17 A. Get your hands on Pitch L, trust me, you'll never want to go back.
17 B. I prefer homing>reload+capacity>power for missiles, and for SpWs I prefer power (until it can oneshot what it needs to) > reload+capacity > speed > homing.
Reason being, most end tier aircraft can easily oneshot orange targets of their specific role (or in a Multirole case, oneshot air and maybe one~twoshot ground). Reds are often few and far between IMO to warrant losing out on reloading speed on missiles (though some missions are an exception, namely Avalon), and I do believe diminishing returns come into play with higher level/higher base cst aircraft.
SpWs are a different story, since their damage formulas are different and they function differently. My loadout for SpWs is just personal preference though, I don't recommend it (except for the oneshotting thing).
Regarding the data links, I can't say for certain, you might wanna check the hard data thread if you haven't already, though I dunno if they have info on that yet.
17 D. Preference really, or just taking what you can get. Personally, I find 6AAMs better due to longer range and often more ammo, I haven't really had a situation yet where a 4AAM would oneshot a target but a 6AAM wouldnt, if I did run into such a scenario, then I might consider bringing 4AAMs the next time, but as it stands, I feel 6AAMs offer a lot more versatility over 4AAMs (provided you can actually hit things with them).
17 E. TLS damage is a constant tick, the amount each tick deals does not go up over time.
17 F. I believed something similar to this when the game's beta first came out, in that aircrafts, instead of relying on Cst, were seperated into "tiers", and the tiers ranged from like 425~475 Cst for example. Quickly threw that belief out the window though, simply because it was a confusing and convoluted mess. Not sure if it still holds any weight today, given how the game has changed.
18 A & B. To some extent, from what I notice, yes. They do have predictable flight patterns and usually they will attempt to shake at least one missile off you provided they aren't chasing someone else or in a "cooldown" period after evading/firing at something. Emergency Mission fighters can be really aggressive in this manner as if they are chasing you some of them will pull ALL kinds of bullshit (ie: 30 km/h 180 degree turns) to get shots off at you.
Generally, you never want to be targetted in those cases because you won't get any points, and if you are, attempt to gain distance+speed, because I can almost guarantee you won't out turn them without a moderately high-spec aircraft.
Also bear in mind that some enemies have scripted fixed-flight paths (the YF-23s over Dubai in the first segment and the 4 MiG-29s that spawn after the EM in Tokyo and focus the closest target until they pass by are a prime example of this). In these cases, its all about knowing how they fly.
Edited by Soular, 08 May 2015 - 12:26 PM.