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View Poll Results: Do you like the idea of altitude being a balancing factor?
I like the idea of AA effectiveness differing at high altitude vs low altitude 25 67.57%
I think that altitude shouldn't matter. 12 32.43%
Voters: 37. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 2011-08-07, 05:34 AM   [Ignore Me] #46
exLupo
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Originally Posted by Erendil View Post
The TR had no weapons that could hit flight ceiling and just 2 libs could shut down a TR courtyard with little opposition because it was logistically impossible to get aircraft from other bases up in the air fast enough and often enough to constantly chase away the libs.
The center of this problem was that they could park above a base and bomb at will. This will not be possible in PS2's complete change in flight model (actually having one). Without max-range AA they would get one free pass and then only if there weren't already craft defending the sky. If players are assumed to be sitting in an AA MAX, just waiting for a plane to fly by the base, it's not a stretch to have players sitting in a plane, patrolling the airspace above the AA range waiting for a plane to fly by, too.

The biggest reason you don't get aerial patrols in PS1 -is- the ground based AA which makes such a role impossible.
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Old 2011-08-07, 06:03 AM   [Ignore Me] #47
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Originally Posted by Erendil View Post
You're making a huge assumption there - and a shaky one at that. With an either/or tiered AA system like the OP suggests, high altitude aircraft will will have a huge effect on the ground and will become a lot more common than you think in the form of high altitude bombing runs and Reavers/Mossies who will make divebombing strafing runs from up high down to the low-mid altitudes to fire, and then AB back into high altitude to escape.
Reavers and Mossies have zero ground effectiveness at high altitude. If you were able to fly above the flight ceiling in PS1 (on any continent that isn't Searhus) you wouldn't be able to do anything to ground targets in either of those vehicles. You could barely see the ground, let alone hit anything at ground level. In that case, your only option is to do divebombing runs, which puts you well in range of any ground-based AA.

If they aren't in range to hit you, then you aren't in range to hit them. The sole exception to that rule is the bombers, Liberators and Vultures. But they also lose some combat effectiveness as well. If they wish to bomb from above AA range, their projectiles have an immense travel time, can be seen on radar, and can be avoided. But again, the bomber is not invulnerable from that high altitude. You're still vulnerable to any enemy aircraft

Increasing the flight ceiling without increasing AA range just adds an additional third-dimensional battlefield where aircraft can dogfight for control of the skies. The biggest and more important benefit for the empire controlling high-altitude is having a better chance of controlling mid and low altitude, but it doesn't make you any more effective at those levels without actually having to go there and put yourself in range of ground-based AA.

I can tell you right now that not having a high altitude counter would be a HUGE problem. Were you around before the Burster MAX could hit flight ceiling, but after they nerfed the Striker so it couldn't either? The TR had no weapons that could hit flight ceiling and just 2 libs could shut down a TR courtyard with little opposition because it was logistically impossible to get aircraft from other bases up in the air fast enough and often enough to constantly chase away the libs. And the NC/VS knew this and used it quite often to their advantage. So yes, high altitude aircraft do need a hard counter.
You don't seem to be using my definition of high altitude. I mentioned high altitude starting above the current flight ceiling in PS1. Any ground-based AA would be just as effective in PS2 as they were in PS1, up to that range. But above that range, the effectiveness of both ground-to-air and air-to-ground begins to fall off dramatically.

In PS1, the most effective AA for aircraft flying at the current flight ceiling is already other aircraft. At that height and beyond it, which again is the definition I'm using for "high altitude" in PS2, the emphasis is going to shift even stronger toward aircraft-based AA. That opens the door for a layer of the battlefield whose focus is dogfights, adding more depth to the game in an area where I and many players had the most fun.

The problem that I see is not whether or not high-altitude AA is effective enough, but instead it's the speed/versatility of aircraft, compared to how hard/time-consuming it might be to switch from low/mid altitude AA to high altitude AA. I think it'd be way too easy for aircraft to exploit the low/high weakness and constantly shift their attacks such that ground forces wouldn't be able to adapt and switch between AA types quickly enough.
You're concerned with how hard it "might be" to alternate between them when there is no evidence that:

1) It would be hard to switch from low-mid altitude AA to mid-high altitude AA.

2) That high-altitude AA is even necessary.

Aircraft are already the most maneuverable units on the board and usually they get to choose when and where engagements take place with ground units. I'm concerned that the only way to counter altitude-shifting aircraft would end up being forced to prepare for both altitude contingencies, which would require setting up a lot more AA than what is required in a system where at least some AA can be effective at all altitudes. This would be especially true against organized air Outfits, where they could all coordinate all of their attacks so they come in either high or low. Hence my statement about having to deploy double the amount of AA needed for the same protection.
And again, I don't think you're using the same definition for "high altitude" as what I've described it as in my other post. The further away you get from the ground, the less effective aircraft become at attacking the ground.

If it helps to imagine it, shift it horizontally and picture tanks. The further a tank gets from a facility, the less effective its cannons become. A Prowler lobbing shells from its absolute maximum distance is relying more on luck than anything to get kills. The same is true if you imagine a Flail firing at a base without waypoints to help it aim.

In either case, no one complains that the Prowler or Flail needs an absolute hard-counter that someone at that base can use to hit it from that range. The solution is to pull a vehicle and bring the fight to that Prowler or Flail, just like the solution for high-altitude aircraft would be to pull an aircraft of your own and take the fight to him.
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Old 2011-08-07, 06:39 AM   [Ignore Me] #48
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


The following is directed toward Reaver, Wasp, and Mosquito tactic:

The core motivation to inflect balancing on Aircraft is due to PS1’s long standing history of Air Power supremacy over ground forces. PS1 Air Power had the best mobility, and power.

A group of Reavers/ Skeeters could close large distances in a very short amount of time. Once local to their objective engage in fast pace dog fighting until they controlled the air space. Then proceed to clear the court yard of ground vehicles, combat engineering deployables, and AMS’s. Next they camp the doors for a few minutes of killing to get the defenders respawn timers up and then move inside for the base hack; game over. (Depending on the crew they might also chose to destroy the vehicle terminals from the air where available.)

The root dissatisfaction is with Air Powers ability to hover at low speeds and remain combat effective agents ground forces. It’s my hope that the new air combat engine will present such a change in velocity to make close corridor combat no longer plausible. A high speed flyby would still be practical against a ground target, but would require a spotter or a target in the open. Air power would no longer operate as helicopters, but be more Jet based.
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Old 2011-08-07, 04:14 PM   [Ignore Me] #49
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


Originally Posted by DashRev View Post
Reavers and Mossies have zero ground effectiveness at high altitude. If you were able to fly above the flight ceiling in PS1 (on any continent that isn't Searhus) you wouldn't be able to do anything to ground targets in either of those vehicles. You could barely see the ground, let alone hit anything at ground level. In that case, your only option is to do divebombing runs, which puts you well in range of any ground-based AA.

If they aren't in range to hit you, then you aren't in range to hit them. The sole exception to that rule is the bombers, Liberators and Vultures. But they also lose some combat effectiveness as well. If they wish to bomb from above AA range, their projectiles have an immense travel time, can be seen on radar, and can be avoided. But again, the bomber is not invulnerable from that high altitude. You're still vulnerable to any enemy aircraft

Increasing the flight ceiling without increasing AA range just adds an additional third-dimensional battlefield where aircraft can dogfight for control of the skies. The biggest and more important benefit for the empire controlling high-altitude is having a better chance of controlling mid and low altitude, but it doesn't make you any more effective at those levels without actually having to go there and put yourself in range of ground-based AA.


You don't seem to be using my definition of high altitude. I mentioned high altitude starting above the current flight ceiling in PS1. Any ground-based AA would be just as effective in PS2 as they were in PS1, up to that range. But above that range, the effectiveness of both ground-to-air and air-to-ground begins to fall off dramatically.

In PS1, the most effective AA for aircraft flying at the current flight ceiling is already other aircraft. At that height and beyond it, which again is the definition I'm using for "high altitude" in PS2, the emphasis is going to shift even stronger toward aircraft-based AA. That opens the door for a layer of the battlefield whose focus is dogfights, adding more depth to the game in an area where I and many players had the most fun.

You're concerned with how hard it "might be" to alternate between them when there is no evidence that:

1) It would be hard to switch from low-mid altitude AA to mid-high altitude AA.

2) That high-altitude AA is even necessary.



And again, I don't think you're using the same definition for "high altitude" as what I've described it as in my other post. The further away you get from the ground, the less effective aircraft become at attacking the ground.

If it helps to imagine it, shift it horizontally and picture tanks. The further a tank gets from a facility, the less effective its cannons become. A Prowler lobbing shells from its absolute maximum distance is relying more on luck than anything to get kills. The same is true if you imagine a Flail firing at a base without waypoints to help it aim.

In either case, no one complains that the Prowler or Flail needs an absolute hard-counter that someone at that base can use to hit it from that range. The solution is to pull a vehicle and bring the fight to that Prowler or Flail, just like the solution for high-altitude aircraft would be to pull an aircraft of your own and take the fight to him.
To all: my apologies for the length of this post, but I have grave reservations about air unit becoming too dominant in PS2, and DashRev these comments are not all directed specifically at you, so please bear with me….

For starters… DashRev, yes I am using your definition “high-altitude.” If you look at my first post you’ll see that I extended the flight ceiling as well to 700m, and that I extended the ranges of some – but not all – forms of AA such that the highest 200m is only still in range of highly-specialized and/or wall-mounted, flak-based AA (Skyguard, AA wall Turret, flak-based AA Max arm), which by their very nature will be less effective at hitting flight ceiling than low altitude targets due to travel time.

As a long-time PS1 pilot I love the idea of aircraft having an altitude range above-which they cannot effectively attack the ground and where they can in turn “fight for the skies” relatively undisturbed by ground forces, and love the added dimension to combat that this introduces. I also love the idea of having variable cloud-cover (preferably at around 60-70% the height of the flight ceiling) that aircraft can use to evade not only other aircraft, but ground-based AA as well.

But since we don’t yet know the flight speed/capabilities of aircraft in PS2, their armour (“staying power”), the max range of their weapons (although w/ today’s hardware I’m hoping most weapon ranges in general will increase), nor the effectiveness of available AA, we can only speak in general terms. So for purposes of these discussions it doesn’t matter whether the flight ceiling is 400m or 40,000m, as I see it there should be NO altitude at which an aircraft can attack ground forces but said ground forces cannot effectively defend themselves. So, in light of this assertion:

1) If bombers can attack the ground from flight ceiling but even the longest-range AA can’t fire back, we have a problem. Vehicles and infantry may be able to avoid incoming bombs, but wall turrets, drivers repping their vehicles, and deployable objects and vehicles (traps, CE, ANT’s, AMSes) cannot. Plus, having the only counter to a particular unit be another unit of a similar type is generally bad game design and can lead to all sorts of problems. We see this in PS1 when it comes to Air Cav, HA, MAXes, and BFR’s to name a few. IMO allowing bombers to be immune to ground-based AA when they’re bombing the ground from flight ceiling cannot be justified by saying they’re still vulnerable to other air.

2) DahRev, nobody complains about long-range Prowlers because the Prowler’s targets can fire back from their current location using wall turrets, AV MAXes, and even ESAV. Hell, even an OS can be used if the Prowler is lobbing shells from behind a hill. Sure you can pull your own tank and go meet him in the field if you’d like, but you’re not forced to do so in order to counter the Prowler. And as for flails, yes, people do complain about them all the time, even if unlazed. Especially when used in large numbers, like at Mekala the other day when 6-7 flails were being used (mostly unlazed) by both TR and NC to pound all around the base, making it difficult for VS to mount a decent counter attack and push out much less even find a safe place to repair. This is the kind of thing I see happening with bombers that are immune to AA at flight ceiling. I see wings of bombers carpet-bombing a base into oblivion, and the defenders unable to do anything about it.

3) If Air Cav and other assault aircraft can setup strafing runs on ground targets above the height off effective AA, divebomb to lower altitudes to make their attack, and then afterburn back up to above the height of effective AA before said AA has a reasonable chance to shoot them down, again we have a problem.

4) If the survivability of any aircraft is significantly increased in an “either/or” height-based AA implementation because it’s either too difficult or time-consuming to switch from low- to high-altitude AA, or if it’s too difficult for AA gunners to tell which form to use at a given target, then once more we have a problem. If these issues don’t exist then I’m not necessarily against such an AA implementation, although I fail to see how it adds much to the game beyond added complexity and a higher learning curve for new players in an already-complicated game (for some).

5) Lastly, AA needs to be designed such that ground forces can defend themselves against all air threats both in the field (skyguards, since PS2 will have field objectives as well as base objectives), during base defense (AA Wall turrets), and when trying to push out and retake a courtyard (AA MAXes). Hence my desire to have they be able to hit flight-ceiling bombers who might otherwise be circling the area just waiting to crush any ground-based resistance.
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Last edited by Erendil; 2011-08-07 at 04:19 PM.
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Old 2011-08-08, 12:06 AM   [Ignore Me] #50
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


In an attempt to make this a shorter reply, I'm cutting out quotes. So in order to try to keep it clear I'm going to use the same numbers to respond to the same points.

1) It looks like its just coming down to you and I having different interpretations of the effectiveness of weapons at their extreme maximum range. Looking realistically at a bomber sitting at the extended flight ceiling, safe from ground defenses, his bombs now have a travel time of 8-16 seconds. That might not sound like much, but if you actually start a stop watch and let it run for twelve seconds, its immense. Anything that isn't permanently stationary, including AMSs and a vehicle being repaired by hand, is going to have ample time to escape. With no vehicle boarding animations, you can literally hop back in your vehicle and drive a few feet to safety with tons of time to spare. Any bomb dropped from that height is going to be fully visible on radar for the entire duration of its flight. While technically possible, a bomber at that height is sacrificing almost all of his effectiveness.

With that said, your targets as a high altitude bomber are limited to only things that cannot move, which includes CE and base turrets. Neither of those things grant player kills. CE is neither pivotal to a base defense nor is it hard to replace. As for base turrets, even in PS1 they're one of the first defenses to die and one of the last to get repaired.

2) You're not really imagining the same scenario as a bomber at max altitude. All a prowler needs to do is find a slight hill to sit on from max range and he's completely untouchable by anything in the base. Having fired from a height advantage, there is nothing anyone in that base can hit the tank with.

To give you an example, a couple days ago the TR were attempting to take Searhus from the VS. Map of Searhus. It came to the point that we had taken Matagi and Akua, and were moving on to Oro and then Pele. Sitting along the rim of that volcano were tons of MBTs and BFRs, constantly shelling the area below. All of those vehicles were well out of range of the base, and the VS had no recourse but to bring the fight to the tanks if they wanted to defend themselves. But at the same time, those vehicles weren't even in render distance of any enemies at the base. They could see the facility but absolutely nothing within it. All of their kills in that base were designed entirely around luck, and TR only actually took the base when they realized they would have to leave the rim of that volcano and actually go down there en masse.

Defending yourself from bombers trying to do the same thing in PlanetSide 2 would actually be easier than this scenario, given that the VS would've actually had the ability to bring their own vehicles to the fight without the threat of any enemy ground-based AA. It would be purely an aircraft vs aircraft dogfight with zero ground interference.

3) I can't really tell if you're being hyperbolic or just unrealistic. You're describing a scenario that can already take place in PlanetSide 1. Imagine an aircraft approaching a base at flight ceiling, diving down to make an attack, and then ABing straight back up into the air and away from the base. All you'd be changing between PS1 and PS2 is that instead of being 20 meters further from the base horizontally, you'd be 20 meters further from the base vertically. Either way you're getting out of range of ground-base AA at an identical pace, just plotted on a different axis.

If you're saying that the ground-based AA are still reacting too slow to respond to you, then please tell me what empire you're fighting against, because as a pilot they sound like heaven.

4) This is where I start to think you're using too many fringe hypotheticals as cons. It feels like you're saying, "This could cause problems, lets not try it." instead of saying "Yeah, that could be interesting, but we have to make sure we balance it correctly."

I'm trying to make the argument that high-altitude aircraft don't need a ground-based counter. Their effectiveness is so compromised and there are other methods of air-based countering that its unnecessary for ground forces to always have a hard-counter.

That said, I certainly cede the fact that without testing, no one can fully anticipate every eventuality, myself included. That's why I'm open to the idea that if high altitude aircraft do become slightly too powerful, there is always the option of special high altitude AA that is rare, and offers a "light touch" just to keep high altitude aircraft in check.

But it appears like you're making the argument that before its even evident that high altitude AA is necessary, that its already underpowered because its too hard to obtain/switch to/understand. It seems like you're making some preemptive objections when its way too early for them.

5) This is another aspect of high altitude that I think really balances itself. Bases already have higher defenses. Its the natural gathering point for aircraft, whether to repair or rearm, or just form up and move out together. For that reason, you're going to have to break the door down and truly own the skies before you can even consider high altitude bombing without getting swarmed by enemy aircraft. You're flying an slow moving target with two players inside just begging to get picked off. Aircraft are already going to swarm you.

However, once you begin trying to bomb outside of a base in open-field engagements, you don't have to worry about that constant threat of enemy aircraft. But you do have to deal with the fact that your targets are a lot less bunched up. They don't have facility walls to contain them anymore. You're also dealing with a much more mobile force. Tanks are constantly pushing out and retreating to repair, infantry are pushing front lines and trying to grab the next hill or rock for cover. Trying to bomb from maximum altitude is a practice in insanity. Nothing you fire at is still going to be there when your bombs hit the ground. Like I mentioned above, people repairing tanks and AMSs out in the field have more time than they could ever want to pack up and move before your bombs hit the ground.

The only thing you're going to be crushing from high altitude is your own will to waste more time dropping bombs on empty fields.
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Old 2011-08-08, 12:27 AM   [Ignore Me] #51
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Re: Balancing Aircraft/AA with Altitude


I like how height affects AA now. As a lib pilot I wouldn't approach an NC base in the same way I would a TR one.

Bursters are devastating at close range but have low shell velocity and strikers can only lock onto nearby targets so you're safest carpet bombing from the flight ceiling.

Sparrows don't miss once fired and will chase you well out of lock range and phoenixes, though not generally useful against aircraft, will most easily be able to hit you if they have plenty of distance to line up so it's best to make low flying hit and run attacks and use terrain to catch missiles for you. Flying at the ceiling just means more time for them to launch sparrows.
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