Pinned Air Combat - Guide for dealing some (in)decent damage

    • Air Combat - Guide for dealing some (in)decent damage

      Why writing this?

      Since there is no real game manual and most of the game mechanics are discovered by individual players, it is not always easy to find reliable source of information where you can find answers to many game related questions. Players sometimes don't have full understanding how something works or they are even completely clueless. One aspect of the game is often confusing to large number of players, especially new ones, and that is air combat.

      Since air combat is maybe the most important part of competitive strategy in CoW, it is something everyone wants to benefit from. I have been asked for advice by multiple players and I will try to present some of my knowledge about this part of the game. First I will present some facts about how does the air combat works and after that I will try to give some examples how to utilize those facts in common situations. I may be wrong about some things, so if someone notices that, he or she should be free to say it, everything can be edited if needed. In following text I will use term group to describe any stack of units of any type (one group can contain one or more different types of units) with at least one unit in it (for example, air group is a stack of planes). Also, I will talk only about conventional planes, so no talk about atomic bombers (there is small difference compared to conventional planes) and I will not mention anything related to gold or HC and benefits from that (those mechanics are story for themselves).




      Ways of dealing damage:

      Different types of planes are good against different targets. Interceptors are good against all other planes, tactical bombers are good against land units and convoys (both land and sea convoys), strategic bombers are good for destroying buildings, naval bombers are good for scouting and destroying subs and sea convoys and have some potential against warships. However, it is almost always good idea to combine more types of units into single group to increase survivability and effectivness. If you don't already know this, check unit stats and read them carefully. I will assume that all who read rest of the text are familiar with strength of planes again other units.

      Two most common ways to deal damage using planes are using attack function to directly attack some enemy group for 100% damage and patrol function to deal 25% damage to all enemy groups inside patrol area every 15 minutes, but there is a lot more ways to do it.
      • Direct attack is pretty simple. Order group of your planes to attack enemy group of any type in its range, it will do 100% damage to it and receive 100% damage from it, but, there are some situations where calculation changes a little. First, if enemy has one or more air groups patrolling in a way that their patrol area covers the location where enemy group (the one which is being attacked by your air group) is positioned, that air groups will do 100% damage to your air group while receiving 0% damage from it. Second, air groups have area of effect (AoE) damage. It is very small area, but still worth the mention because if more than one enemy group (excluding air groups currently in air) is very close to each other, they will defend against planes together (your air group attack to any of those groups will be considered like an attack to all of them at once, meaning that it will be spread over them, while their defensive damage is sum of all defending groups). This means that enemy can't just split some group few moments before it gets attacked in order focus all attacking damage to just one of the groups.
      • Patrolling groups (except in special case which was mentioned above) do 25% damage every 15 minutes. Tricky question here is to who will be the target and in which cases will the patrolling groups recieve damage. Damage will be dealt to two different categories of enemy groups, first includes enemy patrol groups, with condition that your and enemy patrol areas overlap and second includes all other groups (including air groups which are not patrolling), with condition that your patrol area covers the location where those enemy groups are currently positioned. If only first category is present, your patrol groups will do 25% damage to them and recieve 0% damage every 15 minutes. However, enemy will do the same (15 minutes timers will usually not all start at the same time). If only second category is present, your every patrol group will do 25% damage to them and recieve 25% damage from them every 15 minutes. This also means that even plane groups (excluding patrols) who are just standing on land (their current airbase) or flying around will do 25% defensive damage every time some enemy patrol group finishes patrol cycle (when it finishes one iteration of its 15 minute timer) over the position where they are currently located. If both categories are present, your damage is spread among them.




      Good practises:

      Knowing this which is previously mentioned is a good start, but there are many things which imply from previous and are not very obvious. I will try to present some good air combat tactics which I saw people use (or discovered myself) in games I played. Most of them come from Players League because I play that the most and that is where probably the most competitive games are held.
      1. Consider SBDE. For planes 100% SBDE is usually when there is at most 5 of the same kind (same kind = same type + same level) in one group, above 5 it will go down. Depending on the type of enemy groups and the way in which damage is dealt sometimes maintaining maximum SBDE is important, sometimes it makes sense to have 6 or rarely 7 or more planes of the same kind in the same group.
      2. When patrolling over same target with multiple air groups, make sure they are all in the exact same position (can be easily done by selecting them all together and ordering to patrol over some location) in order to avoid enemy using his patrols to overlap only one of your patrols, kill it easily and continue doing the same to others.
      3. Different kinds of planes have different speed, range and patrol area. Range of a group is equal to the range of plane with the smallest range of all planes in the group. Same goes for speed. For patrol area, its size is equal to the size of patrol area of the plane with largest patrol area in the group. For example, strategic bombers have very big range, interceptors are very fast, while naval bombers have large patrol area. It is a good idea to combine or separate planes from the same group in order to gain benefit from this kind differences when situation allows.
      4. Attack enemy air groups while they are refueling. When refueling, planes have only 5HP and no damage. Just be careful if enemy uses some patrol groups to protect them (see next part) or had some groups ready to counterattack when your groups return for refueling.
      5. When you see enemy is using direct air attack against some of your groups, move patrol groups in place where they can protect them (deals 100% damage to enemy air groups and kills a lot of planes if done properly). It is enough to cover the group(s) you want to protect even by a little. If in range, you can even use some of those groups to follow enemy groups after they attack and counterattack when they return to refuel.
      6. Combine different types of planes in your groups in order to bring more force (without damaging your SBDE) and make enemy spreads their damage across more units.
      7. When you see enemy is using direct air attack against some of your groups which are near the edge of enemy range, you can (if you have time) move your group just a little behind the edge. If your group is past the edge at the moment of impact, enemy air group will deal no damage, but will still have to return to refuel. Even better, if you used some patrol groups to protect, they will do 100% defensive damage to enemy even if enemy did no damage at all.
      8. As already explained, when enemy has one or more air groups patrolling over some area, that groups will deal 25% od their damage every 15 minutes to all groups inside the area and recieve 25% damage from those groups (excluding your own patrols as they will deal damage separately). This can used against him. One way is by moving land (or naval) groups (with a lot of AA defense) inside enemy patrol area. If total AA defense of your groups used this way is large enough so they can inflict more damage to enemy patrol groups than those groups deal to them (HP should also be considered in this calculation), then this is a good way to destroy enemy patrols. Other way is to use your own air groups. Trick is to avoid patrolling over enemy patrols and make sure your air groups are either flying around (looking confused) or standing in airbase, with the condition that they are inside enemy patrol area. Unlike classic patrolling (in which case your patrols deal offensive damage every 15 minutes and don't do any defensive damage when enemy patrols end their patrol cycles), air groups used this way will defend when every enemy patrol group finishes its patrol cycle. While to someone this doesn't seem to make any difference because it just changes time when your patrol groups deal damage, there is reason why in many situations this can do more damage than classic patrolling. That reason is the fact that while patrolling, all damage is spread across all enemy groups but in this case it is not spread across them and instead it is dealt to all enemy patrol groups separately at the moment when they finish their patrol cycle. Knowing this, you must also be careful when moving your small air groups near enemy patrols as they can easily be destroyed if at the wrong place at the wrong time.
      9. As most players probably know, when you set your relations with someone to war using diplomacy, if no fighting happens (with one exception) and enemy does not set his relations with you to war as well, you can set it back to peace any time you want and there will be no war. Exception is when using patrols. If you set your relations to war and patrol over enemy units, you will deal damage to them and they will respond but you can set relations to peace at any time and there will be peace because patrols don't trigger change of enemy relation with you (unlike all other kinds of fighting - that is why this is an exception). As a bonus (by knowing how patrols work - which is already explained), you can now realize that patroling over enemy patrol groups this way will deal damage to them every 15 minutes but they will deal no damage to you at all (unlike all other groups - which was mentioned previously). This can be used against AI very easily to clear their units before going in (to take undefended capital, for example) or against offline opponents if you have enough patience.
      10. Consider "techstacking". It is a term used for combining units of the same type but different level in same stack. It can only be used with the help of someone else as you need him to trade you units which are not the same level as those you have so you can combine them. Benefit of using this lies in fact that SBDE will be calculated separately for those units if they are different level even if they are of the same type and also that damage recieved will be now spread across more units. That way you can make your groups stronger. Good way to use this effectively is to use different levels of same types of planes in groups which are used for air to land bombing in order to absorb and spread much more damage from defending AA units. Other good way is the opposite of previous situation. Use different levels of AA in groups you expect to be targets of air to land bombing and enemy will think twice before trying that. What need to be taken into account here is that in some situations it might be better not to have different levels, but to have only one (the highest of them) level of some unit type like we are all used to have (for example, in patrol to patrol combat).
      11. Good way to disable enemy air groups is to destroy (or deal damage bad enough) the airbase they are currently using. This only works if there are no other airbases nearby where they can relocate and keep operating. If that is the case, they will (if in air) immediatelly fly back to it and (whether they were in air or not) turn them into convoys, making them very weak (as already explained). Best way to do this is by attacking airbase directly with some of the unit groups (rockets and strategic bombers are very effective) or to use spies on military sabotage mission (often more than a few is required).
      12. Protect you airforce. Like with all units, it is mandatory that you don't lose your planes if you don't have to. While it sounds obvious, not many people consider this the top priority. Leaving planes near border while being offline is a bad idea. You might want to protect some areas while you are not online, but keep in mind that minor territory loss is far less a problem than losing units while you are not there. Land can be taken and lost, reconquered and lost again, but losing key units in important wars can often be much more damaging. Sacrificing land to regroup and lure enemy far into your territory and counterattack when your units (especially planes) are concentrated is a superior strategy compared to fighting for every piece of land while your forces are separated.
    • miech wrote:

      Very often (id say in 70% of the times) it seems that units on orders to rush through multiple provinces, tend to get engaged with defenders seperately if reinforcements come in. Ive tried multiple ways to circumvent this (for instance, not defending in a city, but a bit further away), but it pops up more times than I am comfortable with.

      Hope I cleared up what I meant?:)
      The key is to not have follow-up orders for the units to keep executing. If their orders end at that same destination and they are sent via "move" command rather than "attack" command, they will combine with defending units on scene so long as the defending units haven't been ordered to attack the attackers. In other words, your moving units can only combine with other units with the same status (in this case, defending without further orders).

      miech wrote:

      The thing is - they dont. The attacker will engage them 1-3 minutes away so you cannot even 'force merge' them then. On rare occasions you can though.

      What puzzles me, is the randomness of this event, because since this bug feature exists, I also try to use it to my advantage.

      There are up to three reasons that this occurs. First, your unit was ordered to "attack" the enemy by dragging it to the targeted spot via the enemy (click and drag motion to wrong recipient). Second, your unit has additional orders, so it "attacks" the enemy on scene so as to eliminate that which is blocking it from achieving it's "next" order. Three, the enemy unit's owner is online and deliberately dragging his non-moving unit to your nearby unit, thus re-commanding it to attack from a distance.

      Note that option 3 occurs for any change in command of any unit(s) at or very near the location in question regardless of the owner (defenders/attackers). In a 2 vs. 3 player battle on one location, if even one of them changes the orders of a unit on scene, it will affect the combat status of all units in that any opposition units that are near but not yet engaged will "leap" to the battle from the distant spot (not moving, just engaging at distance).
      It seemed like such a waste to destroy an entire battle station just to eliminate one man. But Charlie knew that it was the only way to ensure the absolute and total destruction of Quasi-duck, once and for all.

      The saying, "beating them into submission until payday", is just golden...pun intended.

      R.I.P. Snickers <3
    • Paramunac wrote:

      As most players probably know, when you set your relations with someone to war using diplomacy, if no fighting happens (with one exception) and enemy does not set his relations with you to war as well, you can set it back to peace any time you want and there will be no war. Exception is when using patrols. If you set your relations to war and patrol over enemy units, you will deal damage to them and they will respond but you can set relations to peace at any time and there will be peace because patrols don't trigger change of enemy relation with you (unlike all other kinds of fighting - that is why this is an exception). As a bonus (by knowing how patrols work - which is already explained), you can now realize that patroling over enemy patrol groups this way will deal damage to them every 15 minutes but they will deal no damage to you at all (unlike all other groups - which was mentioned previously). This can be used against AI very easily to clear their units before going in (to take undefended capital, for example) or against offline opponents if you have enough patience.
      I believe that this loophole is closed now. Declaring war with planes on patrol will cause the other country to go to war as well.
      War is a game that is played with a smile. If you can't smile, grin. If you can't grin keep out of the way til you can. - Winston Churchill



      VorlonFCW
      Senior Game Operator
      EN Support Team | Bytro Labs Gmbh

      >>> Click Here to submit a bug report or support ticket <<<
    • @Paramunac, if I remember right, you could also do that (causing damage with patrols) even during full peace. You didn't have to declare war to do this. But, @VorlonFCWs right, this was fixed in a semi-recent update.
      It seemed like such a waste to destroy an entire battle station just to eliminate one man. But Charlie knew that it was the only way to ensure the absolute and total destruction of Quasi-duck, once and for all.

      The saying, "beating them into submission until payday", is just golden...pun intended.

      R.I.P. Snickers <3