||World War II Online: Beginner's Flying Guide
June 15, 2005 Jakub Wojnarowicz
Summary: So Jakub finally convinced you to try World War II Online, and against all expectations you've found you like it - but there's those dang aircraft overhead. They always strafe and bomb you when you're on the ground, but you can't even figure out how to take off. Hop in this here guide to learn at least that much, as well as each ride's strengths and weaknesses.
Flying in World War II Online is little different, at its core, from flying in Aces High, WarBirds, Air Warrior or even IL-2. Concepts such as roll rate, firepower, turn radius, turn speed, energy management and energy retention are all valid. For those of you just learning to fly, don't worry, we'll go over these concepts and more. But first, the terminology of flying.
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Roll. Rolls are achieved by moving the stick from the center to the left or right. In the real world and in the game, the joystick activates ailerons which control the flow of air over the wing and produce pressure to induce the desired rolling maneuver.
Pitch. Pitch is the motion produced by moving the joystick towards yourself or away. Pitch maneuvers are achieved by elevator manipulation. Elevators are on the small "wings" at the tail of the aircraft.
Yaw. Yaw is the idea of moving your aircraft's facing from side to side. It can be controlled either through rudder pedals or the twist axis on a twisty stick. Yaw maneuvers depend on the rudder, which is at the end of the vertical fin on the tail of your aircraft. Yaw motions are generally weak compared to pitch and roll, but strong rudder forces induce roll and can be helped in making your aircraft roll faster.
Trim. Aircraft don't want to fly straight and level at every speed and throttle setting. Your engine produces torque. Your wings don't have equal lift. To keep your aircraft flying straight, you need to trim it as it changes speed, or if you adjust throttle. Typically, the faster your aircraft goes, the more it wants to roll one way or another, and the more its nose wants to rise. If it goes slower, it will roll the opposite way and its nose will want to drop.
Energy. Energy is what permits maneuvers. There are two states of energy - potential and kinetic. Potential energy measures how much energy you have "stored" in your energy "bank" - ie, altitude. If you are flying at a high altitude, you have a lot of potential energy to use - you can cash in this energy with a dive to gain speed. Kinetic energy is the speed you have at that specific moment. You never, ever want to be without either kinetic or potential energy, unless you're about to land.
Boom and Zoom. Boom and zoom, or BnZ or simply booming, is the art of fighting in the vertical. It requires a lot of energy and is highly concerned with trying to save that energy by engaging in energy-saving maneuvers rather than those that waste it. Typically, fast aircraft with good dive speeds and controls at high speed are boom and zoomers. An ideal example of this is the Focke-Wulf 190.
Turn and Burn. Turn and burn, yank and bank, circle jerking, TnB or quite simply pulling the stick into your gut is obviously for turn fighters. This also requires energy, but is a style of fighting not concerned with saving energy but expending it - and more importantly, getting your opponent to expend more of it. This is the Hollywood movie style of fighting. Aircraft like Spitfires and Hurricanes are suited for this style of fighting because they expend less energy than their competition in turns.
Return to Base. RTB. This means you should head home, because you're lacking fuel, ammunition or are damaged. Aircraft don't have to land at their starter airfield, but they do have to land at one of their own nationality. With the 1.19 patch, the large bombers have to land at bomber airfields.
Convergence. The range at which your guns cross through a single point. By default it is 200 meters (~670 feet), but you can adjust this by typing .conv ### before spawning in. Most pilots fly with default, though some choose as little as 50 or as much as 400.
Blackout. Blackouts are what happens when the brain is starved of oxygen due to heavy maneuvers. They come on quick and can take a while to shake off, depending how severe they were.
Redout. Redouts are the opposite of blackouts - they happen when the brain gets too much blood. They occur during negative Gs, like if when you're flying straight and level then decide to point the stick forward and nose your aircraft down harshly. Redouts are much worse than blackouts, because they occur sooner, seem to last longer, and almost inevitably have you flying towards the ground.
WEP. War Emergency Power. Gives you an extra boost of power for some better climbing and top speed, though not all aircraft have it and it doesn't always work at all altitudes. Typically overheats engines much quicker than normal full throttle. Some aircraft don't overheat, or won't overheat easily. Ask around to be sure.
SIDEBAR: My favorite fighter is the FW-190. I'm not particularly good with it, but it's a beast.
Before you even take off in World War II Online you have to understand two key concepts: rank and RDP. Rank determines what you can fly. Right now it's a simple and outdated system designed solely to keep newbies from wasting top aircraft while trying to learn to fly. RDP is the system through which new and better equipment, including fighters and fighter bombers, is introduced into the game. There are currently three tiers of fighters - tier 0, tier 1 and tier 2.
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Unfortunately, these ideas conflict. Because the newbie rides never change, low-ranking pilots will find themselves facing better and better aircraft as a campaign goes on, while in their very limited aircraft. Worse, the numbers of the newbie rides decrease as a map goes on, in order to make production of newer fighters cheaper. To get around this, you can ask to tailgun for people, or ask them to post missions at the airfield training grounds for the specific country you want to fly for, and spawn infantry there. After 10 minutes, despawn to get a mission success and some rank. However, do everyone a favor and make sure you learn how to take off and land aircraft offline. Fighters are scarce enough as it is.
To ask for these missions or tailgunning opportunities, tune channels 18 and 28 for Axis (18 for the North, 28 for the South) or 55 and 90 for the Allies (55 North/RAF, 90 South/French). Those channels are useful to ask questions on, get help at, get warnings from and find where the action is. Be especially careful of "vulcher" warnings - these tell you that an enemy pilot or group of pilots is hovering near an airfield and picking off those pilots who just took off. If something is on your tail, typically the call goes out "yourname 666". See? The Devil's number has some good in it.
Combat in WW2OL
Air combat in World War II Online is very different from what we imagine. The Allied bombing campaigns on Germany moved the air war artificially high, relative to how it was fought in France, after D-Day, in North Africa and in Russia. The fights are more reflective of those theaters than any stratospheric engagements portrayed in, say, Memphis Belle.
World War II Online's air combat is all about close air support and the interdiction thereof. Bombers spend their time dropping eggs (bombs) on crunchies (tanks) or strafing squishies (infantry and other soft targets). Fighters are there to stop the bombers, but naturally they also end up fighting each other. In areas of air superiority or air supremacy, the fighters will often do something remarkably stupid like descend to the deck, slow down, and go a-strafing. Not that fighter aircraft are ineffective at this duty, just that it leaves them highly vulnerable to incoming enemy fighters who are always inbound. The golden rule of air combat is that there is always someone higher and faster than you. Any enemy that has those advantages is in a position to kill you if he sees you.
Naturally, combat extends itself beyond this scope, as fighters try to stop aircraft on their way to or from enemy airfields (sometimes even strafing them on the airfields, should they dare to risk being killed by AI). Also, there is RDP bombing - the bombing of factories to delay the research of the enemy's new equipment. This tends to move the air war up a bit, but due to poor early warning systems that are easily evaded, it is difficult to spot enemy bombers.
The next step before you take off is to make sure you have the proper equipment. For all its humble appearance, World War II Online is a major system hog, especially of RAM and CPU cycles. 1GB of RAM and a P4 in the 3.0GHz or better range, or better yet, an Athlon (the game loves Athlons) are optimal, though it's flyable with a 2GHz processor. A good trick to avoid loading stutters is to force the executable into Windows NT 4.0 compatibility mode, by right-clicking the .exe, selecting "Properties", then the "Compatibility" tab and then NT from the drop-down menu.
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The other vital bit of hardware before you fly is a joystick. Preferably this is a twisty stick that can give you rudder control, though the ideal is naturally a set of rudder pedals. HOTAS units like the ones we reviewed are even better. It is quite impossible to fly without a joystick, so we recommend against trying. Also, a throttle is another highly recommended item, even if it's just on your stick.
Upon spawning on most airfields (though not the offline mode), the player will have one hangar right behind him and another one or two ahead. The airfield is square, about 400m each way, so it doesn't give a lot of take-off room. This is no problem for the Spitfires, 109s and Hurricanes, but is problematic for 110s, 190s and especially bombers. Bombers almost certainly need to taxi to one corner of the airfield and take off heading to the opposite corner, for the extra runway room. Flaps are highly recommended in the Heinkel in particular. Beware of AI machine gun nests, which are so conveniently scattered around the airfield as to ensure a collision for the unwary newbie. Don't pull back on the stick the whole time, you'll bleed speed during the run-up and stall during take-off itself. Take-offs require gentle handling of the aircraft.
So, you're sitting in your ride, and you don't know what to do. We'll run you through the order quickly:
1. Lock the tailwheel with the slash key ( / ), which is usually near your right shift button.
2. Start the engine with the ( E ) key.
3. Set your RPMs using the apostrophe ( ' ) and semi-colon ( ; ), which are usually to the left of your Enter key. Apostrophe increases RPMs, semi-colon decreases. You want RPMs at maximum.
4. Have your hands ready on the left ( z ) and right ( x ) brake keys, since most aircraft, especially the 190, have torque during take-off which will turn your aircraft despite the locked tailwheel. Tap and even hold these keys as necessary to go straight down your intended path. Rudder also works, but be careful since some rides have very sensitive rudders.
4a. If your aircraft is the kind that takes a long time to take off, you can press ( Q ) to lower flaps and, after take-off, ( W ) to raise them.
5. Throttle up all the way, and press F8 to turn on WEP - War Emergency Power.
6. Once your tail lifts, you can pull back gently on the stick and press ( G ) to raise your gear. Press F8 to turn off WEP.
That's it, you're up! Level off, gain some speed until you are stable and then enter a climb. Practice offline to learn your aircraft's stall limits, so as not to crash during these climbs. Landings are easier, typically involving the use of flat turns to slow down, dropping flaps and gear, cutting throttle and engine RPMs and eventually the engine itself. Practice until you are comfortable with the procedure.
Another good idea is to bring up your map ( M ) and the mouse cursor ( CTRL+C ) and zooming out, then de-clicking all options except town names, so you have an idea where you are. Best to do this before take-off, along with tuning air channels.
Once you start flying and gaining speed, you'll notice your nose pulling up and your aircraft rotating one way or another. Now you need to trim it - use ( I ) and ( K ) to adjust elevator trim, ( , ) and ( . ) to adjust aileron trim. You can also manipulate rudder trim with ( J ) and ( L ), but unless your slip angle (look at the numbers in the top-left) is considerably off (ie, more than .2 negative or positive), we wouldn't worry about it.
While offline, get used to the blackouts and redouts. Both come on almost instantly. Blackouts are typically at about 5-6Gs, but aren't nearly as deadly as redouts, which hit at as little as -1G.
Well, no doubt you're spoiling for a fight, and worry not, you will get it and almost certainly you will end up a flaming heap on the ground afterwards. In a game with a steep learning curve as it is, aircraft combat is as steep as it gets - though thankfully, unlike tanking, there's at least a rather linear procedure to it.
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Combat almost certainly occurs over the towns that have Attack or Defense objectives on them. You can see these on the map before and after you spawn, they'll be the red or green circles with arrows inside. Fly to the nearest one and find an enemy to engage. First, however, it's best to gain some altitude. Do this on the way there. The bare minimum altitude I'd ingress in is at 3km or 10k feet. A better option is 4km/13k feet. If you choose to play Axis, your aircraft are more BnZ oriented, so there's no such thing as excess altitude. 6km is a good choice, since that gives you the time and altitude to recon the area. The 6 levels of cloud layer don't help, but it's easy to lose altitude if you want to take a closer look. Getting it back isn't at all simple. Remember, altitude above you does you no good.
Depending on what aircraft you're flying, you'll need a different strategies. We'll cover all fighters here, leaving bombers and fighter bombers out.
French Air Force
Much maligned in years past, the French Air Force (more accurately, Armée de l'Air or AdA) has become possibly the most fun in recent years thanks to the friendly pilots on channel 90 and their great co-ordination with ground forces. Multiple squads operate in the FAF, like VFA-25, SPA 75 (a French squad), The Shadow Squad, 78th Fighter Group. Generally, this is the most easy-going air force in the game. The French, more than anyone, rely on their guns - especially the .50 caliber Brownings. The long reach of Ma Deuce can kill or at least slow the usually-superior airframes of the Luftwaffe. Do not discount this advantage or assume that the French are being short-changed. Many a thread has been started in the forums complaining about those same guns.
Their newbie ride is the Hawk 75, or H75. It's a Curtiss design, known as the P-36 in America. It has 4 rifle-caliber machine guns in the wings and 2 in the nose. The nose guns have slightly more ammo, though the H75 in general doesn't lack it as much as the Hurricane. It has the weakest firepower of all three starter aircraft, but not by much - the Hurricane Mk I has only 2 more small machine guns with considerably less ammo. The H75 turns very well, rolls well at high speed and has an excellent dive. Its visibility isn't the greatest, but it's a stable gun platform. On the downside, its climb is quite poor, its high altitude performance is terrible, its top speed is low and, if you go too fast it will lock up its controls. Its worst feature, however, is the engine that overheats quite quickly. Stay off WEP if at all possible, and cruise around at continuous RPMs and less-than maximum throttle settings. A tight convergence, about 60-100m, helps overcome the firepower deficit.
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The Dewoitine D.520, D520 or simply Dewo is the only true French aircraft in the game. Its flight model has been audited for the 1.19 patch and it has become a new man, so to speak. The Dewo is the primary tier 0 fighter for the French and remains slower than either the 109E or Spitfire Mk I of the Luftwaffe and RAF respectively, but the margin has narrowed and is comparable to both now. Its strengths include excellent elevator controls for instant-turn capability, a centerline Hispano 20mm cannon belted exclusively with high explosive rounds, that does more damage than any other single cannon in the game and is easy to aim, and excellent high-speed roll. It can run at max/max (max RPMs, max throttle) with WEP indefinitely - though this may change in the new patch. On the downside, it is still the poorest climber and slowest of the top three tier 0 fighters, and its firepower is not worth speaking of once its 60 rounds of cannon are gone.
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The Hawk 81 or H81 is another Curtiss design, closely related to the H75 but with a much better engine and better firepower. It's the French Tier 1 fighter and typically comes into the game about 10-15 days after a campaign starts. In the USAAF it was known as the P-40, though the export version sent to the French is a better performer at the expense if some firepower. In terms of speed, turn and climb, it is scarcely better than the German tier 0 109E, but its dive is excellent and like the H75 it has excellent high speed roll and stability (until it locks up at excessive speeds). So what makes it so good that it's in tier 1? The twin nose-mounted .50 caliber Browning machine guns, which do adequate damage but are mostly noteworthy for their remarkable range and accuracy. The guns have a very flat trajectory and huge reach, far exceeding that of any other gun in the game. Luftwaffe fighters often have to spend energy on evasive maneuvers long after they'd be out of guns range from a Spitfire. Other than its otherwise mediocre airframe performance, the H81's other great weakness is poor high altitude capability. The H81 and the P38 both have gobs of ammo. H81s don't overheat easily, unless on WEP.
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The Lockheed 322-15 is known almost exclusively as the P-38 in the game. It is the export version of the P-38F, and is the tier 2 French fighter. Not a very popular aircraft as yet, it has been improved in 1.19 with a more realistic rate of climb and better stability, issues that hampered its performance in the past. The P-38 has the same main strength as the H81 - guns. This time, however, there are 4 50s and a 20mm Hispano with mixed high explosive and armor piercing loadout. The P-38 is fast though not as fast as the 190, it has a good dive (not as good as the 190) and good instant turn, though it can't turn with a 109F, it can out-turn a 190. Its climb, even with the patch, leaves something to be desired and its roll rate at low speeds is atrocious. However, at high speed it can out-roll the Spitfires - until it locks up - and its instantaneous turn rate, especially with flaps down, is ridiculously good. Drawbacks include poor climb, bad acceleration and large profile that makes it easy to hit. Like the H81, it has gobs of ammo, almost 20 seconds' worth. P-38s don't overheat easily, unless on WEP.
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The Bell 14a - commonly just the Bell, or P-39 as it was known in the USAAF, is the French tier 1 fighter-bomber. It doesn't perform anything like its historical counterpart, other than being highly unstable. Do not, under any circumstances, touch the rudder. The Bell is the fastest fighter-bomber in the game and carries the single best bomb, a 200kg tactical nuke capable of killing any tank with a close hit. After a dive it retains speed extremely well and can outrun a 109F in that dive, though don't bother against a FW190. It rolls very well and has good firepower - twin Browning .50s, though with less ammunition than its counterparts, and a 20mm gun loaded exclusively with AP. Don't waste it on tanks, and its performance against aircraft isn't that great but still better than an aircraft with no cannon. The Bell has significant drawbacks, however. It is extremely unstable at low speed and on its lateral (yaw/rudder) axis. Its climb rate is the worst in the game of any fighter or fighter-bomber and its turning performance is so bad it is doubtless a crime against humanity under the Geneva Convention. Unless the local air is completely friendly, this is strictly an aircraft which dives in (in the direction of its airfield), drops its bomb on a target and runs. The Bell takes a long time to overheat, even with WEP.
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The RAF has the worst variety of fighters and fighter-bombers in the game. Its entire fighter line-up is based off two airframes, the Spitfire and the Hurricane. Generally, the RAF has a lot of pilots, which tend to drown out the actual squads like 4 Wing, 600 Squadron, Eagle Squadron and Scouting Force. RAF aircraft are easy to fly and can be easy to succeed in, depending how careless Luftwaffe pilots are that day.
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Hurricane Mk I
Better known simply as the Hurri, the Hurricane is a noobie dream. It flies easily, takes off easily, turns easily, and rolls decently well. It climbs better than the H75 and has two more guns, though they're all in the wings - and it still helps to have a shorter convergence than default. The Hurricane can overheat as well, though not as quick as the H75. It's an excellent turn and burner and presents many careless and new Luftwaffe pilots with problems. However, its low speed and poor rate of climb leave a lot to be desired. Worst of all, its ammunition is very limited, so you have to make the shots count. The Hurricane's engine is more robust than the H75's, but will still overheat.
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Spitfire Mk I
The main tier 0 fighter of the RAF, the Spitfire Mk I, or simply Spit, is an amazing aircraft. It's almost as fast and climbs almost as well as the 109E, while turning much better and retaining energy in turns better as well. Its only downsides are poor firepower (just like the Hurri) and poor roll at high speeds. Go fast enough in a dive and it will lock up and crash. 109E pilots have to be very careful when engaging Mk I Spitfires, some sort of energy advantage is always needed in case the kill isn't scored quickly. Like most Spitfires, the Spit I doesn't really have any major weaknesses - the high speed roll and lock-up are only evident because smart Luftwaffe pilots make them evident. All Spits can overheat, but generally this takes some time.
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Spitfire Mk Vb
The Spit 5 is a far superior aircraft to the Spit I and comes in tier 1. On deck it isn't much faster, but it climbs better and it has superior firepower in the form of twin 20mm Hispano cannons that fire a mix of AP and HE ammunition, belted for 60 rounds. Spit5s don't turn quite as well or retain E as capably as their predecessors, but their extra power can force them through a turn. Their roll rate at speed is slightly better and they may lock up later. The Spit5's competition, the 109F, is a tougher foe - holding significant edges in top speed and climb - but the extra firepower of the Spit5 helps compensate. An ace 109 pilot can out-turn a Spit5, but this rarely happens since 109s are much more vulnerable and difficult to fly at low speeds.
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Spitfire Mk IXc
The Spit9 is an unbelievable aircraft, the official tier 2 ride of the RAF. It is the second- or third-fastest fighter in the game, has the best climb, the same firepower as the Spit 5 but with twice the cannon ammunition and improved high speed capabilities. Its turn rate and energy retention are even worse than the Spit5, to the point where a competent 109F pilot can out-turn it. It will still lock up in dives, and even experience aileron reversal. Though it's more resistant to lock-ups than earlier Spitfires, it actually seems to do them more often because it's such a fast plane to start with. The Spit9 guzzles fuel at a prodigious rate, rarely lasting more than 45 minutes in the air unless extensive care is taken. Worse, like all Spitfires, the fuel gauge only starts counting when you have only 30 gallons left!
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Hurricane Mk II
The Hurri2 is a Hurricane with 2 relatively weak 250lb bombs and 4 Hispano 20mm cannons each with 60 rounds of ammunition. Once the bombs are dropped it performs roughly as well as the Hurricane Mk I, but its superior firepower tells. No other aircraft in the game hits as hard, and it's the ultimate close-air support fighter, being able to slow down to bomb tanks accurately, or spot enemy trucks and manned guns for strafing. The ability to linger over a target is what sets it apart from the other fighter-bombers, as well as its own self-defense abilities in a turning fight.
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The Luftwaffe is Germany's air force, relying on three primary airframes - the 109, the 110 and the 190. Luftwaffe fighters are generally boom and zoomers, typically holding a firepower, speed and climb advantage over their foes - though not always. Luftwaffe aircraft, like the French, take more skill and experience to use properly, but if used right are extremely difficult to bring down. The Luftwaffe's strength is primarily in its squads. Solo and new pilots have a more difficult time than they would with the RAF or AdA. 109s have some outdated and wacky flight modeling that makes them bounce their nose from side to side after rolls (especially rolls with some elevator added, at low speed), but after practice they're quite flyable in combat, unlike the Bell. The Luftwaffe is often outnumbered and it cannot linger as effectively over a target as the RAF or even AdA.
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The 110 is the newbie fighter of the Axis, to the dismay of most aspiring Luftwaffe pilots. While the fastest of the three newbie fighters, and the most heavily armed, it can be run down by Spitfires and the new Dewos. Later tier aircraft make mincemeat of the 110. Its strengths include its dive and control during a dive, as well as awesome firepower for tier 0 - 2 20mm MGFF cannons and 4 MG17 machineguns, all in the nose. When a 110 hits, even the bombers feel it. It's best flown smart - diving from altitude, hitting, and running. Don't turn back or the fight starts and more than likely, you'll die. The 110 is a poor turner and poor roller, though it can out-roll a Spitfire at high speed and isn't prone to lock-ups like most Allied aircraft. Be careful of overheating on WEP.
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The 109E, or Emil, is the mainstay Luftwaffe tier 0 fighter and, while it can turn-fight, is best used as a dedicated boom and zoomer, particularly when Spitfires are present. It is the fastest tier 0 fighter and the best climber, though by a slim margin over the Spit 1. Its main advantage over the Spitfire are its twin 20mm MGFF cannons in the wings, which do far more damage than regular machine guns will. The guns have a slower refire rate and muzzle velocity than others of their kind, and unlike the 110 aren't mounted in the nose, so I prefer to use them with a short convergence like 80m. The only other major advantage the 109E has over the Spit are its dive and roll characteristics - it doesn't lock up and, while it slows down at high speeds, it can always outroll Spitfires. Once its 60 cannon rounds per gun are depleted, it's time to return to base because the two 8mm machine guns aren't going to amount to much.
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The 109F-4 is a huge improvement over the 109E. It is faster, a better climber and a good turner. Properly flown, no aircraft other than the Spit9 can match it. However, it lacks firepower - with only a single 20mm MG151 in the nose (though with 200 rounds), and a difficult gunsight that shoots a notch lower than expected. Its airframe advantages over the Spit5 would be absolutely dominating if not for the firepower discrepancy, and the fact that it overheats so easily. No other aircraft except the H75 has an engine that can overheat so quickly and easily. WEP is useful in the Franz, but suicidal for more than short bursts. Most 109 pilots run at continuous RPMs with 1.0atm pressure (AKA Cont/1), unless in combat when they engage max/max with WEP reserved for true emergencies. The Franz, properly flown, can out-turn Spit5s and Spit9s but this isn't recommended except as a desperate measure. Its biggest drawback is almost always the pilot. Other than the Spit9, no aircraft in the game should touch the 109F if properly flown, but few people bother to do it properly. This means keeping altitude, diving down for slashing attacks, retreating, and cooling the engine when safe. Accuracy is vital in the 109F. Beware the high H81, or even running from a lower H81 while flying straight. .50 caliber guns fly far, accurately and can do enough damage to your airframe to slow you down.
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The 190 is a fighter but not in the Hollywood movie concept. Whereas the Spit is the ultimate Hollywood fighter - turning and burning and trying to constantly keep its nose pointed towards the target, the 190 is the complete opposite. It isn't a fighter so much as a murderer. The fastest and best-rolling aircraft in the game, it has a dominating 4-cannon, 2-machine gun package. It turns extremely poorly and climbs scarcely better than a 109E, but its dive is unmatched and it is very controllable up to the most extreme speeds. With these qualities, it dives down on unaware targets, or those that have low energy, hits them in one pass and leaves. If safe, it does a zoom climb to regain altitude. If followed, it flies straight and level to outrun its competition. It can hang on WEP for 20 minutes or so. It NEVER turns to follow a target, except to lead for a short burst and then run away. The Spit9 is almost as quick, but its slow roll is easily taken advantage of, and the Spit slows down faster after a dive. The P-38 has long guns but it will lock up in a dive and its roll rate is also considerably slower. 190s are best flown in pairs, one high, one diving. The high one clears the six and both egress. These are phenomenal aircraft, though they take excellent gunnery, much patience and a ton of skill to use. They are very counter-intuitive. 190s aren't particularly fragile but if they take damage they slow down enough for enemy fighters to catch up, and then they're almost out of options. So if you hear the plink of a hit, just return to base for a fresh ride.
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The C4B is the bomber version of the 110. Like the Bell and Hurri2, it comes in tier 1. It's loaded with two 250kg bombs that are each almost as good as the 200kg bomb on the Bell. Thus, its bombing power is spectacular. It retains the same guns package as the regular 110, but is slower even without the bombs due to bomb racks. It is a slow aircraft to start with and usually an easy kill for enemy fighters. Adopt a strategy like the Bell when over a hostile target - fly over your target, dive in the direction of your home base, quickly spot a target, drop your eggs and run. Odds are you'll be caught anyway if you're facing tier 1 or tier 2 fighters, but sometimes you can get away. Make the bombs count. The C4B, like the regular 110, isn't likely to overheat unless you make use of WEP.
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Flying is difficult enough as it is without having to worry about someone trying to shoot you down. There are several key items needed to successfully engage in air fights, in my opinion:
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1. Calm. Air combat is exciting in ways that nothing else is. Being able to calmly analyze your situation and respond to it is of the highest importance. You need to know your aircraft, your opponent's aircraft, your energy state and his energy state, before you can make any decisions. Also, if you're not calm, you're not moving your joystick smoothly. Even Spitfires respond better to gentle inputs. Finally, patience is what keeps you alive. Missed a couple BnZ passes on a target? Maybe it's time to give it up before you end up with no more E than he does and end up fighting his fight.
2. Awareness. This ties in with being calm. It's not sufficient to just be calm, you also need to gather information accurately. It's suicidal to misjudge energy states, but also, more often than not, death comes unexpectedly as someone higher than you dove down and killed you. Keep your head, or hat switch, on a constant swivel. There are 17 directions in total to look at, not counting instruments. Looking forward should take no more than 10% of your time.
3. Knowledge. Or perhaps I should call this experience. You need to know what your aircraft is capable of. As heavy as your 110 may seem, you need to know that you can keep up with an H75 in a climb assuming equal energy and damage states. You need to know that your Hurricane rolls poorly but loses little energy in a flat turn. You need to know that a H75 might have only 6 peashooters, but it only takes 1 to kill a pilot.
4. TeamSpeak. It makes a world of difference, being able to communicate with your wingmen and squadmates instantly, rather than typing. Every squad in the game uses it and so do most regular pilots.
Everything else - the air combat maneuvers, the gunnery, the spider sense ticking in your head when you get the feeling that some more enemies are on the way to the fight - that all comes with experience. It's futile trying to explain a rolling scissors to someone who has a difficult time comprehending what a flat scissors is without seeing it - and that's most of us when we first start.
When you first start, tune the proper air channels (RAF: 55, FAF: 90, LW North: 18, LW South: 28), and watch the general chat for messages of flights forming. You'll always be more likely to survive when you're part of a big flight. If you do decide to join that flight and there are a lot of enemies below, dive in about a minute later than most of your group, so you can focus on the enemies running from your friends or those enemies chasing your friends.
When you're flying the French H75 or British Hurricane, remember that your advantage is always in the ability to turn. Unless you're evading a BnZ pass, it isn't enough to simply roll to one side and yank back on the stick; you must sucker your opponents into turning with you. Not all Luftwaffe pilots know how to fly their rides, but enough do to know to avoid a hard turn - so you have to bait them. Even if he breaks off, be happy that you burned off at least a little of his energy. Just because you're in a turn fighter, however, doesn't mean you can't use altitude and dive down on your foes. A diving attack is the easiest way to score a kill, and makes pilot hits a lot easier than shooting from dead 6.
When flying the 110, remember your two advantages: heavy firepower and dive speed. 110s are slightly faster than H75s and Hurris in level flight, but they won't outrun Spitfires or Dewos or later Allied fighters. However, they have incredible firepower for tier 0 and tons of ammunition. Dive down through the clouds, pick out a target, lead it, get close and lay into him - then leave. Look behind you to see if you're being followed. Stay only if your side is numerically superior, and even then leave before everyone else because 110s are big, easy targets and few Allies can resist hitting them. Don't knock the 110 because it can't stay in a fight - neither can the highly feared FW-190. There are pilots who are deadly in the "pig", as it's affectionately known. Also, if you get jumped while you have a lot of altitude, dive straight down and start rolling. Every Allied fighter locks up sooner than any Axis plane, take advantage of that. Keep your eyes behind you and when your foe stops rolling, make sure you're facing a different direction and then pull up. If he pulls up before you, pull up in the opposite direction.
In the newbie rides, you are rarely going to enjoy the opportunity of being faster than your pursuer. However, it's possible to elude any foe. H75s and Hurricanes can always rely on out-turning attackers, if worse comes to worst. Avoid excessive turning since it still costs you energy, but do it enough to frustrate your opponent - in time he may run out of ammunition, patience, or a friend can come and help you.
110s don't have the luxury of turning, but they retain control in high speed dives while Allied fighters lock up. If you have altitude, dive and roll away. If you're on the deck and something is coming on your six, just roll from side to side and pull back on the stick gently for half a second after ending each roll. This is a basic flat scissors, and while it may not fool your foe into overshooting you, it makes you a much harder target. Avoid pulling back on the stick excessively unless you must, because this slows you down. Try to fly towards a friendly airfield.
No matter what you fly, always keep your head on a swivel and try not to lose sight of your foes. Those behind you are a lot more important than those ahead of you, so if you're being dragged (ie, chasing one foe while he waits for a friend to shoot you down), it's best to simply break off and look for help.
World War II Online has a relatively small roster of aircraft and lacks the exotics of other simulators, such as the 109K-4, Me-262, Spitfire Mk XIV or even the famous P-51. Its flight models are not perfect, especially the Bell and the 109s, and there are some key features that are missing like airframe damage from excessive speed or g-forces. The damage model isn't of particularly high fidelity; it doesn't seem as if ailerons, rudders and elevators are damaged (at least not often) - never mind the cables and rods that control these items. Despite all these drawbacks, it is my favorite flight sim of them all, and I spent a few months with Aces High II.
| How does it compare to other sims?||Page:: ( 8 / 8 )|
For starters, this is the only online flight sim where the air show is only part of the experience, not the exclusive attraction. Most combat goes on down below, and pilots are naturally concerned with helping their groundpounders. Whether the British ground forces are asking for bombers to stop the German Panzer hordes, or if those same Germans are screaming for fighter cover from those same bombers, there's a sense of being involved in something greater than a mere air combat arena. There are reasons to go below the cloud layer willingly, just as there are reasons to avoid doing so. It's a very dynamic fight, as squads on both sides enter the fray, or if one side organizes a public flight.
The RDP system, flawed though it may be, means that early war aircraft like the Spitfire Mk I, Dewoitine D.520 and 109E-4 get a week or two of play time against each other before we move onto tier 1 and later tier 2. This is enforced variety and it is good for the game. Imbalances, like Spit9 vs 109F can be created by the RDP system, are regrettable but this is preferable to Aces High 2's never-ending stream of La-7s, P-51Ds and 190D9s. Mostly, if the pilots of the air force behind on RDP realized it, the main issue is getting the numbers in the air, not worrying that your fighter is slightly slower or doesn't turn as well. A Spit9 is no more immune to the cannons on a Bf-110 high above it than the Spit1 is, and while a H81 can't outrun a 190, it can sucker it into a dogfight and win. It's all about morale and mentality.
Dedicated flight simmers would most likely prefer Aces High, but those looking for a deeper war - if not exactly deeper flight sim - would do well to give World War II Online a try, at least the next time there's a free trial. Keep in mind that the RDP system can put your tier 0 newbie ride up against tier 2 fighters like the Spitfire Mk IXc, P-38F and FW-190A-4. In a case like this, it's best to ask on the air channels, or channel 99, about getting your character ranked up through infantry missions at the training grounds, or doing tailgunner duty.
When you're done with the basics, feel free to enter The Hangar forum (registration and WW2OL account required). Save yourself the angst of reading the "omg spitfire/109/h81/etc is nerfed!" threads, they're wrong. Just ask polite questions, if you're having problems with some match-ups, and people will be glad to help you out. A know-it-all whiner attitude doesn't go far.
Thanks go out to all the friendly, helpful pilots in the game who spent months teaching me, debating with me and even arguing with me - in the Hangar, on TeamSpeak and in the air. Too many to mention by name - and I'm not even sure if you want to be mentioned - I'll just say "hi" to all the squads you're in or have been part of. First and foremost, Shadow Squad: I love you guys, you're the most fun to fly with and against - I've said it before and I'll say it here. Luftwaffe squads: JG2, JG3 and JG52, as well as the many combined-arms squads like 31st Wrecking Crew. RAF squads, I don't know many of you but I've tangled with members of 4 Wing and Eagle Squadrons to my detriment (honorable mentions to 617 Dambusters for some great Big Bomber Mondays). FAF, I'd like to thank 56th and 78th, as well as SPA 75 Charognards. Finally, last but not least, my own squad - JG1 - you guys are a bunch of loveable pricks, though not in that way. If I missed anyone, my sincerest apologies.
Lithu, check 6! That Stuka you flamed is on you.