You've (hopefully) read Part 1, got the basics.
Then you read Know Your Ship, and got a better understanding of what it was you are jockeying up there.
After that you read K.I.S.S., and improved your "ballsyness" and stopped being such a target.
Now you're still having trouble, and don't know what to do to get better.
This thread isn't going to coddle you.
This thread isn't going to be gentle and tell you "in a nice way" how to get something done.
This thread is going to assume you practice maneuvers already advised.
This thread is going to be direct and up-front in calling you on oversights, shortcomings, or plain foolishness.
But I'll try not to be rude.
So then, let's start, shall we?
Before you even launch!
You threw together your ship did you?
I really hope you built it around an appropriate engine.
Listen to me very very carefully:
Your engine is the heart of your ship. That is the ONE component that is defensive and offensive, and will give you the edge in both PVE and PVP.
It is more important than the chassis itself, when you get right down to it. You can overcome any chassis' limitations with the right engine, and if you put your reward Cert6 in a ship that has 150k+ mass allowance, you've already given away your strongest advantage.
That being said:
If you're using a crafted engine.... stop reading now.
As a matter of fact, stop flying altogether.
Until you get yourself a great PYR, I can't help you get better, nobody can.
Know your needs folks... a light fighter can take a light engine and still be superior, but a heavy ship is going to be a slow-moving hulk of metal to all hostiles, just begging to be shot out of the sky... and you can put the biggest guns on her you want, if you can't track long enough for a solid set of hits, you may as well sell them to the Chassis Dealer for the bunch of scrap they'll become after the AP are down to 1.
Moving Right Along:
Maneuvers, part 1:
Maneuvers! What the hell is Vid talking about when he says that?
Look folks, maneuvers are not normally given complex names. In Aerial combat there are a few "named" maneuvers, and that's great for airplanes, but listen:
These are not airplanes!
I can't seem to stress that enough. People are still thinking, even after ace, that there's some kind of correlation between Space Flight and Air Flight. There's NOT! STOP thinking that! Self-defeatist thoughts, BEGONE!
There is WAY more in common between Space Flight and a Cigarette Boat than there is to a F-18!!! OK?!
Right. I did say I would be direct, didn't I? I can't get more direct than that without getting downright rude.
Stop thinking of your craft like a plane. It's not, and never will be.
"Twitch" based indeed.
The key to winning in "twitch" is not how you react, but what you thought (or didn't) at the time you chose that action.
So if you're thinking this is an airplane you will lose to people like me everytime, and the AI will constantly keep you guessing.
Maneuvers, part 2:
If you don't know before you finish a turn/maneuver where your enemy is going to be, then you:
- Aren't thinking.
- Don't understand what you're doing, you're just doing it without forethought or understanding.
- Don't understand vectors and relationships
- Forgot that your target is moving too.
- Think too much.
- Think the wrong things.
- All of the above.
Wow what a list! And I'm putting it right on you, too, aren't I?
Yes well, them's the breaks.
Listen, if you don't understand what your ship is doing when you do it, (I don't mean "i noticed a slide blah blah"... I mean really understand, and know it as second nature), then go back to the first part of K.I.S.S. and practice flying your ship around static objects and waypoints for a few more hours. Seriously. Use boosters sometimes, other times not; try at different speeds; try shooting through the center of a waypoint "from the hip" (start at it, fly out 450-500m, whip around and fire!)... whatever you need to do, do it. If you don't understand where you're at and how you're moving in space at every single moment, then you are like a 3-year old trying to drive a car. You might make it out the driveway, but sooner than later you're going to meet disaster.
"But, there were 4 A-Wings flying sideways and shooting me in the front the whole time!"
Oh geez. Dude/Ma'am, no insult intended, but if you managed to get this far and don't understand how that's done, or can't do it yourself in any ship.... you had a lot of help reaching ace/master. Like Seriously. Again, go back to basics, or KISS techniques, and come back when you're ready.
I have seen several instances of the AI doing completely impossible things (X-Wing flying backwards while I was at a standstill and still firing on me for example), but these instances are fairly rare, and they seem to be becoming even more rare as time goes on. Where this is the case, just laugh a bit, because a target that's flying backwards is very easy to kill.
At any rate you have a serious advantage over those sideways-flyers, if you understand what they're doing:
You know exactly where they're going when you break past them. Which is to say, behind you and facing away from you if you boost straight, and on your flank of choice and facing opposite if you roll out, or on your flank and perpendicular if you do the opposite of what they're doing. In either case, entering a perpetuating circle gives control to the target being circled. Remember that sentence. You're going to need it in the future. PvE and PvP - there's no difference. So long as the target is aware, the craft in the most danger at any given time is the craft with the most control of the situation.
"But what does all that mean, and what does it have to do with 'maneuvers'?"
Glad you asked. Actually, no I'm not. You should understand that from what was said, but for those of you who are just reaching this plateau, it's a good question to ask.
A "maneuver" is a set of chained actions resulting in a desired direction and vector.
Turn left, hold and pitch up while rolling right, at 360 degrees straighten all & slighlty adjust vector ------> You just did a Barrel Roll.
Several instances of actions combined to create a single "maneuver" ...................... when properly executed.
Sadly, I know many pilots who still can't do a barrel roll. Yet they wear an Ace tag. *sigh*.
I'm going to try to stay away from those Air-Flight terms in the future though, since:
1. They aren't performed the same as in the air, and
2. I'm trying to discourage comparison to air-flight, not encourage it.
So what does it all mean?
It means situational awareness. You've seen the term thrown about here and there on the forums already, but to be truly aware, you need to understand what YOU are doing, as well as what any ships around you are doing, or are capable of doing.
Note that I sometimes use the word "Know" and other times "Understand". These are not interchangeable terms, ok? "Knowing" means something you think on that instant and your thinking is correct, because it is based on "understanding" your situation and all its nuances.
These words combined are what give the top pilots their edge. Not the equipment, not the ship, and certainly not just "balls".
Situational Awareness means "taking it all in at a glance"... without the need to think about anything or reason it out, you can glance at the 20+ blips on your radar, use your peripheral vision on what's in front of you, and a thousand miniscule clicks of information you gathered in the last second without thought to know without thinking what to do next.
I watched a friend of mine in Deep Space (a good and talented pilot I might add!) get blown to shreds in about 3 seconds because he didn't "register" the 6 gunboats --- or his position relative to them --- while chasing down an A-Wing, and he pot-shotted one in over-fire from the top. DUH! He asked for it... he got it. What you don't know, in this case, will hurt you... to the tune of 100 BF and HAM wounds.
Focus on what you're doing.
Almost everytime I've taken more than shield hits is sometime when my wife or someone was distracting me, reducing my attention from 100% on what I was doing... be it in-game or IRL, distractions will get you hurt. So, if you're trying to chit-chat and work pilot in a risky situation at the same time... I hope you have at least 1 hyperspace macro to get you out of dodge so you can get back to it when you have the time. Piloting is not a half-baked effort you can run a Macro for and split your time. "DO, or DO NOT". *credit: Yoda*.
Now, let's get a little more specific.
That IS a tough one isn't it?
Here's the deal:
If you already have an understanding of all of the above, I'm wasting my breath on specifics. You don't need them, because you already know where you're going and where he's going, and the best way to make your fire close the distance.
If you don't have that understanding, I'm probably going to confuse the *^&%!! out of you by going into nitty-gritty examples and specifics, so that would defeat the purpose.
There are a few of you out there, though, that are right on the edge of grasping all this.
I never said much specifically but I've given you a million things to digest already, and you're just sitting in space with your mind whirling, just missing the point, almost getting the bead you wanted, just about seeing the target where you wanted/expected it....
You're about to blow Gun4 on the corvette, and the mother starts rolling and pitching like mad!
Well, if that was your first thought, cut your engines and let her shoot you.
If on the other hand you thought "Now which way to the objective", /salute.
BIG GUNS can't aim, ok? Rolling target means even worse aim. Just keep calm, you can absorb at least one hit I hope... now double-helix in the opposite direction the 'vette rolls... you know what I mean? Yaw left, Roll Right, some pitch, straighten out and bring it down... yeah you just did two loops flying over and around the Z axis of the 'vette at a fair but not fast speed, and you didn't even get hit... and now you either
1. See the gun you're after in firing range or
2. over/undershot your mark and are on the wrong side... so rinse/repeat. It really isn't complicated.
This is a big-arzed peice of space-scrap that you can easily fly about without ever taking more than a single hit from at a time, provided you continuously change your vector --- and you never need to hold steady long enough to aim at a single spot more than 1 or 2 seconds. Fear will kill you hear, and so will getting over excited. Just follow the logic...
I've done this in Deep Space around 3 'vettes plus full escorts within firing range (theirs, not mine necessarily!) and flown away with only shield damage after destroying my objective. NPC's aren't much better than the 'vettes are for aim, if you keep moving on all your axis'.
Don't be so scared to break!
OMG, I've seen people get blown to shreds chasing a single A-Wing after tapping it a few times, determined to take it out!
D00D!! OMG! You're Dense!
Always know the area of greatest threat, and break it up. Dive straight through any/all concentrations, remember? BALLS. Dive through and pot-shot where needed, but make it split. That target you already tagged... don't worry. It's going to keep coming at you and sooner or later you'll pop it... probably with less difficulty than when you were letting it lead you around by the nose like some lost sheep.
I swear I said this before too but:
Be an Opportunist!
GAH you're chasing down an A-Wing and passing 2 Y-Wings in perfect position... switch! Take the 2 Y-Wings! Reduce incoming damage and hostiles at every opportunity. If you don't have the ability to shoot a target on sight, at least have "Target Under Reticle" very, very close to hand, and use it!!!!
Be aware of what's shooting at you, and what you can handle.
Firing on a B-Wing with 6+ blinking red blips behind you can be risky, but worth it... but here:
IF you know what your ship can do, you can easily boost a deep loop and come back 360 behind your target, parralel to whoever was shooting you from behind, thus destroying their trajectories and maintaining your viable target.
Result: Target destroyed, Shields Saved, additional targets controlled and disbanded.
The shortest distance between 2 points is NOT a straight line!
I can see you saying "what?!" already.
Yeah well, it isn't, if you want to stay alive. The shortest distance between you and the nearest station is a straight line anywhere there are hostiles.
Roll... Roll and Yaw... Yaw... Pitch and Roll... Pitch, yaw and Roll...
See? Dropping in from above/below and left/right... think like a boat! Always always in space you are turning. Use that to your advantage, don't ever try to b-line anything. Learn to "drop" in, from more than one axis. Interception usually means following an unlikely path to the ideal path slowly - and minimizes your target profile.
This also gives you the advantage of reducing - seriously reducing - the need to go from one extreme of motion to another. If you're rolling left, pitching up, and yawing right, yawing left from there will completely alter your direction... if only pitch and yaw, you need to change both to get a similar effect, which takes time, and increases your target profile while your ship stutters against the broken inertia.
Take Your Time! Don't be impatient, instead follow the most likely path at any given time to a more likely strike.
Oncoming targets.. geez, what do YOU think they're gonna do? Um, they've gotta turn at some point, but before that they need to get past you. The target thinks you're going to keep coming, else it wouldn't be charging at you... so... don't. Slow down at the right time to turn into the coming turn of the target.
The #1 important stat on a booster is acceleration. This is the one piece of equipment that can get you out of a turn and into the targets wash 100m behind before it has any chance to get out of your vector range... strongly suggest crafted boosters for this, but whatever, just use the tools you have!
IF YOU GET DISORIENTED!
Watch your blaster fire!
#1 Guide to re-orientation! It will give you exact information you need to tell you where and how you are drifting, allowing you to re-orient yourself to what is and is not a straight line! Don't get too far ahead of yourself doing crazy loops and twists, if you don't know where you started from, you may end up going straight to the next starbase.
What Were You Thinking!?
"I was fighting a guy and he was got me stuck in a loop flying sideways! When I tried to break he nailed me!"
Yeah, I would to, most cases.
The reason so many PvP encounters that are on equal footing when they start end up in long loop-sessions is because pilots don't know how to get control of a situation. Breaking without becoming a target is the #1 skill to being an excellent PvPer in any situation where it's equal footing at the start and not a 1-shot kill situation.
You broke off, sure... how? Just picked a moment and boosted straight did you? Turned in the opposite direction? What?
If you can't see at least a 30 degree angle on your enemy, breaking off in any direction is probably a bad idea. If you can, and you could, and you still got shot, you obviously went the wrong way.
How To Break:
ROLL IS YOUR FRIEND!
Did I say already that a straight line is the quickest path to the nearest starport? Thought so. Yeah well, you need to remember that.
There are 2 ideal scenarios for breaking out, but both involve knowing your enemy and your risk.
1. When your target has you at your worst position:
Boost TO him and past, rolling in the direction opposing his, to place you behind his ship, or at worst, in 2 seconds he can get re-oriented.
TWO SECONDS is a LONG TIME in PvP... and if you're moving in any 1 slot for more than that, you'll get shot. After 2 seconds, break and come back, keep putting on the pressure.
2. When your target is at his least likely firing position, but you are at close to your best
Break off and roll/yaw into his wash, then reverse yaw OR pitch - remember to track him on the radar. Closer to the outside may be closer to center for you but also probably means he's already turned.
Again, 2-second rule... switch out and come back. There's only room for one error at most in PvP.
Don't ever show your belly!
You know and I know your tendency is to pitch UP, and if I see your bellypan you're dead. Period. The ONLY way out of a situation where you show me your belly is to go past all instinct and pitch DOWN... which may be fine in theory but pulling it off still leaves you exposed to my guns for a solid second.. plenty of time to blow a hole in ya... else your next trajectory puts you flat into my line of fire.
Just don't do it.
Last thing for now... don't ever head straight at a target. Not unless you can see his burners full-on. Otherwise, trust your radar.... you don't need to see a target reading over 500m out to know where it is in relation to you... your radar tells you it's that way xxx meters. Act accordingly.
Feel free to ask any questions you want here, but be warned that as posted above, this thread is not about coddling or coaching, this is a full-out "here's your failure" thread.
Also note that different flight styles will yeild different answers to certain situations, so heated debates are very well possible... debates are welcome. Arguments are not. Keep your temper in check, and we'll get everyone flying in true Ace style sooner or later...
Lastly, some of you just don't have what it takes to be good at this.
Sorry, but it's true.
For you, know where your limit lies and don't chase it down further than you can follow.
Enjoy the aspects of JtL you can, and don't go overt.
Away we go....