I am aware that the last reply to this thread was in April and for that I apologize.
Having played TBOGT for months now and witnessed the degradation of Free Mode I have to answer the thread title with: Annihilator.
"Lol so many people are so elitist, hating on the Buzzard because it's easier to use - thinking that being able to pilot the Annihilator makes them more 'pro' or whatever." Sorry but I am one them. I mean I don't consider myself to be 'pro', you have to be a real douche to think your better than someone else because the moment you get killed, and you will get killed, you look and feel like a total tw*t.
I mean the whole Buzzard Annihilator thing is it's just...okay, look at the buzzard attributes and consider the effects in actual game play.Agile and responsive.
The buzzard corners like a house wasp compared to the other helicopters in the game. This agility means: it can easily twist and turn round the skyscrapers in pursuit of a ground target, in a car or on foot. It is so agile many if not all of the maneuvers taken by both air and ground targets to shake it. I mean this helicopter is so agile it can practically turn on the spot. Small size.
The buzzard has the smallest rotor span of any helicopter in the game, meaning it can fly at street level (just above height of lamp posts) on most of the streets in Liberty City. Additionally the tail and tail rotor is tiny. This means it can turn in streets with little fear of ripping of it's tail and being more versatile in dogfights. (You try to chop the tail off of a buzzard in a dogfight, it's damn near impossible.)Miniguns.
Little to say here. With a range equal to that of the vanilla annihilator guns but a much greater fire rate (at least 3x) and much narrower spread. The results of this are that when trained on a person it can kill within five seconds and sets any unarmored vehicle on fire within an equal amount of time. Rockets/Missiles.
The buzzard has two side mounted rocket pods with unlimited ammunition. Each rocket is capable of destroying/killing any vehicle/person in the game instantaneously (except APC). The range of these rockets is greater than any other weapon in the game except the sniper rifle. When fired each rocket drops down from one of the two rocket pods before flying forwards. The kill and blast zone is, at best guess, half that of a grenade explosion. Despite the small kill radius every explosion makes the players screen shake wildly when one explodes anywhere near them.
This means the buzzard can send an endless barrage at ground or air targets hovering safely out of range or perform carpet bomb style assaults from a safe altitude.Slow top speed.
The buzzard, although faster than any ground vehicle, is slow compared to the annihilator at it's top speed which is roughly equal to that of other civilian helicopters; such as the maverick. The effects of this ingame are that an annihilator can escape confrontation simply by flying in a straight line. This also means the annihilator can perform "hit & run" attacks easily on any buzzard that isn't prepared. It's low top speed however plays to a great advantage when assaulting ground targets as even at top speed the buzzard can come to a steady hover much quicker than an annihilator. It's lower top speed also makes it easier to pursue vehicles as it doesn't have to be as conservative on the throttle to remain behind the target. Exposed pilot.
The pilots entire body is on display in a cockpit comprised of a metal floor and a glass bubble. This allows the pilot to be shot from any angle other than directly beneath or directly behind the helicopter. Such is the exposure of the pilot that even players armed with a mere pistol can easily kill a pilot that strays within auto-aim range. Players with ranged weapons such as assault rifles and even worse the machine gun must be regarded with extreme caution.
My point with all of this is that the buzzard offers huge advantages with very few disadvantages. Even the most experienced players on the ground have little chance against relatively noob pilots.
Just think, your racing along as fast as your sports car can go with a noob buzzard on your tail (square + x all the way), you know your toast if you don't do something to shake the pilot. There's little if anything that can be done though.
#1: Brake hard, in theory you can stop much fast than he can meaning he has to kill his speed, and turn round in order to continue pursuit, buying you time.
#2: Make a sharp turn, in theory with skyscrapers either side of the street he can't cut the corner and will take longer to make the turn than you at street level, giving you time and disrupting his aim.
#3: Weave side to side on the same street in a zig zag fashion, this should keep his aim of you and prevent a simple carpet bomb style takeout with a rocket barrage.
#4: Shoot out the window at him, in theory he will have to either address the threat by pulling back out of range or turning side to side to avoid being shot through the glass.
#5: Hit triangle! As your car rolls on you come to an erratic and painful stop, bouncing all over the place. The idea here is that the pilot will still be targeting the car as you are bouncing to a stop, giving you time.
#1: Buzzard will brake the second the pilot realizes you are breaking, with such agility when given the buzzard will be behind your car, the attacker will end up behind you or directly above you ready to turn and start firing again.
#2: Only works if the buildings have all manner of signs and objects sticking out of the side that blocks the attackers flight path, forcing him to either pull up or negotiate the objects.
#3: It will prevent an accurate aim only if you have plenty of room to maneuver and aren't in areas of heavy traffic.
#4: Leaves you driving blind at high speed trying to hit a target that is moving on the X, Y and Z axis. Any maneuvers made by you also throws of your aim.
#5: The pilot can see your colored blip and is highly unlikely to be fooled. He will kill you before you can get up, if you had enough health to survive.
Playing vanilla IV I used to curse the Annihilator (even after I learned 1st person view shooting) because I found myself, more often than not, firing these 4 huge mini-guns directly at someone on the ground only to find despite the 1000+ bullets flying at them they could somehow last long enough to get down an alley, climb in a car or even stand around to shoot back with an assault rifle. I mean there I was in this huge chopper with buildings, posts and all manner of static objects to worry about, will it fit there, how much clearence either side will my tail rotor hit walls, when is it safe to switch between navigating and aiming , am I in auto-aim range, what weapon has he got etc etc; and all he has to do is go down an alley, drive down a narrow street or pull an AK47 to fend me off. Then I have to change everything.
It seemed like everything was against you when you were in that huge annihilator trying to work around skyscrapers.
But for all my frustrations even I could remember that players on the ground at least should have a chance. Okay you can take them down if they stray into auto-aim range but honestly, how much skill is required to hover, point the chopper at something and hold square until it's dead? Or if you really want to show off your skill, how much harder is it to fly over the target holding square?
It's ridiculous, how do you have a chance against this thing? You stand and fight it on the ground and you find yourself blinded as your screen shakes wildly, throwing of your aim (if the guy is even in range, which they rarely are). Then if you run, which most do, you have very few places to hide. Literally you have to go underground or inside a building to escape this thing. Provided you even make it as all those little nifty maneuvers that drove Annihilator pilots up the wall don't work, on car, on foot and even in the air. Then you take the fight to the skies only to find that this "fight" consists of throwing your chopper round like a madman to avoid the endless barrage of missiles flying your way and to try and get within range of your guns.
All the pilot has to learn is:
#1: Basic controls (hovering, rudder etc)
#2: Firing rockets when landed kills you
#3: Getting to close gives them a chance
You go up against players who kill you by pointing the chopper in your direction and holding a button, or maybe two buttons if they want the extra star for the minigun/rocket duo. You've died like 20 times and finally get to cover. You either send them a message of pitty (because they think they are awesome) or hate telling them ram that rocket spamming machine up their arse. Or they send you a nasty message saying something like "coward". Either way you have to spend the rest of the game in cover or wait till they move on to a different target. Although once they see your out of cover on the radar they will probably return to noob you all over again.
Sorry for the rant and the thread bump but it was one of those things that you just had to say.
I realize that I just put the Buzzard out as a noob friendly weapon and left out the Annihilator new noob shells. But even with insta-kill shells mounted on it, the Annihilator is at a great disadvantage when you look at the Buzzard.
It is slow to maneuver with a huge body and a massive rotor span, with a tail hanging so far out it is asking to be chopped off or rammed into a concrete wall as you try to maneuver between skyscrapers. The rotor span alone says "fire rockets at me".
Also I have to add that the only weapons on the Annihilator are susceptable to lag in a game that is rarely, if ever lag free. It's uber death weapon depends on the delayed explosion that follows the bullets when they hit an object. And when your shooting at a tiny ass buzzard that's moving all over the place and cant see your bullets it's damn hard to get a kill unless the other guy is practically hovering.
Not to mention the greatly reduced range of the insta-kill guns, the Buzzard guns have a much greater range and light up the Annihilator in seconds. With assault rifles and the machine gun you must be within range of their weapon to have a chance of hitting them with the shells.
To summarize TBOGT Free Mode has been ruined because R* created a noob friendly helicopter in response to the call of players who wanted easy kills in 3rd person view