Wing Commander 3 on Crazy difficulty...

Mr_Blastman

Rear Admiral
It is nuts! I don't know how anyone has ever beaten it on Crazy or higher, especially in the later game before you get the Excalibur.

I'm talking specifically around where you have to escort the Behemoth--well, the mission right before it dies. That vile sweep around the pulsar. Okay, most of the mission is doable... but waypoitn 2 with 10 - 12 Dralthi... Impossible. You can beat them... but to do so you'll use up almost all your afterburner.

Why? Well, they ALL fire missiles at you at one time, over and over again. Dralthi are satan on Crazy. 5 - 10 of them will kill you quickly and ruin your ship for the rest of a mission.

Any tips? I find it just too easy on Ace but Crazy is multiple steps above it just due to the Dralthi. All the other ships are fine--the Darkets are a bitch but they can be dealt with... swarms of missiles though over and over... they give me a headache.
 

Ilanin

Captain
Yeah, it's hard. It's not impossible, though - well, I've never actually played the game on Crazy, but I'm going to assume it's easier than Nightmare which I have beaten and am currently doing a video run-through of, though it hasn't got that far yet. Ultimately the things to note about fighting Dralthi IVs are that you can carry on hammering the decoy key even once you're out of decoys (I don't think it's as effective, but it does seem to help), that dropping into and out of autoslide can confuse missiles, and that they're the best possible use of your own missiles if it avoids you having to deal with four of theirs.

The exploit way to beat them, if you're really frustrated, is to hit afterburner, get to max speed, turn on autoslide and hold it down for 15 minutes, they'll chase you and use all their burner fuel up and be pretty easy targets. You can win without doing that, though - it's tough, but rewarding.
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
Weird. I'm also having a Wing Commander III playthrough this week, and I'm also flying in Crazy mode (But for drama I'm going to switch to Nightmare for the Kilrah missions).

I hope this doesn't hijack the thread as it's still kind of on topic, but does anybody know if Wingman AI is also improved in the harder modes?

Any tips?

Avoid the Arrow unless you have no choice, in which case Autoslide much and hang on to your Imrec missiles. Always take Imrecs as they're infinitely available - by this I mean the Victory simply won't run out of them, kind of rendering the Heatseekers redundant once the player has worked this out. Where the Excalibur isn't available, the Thunderbolt is always my second choice (it's actually my FIRST choice over the Excalibur in the 'destroy transports' mission) - as it's the best fighter in the game to take on light capships and heavy fighters.

Also, I'm not sure if this is just me, but I've always found Cobra to be the most lethal wingman.
 

Mr_Blastman

Rear Admiral
Is there a keyboard command to target missiles?

Oh, and I thought the Hellcat sucks? I switched to the Arrow as it is the only thing fast enough to dodge missiles? Well, the only choices I get are Arrow or Hellcat.
 

-danr-

Vice Admiral
I find the Hellcat to be a more solid choice, the Arrow's fine for handling light fighters, but its gun array is too weak when you're chasing a Vaktoth or Sorthak, under which circumstances you'll need to make the kill quickly before the rear guns in front of you get you first. If you're stuck with the Arrow, and fighting anything with a rear turret, get behind your fighter but stand off it by a few clicks and keep to one side of it (rather than dead straight to its rear) this way you can attack it from above as it turns.

The Arrow is more useful in only a couple of circumstances, yeah it's good for keeping out of harm's way, but the Hellcat can soak up more missiles and has 8 more decoys. The Arrow's other ace card is that it can actually be lethal against capships, with full guns selected, shield power down, gun power up, you can destroy a cruiser by autosliding down the length of it's hull and opening up the guns. I doubt this is something that canon intended, I'd rather just take a Thunderbolt and be done with it.

The Hellcat has a notable fanbase, but equally is loathed by many for it's handling. I see it as much like a cheaper Rapier II, solid enough to get most jobs done. Arrow can be a liability, particularly if you lose your frontal armor early on in a mission.

Is there a keyboard command to target missiles?

No, in WCIII the only missiles that can be targeted and attacked are the Skipper torpedoes seen in Orsini and Ariel. I think you can attack normal torpedoes fired by fighters/corvettes too, but you can't lock on to them with your radar.
 

Ilanin

Captain
The case for the Arrow

The Arrow is easily the most survivable fighter in the game bar the Excalibur, due to its combination of size, speed and autoslide. Missile locks can be broken quite readily with IFF scrambles and autoslide, so the lack of decoys rarely hurts - and even without breaking the lock, a Kilrathi ImRec struggles to turn fast enough to hit an Arrow flown by a good pilot. Likewise with guns. You know how hard a Darket is to hit by now. Arrows are smaller and faster at afterburner (for fun, try to beat Flash on Nightmare without using missiles. Possible, but takes absolutely forever [unlike with missiles, where it takes about 30 seconds]).

The biggest danger to an Arrow is an overconfident or impatient pilot, since the only reason you are likely to get hit enough to knock your shields down is through making a mistake (or a truly huge Dralthi missile swarm, hello Alcor 1 - not that you'd survive that attack in anything else, at least not on Nightmare). There is certainly no reason a rear turret should ever hit an Arrow enough times to knock the front shields (which are pretty good) down - just slide around behind a Paktahn or sit slightly above a Vaktoth and out of its turret arc. The Arrow rewards patience, since it doesn't have the gun power to take down enemies in a couple of firing passes (though if the matter is urgent, that's what your 8 missiles are for - paired HSes will kill a Paktahn unless one of them decides to hit a different shield facing), but if you're willing to stick it out and trust to the autoslide, actually taking damage becomes a rarity.
 

Ijuin

Admiral
Ultimately the things to note about fighting Dralthi IVs are that you can carry on hammering the decoy key even once you're out of decoys (I don't think it's as effective, but it does seem to help), that dropping into and out of autoslide can confuse missiles, and that they're the best possible use of your own missiles if it avoids you having to deal with four of theirs.
That's a feature that a lot of us forget about from time to time--in WC3/4, when you are out of decoys, your spacecraft uses an Electronic Countermeasures device that has a reduced spoof chance but unlimited uses.
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
That's a feature that a lot of us forget about from time to time--in WC3/4, when you are out of decoys, your spacecraft uses an Electronic Countermeasures device that has a reduced spoof chance but unlimited uses.
Is this a real thing? I don't think I've ever seen it in the literature.
 

Ilanin

Captain
It doesn't appear anywhere in the WC3 manuals, though I'm sure I remember reading something along those lines at some point - but it might have been in a fan source for all I know. Well, what's indisputable is that the "decoy" button still works after you're out of decoys in WC3. Observationally, I think it works at reduced efficiency, but that's not exactly hard statistical evidence, and up until now I haven't bothered to attempt pausing the game repeatedly while fighting off half eights or worse of Dralthi to make detailed notes on the relative efficaciousness.

My traditional explanation (and I'm well aware it's essentially connecting two points and exulting that I have a straight line) is that what the WC3 fighters are doing is an IFF scramble, the same technique that Hunter uses (unsuccessfully) on p.122 of Fleet Action.
 

ELTEE

Vice Admiral
I wonder how we could substantiate the IFF scramble effect - a look at the game's code perhaps? I know it's never too late to learn, but that would be really cool to learn a fact like that so long after the game was released!
 

Bandit LOAF

Long Live the Confederation!
Huh, and we do have access to that code now. I'll ask the Maniacs to figure out what's going on there...
 
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