Played some BF2 today, Gulf of Oman, and saw some amazing F-35 fighter manuevers from a pilot named "MisterD". I'd never seen anyone pull off such wild tactics in mid-dogfight. When I logged in, he was really tearing up our forces on the ground, and no one could get into the air, since he and his wingman were strafing and bombing the crap out of everything. I finally managed to take off in a MiG-29 and vowed to bring him down. I shot down his wingman pretty quickly, but I don't think I ever managed to kill MisterD, although we dueled for at least 7 minutes. The closest I came was this one time, where I was on his tail and shooting him up with my guns. Just a couple more seconds and he woulda been debris, but the bastard set his engines into thrust-vector mode. This cut down his speed very quickly, and I overshot him. Within seconds, he was on MY tail.
This really blew my mind as I'd never seen someone activate thrust vectoring effectively in mid-dogfight. I was under the impression that the process takes far too long to initiate and reverse, and also makes the jet far too difficult to control, thus making it useless for dogfighting. But there MisterD was, with his engine exhaust at full afterburner, flames pointing straight down. I overshot, and he was soon on my tail and chasing me.
After a minute or two of evasive action at under 100 feet, I managed to shake him from my tail. I had about 15% health left in my MiG's hull. He then pursued my wingman's Su-34. Henry, who was watching me play, begged me to land my jet for repairs while I had the chance, but I refused to leave my friend in his time of need. (Not to mention the chances of being strafed to death while landing were very high.) So, I pursued MisterD's F-35 at max speed. And once again, he attempted to thrust vector behind me. But this time I had expected it... and I zeroed my throttle immediately. Unfortunately, this wasn't enough, as I was still slowly gaining on him. I held down the trigger, hoping to blow him up before this happened, but I knew I was too late. Refusing to overshoot him, I decided to ram my jet into his. With only 3 red sticks of health left, I assumed we'd both explode instantly. But nope, somehow I lost just 2 sticks on the collision, sending his jet bouncing upwards. I ejected from my plane, pulled the rip cord, and then began using my SVD, in mid-air, to snipe at his fighter (which was apparently unharmed from our collision).
this: he was apparently so enraged by my attack that he continued to hover his F-35, turned around towards my parachute, pointed his nose directly towards me, tore me to shreds with his Vulcan gun when I landed on the ground, and then smashed into my body with his plane!
Charlie_Six: hahahah MisterD, that rocked!
MisterD: were you that asshole I was chasing all that time?
MisterD: god damn jets suck!
Charlie_Six: Wha? You rock in that F-35, man. Never seen anyone do stuff like that in mid-combat.
BF2 lesson of the day: the APC is the perfect Commander vehicle. Playing as an Engineer and the Commander of the team, I found the APC to be the best way to command, defend and repair your assets (UAV/artillery/scanner), kill enemies, repair friendly armor, and transport troops. The jeeps are far too fragile, and the tank is too slow to quickly catch up to people to repair them or to escape battles.
As a Commander, you're often asking people to defend your assets from enemy Spec Ops. With an APC, you can do it yourself. The speed of the APC lets you quickly travel back to your base and repel the attackers. Once there, you merely drive up to your damaged assets to repair them (engineer kit repairs stuff automatically while you're in a vehicle). Then, as you return to battle, you can often pick up some friendlies who need a ride to the front lines. Drop them off at the edges of the fighting, call in a UAV with your "T" key, and then lay down long range supporting fire. And of course, if your APC gets damaged, merely retreat from battle, hop out, and repair it yourself.
Another tip for Commanders: try dropping a supply crate next to enemy infantry, then follow that up with an artillery barrage ;) The crate acts as bait. The infantry tend to gravitate towards the box and slowly resupply at it, thus giving you enough time for the artillery shells to land on their hands. This works best in the full screen Satellite view of course.
I was hoping to find my Excel file on the damage statistics of the BF2 guns, but I've lost it. The best I could do was this site: "The Numbers Behind Battlefield 2" - http://ubar.bf2s.com/
For me, the most useful info you can get from these numbers is that using body armor as USMC is almost pointless. Body armor reduces damage by 25%, but only for your chest and back areas. (Only Assault and Support kits have body armor.) 25% may sound great to some, but for the USMC, it will only protect you against one more Ak-47 or Ak-101 bullet. And that's to the chest! For every other area of your body, body armor does nothing. You can actually get killed faster by getting shot in the arm than in the chest, as a USMC Assault soldier. Unusual for an FPS game, eh?
Meanwhile, body armor for MEC/PLA kits seems useful, as it allows you to withstand 3 more M-16 bullets. Bottomline: Body armor is good for MEC/PLA, not so good for USMC.