I was a late arrival to the BF2 battlefield and have been playing for a little over a year now. Within the last several months, I have had numerous first time achievements due in part to experimentation. I decided to take some risk and broke some of my standard BF2 gaming patterns to try some new vehicles and techniques.
The biggest break-through for me was improving my flying skills. Initially, I was not at all interested in flying, but as I became a more experienced BF2 fighter I realized the importance of quickly getting from one flag to another flag. The fastest moving vehicles in the game are the aircraft.
There were a lot of crashes as I attempted to take off over and over again. It was a frustrating and embarrassing. I went back to what I knew, ground pounding. I even began to remember back to my single player Battlefield 1942 days when, on a couple of occasions, I would jump into a fixed wing WW II vintage aircraft just to be stripped of my health due to my inability to stay in the small circle of authorized airspace.
My first efforts in BF2 to fly were in helicopters (helios). My biggest challenge was gaining and maintaining level flight. I struggled with the keyboard and mouse to slowly creep toward a desired objective (OBJ). The slightest distraction and I would go out-of-control and plow into the ground or splash into the sea. As I attempted to move across the map, I was a sitting duck even for a novice enemy pilot.
Still, I tried numerous times with mixed results and established a procedure of making sure I was the only one in the aircraft, flying over the OBJ, bailing out, conducting a moderate free fall decent, and then feverishly deploying my parachute to get near the OBJ. While on vacation, I introduced the game to my brother and, to my amazement, he quickly grasped the concepts of flight. Then, it registered. You need to do what the real helicopters do which is to lean forward and fly at about a 45 degree angle. How about that! Level flight with the nose of the aircraft dipped below the line of the horizon while in-flight. It was a significant break through. Moving across the battlefield now became faster, closer to the ground, and more maneuverable.
The next big task was to land without turning into a big ball of fire. It was ugly at first, fatal at times, but began to get smoother. PRACTICE-PRACTICE-PRACTICE and a bit of determination. If you do not repeat something over and over again, you DO NOT get better at it. You have to build your muscle memory.
Now, permit me to present my most recent accomplishments. I scored my first air-to-air victory when I shot down another helio with my rockets on the Dragon Valley map. It was not pretty, but my opponent departed the airspace with a violent explosion. On the Fushe Pass map, I flew under several of the bridges with the following assortment of aircraft: US fighter, attack helio, utility helio and the MEC attack and utility helios. The most challenging for me was the big MEC utility helicopter. I even successfully pulled off an evasion maneuver by flying under a bridge while being engaged by another aircraft from behind. Damn, I am getting the hang of this!
I had practiced a couple of times landing on a roof. It was usually a sloppy approach, attempted landing, and a re-approach. Finally, let me tell you about last night. I got on a server hosting the Highway Tampa map and I was placed on the MEC team with all the other flags being in the possession of the US team. I confidently entered a MEC utility helio, studied the UAV and spot activity, made a determination that the opposing US forces were consolidated around the Village “B” (North of the Gas Station) and the Gas Station while the engine warmed up, and flew on a low flying route to Check Point West. I landed on the roof and waited for the impact of enemy rounds as a I single handedly changed the flag from US to neutral to MEC.
I quickly took off and put the pedal to the medal to get to Check Point South. Keeping an eye on the Heads Up Display (HUD), I watched as fellow MEC utility helio was making his approach on Check Point South and the first indications of approaching US tanks toward the check point from the Gas Station. As I came into close proximity of the flag, the other MEC helio came under fire. I broke attempts to capture the flag at Check Point South and made a direct dive behind the building, fence, and embankment along the river, there was not much cover to be had, but the enemy was focused on the other MEC helio.
My next OBJ was Village “K.” I went past the OBJ along the river and made a wide banking turn to the North in between Village “K” and the Main US Base. I scanned the landscape to identify threat armor and found none.
Approach and landing into the courtyard were uneventful. I listened for US fighter aircraft activity and intently looked over the immediate area for enemy infantry. Again, the flag turned from US to neutral to MEC without incident.
With extra confidence and no apparent activity at the Refinery, I lifted off and pulled a hard banking turn to the left. Already, picturing my approach and landing on the roof of the building just to the East of the flag. It turned out to be a great landing. I kept in mind the biggest threat was the US fighter aircraft. With some luck of being in the right place at the right time, the enemy still being focused on the ground forces at Village “B” and the Gas Station, and a good threat assessment, I was again able to achieve success. It was a glorious moment. I was not only able to single-handedly capture three flags, but did it using a helicopter. It was GREAT!
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