Part 14: Fast Attack Craft and Paracel Storm w/PythonicusFast Attack Craft and Paracel Storm
Welcome you back to Paracel Storm. We were here during the Engineer video but didn't really talk about the map or one of the really cool additions to BF4: Fast Attack Craft. Paracel is a good example of a 33% map, that is a map that is equal parts land, air and sea. This is facilitated by the inclusion of two jets and two helicopters per team at spawn alongside two fast attack craft and innumerable RHIB boats and Jet Skis. The only land based vehicle in the level for Conquest is the Mobile AA gun that spawns at B, so instead you get a ton of soldiers fighting over the buildings at each point or taking shots at each other on the countless islands that make up the operational area.
For my money, though, the boat combat in the level is fantastic. The big change here is clearly the inclusion of the aforementioned Fast Attack Craft, aka Battleboats, aka Murderboats. These things are fantastic for fighting nearly anything. Infantry crumple before the miniguns. Other boats fear the shells and secondary TOW or TV missiles. I've taken down helicopters and planes from these things. They really are fantastic, the only real problem with them is that they can't really affect battles taking place further inland, but most of the maps where they appear (save Lancang Dam) have really good access routes around most of the map. From there it just takes a patient and careful boat driver to keep the water based murder tour rolling.
Battleboats have three cannon options, the 25mm cannon, the 30mm cannon and the Burst cannon. I personally favor the heavy hitting 30mm despite the extreme drop you get from using it and the lower magazine size. While the fast firing nature of the burst cannon seems to be a really good option for putting out as much damage as possible I find myself out of ammo extremely quickly and hoping no one shoots me down while I reload or line up a TOW missile. The 25mm flies nicely, but does slightly less damage and has a smaller blast radius.
Boats also get passive radar missiles like the anti aircraft tanks along with TOW and TV missiles. This is really the second time TV missiles have come up and will be the last. I talk about them in the video, but they are basically a terrible version of the TOW controlled from the perspective of the missile rather than by using the crosshair. People can and will sit in spawn in the boat spamming them hoping they can get a couple kills. These people are useless to the team considering the boat is way better fighting up close and can cap all points from the water save for B. If you feel like you'll be doing more close quarters combat you can always select the Zuni rockets as your secondary. These rockets do good damage per shot and fire quickly, but you only get eight per magazine. Oddly, the boats also have a laser guided missile that just requires you to lock on and maintain the lock once you've fired in order to hit land and sea vehicles.
If someone locks on to you as you pilot your Murderboat you have a couple countermeasure options. IR Smoke and Active protection will stop locked missiles from hitting as per usual, and active protection will of course kill most warheads. I've had issues with AP on boats the last couple weeks as it doesn't seem to work and I take damage while it is active. First time I've seen that. You also have access to the extinguisher to clear critical states, but there's really no use to it over the other options. Smokescreen also makes an appearance, but again, not really a good use for it when IR smoke does so much more. The MBT LAW, which can kill a tank in five shots did five whole points of damage to a Battleboat at release. Disappointing if you are an engineer, wonderful if you pilot the boat, so worrying about the LAW wasn't a thing. Today it does 21 points and can be a serious threat.
You have the three normal vision options with the boats. Zoom, IRNV and Thermal. There's really no good reason to use anything but zoom in my opinion.
Upgrades should all be pretty familiar as they are the same as on the tank, save for Air Radar, which is something air vehicles and the Mobile AA get.
The chain gunners on either side of the boat have amazing range of motion and can hit most targets if you can. The guns are incredibly effective against infantry, and having two guns firing on another boat can be the difference between life and death in a battle. If the situation gets too tough anyone can switch to the jetski on the back of the boat and drive away.
Paracel itself is a pretty great map for pretty much any playstyle. Snipers love being able to hang out on the radar dish at A, or on the carrier on the US side. Run and gunners are going to have a blast fighting in the trenches at C and B as well as clearing out the buildings at C, B and D. Pilots get a chance to fly without too much in the way of obstructions and boats are boats. The lone man out of the equation is E, the point on a destroyed carrier off at the edge of the map. It's a favorite of snipers and gives whichever team holds it a scout chopper to spawn into. The problem is that it isn't really strategic or fun to fight over/for. I'd rather have B with the MAA gun or A with the extra Murderboat than E and the extra scout chopper.
The Levolution on the map is two fold: first a massive storm rolls in and causes waves to appear on the formerly placid sea. This is an interesting situation for watercraft as Battleboats and RHIBs are going to have to time shots and be aware of their surroundings a bit more to get shots off successfully. Jetskis have a terrible time navigating the water once the storm rolls in, so be wary of jumping on one once the waves pick up.
The second facet of levolution on this map is the destroyer players can let loose from a wind turbine that crashes into the C point. There are ladders up to the deck and auto AA guns friendly to whichever team controls the point. I can't decide if the boat helps or hurts anything, but I think if you have it the extra AA guns are appreciated, even if half the enemy team suddenly being interested in the point isn't.
Overall, it's a fun map with plenty to like about it. Next to Hainan I would say this is the most common map on a lot of 64 player servers that don't start with "24/7" and end with "Locker" or "Metro"