Tactics and Tips *SPOILERS*


Petty Officer
Alright, didn't really find a specific tactics forum, so here we go. I played the Prologue release a few times, and had no problems with those capship missles on the (last?) mission. In fact, that mission became my favorite mission in the WC universe the first time I played it. I thought it had more tension and drama than any mission I can think of in ANY WC games.

Now, with the new release, I can't seem to get those missles. I don't know if I'm just being as accurate, or if the missles are tougher to destroy. I can shoot my missles at them, but they don't seem to hit 'em that often (especially head-on). Anybody have any tactics for getting those capship missles?

Edit: if things go like they usually do, I'll go back and pass this mission 5 minutes after I post this :D
Let's see....
Often the best tactics are different ones in different difficulty levels, but this one is the same on all of them:

Because of some funky gameplay reason those missiles are invincible the first few seconds after they appear, but that is not the problem, you are able to kill them in time nevertheless .

I prefer the following tactics while flying an Arrow or Excalibur:
- attack them from an angle, not head-on
- don't use missiles
- if you fly past them, go on a parallel course and quickly hit your afterburners, activating autoslide. Then you will fly past them and can shoot them from the sides. They are really hard to hit from the front or rear
- don't ram them or fly too near so they don't explode in your face. (Except the Skipper, in the engine that one is a kamikaze fighter that looks like a missile. I think that is because you can't cloak missiles in the FS2 engine.)

And while we are at it, some general tactical tips:
- Don't take them head-on. Especially Vaktoths, and Sorthaks, but even Dralthi if it is more than one. Dralthi pilots also like to use ImRec missiles at point blank range. Not cool.
- Do attack fighters/bombers with rear turrets from the sides to avoid their fire, especially whole wings of Paktahns. It is not wise to be in the firing arc of four rear turrets.
- Don't fly away from your wingmen too far, the Kilrathi will notice it and focus you down
- Do attack capship turrets from under the shields, beginning with the medium ones. (Bombers fire torpedoes more easily when not under fire)
- Do attack capship missile launchers first if own capships are near.
- Do target subsystems. Destroying the weapons subsystem decreases the turrets' accuracy. You can slow down and even stop enemy capships by destroying their engines. You will be asked to do this in some missions.
- Do use your energy management. I tend to sacrifice some speed for more weapon energy and shield recharge.
- Do equalize your shields (Q key or something on your stick) when taking damage from only one side.
- Don't use full guns if you are not a too precise shot yet. That's especially true for the Arrow and Hellcat.
- Don't use your missiles in high-G turns or from maximum distance. They often miss in those situations.
- Don't fire torpedoes from too far away. Laser turrets will shoot them down. Either destroy the turrets first or fly close before firing.
- Don't lock torpedoes on turrets. The turret aimed at may be destroyed and the torpedo will lose its lock. Also the turret aimed at can destroy the torpedo easily. Target subsystems instead, there is a key for that.
- Don't get hit by capship explosions. Your wingmen are often invincible in the Saga main campaign, you aren't. An Arrow will not survive a cruiser or carrier blowing up next to it. Hit your afterburners for at least 5 seconds if you are close to a exploding capship, longer if your hull is damaged.
- Do avoid flying behind capship engines, especially on medium or higher, your hull doesn't like it.
- Do target bombers and torpedoes with 'B', otherwise there are too many distractions.
- Don't panic when you hear a missile warning! Use decoys late, otherwise you'll run out of decoys pretty early.

That's all for now. I'll add more if I remember additional tricks.
Ha! Knew it! Didn't even have to read your tips. Passed that mission literally the first (alright, second) time after I posted that! Thanks for the tip about the Sheldon Slide (that's still what it's called, right?). Totally forgot about that handy little feature. What's the keystroke for the slide?
The Keystroke is Alt-G I believe, the feature is called 'auto-slide' in the preferences screens IIRC. And yes, it is called "Shelton slide" with a 't' in the Wing Commander universe. Although Shelton slide is also used for a kind of afterburner slide maneuver in the Kilrathi Saga manual, so don't be confused when you read it (That's what happened to me).
Dammit. I lose a nerd point for that one :p

Alright, just cuz I like looking at myself type: on Proxima 2, a couple of things: one, I don't think I got any credit for shooting down the Predator missles. I know I must've shot down at least a few, since none of 'em got any of the transports. Also, when I ran into one of the corvette groups (the 2nd one, I think, right before the Kilrathi frigate and destroyer show up), all the missles and fighters were shot down, and all the Arrows were working on the 'vette, when one of the transports blew. I was trying to keep an eye out for capship missles from the corvette, but saw nuthin (doesn't mean it wasn't there). Can the corvette still launch capship missles after the initial volley? Or is this one of those situations where I have to lose a transport?
Kamrani-class corvettes have capship missile launchers in Saga.
They don't use them too often in order not to be too powerful but they are there.

So one of my first steps when taking part in a fleet battle is to destroy the capship launchers on all enemy ships if possible. When there are no fighters around normally those missiles are shot down by friendly laser turrets, but in a battle where the turrets are busy one might sneak through.

Also you might want to listen to the sound. Capship missile launchers make a sound similar to torpedo launches. Or you could use my approach and hit the 'B' key every five seconds in order to not let any bombers or torpedoes/capmiss slip through.
Kamrani-class corvettes have capship missile launchers in Saga.
They don't use them too often in order not to be too powerful but they are there.

I assume this is a reference to how they have skipper missile launchers in Wing Commander III!
right, I forgot that one. So this is actually canonical even if we don't see them launch other capmissiles in WC3.
About the Skippers...: First of all, hate 'em. Which is kinda the point, I guess. In the mission with the Battleaxe, I knocked down all three Skippers, one with guns, two of 'em I finished off with missles. But, at the end of the mission, I only got credit for one Skipper kill. The same thing happened with the predator capship missles in the mission where you're escorting the evacuees from Vega Prime (with the four transports). I didn't get credit for any Predator kills, even though I know I had to shoot down at least some to pass the mission, and I have got credit for Predator kills in past missions. Is this a glitch in the game, or am I just so good that it doesn't give me credit for some kills, in order to make the other pilots feel better about themselves? :D

That's it, isn't it?
I think it's a bug. But the funny thing with it is: I can't remember whether you should or should not get kills for missiles. I *think* you shouldn't, so take every you get as a bonus. :D
On (I think) the third mission with the Excalibur, where you go on patrol and take out some fighters and a light cruiser, then come back and the Hermes is under attack; how many waves of bombers are there? I tried to intercept the bombers as far from the Hermes as possible, and got through three waves of 'em, but there's still more coming. Haven't been able to save the Hermes yet. I've saved all missiles for that battle at the end, and I'm on the bombers exclusively - I know there are some capship missiles inbound, too, but, I don't think that's what was killing the Hermes.
Well, I hate that carrier defense missions as well and in most cases I wasn't able to make the bonus goals, so I may not be the best person to answer you. But I can tell you what I know:

- No clue how many waves there are, sorry.
- Ignore all the fighters and press 'B' like there is not tomorrow.
- Use high speed shelton slide often or you will run low on AB fuel quickly.
- When you encounter 3 or 4 bombers simultaneously kill one of it using a missile. You may want to choose HS missiles because they have a bigger warhead, or dumbfires if you are even more skilled.
- Don't shoot at maximum range, that will just use you energy and you hit nothing despite auto-aim.
- Don't fly too far away from your carrier so you don't have to fly that far to the next wave.
- Don't fly too close to your carrier so you have a bit of time killing the bombers before they launch torpedoes
- If you hear a torpedo launch, press 'B' and kill it first. Bombers won't kill the carrier with guns.
- Capship missiles are higher priority than bombers, but watch how far away they are.

That's it. I don't know more to help you with it, I'm also bad in those missions.
Alright, I've finally settled on the Armageddon escort mission. I just don't autopilot into any situation where there's bombers coming. I've now done that mission enough times to know when that is. Sadly. I still can't keep all the ships alive, and I've given up trying; especially since not autopiloting makes the mission last nearly two hours.... So, I gotta know, has anyone managed to save ALL the Armageddon's escorts? How? Anyone know what you'd get if you managed to keep everyone alive? I feel like I should get at least another Starburst medal for all that (maybe two...)
If you play on medium difficulty it should be possible. You are never,ever required to fly manually to beat any mission. They are all tested on medium with autopilot. In fact I think you might break some of the missions when not using autopilot.

I think you should move on and try the bonus goal later. You can try every mission again in the simulator to finally beat it with bonus goals.
Oh, yeah. Already moved on. I had stopped using the autopilot because I'm having a problem with the fps rate during this missions (I mentioned it in another forum, and I even think you replied to it...yep), especially whenever the capships were on the screen. By not autopiloting when the bombers would be coming, I was able to get far enough in front of the fleet that I was able to intercept bombers and fighters much farther out. Of course, since everyone else stays with the fleet, it does make the first minute or so real interesting, since every cat is focused on you. But I did escape that mission (finally) with 91 kills, even though I lost 1 capship
Sorry, I just couldn't let that Armageddon escort mission go, but I finally got it. This may be the best mission in the game; for me, it tops the Valkyrie mission. Buuuuuut, it takes forever. If you've got the time, try this:

Auto to the Armageddon, then proceed to Nav 2 at full throttle, no autopilot. When the first wave of fighters and bombers comes in, turn back toward the group (they're off radar by this point, but not hard to find cuz they're talking). This lets you get close enough to the rest of the Excaliburs that you're not facing all those fighters and bomber alone. When you're close enough to your fighters to feel a bit better, start going after the Kilrathi. I like to target bombers first, but since you're the guy they've all targeted by this point, it may not be possible. You're basically engaged in a running dogfight back toward the escort group, but since they're so far off, you should be able to get 'em all before they even get into torpedo range, especially in you concentrate on the bombers first.

After the first group, get back on course for Nav 2, NO autopilot. When you autopilot, it automatically sets you back into formation, and you don't have enough lead to take out the bombers. When the second group (with the Sorthaks) comes in at Nav 2, do the same thing: retreat for a bit to give the Excaliburs time to catch up, then engage the Sorthaks first, then the rest of the bombers. This one's a bit easier than the first wave, but there's still a lot of 'em.

Auto toward the next Nav point (no bombers here), then take out the turret guns. Auto to Nav 3, and take out the Orbital Station, then NO autopilot to the next Nav point. This one was the toughest for me, and I lost track of which Gothri wing was closer to the carriers, but by staying focused on the bombers, you should be able to make it. I couldn't quite hit the century mark on kills (ended up with 98), but I did keep all the escorts alive. And, you get the Flying Cross for that. You do need to Autopilot during the mission, when you're not going to face bombers right away, otherwise stuff won't appear like it should. Be careful, though. A couple of times I got stuck in autopilot mode forever... probably because I was cheating. Kind of.

I know that's a lot for one mission, and I know you're not really supposed to fly on manual like that, but it's not REALLY cheating, is it? Is it?
Dude, you're insane. Just sayin'.
I don't know whether to call that cheating or not. Maybe it is, maybe not. But since you spent so much time on it and used only what the missions allows you to do, probably not. Either way, you have earned that Flying Cross. :D
It was just a really fun mission. While I was cruising between encounters, I could get some reading done or whatnot. Plus, it made those dogfights a bit more...intense. I couldn't stop playing it, even after I had completed it. Just hook it to my veins...
In the mission to defend the Invincible, are my guys even trying? It doesn't even look like the capships are putting up a fight? Am I just trying to stall until the Invincible gets the flight deck un-Concordia'd? Are the capships fighting back, running to the jump point? I think I've about perfected the art of blasting Pahktans while sliding by this point...and still a very dead Invincible :(