Much of BA air is kinda Rock-paper-scissors. Where you've got ground AA and fighters which counters building bombers, building mostly just ground units beats someone investing a lot into AA but not bombers, bombers kill someone without enough AA. So you've got to find the right balance of building enough AA to stop the enemy air from killing you, but not too much. It's hard to scout your opponent in BA (often that's almost as hard as making a proper crippling attack) so a lot of it just has to be guesswork, though fighter patrol is usually easy to see. And when you see bombers for the first time it's too late to respond in any way usually.
Though air units can be used for a bit more too, though. When t1 fighters could still attack ground units properly from patrol, those doubled as a little vsGround defense too, even if not much. And bombers can bomb attacking enemy units, but now t2 bombers in 7.4 are really ill suited for this. So, apart from gunships and t1 bombers/liches, air units are all suited for 1 purpose only pretty much, air defense for fighters (including those gunships though) and right click enemy base (with some scout and possibly fighter escorts) for bombers. With the 7.4 fighter hp change, you also cannot turn your fighters from being air defense into taking out air defense, if there is any ground aa on the enemy. So you don't really need to be ever afraid of enemy fighters. And if fighter cannot properly ever take operations besides guarding your base, it's very close to ground aa in function, though it can be produced centrally.
So what's wrong with having a unit suit only 1 purpose? It means you're much mmore locked into a strategy (that you often have to choose by guessing) when you build something. You built hurricanes, but the opponent got fighters to stop them just at the right time - now you can't use them for much anything until you break his fighter shield somehow. Or you built fighters when you suspected air attack but that never came. Compare to building flashes for example, even if you built it with intention to attack now, but he got enough turrets/defense everywhere, the flash is still useful as a threat and as defense.
Gunships, though, are pretty interesting. You cannot attempt a 1-hit all in attack with them like with bombers unless you're really ahead. Rather they serve to kill (or stun) enemy units, and kill mexes etc. not protected enough. They can properly maneuver around, the enemy aa can maneuver around in response, it's much more tactical and interactive, not just a check of how many planes both of you have and then pray that they live to drop those game-winning bombs. Fighters vs them are cool too, it can be worth it to attack enemy gunships even in areas of their ground aa, at least used to be when fighters didnt die like flies.
(EMP) Bombers when used against units are cool like this too, though they're harder to control predictably cause they turn so slowly and often weirdly, and they might've been too good at it before.
And about fighters and air, is the wacky special damages:
Code: Select all
Hawk special damages: Freedom Fighter damages: default = 15 default = 27 [ie. vs ground] COMMANDERS = 5 COMMANDERS = 6 L1FIGHTERS = 160 L1FIGHTERS = 87 L2FIGHTERS = 110 L2FIGHTERS = 50 L1BOMBERS = 350 L1BOMBERS = 240 L2BOMBERS = 450 L2BOMBERS = 100 VTRANS = 100 VTRANS = 70 GUNSHIPS = 150 GUNSHIPS = 90 HGUNSHIPS = 150 HGUNSHIPS = 80 VRADAR = 100 VRADAR = 50 VTOL = 100 VTOL = 50
That's not something anyone can easily remember or fully internalize, well mostly I just remember t1 fighters do well against t1 bombers, ok vs rest, and t2 fighters do well against any bombers and slightly better than t1 vs rest. And that t2 fighters raped t1 fighters, which is now turned around in 7.4. And note that t2 bomber is pretty resistant to anything but t2 fighter.
Another special damage is that gunships do half damage to commanders (fair enough) and flak units(meh, they die quickly to them anyway - it's like having flash do half dmg to leveler), even the flak resistant Blade. And flaks do slightly (~20%) less dmg to fighters, but that hardly matters especially not in 7.4.
So what am I trying to say here, how should BA air be?
Make bombers less simple all-in, right-click on enemybase choice, instead of just worse. If bomber is made different, the spamming of ton of fighters and bombers for 1 big attack will cease to be as good too.
To accomplish that, I'd make the bombers SLOWER. That means they'd take much more hits from ground aa while on route to their target, the difference in trying to go for the back of base or strike at frontline would be much bigger. And you could better react to the threat when you see bombers when you first see them due to the extra moment you get. Then reduce the crazy damage fighters do to them to compensate (and overall streamline their damages more), and prob also fighters speed. -> less fighters more ground aa, which leads to both bigger defenders advantage in fighter battles, and losing fighters is less crippling. And raise their flight altitude to allow for some hit-n-run action better.
Then test and then fine-tune the units with their new roles.
And outside the most pressing issue with fighters and bombers, some other changes would be very welcome. Slower speeds and faster turning for all planes would be nice, plus more hp to compensate if needed. Especially scout plane should turn faster, so you could better scout with it when it could turn away from a turret it sees in time.
Transports would really benefit from being slower + sturdier I think, then combombs and -drops wuold be easier to react to, but ordinary drops would often be better. Overall just less luck-based (did he build aa beforehand or not?).
Surely I forgot something I meant to say too but I guess that's it for now :D
Thoughts? And you're free to diss my ideas even without trying!