Seeing more and more posters who have trouble with some aspects of the missions I decided to write a small tactics guide to help all the newbies and old veterans coming back from long absence. Be sure to check the Manual if you didn't - it's a great read and contain many tips about flying and fighting.
Most of the time you will spend engaged with enemy fighters. Being quick and maneuverable targets, you have to aim precise at the lead designator (point where you have to aim for the laser bolts to reach moving target - known as ITTS in WC universe) to score a hit on them. Preferably use full guns and fire in bursts to let the guns to recharge. Remember to manage the energy to suit your needs - when you fly the Arrow and don't need high top speed, decrease the energy to the engines PAGE DOWN giving more to your weapons and shields. Giving more energy to your engines (than the default setting) doesn't make your ship faster (like in X-Wing/Tie Fighter) - top speed from the chart is the hard limit, but you get faster acceleration by doing so. Also remember to use the equalize shield button Q when you get hit to quickly redistribute the energy from the remaining quadrants to the weaker one. While tailing a target be sure to use match speed M - while matching speed you can momentarily speed up A or slow down Z to better position yourself behind your target. Kilrathi fighters are very unique (especially the Dralthi) they present very small cross section while flying in the same plane with you (for example when viewed from behind, side, front) and a lot bigger one when not in plane (for example when viewed from top or bottom). While tailing a Dralthi when you see him entering a turn, slow down for a moment Z while following him with the gun cross - if he turn up or down while maintaning his speed he will reveal his big area for you to shoot at. Don't miss this opportunity, he will be easier target to hit at this moment.
Single Bombers are easier targets (to hit) than the Fighters however they have thicker hull and shielding so they take more hits before they explode in big ball of fire as you could expect. Additionally they usually have at least one turret at their back that will make your life harder. While engaging a formation of Bombers - for example four Paktahns their combined barrage from rear turrets can and will get you killed on higher difficulty levels. To combat this you should attack from their side or front. Better yet while flying glide-capable craft (Arrow or Excalibur) you can match speed with the formation at their side (within the rear turret blindspot) engage glide ALT-G turn into them and squeeze that trigger. You can also soften them first with a missile. Remember, enemy Bombers are the worst enemy of friendly Capships, so when you have to take care of your big friends and a swarm of red dots appear on your scope always use the B key to check if there are Bombers inbound. If so they are always your first priority targets (well maybe except the capship missiles and torpedoes which are targeted the same way and have bigger priority over the Bombers while pressing the B key).
This is huge topic and I will try to keep it rather short. Firstly you can engage Capships in a Fighter (no torpedoes on board) or Bombers (at least one torpedo on board). Both aspects require different tactics (although after expending torpedoes while flying your Bomber you can use the tactics for Fighter).
While flying a Bomber you must achieve a missile lock on your target which takes a long time during which you should keep your target designator box pretty steady in the HUD so the seeker head can lock onto it. You do this while flying toward the Capship which most of the time wasn't stripped of his defensive measures so you can expect a lot of enemy fire coming your way. No worries - you can circle gently around your target designator box (like flying in corkscrew pattern toward your target) without losing your locking ability of your torpedo. You can achieve this by applying small input to the side while simultaneously applying small input of the roll (or just make slow circles with your joystick). This way you will evade fire from the enemy vessel while closing in for the torpedo release point. While flying the Longbow and harassed by enemy fighters be sure to fire few FF missiles (Friend or Foe - they don't require a lock and will follow closest enemy ship), also you have your trusty rear gunner who will try to scare of attacking fighters (sometimes he can achieve a kill which will be added to your killboard!). You also have the option of increasing the front shield quadrant in anticipation of incoming fire from the front (basically you can do this for every shield quadrant) by pressing the UP ARROW key (or any other arrow key which corresponds to specific shield quadrant). OK, this one is crucial - before you start targeting the enemy capship make sure to target a subsystem (S key) other than turret (K key - target next live turret) as the torpedo will fly toward this point and if the targeted subsystem is the turret there will be bigger possibility for the torpedo being hit by its fire. So I recommend targeting Weapon subsystem for the reason stated above and additionally if the target will survive the torpedo hit the subsystem will be destroyed making the Capship vulnerable for further attacks (when Weapon subsystem is destroyed the enemy vessel's fire will become less accurate). Familiarise yourself with the HUD symbology for the obscured/non-obscured subsystem target bracket so you can position yourself in such way that you will hit the desired subsystem and not the hull on the other side of it. Now the most important part of the attack - torpedo deployment. If you timed it well by the time you get close to your target you should achieve a solid lock. And I mean really close - I fire my torpedoes when I see surprised furry faces in the viewports of the enemy vessel. The reason for that is to minimize the oportunity for the enemy defensive fire to destroy the torpedo. Just before you let the torpedo of the rail make the use of the afterburners to move in quickly and after release pull up to avoid hitting the hull and while still flying on afterburner extend your distance from target to avoid the explosion or prepare for the second bombing run. You can also link your torpedoes (Longbow can carry 4 torps) by using SHIFT-/ key combination to fire in pairs on bigger targets that don't go down with one torp.
Now lets move on to Fighters - without a torpedoes all you can do while engaging bigger threats is to take down as many turrets as possible to give your Bombers more chance for scoring a kill. Remember that you will have to do this from inside the Capship's shield bubble - gliding helps a lot so if you fly Arrow or Excalibur remember to use it! Sometimes you will be responsible however for taking smaller Capital ships yourself without bomber support (Corvettes, Transports, Cruisers, Destroyers, Escort Carriers). Depending on the situation you will have to take them down quickly to not let them escape or to deny them the ability to charge/attack. In those situations is far better to immobilize them than to destroy them, as killing a Capship takes a lot longer than destroying its engines which gives you more time to engage another target. You can always deal with the one immobilized later - it won't go anywhere. As for Capships that present a threat to your big friends, the first thing you want to do is to take out its Launcher (remember the K key? It cycles turrets as well as launchers or when you have the launcher in your gun sight just press V key to target subsystem in gun reticle). Destroying them is easier on glide capable fighters, take them out in the same way as turrets described earlier. For example a good tactic when engaging Corvettes that poses a threat is to fly beside it on its starboard (right) side where its launcher is located, match speed with it while flying in the same direction, engage glide ALT-G turn toward the launcher and start firing at it. After few bursts the shield will fail revealing the launcher vulnerable and after few additional hits it will be destroyed. While doing this reduce the power to engines (while gliding, engines don't have to work) giving more energy to guns and shield for additional protection (remember the equalize shields command Q when you get hit) as doing so you will become a nice target yourself. After successful attack reset your energy management setting by pressing ALT-D.
Engaging Enemy Aces
Regardless of what type of craft they fly they are formidable foes, they are really dangerous and you shouldn't engage them without a trusty wingman on your side. They rarely fly alone so the first thing to do is to take care of their buddies. It's a good tactic because Aces fly modified ships which are tougher than conventional ones, and their flying skills exceed the skills of their wingmen. So it's far better to take out those less skillful fast than to fight the Ace with a bunch of enemies taking missiles shots at you. I also recommend saving some all-aspect missiles (IR,FF) for initial merge - just send one missile at each target during the head-on pass. Some may hit, the others at least give the cats something to worry about while you and you wingman will try to get on their six.
The guide may grow in time. For now that's all that I recall is most useful for me in the fight with the Cats.
Give them hell pilots!
CPU:Athlon64 X2 6000+ MB: GB GA-M56S-S3RAM: Kingston 4GB DDR2 800MHz dualchannel GPU: GB GeForce GTS 450 1GB OC1 OS: Windows XP Pro SP3 Stick: Thrustmaster T-Flight Hotas X Flight Stick Notebook: Acer Aspire 7750G (I5 2430/RadeonHD6850M 1GB/8GB DDR3...
One cheesy tactic for capital ships with a flight deck is to simply fly INTO the enemy flight deck, match speed, and just fire away. You don't have to worry about any turrets this way.
If the ship is still launching enemy fighters, you might even surprise them and get a kill or two while they're still heading out.
Just remember to not crash into the walls of the flight deck, and to use your afterburner as soon as the ship reaches 0%, or you'll be blown to pieces by the explosion.
Also, you'll need to have confidence in your wingmen to handly any enemy fighter and to avoid the enemy turret fire if you're trying to do this. I'm not always that confident in them.
This has worked since the original WC games and still does.
THX damson - that's exactly what a stranger in the WC-Universe like me needs... Sometimes playing a new game seems like to make the driver license again... so I often hit buttons that have another meaning in the Star Wars-Universe
While doing the 'hide inside the hanger' trick watch out for them launching bombers or heavy fighters. Their combined rear turrets will turn you into mincemeat in short order.
Also if you are flying against a lot of fighters and you have a friendly capship, hang around nearby. Their turrets will cover you and you can hide behind their hull if you are getting too damaged (or in their shield bubble). Make sure they aren't actively trying to kill the capship though.
Little tip to take out a certain ace called Stalker: [spoiler:39uuwad7]This encounter reminded me a lot of the simulator mission in Wing Commander 3 against fellow pilot 'Flash'. Flash seemed nigh on impossible to take in a straight fight, but his love of afterburners was a weakness as well as a strength. All you had to do was dodge till his fuel ran dry and then he was a sitting duck.
Stalker's love of missiles is similar. He always decloaks to your side, so by the time you turn around enough to get a shot off, he'll have buried a missile down your throat. Instead fly calmly around till he decloaks and locks on, hit the afterburners and drop a decoy by pressing X for good measure to dodge the missile. Repeat the process until Stalker runs out. Only then is it safe to turn and play the chicken game with him.
Oh! One more thing. You encounter Stalker twice, yes? Once with allies, and then the final one vs one battle at the end of that same mission. Well I think the jammy git replenishes his missiles between those two battles. Be double sure he's out before engaging.[/spoiler:39uuwad7]
Some of my personal hints :
- When attacking Kamrani Corvettes, be sure to target their medium turret first (use V or S key): the one at the rear center. These turrets do much more damage than the light ones. Once this turret is blown, your shields can, most of the time, take the damage from the other turrets. Oh, and be careful when there is more than one capship around. I have died many times just because another capship was firing from a distance.
- Give a good try to the dumbfire missiles. They are at least twice as powerful as the other kinds, see the technical database, weapons, penetration stat. One hit is one kill, even with the toughest cats bombers. And yes, dumbfire missiles are dumb, they only fly on a straight line. But with little practice, you will manage to hit your target about 75% of the time (and what is your hit ratio with auto-guided missiles, uh ?). Of course, you have to fire only at close distance - not to close tough, you can be hit or even killed by the blast. But I can say, that hitting a cat with a dumbfire is a great moment. It is an unvaluable help in escort missions, when you have to kill bombers as fast as you can.
"When all else fails, read the instructions." Config : Core i7 2600K - 8Go - nVidia GTX580 - Creative SB X-Fi - Logitech G5 - Win7 Pro x64
1) All in all, attacking from inside the hangar is probably safest, if a hangar is available.
2) Afterburner to the cap ship, and then launch torpedo / missile while inside the shield bubble also works well.
3) Meanwhile, if the fighter escort of the cap ship is tolerable, some of the cap ships have a turret blind spot right behind the engine. The trick is to get close enough so that the turrets can't target you, but not enough to be caught in the blast. A torpedo from closely behind the engine is almost impossible to be shot down by turrets, for ships such as the Ralarrad-class destroyers.