Sunday, 30 April 2017


For the final part of the Fire Devil mission in World of Warplanes, I made my attempt with a plane I thought I had gotten rid of awhile back, but was surprised to see it collecting dust in my hangar. Although the original crew of my forgotten Me 265 had moved on, I was able to retain another crew from the long-ago-sold Junkers Ju 88P that I discovered in the barracks (not sure how all that happened, having two separate crews, but there you go).

Already outfitted with the top equipment and weapons from my previous adventures, I took to the skies over The Bay and ran into a problem of the....aquatic nature....

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

The High and Middle Ground

Since the Fire Devil mission in World of Warplanes is spread across three parts, it made sense to make attempts at the other two portions, now the first one is done and out of the way. Regaling this tale in non-chronological order, I will start at the upper tiers first.

The Me 329, while a fine Attack Aircraft, with the option to be equipped with fairly powerful bombs and heavy hitting cannons, seriously lacks any rocket choices. Top that with a very noticeable deficiency in the armor department, as compared to the same tiered IL, has to rely on it's maneuverability and a player's map familiarity for survival.

All that aside, I got lucky with the map rotation, remembering there was a "mother lode" ground target and just where it was. Plus, with both teams were so engaged with each other overhead, it gave me the opportunity to get the task done....

However, this wasn't how I started off this session. 

Not having any non-Soviet Attack Aircraft after tier III and before tier VIII, I experimented with using other planes to see if they could get the job done, resisting the notion of purchasing back a more appropriate asset. First, I equipped my tier V Lend-Lease P-40 M-105 with rockets and tried to go GA hunting. Yeah, no glorious tales to be told there.

Next, I put rockets and bombs on my tier VII Focke-Wulf Fw 190-D (I strongly recommend NOT doing that) for a frustrating and nearly unflyable experience. Then, I turned to my tier V Bf 110 E and this happened....

Monday, 24 April 2017

Which Way? Wirraway!

The World of Warplanes mission seemed simple enough, collect 25 Superiority Points by using rockets and/or bombs. While there are many other options for planes that could be used versus enemy targets, I went for the more role specific Attack Aircraft and ground targets. Although the easy choice could have been using one of the many Soviet offerings, since they appear to carry the most destructive bomb and rocket payloads, I am sticking to my decision to not use them.

Instead, I am attempting the mission in the premium tier III CAC Wirraway. Sporting a very similar payload option to it's Soviet counterpart, the same tiered BSh-1, I am hoping to be just as successful with this Aussie Terror now as I have been with the Soviet Striker in the past.

Now, it's been a very long time since I played strictly in a ground attack capacity and I was unsure of the locations which yielded the higher Superiority values versus effort. Good thing this was the lower tiers, where a reorientation like this is a bit more forgiving....

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Canadian Jets - Royal Canadian Navy F2H-3 Banshee 126464

Royal Canadian Navy F2H-3 Banshee 126464.

Built by McDonnell Douglas in 1953, this Banshee started life in the United States Navy, first assigned to VF-31 at NAS Cecil Field, Florida and later on the carrier, USS Midway. After many transfers, from Cherry Point, North Carolina, VF-41 at NAS Oceana,Virginia, aboard USS Bennington and then to Quonset, Rhode Island, it was finally sold to Canada in 1957.

464 was stationed with VX-10 at Shearwater, Nova Scotia and with VF-870 on the Canadian carrier, HMCS Bonaventure, retired in 1962. 1 of 3 preserved in Canada and on display at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Sky High Pony

One thing that has been pointed out to me from the World of Warplanes videos that I having been posting recently, is that I am not making good use of altitude while using the Mustang H. I don't go high enough, or I bleed it off recklessly chasing an opponent too far down. Well, I listened to what was said and here is a sample of those results....

Now, before anybody pats me on the back and gives me a thumbs up or anything else like that, I want to be perfectly honest here, the experience felt so....anti-climactic.

Despite putting forth my best effort not to give up any altitude and working the layers from the top down, the only exciting part was rolling the dice in the duel against the enemy Me 209 A. The battle was pretty much decided below our aerial jousting match, where all the real thrills and action were taking place.

Perhaps, I was just missing the whole point altogether.... 

However, I know that I still have a long way to go in the ways of consistency, appropriate battle choices and adjustments. I also know that old habits will try and surface to influence my actions, which have spelt doom in the past, unless luck intervenes on my behalf.

So, with all of that foremost on my mind, here was another attempt to follow the advice that was given....

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

A Hawk in the Kiddie Pool

The Mission in World of Warplanes is called Taste of Victory, the requirements are win 5 battles while flying a Multirole Fighter or a Heavy Fighter.

Sounds simple enough, right? There are some out there who have the ability to complete all three portions of this task and give off the perception that it took very little effort to accomplish it. Unfortunately, I am not one of those people. In fact, it took three attempts to collect on the tier I through IV reward.

In keeping with an unintentional American theme set by flying the Mustang H, I trundled down to the lower tiers in my tier II premium F11C-2 Multirole Fighter. There, I faced a two person flight on the enemy team flying I-15's, was killed in the first minute and the whole battle was over shortly after that. Next, a lone player flying a I-15 proceeded to somehow dominate my entire team and flew circles around me, like I was frozen in the air. Another quick defeat to lift my spirits up.

I don't spend a lot of time in the lower tiers, so I have no idea what are the current player's favorites to fly (you know, that certain crowd and their plane choices). Plus, I have gotten rid of any lower tiered tech tree aircraft long ago, leaving my choices limited to the premiums I have earned or collected over the years and just make do with them. Sometimes, this has put me at a real disadvantage.

However, the old saying goes, "the third time's the charm" and I decided to switch aircraft. Video created from end game action and a replay....

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Cloudy with a Chance of Conflict

It has been nearly a month since I first acquired the Mustang H in World of Warplanes and it has been a real wild ride. While not a radical departure from the Mustang D that came before it, there is no doubt it is not the same aircraft, especially in the "forgiveness" department. However, the game plays out at a very different level at the higher tiers, something the Mustang D just saw on occasion, where the Mustang H sees daily.

Through a combination of accidental skill and luck (a lot of that), I am rather pleased with my progress thus far, thanks in a part to some good timing with recent specials and the opportunity to earn some much needed extra experience. I am not sure exactly when the next upgrade will become available, but I know it will happen quite soon.

In the meantime, I continue to fly when real world time permits and noticed I am experiencing more close calls, like this one....

Friday, 14 April 2017

Ace Combat 2

The year was 1997 and I decided to get with the times and purchased one of the first generation Playstations. Around this same time, the Official Playstation Magazine was launched and started to show up on convenient store shelves. The nice thing about the timing of all of this was a low cost way to feed my gaming needs through the included demo discs and a chance to experience different titles and genres, in an affordable, but limited format.

Without the use of Google or another search engine, I couldn't tell you the other games that were on that first demo disc I got, but I can say which title I did play the most.

Despite the choice of only one aircraft, the Grumman F-14 Tomcat and only playable level taking place in New York City, this demo version of Ace Combat 2 was just the type game I was looking for.
Simple, straight up action, without an overly complicated learning curve. The controls were easy enough to pick up on and the graphics were really good (although a little dated by today's standards, not too hard on the eyes like other games of the same era).

The mission was limited by five minute timer, which was more than enough time to take out ground targets, a few airborne enemies and the mission objective, a docked aircraft carrier. However, if one didn't keep a careful eye on the countdown timer in the upper right corner, you would run out of fuel and fail the mission.

After a lot of practice and memorization of the environment, a person could fly straight to the aircraft carrier and take it out, ending the game with a lot of time to spare and a certain victory, but where is the fun in that?

Even with playing the demo over and over and....I never did get the full version, nor rent from any video stores. I can't really remember why I didn't, perhaps the price of the game at the time scared me off, due to my limited entertainment budget (the Playstation wasn't a cheap purchase back then and did come with a few games to kill time with, like Bubble Bobble and a few others).

However, Ace Combat 2 would set the format and tone for flying games I would try to look for in the future. 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Please Stand By

Seems to be a bit of unscheduled maintenance going on with the North America server for World of Warplanes. Despite the main office, located on the West Coast, isn't open for business yet, many loyal players have already filed support tickets on this issue.

Not sure when this problem will be fixed.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Learning to Shepard Better

First, a bit of a self review, thus far. 

In World of Warplanes, I have seen it called "Bot Hearding," and I have been doing all wrong. I am a keyboard and mouse player and use the default key settings, so when I see an enemy that I want to engage, I tap the C Key. More often then not, this is followed up with selecting the T Key and the rest of the battle unfolds. Any guesses to why I have been getting frustrated to not having the bots on my team listen to my requests? Yeah, needless to say, I have rediscovered what the F2 and F7 keys are used for and added them back to my adjusted gameplay commands.

Part of that issue comes from the days before bots. Although those command keys have been around for a long time, I stopped using them when there were a lot more real people on both teams. More often then not, my requests were ignored, since most of those folks were operating on a much different agenda and helping me out wasn't a part of their plans. Now, with my artificial allies having much better listening skills programed in, I have revisited those long forgotten keystrokes and started to use them again.

Another pause for self reflection. Although I am still trying my very best to get a much better grasp of Boom and Zoom, anyone who has watched my videos has seen I haven't been all too consistent with this. Try as I might, I still fall back on energy bleeding maneuvers that would make other players just cringe and I freely admit that luck has intervened on many occasions to cover for this....repeated folly. However, random good fortune only goes so far and I still struggle to take the theory I have read, watched and envied others who have perfected, but still come up short on breaking my own habits to fully transition to the more effective reality.

Having said that, sometimes those relapses do come in handy, especially trying to counter the very technique that has eluded me....

Just one more upgrade to go, then the long haul to the tier IX FJ-1.

Monday, 10 April 2017

Chasing the Wind

Ever have one of those games where you just come up short on everything? Travel in the wrong direction, pick the wrong target, think you have a good bead, fire the guns and do nothing but shoot empty air?

If not, grab a comfortable chair and I will share one of those experiences from World of Warplanes with you....

Sunday, 9 April 2017

The skies above Vimy

 Despite taking place before the time period that World of Warplanes encompasses, I will pause and look back to a very significant event that occurred, 100 years ago today....

Every April the 9th is known as Vimy Ridge Day in Canada and is observed very much like Remembrance Day in some communities. Part of a larger World War I campaign known as the Battle of Arras, it is better remembered for the four day long operation to take out the heavily fortified and defended German positions on Vimy Ridge, by the use of a Creeping Artillery Barrage and a large number of Canadian ground troops. The clear and decisive victory came at a price, with 3,598 dead and 7,004 wounded and was a defining moment for Canada as a nation, on the world stage.

 However, there is an overlooked and forgotten part to the Vimy story. 

During those same four days and high above the battlefield, Canadian airmen and observers, serving with both the Royal Naval Air Service and Royal Flying Corps, would play a crucial part in the outcome of this major conflict. Flying in The Royal Aircraft Factory B.E.2 and through the use of aerial Morse Code transmitters, cameras and acknowledgment flags on the ground, enemy positions and movements would be photographed and relayed to artillery teams, greatly increasing their accuracy and effectiveness.

 Others, flying in Nieuport 17s, Sopwith Pups and Triplanes would engage aerial enemies in dogfights and drop bombs, mirroring the ferocious and bloody action below.

On this day, I will take a moment to remember those Canadian airmen who helped make the Battle of Vimy Ridge such a historical success and pay special honor to the 17 killed in action, along with 8 wounded and 4 still listed as missing....

Thursday, 6 April 2017

A double feature

Aside from the grind up and through the Mustang H in World of Warplanes, I have also been working on those sidebar missions, at a very leisurely pace.

Since I don't have any lower tiered tech tree aircraft in my hangar, I use the many premium aircraft I have acquired over the years. A few I have purchased with real world money, others have been rewards and/or giveaways, like the tier II XP-31 Swift. In an environment almost solely dominated through the use of biplanes, this experimental Curtiss monoplane brings a little something different to the battlefield in the sky.

The goal was simple, "Destroy at least 3 enemy aircraft in one battle." Here is how it all went down....

Now, if you sat through that and noticed the video quality seemed to be a bit off, you're right. In my haste to capture the action as it unfolded live, I forgot to double check my settings were set back to HD mode and not the default screen resolution I used on another project. A lesson learned, but not in time for the next video I made, a pick up match to make up for an earlier defeat in the Mustang H.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

RCAF Meteor

Although never officially taken on strength with the RCAF, four Gloster Meteors were tested and evaluated. Starting from August 1945 through November 1948, Meteors were pitted against the de Havilland Vampire and various Canadian environmental conditions. The winner would become first jet fighter for the post-war RCAF.

From the Test & Development Establishment at Rockcliffe, Ontario, to the Winter Experimental Establishment in Edmonton, Alberta, problems with the Meteor arose. Structural failures of the tail section, inadequate cockpit heaters, poor cold engine starts and odd airframe contraction in extreme weather were just a few.

The last Meteor tested, VT196, came to Canada in July 1953. Starting with winter trials, but in January 1954, it became the test bed for the afterburner system for Canada’s Orenda engine. After testing was completed in June 1955, it was returned to Britain.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Eagle Strike

I see there is a new Mission Series in World of Warplanes to collect a high tier premium plane, more details can be found here. Although there appears to be a reasonable amount of time to complete it (just at a glance, mind you), I think I will sit this one out. I believe my Soviet premium tier VII Kostikov 302 will suffice.

Speaking of upper tier premiums, the tier VII XP-75 American Heavy Fighter has been one of the few I suffered from "perpetual buyer's remorse." While other players have been more successful with this aircraft, since it better suits their playstyle, mine has been less than forgiving when I took it outside the envelope, in the past. However, encouraged with my recent Mustang D and H experience, I attempted to replicate the "better result" techniques I have used on them on their much larger cousin....

It would seem I also have the phenomenon of "bending bullets" to thank for the results.

Saturday, 1 April 2017

Almost an Ace

There are some players in World of Warplanes who make getting the Ace Achievement look so easy. So, what's their secret to getting five kills almost consistently, with the appearance of very little effort? Are they just that naturally good of a player? Perhaps they have figured out they excel with particular aircraft in certain tiers, or even one of those "all round" types?

Do they study the flow of the battle and have the ability to use that to their advantage? Better yet, do they read the game, much like Neo did in The Matrix? Maybe they are just truly luckier than most, but dismiss this themselves....