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    Raven One Campaign Review / Feedback

    General:

    Finished the campaign last night. As a former Navy officer (P-3 pilot), I can say that I haven't seen anything else anywhere in a flight sim that even touches on the realism of this campaign. Extremely immersive and enjoyable. Now for the nitty gritty...

    The Good:

    Overall, the whole package is easily the most immersive, realistic mission package I've seen for DCS. Real world scenarios, situations, and on-the-fly tactical changes you would expect to encounter in a dynamic operating environment. Scripted to follow Kevin Miller's novel, you really do feel like you're in the jet of 'Flip' Wilson, intrepid Ops-O of the Ravens. The custom skins, especially the CAG bird, are gorgeous and just add to the immersion, right up to the names of the Raven pilots being painted on the sides of the jets! The voice work is superlative and really turns the whole thing into a grand slam. The prompts for communications and the kneeboard packages also help to keep the player where they need to be during each mission, and somehow, your wingman manages to actually be useful in conducting strikes and not running out of fuel and crashing. Baltic Dragon has taken the DCS mission editor and worked some serious voodoo with it, I mean like Jobu with cigar and rum level voodoo.

    Personal side note: as a former P-3 guy whose warfare specialty was ASW, it was a special kind of fun to hit a submarine with a maverick. Not going to say which mission.

    The Bad

    While the heavy scripting is essential to the storyline and scenarios being presented, it does sometimes hamper the player and removes freedom of choice. For example, in the mission where you are launching the JSOWs, I was directed to turn and engage incoming bandits. Well, when that happened I was literally 20 seconds from letting my weapons go at the primary target, so I delayed that long as a tactical decision in order to release the JSOWs, get the weight off the jet, and be better positioned for a dogfight. Without getting spoilery, that bit of tactical innovation on my part basically borked the entire mission, and I didn't find out until much later how and why. All comms from AWACS are scripted: you can't ask for updates on your own. Same thing with controlling your flight and wingmen: you cannot exercise any freedom of action with them; they're scripted.

    This campaign makes a GREAT DCS companion to the book. That said, you'll feel lost in a couple of places if you haven't read the book. Fortunately, I already had, a couple of times.

    Lastly, being a new release, there are a few bugs to work out, some of which have already been addressed in the DCS User Files section. These will be worked out in time, I'm sure.

    The Ugly:

    Need I say it? Air-to-air refueling. If you are a guru at this, no sweat. If you are like me, the gymnastics you'll go through to avoid that tanker are legion. The missions that require it have a save-game feature, but at this time it appears to be a WIP. That said, AAR is a real-world requirement for operations, and this is the most real-world campaign you are going to find.

    Summary:

    STELLAR product, well worth the price of admission and then some. Real-world immersion, with the caveat that you'd better hone your real-world DCS skills to git 'r done. This product is NOT for beginners. If employing the advanced sensors is a problem for you, or you can't fly formation, or navigate and trap at night, or AAR, stand by to get frustrated. I have to admit that I sometimes had to watch a few tutorials between missions to figure out how to employ stuff I hadn't used before. (I play mostly in the F-14) In addition to being fun and challenging, this campaign made me a MUCH better DCS Hornet pilot than I was when I started it. Can't say enough about the voice-work and story integration. When you first picked up DCS and the Hornet as a single player, this was the campaign you were waiting for, even if you didn't realize it.

    9/10 due to existing bugs. 10/10 when those are resolved. Bravo Zulu to the whole team!

    HIGHLY RECOMMEND

    Last thing: If you play DCS Hornet, you should go ahead and read Raven One before you play this campaign. It's worthwhile in and of itself, and you need to know what a bastard Saint really is, so you can hate him appropriately when you're playing!
    Last edited 09-02-2020, 09:19 PM.

    #2
    I concur with 'jmarso' recommendation, I totally enjoyed the content, the realism, the immersion, the voice radio, the scripting, and my "creme de la creme" is the "Raven One" story integration, needless to say if you haven't read the book - Please do!

    Comment


      #3
      Hello Ravens.

      So, I've been enjoying the Raven One campaign more than any other campaign I've flown thus far. I do have one major issue.

      I am not aware of any reference material that can help you understand instructions you are receiving for the first time, and that really puts a big dampener on my enjoyment. Like receiving coordinates to drop the J-28 in mission 3. I'm expecting 8 digits and elevation, but only receive 6 digits and no elevation, and even after flying the mission 3 times, the bomb drops just outside the compound in exactly the same location every time. So somewhere I am miss interpreting the information given, or not given all the information.

      Mission 4 I have to keep a lookout for "Flashlights", great... what's that? I end up pausing the mission, going through the mission briefing again, try Googling it, I couldn't find anything anywhere about what the hell a "Flashlight" is supposed to be, so I don't know what I am looking for. I know now after the mission it was Choppers, but before I found them, I had no idea. The "Raven One Guide" in the "doc" folder of the Campaign would have been a good place to add some insight into understanding instructions.

      At the very least, I would have expected to get a short piece of text at the top of the screen when I receive new instructions I haven't received before, the second time this would not be necessary, but it would help tons the first time round instead of flying in circles while trying to understand what I was just instructed to do. There are loads of instructions that sound like jibber jabber.

      Please consider adding onto and expanding the "Raven One Guide". Not even Google can help me understand what's going on here.

      Regards

      J3tBl4st.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by J3tBl4st View Post
        Mission 4 I have to keep a lookout for "Flashlights", great... what's that? I end up pausing the mission, going through the mission briefing again, try Googling it, I couldn't find anything anywhere about what the hell a "Flashlight" is supposed to be, so I don't know what I am looking for. I know now after the mission it was Choppers, but before I found them, I had no idea. The "Raven One Guide" in the "doc" folder of the Campaign would have been a good place to add some insight into understanding instructions.

        If you check your kneeboard cards in game, you'll find a list of brevity codes for that mission; I think it's the page right behind the one with all your frequencies and presets. Stuff like 'Flashlights', "Tabletops', and so on are listed there, along with their meaning.

        Comment


          #5
          Hello JMarso.

          The kneeboard is usually the first place I go look, and I am 80% sure I did check, but I won't bet my last nickle on it. If I did miss it, my apologies, I know for a fact I did check the "Raven One Guide" but couldn't find it in there. I could still really use some help with other terminology, especially if it is orders I'm given for the first time. My biggest issue so far is the "incomplete"(?) coordinates on mission 3 when bombing the compound.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by J3tBl4st View Post
            Hello JMarso.

            The kneeboard is usually the first place I go look, and I am 80% sure I did check, but I won't bet my last nickle on it. If I did miss it, my apologies, I know for a fact I did check the "Raven One Guide" but couldn't find it in there. I could still really use some help with other terminology, especially if it is orders I'm given for the first time. My biggest issue so far is the "incomplete"(?) coordinates on mission 3 when bombing the compound.
            It's there, Mission 4, Second Kneeboard page, under KEYWORDS section, second column, 3rd line.

            HELICOPTER -> Flashlight



            You can also have a preview look in the Raven One Campaign DOCS DCS Directory

            MAIN DCS FOLDER....\Mods\campaigns\FA-18C Raven One\Doc

            About the coords:

            just use the Jtac format and I suggest you to put them on a new Waypoint by UFC. for example insert waypoint 10.. and then set all the info needed for it.

            remember to insert also the TGT elevation in Feet MSL XXX and coord in this format NXX-XX-XX EXX-XX-XX after that set up JDAM as TOO mode.
            Then you can slave the TGP to the new waypoint so you can check and define better the point. So the TOO coord of JDAM will be also updated and spot on.
            Last edited 09-06-2020, 09:59 AM.
            Pokeraccio

            Forum:
            Pokeraccio F/A-18C Hornet - Weapons QRH Quick Reference Handbook / Checklist / Kneeboard
            User Files:
            Pokeraccio F/A-18C Hornet - Weapons QRH Quick Reference Handbook / Checklist / Kneeboard

            User Files:
            Spitfire LF Mk.IX QRH / Checklist / Pilot's Note Kneeboard by Pokeraccio

            Comment


              #7
              Raven One Campaign - Mission two

              Problem with this mission.

              1st problem, Change to channel 3 when at WP4 and nothing happens. I saw set up TACAN for A/A but nothing further - what am I missing

              2nd issues, when restarting due to problem above - Wingman does not align to AA refuel so flies following Texaco non-stop with no way to bring him back to formation - any suggestions?

              Thanks guys

              Comment


                #8
                Guys, please use this thread for campaign feedback and not bug discussion happy to help in other threads.

                Comment


                  #9
                  First of all, I have been looking forward to this campaign for years (has it been about 2 years since it was announced? Well that's how long I've been looking forward to this!) Great work by Baltic Dragon and all the others who helped. Though I've found myself frustrated and critical (in some posts even), it was largely stuff that's out of your control. You guys really did make magic with this campaign.

                  I echo pretty much everything JMarso has said about it - the good, bad and ugly, I agree with it all. (except the need to AAR - since I can do it, I love it! Hooking up with 300lbs one mission was epic and very faithful to the book, though I understand it's not for everyone). There were also a few omissions in kneeboards, missing or incorrect code words that did cause some confusion, but no biggie - I'm sure they'll get fixed.

                  Sadly I think it will still be my last scripted DLC campaign. While BD and the others did everything I think possible to make it as immersive and realistic as possible, DCS just doesn't lend itself well to scripted campaigns. I found myself too often making decisions based on what I think would not break the campaign scripting, rather than what I would realistically do. Still, as far as scripted campaigns go, this one is the best I've played - by far. Nice work guys!

                  PS - I say it will be my last... probably until BD and Kevin Miller team up again and Fight Fight comes out on the new Marianas map, then I'll change my mind right quick I'm sure!
                  Ryzen 9 3900X / Asus Crosshair VI Hero X370 / Corsair H110i / EVGA GTX 1080ti FTW3 / 32Gb G.Skill TridentZ 3200 / Samsung 960 Evo M.2 / Virpil Warbrd base + VFX and TM grips / Saitek X56 Throttle / Saitek Pro Combat pedals / Rift S

                  Comment


                    #10
                    There are different approaches regarding how a sim should let you experience the felling of being a ‘fighter-pilot’. Some would claim that the best option is a dynamic campaign where you’re being just a ‘little screw’ in the system. On the other hand, there would be those who’ll say that a ‘scripted’ campaign where you’re the ‘center’ of the plot and the results of the entire war depend on you – is the way to go.

                    While I find much sense in both approaches, Baltic brought the latter option to a whole new level. The coupling of a great naval warfare novel and the assets of DCS allow the player to live the characters adventures for real – and that’s is awesome!

                    I find the collaboration of Baltic Dragon and Kevin Miller and an inevitable progress. I vision that in the future we’ll be able to read an article regarding an operation (a wiki or a novel) and have a MIZ file attached allowing us to re-live the experience. Baltic done a great step towards that by demonstrating the huge potential.

                    So, for the ‘experience’ we’re getting as virtual pilots, I’m giving Raven One a 5/5. The voice overs, the plot, the briefings, the multiple scripts making us feel ‘a part’ of what is actually happening – AWESOME. In my personal mind It would be pity not read the book before running the campaign. You’ll enjoy playing FLIP much more after learning what a great character he is. On the other hand, you’ll understand much better the behavior of SAINT right from the beginning... Just like going to see a movie after you’ve read the book – but without the ‘disappointment’ part (movies are never as good as the books ).

                    On a ‘technical’ note – well, there are some DCS limitation – The AI had to be scripted in order to behave properly. It got it’s up and down sides…
                    Moreover, the scripts obligate you to ‘hit’ certain mandatory goals in order to work properly (get to the waypoint, be on time, do exactly what you’ve been asked without ‘taking the calls’ completely on your own). I find it to be acceptable. You still got enough freedom to do the things your way and worst-case scenario – you’ll have to redo a mission. Not fun, but not a big deal.
                    Of course, as it was just released – expect a few small bugs here and there. Baltic already addressed most of them (and very quickly I must say), so again - not a big deal.
                    Lastly – there are some mismatches between the briefings and the kneeboards. Nothing dramatic, but it would be cool if fixed.
                    Due to all of what I just wrote, I give it a 4.5/5.

                    Regarding the ‘difficulty’ level – it would be a hard experience for a newbie. The campaign requires you to know how to employ A-G ordinance, A-G radar for looking out for ships in the sea, be proficient with A-A (bullseye, radar, dogfight, missiles), using the FLIR, aerial refueling, CASE 3 landings and more. So, if you just bought the F/A-18C – don’t rush to buy the campaign. Wait a bit, learn the systems and then give it a go. You won’t be disappointed. You’ll get a ton of satisfaction by successfully completing challenging missions.
                    With all of the above said – it’s not a SUPER HARD campaign. It balanced really well in my opinion. You’ve got the option to ask your wingman to attack a target if you’re unable to find it. It got a ‘save and progress’ feature for missions where AAR required and overall – it’s reasonable. 4.5/5

                    What could be done ‘a little bit better’? Well, I would love to see it in every campaign actually– if you were given an instruction (switch frequency, do something, attack something, etc.) It would be great if could ask for ‘Say again’ and the voice-over would repeat itself. Or, it would stay written in the F10 menu until you ‘acknowledge’ it. Maybe its just me, but I think it could be nice.

                    Moreover, I think the mission briefings should start with a debrief regarding the last mission achievements. A picture from the ‘CNN website’ with the destroyed target, an interview with a high-ranking figure from the BLUE/RED side giving their insights, a HUD footage with the gun piper on the targets plane… That would be cool and immersive.

                    Lastly (and I know it’s a bit of a de tour of the main subject) – it would be cool if more multiplayer content be available. I’d really like to run some of the missions with a human wingman…
                    Overall, the campaign in a 4.9/5. Easily the best for the F/A-18C and probably one of the best in DCS. Worth every penny! On a personal note - I would recommend to buy this campaign (and actually every campaign) not during the ‘sale’ periods. The enormous amount of work that was invested in creating it – damn, it worth much more than 15$. It tons of fun, it’s re-playable and it brought the DCS experience to another level.
                    Last edited 09-09-2020, 10:43 PM.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Hi guys,

                      I just finished the book and it is awesome, now I am anxious to finish the campaign. I am on mission 7 now and looking forward to flying the rest.

                      Tks,

                      Sydy

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Hi BD,

                        I just finished the campaign now. It was amazing. Although we still have some bugs fixed internally only and to be implemented, I’d consider it irrelevant. The campaign is extremely immersive and well structured. I loved every single mission and I have to admit I had my butt kicked several time on the Mission 15.

                        I strongly recommend for the users to read the book first and then flying the campaign. It will bring it to another level.

                        I got to the point I already bought the second book in the series.
                        Congratulations to you and to the book author for this double entertainment.

                        My grade to the campaign? 9.5 of 10. The .5 is for the bugs to be fixed soon and it will be 10/10.

                        All the best, your happy customer,

                        Sydy

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Hey, do we have a timeline for steam release? really looking forward to fly this campaing

                          Thnaks
                          Win10 64, MSI Krait Gaming Z370, I7 8700K, Geforce 1080Ti FTW3 ,32 GB Ram, Samsung 980 EVO SSD

                          Modules: Combind Arms, A-10C, F-86F, F/A-18, F-16, Flaming Cliffs, KA-50, L-39, P-51, UH-1, Christen Eagle II, Persian Gulf

                          Comment


                            #14
                            It is on Steam as of today enjoy!

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by baltic_dragon View Post
                              It is on Steam as of today enjoy!
                              Perfect timing! I'm almost done with the book and will get right to it! Cheers
                              Win10 64, MSI Krait Gaming Z370, I7 8700K, Geforce 1080Ti FTW3 ,32 GB Ram, Samsung 980 EVO SSD

                              Modules: Combind Arms, A-10C, F-86F, F/A-18, F-16, Flaming Cliffs, KA-50, L-39, P-51, UH-1, Christen Eagle II, Persian Gulf

                              Comment


                                #16
                                Just replayed M2 after the patch and that was the first time it worked correctly for me. Didn't even hardly realize what I was missing, but I definitely missed a trigger or something the first couple of times.

                                Also, pleased to report this was my FIRST TIME EVER plugging the basket in the Hornet and actually staying in it long enough to get some dang fuel. Finally getting the hang of AAR!!

                                Comment


                                  #17
                                  Started a second playthrough of this campaign this weekend. I never would have thought I would have wanted to play such heavily scripted and non-dynamic missions again so quickly, but I am having as much or even more fun the second time through! It certainly helps to "know the script" beforehand, so you can stay on top of things and feel like a real fighter pilot

                                  One question / feedback regarding the loadouts in the A/G missions: is there a particular reason you went for 2 tanks on inner wing stations instead of the "double ugly" configuration with one tank on the centerline and the other on the right inner wing station? The double ugly would decrease targeting pod masking and also free one wing station for weapon.

                                  Comment


                                    #18
                                    Thanks MagicSlave. We never really discussed using the “double ugly” config when talking to Vincent and Kevin, and so we have more conservative loadouts

                                    Comment


                                      #19
                                      Hey!

                                      I Liked the double Ugly configuration!

                                      Comment


                                        #20
                                        Just finished Raven One campaign.

                                        Baltic Dragon already made great campaigns before: with interesting scenarios, very detailed briefings and great voiceover. I personally completed Enemy Within 3 campaign and highly recommend it. But Raven One set even higher standard. The fact that the real Navy pilots actively participated in its creation, entire book also written by real Navy pilot stays behind the events of each mission combined with efforts of recognized mission creator, voiceovers made by former pilots and well-known community members - all that make it really different experience. Radio exchange, briefings, codewords and many other little details create very deep immersion. This campaign do require player to hone some skills and know most of the Hornet systems and weapons (not all of them is a must, but most of them are), among others:
                                        - Perform Case I / Case III recovery, cold start
                                        - Ability to do AAR, fly in formation
                                        - Work with basic navigation on HSI, enter waypoint data, arrive TOT, listen to directions JTAC provides
                                        - Know how to deal with imprecise/precise coordinates in both formats
                                        - Work with radar in AA/AG modes, work with TGP (POINT mode that is capable of tracking moving target helped me couple of times)
                                        - Reference contacts from Bullseye, analyze information on SA page
                                        - Know how to enter laser code for LGBs, Mavs and on FLIR page
                                        - Set up JDAM/JSOW in both PP and TOO modes, set up other weapons
                                        - Work with Mavericks both E and F variants
                                        - Employ HARMs (TOO mode in particular), analyze data on EW page and set-up countermeasure programs

                                        But if you master these skills missions especially shine and are really satisfying. There are also very helpful hints for each mission at the end of each briefing.

                                        There were some annoying bugs mostly related to weird AI behavior, changes between OB releases and the fact that missions are heavily scripted, but that's something we have to live with I guess and there's a lot of feedback from Baltic Dragon and other community members with fixes and workarounds.

                                        It's probably the best DCS campaign I ever played, great work!

                                        I highly recommend book as well: I have read only ~1/3 of it for now, but it already allowed me to take a glimpse into everyday life of Navy pilots on aircraft carrier, their relationships, combat experience and sacrifices they and their families have to make.
                                        Last edited 09-28-2020, 08:10 AM.
                                        Все написанное выше является моим оценочным суждением
                                        Everything written above reflects my personal opinion

                                        Занимаюсь "активной пропагандой Американцев на данном форуме" (c) Flanker

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