After the first part of our Flight Academy on teamwork, we continue our lesson on the same subject, with more information on how to develop your team’s cohesiveness in World of Warplanes.
This does not only apply to Attack Aircraft. By bombers, we mean any pilot who decides to equip bombs on their plane and intends to fly a certain route to drop their payload over one or multiple ground targets. This can be a Soviet attack aircraft as much as it can be a German heavy or an American carrier-based fighter. While it’s true that the latter two are more agile and will have a slightly easier time defending themselves on their own, it is still important to keep an eye out for them in order to make sure that they reach their destination and complete their mission.
What you need to know is that a bomber usually acts in a certain way that makes it a desirable target for enemies. Firstly, a plane carrying bombs is naturally heavier and will be slower as a result. Secondly, pilots who have their minds set on dropping bombs will usually fly straight towards their chosen ground targets, forgetting what else may be happening in the space around them. This sort of "bomber tunnel vision" can be fatal, because pilots who suffer from it often ignore the danger they are getting themselves into. A bomber on a bombing run will deviate very little from its course and react less to other planes or AA guns around it. Your enemies will notice these slower and more steadily-moving planes and choose to target them first – it’s a natural instinct to go for the prey that seems slower and weaker, as they appear easier to kill.
Although bombers have increased defensive capabilities, possessing a greater pool of HP as well as rear gunners, you should not leave them to their fate completely. Think of what you gain from any pilot who’s focusing on ground targets! Every time you lose a bomber, you not only lose a plane but you also lose the possibility of collecting superiority points from ground targets, which further benefits the opposing team. By not protecting your bombers, you essentially rob your team of the possibility of winning through any way other than pure annihilation.
Bombers that successfully manage to reach their targets and take out ground facilities not only increase their own score, but also help their team’s cause in two other ways. First of all, they put pressure on the enemy team, potentially forcing them to commit mistakes that they otherwise wouldn’t have committed. Secondly, the bombers clear out NPC enemies by taking out mobile or stationary AA guns, making life easier for the rest of their lighter fighters, which are more vulnerable to attacks from the ground.
In short: protect your bombers whenever you can! Not only do you save a comrade who’d have a tough time defending himself on his own otherwise, but you also create more favorable conditions for the rest of your team, which will ultimately improve your chances of winning.
You may ask yourself how using the map relates to teamwork. Well, it’s very simple: the map is first and foremost an information device, designed to let you know what is happening. It is for that reason that shortcut messages (default keys: F2-F8) not only appear in chat, but also pop up with a designated symbol on your minimap. They let you know what is happening where – that somebody in your squad is attacking in a certain sector, has spotted enemies in a region, or maybe requires help at another location. You should keep an eye out for these messages and react to what your team mates communicate to you.
But the same map is also a communication device, which gives you a tool to communicate back to your enemies. When attacking ground targets, a distress signal pops up for the enemy team on the location of your attack. It gives the other team information on where your team’s planes are and what kind of ground target is being attacked. If a flash pops up in the middle of a base, chances are that the HQ is being targeted. If a flash pops up at some remote location in the middle of nowhere, it’s most likely that it’s just a radar station, some storage facility, or an AA gun at best. You can use this feature to drop snippets of such information to help your team.
If you see that a lone plane from your team is heading into a dangerous area or runs the risk of being detected by an incoming swarm of enemy aircraft, you can, for example, mislead enemies by attacking a ground target at the opposite corner of the map. As long as the other team’s planes haven’t discovered your friend, they won’t see anything but the flashing signal in another location of the map and may divert from their original course, giving your teammate a chance to survive. You can also do the opposite and attack multiple ground targets all over the map, to confuse your enemies and make them spread out when they’re densely concentrated in just one area. Should you feel the need to stay hidden (see the next point), then avoid attacking ground targets so you don’t tip off any planes that may be on the lookout for you.
Regardless of how you use the map, just remember that it’s both informative and communicative in nature at the same time. React to what your teammates tell you through their use of the shortcut messages, and help out when the situation calls for it. Likewise, use the map as described above to communicate to your enemies and put your team in a better position.
Don’t forget that apart from annihilating the entirety of the other team, another way to ensure victory for your squad is to go for Superiority. You should always keep an eye on the victory meter on the top of the screen, which shows you how you are doing in terms of victory points. These points come from air-to-air kills as well as ground target take-outs. Playing for points -- rather than just concentrating on chasing down planes -- can be a viable option in many situations. Depending on what position you’re in and how it will affect your Superiority, you may want to communicate to your team to initiate or refrain from a certain action.
In these cases, it is important that you act unanimously and follow the instructions that either you or another team member has given. Nothing is worse than having proclaimed a global abstinence from engaging the enemy (e.g. when you want the time to run out on your opponent by keeping your victory point lead), only to see one of your team mates die needlessly in a fight that significantly lowers your superiority progression. Likewise, it’s equally bad to fail to react if you see your own time running out and don’t engage any ground targets when everybody around is screaming at the top of their lungs for you to do so.
You need to understand that losing or winning greatly affects the amount of credits and XP that you receive at the end of the game. An Ace performance may be nullified and only earn a meager payday if you don’t listen to your team or ensure victory through superiority when you have the chance. Consider all the possibilities that can lead to your win, listen to your team when they give instructions based on your Superiority situation, and do what needs to be done to walk away with the victory.
Keep in mind what you’ve learned here when next taking off to the skies. Work on your communication skills and develop a ‘team first’ mentality to create cohesion and efficiency for your squad.
That's it for now, Pilots. Dismissed!