Well, to me it seems that mostly the Eagle and various forms of Flankers are to be found online. The newly updated Fulcrum also seems to be taking a lot of marketshare. I don’t know if this will be permanent or is just a novelty factor thing. I sure do love flying it myself, though. It also seems very competitive loadout-wise with setups like 2×27ET, 2×77, 2×73. Payware Frogfoots seem few and far between, even though I think it’s a lovely jet. Also, the A variant of the Warthog doesn’t seem to have anywhere near the popularity the C variant has. So, what to conclude from all of this? That FC3 is popular? That highly capable 4th gen fighters are popular or that 4th gen fighters are popular among the crowds that love FC3? I suppose we’ll find out once MAC drops. If things remain mainly 4th gen fighters or if more frames will become popular after its release.
As for liking or disliking what sort of aircraft are being worked on by developers, I’ve personally come to terms with the fact that aviation is a very broad definition. If people are working on an aircraft that I like, great! If people are working on an aircraft that I don’t like, then I hope the people that do enjoy that type are going to enjoy flying it. At times I let curiosity get the better of me, and I enjoyed flying aircraft like the AJS-37, Mirage 2000C and the Hip more than I thought I would, even though I didn’t feel particularly warm to hearing that they were being developed.
As for MAC, I’ve come to terms with the fact that this product simply isn’t targeted at me. It seems like the perfect DCS: Starter edition, with limited access to two maps and a healthy amount of airframes to choose from. I already own all maps, and all the aircraft included in the pack, and enjoy flying them at the fidelity they are already represented at. However, it would be extremely easy for myself to get behind this product if it offered something new, maybe even including some of the newer techs developed for DCS. Unfortunately, full fidelity modern Russian stuff likely isn’t going to be a thing, so I can’t help myself but fantasize that MAC could have included a new Russian frame. Maybe they could have gotten one of the Skatezilla’s fantastic Su-30 models, transpose either the Su-27 or -33 FM to it, and make it work, with multicrew (fully understanding that this is a lot of work). We’d have an airframe that can do aerial refueling with 2 pilots, I think it’d be fun to learn new people how to fly in a jet as capable as this one and, if given a weapon like the Kh-31, could try to shoot and sink the Stennis and the Forrestal which could allow for some, in my mind at least, entertaining multiplayer scenarios. Alas, for now my fantasy will remain just that, and I am sure everyone has different ideas on what direction they would like DCS to progress towards.
As for systems depth, I agree with some guys that there is actually a fair layer of depth in FC3 that is unfortunately obscured by keyboard controls. Think things like the altimeter settings, the bingo bug, quantity and interval settings for weapons. These are modelled, their respective controls are present in the cockpit and even animated! The only thing that is missing is that you cannot click them, you have to remember their keyboard controls, or map them to your HOTAS. For things like this I’d love a semi-clickable pit that is generally not clickable but has some functionality to it.