I wanted to post a bit about No Man's Land, and our rules regarding it.
Up until last weekend (2/25/2017), our tournament ruleset stated the following:
If a pilot crashes in No Man's Land and survives the event, that pilot may switch to a new aircraft and take off again from his original aerodrome provided that another aircraft is available at the discretion of the CO and after a 5 minute timeout.
The idea was that a crashed pilot who came down in No Man's Land (and survived the crash) would ask a Team commander first before hitting refly, thereby getting a verification that they weren't captured.
And additionally, my general rule of thumb had always been that landing in the brown dirt meant that you were safe to fly again, while landing in the green grass of the enemy meant that you were captured, regardless of what the FIF stats said.
Even though these rules seem weird, they existed for a specific reason.
The Old Reasons:
When FIF moved from RB3D to ROF in 2011, No Man's Land was intended to be a full capture zone, where everyone was captured regardless of where you put down.
However, eventually, No Man's Land became a "25% chance of escape" zone. Pilots would receive a message letting them know their fate. This was popular, but generally hard on the mission builder (i.e. Butzzell).
Eventually, when pilot numbers started to drop off during the North American flight times, the No Man's Land rule was modified again, and all of No Man's Land became a refly area. In other words, if you put down anywhere within No Man's Land, you could refly after 5 minutes. This was designed to create a buffer between the front lines, but also give everyone a break, so that in-game numbers would stay high during the mission.
This is what that looked like:
NoMansLand-image.jpg 410.19KB 0 downloads
And that's the way it's officially been up until last Saturday. And no one bothered to re-examine the rule again because nothing happened that caused us to think about it.
That's now changed, and as a result, we've sat down an thought about it.
After a lot of discussion among the FIF Admins, we came to the realization that none of what we were doing really worked anymore.
Firstly, the "dirt = not captured" / "grass = captured" thing doesn't prove anything, and only causes confusion. The game designers made the edges of No Man's Land unique, by adding in distinctive and misleading map features. Thus, it's often impossible to tell where you are through a screenshot of your crashed aircraft.
Secondly, we no longer need all of No Man's Land to be a refly area. With around 30 vs 30 pilots per week, we have more than enough virtual airmen in flight to complete the 16 objectives we currently run. Casualties affecting game-play aren't a factor anymore.
Rather, what we really need is a better representation of the WW1 front-line environment.
And, as a result, here is the change that is going into effect immediately (starting with the next session, B3, flown on 4 March 2017):
NoMan'sLandimage2.jpg 407.95KB 0 downloads
What you can see is that the FIF No Man's Land is now split between three visible zones. A "pink zone", a "blue zone", and a "tan zone" in the middle. These are all present in the game, and can be control by the map maker (i.e. Butzzell).
The "pink zone" is the maximum extension of Central territory, and will capture Entente pilots. The "blue zone" is the maximum extension of Entente territory, and will capture Central pilots. Both of these zones extend over the trench systems, and are thus as historically placed as we can make them.
Only the "tan zone" in the middle is an "escape and refly" area. If someone can ditch in the "tan zone" in the middle, they're safe to refly again after a 5 minute wait. All aircraft "on the line" go to the pilot.
However, there is a catch here, which I'm sure you all see coming.
The "tan zone" on FIF maps is a Valley of Death filled with machine gun emplacements and AAA.
If someone gets close enough to ditch in the "tan zone", and survive the crash, they now have to survive the ground fire which will be coming up to meet them.
It's not impossible, and there is a chance that they can escape it unharmed. But it's hard, and as close to real life as we can get.
What to do if you come down in No Man's Land?
So, you've crash landed in the "tan zone" of No Man's Land... or at least, you think you have. And somehow, you've not been eaten up by murderous ground fire. Great crashing pilot! What do you do now?
Well, the first thing you need to do is pinpoint your exact location by checking the in-game map. Remember, talking about the scenery that you see with your Team commanders is not going to help them determine whether you can legally refly or not.
Once you've determine where you are through the in-game map, take a screenshot of your exact location on that map. In fact, if you can, take two. One zoomed out so we can see that area. And one zoomed in so we can see the exact pinpoint location.
Zooming is important for clarity, as a group of clear screenshots are unambiguous and completely defendable.
For example, when zoomed out, this screenshot of a ditched aircraft looks like it's safe because it's "on the line".
screenshot1.png 198.5KB 0 downloads
However, when zoomed in, you can see that it's actually not "on the line" It's actually captured. And the FIF stats will show it as captured after the mission is over.
screenshot2.png 122.11KB 0 downloads
So, to review:
If you come down in No Man's Land, and you're checking to see if you were captured:
- Check the in-game map to see where you are.
- Take a couple of screenshots at different zooms to show your actual location.
- Tell a Team commander what happened, and if necessary show them the screenshots.
- If you're given the go-ahead to refly after this, you can do so, provided you wait the appropriate 5-minutes.
Finally, in order to facilitate a better understanding of our rules regarding No Man's Land, I've updated the FIF ruleset to reflect the above changes.
Here is the update in English (with the added portion in red):
If a pilot crashes in No Man's Land and survives the event, he must check his position on the in-game map. If he is not within enemy territory, that pilot may switch to a new aircraft and take off again from his original aerodrome provided that another aircraft is available at the discretion of the CO and after a 5 minute timeout.
I have also attempted to update the German, French, Russian, and Portuguese rules.
German: Wenn ein Pilot auf eigenem Gebiet oder im Niemansland notgelandet ist, Er muss seine Position auf der Karte überprüfen. Wenn er nicht im feindlichen Gebiet ist, so kann er von seinem ursprünglichen Flugfeld nach Maßgabe seines Kommandooffiziers und nach der 5-Minütigen Wartezeit wieder starten, sofern auf dem Flugfeld ein Flugzeug zur Verfügung steht.
French: Si un pilote doit atterir ou est détruit dans le no man's land et survit à l'événement, Il doit vérifier sa position sur la carte. S'il n'est pas en territoire ennemi, ce pilote peut commuter à un nouvel avion et décoller encore de son aérodrome original à condition qu'un autre avion soit disponible et à la discrétion du (CO) et après un temps mort 5 minute.
Russian: Если пилот разбился на дружеской территории или на линии фронта, но при этом выжил, он должен проверить его положение на карте в игре. Если он не находится в пределах территории противника, то, спустя 5 минут, он может выбрать другой доступный самолет с домашнего аэродрома и вылететь повторно по усмотрению командующего команды.
Portuguese: Se um piloto cair na Terra de Ninguém (fronteira entre os territórios) e sobreviver ao evento, Ele deve verificar sua posição no mapa no jogo. Se ele não está dentro do território inimigo, após um período de 5 minutos poderá mudra para uma nova aeronave e decolar novamente de seu aeródromo original, desde que outra aeronave esteja disponível e conforme a decisão do seu comandante.
I had to heavily rely on Google Translate here.
So if you're a native speaker of any of these languages, and have a better translation for me, please post below!
Thanks in advance, and should anyone have any questions, just let me know. I'll do my best to answer.