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Thread: ++ Using Fixed Weapons ++ Truesilver’s Top Tips, No.2 [Beginner’s Guide, Courier v FdL PvP vid]

  1. #1

    ++ Using Fixed Weapons ++ Truesilver’s Top Tips, No.2 [Beginner’s Guide, Courier v FdL PvP vid]

    Tired of NPC chaff? Fancy trying a new weapon, like plasma-slug rails? Wanting to boost PvP skills? Or just looking to move up on your personal ED learning curve? And yet - a bit unsure whether fixed weapons could ever be for you? You’re not alone, Cmdr...

    In response to a number of recent official forum requests for tips on learning how to use fixed weapons, I’ve prepared this guide and added a PvP demo vid taken from a recent duel at the Latugara CG, Courier v FdL.

    I used to be a member of Adle’s Armada (great guys, we keep in touch) and much of what follows comes from my experiences of offering advice to newer members there. A lot of it is about taking manageable steps.


    WHAT DO FIXED WEAPONS HAVE TO OFFER?

    1. A better auto-aim, without jitter

    Fixed in ED are not ‘completely fixed.’ They actually gimbal also - just within a tiny cone. As you’ll see in the vid, this is more obvious at longer ranges. They will even auto-lock onto any nearby subsystem on your target (whether selected or not) - again, in vid.

    Absent adverse RNGineer effects, fixed weapons have no ‘jitter’ - they shoot true.

    So a fixed weapon is a firing solution that you have to aim yourself to a much greater degree than a gimbal, but which if aimed correctly, will always hit (if hitscan, i.e. laser or rail).

    In contrast, gimbals have a very wide firing cone but considerable jitter - at 2 km much of the fire of a gimballed weapon will miss a small target even if stationary and apparently ‘on target.’

    So fixed weapons offer the potential for a 100% hit rate, which gimballed can only achieve at very close ranges.

    2. More damage

    Check out my all weapons FDev damage stats thread here:

    https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showth...r-Every-Weapon


    Although the difference varies, you’ll see that fixed weapons have better stats than their gimballed equivalents, typically by about 25% DPS.

    (Note that damage for projectile weapons are in a state of flux in Beta 2.2 as FDev are considering buffing fixed, see below)

    3. More guns

    Plasma cannons and rail guns come fixed only. The former are currently being buffed.

    Rail guns, although not the go-to weapon they once were, come with arguably the game’s single most significant special: feedback cascade, which effectively neutralizes enemy SCB’s.

    But to neutralize them you have to hit them within the usage window … basically to benefit from one of the most significant advantages in the game, you need to git gud with fixed.

    4. Possibly, buffed guns

    As above, there are dedicated threads in the Beta 2.2 forums from the Devs concerning buffs to fixed weapons. At the moment the focus is on projectile weapons (plasma, cannons, multis) but it’s not impossible more buffs may come.

    5. No countermeasures

    Gimballs can be countered by chaff, the dispersal cannon special, or (to a very limited extent now) silent running.

    Against fixed the only counter is evasion. And if you’re fighting someone good enough to evade, the chances are they’ll be well prepared against gimbals.


    GETTING STARTED: (a) Gun and ship

    Buy a small fixed beam laser. This is the ideal learning tool because it takes timing out of the equation and has (for a beam) low distributor draw and thermal load.

    Next, your ship. If you’re really new to this you may not appreciate the significance of hardpoint layout. Hardpoints very far off line (e.g. large hardpoints on Imperial Clipper) are difficult to use with fixed. In contrast, hardpoints with good positioning for learning fixed are those in line with the pilot, eg:

    The central lower mount on FAS (not the top one, it’s too high).
    The two upper mounts or lower huge mount on FdL.
    The medium mounts on Python.
    The huge mounts on Corvette.
    The lower large mount on Anaconda.
    The central mount on Courier.
    The inner mounts on Cobra III.
    Anything on Asp, DBS, Cobra IV, Viper III or IV.

    If you have ships to choose from, for starters I recommend something manoeuvrable (although ultimately you’ll need to practice with the ship you’ll actually be flying). Any combat-viable ship can rock with fixed (mine have included an eight fixed pulse Anaconda, a four rails plus one fixed pulse Python, a five Imperial Hammer FdL and a dual-huge-plasma Corvette) but you’ll find it easier to get time on target with something with easy handling.

    One ideal learner choice is the Federal Assault Ship due to its manoeuvrability - just slap a bi-weave, some HRP’s and two point defence covering your drives on it and you’re good to go for PvE (but not recommended for PvP in 2.1 or 2.2 due to weak shield + module damage).


    GETTING STARTED: (b) Find your asteroid (optional)

    For those that want to start on asteroids, I’m going to refer you to No.1 in this series - my beginner’s guide to circle-strafing:

    https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showth...ide-VR-PvP-Vid


    Hopefully if you follow the advice in there you’ll start to build up control of your ship also.


    EDIT 7 March 2017: Since I wrote this Guide a new zero-threat training method has occurred to me ... use a Ship Launched Fighter to fire at your own Mothership! With a shield up, this will cause no harm at all (for a while), with shield down if you don't mind repair bills you can practice shooting at your own subsystems.



    FIRST HOSTILE NPC’s

    I recommend you interdict traders or other civilian vessels in an anarchy. No cops, low threat. No other NPC’s to distract you like at RES or Nav. If you don’t like griefing NPC’s without just cause, pick one from a pirate faction…

    For best results:

    Use beam lasers sufficiently small that your Power Distributor can run them continuously, ideally with as many pips left over for sys and eng as possible. Stick with the one small if you have to.

    Track the target with your beam.

    If it feels that you are pitching too slowly to track, briefly use FA-off while (if pitching up) simultaneously applying down thrust. This should catch the target up. Consider eng pips.

    If it feels that you are moving too quickly, reduce control sensitivities using in-game options and, if necessary, your peripheral’s own settings.

    Fly backwards / forwards as necessary to keep the target in your sights. Learn how handling properties differ when moving backwards. Use dedicated inputs for forward/reverse thrust (as opposed to just throttle).

    Use yaw to fine-tune and maintain aim. This is vital, I have yaw under two of my fingertips at all times.

    As you improve, pre-target subsystems before opening fire. Drives or powerplant are good choices. For example, if you read my circle-strafing guide you should be able to use lateral and forward thrust to move around a Lakon Type 9 so as to shoot directly down into its Powerplant when shields drop.


    MORALE CHECK

    If at this stage it already seems hard - if you’re thinking “OK, I could hit an asteroid but I can’t even hit a Type 7” - be encouraged. The game rewards practice. This is an achievable objective.

    I remember the first time I put five fixed weapons on my Fer-de-Lance. After what felt like an hour (may even have been an hour) trying to take down a high-ranked NPC Viper III, I had to jump out in almost tearful frustration. Nowadays, as I hope you’ll see from the vid, I don’t get frustrated very often … but this is an acquired skill. Flying hours are the main thing. Fortunately FDev have provided the ideal tool for that...


    NEXT STEP: INCURSION ADVANCED!

    You may not have done a training mission for a while but ‘Incursion Advanced’ is perfect. You fly an Eagle (with 2 x fixed burst and 1 x gimballed multi) against waves of enemies.

    Truesilver’s Top Tip: Quickly use right panel to switch off one of the burst lasers and go with 1 pip to sys, 4 pips to eng, 1 pip to wep.

    You now have manageable draw (cuz one burst not two) and an ultra-manoeuvrable ship. With practice you should be able to reach the anaconda just using the multi to dispatch enemies quickly when shields drop. Pip management is an essential ED skill but there’s actually no need to do it before the Anaconda except to replenish the wep cap occasionally.

    Remember to control range using your fw/reverse thrusters and practice shooting at subsystems. The Cobras in particular will let you sit on their tail so you can shoot out their drives.


    MOVING ON

    In the main game, work your way through beam laser, then pulse laser, then burst laser (order of difficulty).

    After burst laser, rail guns. The quickest way to learn rail timing is by binding a burst laser and a rail to the same trigger. The burst rat-a-tat will teach you when the rail will fire (thanks to stealth legend Cmdr Na’Qan for this tip).

    If you have a ship with a decent sized fuel tank, a plasma-slug rail is a joy to use in PvE. Remember that rails have infinite penetration distance so always go for the subsystems - it’s basically a crime not to, with a rail.

    Once you are proficient with the hit scan weapons it’s time to move on to projectiles, where of course lead adds a new difficulty spike. I strongly recommend using Enforcer Cannons at first (they have the highest projectile speed in the game and are an all-round awesome use of a c1 mount) but multis if not. Pacifier Frags (1,000 mps) are then a great next step if you have access, before coming to the slower weapons.


    LAST FEW TIPS

    Control of range is crucial with fixed weapons. At very close range you lack the huge fire-arc of gimbals but with extensive thruster use and some FA-off (how much depends on ship) you will basically have a target you can’t miss.

    Conversely, at very long range your target’s movement relative to yours is very low, so that with practice fixed feels like the only way. At 2.5 km you can face tank a gimballed guy without countermeasures and (assuming comparable ships) do a ton more damage.

    Nothing will help you control range (which is essential to accuracy) better than VR, because you see in binocular vision. Try it somewhere if you can. If VR isn’t an option then consider head tracking software to help to keep up with the target’s movements.

    Also, try to develop a ‘one eye always on the sensor’ peripheral vision thing. This is essential in winged PvP but helps a great deal in understanding your opponent’s movements in a 1v1. (Admittedly it isn’t really possible with VR but there are other advantages that make up for that.)


    AND FINALLY ... ONTO THE DEMO VID

    I thought a good demo would demonstrate close to 100% time-on-target with fixed in the highest of pressure situations … which in a 1v1 means, “While a pirate in an engineered Fer-de-Lance is trying to kill mah Courier.”

    I’ve thrown in plenty of captions which I hope will help highlight some of the points above.






    I hope you’ve found this guide helpful and, as ever, all comments and queries welcome ... now go and git gud with fixed!

    See you in the black,



    TRUESILVER



    [Edit]-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Thanks to all who repped the opener, much obliged.

    The reddit duplicate generated 68 responses including some quite detailed questions and answers about using fixed weapons, including on different ships, and combat generally, so I'm linking here for anyone interested in further reading:-

    https://www.reddit.com/r/EliteDanger..._top_tips_no2/

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    EDIT 7 March 2017: Although primarily devoted to my "Truesilver's Top Tips No.1: Beginner's Guide to Circle Strafing", the following vid towards the end demonstrates an additional method of training fixed weapon aim without threat ... by using a Ship Launched Fighter with fixed weapons and firing at your own Mothership! With shields up this is basically free, with shields down and a few repair bills you can practice aiming at subsystems:



    ----------------------

    Further Reading:

    Truesilver's Top Tips, No.1: Circle-Strafing

    https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showth...ide-VR-PvP-Vid

    Truesilver's Top Tips, No.3: Gimballed Duelling

    https://forums.frontier.co.uk/showth...alled-Duelling

  2. #2
    I feel like you made this just for me. I've been pondering if I should make the switch to fixed. I'll try now thanks to you 👍

  3. #3
    Fixed is the way to go. Difficult, but ultimately way more efficient, and most of all, a lot more rewarding. Great post OP!

  4. #4
    Originally Posted by GroundxZERO View Post (Source)
    I feel like you made this just for me. I've been pondering if I should make the switch to fixed. I'll try now thanks to you 
    Originally Posted by Backelaer View Post (Source)
    Fixed is the way to go. Difficult, but ultimately way more efficient, and most of all, a lot more rewarding. Great post OP!
    Thanks indeed, guys.

    I've answered a few questions just now within the reddit duplicate so if anyone here on official has any, please do post!

    Keep on pewing,

    Truesilver

  5. #5
    Good post, lots of good info there

    Just one question:

    Originally Posted by Truesilver View Post (Source)
    Rail guns, although not the go-to weapon they once were, come with arguably the game’s single most significant special: feedback cascade, which effectively neutralizes enemy SCB’s.
    Wasn't Feedback Cascade nerfed in one of the previous patches? I thought that it now only does a bit of damage to the SCB module and slightly reduces the replenishment?

  6. #6
    Thanks Truesilver. I definitely want to move to fixed if I can. The circle strafing is a cynch for me because I use two joysticks and the hat on the second joystick is used for both throttling up and down in forward and reverse so laterally / vertically thrusting, pitching, rolling, yawing and throttling all becomes one continuous movement. But I never got over the frustration of trying to use fixed and failing. It's something that I intend to do though.

    I have a whole fleet of small ships (plus two medium and one large) and have been spending a lot of time recently modding them, but I haven't decided what weapons to put on my Imperial Courier yet. It's got level 5 FSD range, power plant, and level 3 DD thrusters so far. Going by your article, a fixed laser would be good for the middle hard point, but what do you use for the left and right hard points? I'm thinking missiles or torpedoes but have only just started using missiles with my ASP for running away after dropping mines, and have no experience of using torpedoes. Or I could start modding my DBS which I used to love but at the moment is complete stock.

    I had started looking to get into PvP but got distracted when Engineers came out.

  7. #7
    Originally Posted by UnhappyDev View Post (Source)
    Good post, lots of good info there

    Just one question:

    Wasn't Feedback Cascade nerfed in one of the previous patches? I thought that it now only does a bit of damage to the SCB module and slightly reduces the replenishment?
    Thanks - concerning the Feedback Cascade Rail, its special deploys if the rail slug hits the shield of the target vessel during the SCB deployment.

    In its first (momentary) iteration in Beta 2.1, the special caused the target's shield to drop instantly.

    That was swiftly nerfed - since then, the special blocks 90% of the recharge delivery by the SCB.

    For obvious reasons you will not see a PvP-fit wing without a Feedback Cascade Rail - at least one ship will have one, usually more.

    Originally Posted by Karla View Post (Source)
    Thanks Truesilver. I definitely want to move to fixed if I can. The circle strafing is a cynch for me because I use two joysticks and the hat on the second joystick is used for both throttling up and down in forward and reverse so laterally / vertically thrusting, pitching, rolling, yawing and throttling all becomes one continuous movement. But I never got over the frustration of trying to use fixed and failing. It's something that I intend to do though.

    I have a whole fleet of small ships (plus two medium and one large) and have been spending a lot of time recently modding them, but I haven't decided what weapons to put on my Imperial Courier yet. It's got level 5 FSD range, power plant, and level 3 DD thrusters so far. Going by your article, a fixed laser would be good for the middle hard point, but what do you use for the left and right hard points? I'm thinking missiles or torpedoes but have only just started using missiles with my ASP for running away after dropping mines, and have no experience of using torpedoes. Or I could start modding my DBS which I used to love but at the moment is complete stock.

    I had started looking to get into PvP but got distracted when Engineers came out.
    I know what you mean about Engineers, Karla - it's taken months to deal with and sadly four or five of my best PvP friends have left - I hope they will come back one day.

    Concerning aiming, Cmdr PoaArctica is a famous dual-stick PvP-er so I'm sure you'll have fun with fixed with practice. As I mention in the guide, you may need to play around with sensitivities and (although I can't refer you to them) I believe there are some good maps for sensitivity curves for joysticks out there.

    My weapons are a g4 efficient pulse mounted centrally, plus a dispersal cannon (for defence and possibly some module damage) and a feedback cascade rail (for SCB's). So, a versatile set up but not a high-alpha one.

    I believe that Cmdr Nyxi favours 2 x incendiary multis and 1 x corrosive, all efficient - that's a solid DPS build. Of course there are loads of other options - missiles would be excellent for taking out drives when shields drop.

  8. #8
    On remembering it, I think that's something that I found difficult with using fixed. The joysticks just weren't that sensitive so I'd overshoot. It's not like playing a first person shooter with a mouse where you could practice and get a headshot within less than a second of someone jumping out at you. It would be pretty good to have a foot pedal or some such that you could use for dampening the ability of the ship to pitch/roll/yaw/move laterally or vertically to avoid overshooting.

  9. #9
    Thanks for another useful guide!
    As you say, the key ingredient is practice. I always seem to be rushing off doing one thing or another out in the black and whenever I get back to the bubble I find that I need to relearn basic flying skills, never mind combat flying. It took me most of the weekend to get the 1MCr of combat bonds for Juri Ishmaak in my combat Cobra, relying on gimballed beams with a fixed multi as a secondary weapon (for some reason I find fixed multis a bit easier than fixed lasers, although I was using it at range).
    I notice a couple of things from this and previous videos, mainly that you seem to be almost constantly boosting, or ready to boost: do you use a charge-enhanced distributor or ENG-focused? A medium g4 efficient pulse with a good PD might be able to fire almost continuously either way and I noticed that you never had a problem with WPS power.

  10. #10
    Originally Posted by Edelgard von Rhein View Post (Source)
    I notice a couple of things from this and previous videos, mainly that you seem to be almost constantly boosting, or ready to boost: do you use a charge-enhanced distributor or ENG-focused? A medium g4 efficient pulse with a good PD might be able to fire almost continuously either way and I noticed that you never had a problem with WPS power.
    Yes indeed, my current game plan could be summarised as 'one pip to weapons'. Because my dispersal cannon and feedback cascade rail are essentially utility/reserve weapons, I depend on my fixed pulse laser, which with g4 efficient + a g5 charge enhanced distributor mean that even with 1 pip the wep cap drains very slowly.

    Now, when 2.2 drops I will have a dilemma ... g5 efficient, or g5 overcharged, or g5 rapid fire ... decisions, decisions.

  11. #11
    the large hardpoint on the corvette is prime fixed weapon material

    in fact it is the only place where you should always use a fixed weapon because gimballed weapons are absolutely useless there. It also works well with two fixed weapons on the small mounts. Huge mounts may be used for huge gimballed MCs or cannons because of the law power draw and DAT FIRING ARC. I agree that these huge mounts are great for 2 huge PAs for example. Forget the medium mounts for fixed weapons tho.

    I use 1 large fixed beam with sturdy thermal vent, 2 small railguns, 2 pack hounds and 2 huge gimballed cannons. I actually bound the beam and railguns to the same fire group so I can fire the beam and use it to aim while the railguns spool up, fire the railguns, release fire, rinse repeat

  12. #12
    Originally Posted by KR4K40 View Post (Source)
    the large hardpoint on the corvette is prime fixed weapon material (...) I agree that these huge mounts are great for 2 huge PAs for example
    There's been a lively discussion in Beta about buffing plasma. The thing about the Corvette is that its depth forces a choice on the fixed weapon user: fixed on the huge mounts at the top or on the large mount at the bottom? You've gone for an interesting loadout based around the latter. (Never heard of anyone happy with fixed on all three...)

  13. #13
    Thanks to all who repped the opener, much obliged.

    The reddit duplicate generated 68 responses including some quite detailed questions and answers about using fixed weapons, including on different ships, and combat generally, so I'm linking here for anyone interested in further reading and also editing into the op:-

    https://www.reddit.com/r/EliteDanger..._top_tips_no2/

  14. #14
    Great stuff, OP!

    All I would add is that fixed forces you to become a better pilot, which is more work, but very enjoyable. FAOff practice pays off, as you can get quicker back on your target.

    Enjoyed the heck out of myself throwing my FdL around a hi intensity CZ last evening

  15. #15
    Originally Posted by Mangal Oemie View Post (Source)
    Great stuff, OP!

    All I would add is that fixed forces you to become a better pilot, which is more work, but very enjoyable. FAOff practice pays off, as you can get quicker back on your target.

    Enjoyed the heck out of myself throwing my FdL around a hi intensity CZ last evening
    Good to hear and thank you - personally I've found that a combination of VR and the dirty drives has reinvigorated my game and I find myself enjoying PvE combat much more than for a year or so - I think my next personal challenge will be to move towards a full rather than intermittent use of FA-off ... always stuff to work on.

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