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Oh buddy. A chubby ESF with a turret mounted rocket pod. We might need to draft a second walker to help out. ESF's aren't a huge threat because we can move fast enough to avoid their nose guns (unless dealing with more than 2 at a time that both have some skill), Liberators have certain dexterity issues when dealing with fast-moving targets as well, and are large enough to be big bullet-sponges. This thing, well, with turret mounted rockets and a pair of AA-lock heavies, that could get ugly fast. It is big enough that it should soak up some damage though. Hopefully it will be lightly armored enough that it will be risking major damage to get in close.
Loadout if you're going to use one of these:
Pilot, gunner, and jumpseat 1 should all be engineers (repair on fly and during landing) . Jumpseat 2 should be a heavy with all kinds of extra rockets. Circle like a gal around the target, then run for the hills.
MacKahan -- Mac-Kay-an In case you were curious. ;-)
I'm having trouble figuring out exactly what sort of role it's supposed to have, TBH. It's definitely ground support focused, but it looks like it's going to be a faster, more fragile liberator with a wider field of fire and the ability to move a few troops around. That MIGHT make it more useful for small-scale CAS or hit-and-run opsand it MIGHT be more effective than a liberator in anti-infantry CAS (and better able to loiter than an ESF) just because it seems to have a fury analogue, but I doubt in any way that provides a really clear niche.
On the transport side, I'm very dubious. Yeah, it's faster and more maneuverable than a Galaxy, but you can only drop off two people if you've got any interest in keeping the vehicle useful. Two people can stay in a Gal to provide CAS or keep the ride alive, while ten squad members can hit the ground and start pounding away... additionally, the Galaxies act as a spawn (blarg). Conversely, a squad using Valkyries to move around requires three vehicles with two crew each, leaving only 6 members of the squad to ground pound. The extra air support MIGHT make up the difference, but that's useless indoors and easily negated by AA or enemy air. Sure, you could ditch the gunners and have 9 people on the ground, but a galaxy would leave you 11 in that scenario, and ditching the gunners effectively leaves 3 squad members--in expensive vehicles--completely useless, instead of 1.
The best I can tell is that it's going to be a jack of all trades, master of none sort of vehicle. Not able to match the durability or firepower of a liberator, nor the transport utility of a Galaxy. I think you'd be better off bringing a Galaxy and a Liberator rather than multiple Valkyries.
One potential niche might be as Phoenix platforms, though. No reason you couldn't fire Phoenixes from the rumble seats and cause merry havoc to enemy armour. Heck, both rumble seats can probably hit nearby targets by firing down then arcing towards them, or orienting the front of the vehicle towards targets. That'd make a very frightening AT platform, especially with some of the AT belly guns on display (presumably the wire-guided missile and minigun).
Yeah, 300m is a tight operational range for an aircraft. At the same time, though, flybys will probably work just fine, as will pop-and-shoot tactics using terrain.
Actually, depending on how they balance the weaponry, the Valkyrie might be VERY well suited to strafing runs and harassment attacks. If it turns into the "Harasser of the air" I can imagine worse outcomes.
Still, I'd REALLY like for it to have another two rumble seats. That'd cross the line to convince me that it'd make sense as a squad mobility vehicle.
I think four rumble seats would be a bit OP, (four AA/AV lockons, anyone?) I'd rather see two MAX-capable interior seats, as right now the vehicle has no MAX transport ability whatsoever. (unless maybe they can man the gunner position?)
Personally I'd rather see the gunner seat changed to two (lighter armed) door-gun positions with exposed gunners as well, (perhaps making it a 6-man 1pilot/2gunner/2rumble/1MAX vehicle). I feel that door guns would give better cover for the troops when landing/extracting as well, since I don't believe the bottom-mounted weapon is effective when the vehicle is on the ground or even low in the air. (if it is anything like the Liberator) It would also mean your gunners and rumble seats would have the same firing arcs, as opposed to the current design where the pilot has to be concerned with three separate firing arcs.
Keeping one gunner and one pilot in each vehicle would then give you 2 guns in the air and 8 guns on the ground compared to 1 in the air/10 on the ground with a Galaxy, but with better battlefield mobility. A fair alternative I think, especially considering that (I assume) the Valkyrie won't be able to pod-drop soldiers.
The real dealbreaker though is the fact that the Galaxy can spawn troops (ugh) which makes the number of times that Valkyries would be preferable rather small. Perhaps that's why SOE has gone for more of a ground-attack role with it.
The list of things I'd change on this vehicle is a long one. ><
On an unrelated air-transport note, does anyone think we'll ever actually get the Lodestar Galaxy in PS2? My money's on SOE being too afraid of people putting vehicles in places they don't want them.
Teamwork and Tactics are OP
Strait /strāt/ (Noun) A narrow passage of water connecting two seas or two large areas of water: "the Northumberland Strait".
I hope they put in lodestars and take out galaxy spawns. Just get rid of the parachute mechanic, make the vehicle have to actually exit while the lodestar is landed.
Honestly, I don't think we are getting a lodestar. Since vehicles are so easily replacable in this game, AND SUnderers can repair and rearm vehicles, the main role of the lodestar (supporting vehicle advances and keeping them alive) is already filled by repair and rearm sundys. The lack of air mobility is compensated by the easy availability. I don't see the need for them.
But, for god sake SOE, take out the *#$%(@' spawning in flying galaxies for the love of all that is holy!
The question foremost in my mind is "what will bring the most tactical fun to the server?"