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  • "JSLICE20" started this thread

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Sunday, March 19th 2017, 1:44am

Fighter Planes + Ranken Darts: A Balancing Disaster?

I am under the impression that this specific aircraft loaded with Ranken Darts is most assuredly 'overpowered.' You may know that I utterly hate this term due to its overuse and misuse, but this is what comes to mind when I think of the fighter with trench darts. Let's define overpowered: it is when one or few options available to use completely negate the utilization of other options available to use i.e. the oh-so-popular M16A3, AEK-971, or AN-94 of BF3. Every other AR was made irrelevant with the stats these weapons had; they did everything extremely well at practically any range worth firing at. I consider the same to apply to the fighter plane equipped with trench darts. Here's why.

Inherent in the name, the various fighters are the best options for combating other aircraft with features like quick speed, high maneuverability, and small size. The speed helps for fast attacks and escapes, the maneuverability for out-turning an opponent, and the size makes it a much harder target to hit. All 3 factors combine to make it the ultimate choice to engage other aircraft. This, in and of itself, does not make it overpowered because it is designed to be the best for fighting other aircraft, however the trench variant's armaments are what send it over the top.

The Ranken Darts are ludicrous on this thing. Here are the relevant values associated with it:

12 darts per shot
12.5 damage per dart
3.0m blast radius
2.99m inner blast radius

That's 150 potential blast damage total, and a 2.99m radius for each dart* (unless I'm mistaken of course), which is essentially 3m for all intents and purposes but that's beside the point. To put that into perspective, the 57mm HE shell does 112 blast damage in 1.75m and we know how good tank shells are. Accuracy is a moot point with Ranken Darts. If you may have thought the light tank flanker's 20mm had a pretty wide inner blast radius (2.49m), each trench dart* still beats it, albeit by not that much. With a dispersion of 8.0 per dart* or even for all 12 that is a significant area that one can cover with a single strafe.

*Even if I am mistaken and it is just a 3m blast radius and 8 dispersion for all 12 darts total, it still seems a bit excessive considering the vehicle platform that it is associated with; a small, fast, and extremely maneuverable plane.

It has been stated before that concerning tanks, most good tankers will opt for high speed and maneuverability at the cost of armor protection because speed and maneuverability make dodging incoming fire more plausible, it makes initiating quick and deadly attacks more feasible, and it enables faster retreats when necessary. This is basically what the fighter does, but obviously it's airborne.

I believe this combined with its armament is why we see so many trench fighters in the air and also why I consider it to be overpowered; for what a plane needs to be good at it does everything it needs to really well, which is fucking on infantry and dominating the air. This makes the attack plane and bomber obsolete because they require a competent gunner in either to compete or just survive against fighters, they're bigger and slower, and their anti-infantry armaments are just not as good. Yeah, the attack plane and bomber have better anti-armor weaponry but that isn't the primary purpose of planes, it's secondary and they are really just okay at doing that.

Say I'm wrong and this combination is totally balanced, what advice could you give to combat these pesky buggers? Using the AAs and shooting at them in numbers are obvious answers, but I'm looking for surefire tactics to bring them down not just annoy them.
To Aim Assist or not to Aim Assist, that is the question.
For 'skill cannons,' that is.

Nope, Aim Assist or bust.

This post has been edited 5 times, last edit by "JSLICE20" (Mar 20th 2017, 12:59am)


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Sunday, March 19th 2017, 2:57am

I have never understood that why planes that drop shit on the ground is good for gameplay. I know it was in real life, but battlefield 1 is not real life, it is a game. If I recall correctly, none of the BF3 aircrafts can drop things on the ground. If they want to attack ground targets, they have to point their aircraft towards the ground and use their main gun or rocket pods. This is a much better system.

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Sunday, March 19th 2017, 3:02am

I have never understood that why planes that drop shit on the ground is good for gameplay. I know it was in real life, but battlefield 1 is not real life, it is a game. If I recall correctly, none of the BF3 aircrafts can drop things on the ground. If they want to attack ground targets, they have to point their aircraft towards the ground and use their main gun or rocket pods. This is a much better system.


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Sunday, March 19th 2017, 3:06am

Yes I remember JDAM in BF4 that's why I did not mention BF4. LGM means laser guided missiles right? I am not sure how it works but it works on vehicles only right?

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Sunday, March 19th 2017, 5:05am

My own personal take on the matter:

Of the three Fighter Planes offered, one has a choice between being really good at surviving dogfights with other Fighter Planes (Dogfighter), being really good at taking down Bombers (Bomber Killer, duh) and acting as additional ground support by destroying infantry (Trench Fighter). Regardless of which loadout one picks, the Fighter Plane still holds an advantage over Bombers and Attack Planes in the sky. Among the variants available, I would personally rank the Trench Fighter as the most useful, followed by the Bomber Killer, then the Dogfighter. Infantry farming is incredibly important to gaining the edge in a normal Conquest match, which the Trench Fighter assists with.

That being said, I don't think the Trench Fighter is truly overpowered. The specializations of the other two fighter plane variants are actually incredibly effective within their own niche. One can take down Bombers and Attack Planes much more efficiently with the Bomber Killer loadout than with the other two available. And in a true 1v1 dogfight, the Dogfighter loadout will always outlast his counterparts with Emergency Rep.

In regards to the other planes, the extra armaments of the Bomber and Attack planes make them much more efficient at destroying ground targets, including infantry and vehicles. Whether they are using the Barrage Bomber or the Tank Hunter Attack Plane, they can and will eliminate grounded threats much more efficiently than the Trench Fighter in a single pass and over repeated strafe runs. Really, destroying vehicles is one of their primary roles, and they do so quite effectively.

The fact that Fighter Planes have absolutely no anti-vehicle armaments is an incredibly important balancing factor for their role. They specialize purely in destroying other planes in exchange for being able to do absolutely nothing against armor. Even with the Bomber Killer's rockets, the Fighter Plane can only hope to deal insignificant damage against tanks. Considering this, what hard-counters all Fighter Planes?

The AA Artillery Truck. All of that maneuverability and speed becomes pointless when a platform is firing concussion-inducing explosions at you. And you cannot ever hope to deal any meaningful damage to the driver with Ranken Darts, Rockets or machine guns. The only thing a Trench Fighter can do in this situation is fly out of the AA Truck's range and try to drop Ranken Darts from incredibly high altitudes, which is very inefficient and gives competent players on the ground more than enough time to avoid them.

Despite this presentation, I still can perceive the frustration with dealing with planes in general. With the maneuverability and altitude that every plane can achieve, countering them means a team must either destroy them with combined arms during a pass or defensively deny them their airspace. In a game with equally competent teams, I find the latter strategy to be the most common. It's not fun to play for either side. Specifically considering the Fighter Plane and AA Truck dynamic, it's not fun for the pilot to be reduced to ineffectiveness when a vehicle that hard-counters all of its abilities must exist. It's not enjoyable for the AA Truck for the same reason that playing Engineer in TF2 isn't fun (unless you're a F2P or something); it's usually boring. At that point, both players must wait for their teammates to either protect or destroy the AA truck or to spawn an equally competent Fighter Pilot to force the other plane down into the AA's zone of effectiveness.

Still, I find the air-to-ground-to-air dynamic to be better than in all other previous iterations of Battlefield, so I'm currently fine with its current state. I have some reservations about air gameplay that I'd like to discuss, so please ask.

  • "JSLICE20" started this thread

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Sunday, March 19th 2017, 6:04am

Overall, a well-put rebuttal. But while the variants within the fighter class are still viable, I continue to think that attack planes and bombers are rendered pointless when comparing infantry farming capabilities alone. It can be argued that the ground support attack plane can farm infantry just as well as the trench fighter, however it will be severely disadvantaged when a competent fighter of any kind takes to the skies. Unless the attack plane has a god of a gunner, it is likely to be shot down, leaving the [insert fighter variant here] to continue on its merry way.

But is moderate anti-armor ability from the air really that significant of an advantage? Obviously, I do not think so. Hell, our resident tank experts agree that vehicles, which I assume can be land or air based, are best used to shit on infantry and not fight other vehicles unless they are specifically designed to counter vehicles like the tank hunter landship or AA truck are. Yet, when you have a multiplayer game whose goal is to kill as many things as you can to win and a vehicle spawn system that permits free reign to choose to your heart's content, then we get the issue of these hard counters rarely being spawned. At least in the case of the AA truck; it REALLY should have its own slot on plane-heavy maps.

I can see where I went wrong. I piled all 3 plane types into one category, 'planes', which isn't really accurate because there are 3 categories as of now (meaning this can change with future DLCs): fighter, attack, and bomber. In my BF3 AR example, I didn't pile the ARs into one category of 'weapons', so the comparison is flawed. So I suppose I would need to retract my statement about the trench fighter being overpowered because the dogfighter will win against one hands down provided the players operating them are of equal skill and there's no 3rd party interference; another plane within its category exists to counter it.

The AA Artillery Truck. All of that maneuverability and speed becomes pointless when a platform is firing concussion-inducing explosions at you. And you cannot ever hope to deal any meaningful damage to the driver with Ranken Darts, Rockets or machine guns. The only thing a Trench Fighter can do in this situation is fly out of the AA Truck's range and try to drop Ranken Darts from incredibly high altitudes, which is very inefficient and gives competent players on the ground more than enough time to avoid them.

Ah yes, I forgot about this little bastard. However, for an AA truck to perform well in its role it needs dedicated protection provided by friendlies since it cannot reliably protect itself from opposing armor or the various AT equipment that infantry have available, including field guns. Those are resources you have to take from elsewhere to maintain the truck's survivability which could prove worthwhile if it means warding off aircraft, but it's incredibly situational.

Specifically considering the Fighter Plane and AA Truck dynamic, it's not fun for the pilot to be reduced to ineffectiveness when a vehicle that hard-counters all of its abilities must exist. It's not enjoyable for the AA Truck for the same reason that playing Engineer in TF2 isn't fun (unless you're a F2P or something); it's usually boring. At that point, both players must wait for their teammates to either protect or destroy the AA truck or to spawn an equally competent Fighter Pilot to force the other plane down into the AA's zone of effectiveness.

That's exactly it, spawning an AA truck is often incredibly necessary but it also proves to be incredibly un-fun I imagine. I haven't actually used it, but if it's anything like using the stationary AA, then yeah it's probably super boring. Vehicles in general are a polarizing facet of Battlefield; they're fun to play with, but are often a chore or a nightmare to fight against especially if it's a skilled operator who can shred anything that comes his way. But it is what it is. That's why we have Frontlines. ;)

I have some reservations about air gameplay that I'd like to discuss, so please ask.

Okay, I'll bite. What are these aforementioned reservations?
To Aim Assist or not to Aim Assist, that is the question.
For 'skill cannons,' that is.

Nope, Aim Assist or bust.

This post has been edited 3 times, last edit by "JSLICE20" (Mar 19th 2017, 7:39am)


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Sunday, March 19th 2017, 7:52am

tfw people don't use zoom optics of the Dogfighter and strafe infantry

Did it in the Alpha, did it in the Beta, still do it in release
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Reddit and Konami will rewrite the records... And I will be demonized in human memory. But... The thirst for good gameplay that I have planted will infest MGO3. No one can stop it now. The Rebalance Mod will unleash that thirst unto the future.


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Sunday, March 19th 2017, 8:03am

A major selling point of the Ammo 2.0 / regen system has been how fast and easy it is to rebalance the damage output of any weapon type, as all that has to be done is adjust the regen timer. And yet, after five months, the Trench Fighter's Dart timer has yet to be touched. I understand building and changing games takes time, but something as widespread and blatant as this still existing almost half a year since launch is just silly. As much as I try to be understanding of dev work taking time, and as much as I can see how much amazing potential BF1 has once all these balances fixes, changes, and new systems are put in place... the reality is that it just takes too long. Even the simple stuff.

I played through all of BF4's life cycle, and I enjoyed the CTE stuff and the updates and improvements and all that, we got a fantastic game in the end, but I'm already feeling really burned out on BF1 and doing this stuff all over again; I've probably played under 10 hours of BF1 this calendar year so far. Everything in BF1 is either good, or decent with the potential to be good, but with at least another six months before we actually see even just the full new ammo system in place, and having long since run out of things keeping me playing the game as it is, I've sort of just hung up my controller as it were.

All the talk of things being balanced or good on paper, and that being fine despite it not being true in practice isn't helping either. For example, Tanks being well-balanced against each other in theory doesn't change that 90% of the Tanks I see in my own games are the bland, boring toaster Heavy Tanks. Theory is useless if it doesn't work in practice. "In practice" means the thousands of games played by thousands of players every day, for the past six months, not the talked about competitive games without players to play them that haven't even been planned yet.


In short, just lengthen the regen until more complex systems can be figured out, if the latter is even necessary. One number, problem solved.

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Sunday, March 19th 2017, 8:22am

Overall, a well-put rebuttal. But while the variants within the fighter class are still viable, I continue to think that attack planes and bombers are rendered pointless when comparing infantry farming capabilities alone. It can be argued that the ground support attack plane can farm infantry just as well as the trench fighter, however it will be severely disadvantaged when a competent fighter of any kind takes to the skies. Unless the attack plane has a god of a gunner, it is likely to be shot down, leaving the [insert fighter variant here] to continue on its merry way.

But is moderate anti-armor ability from the air really that significant of an advantage? Obviously, I do not think so. Hell, our resident tank experts agree that vehicles, which I assume can be land or air based, are best used to shit on infantry and not fight other vehicles unless they are specifically designed to counter vehicles like the tank hunter landship or AA truck are. Yet, when you have a multiplayer game whose goal is to kill as many things as you can to win and a vehicle spawn system that permits free reign to choose to your heart's content, then we get the issue of these hard counters rarely being spawned. At least in the case of the AA truck; it REALLY should have its own slot on plane-heavy maps.

I can see where I went wrong. I piled all 3 plane types into one category, 'planes', which isn't really accurate because there are 3 categories as of now (meaning this can change with future DLCs): fighter, attack, and bomber. In my BF3 AR example, I didn't pile the ARs into one category of 'weapons', so the comparison is flawed. So I suppose I would need to retract my statement about the trench fighter being overpowered because the dogfighter will win against one hands down provided the players operating them are of equal skill and there's no 3rd party interference; another plane within its category exists to counter it.
I find the varied armaments and gunners on the Attack Planes and Bombers to be much more effective at infy-farming than anything the Trench Fighter can accomplish. The bombs they drop usually have a wider AOE and have about 5 seconds shorter a cooldown compared to Ranken Darts (15s > 20s). A salvo from the Airship Buster is not difficult to aim at the ground and can mop up straggling soldiers quite nicely. Let's not forget that the Ground Support Attack Plane and all bombers come equipped with a 20mm autocannon which has great splash damage and a very fast cooldown.

To balance this, the Fighter Plane counters and outright beats the Bomber and Attack Planes in a 1v1 fight, even with the machine gun defenses of the latter aircraft. At best, they can deter a fighter plane from going after them or fly into friendly AA spaces for safety.


Besides, I personally think that players underestimate how important vehicles are in dealing with their counterparts. Using a vehicle also means one must commit myself to destroying any threats to his team's success within his jurisdiction, including other vehicles farming. Even if you don't have a suitable anti-vehicle loadout for the situation, eliminating the other air/armor is crucial.

I agree that there aren't enough opportunities for counter-vehicles to be spawned, but I'll leave that to another discussion.

That's exactly it, spawning an AA truck is often incredibly necessary but it also proves to be incredibly un-fun I imagine. I haven't actually used it, but if it's anything like using the stationary AA, then yeah it's probably super boring. Vehicles in general are a polarizing facet of Battlefield; they're fun to play with, but are often a chore or a nightmare to fight against especially if it's a skilled operator who can shred anything that comes his way.
It's a little more dynamic than the common AA turret. My anecdotal experience with the vehicle is that I usually spawn it if I do not have the time or interest to counter a Trench Fighter with a Dogfighter in a proper duel. Competently played, the AA truck can usually set up in various locations around the map to catch planes from unexpected angles during a strafe run, as long as the driver does not get into any scuffles with armor. He can then change positions frequently to keep pilots guessing where he's going to be next. If both truck driver and pilot are equally competent, however, neither player is going to be killing the other anytime soon.

I somewhat recall a statement where previous iterations of competitive Battlefield usually excluded vehicles for how much they slowed the game down with their immense power.

Okay, I'll bite. What are these aforementioned reservations?
Fighter Plane duels are nerve-racking and mentally-challenging for the pilots involved, but are very dull to watch. Just watch this dogfight between two-high level pilots. Note how long a single round can last.(RETURN TO THE COMBAT AREA)

Because all fighters move and turn at the same speed, there are few opportunities to get behind one's opponent to take the advantage in a duel. It comes down to which player can predict whose movements better, but the bout lasts just as long regardless. Fighter combat improved with the elimination of air radar and the 315 turn speed meta from BF4, since pilots' movements are no longer being telegraphed through the mini-map and plane speed no longer relies on arbitrarily controlling a throttle to turn most efficiently. While dogfights are skill-based and enjoyable for those involved, they can stalemate for extensive periods. (P.S. Funny enough, this actually replicates IRL dogfights considerably. Dogfights between aces could last hours in WWI and onwards.)

Adding to this standoff-ish meta is the fact that the Dogfighter loadout has a game-breaking mechanic in the context of a duel. Its Emergency Regen tacks on 25% extra health along with fixing any broken parts that the plane might have. This has, of course, a very long cooldown, but dogfights are a test of lengthy endurance, allowing plenty of time for a Dogfighter to undo any damage done to him and outlast his opponents. Suddenly dogfights have the potential to stall out even longer, and the Dogfighter loadout basically becomes a must-pick in a 1v1. Though its overspecialization in air-to-air combat and near-complete lack of competence against all other ground targets balances it out quite well, the meta remains quite uninteresting.

Regarding ground-to-air interplay, the hard-counter methods to fighting aircraft are very defensive in nature and are not very interactive or fun. The Fighter Plane vs AA Truck duel can be, as I've mentioned, a near-perpetual standoff. The fight shifts towards aircraft when Bombers or Attack Planes fight the truck, who can tank a few more shells and can destroy the vehicle in 1 or 2 strafe runs. I'd like to see more interactive, direct counters to aircraft in the future regardless. A skill-based method of play that is enjoyable to fight as and against. MarbleDuck mentioned an idea for a wire-guided launcher that is essentially an AA-specialized SRAW, one that I believe can be outfitted to AA-focused vehicles in the form of a SAM in future Battlefields. I have some really far-fetched ideas for a near-hitcan level speed laser with a long charge up time, some fast-firing machine gun/laser platforms, turning lock-on AA missiles into wire-guided launchers and the return of the 20/30mm cannons from the AA tanks for new games. But such thoughts are for another time...

(also, can we please get a rear-view camera for the cockpit?)

This post has been edited 1 times, last edit by "SomeRandomGuy" (Mar 19th 2017, 8:37am) with the following reason: A codicil.


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Sunday, March 19th 2017, 9:43am

I am unsure whether or not they are a problem

Personally I absolutely hate them with a passion from a reaction-action standpoint. They feel like getting killed from an aerial shotgun with little warning.

As JSLICE pointed out, the damage radius is far too extreme. The problem starts when you realise that this incredibly easy to use weapon is paired with the Fighter archetype which, unlike the bomber and attack plane ( Save for bomber and airship busters) are very adapt at taking out other aircraft.

On the flipside, the fighter is quite easy to take out even with infantry weapons, particularly high capacity LMGS such as the MG15 and Lewis. However the Trench Fighter loadout is very hard to resist as not only is one effective in the air but also has access to an easy to use OHK on multiple infantry units. Both of the other loadouts are far more situational. Perhaps a way to negate the trench fighter's effectivness is to make the Dogfighter a much more effective anti air weapon and perhaps enhance its machine gun strafe capabilities, which is already aided by its ADS capability.

In my opinion, the damage radius should be tweaked as they are a serious nuisance particularly on open maps such as Giant shadow or the clustered points on Soissons.

That being said, I used to despise the sniper one hit sweetspot mechanic but I now see the value of it as it reduces the 'sniping from the aircraft carrier' 1000m spam fests that infested BF4 conquest maps that weren't metro. So not everything which I initially dislike turned out to be as terrible as initially expected.