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Planes, their classes, nations and their respective roles

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Now, I am utterly horrible at this game; I'm talking like all other than about 4 of my plane kills have been via collisions. Now, apart from being new to the game mechanics and the like, I really don't have a solid understanding of the roles of the plane classes and their strengths, or even solid tactics for that matter. I get that ground assault planes and heavy fighters have the heaviest weaponry yet significantly poorer mobility, and fighters are dogfighters etc.

 

What I'm looking for is how a good player should look to play these planes. And not in the way that fighters should use their superior turning etc. What are the strengths and weaknesses to each class?

 

I am horrible at this game and I would like to one day be able to make use of my reserves of free XP and gold accumulated through WoT, please feel free to post links or guides. I have browsed the WoWP forums, but there seems to be nothing of substance there. Also I'm unaware how carrier-based aircraft differ from fighters.

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My observations thus far, though I still have plenty to learn:

 

Fighters.

Primary job is to destroy enemy aircraft.  They generally have 1 crew member, the pilot.  Often feature the best maneuverability.  Seem to come in two varieties:  Turning fighters, with high maneuverability that allows them to win turning, chase the tail fights, and energy fighters, which fly in at high speed, usually from above, put a burst of fire into a target, then streak away out of effective gun range.  Also called boom and zoom.   Some fighters carry rockets, but fighters are generally bad at attacking ground targets.  Comparing to WoT, I would say these fill the role of mediums.  Good firepower, bad at trading shots, some are great knife fighters, others good snipers.

 

++ Maneuverability

+ Inexpensive training (1 crew member)

- Health is the lowest among all classes.

 

Carrier based fighters.

Similar to fighters, with some capacity for ground attack.  They are often on par with fighters in maneuverability or speed.  They generally are able to mount rockets or a small number of bombs.  They are also generally a bit more sturdy than fighters.

 

+Good maneuverability

+Better health than fighters

+Some ground attack potential

- Generally slower than fighters

- Mounting ground attack weapons affects performance

 

Heavy fighters.

Heavy fighters differ greatly as you move up the tiers.  The bottom few are slow, immobile ground attack platforms.  The upper tiers are some of the fastest, most heavily armed things in the sky.  They also have a ton of health.  The low to mid tiers have rear gunners.  They are the kings of boom and zoom, and their health lets them thrive in the thick of the fight for longer.  They're most similar to WoT heavies.

 

+ Speed

+ Firepower

+ Health

- Maneuverability

 

Ground Attack.

The sky whales.  Slowest but healthiest.  Primarily used for... well, ground attack.  Still, they have an impressive amount of frontal firepower, and can certainly gain the advantage in a furball with a few well aimed bursts.  Nearly all have tail gunners. 

 

++ Health

+ Firepower

-- Maneuverability

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Deus, you seem to have a decent grasp on the game.

What are your thoughts on WoWP? Do you find it as enjoyable as tanks? How different is the learning curve? Have you tried War Thunder? How does it compare, if so?

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Nationality breakdowns (low to mid tiers, 1-6 mostly, 1-4 where stated)

 

Explanations of ratings:

  • Firepower depends on DPS, Alpha, Accuracy, and Range.  Bigger caliber guns have much longer effective range and accuracy, making cannons (20mm+) better than machine guns (15mm-).  Sometimes you get a cannon with flanking MG's.  While the cannon allows you to shoot farther, the long range shots just heat up your MG's for [nearly] no benefit.  All cannons > Cannon/MG mix > MG's.
  • Climb Rate is the ability of the plane to gain altitude.  This can be a good escape mechanism when up against a poor climbing opponent (Heavy Fighter defending against a Japanese/USSR plane).
  • Boost is how long and effective the boost lasts.  Some are as high as 30 seconds long and can propel the plane nearly vertical, others are as short as 10 seconds long and perform little benefit.
  • Turn Rate is how sharp the plane can turn when it's already turning (last part important).  Warning: there are some complications here, such as optimal speed/altitude and flaps.
  • Roll Rate is how quickly the plane moves around its' longitudinal axis (nose to tail).  Better roll rate yields better responsiveness (ie: change directions quickly).  Roll rate is how fast the plane gets into the turn, and Turn Rate is how sharp the plane turns while in the turn.
  • Natural Speed is something I made up that indicates how fast a plane will tend to go in varied combat.  I believe this is very close to the rating "optimal speed", but I'm also positive that metric is for maximum maneuverability at X speed.  In general, better optimal speed means the plane will stay around that speed more often than not, and it's a pretty big advantage.  I'll go into it more in-depth at some other point.  For now, more optimal speed = better.

 

US Fighter/Carrier Fighter

 

+ Airspeed

+ Climb rate

+ Boost

+ Dive Speed

 

- Machine guns

- Turn rate

- Roll rate

 

The US line is hampered by having machine guns more than anything else.  The combination of good Airspeed / Climb / Boost / Dive Speed makes them very useful for Boom n Zoom, except for the fact that MG's have an effective range of 300m and you can't maneuver too well cruising along at 500 kmh.  The Wildcat (tier 5 carrier fighter) has a slight edge on the P-40 (tier 5 fighter) due to greater HP and firepower without drastically reduced turning ability.

 

USSR Fighters (up to tier 4)

 

+ Firepower

+ Roll rate

+ Turn rate

 

- HP

- Climb rate

- Boost

- Flaps

 

USSR fighters are more Turn n Burn fighters.  Tiers 3/4 have equal turning radius to the Japanese fighters, but with one difference: no flaps.  This hampers effective turning speed, but to make up for it they have nice cannons and are very quick to change directions due to the amazing roll rate.

 

USSR Attack Aircraft

 

++ Firepower

++ HP

 

-- Turn Rate

-- Roll Rate

-- Natural Speed

-- Boost

-- Climb

 

Getting fighter kills in these is basically a gift from heaven.  The tailgunner seems like he's either OP or comically useless depending on your tier and the opponent that is following you.  The tier 5 IL-2 skips the tail-gunner, so you're just a target.  Have fun with all that.

 

It's so hard to get plane kills in these because of the craptastic combination of no Climb / Natural Speed / Boost: an enemy can pop up ~200m above and behind you and there's literally nothing you can do about it.  You can't climb up after anyone, and turning is a joke.  Since the tailgunner works better if the enemy is above you anyway, it's best to fly low anyway.  You can score bomb kills on planes if the enemy is right behind you and low enough, but it's not guaranteed.

 

Right now in the games' development, you're not helping the team by flying one of these.  "Advantage" (capping) wins very few games on its' own, and scoring air-to-air kills in one of these is far more difficult than with other types of planes.

 

German Fighter

 

+ Natural Speed

+ Turn Rate

 

-+ Firepower

 

Good natural speed and turn rate, coupled with so-so Firepower (cannon/MG mix).  Not exciting, right?  Well, apparently this combination of "no-drawbacks, 1-2 positives" is pretty good because the BF 109 E is easily the best tier 5, and the planes leading up to it aren't terrible either.  The BF 109 E is agile enough to turn fight with nearly everything, and keeps its' speed up to Boom n Zoom if you so choose (or if you just want to speed away).  The German Boost allows it a lot of flexibility to switch between roles as well.  Highly recommended.

 

German Heavy Fighter

 

++ Firepower

+ Natural Speed

++ Climb Rate

+ Boost

 

- Turn Rate

- Roll Rate

 

30 second boost is some good.  Higher Natural Speed than most planes' top speed is even better.  Oh yeah, and nearly double the climb rate of other planes.  Coupled with Firepower that allows you to take out planes in one pass, and these things are devastating in group battles.  The downside is that 1v1's in the late game can be difficult: you can't 100% avoid ramming nor can you shake an opponent without outrunning him (eating bullets all the while).  Able to do a makeshift Attack Aircraft impression if you need to.  Highly recommended.

 

Japan Carrier Fighter (up to tier 4)

 

++ Turn rate

+ Firepower

 

-- HP

- Roll Rate

- Natural Speed

- Boost

 

Masters of turning, but with low HP means you really can't do things like try for head-ons.  Your defensive maneuver is simple: just extend the flaps and out-turn your opponent.  It'll work against a non-Japanese plane almost every time.  The low DPS is balanced out by it having cannon damage, so at least you can snipe with them.  Losing speed makes life hard, as the boost is terrible and the natural speed is awful.  Getting speed by diving is limited as well as the dive speed is capped very low.  Finesse vehicles, but they have their place.

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Firepower depends on DPS, Alpha, Accuracy, and Range.  Bigger caliber guns have much longer effective range and accuracy, making cannons (20mm+) better than machine guns (15mm-).  Sometimes you get a cannon with flanking MG's.  While the cannon allows you to shoot farther, the long range shots just heat up your MG's for [nearly] no benefit.  All cannons > Cannon/MG mix > MG's.

 

 

Getting fighter kills in these is basically a gift from heaven.  The tailgunner seems like he's either OP or comically useless depending on your tier and the opponent that is following you.  The tier 5 IL-2 skips the tail-gunner, so you're just a target.  Have fun with all that.

 

RBS did a great job explaining but missed a few points.

 

 

Armour exists alongside HP. Guns also appear to have armour pen and the different ammo types seem to have different pen. General armour levels GA>HF>US>Fighters>Japan. It'll be interesting to see what happens to that when each nation gets each aircraft type. Armour Pen is pretty much by calibre.

 

You can actually bind keys for each weapon group. So if you're lucky (or have a fancy programmable keyboard) you can set your cannons to a second fire button. If you're unlucky you have two groups of cannons and need two fire buttons (or that keyboard so you can make a macro). Primary fire will still shoot everything.

 

I'm not sure if 15mm is counted as a cannon or an MG. MG are 700m range and cannons 1000 or more. Effective ranges vary. In general guns concentrated in the nose suffer less at range. You'll also get more usable range in head to head or stern chase situations because its easier to hit.

 

GA are as useless as RBS says and you shouldn't play them. But you can get kills by dropping a bomb and having an enemy fly over it. Its tougher this patch due to short bomb fuses.

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Deus, you seem to have a decent grasp on the game.

What are your thoughts on WoWP? Do you find it as enjoyable as tanks? How different is the learning curve? Have you tried War Thunder? How does it compare, if so?

 

I find it enjoyable.  It's a flawed game, to be certain, but so was tanks at that stage of development. 

 

Right now, I enjoy it more than tanks.  It's easier for a skilled pilot to carry a bad team.  There is no invisible one shot from across the map mechanic.  There is no camping.  I don't think I've ever seen the timer get low in a battle.  Many of the stock planes are more playable than stock tanks. 

 

Learning curve is... odd.  I think it may be easier to pick up, but harder to master.  Skill ceiling is higher.  If you use mouse controls, you can simply point your cursor at where you want to go and your plane will automatically go there.  As you get better, you'll find the mouse lacking. 

 

I have not tried WT yet.  I plan to, just to have something to compare. 

 

I wish more people had actually played the game during E3, instead of finding ways to simply get the games done.  It took me some time to really start enjoying the game, and I think a lot of people dismiss it too quickly. 

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