Helicopters attract attention in most Battlefield 2: Modern Combat games I’ve played.
On the one hand there is the chopper pilot with elite skills. He dominates the battlefield. There are counter-measures, but they require some patience to use. Last night our game on DeadlyPass was completely stalled by a pilot who knew his stuff. He flew low, never hovered, always struck with precise bursts, not giving you time to seek cover. I went against him in a chopper at one time. I don’t think I scored a single hit before being blown out of the sky.
On the other hand there is the chopper pilot who manages to crash his aircraft during take-off. You see this a lot. Why don’t these people play the single player campaign enough to learn the ropes? It walks you through this stuff. I had to try the first chopper mission in the single player campaign many times before getting it right, but I did learn how to handle a helo.
The point is, it’s difficult. The helicopter doesn’t handle like the videogame vehicles you’re used to. It takes some learning to make a clean strafe, let alone close maneuvers under fire. The battle chopper is a fearsome tool, but it really does take dedication to pilot one. And once you finally can execute a good gun-run, you know you’re the shit. I’ve yet to experience that in an online game, but merely tagging along as a gunner feels very good.
I think it’s brave of Dice to keep the helicopter handling tricky. It’s much more satisfying when you know that most of the grunts couldn’t follow your example. And it allows them to maintain the helicopter’s power, since there are so few players who can really put it to use.