If you could, how would you re-balance CAS in Ground Battles?

Whenever a CAS thread pops up on this forum, there is almost always someone who will state with authority that Gaijin will never allow an alternative mode without CAS, and instead, suggests that the player asks for CAS to be re-balanced instead, with minor adjustments made somewhere.

Whether you frequently use CAS aircraft in Ground Battles or not, I must ask in good faith, how would you re-balance CAS as it exists now? What would you change? What would you consider to be too much, what would be too little?

I will eventually create a list of suggestions for Gaijin from the responses in this thread, so please try to be constructive.

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I want to preface this that I am an air main. I like CAS in GRB. But I am willing to accept that changes are needed. But any and all changes should start out small, they can always be tuned up in the future or additional changes can be added. I strongly beleive the best solution will be found via incremental changes and not dramatic ones.

Additionally, please remember, not all aircraft are “CAS” and not all “CAS” is equal in strength, some are definetly strong, but just because a few are strong, does not mean that all “CAS” are strong

Any suggestions like making bombs do less damage are simply unreasonable in my opinion, that would destroy the integrity of the game and I believe are totally unncessary, adequate balance can be acheived without resorting to such ideas

There are several mains areas in which I think improvements could be acheived without unnecessarily impacting either side

Countering CAS

Currently. SPAA is probably too weak. So:

  • Increase SPAA performance
  • Lower the BR of most SPAA
  • Increase the number of SPAA to fill in gaps
  • Add more modern/capable SPAA

Additional improvements like

  • Increase SPAA rewards
  • Additonal SPAA value (like scouting, including maybe with a drone) would help early game too

Would encourage players to use them more.

There is also CAP. It is the most effective counter to any CAS but it currently costs way too much to spawn in a fighter to defeat other CAS aircraft. So making fighters cheaper to spawn would help to.

(Because CAP or CAS is such a grey area. Reduce SP cost of all planes, but increase base cost of all A2G weapons to compensate (you should not be able to first spawn either CAP, CAS or heli, but you should be able to bring in a half decent CAP fairly early game) )

Applying balanced “mitigation” to CAS

  • All CAS to spawn on AFs (but there should be 2 AFs to choose between) (heavy bombers may need to keep air spawn, but they could spawn further away or at a lower altitude instead)
  • Move Heli spawns further away, (beyond 6-8kms) (maybe even add heli spawns onto AFs, this would allow for AF AA to be re-activated)
  • Increase SP cost of specific weapons (I.e the large bombs on Lancaster and Pe-8) by an appropriate amount
  • Increase SP costs for the amount of A2G weapons carried (2x Hellfire would cost a lot less than 16 for example)
  • Dynamic SP costs of A2G weapons on a case by case basis and from BR to BR (a 1k unguided bomb on a BR3 fighter is very strong, but a 1k unguided bomb on a top tier sub-sonic really isnt that strong)
  • Increase Heli SP cost to prevent first spawn
  • Remove strike drones (or change them to be recon only)
  • reasonable changes (increases and decreases) to the base cost of aircraft, but on a case by case basis
  • Add a small SP cost for targetting pods (increasing depending on what gen thermal it has 0-3)
  • Exponential spawn costs for aircraft over the current ground max BR (so current 12 and 12.3 aircraft for example would have an SP cost multiplier as the max BR of ground is only 11.7)

but inversely

  • Decrease the SP cost of lower value A2G weapons as they become less effective.
    (unguided weapons like bombs and rockets at low to medium tier are hightly effective, but at top tier, unguided weapons have more limited value, especially as you are more exposed to SPAA. Decreasing their SP Cost slightly might encourage them to be used over the more effective precision weapons at top tier)
  • Add scouting to Targeting pods (but doesnt provide SP) so players in planes might be encouraged to support teammates rather than use A2G weapons (maybe this idea, not sure)

General improvements

There are also a few general areas of improvement that could help dramatically as well:. The biggest in my opinion is improved plane and especially heli damage models. Currently Helis can tank way more damage than they should be able to. Often continuing to fight long after they should be a smoldering pile of wreckage. So dramatically overhauling plane and heli damage models would both increase the effectiveness of SPAA (or even just close in weapon systems like MGs on a tank) But also just generally improve the quality of the game

Another area for change is Aircraft Battle Ratings. Currently their battle ratings are determined for both air modes and ground modes concurrently. This means that some aircraft have BRs that are too low in GRB so that they are playable in ARB or vice versa. Seperating the BR of aircraft for ARB and GRB would mean those that are performing well in ground modes can be moved up to a more appropriate BR but can remain effective and playable within air modes. Aircraft like the Su-39, A-10, Tornado, etc all seem to be impacted by this. Allowing for aircraft BRs to be adjusted specifically for ground would dramatically improve balance.

Gamemode improvements

CAS is only perticuarly effective in WT because the gamemode is just well designed for it. Small cap points, predictable spawn points, overall small maps, etc etc.

So:

  • Add new gamemodes with different objective types
  • Increase map sizes
  • Dramatically redesign spawn points (making them both larger and more numerous)

Alternative gamemode options

To be honest. In my opinion, a big issue (maybe the biggest) with “CAS” at the moment, is that GRB is often the best place for it. Most strike aircraft/bombers just dont really have anywhere else good to go (especially if you dont like sim) This forces players into GRB, even if they arent too bothered by the gamemode.

So improving AAB, ARB and ASB to be better suited for “CAS” aircraft and maybe the addition of an RB EC type gamemode that would better suit CAS gameplay (SB is by far the best gamemode for aircraft like the Tornado, but its certainly not as good as it could be and not all like the restriction that come from SB) would perhaps reduce the amount of players using CAS within ground modes.

Additionally… Heli EC… It is such a bad gamemode (not only in design but in general buggyness) that I understand why no one would want to play it. Only reason I personally got to top tier in GRB was just so that I had a better gamemode to finally fly a heli in. So maybe a decent Heli gamemode(s), even if that is just a dramatically improved Heli EC. Would reduce the amount of helis in ground gamemodes (in my opinion, this is the number 1 reason for “heli spam” in ground modes currently)

Future additions

As a bit of a side note on this topic. There are many more advanced A2G weapons that have yet to be added that would likely be way too strong currently and maybe impossible to ever truly balance in the future. Weapons like CBUs, HARM and advanced AGMs. But despite that fact. I do not believe these weapons should be omitted just for the sake of “ground balance” so as a possible solution to this, would be to disable these weapons within ground modes until such time they would be more balanced, allowing for them to be added far sooner.

A good example for this soon™ would be Brimstone. It would be a very fun weapon system to have on future British aircraft like the Tornado Gr4, but would be way too strong at the moment. So if it was restricted to air modes, and therefore ai targets. It could be added whenever without having to wait for ground to “catch up”. HARM, would also be a similar addition, AI SPAA in SB is way too strong currently, so a dedicated hard counter would be good (and allow for bugs to sorted out before adding to ground modes in the future)

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  • Reduce spawn cost for aircraft
  • Dramatically increase spawn cost for ordinance, so loaded CAS aircraft have higher SP cost than currently
  • I’m stealing the “aircraft spawn at AF” idea from above
  • More SPAAs so there’s less giant gaps between BRs of SPAA (M42-M163 for example)
  • Add a system like naval to spawn in a random fighter or random attacker
  • Drones spawn at lower altitude (2km maybe). Unrelated and unpopular but I liked drones and wish they were at lower BR again.
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Add a system like naval to spawn in a random fighter or random attacker

Can you explain this? It sounds like you’re saying to give players attack aircraft that they didn’t grind for, which… seems like it would mean more CAS in the air?

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Map size is the problem especially at high tier when tanks are fast small map mean get point faster mean CAS also faster

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In naval you can spawn in a random attacker or random fighter. Usually these are .7-1.0 lower than the battle BR and pretty ass. SP would also match spawning one normally. But that way any player, even one who hasn’t grinded air, can have a fighter for FAD. Attacker just also fits the idea. Attackers would also have pre-generated loadouts which at least in Naval are not very well designed. Like, at high tier it might be an A-10 at 11.0 with 2 AGMs and unguided bombs. CAS at high tier is either wallet warriors or experienced players. Giving air noobs CAS wouldn’t make it much more effective, but would incentivize SPAA more cause free kills.

As an air main focused on props it might be worth to think about dividing your goal in 2 aspects:

  1. Balancing of CAS with guided A2G loadout
  2. Balancing of CAS without smart/guided A2G loadout

Following this topic for years it is obvious that for the 2nd aspects the dominant role of air is fully intended. Any attempts to weaken planes are futile as neither the majority of players looking for easy A2G kills nor gaijin itself has any interest to harm their income.

So in order to balance CAS you need either:

  • first spawn fighters without A2G loadout to counter enemy CAS or protect own CAS and
  • you might think about the game mechanics affecting the effectiveness of own AA weapons.

I am sure that some smart guys have noticed that low caliber MGs/HMGs and cannons rounds disappear at various distances - you can outrun certain shells in Air RB if you are able to keep a certain distance at higher speeds.

Even a MG 34/42 was irl able to fight >2km until ~ 4km combat distances - in wt the shells disappear way earlier - so you might want to use the forum search or contact ballistic experts like @KillaKiwi. I am quite sure that i read some time about disappearing 30mm shells of the MK 103 way earlier than they should.

And to be complete - the available belts for AA might be worth to look at too - imagine stealth belts for AAs. If i see friends attacking enemy SPAAG they always wait until they are distracted - and the tracer fire gives a clear indicator where to go to…

Have a good one!

Edit:

To clarify a first spawn with fighters:

After watching several hundreds of vids and replays of Ground RB in the last 7 years the majority of matches follow the same rules: Rush a cap, earn SP for a CAS plane, die and farm Ground units or kill clueless pilots tunnel visioning on revenge bombing or ground attack in general.

If you would implement a first spawn in an aircraft without any A2G load like bombs or rockets, add markers for A2A combat (so no ground unit markers) and ensure that they attack only enemy aircraft (so playing anti-CAS or just cover own CAS) you would have way less issues with balancing CAS vs tanks.

Most valid arguments against such a proposal:

  1. Planes with cannons and HMGs are still a massive threat for open top / light vehicles
  2. Pilots have their own mode, why should they be allowed to play Ground RB without playing tanks
  3. First spawn planes will reduce the number of available ground units for capturing and holding points. Very long and very tight matches (imho rather rare) are usually decided by tanks as they ensure ticket wins with holding / defending points.

Can be countered with:

  1. Simply kick them out of the lobby if they attack anything else than enemy aircraft (including choppers) or SPAAs (for self-defense). If you won’t want to kick them out: Disable damage of cannons/HMGs and map pinging in case they want to mark them.
  2. Air RB is flooded with tankers which perform actually useless tasks like base bombing or farming ai units. They are playing PvE in a TDM game mode with severe impact on the outcome of matches - basically the team with less tankers wins. By allowing dedicated pilots to defend own ground units in Ground RB dedicated tankers could focus on the ground battle.
  3. Just limit the number of first spawn planes (2-4 based on lobby size) and allow them to load ground loadouts and to attack other targets as outlined in point 1 after 15 (?) minutes or earlier if just a few players are left.

Summary:

I follow this CAS issue and connected points like ODLs for years now from a pure pilot perspective. It is obvious that gaijin is aware of this, but despite hundreds of threads and thousands of posts i see not substantial changes in their game design.

So from a holistic pov gaijin assesses the current situation as fine. Any attempts to weaken planes in Ground RB or to convince them to implement TO modes are a dead end as they would have a severe impact on their earnings. I mean Ground RB players are forced to buy planes to defend their tanks - so why would they change anything?

Taken from this post:

increase RP for AA, take points for missiles and ap tape, reduce points for aviation weapons, and also remove bad weather

The issue is high altitude bombers have no place in GRB but I like high altitude bombing so why would I suggest game improvement to remove them ? Im like anybody else on here,I only scream to remove something when I am killed by it.If I am using it then it’s fine.Bushes and premium vehicles are a fine example.That is why I say leave CAS as it is and create a seperate game without it.

Force cockpit view

Triple SP costs

Add SPAA to all trees at all BR ranges

Fix missile G to mimic real life

Fix missile G physics to perform how they do in real life

Add AWACS or ground based radar for SPAA to make use of unless CAS targets it

Rebalance all maps to include room for SPAA to move and engage rather than being forced to bottle in spawn

Allow first spawn of fighters w/ no bombs equipped so they can intercept CAS

Remove CAS from Arcade Ground Battles to offer a ground only game mode for players who want that

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Add destructible AAA Emplacements to each spawn

force CAS to take off from the AF

Lower the Spawn cost for planes in pure fighter config (so only HE ammo for cannons, no rockets, no bombs and only AAMs on high BRs) so significantly that they can be spawned at the start of the match

align CAS plane BR with tank BR to fit the time period (this means significantly reducing the BR of most jets for ground RB)

tripple the reward for shooting down Aircraft with an SPAA

add a “Target director” Emplacement for all BRs as part of the Stationary AA Emplacement (essentially so your 3.3 SPAA gets a callout every time an Aircraft joins the battle)

add AEW systems for high tier which gives target callouts to friendly fighters

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I think this has several issues that aren’t easily solvable.

First of all, if you don’t put a hard cap on number of planes, this will mean everyone can take a fighter as a first spawn, transforming GRB into a slightly different ARB mode, which isn’t ideal to say the least.

Second of all, if you do limit the amount of planes at any given moment, this might lead to people who weren’t fast enough to take a plane (they wanted to) simply leaving the game and trying again in a new match, which also isn’t ideal to say the least.

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I agree that my suggestion looks rather thin, so i added a longer and more detailed description regarding 1st spawns with aircraft to my post. The points you mentioned and other factors are considered there.

well, with most of the team spawning fighters at the start the rest can then easily take capture zones

add more spaa, fill empty spaces. This is enough. One good anti-aircraft can provide air defense for your team.

SPAA just needs a better interface.Take the Wirblewind ,what can you see when you use it? Third person its just grass and bushes and from gunner view there is no spatial awarness.

Remove killcam
Force airfield takeoff

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Good, I’ll have a read.

This isn’t so simple, many light vehicles (that don’t have SPAA role in game) can semi-decently attack aircraft. In my opinion this limitation needs to be hand-applied, not just going off of vehicle types.
But overall it’s a decent suggestion.

Air mode surely has it’s own fair share of problems, I mean having a mode that, according to you, renders whole range of vehicles (almost) useless needs a rework.

In a perfect world, I’m actually not against having first-spawn planes, if it was designed to be a mixed mode, then let it be just that from the start. My grievances with current GRB stem from the fact not everyone wants to play a mixed mode, and if you’re a person interested in tanks only, you have nowhere else to go. But this is a different topic so I won’t go any further.

This still doesn’t solve the problem of people not being fast enough to get in that role and then leaving the match as a result. I mean, we already have plethora of reasons why people will leave games, so adding another one is not ideal.

Also, MM should take care of people it matches together, so you don’t get a team full of people without any aircraft to begin with, or a team full of ODL people bringing premium planes and a single Reserve tier tank, effectively bringing only one spawn to the game.

By the looks of it, so many mechanics and parts of the game will need to change drastically in order to fit this in.

Apart from the fixes to several atm still suboptimally implemented SPAA systems, I think the possibility to re-arm air defense vehicles also in spawn and not only in Cap zones would help.

After all a contested cap is the last place where you want to be with a juicy, flimsy vehicle that can not defend itself against onrushing tanks…

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Ooh, yeah, that’s a good point. Can’t remember how many times I’ve died in SPAA trying to sneak to a cap point to get more ammo

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