As it stands airfield AA is an extremely controversial issue and creates a killzone around airfields that are virtually impossible to penetrate. This leads to toxic behaviour where players will run to it for cover and circle it, preventing anyone from being able to kill them. Usually this is done by fighters to force people to break off and recover from a disadvantage, or by attackers/bombers to avoid dying and win on tickets.
When I say killzone, I mean it. I’ve seen multiple people have control surfaces shot off within seconds while going >700kph in a dive while manoeuvring. NO WW2 gunner is hitting that if historical accuracy about airfield defence is a concern, nor is it even avoidable by manoeuvring like real airfield flak would be. As it stands it tends to take 4-5+ players to eliminate one person circling the airfield, with most/all of those players dying. This has been recorded and uploaded online time and time again.
This behaviour is repeated in almost every match in every propeller aircraft BR right now. It’s extremely demoralising to have to cater towards people who will run to it the moment they aren’t completely confident in their victory.
The inactivity timer was modified to prevent people from sitting on the airfield and bailing out repeatedly, which was a good issue but does not address the problem of people circling the airfield repeatedly and staying inside of its killzone, which they can do for the entire match with a >20 minute fuel load (consider that matches usually end prematurely due to ticket bleed).
It is both my belief and many others that airfield AA poses an absurd unfair advantage to those who exploit it. While it is true that aircraft should have some protection when repairing and taking off, this should in large part be given by their team defending the airspace. The AA in the middle of the map would be suitably strong because of how many emplacements there are around each airfield, providing a dense cover of AA which punishes prolonged exposure but does not punish short-term exposure as much.
This would be much more fair, as enemy aircraft in the AA zone would still receive damage that forces them to prematurely RTB (eg oil leaks which easily kill engines) without making the airfield an impenetrable killzone.
This issue has only been getting more and more common since the airfield AA was first buffed, to the point where it is unavoidable almost every game. It is driving players away from Air RB and War Thunder, especially newer players who don’t have the experience to even try to counter the tactic.
This suggestion is about airfield AA at prop tiers, not higher tiers where there are SAMs.
The point is that players shouldn’t be able to dive to their airfield for free cover that has no counterplay. If one team loses control of the airspace around their airfield, they shouldn’t deserve to have a 4km killzone protect them while they land, circle, and re-climb.
If you’re in a position where your team has collapsed and with these changes you’d get strafed, then there’s nothing stopping them from shooting you down the moment you take off and leave AA range. The difference with my suggestion being that the person taking off can’t just circle the airfield until they climb up to 4-5km uncontested, and they can’t repeatedly dive back to the airfield cover the moment they stop feeling confident. The latter scenario is just plainly unfair.
Regarding the abuse: I don’t really see an issue. If one player is circling his airfield, then go hunt AI attackers, destroy ground targets and win while farming RP in the process. just don’t go hunting it.
The efficient mid map AA would be a fun mechanics, because it would either need fighters to fight at altitude or it would require penetration by attackers to get rid of it (the effective angles of AA would need to allow the incoming attackers). This would also help attackers to be covered while being motivated to destroy enemy AA (so their fighters could come). It would also add mission profile relevant to the gameplay of the whole team. And this would make even more sense in high tier jet fighters.
This is the issue. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your positioning and throw away most of your ammo on AI targets because someone flew to their airfield cover. I can near-guarantee you that if you manage to equalise that fight after they bounce you while you’re down at low altitude, they’ll just run back to the airfield again. This is not a solution.
Were you around a year or two ago when midmap AA was buffed? It was the polar opposite of fun. People randomly getting set on fire at 4km, oil leaks left and right, multiple people dying to AA per match, getting shot to bits by AA in a dogfight, and so on. At jet tiers we have gepards that sometimes do this as well. It is not fun.
Other classes can use those same angles to clear it uncontested. This just makes it even more frustrating, if you have to dump all of your altitude flying in low to kill it, while it gives everyone above an oil leak.
Dunno mate, been flying decent amount of matches with props recently and I hadn’t seen this happen once. I saw the opposite. We went to rearm to the airport, enemy Mig showed up and killed 4 of us and then flew away, because the airport AA is sh*t in top tier (the western one, the Russian one is deadly, as always). There needs to be the protection. Only thing that comes to my mind that would solve it would be reduction of AA effective altitude. That way griefing player would just mow the grass all the time (means unable to climb to advantage) or if he climbed, he could be engaged. Still, this needs to be addressed properly, as come cannon planes would shoot stationary target (rearming aircraft) from well over a kilometre.
This suggestion is about prop tier, whereas you’re talking about jet tier. This has already been said in the title and in another comment. At top tier the M247s will blitz you if you fly low over the airfield but the missiles mostly just stop you from flying straight, which still forces you off someone’s six if they run to the airfield, but it’s fairly reasonable in that you can stick around and they don’t get a huge killzone around the AF.
I see this behaviour in almost every prop game I play. Most players who survive until the later stages of the match will see this constantly.
i also find it strange how airfield AA does damage. same applies to field AA (the large caliber AA that is). instead of having an actual explosion which deals damage by fragments hitting the aircraft, i feel like it’s some kind of damage aura, and if some part of your plane happens to be within that damage aura, the entire plane will take damage (had one match where a field AA turned my entire Ju 288 C orange from a single hit which is far from realistic. and of course i crashed because my engines died halfway to the base). this is the reason why AA creates this kill zone around the airfield. imo it should rather be like an actual time fuzed projectile, and if the gun aimed correctly and set the fuze correctly, the explosion might rip off your wing or blow up your engine. if it fails to hit you, you will be fine
I don’t think you were playing the same game I was playing last year and before that lmao. I used to choose attackers, light, medium and frontline bombers SPECIFICALLY to bomb mid map targets and yet I was constantly vaporized by the mid AAA, and it was also frequent the scenario where you were flying at decent altitude in a fighter and yet you were killed by those same AAA. I rememebr quite well the moment I brought a B-25 to attack ground targets and a mid map AAA one shot me, or the frequent times where an amazing dogfight was interrupted because the mid map AAA shot me and gave me orange engine, multiple leaks, etc.
Oh, and lets remember that lots of maps have one sided mid map AAA only, so your team was in an absolute disadvantage and losing was almost certain.
I don’t think that this kind of replacement is really necessary. What I think that happens is that often times you will see no shells coming at you and yet you are instantly killed by the airfield AAA. Just making them behave normally and removing this “insta death zone” would be more than enough.
I was reading the comments, and it seems there are multiple options that could be taken, but current mechanics make them undesirable. For instance, more effective mid-map AA is disliked because it’s been known to be too effective. Airfield AA is disliked because it exhibits unrealistic tendencies.
If you ask me, instead of patching over an existing problem with duct tape, the entire AI AA system needs a rework. That being the case, until they can work out a better system, I would vote to keep airfield AA punishing.
At the very least, keep the airfield AA punishing in Ground battles, since you rarely have enough air spawns to provide air superiority over the battlefield, CAS, AND protect the airfield from camping.
Also, your theory on friendly aircraft defending air bases is nice, but I have rarely seen that kind of teamwork from random matches. Much less in a furball. Unless there were big time incentives for “Defending the Airfield” by damaging, or shooting down, an aircraft within a certain range of the airfield, I don’t see that changing.
I also don’t understand how the damage for AA works. Every time I get shot down by it (which is much too often for me), my plane just has black marks around the engines and doesn’t have a single part missing. It seems to me that my plane could theoretically continue to fly, but Gaijin says “No, you’ve been shot down even if there’s almost no physical evidence of it”.