Author Topic: Reviewing the "HO"  (Read 10376 times)

Offline humble

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Reviewing the "HO"
« on: May 20, 2010, 07:20:12 AM »
This is the type of topic that constantly recycles in game and on the BBS. One of the original goals of "DFC" was/is to promote "old school" air combat which is a preference for a certain code of conduct that encourages 1 on 1 or small melee type combat vs a single player being ganged or a large group (normally known as a horde) overwhelming a very small group. This is a repost of an internal thread Vudak fired back up where some of the guys/gals were trying to formulate a statement that tries to put the HO in perspective...

If you have played Aces High for any length of time, you have probably heard someone complain about a “HO.”  In case you are confused by the term, these people are not simply being misogynistic.  Instead, they are complaining about someone pressing for a head-on attack.

A head-on attack occurs when two aircraft each have a firing solution on the other at the exact same time.  This differs from a front-quarter shot where one aircraft can fire towards the front of its opponent’s aircraft, but its opponent cannot return fire.  Though both are likely to cause a volatile reaction from your recently dispatched opponent, both can also be useful tools for your arsenal.  The trick is recognizing that a saw is not always the best hammer.  The aim of this document is to make you aware of the possible detriments of a head-on attack, so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not to press for one in your future engagements.

Why do you often here that a "HO" is not a high % proposition. A couple of factors come into play.

A) The Numbers

First things first, let’s look at some numbers.  Many people claim a HO attack gives you a 50/50 chance of survival.  We think that is optimistic.  Every time you and an opponent line up for a head-on attack, one of the following outcomes is possible:

1.   You die.
2.   Your opponent dies.
3.   You both die.
4.   Neither dies.

That’s 50/50, right?  Well, that depends on your definition of “chance for survival.”  We tend to think of it in terms of surviving your entire sortie, and not just that one particular encounter.  That brings us to another possibility, and one that is constantly available, even if you “win” the HO and fly off alive:

5.   You take damage.

That damage could be to a vital control like a flap, elevator, or rudder.  It might be a leak of necessary liquids like oil, fuel, or radiator fluid.  While there’s a chance you’ll get away with only a few guns destroyed that you’ll want later, or perhaps several tiny bullet holes weakening your wing to the point where one more will rip it right off, there’s also a chance that you’ll suffer a pilot wound, and immediately begin to bleed out.

The bottom line is damage is bad.  Damage reduces your chance of survival.  You want to avoid damage when possible.  Deliberately placing your aircraft right in front of incoming gunfire (read: damage) is not usually in your best interest.  It is most certainly not a 50/50 chance of survival.

B) Tactical Considerations

By its very nature a "HO" freezes your nose on the enemy, very often this can create a significant disadvantage. The better your opponent the more likely he'll be to manipulate your shot attempt to his advantage. This can tend to lead to an increasing level of frustration and an escalation of a tendency to "HO" since you have less and less confidence in your ability to "dogfight". Dogfighting is a frustratingly hard aspect of air combat and takes time, practice and a firm understanding of ACM cause and effect. Most good dog fighters will tell you that the merge is the single most important aspect of the fight and that "locking the nose" on the enemy is about the worst thing you can do.

The flip side is that dogfighting offers the most fun and excitement in the game. By focusing on learning proper "merge tactics" you'll increase your longterm enjoyment and actually land more kills and have more fun while your still learning. It's important to understand that the merge is defined as the 1st time the two combatants cross paths. Once the planes have joined the fight many possibilities exist on both sides. Generally speaking the antagonists have two choices. Work for the 1st shot or try and retain enough energy to gain the upper hand. Very often the 2nd crossing or "re-merge" determines the course of the fight. If both players are aggressive and try and get around 1st then the plane that wins is much like the gunfighter that clears leather 1st...in effect he won the draw. That does not automatically win the fight since a hasty or poorly aimed shot wont finish the opponent. If one player is looking to keep as much E as possible then he needs to guard against and defend against a possible shot. This 3D chess match is the heart of the "dog fight" and provides countless opportunities and variations.

While players may mutually agree to a greater restriction in most brackets the initial merge is flown "guns cold" but any shot is fair game after that. As it relates to combat in the main arena's the simple reality is that once you learn to avoid an opponents "HO" and use his limited tactics to your advantage you'll not only be in a position to win more fights but also to defend a bad position and then "reset the fight" on more even terms. In just a few hours with a trainer or DFC member you can greatly increase both your skill level (specific to "dogfighting") and enjoyment of the game overall. Don't let others trap you into a "50/50" bet when you can learn to do much much better.


By circumstance I've got a film that highlights some of the realities nicely...
http://beachheadcrm.info/snaphook/The%20Joust.ahf

This is type of fight that constantly keeps me trying to find better ways to approach things. Here is a circumstance where I've worked my way back to "even" from being more or less bounced. I don't want to joust but if I break and evade I'm giving up what little E I have and creating an angles advantage for him in the vertical (you can see how aggressively he flew the cutbacks earlier in the fight). I'm really hoping to bluff him off me while getting everything I can by turning in the vertical vs "flat". In effect in my mind he's where I need to be going, end result is as pure a midfight "HO" as you can get since we literally run into each other.

One of the few times I've stepped up to the craps table in a 1 on 1 fight...."7 out line away"
« Last Edit: May 20, 2010, 07:39:41 AM by humble »

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Offline 2bighorn

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2010, 10:21:19 AM »
How about when you find yourself at disadvantage and other guy has everything, better plane, more E, better position?  Sometimes, after reversal, your only chance to stay alive is to point your nose at the bandit and hope it'll be a cold pass. Of course, you have dweebs with all the advantage possible and they still HO.

What about one versus many? After prolonged fight you'll often find yourself in such a low E state you won't be able to avoid HO attempt. You'll have to fire or die.

Offline Vudak

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2010, 10:34:19 AM »
How about when you find yourself at disadvantage and other guy has everything, better plane, more E, better position?  Sometimes, after reversal, your only chance to stay alive is to point your nose at the bandit and hope it'll be a cold pass. Of course, you have dweebs with all the advantage possible and they still HO.

What about one versus many? After prolonged fight you'll often find yourself in such a low E state you won't be able to avoid HO attempt. You'll have to fire or die.

Hi Bighorn,

This thing right here is a work in progress, and we're currently discussing some of those scenarios you mentioned.

I think it's important to point out that the aim of this thread/article is not to try and convince people to never use a HO, as it is a useful tool in some situations.  Instead, the aim is to point out the risks of putting yourself in a position where both you and the bad guy have a simultaneous guns solution.

What's obvious for one person isn't going to be obvious for everyone.

 :salute
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Offline Soulyss

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2010, 11:05:19 AM »
Nice article gents, I've never had an ideological problem with a head on attack however I've also felt that there are a couple problems inherent in using it as an primary tactic rather than one of desperation.

The primary issue in my mind is simply that it will end the fight before the participants will have a chance to explore beyond the initial merge and in that sense people who like to use the head on to open an engagement are ultimately robbing themselves of learning opportunities that come with pressing a little deeper into the fight and curtailing their own development.  In that sense they will always have to HO because 50/50 may be the best odds they will get.  The flip side is taking that fight a little deeper and maybe learning something.  I've always felt that the HO first mentality is ultimately self defeating.

Like everything here their are exceptions to everything and there are times when I will take that HO shot (not to be confused with a front quarter shot :)).  However for someone who has any interest whatsoever in improving to the point where a 50/50 proposition isn't the best odds they can get the HO isn't what's going to get them there.
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Offline humble

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2010, 11:40:24 AM »
How about when you find yourself at disadvantage and other guy has everything, better plane, more E, better position?  Sometimes, after reversal, your only chance to stay alive is to point your nose at the bandit and hope it'll be a cold pass. Of course, you have dweebs with all the advantage possible and they still HO.

What about one versus many? After prolonged fight you'll often find yourself in such a low E state you won't be able to avoid HO attempt. You'll have to fire or die.

I don't disagree with you at all, in fact the film linked above plays into it. I'm in an A-20 vs a 109G6 thats shown very aggressive attacks in the vertical with minimal extensions. The initial attacks forced me to the deck and I've got rapidly diminishing options. He reverse back into a nose low frontal attack that would yield a top down FQ attack basically on my cockpit. I either need to pull up into the attack or evade laterally setting up not only a plane form shot but a natural extension into the vertical reverse for him. So in the end I took the shot offered, at the time in the moment allowed it was certainly a reasonable decision.

However the flip side is that till that point he hadn't been capable of generating any advantage. I had enough speed to gain some verticals and an opportunity to trap him on the top down shot. The simple reality is that in my mind I gave him a "50/50" shot which is better odds then he earned. I come out of this type of fight feeling that I would have been better of pushing one more time vs giving in to circumstance. When I look at the film I don't think that I was down to my last chance.

I agree that at some point the best you can do is roll the dice, the question is learning to extend and nurture better options as long as possible...

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Offline Stones

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2010, 03:45:28 PM »
I think the first merge HO is probably the most disappointing/annoying thing in this game.

Speaking from a personal perspective of how I would engage a con when I first started playing, through to how I would engage now, is very different.
Not having flown a plane other than in arcade shoot'em ups.  I would get as fast as possible, aim my plane at the red guy, max zoom view and try and hold the con in the piper whilst firing everything at him.  Immelman.  Repeat process.

After a few weeks of that, I started to realise that there was more to this flying lark than just blowing through the merge and aiming for the sky.  
I got involved in what felt like a great turn fight and saw the light.  It made my heart race and gave me the encouragement to learn.  I wanted more of that kind of fight.

I wish you well in your quest for a "statement".  It should appear on page 1 of the manual.
The subject of "HO" will always be an ever present in this game.  
Most new players who have no experience of air combat, will behave similar to the way I have described when I first started.
They will also naturally begin to deffer from this kind of engagement as knowledge is gained and an awareness builds that other kinds of fight exist.

It's a shame when experienced and long time players resort to the HO first pass though.  I don't know if it is possible to collect data for which areas of a target the rounds land.  Say a player with 100 kills.  The data might show 80% of rounds fired hit the tail, 10% hit wing and so on.  Would be nice to know.


Stones



 

 
« Last Edit: May 21, 2010, 04:05:53 PM by Stones »
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Offline TheRapier

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2010, 05:14:18 PM »
Just to offer another thought.

The HO isn't "wrong" per se, ie. breaking any laws or rules of combat. It was/is a part of real air combat. Particularly in the Pacific, newbies were advised to take on the lightly armored Japanese planes head on if they had to. So there is no "crime against humanity" in it.

It's more an indication of level of development. Reflexively going to the HO over and over because it's the only thing you know how to do, is an indication of a lack of development. It's like training wheels, its a visible indication that the user is not yet competent.

One thing I can't understand is people complaining about the HO. It takes two to make that particular tango, both planes have to come at each other and hold a steady course to make it happen. The better player should be able to handle that. If you can't and you get killed by a HO, then ask yourself, why?

Why not do an out of plane jink when you come into range? What stops you? The belief that the other guy won't shoot? I'll suggest that is a pretty tenuous hope. I always assume that anyone that comes at me head on will be coming to take a shot. It is up to ME to figure out how to handle that.

Just a thought. . . .
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Offline doomed

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2010, 05:32:40 PM »
I get accused of HO'ing sometimes from the usual suspects but to me i think most HOs are in the eye of the beholder. True if you just see a bad guy wep up point your nose at him and shoot for 1000 yards until you kill him get killed  or collied that is a Ho, but i fly in a luftwaffe squad and we fly german ac and my ac of choice is the A-8 ( love the armor and the roll rate and the guns to be sure) but that 190 takes some getting used to and requires a certain style of E fighting and you dont get many turns before your low slow and dead so here is some of the things i get called names for.

A. I am co-alt with a faster more turnable plane that sees me and starts to dive under me to get speed up to loop up and over me and i tilt down and take a short shot to maybe clip him...i get called a HO tard but really am i supposed to let him just do it?
B. I have fought 2 or more minutes with a spit 16, pony, or f4u and am beginning to lose speed but he turns up and leans in front of me i shoot him..i am called a Ho tard or worse.
C. I have successfully gotten my opponent to get slow and chase me straight up as i roll over and face straight down on him nose to nose, he is stalling i am not i of course shoot him and he dies and calls me a HO tard.
D. Last if not least i have fought my opponent but am being beaten but in his haste to beat me quickly he turns right into me i shoot him and get called HO tard or worse.

Of course most guys simply give me  a S and move on or just say nothing at all but there are those few and we all know them that EVERTHING you do is a HO except when you shoot them in the 6 and then its a pick. I say if someone gets into my gunsight I'm shooting them.


Offline Baumer

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2010, 05:59:51 PM »
My Definition of the Head On Shot

   There are many more skilled and experienced players than I to discuss this topic, but I would like to share my thoughts on this. Also, I tend to think my definitions are more applicable to medium or low skilled players than the top notch pilots, who all ready know how to avoid these situations I am going to describe. Beyond the starting point that a Head On Shot (HO) is a statistically poor position to be in. There are a number of ways that the "Historical Correctness" can be addressed. My primary argument is this, there is a significant difference between playing a game and real life combat. We are PLAYING at combat, no one actually dies. So, as a GAME we should look for ways improve the game experience (for all players) and help new players learn in the best environment possible. This is a particularly complicated topic, that is all too often, either oversimplified or dismissed as whining. Many long time players can't even agree on what is or isn't a HO. So how does a new player have a chance to grasp it in those first couple of weeks when it can do the most good for their learning and enjoyment of the game.
   I feel it is more important to get a better definition of the HO so that we can discuss them in a clear manner and help educate other players (with the goal of improving game play). I think that there are two main types of HO shots. The first I call the Dueling HO, the second is the MA HO.

The Dueling HO Shot

   The Dueling HO is much easier to define and has fewer exceptions (only 1 I can think of) than the MA HO. Any time two players agree to dual I think it should be made clear what both players expect when it comes to HO shots. In a dual both players are merging in the same plane with similar altitude and energy state, but this definition can extend to dissimilar aircraft if agreed to up front. My personal preference is to not shoot any time both have a forward gun solution (with a heartbeat pause for almost into guns position). However, I think it is more widely accepted that once a cold merge has occurred all shots are fair game. I tend to disagree with this position since I believe that a dual is meant to evaluate two players skills. Taking a HO shot does nothing to demonstrate skill, when both players are in the same plane (and load out) with equal altitude and energy.
   Now I would like to discuss the one exception I have seen to the above definition. I call it using the no HO shot to gain an advantage maneuver. Once a dual has commenced I have seen players that will try to "give" a slightly off nose to nose pass so that they can build their energy back up. It's my feeling that if you are giving someone an opening on a front quarter shot, you should expect to get shot. I think this image will help explain what I am trying to describe



In the above example The Green pilot is pulling to get his nose around as quickly as possible, the Red pilot is not pulling as hard as possible in order to conserve some energy. In my opinion the Green pilot should be able to take the forward quarter shot. The primary goal of the Dueling HO shot definition is to make it clear, that be restricting the opportunity for any HO shot, and having it agreed to prior to the dual, the dual will produce a better picture of the two pilots comparative skills.


The MA HO Shot

   The Main Arena HO shot is a much more complex definition with many more exceptions, that require more decision making, and better situational awareness. The same guiding concept still apply from the Dueling HO. And the HO shot is still a low probability maneuver and often times not necessary.

   The initial merge, for me this can dictate much of how the rest of the fight will go. If you encounter a single enemy contact (and you're by your self) and the merge is relatively even ( ie. E state and altitude difference is reasonable) I think a cold merge is the best possible merge for game play.
   And here we have the first exception, dissimilar aircraft, in general I feel that most planes are similar enough that this is a non-issue. However, I have experienced players who complain that I took a HO shot with my B-25H against their P-51D on the initial merge. It takes just a little common sense that there might be a few aircraft that some might feel are warranted an initial HO shot given that it's not strictly a fighter. So it's important to remember with this definition that while you should not take a shot the other person might have reason to.

   If you are about to merge into an ongoing (evenly balanced) fight, it's not an inital merge. In my opinion if there are more than 6 aircraft engaged in a fight that's balanced then I don't think there should be any expectation that someone will not shoot at you. With 5 or more contacts most players don't have the situational awareness to pickup who's entering the fight and who's all ready engaged.

   Unbalanced situations can also make taking a HO shot a much more statistically useful tactic. I think that many people would like a clear all or nothing definition of the HO shot but that isn't really practical. Most times all it takes is a little common sense to see when a HO shot is good or bad for game play.

   Here are a few examples;
1.) I am in a 190F-8 looking for GV's for my squadmates (who are in GV) at 1,500 feet altitude. An enemy Spit XVI comes into the area at 8,000 feet or more. He comes diving down and I turn into him and get nose to nose at 2,000 feet with him at 1.5k away. At this point the Spitfire starts spraying away, instead of pulling up and maneuvering for a better opportunity. This is a case where the 190F-8 would be justified to take the HO shot but the Spit should not.

2.) Any time the fight is many contacts vs a few, the players on the many side should refrain from taking a HO shot and expect the few to take them. This can be an especially hard one to learn and live with, but it is better for game play.

There are many more examples that need to be discussed but I think this is a good starting point for now. Just remember the real reason for this discussion is to help the players help themselves,  in order to create a better game experience, not complain about a shot.

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Offline humble

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2010, 06:29:33 PM »
This thread was born out of a desire to educate and clarify things not make any blanket statement or crucify someone for taking a "HO". A long time ago in a sim far away I was very much at the mercy of guys like -HR- and Rocketman, if not for there willingness to talk to me (in between smacking me around) and offer at least some insight I have no clue if I would have hung in. As mentioned sometimes a "HO" isn't {most of the time IMO}. Other times its the choice in a very bad hand. The entire goal in my mind is to educate anyone interested so they can make choices that maximize their enjoyment.

My belief is not a lot of folks really want to fly 15 minutes to die in 15 seconds or less. The intent is encourage everyone to explore the possibilities....

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Offline The Fugitive

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2010, 06:41:15 PM »
Just to offer another thought.

The HO isn't "wrong" per se, ie. breaking any laws or rules of combat. It was/is a part of real air combat. Particularly in the Pacific, newbies were advised to take on the lightly armored Japanese planes head on if they had to. So there is no "crime against humanity" in it.

<clip>

This is the line that bothers me, for two reasons....

1. During the war is was "kill or be killed" in most cases you did what you had to do, HOWEVER we are playing a game. The idea of the game is combat using WWII type planes and vehicles. Nobody dies, so there is no "kill or be killed" here. By going for the HO you are depriving yourself and your opponent a chance at what could be thrilling combat.

2. this line give those who don't want to learn to fight without HOing an excuse to HO. How many times have you heard someone say "well they did it in the war!"



To me a HO is pretty easy to define, it's when you deliberately point the nose of your plane at the nose of another plane and FIRE. When I'm fighting I push my nose off angle from the other planes, but sometime it happens, your fighting a couple of guys, ie: getting ganged  :D if I can't get that off angle I look for to start my turn I will go head to head, but only after getting Hoed half the night will I open up in that move.

In Baumers example I would consider that a HO no matter which fired. Just because the spit is bouncing you with the extra "E" it's a green light to HO? I don't think so, me I'd work at avoid a few more passes and try to equalize the "E" and then fight it out.

HOin is like drugs. People are the ones who have the choice to just say no, or they can use the excuse "everyone else is doing it". HOin is a quick "high", and quick kill. Learn to take the time to build your entertainment by learning to fight instead of just going for the quick way.

Just say NO to the HO !

Offline doomed

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2010, 06:53:47 PM »
night will I open up in that move.

In Baumers example I would consider that a HO no matter which fired. Just because the spit is bouncing you with the extra "E" it's a green light to HO? I don't think so, me I'd work at avoid a few more passes and try to equalize the "E" and then fight it out.

HOin is like drugs. People are the ones who have the choice to just say no, or they can use the excuse "everyone else is doing it". HOin is a quick "high", and quick kill. Learn to take the time to build your entertainment by learning to fight instead of just going for the quick way.

Just say NO to the HO !

Ok please dont yell or tell me im a noob or whatever as this is a serious question about that mindset i dont understand. Basically you say if someone has the drop on you and you get the chance to win dont take it but try and make them burn there E. What happens if the person your against is good and dont burn there e.  Should i just bail out and give them the win? O should i just keep turning running or whatever till he kills me since he never lost the advantage?
Also basically if everyone should go for the perfect ACM kill then they need to remove most of the aircraft because some aircraft are not dogfighters but run into a dogfight so what do they do?
Some of the best planes are like the f4u-4 and spit 16 or temp are just really better planes that say a 190 a5 or a 109f. You take the shots offered to you not 'take the high road " and let them get a free kill.

Everyones favorite saying is THIS ISNT REAL WAR ITS A GAME so then i guess we should all just fly 1 plane in 1 arena and have a kill switch on them that dont allow you to fire unless your on someones six.




Offline TheRapier

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #12 on: May 21, 2010, 07:01:28 PM »
Fugitive, while I applaud the sentiment behind your words, I don't think its ever going to happen.

It may be easy to define, but how do you determine "deliberately" in the game? Do we need referees to figure it out? That won't be happening.

Do we rely on self policing? That won't happen either.

It is entirely possible that two well meaning people are going to be approaching from somewhere in the frontal quarter and due to differences in updates from the server, one will see a HO and the other a frontal quarter shot. It leads to endless and ultimately fruitless recriminations that go exactly nowhere.

Whether its real war or a game, there are going to be times when, like it or not, the approach is going to be HO. My preference is to orient to reality and not some unobtainable dream state. I'm coming from a place that is essentially, "It's going to happen. Instead of complaining about it, expect it and do something about it."

If you don't like to be in one, then fly so it doesn't happen.

Those that are going to HO because that is all they know, are going to do it anyway, despite any sanctimonious exhortations. They are going to do what they are going to do. What will YOU do?

It doesn't work to try to change others, the only one you can change is yourself.
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Offline doomed

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #13 on: May 21, 2010, 07:03:31 PM »
Im sure my last post will get me in trouble but it was a serious question, like i said i fly a bigger slower aircraft than most so why should i try and dance and float and tippy toe when i can b and z someone and take a occasional shot at em. There are some guys that call any shot other that a straight six shot a HO shot is what im getting at and everyone has there opinion and there are 50 billion of these post that never get solved so why dont the people that want all these 'rules' go to the dueling arena and have massive 60 vs 60 with rules of engagement in them and let others play the way they want.

Dont get me wrong i hate the leaker with no wing that aims at me and HOs me and kills me, hell i usually toss off the headset and go hit the wife for a while to get over it but still he did what he needed to do to win and i should have got outa the way faster. The one thing that makes me more mad than anything is the guy in the perk plane or spit 16 or spit 9 that fights me and when i dont turn fight them and take a "questionable shot' at them sends me a pm calling me out because i dont turn fight em lol. I  say fight the fight your aircraft lets you fight and ignore everyone else in the game.

Offline Baumer

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Re: Reviewing the "HO"
« Reply #14 on: May 21, 2010, 07:04:14 PM »
Ok, let me try this analogy,

I think a HO shot is similar to calling a foul in a pickup game of basketball.

Everyone understands that without some personal restraint, a game of pickup basketball can turn ugly quickly. Also most everyone understands the concept of an offensive or defensive foul in basketball, the same holds true in Aces High I believe. That's why I think (especially in the MA) it's important to recognize there are times when a HO shot is appropriate and does not harm game play.   
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