Know Your Foe – A Quickstart Guide for Rookies

by CCP Games
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This is for those of you who have just begun your life as a Valkyrie pilot. If you are taking your first nervous steps into combat, you need to know a little about the sorts of enemies you are going to come up against. We’ll deal with them in terms of the class of ships they’ll be piloting. Different versions of each ship class come with different loadouts in terms of performance and weaponry but they share common traits and it’s these general behaviors we’ll be concentrating on here.

Here Come the Heavies

As their name suggests, the heavy class ships are big and bulky and as a result they’re slow and not particularly agile.

They mostly come equipped with powerful flak cannons that dish out area of effect damage but these tend to be most effective when the heavy is in close combat. So, the first piece of advice is to keep your distance and assess the situation before simply diving into a ruck with a heavy.

If you do find yourself in the middle of a firefight with a heavy targeting you, use your superior speed and agility to either remove yourself to a safe distance or find yourself a tight space in the surrounding space debris that will make it difficult for the larger ship to follow and from there you can return fire.

Heavies have micro warp drives (MWD) which enable them to quickly cover large distances to zip in and out of battles. Again, this is why it is important to first hang back and scope out a scene to see potential threats in this regard. The MWD takes several seconds to spool up and when you see this happening it’s tempting to head straight for them to stop them escaping the battle. Don’t. Just let them go. Sometimes they’ll start spooling just to draw you in then blast you from close range.

Like for Like

Things can get pretty tricky when you are facing another fighter as any performance advantages or disadvantages melt away. This is where tactical nouse and pure piloting skill really come into play.

If you haven’t yet engaged with an enemy fighter, don’t just fire off your missiles as you’ll lose the element of surprise. They’ll be alerted to your position and you’ll be left with reduced firepower as they counter-attack.

As is always the case when dogfighting, the aim is to get behind your opponent so it’s best if you can start by approaching from behind in the first place. If you do find yourself the victim of a surprise attack from another fighter do not try to simply hold down the boost and hightail it out of there. An experienced pilot will take you down in seconds. You have to keep moving, constantly tap your boost and brakes, and make sudden and random changes of direction. Even if you’re trying to get to a specific location, get there by a circuitous route rather than ‘as the crow flies’.

Finally, the more familiar you are with any given map the better. When being pursued you can cling tightly to the surfaces of rocks and structures hopefully causing your pursuer to crash and damage themselves.

Take out the Supports

These zippy little fellas are like mosquitoes: pretty feeble, but quick and agile, hard to land a hit on and capable of delivering the occasional annoying sting.

Support craft may be weak, but in team play situations they play a crucial role in the success of a mission. As a fighter, it’s generally important to prioritize taking out the support ships as that can seriously dent the opposing team’s ability to heal and put up a decent resistance. Be aware that when flying in a support, the enemy may have this exact tactic in mind against you.

You will often find a single support craft servicing two of its own fighter craft, swapping between them to administer the healing support beam. If you identify that this is happening, work with your teammates to draw the fighters apart and leave them vulnerable as they get further away from the support.

In control mode, it will be the support ships that rush between control points setting up drones. Their superior speed and agility means they will be able to hug the scenery surrounding a control point to evade you if they’re aware of your presence. If you want to defend a control point do so from a distance.

Of course, as you encounter more sophisticated support craft you will learn that their support beams can do much more than just heal other ships. To find out what they’re capable of, check out our weapons guide.

That should be enough to get you started and keep you alive a little longer.

Fly safe!