Let's discuss tactics...

iamtheman83

Spaceman
:cool: Let’s discuss tactics…

I’ve noticed this topic is sparse on this message board – so I’m going to start it here. Firstly, I’m not regarding myself as an authority on how to play Wing Commander, I just would like to share and encourage the explaining of how to stay alive on the Nightmare difficulty. I own all the games so I’ve clocked quite a few hours of flying time to accumulate a modest skill. All of the Wing Commander games play differently IMO and require the player to adapt to ship design, increased AI and so forth.

With Standoff; Prophecy and Secret Ops veterans again have to adjust their flying style to suit the game’s rise in difficulty (i.e., coping with weaker ships, rationing fuel, missile and decoy supplies, and getting used to shooting without the I.T.T.S). Not only this, but the AI has carried over from Prophecy and Secret Ops unchanged, meaning comrades will often eject or get destroyed due to the harder circumstances that is Standoff – and in Standoff, downed ships DO count. The player might already be skilled at Wing Commander, but when wingmen are constantly dropping off in numbers, the odds don’t look pretty. Fortunately, a “glitch” exists in the Nightmare difficulty that boost wingmen AI to give them more of a fighting chance – AND enemy AI (so it does require more finesse in the cockpit – but not much more). So don’t be scared of the Nightmare difficulty.

Okay, I’ll provide a few scenarios that are perhaps the core obstacles a player will face in this game and list more when I think of them or other posters can share.

THE BASICS – Firstly, the game plays beautifully with a mouse – no need to use a joystick IMO to get an advantage, which I don’t believe there is. I’ll not bother divulging standard ship control - just learn to study each ship’s strengths and weaknesses. Sounds too obvious but it DOES help. Use different camera angles and observe how sharply the ship pitches and turns and which direction it moves faster because this will be useful to evade head on attacks better. Notice the physics of this space simulation? Try not to pull up or push down too sharply – all ships, irrespective of speed, will ‘turn on a dime’ when this happens, and is a move the enemy do time and again when they fly out of range then come back to close in on you – so DON’T pitch too sharply because you will lose velocity, leaving you open for any type of attack.

RATION FUEL – Yes, yes; everybody will soon learn to curse really loudly the size of the fuel tanks in Standoff. Short bursts in combat situations are advised, but more need of it is called for in some instances, especially breaking missile locks. NEVER burnout to chase after a target unless absolutely necessary – let enemies come to you, get them in range, fire, after-burn, roll and evade in a swift and succinct movement. The after-burn slide, an extremely useful move in WC1 to Armada (Caps Lock “Shelton Slide” in WC3 to Secret Ops), is hard to pull off in Standoff, but a variant of it is still quite possible and almost as useful – more effective when combined with weaves and rolls to evade gun fire.

THE “U” KEY IS YOUR BEST FRIEND – Newbies wouldn’t know how to target the nearest enemy until they read up about it in the in-game help screen. Nevertheless, my finger rarely stops tapping this key for any length of time. USE IT! There is nothing worse than trying to close in on a target thinking your six is clear when you don’t realize an enemy suddenly burning in to say hello. Remember, if you don’t take out a particularly agile target fast enough, you’ll have more swarming over your ass in no time.

KNOW GUN RANGES – Extremely important; don’t waste valuable gun energy shooting star dust. Experiment with a stationary target (like your cap-ship) and fly slowly in range, fire until you hit something, then go through each gun separately and repeat the process. Remember the values or estimates thereof.

DON”T BE SCARED OF MISSILES – A lot of people used to WC3 to Secret Ops will instinctively lob a few decoys and after-burn like crazy with a missile tailing them. Decoys are precious in Standoff so don’t waste them. Missiles correspond to WC2 stats so you can outrun them in most cases – prepare for some serious looping and rolling evasive moves (it helps to go to chase cam F5 – but be wary of the slight readjustment of the camera before it lines you ship up on screen). Also, it helps to treat them like targets themselves, they show as bright yellow dots on the radar for those not in the know – get a visual on them and either try to shoot them or out-maneuver them. Dumbfires are PESTS, assume the enemy will fire them at you whenever they can, especially head on – that’s why you should fire (hopefully destroying incoming warheads), and evade because there will more than likely be a dumbfire to meet you head on. Heatseakers are the fastest yet easiest to evade, because they don’t Reacquire a lock if you loop or out-turn them. IMRECS are quite nasty to shake but can be outrun easily enough. FFs aren’t too bad either.

Quarto suggests one way to evade missiles: “My strategy? It's pretty much unchanged since WC2. Basically, if you can't run away from something... face it. Charge the missile on full afterburners - it won't have enough time to adjust its course, so it won't hit you head on. Instead, it will overshoot and get way out of position. Even if it doesn't lose lock, it will at least lose most of its short lifetime.”

THE I.T.T.S IS GONE, GET USED TO IT – One of the hardest skills to master in Standoff is learning to shoot blind (deflection shooting without the use of the I.T.T.S). Long range shots mostly rely on luck, so don’t waste gun energy until you have a sure hit. I find rolling and firing will increase the chances of hitting an agile target. Not only that, but with ships like the Sabre and Gladius, their slow projectile velocity actually increases in accuracy oddly enough when you roll and shoot – painting a target with burst fire. Close range attacks are much more reliable because concentrated fire will do much more damage with full guns if energy is not recharging after firing wildly at long ranges. Some prefer switching guns in different circumstances – although I find this useful, I mainly go for close range shots with full guns. Depends on the player’s marksmanship and preference I suppose.

That’s all I can think of at the moment. Sorry if my post is too long. I encourage others to add to it of course.
 

AD

Finder of things, Doer of stuff
Maybe I'm remembering wrong, but along with the U key comes the also very handy Y key next door. Especially on ships like the dralthi, Afterburn past them until you are behind and do a quick turn so you are on their tail. Hit the Y key to match speeds and its WAY easier to stay on their tail to finish the job. If they Afterburn to get away just hit your own afterburner to keep up. Works great for slower targets... just watch out for turrets. But of course quickly hit U if someone gets on your own tail, and it's also not so great if you are either severely outnumbered or without a wingman.
 

iamtheman83

Spaceman
Yep. Matching target speed with the "y" key is pretty handy so you don't accidently ram or overshoot the slower fighters.

Something else that I noticed that might be helpful; when you hear the rumble of fighter engines to the left or right of you, you can bet there is an enemy right on your tail. So hit the brakes and put him in your sights (although this doesn't always work). Either way, just evade the inevitable gun blasts.

I just though of a really useful key if it was implemented - like with Tie Fighter , the 'r' key targets the closest enemy ATTACKING you. Now THAT would be handy in Standoff. 'R' is used to cycle through cap-ship ordinance while a cap-ship is targeted, but it would be good to have it put to this use as well.

Oh, and does everybody know that to cycle through targets backwards if you accidently go past the select target, you press Shift t? Shift R is used to cycle backwards through cap-ship ordinance.
 

Mincemeat

Doomsday's Neighbour
I'll add the use of the navmap for 1. situational awareness purposes, and 2. as a "napmap" because you can take a break from the action. Some purists may not like to use it though.
 

iamtheman83

Spaceman
Another technique to master is killing without relying on the targeting computer - since a player must sufficiently down enemies without the use of the I.T.T.S anyway. Shooting anything close-by is a quicker method rather than consecutively picking locked targets.

And as "mincemeat" pointed out, the NAV map is useful especially for the protecting of mission critical craft. Still, it's a personal preference.
 
not necessarily moot ~~~ :)
It's good to sit back and reassess..the missions in Standoff are wickedly intricate and it's great to be able to study the battle to make sure there isn't some jerkwad kilra'hra (or whatever the term is) about to toast your landing bay!!
 

Crazy J

Spaceman
My tip? Pick your targets carefully. If you're flying a Stilleto, focus on the Sartha's (Sarthii?) before you go for the Gothri. If you're flying a Morningstar, take out the Jalkehi before the Drakhri. Know what you're flying, what weapons you happen to be packing, and what you're facing. If you know what target to focus on first, you can make life way, way easier.
 

Toast

Space Marshal
Crazy J said:
My tip? Pick your targets carefully. If you're flying a Stilleto, focus on the Sartha's (Sarthii?) before you go for the Gothri. If you're flying a Morningstar, take out the Jalkehi before the Drakhri. Know what you're flying, what weapons you happen to be packing, and what you're facing. If you know what target to focus on first, you can make life way, way easier.

My vote's for "Sarthae" :p

Along a particular vein for the Stiletto:

Really Basic beginner's advice for light vs. heavy fighter tactics:
Especially with the Stiletto, your shields are too thin to take even a single rear turret or particle cannon hit, and you'll be eating a lot of turret fire if you go in for the easy rear-quadrant approach. Your mass driver rounds fly so slow that the rear approach is tempting, but if the rear turret keeps hitting your guns, the kill will cost you more than it's worth.

Instead, if your mission isn't time critical, lead the Gothri or other heavy fighter on afterburners instead - aim your own fighter's nose a few klicks way out in front of them and hit the afterburners in short bursts. By the time you actually intercept, you'll likely be on a dorsal or ventral approach with the gothri's huge wings filling up most of your front view.

If you're already behind them, veer slightly away and hit afterburners as though you were trying to race him, not shoot him down, until you're flying practically parallel with the Gothri, then drop the burners and turn back. The Gothri will probably still be trying to run straight away, so again, he'll fill up the whole screen and you can unload the whole capacitor on him before the turret becomes an issue again. Although it sounds like you're using your burners a lot, you'll still probably use less fuel with either tactic than with the straight aft pursuit, sucking down turret fire all the while.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Sartha already counts as plural :). When people in WC2 talk about shooting down multiple Sartha, they don't modify the word in any way. Same goes for a bunch of other catships, too... Dralthi, Salthi, Drakhri, Jalkehi, Jalthi, Gratha, etc...
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
Quarto said:
Sartha already counts as plural :). When people in WC2 talk about shooting down multiple Sartha, they don't modify the word in any way. Same goes for a bunch of other catships, too... Dralthi, Salthi, Drakhri, Jalkehi, Jalthi, Gratha, etc...

oh, yeah - that's right. Thanks, I haven't seen any of the original scripted dialogue in a long time. You just saved me from wasting the next half hour wondering what the plural for "Dorkir" was.
 

iamtheman83

Spaceman
"Really Basic beginner's advice for light vs. heavy fighter tactics:" -- Toast

"Instead, if your mission isn't time critical, lead the Gothri or other heavy fighter on afterburners instead - aim your own fighter's nose a few klicks way out in front of them and hit the afterburners in short bursts. By the time you actually intercept, you'll likely be on a dorsal or ventral approach with the gothri's huge wings filling up most of your front view" -- Toast.

I agree, this is a good tip.

"If you're already behind them, veer slightly away and hit afterburners as though you were trying to race him, not shoot him down, until you're flying practically parallel with the Gothri, then drop the burners and turn back. The Gothri will probably still be trying to run straight away, so again, he'll fill up the whole screen and you can unload the whole capacitor on him before the turret becomes an issue again. Although it sounds like you're using your burners a lot, you'll still probably use less fuel with either tactic than with the straight aft pursuit, sucking down turret fire all the while" -- Toast.

Yes, rear assaults are extremely deadly, but with practice, a player can deal sufficient damage to a Gothri from behind if they keep a certain distance (usually just inside the max range of the I.T.T.S) that still enables the ability to evade turret fire - the game engine collision detection renders dodging gun fire very difficult at close range. Only go for rear attacks if you feel confident to do so without suffering exorbitant amounts of damage in the process.

Ultimately, I prefer frontal assaults mirroring the strategy I mentioned earlier - lure them toward you, get them in range, fire, after burn, roll and evade. Or, burn in and catch them when they do the turn-on-a-dime move and let rip with full guns. Gothri lack the acceleration to evade this type of attack.

I also recommend ordering wingmen to attack the same target to concentrate firepower. Use missiles sparingly, but save them for special instances when opposition becomes too fierce (like that mission in episode 2).

Modify your techniques in different circumstances because each approach has their pros and cons. Don't forget to constantly be mindful of enemies near you ("U" key).
 

BattleDog

Spaceman
Here's what I want to know.

How do you stop your bombers or transports from getting toasted. Given the insane odds in Standoff and the woeful targetting computer I'm having real trouble with that mission to take down the Relatha and the Snakier.

Speaking of which, how many fighters do those sodding things hold?
 

Falcon988

Commodore
Well, that mission you're talking about is especially difficult. Don't expect victory no matter what tactics you get advised. Anyway, use your navmap (N I believe or cntl-N) to target the Sartha/Drakhri that are specifically targetting the Broadswords. And pray.
 
Top