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  • Heavy interceptors

    Here's a scenario you guys might be familiar with: an enemy faction has left a major base badly exposed and you're able to beat through all the satellite bases and start the cap. You've got the base on lock down, and with the numbers firmly tilted in your favour you feel pretty sure that you can hold it. Then, almost out of nowhere, one or more enemy platoons drop on you and you're swept away under overwhelming numbers as they stop the cap at the very last minute. Bonus points if this was during an alert.

    This is extremely common, I find, in that any major base--ESPECIALLY one that's an alert target--can have a successful attack disrupted by a sudden mass Galaxy drop from a coordinated outfit. Defenders on the ground have no good counter to this. Even if they could shoot down inbound Galaxies--unlikely at best--those galaxies would be within the base's perimeter already and would be able to add their weight to the fight using local spawn points. Fortifying and bunkering down is also unlikely to work... attackers locking down a base are often scattered, lack the initiative in the fight, and will be facing overwhelming numbers with high initial cohesion. Once that drop occurs, the base is not going to be captured.

    Having led platoons in exactly those circumstances, I've wished more than once that we had a way to stop the drop from even occuring. It's relatively easy to see coming if you're paying attention... a spike in activity at the warpgate in question, and then the connecting territories between that warpgate and the base as the Galaxies fly out. Very useful information, much like knowing the exact size and weight of the train coming down the track you've been tied to.

    I've been toying with the idea of a heavy interception unit as a result. Basically, a heavy interceptor unit would be comprised of a mixed force of Reavers and Liberators. The Liberators would be using the Tank Buster nosegun. A Liberator armed like that will SHRED a Galaxy, and the Reavers can assist or run interference with any escorts. I suspect that if a squadron like this caught a Galaxy formation in transit, they'd be able to take down many of them--if not all of them!--before they even got into the adjacent territories. This would force the outfit attempting the drop to either form up on the ground or regroup for another drop attempt, significantly delaying the response and gaining the precious few minutes required to finish a capture attempt.

    While a dedicated heavy interceptor force would want to focus on single-man liberators to maximize damage output, it'd probably be more generally useful to make it a squad with 2-man liberators so that they can serve as CAS for the majority of the time. These drops are high value to stop or disrupt, but they're rare, so the squadron would NEED something else to do to not be a waste. They'd also need to be cautious about maintaining their air assets. Attrition could leave the squad weakened at the moment of the drop when it's most needed.

    There are a few barriers to getting this all to work, however:

    1) Needs good intel and coordination. I'm certain we're up to the challenge, but this is definitely an added consideration. For this to work best you need an observer on the ground at the enemy warp gate, possibly a Reaver that snuck around the edge of the map. This lets you know if there's actually a drop coming and better information on their exact time of departure and vector.
    2) Needs manpower. We typically only run a single platoon, and this is something very much suited to a dedicated air platoon operating independently of a ground platoon.

    Still... it would be incredibly handy to have something like this in our back pocket on the off chance we start winning.

    I'd be interested in maybe running a trial squad on the tactic in a less high-stakes capacity. Basically, we'd hop onto a populated continent, situate ourselves somewhere close to the action but not close enough to get entangled in a real fight, and set up an observer at an enemy warpgate. Instead of waiting for high stakes targets or coordinating with the actions of a ground squad, we just focus on interception of heavy targets making their way out of the warpgate regardless of their strategic utility, just to see if it's practical.

    Any thoughts?




  • #2
    Re: Heavy interceptors

    There was an instance when TG, CML, and another Outfit (iirc TAS) assaulted and began to take Eisa Tech Plant. Once the battle started to die down and the point was clearly secured (SCU was down as well) I made an observation in /l and in local trying to alert the other PLs that I felt the Vanu were preparing to re-secure the base through a Galaxy airborne assault.

    My Platoon was up on the gun deck and we were joined by TAS and were able to organize a very large Anti-Air force combining hacked turrets, MAX units and the lock on launchers.

    We quickly dealt with the incoming traffic.

    Most rookie attempts don't worry about altitude for the drops and alert ground forces can do very good work at dispersing the Galaxy drop if not out right denying it.

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    • #3
      Re: Heavy interceptors

      A good AA effort can make the difference, but I'm still uncomfortable with shooting them down over the facility you're trying to defend, because then they're still adding to the enemy presence in the base. When you've got the base locked down and all they'll do is make it an even fight again, that's workable, but if it's a hard fought win their shear numbers will tilt the battle. You need to knock them out before they get close.



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      • #4
        Re: Heavy interceptors

        The problem I see with this tactic is one of my main gripes in general. People don't respond to orders fast enough. They wait until they die to respawn. At TG this is the status quo because it is against the primer in other games to do this. Some think you can only play tactically if you are going slow. I disagree and lightning fast response and deploy times I feel are essential to victory in this game. The need to jab and move in this game as a smaller outfit is essential.
        As it has been said, here in Planetside2 this does not apply. People need to redeploy as needed not when they die and respawn. By the time people have died and respawned the initiative has been lost, And the battle is usually not far behind.
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        • #5
          Re: Heavy interceptors

          As it has been said, here in Planetside2 this does not apply. People need to redeploy as needed not when they die and respawn. By the time people have died and respawned the initiative has been lost, And the battle is usually not far behind.
          Yup. I wholly agree. The PS2 battlefield is built around redeployment as a feature not an exploit.

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          • #6
            Re: Heavy interceptors

            How does this effect a heavy interceptor group? How I'd see myself deploying one is that it'd be just a Liberator heavy air squad running regular air superiority/CAS jobs over the target area. Only when it looks like a drop might be coming would you shift them to a heavy interceptor role, but they'll already be in the air and they'd ideally be waiting in a nearby non-combat area at the flight ceiling for the go signal. The setup time is easy to front load. The rest is just flying as a group, which our air squads are more than capable of.



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            • #7
              Re: Heavy interceptors

              If the Air group is on station and ready to go then no there will be no redeploy time. What I was talking about is our usual response time to switch to a air squad and get organized is usually toooooo long :-) Sorry I don't want to derail this idea with my gripe. I think it is a good idea and would like to participate in some training for it.
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              • #8
                Re: Heavy interceptors

                I don't think you'd have to redeploy or place a friendly at their warpgate either. First of all if there was a friendly aircraft flying in hostile air space then you can pretty well bet it will be engaged by more than 1 enemy aircraft......I know because I've tried it several times. Also because of the size of the Gal it will render at a greater distance. That being said, if you have several Reavers at the edge of the cap bubble facing the enemy territory to act as an "incoming alert", they can provide intel on several fronts. #1 any enemy Gals coming regardless of number, #2 any enemy Sundies coming regarless of number, #3 engage any enemy aircraft coming. Have the people designated as the Lib staff guard and secure the air terminals and pads.

                If a armada of Gals is in-bound then someone who is designated the "Air deterrent" squad can pull Libs and engage according to the plan while the Reavers are already engaging wearing them out for the final Lib punch.

                I might add that the min setup for the Lib would be the "Shredder" and the "Dalton".

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                • #9
                  Re: Heavy interceptors

                  Originally posted by Toddshooter View Post
                  Some think you can only play tactically if you are going slow.
                  How odd. Speed is part of any tactical tool kit.

                  Do some really think this or do some think that some think this?
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                  • #10
                    Re: Heavy interceptors

                    Do some really think this or do some think that some think this?
                    Point taken. I am assuming this from others play styles over time. Not what has actually been stated. So I could be completely wrong in this case. There is a first time for eveything i guess :-)
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                    • #11
                      Re: Heavy interceptors

                      @Rageq3a Certainly no need to redeploy at WG for the larger bases when gaining a craft; however when the Facility is secured and combat has died down enough to reasonably anticipate an incoming Gal Drop it is not difficult for one squad to make an immediate 'Air Call' at a hacked terminal. I actually think this should be heavily considered as a potential security method.

                      Off Topic for a future discussion:

                      Originally posted by E-Male View Post
                      How odd. Speed is part of any tactical tool kit.

                      Do some really think this or do some think that some think this?
                      I think we should have an open discussion that quantifies the meaningful use of speed in action and decision making and to what desired ends they are invoked for.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Heavy interceptors

                        @ Rageq3a:

                        I think the forward observer is advantageous if you can add it to the equation. Yeah, you've got enough information to execute an interception without eyes on the warpgate, but population metrics are imprecise (can't tell the difference between an armour column and a gal drop, or even an impending drop versus just a busy warp gate) and relying on Galaxy rendering is way too reactive for my tastes. A Galaxy is going to go from the warpgate to its target in 60-120 seconds, and the last 30 seconds is less than ideal for an interception because they'll probably be able to drop into the battle anyways. On top of that, Galaxies are beefy and you'll likely have several of them to take down even after you've made contact.

                        Clear intel and precise timing will buy you precious seconds that aren't wasted on a delayed "go" signal or on scanning the skies for Galaxies that could be at any height or even (like Randy would do) hugging the ground and hiding behind intervening obstacles.

                        I think a forward observer is pretty easy to do, actually, based on my own trials. You can usually sneak a Reaver into a covered position close to the warpgate, then jump out as an infiltrator and have eyes on without ever being at risk. Even if a roving ESF kills your ride, you'll still be able to feed the information the interceptors require. It'd be best if the ESF could be carefully hidden so that you could tail the Gals out and provide intel all the way in, but that's not quite as important.

                        It's also not viable to just keep observers on the edge of the cap. By the time Galaxies are visible from the cap radius, it's already too late to stop them from joining the enemy presence (though you might be able to disrupt their drop cohesion). My preferred placement for the interceptors would be somewhere close to the mid-way point between the base and the warpgate, though maybe not directly there to avoid getting pounced on by enemy ESFs. Enemy reinforcements need to be interdicted before they're even in sight of their target, ideally, so every second you can shave off the interception time would count.

                        Originally posted by E-Male View Post
                        How odd. Speed is part of any tactical tool kit.

                        Do some really think this or do some think that some think this?
                        I'd reframe the idea as "when the pace is slow tactical thinking and execution is easier, therefore tactical play is more likely when moving slowly". Playing tactically in a fast paced environment is much more challenging than a slow paced environment where you have time to think and communicate clearly. I credit a lot of the amazing tactical play in Project Reality to the game's sometimes agonizingly slow pace. That kind of play can certainly happen in a more frantic game, but it takes a lot of training and practise.



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                        • #13
                          Re: Heavy interceptors

                          I would propose trying to figure out how the enemy is able to do these effective interventions, and figure out a way to disrupt this process before it is successfully completed.

                          Intel on our side was discussed here (observers etc). The enemy's intel wasn't.

                          How does the enemy know when and where to effectively execute this tactic?

                          Is there a way we can disrupt his plan before execution? Or take advantage of it's predictability?

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                          • #14
                            Re: Heavy interceptors

                            The trigger seems to be "a critical base, being obviously overwhelmed according to the map". I suspect it actually has more to do with the Vanu/TR equivalent of the NCC, where they see a base about to flip in a few minutes during an alert and an outfit volunteers to flip it the other way with a drop.

                            I've seen it happen so many times during alerts that I pretty much expect this sort of response when we gain the upper hand on a major base, unless the enemy is suffering from a population deficit that might mean they just don't have the manpower to contest it. Even if they're distracted on other continents, it's incredibly common to see large population shifts to disrupt base captures.

                            I'm not sure if you can really disrupt them at the planning phase, given that the trigger is literally our impending success as dictated by the game mechanics. But that predictability... the drops happen almost like clockwork. They bring the biggest force they can to swing it the other way.

                            It's the predictability of it that makes me think that a heavy interception strategy could work. The moment the fight looks like its tilting our way, we set up the interception team and any forward observers and hit the incoming enemy platoons are their most vulnerable: packed into a bunch of flying sardine cans with a predictable path and minimal anti-air capability. >:)

                            With luck, this disrupts their "overwhelming force" strategy by delaying and reducing (or eliminating) the coherence of their force for a few minutes, which is usually the margin of time needed to complete the capture.



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                            • #15
                              Re: Heavy interceptors

                              Great analysis, but maybe you are overlooking this.

                              They are using the map information to asses if they can intervene in a decisive way. However the map can be misleading. Forces maybe close but in a different territory, or forces may be airborne, thus painting all sorts of confusing tactics on the map.

                              I see possibilities there.

                              If you can con the enemy in sending too small or too large a force, you are making them ineffective in exactly the same way as they are trying to do to you.

                              An air element could be one of the ways of doing that. E.g. if the enemy thinks that the capping force is smaller, they may send too few reinforcements. It would only make that air element all the more effective.

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