08/12/2013

Tips For Terrible Starfighters

Okay, I know I said that Galactic Starfighter is pretty clearly not for me, but I hate discarding whole aspects of a game that I generally enjoy without taking them for a proper test drive first. Not to mention that the expansion is still new and thus "the thing to do" and I feel a bit left out not participating, so I've been playing a couple more matches in an attempt to get some entertainment out of the whole thing after all. I did succeed - to a point - so I thought I'd share my strategies for enjoying Galactic Starfighter even if you're terrible at shooters.

1. Get the quests

I wasn't actually aware of this initially, but there are separate quests for Galactic Starfighter on the PvP mission terminal, first an "introduction" which just requires you to play a single match, and then a daily and weekly similar to the regular PvP missions. The daily only requires you to play two games or win one, which should be achievable for even the most PvP averse.

The reason I mention this as something that can help you enjoy the game is that it adds a pacing mechanism ("just going to do the daily") as well as a consolation prize if you're doing badly ("well, at least I got the daily done").

2. Fly a gunship

Of the three spaceship types, the gunship is supposed to be the sniper. It's a bit hard to be a "proper" sniper when your enemies can see you on the map from miles away, but basically there are two advantages for the shooter-impaired like me in flying a gunship: firstly, you don't have to worry about moving your ship at the same time as sniping, and secondly, unless you're directly facing off against another gunship, you'll be able to shoot your enemy before they are in range to shoot you. Those things count for a lot when you easily find yourself getting confused while flying in circles and have trouble targeting things on the move.

3. Don't go in alone

This is a good strategy if you're weak in normal PvP as well, but I'm finding it more important than ever in space since the combat is so twitch-based. If I end up going one-on-one with anyone, I'll lose and they'll barely get scratched. That doesn't do me or my team any good. Instead, I try to stick with a large pack, and let the scouts and fighters get ahead of me (which pretty much happens naturally since gunships are slow). Then, once they've engaged the enemy and are distracting them... ka-pow goes the railgun from a safe distance!

4. Learn to reroute your power

There's a point in the tutorial where it explains how to use the F keys to reroute power to shields, weapons etc. - which is where I immediately zoned out because it sounded waaay too fiddly for my liking. I'm glad I let someone convince me to give it a try anyway, because it's actually very easy. There's no major fiddling required, just hit F1 to reroute power to your weapons, which is nice when you're sitting in a relatively safe spot and just sniping away. F2 powers up your shields above everything else, which can be handy if you're under attack and just trying to get away and get some breathing room. F3 reroutes power to your thrusters, which is most useful at the start of a game to get to the objectives as quickly as possible. And F4 puts everything back to a "balanced" state, which works well when you simply can't decide what to focus on at that particular moment. (This happens to me a lot.)

5. Embrace death

Sniping is fun as long as the enemy is too distracted and far away to fight back, but if they get a chance to break off and get in my face, I'm pretty much toast. I'm learning to accept this. If you're feeling rebellious, you can even try to crash yourself into an obstacle just before they can get a killing blow. They'll still get points for getting an "assist" but it can make you feel a little more in control to rob your opponent of that final kill shot. Plus, respawning at the start gives you an opportunity to get back into combat from a fresh angle and find a good sniping position again, hopefully undisturbed by direct attacks for at least a little while.

Using these highly sophisticated tactics (cough) I even managed to get a couple of killing blows already, and I'm up to a whole two (gasp) achievements. Feel free to share any of your own tips for those of us who are terrible at starfighting!

7 comments:

  1. Ironically enough, Galactic Starfighter seems more suited to me than the Warzones are. It's pretty bad saying that, but I've steadfastly refused to tinker too much with my UI setup for my toons, and so I rely upon mouse clicks to supplement my regular keystroke attacks. And believe me, I know this puts me at a disadvantage in PvP when you need a lot more of those "mouse-click second bar" abilities available to defend/hide in PvP.

    With Galactic Starfigher, however, I'm not so limited.

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  2. Some random tips for Starfighter from someone who tends to do well:

    Gunships:
    Gunships are weak against scouts when sniping, and everyone at close range. They're best used at long range.

    Get lots of 'range dampening' companions/upgrades for your Gunship. That means that if no one is within that range, they won't see you at all, even on the map/radar. Hidden sniper!

    When a Gunship is charging up its shot, there is a sort of smoky haze that gathers around the ship. If you're charging it to kill it, take a hard turn in any direction. When they are zoomed in, tracking is very slow.

    Gunships, when zooming, are stationary. Some people park their gunships way underneath a Capture Point to flip it or prevent it being flipped. They are annoying to dislodge; use a rocket scout.

    The Plasma Cannon (which you can buy) does a DOT after you hit with it. I usually go with Slug and Plasma. It's annoying/difficult to tell which one you have equipped after a while, and you don't want to be using the Ion cannon against people already missing shields.

    Too many gunships on a team are not a good idea. Gunships are good at long-range support, but they are best when far away, and you need someone up-close to capture a domination point.

    If you're taking out turrets with a gunship, go underneath/above the point. The turrets are all on the same plane in a circle around the point, so you get perfect line of sight to all three.

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  3. Scouts:
    You can afterburn 100% of the time from the game start to any domination point. Use your engine boost (1), switch to engines (f3), hold down space. You will get there first. Remember to switch back to blasters when you get there! (f1)

    Because of this, scouts are the best response if you see turrets on a friendly point going down. Switch to engine, get there and contest the enemy until the heavy hitters can show up.

    Rocket scouts can blitz an unoccupied domination point with incredible speed. Come in at one turret, unload rockets & blasters, boost your shields (2), hit the next turret on the same pass. Fly out, turn around, kill third turret, capture. This can happen in about 5 seconds, so don't leave points undefended.

    Rocket scouts are best to take out gunships. If you see one in the distance, boost over and unload a pile of rockets on the hilariously stationary enemy. They will try to flee (if they didn't blow up), you chase them around a bit and blaster them to death. Just watch for the damage-people-who-shoot-me shield. (although I just blithely blast away anyway, hasn't killed me yet)

    Scouts can also boost their sensor-range. This cancels out all that sensor dampening that the gunships are probably buying. Sensor range also tells you when someone is winging it to your undefended domination point, on the map. It's worth investing in.

    Avoid buying the Torpedoes. They sound cool because they have a 7km range, but they take forever to lock and have a super tiny reticle. They're best used for long-range sniping of turrets, but I find rockets and blasters take turrets out with a quickness regardless. Turrets aren't your big worry anyway, players are.

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  4. Strike fighters:
    With shield boost and optional hull repair, these are durable ships. Note that you have two blasters in the default fighter; a shorter range one and a slower, longer range one.

    You are good against scouts (they don't have much defenses) and against other strike fighters. Gunships, if they spot you, will take you down in a few hits and it's hard for you to get to them in time. That's what your scout buddies are for.

    I prefer the Cluster Missiles to the Concussion ones. They don't hit nearly as hard, but they lock much faster. This has two advantages: one, for people a little less dexterous, you are more likely to get a chance to actually fire these things. Good for taking out scouts. Two: people tend to panic when they hear the missile lock-on noise. They will sometimes spaz or fire their countermeasures and smash into a wall. (You can also buy Cluster Missiles on the non-default Scout ship. This turns it into less of a gunship/turret killer and more of a super dextrous dogfighter. Both are useful).

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  5. Random points:
    You can change ship whenever you die. Marks get divided up based on time/what ship you earned them in.

    It is generally easier to hold a point than it is to take someone else's. So when the matches start, make sure you have a scout rushing to each one to take it if it's free, or contest it.

    Fight near domination points! Again: FIGHT NEAR DOMINATION POINTS! The turrets will help you out with supporting fire and by being juicy targets people will line up and slowly approach. If there is someone near the point, it cannot be captured by the other team. You will sometimes see people flying in little circles underneath the 'wings' of the capture points, for this purpose. (exceptions if you're getting gunship-sniped:scouts should go shut them down)

    You need to kill all three turrets to capture a domination point. They will eventually regenerate if no enemies are near.

    The 'turn 180 degrees' engine/dodge moves seem to be the most useful ones. Barrel roll is ok and projects you forward, away from danger, but if you're anywhere near an obstacle, you'll probably smash into it. The 'go backwards for a bit, then continue forwards' sounds cool but isn't so hot in practice. If someone's on your ass, they still will be afterwards.

    You need a bit of engine power in the tanks to execute the engine/dodge moves. If you just afterburned all the way somewhere, you won't be able to dodge for a bit.

    If you're not in a dogfight, and you see one going on, join in! Teamwork helps, and you get rewards for assists too.

    Flying behind an obstacle will break a missile lock attempt. I am not sure if it breaks missile-lock once they've already been launched, however.

    The game is Domination, not Kill. If you're out in the middle of nowhere racking up kills, you're not really helping as much as you could. (That said, dead ships capture no domination points, so...).

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    Replies
    1. Wow, that's a lot of great advice!

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  6. My buddy from Texas once said "Galactic Starfighter could piss off Jesus". I totally get where he's coming from. In a game where gear>skill, it's easy to get frustrated when you're a 20 year vet of Star Wars space combat games, know all the tricks about leading, decelerating during turns, and power management, yet still get one-shot by a 9 year-old on the other side of the map who's not even moving.

    Here's the thing; Galactic Starfighter is a blatant ripoff of a game called Star Conflict in every way. GSF is nothing more than a watered-down copy of Star Conflict with Star Wars laser/engine sounds and ships that kinda sorta look like X-Wings and TIE Fighters. For whatever reason, EA stripped away everything good about Star Conflict when plagiarizing it; namely tiered combat matches (newbies aren't forced to l2p vs. hotshot aces who think one-shotting brand new ships is sporty. This is where GSF REALLY falls short).

    The best advice to give a new player about GSF is; you're going to suck, and it's not your fault. It's EA's. It's also their fault that no more people fool with GSF than the dwindling hardcore pilot base who are very vocal about how great it is, but completely lose their shit if they lose a match because the opposition continually targets the newbie in his/her first fight. It's easy to get frustrated and give up quickly, and I'm not about to tell you to hang in there. It only gets better when your ship is on even par with the other "hotshots", and even then, you'll just jump on the FOTM bandwagon and fly a gunship to be competitive.

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