This is for WOFF Nuggets, not veterans. My aim isn’t to help new players run up a big score; my aim is to help you survive. If you survive in a sim that lasts for as many as a thousand days, in which you fly almost every day and sometimes twice a day, you will run up a decent score. Always remember: Tomorrow is another day, if you are alive!
1) Get proper gear. You need a decent joystick. In my opinion, rudder pedals are also sine qua non. Rudder twisters or toggles just aren’t the same. Some of the aircraft in WOFF lack vertical stabilizers. In other words, the entire rudder moves, e.g., the Fokker Triplane. It’s very difficult to aim these aircraft without being able to make fine rudder adjustments. Then get a good throttle. Ideally, get programmable gear that will allow you to avoid using the keyboard for most common functions. ACM (air combat maneuvers) are all about the proper and synchronized function of stick, rudder, and throttle. Think about it! Simple turns require the use of all three simultaneously. The operative term is HOTAS
: Hands on Throttle and Stick.
2) Get TrackIr, or something like it. It makes a huge difference. First, it makes the game more immersive and enjoyable. Second, you won’t get surprised as often from behind. Before I had TrackIr, I was constantly surprised from behind. With TrackIr, I’m almost never surprised, unless I’m utterly careless.
3) Fly as the flight leader. You cannot trust the AI to lead your flight intelligently. It will just as often pass up opportunities as it will lead you into extremely poor positions.
4) Always know the shortest route to friendly territory, in case you need to use it. You will, sooner or later. The line along the front bends and twists. Safety is not always due east or west.
5) If you dive too hard and get the “overspeed damage” warning, bug out—egress! It might be minor; it might not be. You might get into a kurvenkampf and suddenly realize your controls aren’t 100%. Don’t chance it.
6) If you attack, and your plane is damaged, bug out--egress! The most likely serious damage, about which you’ll get no warning, is a holed fuel tank. There is no “smells petrol fumes” warning. Play it safe. It’s difficult to dogfight an EA while you’re watching to see if your fuel percentage starts dropping quickly, indicating that you’re running out of gas. Play the percentages. Tomorrow is another day.
7) If you are wounded, even a 5% wound, abort! Bug out! I suspect, based on experience, that a second minor 5% wound kicks you way up, and not to 10%. I also suspect that all wounds come with a clock, and if you take too long to get home with anything over 10%, you’ll bleed to death.
8) Know your machine. Take it up in QM. How hard can you dive without “overspeed” warnings? How fast do you need to be going to do a loop? What about a snap roll? How quickly, or slowly, does your plane roll? If your plane rolls better than an EA, you can use scissors, defensively and offensively.
9) Do intel and determine your current biggest threat. What’s the most dangerous EA you’re likely to run into? Fly in QM against it. First set up a co-alt 1v1 against a rookie. Then do the same against a veteran. Then tackle an ace. How did they maneuver differently? At what level did you start to get beaten? If you get beaten all the time by an ace, if you run into that type flown by an AI pilot who maneuvers like the ace you faced in QM, disengage and bug out.
10) Engage when you have an advantage. If you are outnumbered AND at an altitude disadvantage, disengage and egress. Erich Hartmann’s method was simple: “See – Decide – Attack – Coffee Break.” A) Visually acquire a target. B) Determine if you hold an offensive advantage. C) If you do, attack. D) If you don’t, take a COFFEE BREAK. Egress and wait for the next opportunity. EAs are like streetcars. If you miss one, there will always be another one coming along.
11) If you are getting hit from something you cannot see, probably from behind, do not look to see what’s hitting you. While you search for the bandit, you’ll keep getting hit. When you realize you’re getting hit—sounds, visuals, warning--evade immediately! Then look! My preferred method is to: a) chop my throttle; b) push the stick into a corner, either forward left or forward right; and c) apply full opposite rudder.
12) From my experience, collisions are a common killer. I seem to get killed in collisions more often than I get shot down. Again from my experience, the sorties where I seem to have the most collisions are escort missions. Your scout is faster than the bomber. Your flight gradually starts overtaking the bomber. Your flight needs to adjust position. Your flight, under AI control, does what I call a “Crazy Ivan.” (It’s a maneuver Soviet submarines would randomly due, suddenly making a 360, to insure they weren’t being followed.) That’s when things happen, especially if your Flight is large. You may avoid a collision, but I’ve seen other AI controlled planes hit. Suddenly your flight is down two aircraft. Once, when I was leading a five-plane escort Flight, I saw two collisions that took out my four comrades! I avoid this problem by switching to Level autopilot as soon as my flight is established behind the plane to be escorted, and on the track to the objective. I switch from Autopilot to Level autopilot. I allow my flight to proceed past the escorted bomber and to the objective. If there are EAs along the path, you will see them and can engage them, if you choose. Wait for the bombers over the objective and fly freely until they start back. Then repeat the procedure. Since I started doing this I haven’t lost a single flight member to collision. And the few times there have been threats to the bombers, I’ve been able to deal with those threats before the bombers arrive.