The past 2 weeks on the Supertest servers have been full of hard but interesting work. Overall in October we held 15 testing sessions that lasted from 2 days up to a whole week and logged over 2000 man-hours of flying. Yet the beginning of November brought even more work — we have already accumulated over 10 testing tasks.
As we promised in the previous Digest, today we’ll talk about the second part of the Thunderbolt branch. I’ll also share supertesters’ opinions on the new premium and gift aircraft.
Last time we told you about testing the Tier I-VI machines in the upcoming US multi-role fighter branch. The upper half of it includes P-47N, XP-72, F-84B and F-84F at Tiers VII-X respectively. In the past few weeks we have tested several iterations for each of them and had a chance to see these fantastic machines evolve.
The main purpose of evaluating new aircraft in the Supertest group is to get subjective opinions of the participants on how balanced the new machines are compared to other aircraft in the same tier and to assess their gameplay peculiarities.
Now you will see how these opinions change over several balancing iterations based on the feedback that we receive. We have constant communication between the battle balance team and the supertesters, and we follow up and check all opinions against statistical data. As a result we end up with full information on how the branch will be fit into the game and what needs to be changed so that it becomes popular and interesting.
Tier VII — P-47N Thunderbolt
The initial opinions on this warbird at the start of testing were split between “Balanced” (60%) and “Weak” (30%).
Typical feedback looked like this:
“Loses to maneuverable fighters at their altitude range, is weak in dogfights because of low maneuverability. At the same time it deals with heavy fighters easily because of its strong boost and powerful long salvos at close range. High durability allows it to ignore attacks from long range. Attack aircraft will also get a dangerous enemy in P-47N”.
“This aircraft dictates some unusual gameplay approaches but is easy to master. Sensitive handling is a big advantage”.
“A true nemesis for heavy fighters and attack aircraft. And all other classes should beware its strafing runs and rockets”.
“Forces strafing run gameplay. Absolutely unsuitable for dogfighting”.
After we analyzed the feedback and made some corrections the testers’ opinions changed in favor of “Balanced” — 75% to 10% “Weak”. The feedback itself changed too:
“I’ve dealt 2300 damage and shot down 7 aircraft in one battle, two of them heavies and two attack aircraft. Good speed parameters. Short shooting range is a specific feature, but at the same time you can deal damage consistently and for a long time”.
Tier VIII — XP-72
At Tier VIII we get the XP-72 which was an evolutionary development of the P-47 Thunderbolt. The first testing iterations showed nearly the same proportion of “Balanced” and “Weak” feedback, but a lot of participants were not too enthusiastic about this machine being extremely specialised. For example:
“It loses to same tier aircraft mostly in terms of armament. Loses a lot of momentum in turns. Impossible to play both higher and lower than its optimum altitude”.
Overall feedback was univocal: XP-72 is very specific and hard to master.
After we changed some parameters, 55% of testers agreed that the aircraft became balanced, though 25% still considered it weak. At the same time 15% of feedback claimed that the machine was stronger than its same tier competitors.
Several Supertesters managed to master the new fighter quickly and worked out the best tactics for it:
“I doubt that newcomers and players with few experience in piloting and dogfighting will like this aircraft. Only a more experienced player will be able to take advantage of its strong features”.
“Large HP count, powerful engine, great roll speed, powerful machinegun battery, can compete successfully with other fighters in a dogfight”.
We’ll see how our aces master this interesting warplane when the branch is released in a future update.
Tier IX — F-84B Thunderjet
The F-84B turned out to be a hard nut to crack. This aircraft inherits the P-47 Thunderbolt’s character with slight changes. Its main role is best described as “strike fighter” or even “high speed attack aircraft”. This unusual design caused a whole lot of confusion and negative feedback from testers at the beginning.
This aircraft, as well as its siblings from the Thunderbolt branch, has machinegun armament. That is why it was so hard for Supertesters to understand and master the F-84B. This kind of weaponry is uncommon for Tier IX, most its same tier rivals have cannons. This led to opinions like this one:
“The only advantage of this aircraft is decent damage at close range. All the other parameters are bad — maneuverability, speed, altitude are sub par.”
After several iterations of changes to parameters the aircraft finally came into balance with its competitors:
“In general the aircraft is quite well balanced, has a good long boost, acceptable speed parameters, is capable of climbing high”.
“The aircraft became more powerful, finally the machineguns started dealing the damage you expect them to deal! Very long overheating time also helps. Good boost makes it able to catch up to a fleeing heavy fighter and shoot it down even outside optimum shooting range”.
This machine has definitely changed a lot, and our players can look forward to trying out its devastating outboard armament combined with high durability that make it able to lay waste to ground targets and then shoot down enemies in the air.
And by the way, this will be the first aircraft capable of carrying two types of rockets at the same time.
Tier X — F-84F Thunderstreak
Being an upgrade over the previous model, this aircraft gains better maximum speed, thrust-to-weight and dynamic parameters. It was deemed quite balanced right from the start of our testing, though some participants were still concerned that it might be a bit weak for Tier X because of its machinegun armament.
“The main advantage is its ability to shoot continuously for a long time without overheating its multiple guns. It doesn’t require precise aiming — you just need to get close to the target”.
“Speed loss in maneuvers, long boost cooling time and insufficient maneuverability might be a problem”.
“Machineguns at Tier X require special tactics”.
As we know, the new Thunderbolts are primarily strike fighters designed to deal significant damage to ground targets with their outboard armament, and then engage in air combat at low and medium altitudes. They will be especially dangerous to attack aircraft and those heavy fighters that decide to drop low. Mastering them will be an interesting challenge, especially at high tiers.
Aside from the new branch, the Supertest put a lot of effort into testing new premium and gift aircraft. We will not tell you yet how you will be able to get these machines, let’s focus instead on the testers’ opinions on them.
Supermarine Seafang — Great Britain, Tier VIII multi-role fighter.
“If you choose your approach correctly, it will not leave any chance to fighters at close quarter combat, and will severely diminish survival chances for even a full-HP heavy. But it’s as fragile as any other British aircraft so you will need to choose your tactics wisely”.
“A good mix of a Spitfire, an F2G and an XF15C. The aircraft is easy to fly, can fulfill many roles and provide timely support to the team”.
“An ideally balanced warplane. It doesn’t outperform its competitors severely and but is still capable of fighting effectively even against higher tier aircraft”.
“One of my favorites among the machines we tested, it’s very interesting and anticipated because it’s quite unusual and dictates playing actively using speed”.
“Even though it’s hard to hit a target this aircraft provides a lot of positive emotions when playing, which is why I want it not only as a collectible for my hangar”.
MiG I-260 — USSR, Tier VIII multi-role fighter.
“Main emphasis in armament is put on the 57 mm cannon. Even though it shoots rarely, if you have good aiming skill — it becomes a formidable weapon. Great boost lasts for a long while. Two 23 mm cannons also deal good damage while the main 57 mm gun is cooling down”.
“Quite interesting to play. It is a bit hard to get used to shooting such a high caliber cannon but when you do — any enemy gets sent to the hangar after a couple of hits”.
“Requires some getting used to as well as some piloting practice. Shooting the 57 mm gun puts all aiming skill to test, but if you manage to score hits — the aircraft brings a lot of fun when playing. Its playstyle is unlike any other”.
P-82B Twin Mustang — USA, Tier VIII heavy fighter
“A machine for surgical strikes. It’s deadly, but only at close range. Unfortunately it’s quite hard to get that close to an enemy. Nevertheless it was fun to fly it, probably because it is so easy to deal damage with it without the need to aim precisely”.
“A heavy fighter with 12 machineguns is a combination that requires special approach to air combat”.
“This aircraft is very different from all others. It forces playing actively and brings a lot of positive emotions and excitement”.
Il-10M — China, Tier VIII attack aircraft
“It’s a fun machine for players who prefer attack aircraft, like the Il-10 and can play it with maximum effort”.
“Best maneuverability for its class is the unique feature of this attack aircraft. It lets you deny the enemy their strategic advantage from ground targets and destroy their attack aircraft even without dropping outboard armament first”.
“Even though this attack aircraft has a low number of bombs and rockets, it’s more than balanced by great maneuverability and good defensive capabilities”.
SNCAC NC 1070 — France, Tier VIII attack aircraft
“An attack aircraft that’s unusually easy to fly and capable to deal a lot of damage both to ground targets and aircraft. Its main feature is its great turret. Sometimes when the NC 1070 cannot turn and attack with its main armament it is easier to leave an enemy at your six and let the turret deal with him”.
“An attack aircraft that relies primarily on bombs. It is absolutely unique for its tier”.
“I like attack aircraft, and this one is very interesting to me. NC 1070 might be a bit hard to master, but it has a lot of strong suits”.
Shenyang JL-1A-37 — China, Tier VIII fighter
“A nice aircraft. Even though it’s formally a fighter, the most effective tactics resemble those of a heavy — namely strafing runs. It’s not great at dogfights with maneuverable machines but excels at catching heavies and forcing fighters to stall and making them regret it”.
“I liked this aircraft. A very nice altitude fighter. It’s very similar to I-250: you climb high and then shoot down others who do it. Extremely powerful armament is a great advantage — its firepower is among the highest for fighters. But it’s quite specific — somewhat in between the long range and close range high caliber cannons. You’ll need to aim precisely and preferably fly straight at that moment. But that’s exactly what you need to do to be effective with it anyway”.
“A flying dagger! It’s able to get close and personal with an enemy very quickly, and at close range it can easily “stab” for 70-100% HP… It’s also good at forcing the same tier heavies to bleed all the momentum by locking them in unfavorable altitude, and then delivering a killing blow. I liked it a lot!”
All these premium and gift machines will become available very soon. In the meantime the Supertest is starting work on new premiums and gift warplanes. This time we get to try out the French CR 714 Tier IV fighter and SPAD 510 Tier II biplane, as well as the Soviet Tier V I-180 fighter. We’ll have some news on them next time.
That’s all for today. Hope you like these sneak peeks of future warbirds. See you soon!