I would like to outline my critique in bullet points.
1 - Map size in relation to the number of players.
One of the main reasons for the increase in map size at the top tier was that players at that time felt that small maps no longer accommodated planes for a healthy and enjoyable game. This was a time when planes did not have radars of the quality we have today. The same can be observed regarding missiles. Before the increase in map size, planes had an average of 4-8 missiles that could easily be avoided with the right techniques. Gameplay was already deteriorating due to missile spam. Who in their right mind would think that returning to small maps today, in a match with 32 players and highly reliable missiles from several kilometers away, would be fun? I have been playing War Thunder for a decade, always a fan of realistic air battles, but for the first time in a long time, I find myself discontent with the way the game is.
2 - Map size proportional to the number of players.
At least in the experience on which I base this opinion, large maps accommodate 16 to 12 players per team, and small maps accommodate 10 to 8.
This player variability is explained by the design of the game maps. No matter how large the maps are, in the vast majority, objectives are always concentrated in the middle, and then everything unfolds in the same way.
3 - What are we doing in Realistic Air battles?
The impression I have of realistic air battles is that the game mode is extremely shallow and is currently being treated almost like a grind mode. To help understand this point, I’ll use an example of an old map I used to enjoy, the “Norway” map in the air mode. The objectives were primary: fight for the capture of an airfield established as “point A,” with capture being carried out through naval bots that sent landing troops, as well as other secondary objectives such as the destruction of ships, aircraft carriers, bases, and other air bots. All this involvement was super fun. When I think about this nostalgia, I wonder how it turned into what we have today. AIR RB has almost become a COD TDM… but with even fewer rewards.
I know this won’t change anything in the game, but as a veteran, I feel entitled to a vent.
I would like to criticize more systems that have worsened over time, such as matchmaking, but I’ll leave the rest to you…