Air RB and its possible rework

Air RB rework

Presented by @Macekeeks and @themadseventeen

As it currently stands, air RB isn’t suited for top tier gameplay. We have observed a few issues with it, for which we’ll offer some potential solutions. ARB can’t be fixed with a few tweaks, such as decreasing player numbers. It needs a substantial overhaul.

  • Strike aircraft and fighters carrying A2G loadouts

Right now, strike planes are not really useful in the top tier meta. Destroying bases and ground targets doesn’t really affect the outcome of the game. Games are very rarely ended due to ticket bleed, and even if they are teams that won because of strike aircraft would have most likely won earlier if they had fighters instead.
All planes should have a place in ARB.
Of course not to mention, strike planes are kind of free food for fighters since they are forced to fight in the same space with them.

Solution: Make strike aircraft and their objectives the main part of the game, instead of an afterthought. This would mean a few things. First, players are able to respawn now and can respawn as many times as they like. Each spawn (except the first) costs as much as full repair cost. Second, instead of player kills the objective now are bombing targets. This creates an interesting dynamic between fighters and strike aircraft. You need strike aircraft to win the game, but since they are almost defenseless against fighters, they need fighter support. Teams would have to fight for air superiority so that their strike groups can go and do their jobs. This way both players who like playing fighters get their fill, and people who like blowing stuff up get to do so.
To further increase the complexity and challenge of balancing your loadouts, we thought of having multiple types of targets. Some are light and wide area, so a lot of smaller yield bombs or rockets work better against them. Others are harder and smaller, requiring precision strikes to take out.
Managing the balance between A2G and A2A power becomes crucial to winning games.

  • Furballs and third partying

Due to linear map layouts (spawn, middle of the map with objectives, other spawn) every single player meets enemies in the middle of the map, which creates a giant furball. In these furballs it feels like all kills and deaths are based on luck, since no one can keep track of 6, 7 or more enemies around themselves. This leads to a lot of frustration upon death, and I would say that kills don’t feel as rewarding as in a proper dogfight.
Another problem with this is that it doesn’t allow for dogfights to exist. If someone tries to engage with someone for more than a turn or two, they are going to get third partied, leading to them dying, or their target dying to someone else while engaging. Again, more frustration.

Solution: There are a few remedies for this. First one is to reduce player density by placing multiple airfields per team, all along their edge of the map (like in sim). The only thing that matters is player density. If a map is large it can have more than 32 players. Another measure on top of this is limiting the number of players that can spawn on an airfield. This would ensure an even distribution of players across the map at the start of the match.
Game objectives are also spread across the map to accommodate this.

  • Map sizes and modern weapons

Maps like small Spain, small Afghanistan and City are too small for modern planes to work on them. As soon as you reach Mach 1, you are in range of modern SARH (and ARH soon to come) missiles. This leads to everyone hugging the ground, which in turns makes these weapons almost useless. These maps are just too small and should be removed after 11.0 or so.

Multipathing made it so that everyone is flying tree top level, which we feel like goes against the nature of air combat. Right now these weapons are primarily used for head on attacks on players that made the mistake of ungluing themselves from the ground.

Solution: Maps that are played at top tier should only be of the largest variety War Thunder has to offer to allow these weapons to operate more naturally. In order to “unglue” players from the ground MANPADs are placed at some areas of the map. Their approximate position is marked on the map, but might be outdated, or it might not be there (bad intel). These MANPADs should be deadly enough that players would have to gamble if they want to fly low close to them. Objectives should also have capable AA defenses, some better, some worse.

Adendum 1:

Adendum 2:

We see that a lot of people don’t like our MANPADs idea, or are at least neutral to them.

This might be a decent alternative, and it would give helicopters a decent mode to play (and grind) in.

Helicopter spawns could be closer to enemy ground units, to compensate for their low speed.

Adendum 2B:

Another objective exclusive to “Utility Helicopters” could be resupply of SAM sites and AA artillery. This would this helicopter class some extra things to do, as they are often limited in armaments or speed, or both.

  • Repetitiveness of ARB

Every match plays the same in ARB. Take off, go to the middle of the map, dodge some R-27s and AIM-54, shoot some SARH missiles yourself, merge into the giant furball, and continue from there if you survive. If you die at any point, leave the match to do it all again. Alternatively climb up at the start of the match if you have R-27s or AIM-54s.

Solution: Changing the gamemode to a ground and air focused one already increases the amount of options players have, which leads to more different games as they progress. In addition to this objectives are randomly chosen at the beginning of each match. Random events also can occur during a match. Some examples of those would be:

  1. Cruise missile strikes headed for objectives.
  2. Supersonic bombers going to objectives.
  3. Helicopters going for objectives.
  4. Landing craft going to set up artillery to shell objectives

These events wouldn’t be a total surprise, a warning would be shown a few minutes in advance. This forces players to think in advance.

  • Potential removal of enemy markers

Poll is moved to a separate post because of technical issues.

Please vote here Air RB and its possible rework - #146 by themadseventeen

Friendlies are always marked

Adendum 5:

Check out @SPANISH_AVENGER 's post as well, he gave this issue more though than we did. He also has a poll (a working one), so go vote there as well.

Adendum 4:
Another good idea for reworking enemy markers.

Adendum 3:

Some concerns were raised about fighters ignoring enemy fighters and going around to destroy strike aircraft.
Possible remedy for this would be the addition of AEW&C aircraft to provide radar coverage near friendly airfields. Ground based radar stations could also be employed for this purpose.
These would only be used for their search capability and not guiding missiles.

Closing words

Goal is to create a gamemode that is more fun and more fair for everyone. While we focused here on top tier gameplay some stuff can be applied to lower tiers as well. We think that bomber pilots would enjoy more bomber focused mode.

This would obviously make it better for players who want to play in a strike role. However, as we were writing this, we noticed players who are on a stock grind could enjoy this mode as well. Less players to worry about means you don’t suffer as much because of your limited weapons. Fights are more fair for the same reason. Fighter pilots can join in with strike aircraft and bomb and still be useful to their team.

We see that this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, so we suggest that this is introduced as a separate gamemode, maybe replacing World War, since it’s not available most of the time, but displayed in the main game selector.

All of this is open to discussion, we would love everyone’s feedback on this.

69 Likes

Hi! Great ideas all around, the only i dont agree with is “objective is bombing targets now”. This would only result in even more players opting for what we call “zombing”, branless bombing of tagets that even botted accounts from china accomplished. If you want to encourage strike planes and bombers doing their thing while avoiding fighter zombers, we would need to lower bombing rewards for anything that isnt strike plane/bomber by very significant margin like 10% reward given compared to strike/bomber.
Then your idea might work.
I would like to point out the MANPADS sites as great idea. Doesnt completely delete multipathing from game but makes treetop level flight high risk strat the same way as high alt flight and i really like that.

12 Likes

Thank you for your feedback!

I see your concern, but I think it may have the opposite effect. Mindless bombing might be less effective in such gamemode as flying into enemy territory without cover would be much harder now. Fighters would place much higher priority on lone strike aircraft since they now pose an actual threat to them winning, on top of being a free kill. I can’t say that this will definitely be the case, but it’s a possibility.

7 Likes

I agree with most ideas presented here and I wholeheartedly support changing the objectives to a more multirole oriented gamemode. With Fox-3s coming, an all out a2a game is gonna just be a missile fuckfest with no real objective. ARB needs to be oriented towards multiple tasks that need to be completed in order to win. Players should be incentivized to go and destroy ground targets. Higher rewards for this should be introduced. ARB should be more like DCS, with a huge map and multiple airfields and objectives to complete. I am not asking for persistent servers with games several hours long, thats for air sb, but the overall situation in arb needs to be more serious and intense where players need to actually think and strategize.

11 Likes

Its a good point to bring up i would hope these bombing points could be put in more hot areas but have similar rewards so its still worth it as of right now there are 2 free bases everyone shoots for then is useless, or they are too spread out like in ec maps to the point its not really worth bombing at all.

2 Likes

I would stride for something akin to battlefield games the length on them is around 40min or longer if both teams are competent. Its not hard to improve on the match time right now rarely going over 15min or less in most cases.

9 Likes

Fundamentally disagree.
Fighters & strike aircraft that are ignoring the fight to bomb/strafe are almost always a drain on the team, and having a game lost because one player did not participate in the fight but instead strafed ground targets is a terrible experience. This would only further lead to whatever team had more people focusing on air-to-air fighting winning, one again a terrible experience for those on the other team who actually wanted to fight as they find they’re outnumbered.
Furthermore, your idea on having MANPADs scattered around the map is, to be frank, terrible. Can’t wait for a rare good dogfight to be interrupted by some unseen AI just because it got too close to the deck.
All aircraft, strike aircraft included, should be competitive at fighting aircraft of their own BR. While this is currently an issue, this could be fixed by the upcoming decoupling of GRB and ARB BRs.
There is little gameplay value in a “combat game” such as War Thunder to encouraging players to ignore each-other and farm PvE targets.
Personally, I feel top tier, which is absent of dedicated bombers incapable of fighting, could be massively improved with the complete removal of bomb points and ground targets, to encourage players to actually fight each-other.

5 Likes

+1

Couldn’t have put it better myself.

1 Like

the whole point is to get around low altitude missile spam and make the game more strategic right now strike aircraft will be on your team regardless and they are the biggest detriment in the game they could at least become of priority target when found and do something useful as they hit targets that help the other team not like current bases.

the risk of the merge not like you live long anyway in current air rb dog fights

2 Likes

And the exact same thing could be achieved with larger maps and lower player counts, along with airspawn placing you along the map, rather than you all clumping up together to die, Instead of making the entire game mode about ground pounding.

1 Like

tbf she got a point and you counter it with whataboutism… this needs a 2nd thought

3 Likes

If you’re not living long in current dogfights then that’s on you.
All you’re proposing is an ADDITIONAL way to get third partied, but this time you can’t even keep an eye out for players to avoid it!

2 Likes

do you have any ideas to get around multipath because its the reason air rb will most likely play the same as it does right now when arh are added just more risk when you climb

Here’s an idea, learn to defend and use your radar, rather than coping to the point where you want everyone to be the average F-4S player

1 Like

I dont think enemy markers should be removed but they do need an overhaul.
Time and time again i trying to figure out how to deal with a situation and a random dot hat appears on my minimap forces me to take my attention away from whatever i am doing to figure out wether its an AI Yak-38 that just got spotted going past me at mach 1 or if its a player thats about to make me have a very bad time.

As it currently stands there is little to no way to quickly distinguish between AI and player aircraft in those situations, and with how deadly missiles are nowadays you have to check every single time to not risk being shot down.

9 Likes

no i dont have any but at the same time I DONT NEED TO HAVE ANY to spot a bad idea or one that needs to be refined

well this is too spark discussion to get better ideas

1 Like

@girl_twink
@Pulse-mp4

Thank you for your feedback, we appreciate it. We knew this would be polarizing since it’s a big departure from current ARB. This is why we suggested that this be implemented alongside current air RB.

We also know that our ideas aren’t without fault.

Regarding MANPADs and their placement, we see how it might ruin some dogfights if not placed correctly across the map. We think that with good placement they won’t interfere with dogfights and would serve their gameplay purpose.

put them near bombing targets maybe just awful sams like roland 1s to get rid of bots and brain dead bombing if they will be impactful targets to attack.