This topic has been discussed within other threads on this forum. We had some other polls on the old forum discussing this topic.
My general feeling is that the player base for Air RB is almost perfectly split.
Half want a tactical mode that caters to fighters. A quick match with room to do some BVR and get into an occasional dogfight. This group would prefer base bombers not be on their team and the entire team be focused on air-to-air engagements. AI targets would just serve to bleed the enemy of tickets if they decided to remain near their airfield under AAA cover.
The other half want a strategic mode that caters to a mix of gameplay styles. A longer match with larger maps, objectives, bases to bomb, ground targets, naval targets, carriers, convoys, AI aircraft, respawning etc.
For lower tiers, this isn’t as big of an issue. Air RB is pretty spread out and you have time to do some ground pounding if you like. Air AB is a bit more confined but gives you respawning and some maps that require some strategy.
For the upper tiers, Air AB is largely dead. Sim EC isn’t bad but the sim cockpit only view doesn’t suit many War Thunder players very well since I feel that style is better served by other games in this genre. The cockpit only view just isn’t for me.
So for Air RB, why not split the mode and give each type of player what they want?
I bring this topic up fairly often due to frustration with the Air RB game mode. I have been playing War Thunder aviation for 10 years and have every aircraft in the game researched. After much time in Air RB, I decided to give Ground RB a try. Although Im aweful at Ground RB, the mode is extremely well thought out. Sure it has some issues but the fundamental game mode is very good, which is why it is the most popular game mode in War Thunder.
This left me extremely frustrated with the state of Air RB. Compared to Ground RB, Air RB feels like it is still stuck in Beta. The dated mechanics of Air RB are really exposed at the upper tiers.
At these tiers matches currently last 3 to 8 minutes, involve franticly spamming the look around key, involve getting ear assaulted by your RWR and involve very little strategy. The mode seems to cater to grinders only, with fun taking a back seat.
Fun in Air RB is a tough thing to find. Judging player satisfaction by the game chat certainly isn’t an objective form of measurement but it gives a small glimpse into the state-of-mind of the player base during a match. In game chats, in general are interesting places… and sure, Ground RB or low tier Air AB or Naval has some trolls and some smack-talkers but the Air RB chat is on another level. It varies between hyper-depressing behavior to hyper-disturbing behavior. I believe this has something to do with the repetitive, boring nature of Air RB.
The sad part for me is that Air RB in War Thunder has so much potential. All of the general mechanics are there. I feel that if some extra TLC was given to Air RB, we could easily be playing War Thunder aviation for the next 10 years.