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I&A 4 - how to handle CAS air vehicles?


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So there has been some strife lately surrounding the presence and use of CAS jets in I&A 4. Rather than have me come up with a unilateral decision I'd like to discuss the issue and figure out a means of how these vehicles are implemented so a reasonably high majority of players are happy. 


ISSUES and considerations:

1. A reasonably good pilot in a CAS vehicle can level an AO pretty much single handedly and indiscriminately, making it less fun for other players. 

2. A poor pilot can lose the vehicle quickly, meaning when CAS support is actually needed it's unavailable. 

3. Many players love to fly these vehicles but their inherent power means they have to be rare. 

4. The current layout of enemy forces in the AOs include armored vehicles, which mean it's not uncommon for players to desperately need CAS support. 


(feel free to add to this list so we can have a fulsome discussion.) 


Possible directions:


1. The no fun option: remove CAS vehicles and present them as support rewards (Bohemia has CAS support modules at the ready). 

2. Make Reaper and Viper groups accessible only with reward points. 

3. Implement some kind of voting or application system for CAS roles. 

4. Increase spawn/respawn timers for these vehicles. 


Your thoughts, please. 


- Ryko

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I would like an application system for CAS roles. So new guys dont pick it and destroy it within minutes. And possibly increase spawn timers for the vehicles so it makes you more aware and careful when its used.

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I would just like to add that currently in the I&A rules it is stated clearly:



4.4.1.If you are operating a support asset like a mortar or a CAS plane/helicopter you are not allowed to kill the entire AO. Support assets are there to support the infantry this means that infantry have to call these support assets in.


So if people are abusing the roll you can have us look into it and we will see what we can do to ensure that all players have an enjoyable experience. 

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I know people like to play with the cool toys, so I like that fact that they are available to the players.


An application system might turn out to limit it to a few players only, despite the relaxed and casual spirit of I&A. It might or might not be pretty labor intensive for the admins (?) and would surely open up a debate about favoritism and what not.


A reward point system would be easier to maintain (automatic) and would allow for anyone to access CAS vehicles once they have enough points, it would also potentially depending on the implementation, prevent a situation where someone wastes the CAS assets and forces the next player in line to wait for x-minutes for the respawn.

Voting systems I fear might be susceptible to a bit of trolling and or not giving a new guy a chance.


I feel increasing the spawn time will not solve the under lying problem, it might maybe alleviate it a little but will most likely also deny the team CAS when they need it.

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The system I support most from the 4 suggested is to use reward points.


Would it also be possible to implement reward points for putting AT missiles into an AT player's backpack, to hopefully improve infantry self-sufficiency? (I am aware this is a potential thread tangent, if it is distracting enough feel free to fork it into its own thread!)

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I've been thinking a bit about all of the proposed solutions and all have up- and downsides.  But I was thinking of another solution.  We could have a queue system people enter.  Most of the time the person who's been in the queue the longest gets to fly the jet next.  Every so often a random person from the queue is picked to become the next person to fly the jet.  If you crash the jet, regardless of whether or not it's your fault, you get kicked out of the slot, even if there's another jet available.  And the next person in the queue is given a chance to fly. 

Additionally make ordinance the pilot can lock onto targets way more expensive than dumb-fire weapons and weapons that require aid from the ground units to be targeted.  The latter should be the cheapest of them all, even if they're more powerful than some of the other munitions.  (for simplicities sake, let's keep the ammo for the main gun free.) (Oh and remove the laser designator from the jets so GBUs can't be abused) The cost of the self-guided munition should be so high that they cost significantly more than the points you get from killing something.  This would force people to get a jet load-out that is focused on supporting the infantry on the ground rather than raping AOs by themselves.  The macers would then be an emergency option only, if you've spotted a tigris that would kill you if you don't kill it on the first pass. 

Now obviously a person without point could become a pilot so every time a new pilot joins the slot the load out of the jet should be set back to something basic.  I'm thinking of 2 macers, 4 GBUs, 2 sidewinders, and one of each shrieker pod. 

In addition put a time limit on how long one is allowed to be in the jet.  If you've been in the jet for more than say 1 hour and you come in to rearm you're kicked out of the slot when you try to rearm the jet. 


Although technically a lot more complex than the other proposed solutions I do think this would significantly reduce a lot of the problems we are seeing.  While also giving everyone a chance to play with the toy they like. 

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So we had a great staff discussion on CAS vehicles in I&A yesterday, thanks to all who participated in that.  We have some ideas on future directions.


First though, a couple of points.

1) Staff policing the mis-steps taken by CAS is a sizeable amount of what EU1 admins do (essentially, reminding players that they need to be called in, that they can't go weapons-free on an AO, etc).

2) A general concensus that this is a fluid issue that's not going to be solved through code.


With this in mind, my suggestion in terms of how to proceed is looking like this:


A ) Split out the anti-air planes (Black Wasp for NATO, Shikra for CSAT, Griffon for AAF) into their own asset group (Talon?).


1) Right now there is only one role in a 64-person server that's eligible to fly planes, and there is a wait for that role.  Especially as the role has access to two planes (if you die in the Wipeout, nothing to stop you from just up and flying the Black Wasp).

2) Plane respawn timer should act as a disincentive to stay in the role, rather, should cycle the player out into a new group unless a new vehicle is purchased with reward points.

3) Enemy air is now a frequent threat, having a dedicated CAP resource is probably a good thing as players are not flocking to the rifleman anti-air slot.


B ) Add confirmation boxes when taking non-infantry roles.

Method: when you attempt to take a slot like Vortex, Viper, Reaper, you are presented with a series of informational confirmation boxes you have to click on.


1) Presents the players with the server rules, so they understand what they are getting into. For example, present them with confirmations that they must wait requests for CAS support, that they can't attack unrequested targets.

2) Means that when staff warns / kicks players for abusing CAS, there is no defence that they didn't know server rules.

3) Yes, players can just click-click-click through the boxes, but having them there might actually educate players.


Regarding other suggestions made in this thread:

* Application systems for slots: the problem with this approach is that Ahoyworld's philosophy towards joining our servers is that all slots should be available for all players without restriction, so an application system works against this.

* Reward points for role - kind of smells a bit like whitelisting, plus there are ways to game the system (begging for donations) that don't actually solve the problem. Plus it would probably mean you have to play in a role you don't like before playing in a role you do, which is also against the philosophy.


Not finalized yet though, please discuss.

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I was wondering if this idea would appeal to the community;


the CAS jet only spawns below a certain player count (for example 30 players) and any number of players above that the CAS jet doesn't spawn.


I've found that this may be a suitable idea as in my opinion a CAS jet isn't needed at all on a near full server, but when the server only has a flew players on sometimes a CAS jet can be useful as there may not be that many AT players around etc.



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@Ryko didn't clarify, but I think as midnight said above it would be suitable that they can co-operate to buy one, and as it's high in reward points, i'd imagine it would only be bought when desperately needed.


So in essence, when the server is busy no CAS jets unless bought through reward points, and when the server has a low player count the CAS jet will spawn as per usual.



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My only thought there is that the enemy presence scales with player count, so yes, there are more players, but there are more enemy units as well, I think you will find a bit of resistance to completely removing the CAS role.  Also it'd be a matter of defining what that number is: you had suggested 30?

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Ok, I've added this as a mission parameter (you can choose how many players are connected before CAS roles are disabled in the squad menu: 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 or Never disabled, or always disabled.


I'm going to leave this as never disabled for now as I still want to test CAS functionality (particularly how splitting out Talon works), but going forward we now have that option.

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