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Newbie: Learning vs AI, do I need a squadron, dual stick, and other questions

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Hi folks,

 

I'm a VR enthusiast and a refugee from Elite Dangerous. It's an incredible game in terms of immersion but unfortunately the gaming community is fairly usual -- enough toxic teenagers to spoil things for those of us who are a bit more mature. I bought BoS a while back on sale but didn't really play it until this week. I'm up and running and have found pages of useful guides (thank you Therion, Requiem, and others) and I have my VR stuff sorted. I also spent an evening doing the same for War Thunder. Some questions:

 

IL2 vs other games: It seems like IL2 has better realism than WT, and a better business model (ugh, F2P microtransactions) but WT has a much larger player base, which is good for getting into quick action. I played a bit of WT and got completely destroyed on arcade, and consensus seems to be "play simulator mode if you're using joystick" -- but presumably that will slow down the action considerably. Do you have any thoughts on game modes in both IL2 and WT that provide some amount of realism but are also sub-2hr commitments in order to have fun? Any thoughts on the relative size of each community and whether that matters? If I'm looking for shorter gaming sessions, for example an hour, can I get that from IL2 or do I need to commit larger chunks of time?

 

Learning vs AI: I'm learning to fly in IL2 in VR and it'll be some time before I have the basics down, such as deflection shooting (even with a lead indicator). I think it's probably best for me to learn really basic stuff against AI opponents because a real human will just trash me immediately. Are there any down sides to learning vs AI? If I put in enough time to get competent against higher levels of AI, is that useful for 'real' fights against players or will I learn bad habits in some way?

 

General learning: Is there a general learning path that people would recommend? e.g. "do the campaign first" or "play WoL on normal for a month, then expert" or "join a squadron immediately and get help" or any other sequencing that people think are useful for a newbie?

 

Squadrons: The social side of gaming is useful both for camaraderie as well as learning opportunities. If you were me -- 40-something, been playing online games for decades, not much flight sim experience, not always predictable hours for gaming but some slots I can commit to, looking to be a "serious casual" player -- would you be looking for a squadron? Can I find one here? Should I just join multiplayer servers and chat to people and see how it goes? Should I sign up for the next TAW?  (ha, ha, my ability would be laughable).

 

HOSAS controls: As a leftover from Elite Dangerous, I have dual Virpil T-50 sticks which I was using for 6DOF. Currently in IL2 I have my left stick as pitch/roll and right stick as throttle/yaw. I have pedals and a throttle but have found pedals imprecise and I'm a leftie so prefer the higher dexterity I'm getting from the 'main' control stick being my left. Does my dual stick setup sound gimpy? Should I switch to a more traditional HOTAS setup instead, still utilizing one of the good Virpil sticks but with a throttle?

 

BoS packages: Final question, sorry to ask so many. I have BoS standard package. Am I missing out on much just using that pack? Is there a new thing I should consider that would expand my options? It's not like money is no object, but I could comfortably drop $30 on a collector plane and I could consider what I'd get from some other pack or a pre-order of Bodenplatte or something like that.

 

Any opinions appreciated, for these topics or anything else 'newbie' related. Thanks!

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I would highly recommend going for pitch and roll on same stick, and adding a throttle.

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15 minutes ago, dburne said:

I would highly recommend going for pitch and roll on same stick, and adding a throttle.

 

Thanks! Yes I wasn't clear -- pitch and roll are on the same (left) stick, with the right stick doing throttle (on X axis) and yaw (on y axis). The immediate down side is that I have to hold the right stick to set a throttle, which is probably fine for dogfighting (maybe) but tiresome when flying a longer distance. But to add the throttle I'd be back to using my off hand (right hand, since I'm left-handed) for stick with throttle on the left hand. As far as I know no-one makes a right handed throttle unit.

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14 minutes ago, dangermilk said:

IL2 vs other games:  If I'm looking for shorter gaming sessions, for example an hour, can I get that from IL2 or do I need to commit larger chunks of time?

 

Learning vs AI:  Are there any down sides to learning vs AI? If I put in enough time to get competent against higher levels of AI, is that useful for 'real' fights against players or will I learn bad habits in some way?

 

General learning: Is there a general learning path that people would recommend? 

 

Squadrons: Can I find one here? Should I just join multiplayer servers and chat to people and see how it goes? Should I sign up for the next TAW?  (ha, ha, my ability would be laughable).

 

HOSAS controls: Currently in IL2 I have my left stick as pitch/roll and right stick as throttle/yaw. I have pedals and a throttle but have found pedals imprecise and I'm a leftie so prefer the higher dexterity I'm getting from the 'main' control stick being my left. Does my dual stick setup sound gimpy?

 

BoS packages: Final question, sorry to ask so many. I have BoS standard package. Am I missing out on much just using that pack?

 

Welcome!

 

IL2 vs other games: Do what you can, try to have fun. 

 

Learning vs AI: AI can still kick my rear at times. I'm certain you will read opinions that playing against AI isn't worth your time. It's a fact that some gamers derive no sense of accomplishment from playing against AI. I suspect these gamers are simply tremendously talented gamers. In this endeavour we are after all 1G Comfy Chair Fighter Pilots.

 

General learning: Learn to takeoff and land. Learn to fly formation. Learn how to join up on benign AI and maneuver in the "control zone" (somewhere around 200-500 meters). 

 

Squadrons: Lots of options for you to explore.

 

HOTAS controls: I'm partial to using rudder pedals. Your arrangement replicates what it's like to fly as the Captain on an Airbus 320 (absent the rudder pedals). I write left handed and was a Captain on the Airbus 320, but I have the more common throttle on the left, stick on the right setup. 

 

BoS packages: As a way to test your interest, you have what you need. No need to drop a bundle to find out you don't like air combat simulations.

 

 

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38 minutes ago, dangermilk said:

Hi folks,

 

I'm a VR enthusiast and a refugee from Elite Dangerous. It's an incredible game in terms of immersion but unfortunately the gaming community is fairly usual -- enough toxic teenagers to spoil things for those of us who are a bit more mature. I bought BoS a while back on sale but didn't really play it until this week. I'm up and running and have found pages of useful guides (thank you Therion, Requiem, and others) and I have my VR stuff sorted. I also spent an evening doing the same for War Thunder. Some questions:

 

IL2 vs other games: It seems like IL2 has better realism than WT, and a better business model (ugh, F2P microtransactions) but WT has a much larger player base, which is good for getting into quick action. I played a bit of WT and got completely destroyed on arcade, and consensus seems to be "play simulator mode if you're using joystick" -- but presumably that will slow down the action considerably. Do you have any thoughts on game modes in both IL2 and WT that provide some amount of realism but are also sub-2hr commitments in order to have fun? Any thoughts on the relative size of each community and whether that matters? If I'm looking for shorter gaming sessions, for example an hour, can I get that from IL2 or do I need to commit larger chunks of time?

I am assuming you're asking about multiplayer time investments with this set of questions. There are multiple servers out there that can provide different levels of commitment. On the low end, you have Berloga Duel and Dogfight server. In that server, you spawn in the air in any of the available planes in the game and dogfight other players in a relatively small area. Once you die, you repeat the process. No stats are collected and most pilots go there for quick action, the occasional duel, or to practice a new trick or plane in a 'real' environment. 

 

The middle ground is servers like, Wings of Liberty and the new Knights of the Air server. These servers have pseudo realistic missions that are not necessarily connected to each other, except for a pilot's personal stats. The server has objectives that need to be completed in order for your side to win. Most of the objectives only require one or two good passes with a friend or two in an attacker or bomber. Where Berloga gives you that quick, quick action. Wings and KOTA give you some of that quick action, but also require you to take off, and if you choose to work together with other pilots you'll do well in these two servers. Both servers (currently) also have GPS enabled so you're not so overwhelmed with all the engine management, veteran pilots, and land navigation too. You'll typically spend 1-2 hours or more in these servers for a good enjoyable experience.

 

The higher level servers, like Coconut's or TAW require an invested time sink over the course of a few weeks. They both have the most realistic settings (the other servers also have realistic settings, but include GPS), and they both have persistent campaign stats. What you do, and how you do it - whether dying or killing - is tracked in the overall war for your side. Coconut's server typically has less players and is typically more 'new player' friendly of the two hardcore, time sink servers. TAW on the other hand, is geared for the elite and trust me, the elite fly there. You will want a good understanding of landing, taking off, and communicating effectively with a group before adventuring there.

 

Quote

 

Learning vs AI: I'm learning to fly in IL2 in VR and it'll be some time before I have the basics down, such as deflection shooting (even with a lead indicator). I think it's probably best for me to learn really basic stuff against AI opponents because a real human will just trash me immediately. Are there any down sides to learning vs AI? If I put in enough time to get competent against higher levels of AI, is that useful for 'real' fights against players or will I learn bad habits in some way?

 

Learning against the AI isn't a bad investment. The AI, in my opinion, is pretty stupid but do not under estimate 'stupid' in groups. After you feel confident defeating AI regularly, I would jump into Berloga and dogfight real players. Be for warned, there's a large 'gap' between the AI and a real player. Many players have been playing IL-2 for a year or more, and of those players many have been playing flight sims for years. A lot of us are "Barracks Lawyers" when it comes to our favorite plane... but that's another discussion.

 

Quote

 

General learning: Is there a general learning path that people would recommend? e.g. "do the campaign first" or "play WoL on normal for a month, then expert" or "join a squadron immediately and get help" or any other sequencing that people think are useful for a newbie?

In my opinion these are the steps to 'git good':

  1. It's a good idea to learn to take off, land, and understand the combat engine management of one plane. I recommend the yak1s69 to start with because you can firewall everything, and then learn how to tweak the oil and water radiator to get even more juice. 
  2. Learn how to shoot in a Boom and Zoom. Generally, the Ju52 will not move too much as you line up your shots. This will help you with your boom and zooms. Set a quick mission up with the Ju52 about 500m below you. Dive on the Ju52, shoot at it, and then extend away. Dive again, but this time as a head on to the Ju52. It's a little harder because of the shorter time to fire. Do this daily as a good warm up.
  3. Somewhere in between all of that, watch every video and read every guide you possibly can on managing your plane in a dogfight.
  4. Goto Berloga and remove your guns. Put yourself at the worst advantage and just survive as long as you can. This will teach you, in a sink or swim fashion, how to not get shot and what the typical pilot does.
  5. Get frustrated often
  6. Watch more videos
  7. Add the guns, and go wild shooting pilots in Berloga.
  8. Miss a lot
  9. ????
  10. Time and experience
  11. more frustration
  12. Get a kill!
  13. repeat 8 through 12
  14. PROFIT!

 

Quote

 

Squadrons: The social side of gaming is useful both for camaraderie as well as learning opportunities. If you were me -- 40-something, been playing online games for decades, not much flight sim experience, not always predictable hours for gaming but some slots I can commit to, looking to be a "serious casual" player -- would you be looking for a squadron? Can I find one here? Should I just join multiplayer servers and chat to people and see how it goes? Should I sign up for the next TAW?  (ha, ha, my ability would be laughable).

I'm all about community, but not so much into the clan thing. This is probably a personal taste question, and I recommend you play with others until you find a like minded group. I would hit up the events thread, and the various discords of the community.

 

Quote

HOSAS controls: As a leftover from Elite Dangerous, I have dual Virpil T-50 sticks which I was using for 6DOF. Currently in IL2 I have my left stick as pitch/roll and right stick as throttle/yaw. I have pedals and a throttle but have found pedals imprecise and I'm a leftie so prefer the higher dexterity I'm getting from the 'main' control stick being my left. Does my dual stick setup sound gimpy? Should I switch to a more traditional HOTAS setup instead, still utilizing one of the good Virpil sticks but with a throttle?

For now, I would not invest more into your current hardware. If you feel you'll play IL2 (or any flight sim) then consider getting better gear. If you do get better gear, only go with high quality products. Or suffer.

 

Quote

BoS packages: Final question, sorry to ask so many. I have BoS standard package. Am I missing out on much just using that pack? Is there a new thing I should consider that would expand my options? It's not like money is no object, but I could comfortably drop $30 on a collector plane and I could consider what I'd get from some other pack or a pre-order of Bodenplatte or something like that.

Again, for now I would stick to just BoS. Because BoS offers the most planes out of the BoX series and most multiplayer servers offer at least one plane from the BoS module for flying. Also, in my opinion, the BoS plane set is the most diverse. You get fighters, bombers, and attackers. Once you've had your fill of those planes, then purchase the next BoX module that fancys you. By that time, 1C will probably have a sale on your preferred module.

 

Quote

Any opinions appreciated, for these topics or anything else 'newbie' related. Thanks!

 

Edited by [TWB]Sketch
grammar
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What Sketch said is great advice if your main plan is to use game in multilpay, carear and campaigns in sp are good for having some historical missions as in MP you wont get anything resembling historical missions on any server game has now, so i like that aspect of SP and its good only for that to me but AI inteligance ruins the imersion a lot after some time as they are bad in this game.

For aiming practice just use quick mission generator with duel option and place your self abow enemy so you can easy get on them, ad bonus is you can use any settings you wont, i sugest to turn aim helper for start to see where you need to point at first, thats even better then berloga df when your short on time.

Dont rush with squad selection, better get on TS3 or what ever young folks use theas days to bla bla bla and see with whome you work best.

If your main goal is MP dont waist to mutch time in SP, if your goal is historical then dont waist time in MP just play SP.

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As Sketch said... I would only add to the "stick to BOS" part. You can fly all the maps in MP online. Get comfortable with one or two of the BOS planes and then branch out. You've got a few 109's, and a few of the VVS buckets to try out. Move on when you are ready (i.e. BOM/BOK). Other than SP maps, they just add more planes. Learn to really fly first. 

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19 minutes ago, [TWB]Sketch said:

For now, I would not invest more into your current hardware. If you feel you'll play IL2 (or any flight sim) then consider getting better gear. If you do get better gear, only go with high quality products. Or suffer.

 

Thank you very much for the detailed answer. I particularly like your steps to "git gud" !

 

For hardware, I already own pedals and a throttle but they are sitting in a cupboard because they weren't right for the space sim. I agree with your "get good hardware" suggestion and already learned this lesson the long and expensive way... 😉   

 

At the moment the only drawback I can see to using dual stick is that the throttle isn't "set it and forget it" because the stick will return to neutral (50% throttle) if I let go. Is there a "set throttle to X%" keybind that would help with that? If I'm mid dogfight and my throttle is a bit wobbly, is that a major concern? Or am I mostly likely to firewall the throttle, set it idle, set it midpoint and the exactness isn't critical?

 

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You will firewall your throttle only once... 😄

It is fairly sensitive to throttle, or at least full throttle. Each plane is different, especially if you need to do engine management (RPM, mixture and throttle). It's more in line with flying a real plane that WT, so get out of that mode. It's like the difference between an Xbox driving game and driving a real car. Xbox you just mash the throttle, a real car you would never do that and expect to stay on the road, or have your engine live. Same here - there's a reason for a variable axis throttle - if not, you'll blow the engine all the time. That's where the HOTAS comes in...

Edited by 1./JG54_Schneemann
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8 minutes ago, dangermilk said:

At the moment the only drawback I can see to using dual stick is that the throttle isn't "set it and forget it" because the stick will return to neutral (50% throttle) if I let go. Is there a "set throttle to X%" keybind that would help with that? If I'm mid dogfight and my throttle is a bit wobbly, is that a major concern? Or am I mostly likely to firewall the throttle, set it idle, set it midpoint and the exactness isn't critical?

 

That is problematic IMO. You will typically find that approximately 70% throttle keeps your engine in the "continuous power" regime. More than that (excluding the soviet airplanes) you put yourself in the "combat" or "emergency power" regime which have various time limits. In a MP dogfight (Air Quake) server like Berloga, this won't be an issue because you won't last 30 minutes.

Edited by busdriver
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2 hours ago, dangermilk said:

I have pedals and a throttle but have found pedals imprecise and I'm a leftie so prefer the higher dexterity I'm getting from the 'main' control stick being my left.

I relatively recently transitioned to rudder pedals and now that I mostly got the hang of it I'm never going back to a twisty stick for rudder.  I'm also a lefty, but switched to flying with a right handed when I got rudder pedals and throttle.  Right handed joystick took a while to get used to, but I'm basically back to where I was while using a left handed stick.  Highly recommend switching to a right hand stick so your not limited in HOTAS options.

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2 hours ago, dangermilk said:

 

Thanks! Yes I wasn't clear -- pitch and roll are on the same (left) stick, with the right stick doing throttle (on X axis) and yaw (on y axis). The immediate down side is that I have to hold the right stick to set a throttle, which is probably fine for dogfighting (maybe) but tiresome when flying a longer distance. But to add the throttle I'd be back to using my off hand (right hand, since I'm left-handed) for stick with throttle on the left hand. As far as I know no-one makes a right handed throttle unit.

I'm pretty sure I saw something about right hand throttle in hardware subforum. Most like GLVs post since he makes custom throttles.

 

I don't how hard it is to learn using right hand for stick, but I would be reluctant to learn to use my left hand for it (as right handed).

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Fairly common for pilots to spend a few years flying right seat with left hand  on throttle and right on yoke to then get command and transition to left hand on yoke and right hand on throttle

 

Cheers, Dakpilot 

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When I use to play I would always fly left handed with my right hand on the mouse, I was a poor chap back then. Do yourself a favor and set up your proper gear, pedals, throttle stick, you will absolutely handicap yourself by not doing so.

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This has been said before, but one good tip is to pick a plane and stick with it.  The planes can be significantly different, so bouncing around too much can be frustrating.

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8 hours ago, Remontti said:

I'm pretty sure I saw something about right hand throttle in hardware subforum. Most like GLVs post since he makes custom throttles.

 

I don't how hard it is to learn using right hand for stick, but I would be reluctant to learn to use my left hand for it (as right handed).

For me it took about a month or so to make the switch but that includes learning rudder pedals at the same time.  Felt like trying to learn how to fly again at first.

8 hours ago, 15th_JonRedcorn said:

When I use to play I would always fly left handed with my right hand on the mouse, I was a poor chap back then. Do yourself a favor and set up your proper gear, pedals, throttle stick, you will absolutely handicap yourself by not doing so.

Flew for over a year like that myself.  Can't imagine going back.

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13 hours ago, dangermilk said:

IL2 vs other games: It seems like IL2 has better realism than WT, and a better business model (ugh, F2P microtransactions) but WT has a much larger player base, which is good for getting into quick action. I played a bit of WT and got completely destroyed on arcade, and consensus seems to be "play simulator mode if you're using joystick" -- but presumably that will slow down the action considerably. Do you have any thoughts on game modes in both IL2 and WT that provide some amount of realism but are also sub-2hr commitments in order to have fun? Any thoughts on the relative size of each community and whether that matters? If I'm looking for shorter gaming sessions, for example an hour, can I get that from IL2 or do I need to commit larger chunks of time?

 

Hey,

 

Il-2 except maybe for "air quake" servers is definitely slower paced than most games that arent ww2 sub sims or turn based strategies. Learning cliff is high but dont worry, so is the skill cap, and nobody is there yet. Theres always something to learn. I feel like I need at minimum around 1½ h for Il-2. If I have less than that and still want to play and not do something else, I will play something else.

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32 minutes ago, LeLv76_Erkki said:

 

Hey,

 

Il-2 except maybe for "air quake" servers is definitely slower paced than most games that arent ww2 sub sims or turn based strategies. Learning cliff is high but dont worry, so is the skill cap, and nobody is there yet. Theres always something to learn. I feel like I need at minimum around 1½ h for Il-2. If I have less than that and still want to play and not do something else, I will play something else.

 

What are you eating to get good at this in one and a half hours?

 

I think you will need to play something else!

Edited by AeroAce

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If you want some instant action with air starts, try the berloga server. pick a side, pick a plane, and a furball is never far away. You will have to ID your targets though, but still lots of gratuitous fun.

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19 hours ago, dangermilk said:

but WT has a much larger player base, which is good for getting into quick action.

 

It's true only when you consider War Thunder arcade, realistic and simulation mode combined. In sim mode alone there is only small amount of players on servers.

In WT arcade/realistic modes there is no realism at all, there are just shooters with planes instead of soldiers.

 

When it comes to controls - muscle memory is the most important, if you feel natural with your config it's ok. 

Edited by bies

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 What I would tell you is that learning the planes off-line is a good idea, but relying on AI to learn good tactics and how to fight is not a good idea.  The problem is that AI flies in a very different manner than a person. They have 360 vision, unlike a person, know only a limited amount of flying tactics – flat turns seem to be the limit of what they can do – but have amazing aim ability, something that you should expect when you are flying against literally an aimbot.  What I would recommend is learning how to take off, land, and operate your aircraft in a comfortable matter offline.  After that, places like a berloga are a good place to start.  One thing that you will have to accept is that at the start, you will get seal clubbed.  Experience can only be gotten one way, so you should be prepared for some frustration. 

 

 There are a few things that can speed this process. Any realistic combat flight sim is a complicated game by nature to learn, and even more complicated to learn well. One of the best suggestions I would tell you would be to join one of the community discord channels. There you could ask questions to other players and receive advice or suggestions in real time. Der Sheriff runs a very nice one that you can join if you like at https://discord.gg/U2fjnvE .  Another way would to join a group. The problem is at this point you probably haven’t played enough to understand what type of play experience you enjoy the most. Therefore I would put off any decision on that until you do start to see what kind of group that would fit you best.  Groups can vary from 2 to 3 people who like to play occasionally on wings of potato for an hour or so, to groups like mine that have 170 members and run a online campaign. Knowing what you want is the first requirement here. 

Edited by No.615_Kai_Lae

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On 9/5/2018 at 5:32 PM, dangermilk said:

Learning vs AI: I'm learning to fly in IL2 in VR and it'll be some time before I have the basics down, such as deflection shooting (even with a lead indicator). I think it's probably best for me to learn really basic stuff against AI opponents because a real human will just trash me immediately. Are there any down sides to learning vs AI? If I put in enough time to get competent against higher levels of AI, is that useful for 'real' fights against players or will I learn bad habits in some way?

 

Hi and welcome!

 

Learning against AI can certainly teach you a lot, but not everything. You'll benefit the most in areas of marksmanship (deflection shooting), engine management etc.; all those things that don't change when you go online. However, like you pointed out yourself, competent AI pilots fly differently compared to humans; they fly more predictably, plus they cheat (they see through clouds, they always see you approach from dead angles etc.). In some way they are not prone to the tricks you can use on human ("drag n' bag", hiding in clouds, flying towards the Sun etc.), yet they are still predictable and dumb and although they will present a formidable opponents at the beginning (at least on full realism settings), you'll learn how to fight them with ease after a while. So, yeah, dedicate some time to learn the basics against AI at the beginning, but don't hesitate too long before going online - a lot of things can be learned only there. 

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On 9/6/2018 at 1:32 AM, dangermilk said:

 

IL2 vs other games:  Do you have any thoughts on game modes in both IL2 and WT that provide some amount of realism but are also sub-2hr commitments in order to have fun? Any thoughts on the relative size of each community and whether that matters? If I'm looking for shorter gaming sessions, for example an hour, can I get that from IL2 or do I need to commit larger chunks of time?

 

 

On Wings Of Liberty my average flight time (there and back, not including getting shot down etc) is 35-50 minutes. That said just going up for one flight is like opening a bag of chips and eating just one - nearly impossible not to hit that "Fly" button again. Berloga is always available for dueling / instant action dogfights to test your skill if you're new. You will likely get completely smashed.

 

Quote

 

Learning vs AI: I'm learning to fly in IL2 in VR and it'll be some time before I have the basics down, such as deflection shooting (even with a lead indicator). I think it's probably best for me to learn really basic stuff against AI opponents because a real human will just trash me immediately. Are there any down sides to learning vs AI? If I put in enough time to get competent against higher levels of AI, is that useful for 'real' fights against players or will I learn bad habits in some way?

 

I fly in VR too! It's awesome :)
There are downsides to learning against AI, mainly that AI:

  • Don't always make correct tactical choices (they don't always make one of the smart choices)
  • Always do the same thing given the same situation (real people react differently, gauging how skilled your opponent is based on his/her reactions is a must. Chess, not Call Of Duty)
     
  • Don't often fly very well
  • Don't properly chase you (this is the big one. If you get an AI on your six you can get out of their guns easily and reverse on them. Real people can really hang on there)

But it's still worth doing because you'll get practice maneuvering and shooting. And at least some understanding of how to dogfight.

 

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General learning: Is there a general learning path that people would recommend? e.g. "do the campaign first" or "play WoL on normal for a month, then expert" or "join a squadron immediately and get help" or any other sequencing that people think are useful for a newbie?

 

Jump in QMB. Find a plane you like the look of (heads up, online is currently overpopulated for the German team - so probably worth learning a Russian plane unless you have a soft spot for the 109). Fly it 1v1. Find what works, practice your aim. If your aim is really bad try spawning 2 friendly flights and shooting your friends down (I don't recommend using the lead indicator for long if at all, you'll rely on it too much). Practice against fighters, bombers, attackers. Due to the tail guns you fly very differently against bombers, aiming for slashing attacks rather than sitting on their six. Ok so you can handle the AI more often than not 1v1? Up the enemy's skill (Even on Ace they fly dumb, but now they shoot better than most humans!). Got that? Try 4v4, now you have to ID the enemy vs friendly planes without labels or anything. You could jump in with a friend now and have them show you the ropes. But if you really want a challenge then QMB 8v8 or even 4 friendlies 8 enemies. This one you won't master any time soon - don't worry! At this point you'll get shot down a lot, but by now you should have a good understanding of how the fight went and what went wrong. Maybe you even have some ideas on how to escape that situation next time. From here on the main fun is flying online with some people (message me if you want, I fly with a few groups because I also have odd hours) and learning some cool tactics. Fight in the group and they'll support you,  let you get experience whilst covering you and save your ass if you get in trouble. Flying online with mates in the chaos is bloody exhilarating and a ton of fun. Have duels with them on Berloga and learn a whole bunch etc.

 

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Squadrons: The social side of gaming is useful both for camaraderie as well as learning opportunities. If you were me -- 40-something, been playing online games for decades, not much flight sim experience, not always predictable hours for gaming but some slots I can commit to, looking to be a "serious casual" player -- would you be looking for a squadron? Can I find one here? Should I just join multiplayer servers and chat to people and see how it goes? Should I sign up for the next TAW?  (ha, ha, my ability would be laughable).

 

If flying Wings, jump on the TS and let them know you're a noob. See if anyone's free and willing to help :)
Or just message me, I have weird hours so I can always hop on and show you the ropes.

 

 

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HOSAS controls: As a leftover from Elite Dangerous, I have dual Virpil T-50 sticks which I was using for 6DOF. Currently in IL2 I have my left stick as pitch/roll and right stick as throttle/yaw. I have pedals and a throttle but have found pedals imprecise and I'm a leftie so prefer the higher dexterity I'm getting from the 'main' control stick being my left. Does my dual stick setup sound gimpy? Should I switch to a more traditional HOTAS setup instead, still utilizing one of the good Virpil sticks but with a throttle?

 

 

Get a throttle for your right hand. On the Russian team you fly with throttle at 100% most of the time so you could set the throttle and then use that second stick as yaw. Still a bit gimpy. Preferably get those pedals working though.

 

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BoS packages: Final question, sorry to ask so many. I have BoS standard package. Am I missing out on much just using that pack? Is there a new thing I should consider that would expand my options? It's not like money is no object, but I could comfortably drop $30 on a collector plane and I could consider what I'd get from some other pack or a pre-order of Bodenplatte or something like that.

 

You'll be alright with that. Moscow planes are fairly shite (sorry! It's true) and the Lagg3 is almost always available anyway. Kuban planes are interesting but not fantastic. And the good ones in Kuban are collector only. The La5 (BoS timeframe, and some late BoM / Very early BoS maps) is probably the one most worth getting, followed by either FW190 (Late BoS).

 

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Any opinions appreciated, for these topics or anything else 'newbie' related. Thanks!

 

Welcome! See ya in the sky :)

 

Shoot me a message if you want to jump on and practice / duel / try out Wings Of Liberty.

Edited by peregrine7
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The presence of gravity now requires you transition from HOSAS to HOTAS. Cannot emphasize enough the importance of a 75 or 100mm stick extension and MFG or similar angle wide spread pedals, your experience will be rewarding.

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Play with the QMB to start, at least till you can reliably control your airplane and fight without losing control. Any of the Yak's are capable and forgiving airplanes.  Play with AI skill settings.

Keep your plane light.  Don't expect to fight if you load up with bomb racks and rocket rails.  Combat fuel load is usually 50% or so.

 

Try different planes against the same AI. You don't have to be an expert at all but at least know enough to make the best choice, what to expect from each. Read the specs to get the most out of it.

 

 

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