How to make an attack helicopter

Heliborne - The "helicopter MMO" being tested

Manage squadrons

The menu item Squadrons is where your own squadrons are managed. In Heliborne a squadron consists of three helicopters. A budget is available depending on the level (I - IV). Helicopters cost points, just like their equipment. A lot can be experimented with depending on the style of play.

  • Weapons: The load with weapons is selected here. Different configurations are available for each helicopter.
  • Soldiers: Some helicopters can transport troops: normal soldiers for conquering mission targets, air defense (manpads), RPGs (against ground targets / hovering helicopters) and last but not least: mortar squads.
  • Defense: Door gunner and flares can be bought here for points.
  • Camo: Choose camouflage. This can be bought for XP. Special camouflage patterns can be purchased via micro-transaction. Currently has no influence on the game mechanics.

Not all helicopters are created equal. At Heliborne three different types can be selected: attack helicopters, transport helicopters and observation helicopters. Combat helicopters, such as B. the AH-1 "Cobra" of the US armed forces, fight ground targets and are also very effective in the fight against enemy helicopters, but can not transport ground troops to capture ground targets. Where the Cobra is fast and agile, its counterpart is exactly the opposite. The Mi-24 "Hind" carries more weapons and can transport up to 8 soldiers, but is as graceful as a brick.

The transport helicopters are also mostly armed, but less armored than the combat helicopters. The big advantage of the combat helicopter: transport of soldiers. Transport helicopters win the battles by taking ground targets, dropping hidden anti-aircraft missiles, and dropping squads of mortars for observers.

Observation helicopters clear up enemy positions and use mortars to eliminate ground troops from the air defense positions of the mission targets from a safe distance. Some of the small, fast and particularly agile observation helicopters can also transport troops. Above all, removing manpads (man-portable air defense) to create ambushes is a lot of fun.

The gameplay

The gameplay differs somewhat from other "arcade MMOs" such as WoT (World of Tanks). You have three helicopters in your squadron and you can fly all three in one mission. If an aircraft is destroyed, you spawn with one of the other two. While you are now on the way with the alternative helicopter, the crashed or shot down helicopter is repaired. You can also voluntarily fly back to the base at any time and have the helicopter repaired and ammunitioned. Or you can choose another aircraft that is ready for use.

The aim is to take all positions between your own HQ and the enemy (PvP) or to fulfill randomly generated objects (Co-Op). In the co-op there are different levels of difficulty and other settings that make the missions more varied. In co-op you can't complain about variety either. Since you don't really have to conquer all positions, but only one route from your own HQ to the enemy HQ, you can reach your goal quickly with a little sophistication. Because every few minutes armored convoys are sent out of the captured positions and you have to give this escort. Of course you have to prevent your opponent from doing the same.

There is a story at Heliborne not and to interpret the historical battles as a "story", I would like to do at this point only reluctantly.

First I select the H-34 transport helicopter packed with mortar squads and fly towards the enemy positions. I unload the mortar squads on a hill and head back to the base. When it landed there, my helicopter is reloaded. Since mortar squads cost points when creating the squadron, I can only sell the maximum number of squads that I have "bought". That's why I take normal infantry on board for the second charge.

Since I want to use the mortars too, I choose another helicopter, the OH-6. With this small and particularly agile observation helicopter, I am now going to a point from where I can see a hostile position.

Now I switch to observer mode. My mortar squads ready to fire are shown to me. With the crosshair I go to an enemy position and confirm the order to fire with the mouse. A short time later, the high-explosive mortar projectiles fall on the enemy position and eliminate the crews of the flak positions. Mission Accomplished! On the way back to the base I put down a manpad to secure one of my positions against air attacks.

With the UH-1D “Huey”, also called “carpet beater” by the German armed forces, I fly to the position that I freed from enemy units with the mortar fire. After landing, my ground troops rush to the flak positions and the control point is in the hands of my team!

Balance & control

The game balance between the two nations is good. Each side has its strengths and weaknesses. In PvP mode, everyone against everyone, unfair situations occur more often when one team suddenly has more players than the other due to disconnects. In any case, time still has to be invested here. In the battle menu, you can only join teams that have fewer players. Delays can mean that three players join a team at the same time and the other is at a disadvantage. But this only increases the challenge.

The control of the helicopter is well implemented and you can make a lot of adjustments to the keyboard layout. The helicopters all act a little differently and each helicopter flies differently.

Graphics & sound

The graphics are good. It's nothing earth-shattering, but it's not totally bad either. The graphics can be adapted depending on the computing power available, but the requirements for the PC are not in the high-end range.