DCS World: Choosing your Aircraft, the Smart Way
It was not that long ago that we had to wait years to get news on new aircraft coming to DCS World, something that was both a blessing and a curse. I used to get extremely excited for new module announcements because of their rarity, but in their absence the sim felt extremely void and empty as if it were in a dark room only to be illuminated every year or so by the light one got from the news themselves That era is long gone, since new module announcements have become an almost bi-weekly routine. In these exciting times, it is also easy to get a bit overwhelmed by the amount of news and updates coming to the game. With these many aircraft coming to the platform, of which most are unique flight experiences that cater to a certain era or task, how can you know what's good for you. Since modules can be pretty expensive, I wanted to run through the process I go through to choose the aircraft I want to visit and which ones I want to pass on.
MARKETING AND ANALYZING TIME COMMITMENTS With all the promotional material and trailers that now come as a part of the product release cycle for any gaming product, it is easy to sometimes get swept up by the hype train and up purchasing something just because it looked cool in the trailers. Some of these modules have trailers that rival short films in directing and visual quality, making their modules look their best when it matters the most. These trailers are enticing and very well done, to the point that I've been dragged by them to revisit aircraft or even acquire new ones for content production here! The problem lies in two factors: money and time. Do you have the money to buy the aircraft? Will you have to sacrifice something in order to acquire it? If you said yes, then I pose you the following question: Do you have the time to learn this new aircraft?
Additionally, there is something else that might affect your decision: mission capability. Do the aircraft that you already own fulfill all the missions you want to fly in DCS? If so, then getting a new aircraft will only give you new ways to do what you already do. If you are interested in the aircraft itself, that is a different case, but when it comes down to pure gameplay, then you might already have everything you need without realizing it. This is something I always take into consideration when I write my reviews.
I know it will take some self-restraint, but you will have to realize that DCS is a very time-consuming and complicated game that will demand proper study from its players. This time can either be watching YouTube videos to understand certain systems, reading the manual, or playing the provided training missions that come with each module. Having considered all of this, ask yourself this: Do you have any aircraft that you have purchased already that you have not touched? For a couple of my friends, all of whom know who they are, this is a reality.
CHECK YOUR BACKLOG! While some of these new modules might be really appealing, you might still have one or two modules that are just collecting dust in your virtual hangar. I know that is the case for a couple of my modules, some of which need more love and attention. It is interesting that, at least to me, most of my friends are in the same situation. We end up maining one or two aircraft, and we master them, but that comes at the cost of our diversity.
Personally, I think that taste lies in variety, so coming back to some of those modules has improved my experience in many ways. I have been able to experience Cold War scenarios the proper way, Gulf War-era missions and modern ones without compromising!
To explore different eras, you will need to have proficiency and skill with these old and new aircraft. So go out there and get training, these aircraft that you might already own need to get a good dusting off and some flights on their checkbooks.
Does this mean you shouldn't buy new modules as they come out? No, of course not! The devs need support during the launch period, and initial sales are important; but do you need to feel bad if you can't buy a module on launch? No! Go fly your planes and helos, the ones you already own! Enjoy DCS at your pace. About the writer: Santiago "Cubeboy" Cuberos Longtime aviation fanatic with particular preference towards military aviation and its history. Said interests date back to the early 2000s, leading into his livelong dive into civil and combat flight simulators. He has been involved in a few communities, but only started being active around the mid 2010s. Joined as a Spanish to English translator in 2017, he has been active as the co-founder and one of the main writers. Twitter | Discord : Cubeboy