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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 3 Tactics
02-13-2010, 07:02 AM

These are the fundamental tactics that are common to all strategies, whether you are playing offensively or defensively.
  • Survival
    While it is unreasonable to expect a single ship to survive sustained focus fire from the entire opposing team, it is very reasonable to expect each ship to be able to help itself enough to survive with the support of only two other allies at a time.

    Critical to survival is learning when to use which cooldowns, and not to blow all cooldowns unnecessarily. For example, only use Reverse Shield Polarity when you are being focused by the entire enemy team. Remember that damage resistance is the most effective survival tool in the game, so be sure to time resistance stacking accordingly. Also remember that shield power level grants a bonus to shield damage resistance (bonus = current shield power / 5), so manage your power settings carefully.

    Furthermore, keep moving at top speed. Speed directly affects Defense rating, which is the basic 'avoidance' against enemy Accuracy. Use Evasive Maneuvers whenever possible, but remember that it might be best to save its cooldown for emergencies (e.g., when subject to enemy focus fire without sufficient ally support in range).

    If your ship has a low Inertia rating (i.e., cruisers and carriers), you will suffer more drastic drift, especially when turning at top speed. Be sure to watch your positioning in relation to the rest of your team, so that you can remain within support range.

  • Support
    This is the most important aspect of space PVP in my opinion, simply because no focused target can survive without the help of its team. When one of your team takes focus fire, throw on -some- of your heals, remembering that these abilities are also providing resistance buffs. Ideally that player will have put up their own defenses (e.g., Reverse Shield Polarity) which will force the enemy to switch targets.

    Even more important than healing is pre-emptive damage resistance (or 'mitigation') by stacking damage resistance buffs on allies before they take enemy fire. Some ally-only abilities (like Extend Shields) offer far better protection than self-only abilities (like Reverse Shield Polarity, which shares the same system cooldown). So make sure that all team members load support abilities and use them on each other when possible, while timing cooldowns so that gaps in buff applications can be accounted for.

    Watch your cooldowns, have heals/buffs ready for the second or third focus fire target. Learning who and when to heal/buff, and how much healing/resistance to give -- from either some or all of your team -- takes practice and communication, and is very situational.

    Especially use Attack Pattern Delta on a heavily focused ally, which will make it far easier to retaliate against the enemy and lessen the fire dealt to your ally.

    Also remember to watch your range to your allies. Most support abilities have a short range, so staying close is vital for support.

    For the most part, the team whose members support each other the best, wins.

  • Target Acquisition
    Always focus fire. Your entire team must always fire on the same target at all times. Designate a primary assist: all team members target that ally and then fire on their target (preferably using an assist keybind, in case of Scramble Sensors), or one player calls out targets (using a target-announce text chat keybind, or voice chat).

    The first enemy to reveal themselves (in range) is usually either a tank or bait; switch targets immediately to the next target if your primary target does not die from focus fire within 20 seconds or a relatively short time.

    Never chase an enemy if a weaker target is closer. Furthermore, never chase an enemy away from your team unless your team is following you -- support abilities have limited range!

    If your target has a green pulse (Reverse Shield Polarity) or is reflecting weapons fire in puffy blue pulses (Feedback Pulse), switch targets immediately. Otherwise, cease using energy weapons and switch to projectiles. Or, drain/disable the relevant subsystem (i.e., shields and AUX respectively) and then continue your assault.

  • Recovery
    If you die and you notice the rest of the group is dying, regroup away from the battle site. Better to regroup at full power levels than to keep spawn-zerging (Full Impulse lowers your power levels) back into near-certain death.

    If a map uses random respawn points, it is useful to assign a rendezvous point ahead of time using the minimap and 'compass' directions. Even in the absence of random respawn points, it is still useful to designate a rendezvous point for retreating and regrouping mid-combat.

    If Full Impulse is too risky -- if you cannot locate all enemies away from your rendezvous point -- then use an engine power preset, perhaps in conjunction with Evasive Maneuvers.

  • Environment
    Use your environment to your advantage. Large objects can be quite useful for breaking line-of-sight, or putting something solid behind you so you only have to worry about what is in front of you. Abilities and certain weapons can also be used to augment your environmental advantage, as either a deterrent (defensive) or a hazard (offensive). Two examples are Eject Warp Plasma and mines.

  • After-Action Review
    Learning from your battles, whether you win or lose, is one of the most important elements to growth as a PVPer. Be sure to open your Chat window and switch to the Combat tab, which (by default) logs all combat actions visible to you. This will help you recognise and troubleshoot specific enemy abilities, such as FeedbackPulse damage.

    Many players prefer to keep this Combat log open while in battle, as it helps them react more quickly to enemy abilities. Note that this will hinder your text communication with your team mates because, at the time of this post, only one Chat window (and Chat tab) can be open at any given time.

    As stated in the Preparation section of this guide, it is most efficient to enable the game CombatLog and review the file created after battle.


Last Updated: 18 Nov 2010