


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.


The Art of Warplanes


daphdk #2 Posted 21 January 2014 - 03:40 PM

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great post nice job

Fuzzybrainlizard #3 Posted 21 January 2014 - 05:06 PM

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This should be pinned WG?

tadaaah #4 Posted 21 January 2014 - 07:56 PM

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We can pin this for a little bit.

Darcel_Jones #5 Posted 21 January 2014 - 08:35 PM

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Very informative,a good read.

Freakazee #6 Posted 22 January 2014 - 03:38 PM

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See main post. 

Edited by Freakazee, 22 January 2014 - 06:54 PM.


The Art of Warplanes


Freakazee #7 Posted 26 January 2014 - 04:03 AM

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Version .3 updated.


Added sections on attacking attack craft.

Added misc. tips. 


The Art of Warplanes


Zaifer #8 Posted 17 March 2014 - 09:16 PM

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I'm gonna start using those terms in battle! lol

Mugsy_ #9 Posted 15 April 2014 - 06:11 PM

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This was a great post and we showcased it here: http://worldofwarpla...ctives-4-15-22/ at the bottom of the article.

Alo8ight #10 Posted 16 April 2014 - 12:18 AM

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View PostMugsy_, on 15 April 2014 - 11:11 AM, said:

This was a great post and we showcased it here: http://worldofwarpla...ctives-4-15-22/ at the bottom of the article.

^I will second this! :great:

11thACRColdsteel #11 Posted 16 April 2014 - 01:47 AM

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Superb post.....

JJStick #12 Posted 16 April 2014 - 04:25 AM

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View PostAlo8ight, on 15 April 2014 - 05:18 PM, said:

^I will second this! :great:

And I'll give it a third,  great read and great tips.  Thanks!

_Algy #13 Posted 21 April 2014 - 10:35 PM

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My team: K

Enemy: O

Me: W                                                K   K  K      K                     O   O O      O

                                                   K  K           K  K                        O   W   O O        O

                                            K  K        K       K  K   K            O    O      O          O          O

I survived that. I had all my hit points. They easily could have shot me.                                                   



      I         I


If you see me flying at you in a Tsh-2, make sure your my ally, or prepare for a face-full of incendiary bullets.

Freakazee #14 Posted 11 May 2014 - 03:45 PM

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Changelog 5-11-2014:


Added Section for Empty and Low Altitude Airspace.

Added Heavy Fighter and Blitz Bomb under Important Stuff. 


The Art of Warplanes


Freakazee #15 Posted 10 June 2014 - 03:59 AM

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Art of Warplanes: Battle Phasing


Phase 0: Analyze


During the 30 second wait time before the match starts, take a good long look at what planes the enemy team has and determine four things: Altitude, Maneuverability, Firepower and Type. These are easily provided for you by the load screen, but I recommend familiarizing yourself with all of the other planes you may fly against either by simply learning their stats or flying against them in the training room.


Here is where one of Sun Tzu’s most famous saying comes in: If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a thousand battles. This may not ring entirely true in Warplanes, but it certainly helps knowing how fast that Spitfire on your tail can climb and how fast it’ll bleed off energy trying to follow you.


Once you’ve identified planes, the next thing you want to do is to identify players. That’s right – you want to identify any players you may have flown against before and know to be a good pilot because they’re going to be the biggest threats. This means your team will have to be wary when attempting to engage those pilots and maintain situational awareness, especially if they’re in a flight. A typical tactic will be to have one bait you high and the other two will come in and buzz you down.


Phase 1: Plan and Position


The match is almost beginning or has begun. Now is the time to let your team know about any possible threats from the other side and determine a course of action. In a public match, this will be the hardest thing to do because there is no built in system to help co-ordinate movements aside from pings and the hotkeys.


Even if the plan your team can come up with is to split or go one way, it is still better than having no plan at all and winging it.


Hence, positioning. The first ninety-ish seconds are crucial to your team because it will determine which direction your team is heading. It is during this minute and a half that most teams will typically find themselves stretching out – and that can be dangerous. Instead of flying into a fight as a group, flying in one or two at a time will mean more time for enemy planes to head-on friendlies. This can be disastrous, especially if it’s a heavily armed plane. 


A special mention here regarding ground attack craft: resist the urge to target ground pounders along with everyone else on your team. They are not as easy a kill as you might think and more often than not, will make you waste your precious altitude and position, making you a bigger target for the other team.


Conversely, to leave a ground attack craft unmolested is to invite danger. Left alone, they will crank up their superiority and left unchecked or unchallenged(in the form of a friendly GA meeting each GT kill of ours with one of theirs), will ruin almost all hope of winning the game. Once your ground attackers are dead and theirs have hidden, they have the upper hand.


Phase 2: Combat


This is self-explanatory. Here, you’ll want to do your best to whittle away at the enemy team – either by killing planes or damaging planes. What to do here is very situational, so it is up to you to determine your best course of action. You can focus on one target or go for anything that presents itself as a target – but don’t forget to cover your teammates. The more there are you in you the air, the better your chances.


My personal suggestion here is to prioritize the heavies. Even without ground attack craft, heavies are the next biggest threat in terms of superiority. They can generally outrun and out climb all fighters as well, so it’s a bad idea to save them for last.


If you’re the attack craft and you’ve made it to their base, prioritize the HQ. Taking this out before you get killed (if you are about to be killed) will make a big difference later if your team has to hit ground targets 


Now, here's the important part - if the enemy team still has their GAA's and near the same amount of aircraft as you do, go to Phase 3. Otherwise, go to Phase 4. 


Phase 3: Main Battle Aftermath


Unless you've encountered the entirety of the enemy team, chances are you and your group have simply eliminated the enemy's main battle group. This means that there's still a few planes to find and kill, but they still have enough numbers to swing things their way. You'll want to check the enemy composition at this point and go kill the ground attack craft now if they aren't dead yet. ESPECIALLY if the score is even. Why?


If your team goes to hunt enemy planes instead of the GAA's, you'll spend a bit of time flying around and eliminating the rest of the enemy team. This is all fine and well, but if you don't kill them all and they're up by supremacy, all they need to do is to cut and run. This is why you need to kill the GAA's FIRST to prevent them from increasing their points, and if your team is still ground attack capable, then your team will stand a good chance of coming out on top. Once the GAA's are dead, move to Phase 4. 


Phase 4: The Hunt


The big fight is over. Your team’s killed or crippled most of the enemy team. All that’s left to do is to mop up. Generally, this means finishing off a GA or turning around to hunt a GA.


The fight’s not over yet. You’ll want to do two things at this point – check the superiority and remaining planes in the fight. Basically, you’ll want to re-analyze the situation just like Phase 0.


Just because they don’t have as many planes left does not mean they cannot turn it around. If you’re in a heavy fighter, now’s the time to attack ground targets if the team’s ground attackers are all dead or hunt the enemy heavies.


If you’re in a ground attacker and you’re still alive at this point, keep one eyeball on the mini-map while you continue working.



Edited by Freakazee, 15 June 2014 - 08:47 AM.


The Art of Warplanes


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