OK I'm going to assume as you start reading this that you have either read my "Learning to Fly" thread (clicky in my sig), already started down the path to Ace, or maybe even are an Ace, and are looking to improve your game.
If none of these things apply to you, then I strongly suggest you read the thread I mentioned from my sig. I even re-read it now and then, it's a good reminder to get you refocused even if you know all the information to be found there.
So then, on to K.I.S.S.... which doesn't stand for Keep It Simple, Stu...... well not today anyway!
Yeah I know, looks kind of dumb but I hope it at least got a chuckle from you.
Before I start getting into specifics, let's break it down, shall we?
Knowing from experience and what you (hopefully) read what to expect from an enemy or group of enemies, you are armed with the tools to get yourself killed. (What?! you say?) Yes, that's right, once you know it a few things happen:
1. You get overconfident and cocky.
2. You stop paying as close attention as you should.
3. You start to develop easily identifyable habits on par with the expected behavior.
4. You get surprised by the unexpected or a change in behavior.
Whoa! Am I being nice to you or what?! OK don't take it personal, (nearly) everyone does those things at some point or another.
So,.... forget what you know. You won't really forget of course, you catalogue things all the time and they become a part of your nervous system, so let your reflexes handle it and let it go.
Besides the idiocy of forgetting everything you know... well, how smart would you have to be to fly head-first into 24 NPCs in a cluster? Not a good idea, you say? We'll see about that. Being an all-out idiot can give you the upper hand in both PvP and PvE, more on that later. (and I'm not talking about trash-talk either, ok? thanks)
Yes, more of the same. Except I mean it in a different way this time.
There's 2 kinds of stupidity you need to ID in 1/8th of a second or less...: Yours and Theirs. Especially theirs.
Now, that doesn't mean go calling some other pilot stupid. Nononono!!! You should thank any pilot that does something stupid, and maybe even apologize for blowing the snot out of their ship - they'll feel better and probably come back for more!
Your stupidity though... well. Don't go beating yourself up over it, but DO make sure you go over it in your mind again and again and again... and see how you could either avoid repeating it, or turn it into Idiocy to make it work for you under different circumstances.
Yeah well every halfway decent pilot has an ego the size of Dathomir, and though that's close to what I'm talking about that isn't what I mean.
You need to have a reasonable expectation of winning. Be excited enough to be aware and cautious, but expect to win enough to be cool and confident. Many pilots lose simply because they're intimidated. Have confidence in yourself, already! You can take 'im!!! COME ON!!
SHOW ME YOUR STUFF!!!
Alright, we've covered the new Kiss (no makeup?), so let's get to more specific details already...
RULE # 1 !:
Well. In this case, not only 'thyself' as in your habits, but 'thy ship' too. Each and every time you change ships, or equipment, you should be relearning her. She's your only ticket back to land alive, so you'd best be learning all her curves.
There are a couple of ways you can go about this before ever hitting a blaster.
1. Generic Space Stations have a built-in obstacle course!
A tight fitting figure 8, this will teach you to control your ship, and learn how she's handling at different speeds. It'll also teach you a bit about accuracy, inertia, and how to overcome it.
The course goes like so:
Park right smack dab in front of the Docking Bay, in the middle of the U of the station. Pick a direction... let's say left.
Now so you know your course go slowly the first time through.
See those uprights? Right. Go to the outside of the upright, hug it as close as you can and go around it... once you turn that 2nd corner you'll find yourself facing the center of the U...
Don't Cheat!!! See that box/crate looking thing? See that narrow space between that and the upright? Yes that's the one... you fit through there in any ship except maybe an MP ship... that's where you're going! Watch those walls! Bouncing around in there is frustrating!
Rinse/repeat on the other side, making the Figure 8. Do it as fast as you can, until you can do it wouthout touching the walls at all.
2. Waypoint in Empty Space.
Yep. Set one and start playing with it. Approach from a certain angle, pass it, try to turn around and be heading straight for it, as quick as you can. Sounds easy but I bet you are off more than you'd think you would be.
Circle it. Find your optimal speed for turning on 2 axis and figure out how to fly sideways!
Try to turn into it along the length and get right parallel with it as you pass through it. Learn about how much inertia your ship has.
Shoot at it immediately coming out of a turn. You'd be amazed how much inertia can throw your shots off. You're not always shooting where you think you are....
Alright, that should get you going on learning thyself.
Rule # 2 :
Know Thy Enemy.
Gee have we heard these rules somewhere before? They sound awefully familiar...
If you don't know what the enemy is capable of, PC or NPC then you are in deep doo-doo. But that's ok, you'll learn from your mistakes. In JtL you DO get a second chance if you lose, as many chances as you have the guts to take.
First, know the ships, know their threat level, and know what you're diving into before you do it.
Amazing how many people I've met up with in Deep Space who see a mixed escort cluster, target nearest, and dive right in... then get blown up 2 seconds later. Why? A-wing alone isn't dangerous. 6 A-wings shooting your tail at once, plus a few B-Wings and maybe an X-Wing or 2.... well. That hurts. Or maybe they forget to stay clear of the 2 hulking Corvettes the fighters were escorting in the first place... who knows?
They certainly don't, or it wouldn't happen.
So know not just what SHIPS are dangerous, but what combinations are dangerous, and you're one step ahead.
Alright those are the only 2 real rules. So where does that take us...?
Strategy I suppose.
Now, you have to understand, the rest of this is just a guide, one man's experiences over a few years of space 'sims', and a few flight sims, what have you. But in general they are global in their applicability.
1. En Masse!
Just you and 24 Enemies! What to do?!
Well. I've done more than 24 and come out with all armor intact, so it can be done. 5 Vette escorts at once, now THAT's entertainment!!!
Ok so what's my secret?
Well, be idiotic but don't be stupid. LOL!
OK on the approach target nearest enemy. See that HUGE cluster? Yeah. DIVE RIGHT IN, BEBEH!
Hit that AB and spiral in as hard as you can... potshot around the fringes if you want... could save some shooting later, even if it's one shot that can mean 1 second.
Now as soon as you're passing that closest ship, hit the brakes and pull over(and up or down) HARD! And for God's sake, KEEP ROLLING!
They're probably ALL going to fly right past you. You'll take a hit or 2 sure, but geez, they're NPCs for crying out loud. It's not gonna kill ya.
Now, RETARGET closest enemy! Oh my, last guy-ish in the pack is gonna get nailed first!! whee!!
But pay attention ok... 3 Bwings at the tail and closest breaks free, you go for the pair. BE an Opportunist! Take 2 instead of 1, please! More is better. The faster you can take out targets and start the next the better!
Now, the rest of them are going to do all kinds of sweeping around and start coming at you from all angles... that's fine. As long as you keep moving you're doing ok. Remember in the other thread where I said "don't get caught in the "Follow the Leader" trap"? Good time to remember that.
Watch your radar. See anything starting to make a big red ball, break and start over.
And for goodness sake watch the incoming hits. If it starts to hurt, BREAK.
Did you do that, with the waypoint? If you did, then set optimal and turn a few circles flying sideways. That'll mess it all up and give you room to breathe.
And please please don't be scared to switch targets, and have "target under reticle" mapped!
Now, that sounds really simple doesn't it?
Well it is. A few simple things that are so easily overlooked. Being a great pilot might take skill, but a lot of it is just plain old guts.
No guts, No glory, as they say.... and that's the PvE version of Supremacy.
What about PvP, Vid? How do I take out so-and-so in his super-blahblah setup ship with his lightning-fast reflexes?!
WELL, now that is a different story isn't it?
First of all, let me offend 3/4 of the PvP community right off the start:
IF YOU CAN'T PVE against 'IMPOSSIBLE' ODDS then YOU CAN'T PVP!!!
What? Everyone says they're completely different!!
Yes, they are different.
Those people are 100% on the money.
The skills you learn in PvP, so long as you aren't repetitive, are exactly the skill foundation you will need for PvP.
Juking, in smaller, lighter ships, for example.
Helix in heavier, less responsive.
But know that pre-planned tactics in 1v1 rarely end up in the other pilot dead. You need to be adaptable, and know how you need to move, react, or what any action you take will do to your position and vector. In 'longer' PvP it even becomes an issue of controlling how your enemy moves, by allowing him a window of least threat. Forcing an enemy where you want him means he's off balance and REacting instead of going on the offensive (usually).
Remember that the real attributes of a great pilot are:
The biggest difference in PvP (not talking game mechanics here, e.g. 1-shot killing) is unpredictability.
Yours and your opponents.
You were stupid piloting once, we all were. You did something silly and got killed. For some of you maybe it was in another game a few years back, but you still did it. You learned from it and moved on, got past that hurdle.
But I sure hope you remembered it.
Here's a an example of a PvP encounter:
I fought an X-wing the other night in Deep Space. She was a great pilot; I saw her working a GB so i did a flyby on her windshield (she hadn't seen me coming, I don't want to be a ganker!) and came rushing back after she broke.
She rolled right out of my fire and immediately managed to get into a slide coming on my port flank.
Then she made a (few) mistake(s).
She overshot the aim and started to stop, waiting for me to fly into her fire.
I saw it coming.
I rolled and boosted for a half a second, then came to a stop of my own (well, down to 1/4 speed), causing my ship to totally *snap* the 90 degree turn, and I pelted her Xwing with one, solid, decisive blow.
She'd already hit the boosters I think, but it was too little too late.
From this situation she broke a few rules and didn't follow the new KISS:
1. She seemed flustered at being surprised, her nerves were less than steady on the stick.
2. She was still confident she knew what an Oppressor could (or could not) do and severely underestimated me.
3. She stopped. !? A still ship is a dead ship. Should have learned that at Tier1. Idiocy rule?
Now this isn't meant to be insulting, and I left the pilot's name out for that very reason.
Believe it or not, GOOD PvP does exist, and it's not about "racking up kills", "Ganking", or trash talking.
It is about challenging each other to make yourselves better. And then even better. And rising to a challenge.
Don't be scared to try though. She wasn't; she learned something.
I learned something from her too, so it was an even trade of knowledge.
I hope this thread (as a continuation of the other) is helpful to at least one pilot.
If it is, then it's worth it.
Feel free to post any feedback (positive or negative) but please keep it constructive.
And as is normal, more tips and tricks are always welcome, as are questions.